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Keeping up with Kat: Snapping Up Adventures with WanderSnap in Okinawa

keeping up with kat, okinawa

Snapping memories to last a lifetime…

Before we had kids, my husband and I were literally on a flight at least once a month going somewhere. We were racking up those frequent flyer points, learned how to pack efficiently and get to the airport in record time. The travel bug had hit us hard and we made it our mission to check off almost all our bucket list countries and experiences before starting a family. Four plus years later, with two kids in tow, our traveling mainly consists of the annual long-haul trips back to Canada, peppered with a few traumatic flights (read: toddler meltdowns) and a few ferry rides to Macau.

Read more: Survival Guide: 7 Tips for Flying Long Haul with Your Little People

As the kids get older, it’s becoming easier to travel with them. Big bro, Aiden is old enough to enjoy the good ol’ iPad while little sis, Everly is… well, she’s getting there. One of our goals we had set before Everly turned two was to travel and adventure again.

Read more: You’ll Never Fly the Same Again: Introducing Fly-Tot

Since we had travelled so much before having kids, we wanted to check out a brand new destination, somewhere none of us had been before. We wanted that special experience of exploring and discovering a brand new place together for the first time. We had heard a lot about Okinawa recently with friends posting their trips on social media so when we found out it was only a 2.5 hour flight away, we immediately booked the next flight out.

Read more: 5 Off-The-Beaten-Path Family Friendly Adventures in Okinawa

lau family in okinawa

Since we would be spending Everly’s birthday there, we wanted to document these moments of us on a new island together. This was when I was introduced to the amazing photography platform, WanderSnap. They call themselves the AirBnB of photography as they have a database of amazing photographers (aka snappers) based all around the world. Wherever you may be, at home or traveling abroad, WanderSnap connects travellers with local snappers so you can say “goodbye” to your selfies (a hard habit to quit – especially for me!). Simply log onto the website and choose from a variety of local snappers to capture your adventure. The snappers range from traditional film camera users to DLSR cameras, drone, underwater, and even Instagram pros are part of the database. My favourite part of this platform? $5 USD of each booking goes towards teaching photography to empower low-opportunity youth so they can create art for a living too. A win-win, in my books!

mike and aiden

Through WanderSnap, we were introduced to Yamada Syuuichi, a native to Okinawa who’s Instagram images are incredible. Looking through his IG feed is what fuelled our excitement to go to the Japanese island even more! We loved connecting with a local and having him bring us to beautiful Cape Maeda where our shoot took place. We would’ve never gone on our own and was blown away by how beautiful the location was.

kat and everly

Truth be told, I wish I knew that there would be some light “climbing” involved as we had to walk down some unpaved mountainous areas to get to the perfect vantage spot, but it was well worth it. Thankfully, the hair and makeup stayed in place and the toddlers took to it like an “adventure”.

We climbed down to the beach area during low tide and got the chance to explore some of the cool rock pools, shells and coral. Big bro wasn’t a fan of this part of the beach because #pricklyshells Let’s just say, I’m glad Yamada-san was able to capture some great candid shots while Aiden was Mr. Grumps for that part of the shoot. You can’t win ’em all!

Overall, we had an amazing afternoon with Yamada-san and found the experience to be so unlike other family photoshoots we’d done before. Having the opportunity to interact with a native to the island and hear about his life and other cool spots around the area was an added bonus to the whole experience. With WanderSnap, snappers will usually share five edited photos in your gallery online within 24 hours of the photoshoot and the remainder of the images will be made available the rest of the week. Within 24 hours, Yamada-san had sent us 13 edited images and to my relief, they were beyond my expectation. 

WanderSnap is giving Sassy Mama readers US$20 off (essentially an hour shoot) with the referral code travelwithsassymama or simply sign up on wandersnap.co/friend/travelwithsassymama Book now, you won’t regret it!

We had an incredible family holiday, reconnecting as a family of four and experiencing a brand new destination together. It warmed this mama heart as I saw our kids adopting the language with simple hellos and thank yous, playing with local kids, sampling the amazing local fare and just seeing their joy simply by spending time together. I’m grateful we have these images to remind us of our first trip to a new place together. We’re already looking to book our next vacation!

Featured image and all images taken by Yamada Syuuich

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