Monthly Highlights: July 2015

If it isn’t already obvious, I love to travel and I do it often. With that being said, even I’m a bit mind boggled by the amount of travel I did in July. I spent 21 days on the road visiting a total of 8 different cities. The reasons were a mix of both fun and work, as evidenced by the 113.5 hours of work I still managed to squeeze in from various hotel rooms. Overall, July was an absolutely crazy month, and yet it will probably go down in my personal history as one of my favorite months of all. Before I explain why in this month’s monthly highlights recap series, check out a numerical summary of the month, with comparisons to June.

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Cities visited (and beds slept in)

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Hours worked for the month

44.4 less than June

*tracked by Toggl, whenever I remembered to input times

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Photo shoots completed

15 less than June

*tracked by Sunrise Calendar

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Miles walked

12 less than June

*tracked by FitBit

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Days on the road


July quantified self productivity

What Went Well

Freelance travel

+ TONS of travel

By far the best part of July was the ability to be on the road 21 days of the month. Specifically, July’s travels looked like this:


Family reunion

The Baskin family (on my dad’s side) has been hosting family reunion get-togethers every 3 years since the year 1973. Due to aging relatives, the July 2015 was projected to be the last Baskin family reunion, and I was very happy to be a part of it and visit with cousins I hadn’t seen in decades. Photo credit: My cousin, Todd Heimkes.

All told, that was roughly 3,000 miles of travel up, down, and across the west coast via driving, carpooling, taxi cabs, Lyft drivers, and airplane flights. Half of the trips were for professional reasons, and the others for personal growth and relaxation with family and my significant other, meaning that while I did indeed have to haul my entire professional photography kit with me, I also pocketed my favorite travel camera to use in low-key, casual moments. While it’s literally a lot to pack into a single month, this craziness is representative of my ideal lifestyle, and it makes good on a point I’ve mentioned before: I’ve pursued my flexible lifestyle to so that I won’t have to choose between spending my limited vacation days at a family reunion or on a romantic escape with my boyfriend. I can fit both into my life, while at the same time working remotely or traveling to my work if need be.

Family reunion

Visiting my maternal cousins in Torrance, California for the first time in over a decade.

On that note, being gone for 4 weekends in a row wore me out way more than I expected, to the point where I cancelled one of my August trips. Sometimes, you just need to stay home and appreciate going nowhere for a bit.

freelance life travel

First time jet skiing on the Columbia River during 4th of July weekend.

+ Steady stream of varied work

Despite being out of town for most of July, I squeezed in 10 photo shoots, completed a multi-day corporate photography shoot in Las Vegas with my friends and colleagues at Alabastro Photography, and gained 3 new web design clients, as well as a handful of new photography clients, and kept up my professional blogging commitments. My goals for this year have been to 1) team up with other creatives to tackle bigger projects, and 2) diversify my income by expanding into web design, and the professional outcomes of July definitely indicate success in both areas. At some point I may have to get serious about hiring, but that’s for another day…

Seattle freelance web design

I can read and write this stuff! Who’d have thought?

+ Diving headfirst into web design

For the past year, I’ve been shifting my focus to web design, and in July was happy to complete work on a restaurant website I made for Taiwan Bento, a California-based eatery. Earlier this summer, at the urging of my boyfriend, I decided to take my web design skills to the next level by solidifying my skills in basic web programming. The ball inevitably got dropped as summer events piled up, but as I was on the road in July, I received a lead from a web developer who needed to work with a web designer for corporate web design and UX. After a couple of Skype meetings, he decided to bring me on as a freelance web designer, and I’ve spent what few spare moments I’ve had since then speed learning coding and design. It feels incredibly good to be working my brain out in ways I never thought were possible, producing and implementing large scale web designs…and getting paid for it! This is one of many on-going projects I am incredibly excited about.

+ Keeping busy with photography

Photography-wise, the bulk of those July photo shoots were of brand new restaurants, as summer is a popular time of year for new Seattle eateries to pop up. Some of those restaurants were:

And there were even several music-related events I managed to squeeze in including:

+ Blogging like crazy

This is something I’ve not included in past monthly recap posts, but for the past year, I’ve been a regular blog writer over at Digital Photography School. Writing is something I’ve always been passionate about, long before I discovered photography. Having the ability to combine both of my loves through my work at DPS has been incredibly rewarding, especially since most posts have the goal of teaching and helping other photographers improve their craft, as well as playing around with and writing about new photography gadgets. I was also honored in July to finally meet my DPS blog editor in person at the World Domination Summit in Portland after a year plus of communicating with her solely through email and Facebook. With that said, I wrote and published several DPS posts in July, thanks largely to the “downtime” on airplanes and in airports while traveling. Those posts were:

Rolling Stone Carrie Underwood

I finally got to photograph Carrie Underwood at Watershed, and my photo ended up in Rolling Stone!

What Didn’t Go So Well

– Zero Exercise

You may have noticed one statistic was missing from this month’s recap: running mileage. That’s because it came to a grand total of zero for July. I did zero official working out for the month, a side effect of crazy travel schedule. On the plus side, I’ve learned to compensate in two ways: making healthier eating choices while traveling (which seems easier than years past), and walking as much as possible. In Las Vegas, for example, I averaged 13 miles (practically a half marathon!) a day of pure walking. My monthly miles and steps tracked by Fit Bit may have been lower than usual, but at least they indicate some activity.

– Losing Grandma

In the middle of July, just after I returned to Seattle from the World Domination Summit, I received a phone call from my mother who informed me that my maternal grandmother had passed away. The good news was that she was able to pass away peacefully in her own home without any major injuries or illnesses. She had just turned 93 years old in late June, but had been deteriorating physically for the past year. This was the main reason why I chose to travel home to Hawaii in March, and I’m very grateful for that decision to see my grandmother for what would turn out to be the last time. Going home soon will be very strange as it will be the first time in my life I go home without Grandma being there.


My mom, nephew, and grandma on her 93rd birthday. One of the last photos taken of grandma.

Look Ahead

I initially had plans to attend and cover Tech Fest Northwest and Music Fest Northwest in Portland this August, but cancelled due to travel fatigue. The funny story here is that I booked my accommodations through Airbnb and ended up reserving a room with a guest who nearly stayed with my host partner in Belize (I run his Airbnb business). She ended up canceling at the last minute, and I was sad to have to do the same to her. Hopefully one day our paths will finally cross.

With that being said, August will end with a trip home to Hawaii for my grandmother’s funeral, followed by photographing the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival here in Seattle, and then jetting off to Eastern Europe for the bulk of September. So…I’m enjoying the travel break now before another whirlwind adventure come late August/September.

How did your month of June go?

What were some of the challenges and wins you faced on July? Are there any topics or resources you’d like to see added to this blog that would help you out on your own journey? Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me an email! I read every message I receive and do my best to reply in a thoughtful, timely manner, and I would love to hear from you!

How did your month go?

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By | 2016-12-21T17:57:34+00:00 August 13th, 2015|1 Comment

About the Author:

Suzi Pratt is an event, food, and concert photographer based in Seattle. She started Intrepid Freelancer to inspire and teach others how to start a photography business. View her at photography portfolio, and subscribe to herYouTube channel.

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