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Copyright 2018 - The String Quartet That Rocks

The Glamourous and The Tedious

Natazha was planning on writing today about her shoot with Surfing magazine in Hawaii (that she just returned from), but she is in bed recuperating from a cold she got on the trip. I know everyone would rather hear about her seemingly glamourous adventure in Hawaii than the comparatively boring week at the computer in the cold grey of winter that I had! Don’t worry, she will be posting photos and a story next week.

While Natazha was posing for the camera on the beaches of the North Shore, I was chained to the computer indoors laying the groundwork for the launch of Learning Vacation Network- writing business plans, securing URLs, locking down trademarks and so on. Not glamourous at all. Rather than put you to sleep with the details, I’ll pass along an article that Conde Naste Traveler recently posted about learning vacations: Sun, Sea, and Socrates

Our learning vacation school of the week is Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. They have been around since 1950, offering studio-based workshops in clay, glass, metals, paper, blacksmithing, weaving, woodworking, and more. The campus is in a beautiful natural setting and the buildings were designed by award-winning architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. Click on the link and check out their website for more details!

They got married!

On the first day of the year, with a handful of witnesses in tow, Natazha and I walked down a narrow trail over train tracks and along an oceanside cliff in Del Mar, California, and stopped at a random spot with a million dollar view of the Pacific. Our small group circled close, temporarily cutting off the path and getting some puzzled looks from the sunset speed walkers and surfers that stumbled upon us. It was spontaneous, fun, and intimate. We exchanged vows and rings and confirmed what we had both known was to be since the day we met. Ideally we would have loved to have had all of our family and friends there on that cliff with us, enjoying the classic California sunset and monumental moment in our lives, but unfortunately that wasn’t possible. 2011 was a financially draining year for us and most people we know, and the logistics of bringing our family and friends from around the world to one place for a ceremony presented a sizable obstacle. Natazha and I decided that the best way around that obstacle was to “unplan” our wedding and make up our own rules.

Our ceremony ended with an interesting new tradition at the end. After the officiant spoke about marriage, read a Apache wedding blessing, and we repeated our vows, we asked each of our guests to participate in a “blessing stones” ceremony. Everyone brought a trinket (small stone/ shell/ etc) that was meaningful to them to add to our wedding “treasure bowl”. One by one they stepped forward, added their symbolic gift to the bowl, and said a few words. Some told stories, some gave advice, and some gave blessings. It was as if each person was giving a little piece of themselves, which made it a very personal and special moment that we all shared. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

Now everyone is asking where the traveling duo is planning to go for the honeymoon! Flights are booked for a week in Hawaii, but unfortunately not for me! I’m proud to say that my beautiful bride Natazha was picked to be one of the models in the 2012 swimsuit issue of Surfing magazine, and she will be spending a week in Oahu shooting (while I stay behind here in California to work on getting Learning Vacation Network started). I keep teasing her about going on a honeymoon without me, but the truth is that we have just had to delay any honeymoon plans for a bit while we get some other things taken care of. With the impending launch of our own learning vacation association and travel show there will be plenty of fun travel plans for 2012.