The drive to the nearest town was measured in how many songs she listened to on the radio, songs that included static as the car dipped through the valleys in the road.
She lived in the middle of what felt like nowhere. Her family roots in the county stretched back through multiple generations, deep enough that her great-great-great grandfather named one of the local towns.
Her habit was to stare at the fields and the forests out her car window, imagining that maybe one day she could make an impact on the larger world.
Her best friend wanted to be President of the United States, so she promised to run as her Vice President. They would be a mighty duo that would work diligently to bring joy and peace to their country and the world.
Life continued on, the girl started college, got married, quit college, and had three children. But the dream was still there.
Sitting there patiently, the dream was just ahead of her. Her life experiences, her hobbies and interests, her successes and failures, all were building the path to her dream that lay quietly up ahead.
She was walking in faith that she would one day reach her dream.
When would it be? Then I looked around and knew that the path I was walking already was my dream. That each person I encouraged, listened to, and hugged was bringing peace. I was slowly creating brilliant spots of joy.
I looked back at the chain reaction of what one person could do on her own. I looked ahead to where I wanted it to go.
I took stock of my talents, my education, my experiences, and my gifts. Then, I set out to change the world.
This, my friends, is how you and I together can spread joy to families across the globe: by not creating photos of those families.
Yes, you read that correctly. You can bring joy to a family without ever taking their portrait or ever seeing them.
What is this mad, crazy method I speak of? It is the lifeblood of the first stage of an experience that is a catalyst for family memories.
The experience is called a vacation in the United States and called a holiday in many other parts of the world.
The first stage of the vacation or holiday is the planning stage, choosing where to go, where to stay, and what to do during the experience.
The lifeblood of this first stage of vacation is photos. Photos of places. Photos of activities. And most importantly, photos of where a family spends half their time – in bed.
Many people spend their vacations at hotels, but more and more families are traveling to stay at what is called a vacation rental. A vacation rental could be a house, condo, apartment, boat, or even a tree house at the base of a volcano in Hawaii.
Vacation rentals are offered through the owner directly or through a management company, but every single property needs photos. Travelers rely heavily on the photos of a property when choosing where to lay their head each night while away from home.
And most of the vacation rental property photos you see online are horrid. They are dark, uninteresting, and unappealing.
How many properties need help? Millions.
Go take a look at the two largest listing websites, HomeAway.com and AirBnB.com. The majority of those vacation rental properties need professional photos.
They need a professional photographer. They need you.
At one point in your life, you may have had the strong conviction to change the world … somehow. And, you can.
And simply by reading these words, you have already joined me on my path to carry encouragement and joy to families everywhere.
If you would like to learn more about vacation rental photography, I have written The Ultimate Guide to Vacation Rental Photography just for you.
It launches officially on September 15, 2015, but I also have a free excerpt available when you sign up for my newsletter here.
And let me know how I can help you on your own dream path.