Meet Kailyn :: Summit + Co (United States)

We kicked off a new series in January featuring traveling photographers from around the world (most recent feature here; to date, the list includes Italy, Canada, United States, Vanuatu and Australia). We make no secret of the fact that we love travel. We love learning about other cultures. We love contributing to a smaller, more interactive space. With this in mind, we are going to be sharing local stories by local photographers from around the world throughout our posts this year.

This month takes you to North Carolina (with a couple of extra places included - just for good measure)! Lovely Kailyn has some fabulous local recommendations for ice cream & coffee and some thoughful musings from her international travels. It has been a pleasure to get to know her through the dialogue that is inevitable when coordinating these features. Kailyn, would love to take you up on your invitation to reach out if we find ourselves in your beautiful neighbourhood. Thank you for joining in and for sharing stories from your part of the world (and world travels) with us! Enjoy!




South Carolina (Image by Summit + Co)

Hey there! My name is Kailyn. I am a creative who thrives on adventure. I seek out emotion and the ever-present hum of humans experiencing this amazing life journey. Thank you so much for giving me a bit of your day to read about one of my favorite things - TRAVEL!

For the last few years, I have been hanging out in Charlotte, North Carolina. My fiancé and I are a photography + videography team specializing in birth, love, and life in between. We have a pup that is part-coyote (don’t tell anyone) and a cat who is 100% attitude. 

If I am being really honest, I am a mountain girl. I moved here from Colorado, and that is home to me. We will be back home before long, but for now Charlotte is so good to us. One thing I love about this city is that it is so entrepreneur-driven. Everywhere you look, someone owns a business, which means there is someone you can learn from. This community is so supportive—definitely community over competition—and we love to lift up our small and local businesses.

Camp North End - Charlotte, North Carolina (GIF by Summit + Co)

I have traveled quite a bit, but the United States has always been my home base. One thing that amazes me is how diverse this country is. You can get a COMPLETELY different experience based on where you go and who you interact with. I love the outdoors, so if you make it to the states, I definitely recommend the Rockies. Colorado’s back-country has soooo much to offer and is plastered with beauty. If you’re on the west coast, Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park are my two favorite NPs. Yosemite was the only time that I have ever entered a national park and was immediately speechless. The rock faces are old with wisdom. Regal and breathtaking, yet unforgiving. They are something everyone should experience.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah (Image by Summit + Co)

Colorado Springs, Colorado (Image by Summit + Co)

Asheville, North Carolina (Image by Summit + Co)

Boulder, Colorado (Image by Summit + Co)

Boulder, Colorado (GIF by Summit + Co)

If we’re talking world-wide, one of my favorite recent trips would have to be to Australia. I was blessed with the incredible experience to photograph a wedding at the Whitsunday Islands, and it was AMAZING. There are plenty of reasons to go to Australia—the friendly people, the free city tours that dive into incredible history, getting punched by a kangaroo or eaten by a spider in one bite—but what I loved was the coral reefs. We got the opportunity to snorkel in The Great Barrier Reef, and the colors were spectacular. The most vibrant, neon colors occur naturally in the coral and the fish. That said, the reefs are dying due to a whole slew of man-made causes. I think if more of us take time to really appreciate this beauty, we will put more energy into protecting it. Whether it is in your own back yard or all the way across the globe, we can help nature and we can help each other, so don’t be afraid to do just that—help.

Whitsunday Islands, Australia (GIF by Summit + Co)

Whitsunday Islands, Australia (Image by Summit + Co)

Whitsunday Islands, Australia (Image by Summit + Co)

If you ever find yourself in the states and we happen to be in the same area code, I would love to meet and hear about your journey! You can also follow along with our adventures (we will be in Ireland soon!) at or In the meantime, if you make it to CLT, here are a few great local pit stops: 

Everyone loves coffee, right? Actually not me. I don’t drink coffee at all, but I know my fellow travelers do! If you are ever in The Queen City (Charlotte, that is), we have a handful of coffee shops called Not Just Coffee. I can’t speak for the taste or quality of the coffee because, well, I don’t drink it… but every one of these shops is so Instagram-worthy. From a photographer’s standpoint, the lighting is awesome and the energy in the shops is so chill. If anything, stop in for a photo.

We also have the MOST AMAZING ICE CREAM. Listen, I don’t like ice cream. I know, I know: it’s amazing that you’re still listening to me. However, we have a few shops called Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and, let me tell you, they know what they are doing! They have super fun flavors like wildberry lavender and sweet cream biscuits with peach jam. They also have options for my fellow vegans, like dairy-free Texas sheet cake. Our CLT locations have great murals right by the shop. Get a scoop, snap a pic.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – Charlotte, North Carolina (GIF by Summit + Co)

I hope that you get to travel. I hope that you get to experience culture. I hope that you get a chance to embody a new perspective, and understand life from the eyes of another. More than that, I hope you get the opportunity (and take the opportunity) to help another person—to lift them up. I’ll close it with my girl Mother Teresa, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one come to you without leaving better or happier”. 

Hang loose,

Summit + Co.

Crested Butte, Colorado (GIF by Summit + Co)

Wilmington, North Carolina (Image by Summit + Co)

Canyonlands National Park, Utah (Image by Summit + Co)

Crested Butte, Colorado (Image by Summit + Co)




You will find Kailyn here:

Travel Diaries :: Prompts for the Journey Home

We have shared a couple of musings from our travels (here & here). We are continuing that theme today but from a different perspective. We have mentioned previously that we are not diary-type people but that we do enjoy chronicling our adventures. In fact, we make it a priority. On our way home, we pen our final thoughts: the good, the bad & the ugly. It is our way of summarising the cliff notes - or the key events & experiences, if you like - while they are still fresh.

On our way home from Europe, we interviewed each other with some of the following prompts:

Our holiday in review:

  • Most exciting moment

  • Most depressing

  • Most notable

  • Most life-changing (neither of our answers were very philosophical, by the way!)

  • Most confronting

  • Most relaxing

  • Most stressful

  • Most awkward

  • Most challenging

  • Most humbling

  • Places we must revisit

  • Most interesting people

  • Best hotel moment

  • Worst hotel moment

  • Strangest food

  • Best sugary treat

  • Biggest highlight

  • Favourite city

  • Least favourite city

When we visited India, we adopted a different approach. We made a list of things we would not miss about India and things we would. Here are just some of the things we listed that we would miss:

  • Friends/adopted family (both)

  • Curry for breakfast (Pete)

  • Organised chaos (both)

  • Polite hospitality (both)

  • Colours (both)

  • Masala chai tea (Em)

  • Architecture & art (both)

  • Roti, garlic naan & paratha (both)

  • Constantly exploring (Em)

  • Nat Geo in person (both; wonderful experience to see places we had only read about previously come to life)

  • Beeping horns (both; we actually adapted to the background noise and, in the end, it grew on us)

  • Eating with your hands (Pete; we were really nervous about this aspect of Indian culture upon arrival but we ended up adjusting within days and grew to enjoy this further tactile extension of the eating experience and found it hard to believe that we had been concerned in the first place)

Just reading through this list makes us want to go back to India stat. We are so glad that we recorded these feelings & thoughts while they were still fresh. The following two sentences sum up how we feel about documenting our travels. If you do not record these adventures, you may regret it one day. If you do record your adventures and you never look at your writings again, at least you had the choice. Do future you a favour and write it all down. Furthermore, you just might find that your trip home feels that little bit shorter. Or it could just be the “return trip effect” but that’s a different story. Happy & safe travels! :)

Travel Diaries :: Corrie Ten Boom Huis & Anne Frank Museum

We recently wrote a post addressing today's obsession with presenting a perfect & happy image (literally) on social media platforms, such as Instagram, and musing about the somewhat forgotten art of storytelling (perhaps with less filtering?) by way of handwritten diaries. We wrapped up the post with this: "We vote for both: enjoy and share with the world your highlight reel on Instagram (after all, holidays are usually a huge investment so enjoy reliving those memories over and over!) but also treasure those raw and gritty handwritten travel diaries over a glass or two of red (after all, those genuine and authentic moments are priceless)! Who knows... we might even share a story or two or three from our travel diaries this year. <3"

We are going to share below one of our journal entries from the 3rd of January, 2014. We had just visited both the Corrie Ten Boom Huis & the Anne Frank Museum:

"Today we set out to see the Anne Frank Museum (AFM), the Corrie Ten Boom Huis (CTBH), and go on a canal tour. We got 2 of the above done. However, although we only got 2 done, I feel as though I reached my saturation point today ... so much to write about! Firstly, we went to the tourism place across the road from Centraal Station to find out where the CTBH is located and how to get there (public transport). It turned out that it is in Haarlem and about 10 minutes walk from the Haarlem Station. As the CTBH stopped tours from 3 pm and the AFM closed at 7 pm, we decided to go for the CTBH first. We bought a day ticket for the train and got on for Haarlem.

On the way, the ticket officer asked for our tickets. We produced them. She took them from us and promptly got upset with us. It soon became apparent that we had (unwittingly) purchased a ticket for the tram and bus instead of the train. To make matters worse, it was with another company. How we had made this mistake was that most of the ticket machines required payment by card. The machine from which we purchased our tickets was one of the few we could find that accepted cash. Well, the situation could have been worse; the ticket officer, after we explained that it was our second day in the Netherlands, took the tickets from us and explained that we would have to buy new tickets at the station. So we did.

Image was taken by us during our holiday adventuring. (You can purchase original Ten Boom watches here.)

We headed for the Corrie Ten Boom Huis. It was a beautiful neighbourhood. It was surreal walking the streets Corrie and her family walked. We found the museum and I was so surprised to find that the jewellery shop is still open and trading under the Ten Boom name still. They were selling watches in the window - Swiss, et cetera - and some were just 'Ten Boom'. It was great to see.

We lined up with 3 Americans for the next tour starting in 5 minutes. A very friendly American lady welcomed us in for the tour and directed us to the living room. It was ... surreal. Having read the 'Hiding Place' and watched the film, it was hard to process that we were sitting in the living room of the Ten Boom's home. The tour guide talked us through the main parts of Corrie's story and, as she got to different sections of the story, we moved to different parts of the house. We got to Corrie's bedroom where the hiding place is. Pete and I stepped in. At one stage, while Pete was in the hiding place section of Corrie's room, the tour guide pulled down a curtain and closed the cupboard door to the opening into the hiding place. While it was dark, she started knocking on the wall and Pete later said the experience was unnerving and made the story of the 6 Jews 'held captive' in there for 47 hours more tangible.

We walked to St Bravo Church where the Ten Booms went to church. They were busy setting up for a winter festival tonight and we were fortunate enough that they were playing the pipe organ containing 68 registers and featuring 5,068 pipes. Mozart played the organ in 1766 and G.F. Händel also played it (the Christian Müller organ).

We went and had a high tea (of sorts) at Bij Babette just down the road from the CTBH. We indulged in delicious scones and an amazing green tea called 'The Love Potion'. We asked our friendly waitress to surprise us with a tea and she delivered.

Next stop was the AFM. After the cosiness and warmth of the CTBH, I found the AFM a bit sterile and detached but it was a powerful experience nonetheless. Such a strong story and very glad we went. It was particularly sobering to see Anne's name in a huge, fat in memorium book lising every Jew (103,000) who was killed in the Netherlands during the war. To think that so many people died senselessly was staggering and upsetting.

It was a buzz to see Anne's diary in the flesh - to see her handwriting with corrections, et cetera. It made it all so much more real. Another little thing that stood out to me was on a picture Anne had put on her wall of a pretty young lady (from a magazine or paper, I assume). It was black & white, of course, but Anne had coloured the lady's lips with a pink pencil. It was a reminder that she was just a girl doing girl things."

"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart." ~ Corrie Ten Boom

We must learn from history.

Crisp, Curated Instagrams & Muddy, Unfiltered Diaries

We recently read a very endearing article (here) by Danny Wallace from Conde Nast Traveller regarding the evolution of holiday memory collection. In the good old days, handwritten diaries were standard. In today's culture, carefully curated images and stories are the norm. In the good old days, diaries were written for the person writing it (if intensely personal). Or perhaps for friends and family, as well, but still a controlled audience. One major purpose of Instagram is to share. Widely. In so doing, the world becomes a smaller place - in theory, at least. A side-effect is relinquishment of audience control unless the account is private. Memories are recorded with different target audiences in mind. Funnily enough, the content usually reflects this.

In our day to day life, we are not big diary people personally. Our calendar serves the only day to day purpose we need: keeping track of bills, appointments, sessions, etc. However, when we travel, we make keeping a diary a priority to the point that we actually plan part of our day around our diary. Every night, we try to find a quiet spot where we can have dinner (?glass of red) and record the details of our day. Every single day. We have found that if even 3 or more days pass, your memory of what happened when can start to fade and drift into differing recollections of what took place between observers and subjects. We record the good and the bad. We record the anticipated and the unexpected. We record the happy times and the sad. It's therapeutic in a way and clears your mind so you're fresh to welcome a new day of exploration and adventure. It also means we won't ever forget e.x.a.c.t.l.y what our holiday was like. This is why Danny's article resonated with us, we assume. We found this paragraph particularly pertinent:

"I think we’re in danger of only documenting the things we think we’d like to remember. The things that paint our trip the way we think the trip should have gone. The things you’d Instagram. But it means we risk turning those memories into a stylised highlights package or a magazine spread, when what makes it real and important are the small and everyday memories that slip between the cracks. Often, the things that make your trip memorable are those very things we forget, maybe because we mistakenly choose to. Those seemingly pointless, perhaps even, on paper, dull details that – when taken and put together – make up a wonderful whole."

We vote for both: enjoy and share with the world your highlight reel on Instagram (after all, holidays are usually a huge investment so enjoy reliving those memories over and over!) but also treasure those raw and gritty handwritten travel diaries over a glass or two of red (after all, those genuine and authentic moments are priceless)! Who knows... we might even share a story or two or three from our travel diaries this year. <3

Our own travel diaries to date; 302 pages worth.

Our own travel diaries to date; 302 pages worth.