Guess what?! I finally got to go visit my family again for the first time in 4 years! We were planning to go in 2020 but, of course...the "panini" (aka pandemic). We stayed at my parents' for 17 days in June. It was our longest visit home, since we moved from Vancouver, BC to Las Vegas in 2014. The last time we were there in 2018, I wasn't even a family photographer in Las Vegas yet!
Some of you might have followed along when I shared phone pictures on my Instagram stories (thank you; I appreciate you for your support!!). I didn't have any camera photos to show then because of a huge laptop problem that was probably caused by my built in memory card reader. Anyway, I ordered an external reader and finally got to see and edit my trip pictures! To share with you all and help me preserve my memories of this trip, I decided to blog my favourite parts!
Without further ado...
Highlight #1: Sidewalk Parks
Ok, so technically this is called Willingdon Linear Park, but I like to call it Sidewalk Parks! It's a strip of mini parks at the ends of 13 blocks, all located along Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby. I saw a bit of it in 2018, but we got to explore it on this trip! I love the bright, vibrant, happy colors. They make a great backdrop for photos against the (often) cloudy skies!
Highlight #2: Brentwood Mall
This is one of the childhood malls that I frequented. It's been around for ages (ok, 1961). It was under major construction on our last visit, but now it's done and I finally got to see the new addition to the mall. It's like a mini downtown right in Burnaby! It's gorgeous and I love the new finishes. The food court looks so modern and the fountain and courtyard add a new place to hang out. I hope you like the pictures of my seaweed-covered Japadog lunch, haha!
Highlight #3: Downtown
We got to spend two beautiful days in Downtown Vancouver! On both days, I bought an all day transit ticket from Translink. This allowed us to ride buses and skytrains as needed throughout the day. It's awesome that kids under age 12 ride free now!
On our first day, we spent time down in Coal Harbour, which is one of my most favourite places. We even had some of our wedding photos taken there! On the second day, we went to English Bay to enjoy the pretty beach. We also went to a cool, new playground at Rainbow Park, where the kids got to play, while I caught up with an old high school friend.
Highlight #4: Jericho Beach
Once my husband joined us on our trip, we drove down to our old neighbourhood in Kitsilano. We used to rent a small, one bedroom apartment that was really dark and, thus, terrible for photography. However, it was only a short walk to Jericho Beach! Oh man, I miss that! For nostalgia, we strolled around the beach and into the park for a little hike. My gosh there are so many wild bunnies now!! Also, the amount of green everywhere compared to Las Vegas — it leaves me gobsmacked sometimes!
Highlight #5: Wreck Beach
On our day in Kitsilano, we also walked around my old school, the University of British Columbia. I can't believe how many new buildings and features they've added! It's really a stunning campus! We visited the bookstore there and I finally bought myself a UBC hoodie like I've always wanted.
Now I'd always heard about Wreck Beach, but I never made it down there before. It's a nude beach or at least clothing optional. My gosh though, why oh why did I deny myself this stunning view!? It's undoubtedly one of the prettiest beaches in the Lower Mainland!! It's like the definition of sea to sky! We all loved walking barefoot in the sand. Next time, we'll have to plan a whole beach day with snacks and a blanket!
Highlight #6: Seeing my family
I loved getting to visit with several of my friends during this trip. So many fun moments and new little kids to meet! Seeing my parents and brother again, in person, was also amazing. It'd been sooooo so so long! Equally nice was watching my kids and parents get to hang out together, get to know each other even. They were all 4 years younger the last time! We also got to meet my brother's girlfriend and her adopted dog, Miley.
Highlight #7: Celebrating our anniversary
I didn't bring my camera and only took phone pictures. Nonetheless, it was a blast reliving an old date at Dockside Restaurant. Even though it was rainy and cloudy, the view from our table was spectacular and so was the service. We came here on either our 2nd or 3rd date? Either way, it was so fun to end our trip with a dinner date on Granville Island all by ourselves (i.e. sans kids)!
What can I say? I had the absolute best visit in Burnaby and Vancouver! I guess visiting home for me is all about nostalgia and visiting old places and old family and friends. 17 days was plenty for us to do all of that, while creating a ton of new memories, too!
If you haven't booked your Fall family photoshoot in Las Vegas yet, check out my homepage here to take a look at my portfolio and get started! I can't wait to hear from you about documenting your special memories!