What I Know
I have been a finalist in a handful of photography contests on my favorite of all social media platforms, Instagram. Back in May, I was a finalist for the @Bellagio #UltimateVegas Contest. I came in last place out of the 5 finalists. Most recently, in September of 2015 I flew from Miami to NYC to compete in a live "shoot-out" for Adorama's Next Top Fashion Photographer Contest. Despite having tried my best, everything that could go wrong did. I lost that too.
This time, with my wife's support and encouragement, I entered with the @ForbesTravelGuide #FTGVancouver Photo Contest. She believed wholeheartedly that I would win. She was right.
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up on your dreams. Always, do what you are passionate about, even if you only get to do it rarely.
What I Learned
A Five Star Hotel experience is perfectly incomparable to anything else. One simply cannot even begin to fathom the level of care, service and quality that constitutes the luxury experience. As a result of winning the contest, Forbes Travel Guide sent my wife and I to stay at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel and Spa right on the beautiful Vancouver waterfront. My favorite aspects of the hotel were not the things, but the people.
Not even the world class spa could compete with the genuine care of Tony, The Gold Level Concierge who patrols the Lounge up on the 20th floor. The breathtaking views of the harbor and surrounding mountains were not even as impactful as Liz, the Front Office Director, who so naturally performed her magic and made us feel completely worry-free.
My favorite part of the hotel experience was the time I shared with visionary Executive Chef Nathan Brown, who admits to only having lost his cool 5 times in his entire career. Having spent so many years in the hospitality industry, I have earned my opinion on "Big Shot" chefs (I am really practicing self-control here by not running down a list of the asshole chefs I have met and worked with through the years). Chef Nathan is level-headed, fair and the perfect embodiment of what it means to be "hospitable". He really made our experience 5-Star in a number of ways. In addition to sending us a custom plate of chocolates to our room, Nathan catered to our awkward dietary restrictions so we always felt safe. He even visited us at our table when we came in to ORU, the main restaurant of the hotel, for breakfast. When we initially met Chef Nathan, he knew our dietary needs by simply reading our name tags. Now that’s what it takes to be great!
I am constantly in awe of how life becomes so wonderfully serendipitous when I do what I am supposed to do; when I follow my heart and work very diligently at what I love. This life is a swirling dance in which “Magic” and “Logic” are romantically intertwined, each taking turns leading the other across the dance floor, through life.
The story continues... Each image below reveals a moment in time; a story unto itself. Mobile viewers can access the captions by clicking the (.) in the lower right corner. Links to articles that feature The Light Record on Forbes Travel Guide are below.
What I Saw