I was texting with my boys on a blazing hot Saturday when two of soccer's biggest stars were sent home packing in the World Cup round of 16.
We fell in love with the sport four years ago on a ship sailing through the British Isles. It was thrilling to be in Europe during the 2014 Cup, especially on an international vessel where cruisers from all over the world were passionately rooting for their country's team.
The energy was impossible to resist. We were infected with the fever. And the game has been part of our relationship ever since.
I was onboard to teach photography. But that was only when we were at sea. Once we docked at any of the ports, the four of us explored London, Paris, Glasgow, Cork, Dublin, and a handful of other destinations. Every step of the way I had a camera with me.
At the time, I was shooting with an Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera, plus 14-42mm EZ zoom, 17mm f/1.8, and 45mm f/1.8 optics. I also had a Canon S110 in my pocket. Everything fit in a small shoulder bag. I had what I needed, and nothing more. It was nimble photography at its best.
I think this year's World Cup made us all a little nostalgic. Out of nowhere, Max texted me, asking if I had a list of all the stops we made on that trip. I had been thinking about it as well, and I was delighted to compare notes with him.
Just like four years ago, the conversation was a mix of soccer and travel - an international sport on a trip abroad.
I have two images from Europe hanging on my studio wall. Both of them are street shots. I would wander off on my own when the others were nosing around in shops. You wouldn't think that family travel could accommodate good photography. It can. You just have to know how to do it - because to not take pictures isn't an option.
Photography is so integrated in my life, that if I tried to separate it, I would die in the process. I remember every camera that I've ever owned and practically every image I've captured. Maybe that's to be expected for someone like me.
But what I didn't anticipate was how it has connected me with others. Almost every story starts with a picture. "We were lost in Mexico, exploring in Wales, freezing in Iceland, sweltering in Austin, drinking rum in Cuba..." These were all adventures with people who are important to me.
And on a hot Saturday in Northern California, reminiscing with my boys via our iPhones while watching Portugal lose to Uruguay in the round of 16.
I'm not a person who second guesses life. But even if I were, I know that I would not trade a minute of this journey for anything. And I'm curious to see what the next round will bring.