Being a part of the Barcelo Stories campaign was the blogger summer camp that we never knew we wanted. I have talked at length about how I grew up at summer camp, and how my camp friends are some of the best friends I've ever had. A lot of my favorite travel experiences have had a camp essence to them - the times we rounded up 15 friends and all crammed into a lakehouse upstate. Or a beachhouse in the Hamptons. Or a massive group pilgrimage to New Orleans for a Mardi Gras wedding. I love traveling with groups of people and all being in an isolated area together - it's always been the best way for me to form real friendships.
When Brandon and I were invited to join Barcelo Stories for their 2017 campaign, we really had no idea what to expect, but lurked Instagram maybe a little too often at the trips that came before ours - and started getting really excited seeing posts from the frist couple of legs of the campaign.
When we arrived, it was pouring rain. And we're used to tropical climates, where spurts of heavy rain is just part of the package, but I hadn't seen anything like this - the sky was dumping buckets and buckets, the paths were flooding, the roads were flooding, there were parked cars with close to 2 feet of water just surrounding them. The resort staff were stopping in their tracks to take photos - which is never a good sign that this storm could possibly be within the realm of normal. We met with the other blogger/video teams that were there with us, and the production team, and everyone was starting to panic a little that the entire week was going to be a flood storm with no sun. During our production meeting we were coming up with shoot strategies - and then the second the meeting was over and we stepped out of the conference room, the rain had stopped. And a few hours later, it was like nothing even happened - the flooding just disappeared, the paths dried up, and the sun was shining.
The Barcelo Bavaro Beach property can only be described as a city - it was so massive, it took us 25 minutes to walk from one end to the other and the full 7 days to figure out how to navigate the place. But the water was gorgeous and the beaches endless.
One of the coolest experiences we had on this trip was getting to go to the famous Hoya Azul (blue hole) early in the morning, before it was open to the public. By the time we got there, we only had about 45 minutes to shoot - all 5 groups of us, and it was a knock-down mad rush to shoot as much as possible, as fast as possible, without getting in anyone else's way. Every team had a drone, and everyone got them up in the air as quick as they possibly could, got about 8 minutes to get what they could, and then the next team was lined up ready to go. I've been on a lot of photoshoots the past few years, but this was something I had never seen anything like.
The Hoya itself was amazing - water so clear and so blue hidden down a jungle path and underneath rock cave walls. I could have shot here all day - and I wish I had!
…But there were bigger things to run off to.
We cruised to nearby Soana Island - a little Caribbean tropical wonderland full of shallow sandbars, crystal aqua water, starfish, and a tiny little village. And shot with some friends along the way.
The power couple of Find Us Lost
And the Queen of Hair herself - The Blonde Vagabond
I call this one “Tropical American Gothic”
A dune buggy adventure!
Never not coconuting.
Our last day in the Dominican, sailing through the bay on a catamaran and wishing we could stay and play for another few days.
The scar on my hip is from falling out of a kayak on to shallow coral when we were in Indonesia last November. It flared up until my whole upper leg was hot, bubbly, and bright red, and we had to go to the hospital. It stilll flares up every time I get sick. I feel like I should want to photoshop this out in photos, but I don’t mind it. Kind of looks like tiger stripes to me.
The water is incredible!
Spying on Selena and Jacob working
We <3 You Barcelo, I hope we meet again!