life in laramie 0.

laramie // canon 6d // june 2016 

I have been living in Laramie for three weeks, working for a little less than that. I wish I had the words to explain what it's like, only that it's hectic, wonderful, unfamiliar and strange. But I have a bedframe and a bookshelf, now, and I can drive places without google maps. I am being patient. Things are working out. Everything will be a-okay. 

Europe | Budapest (or, that time I slept on a bus for a weekend, pt. 2)

march 2015 // canon 5d // budapest 

After several hours on the bus, driving from Vienna, we arrived in Budapest past midnight, the huge tour bus rattling down tiny streets. Instead of going to bed, as we should have, we headed to the atm and then for a slice of pizza, clutching a new currency in our hands that was colorful and unfamiliar. 

The next day started with a bus tour, as we’d been promised—however, that part of the day is a little shady, because I had trained myself at this point to immediately fall asleep whenever I got on a bus, so I think I slept through a lot of it. After an hour or two, however, we were let off, now for a guided tour, which my friends and I promptly escaped from after 45 minutes of shuffling from building to building. We raced down the hill, looking for something to eat, and strolled through a neighborhood, which made me the happiest girl in the world, because my favorite thing to do when traveling is to find a neighborhood and see how people live in whichever city I’m exploring, you know? How do they keep their gardens, and do they hang their laundry, and where is the nearest school—what’s behind the facade of monuments and gift shops? 

Budapest was grand, like Prague—I think a lot of people, in some ways, interchange the two cities—but different. Not as well kept. Buildings were a little dirtier, peeling paint, plenty of Soviet-Bloc style type. But it may have been (and I’m not sure, because this is a toughie) even a little grander, full of fancy parks and huge monuments. Prague was quaint, but Budapest didn’t use that label at all; it was a little wilder than that. 

After beers and goulash, we stopped at the Holocaust memorial, iron cast shoes marching along the banks of the Danube, a sober reminder that made us stand quietly in awe, goosebumps prickling up and down my arms. 

Over the course of the day, I kept marveling at the concept that I was seeing places that my parents or grandparents, had they been traveling, could have never seen at my age—something that I revisited, again and again, in Berlin and Prague and every other city once cloaked by communism. Twenty, thirty years ago, no average American could have dreamed of strolling beside the Parliment building, or hiking up the hill to see the castle. But here we were—here I was. 

The rest of the day was a blur—a strange night on a boat cruise, 30 terrifying minutes of wandering the city lost without a map, and then back to the hostel to dissect boys and the things they said—and then, that morning, back on the bus, headed for Bratislava, the last destination on our whirlwind trip. 

Despite only being there for a hot second, Budapest holds a special place in my heart because it was the cornerstone (if you will) to a trip that I took with a lot of my friends. And while, at the time I wasn’t a huge supporter of traveling in a group of 15 people everywhere, it’s something I look back at fondly. How lucky was I to have 15 or 20 people to travel with, after all? I hard-core bonded with some people in particular (cough, cough, Kate), stayed in a hostel room with a slanted ceiling, four boys (and another girl) and plenty of bad puns, all while exploring a beautiful, falling-down, grand old lady of a city. Not bad, am I right?

New England | Beacon Hill, Boston

june 2 // canon 6d // beacon hill, boston ma 

Beacon Hill is kind of a funny to me. When anyone outside of the city thinks of Boston, it's exactly what they picture--charming brownstones, brightly colored doors, everything just so--history and tradition and ivy climbing up the walls. And it's all that, and more. Beacon Hill is beautiful, charming, and quaint. I love to walk around and photograph it, see the little doors and side gardens and marvel at it all. 

But it's not what I think of when I think of Boston--I think of the crooked homes on Mission Hill, parties in Allston and pizza in the North End. I think of my father's childhood in West Roxbury and my grandmother's in a triple-decker in Dorchester. The esplanade. The Public Library. Fenway, and the beautiful, amazing, wonderful Red Sox. These are all things I think about when I think about home--and to be frankly honest, Beacon Hill almost never comes up on the list. My Boston doesn't look like that. 

(although, who knows--maybe it will someday. We'll see.) 

New England | Three Great Conservatories in the Pioneer Valley

(As I'm currently headed out west, I thought that it was about time to post some Western Massachusetts // New England-y sort of content! more to come in later posts)

Massachusetts is just plain miserable in the winter. There, I've said it. It's cold, raw, windy, snowy, icy...and Amherst and the surrounding areas are just as bad. But if there's ONE thing that makes those winters more bearable, it's the conservatories + greenhouses located in the area. UMass Amherst, Smith College and Mt. Holyoke all have conservatories of varying sizes, and they're all lovely,  a welcome breath of warm air when it gets to be too much, and all slightly different.

#1. Durfee Conservatory
UMass Amherst, Amherst MA

I have a special spot in my heart for Durfee--after all, since it's located on my alma mater's campus, I took many a walk-through during my undergrad years. It's small, maybe four rooms, but it has a wonderful main spot with a koi pond and bridge. There are benches and a little bamboo hideaway, and it's perfect for a quiet moment or some meditation. 

#2 Talbott Greenhouse 
Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley MA

Talbott is much larger than Durfee, and much older as well. It's housed in a beautiful building, with terracotta floors, glass panes and delicate framework. There are a few rooms with varying gardens and collections of flora and fauna, and overall it's a nice little place to spend a half-hour or so. 

#3 Smith College Botanical Gardens 
 Smith College, Northampton MA 

The biggest and baddest of the gardens in the area, Smith College is something special. It takes a while to wander through the conservatory--room leads to room leads to room--and each one focuses in on a certain climate or area. Deserts? check. Lush, dense jungle? check. Temperate climate with pretty flowers? check. The only downfall to Smith is that it is just as beloved by the entire community as it is by college students--meaning it was full of people both times I went. (No meditation or quiet moments here) But it's a photographer's paradise, and if it gets me out of the cold I do not care at all. 

What are your favorite botanical gardens in your area?

lately | big life changes

amherst ma // april 2016

I've been kind of quiet on this front, and I sort of have an excuse--I've been busy applying for jobs, interviewing, and packing up my life, because....


I'm chasing my dreams (quite literally) and traveling cross-country to start a new life as a photojournalist for a paper in the college town of Laramie. Everything is strange and hard and scary but very, very exciting. 

I'll be driving from Massachusetts to Wyoming next week, and you can follow my adventures on instagram, @shannon_brod, if you are so inclined. 

Onto the next adventure, am i right? 

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