Mia Goes M.I.A. Grand Canyon Road Trip


I have always loved taking pictures, capturing a moment in time forever. Snapping the beauty of a place or an object. While I went to school for videography, I was never a professional photographer, so it was an honour when I had a chance to travel across Nevada, Arizona, and parts of Utah with my dad, who happens to be a true professional photographer.

A bit of background as to who my dad is, Steve Gordon. He is a director, cinematographer, and photographer whose work has appeared in the National Geographic and the Victoria Art Gallery. He has won international awards, and sells is snaps for thousands of dollars. He is a true pro, and to listen and learn from him was a dream come true. In this blog I will be sharing our photographic drive, as well as pictures from my dad, myself, and my partner.

Day 1

We started our road trip in Las Vegas. A quick pit stop before the adventure begun, but of course there is so much to see and do in Vegas. A walk down the strip we filmed the Bellagio fountain show, and captured some of the bright city lights.

Day 2 



The very next morning we packed the car and made way for the Arizona boarder. Along the drive, we decided to take a little detour to the Hoover Dam. While my dad usually photographs landscapes, we were both impressed by the Dam and how it spews out water so powerfully. It is amazing to see what people are capable of creating with their own two hands. It took five years to build, thousands of workers, and hundreds of casualties to complete the Dam.The Dam generates power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California.

The drive then took us to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There are very few times in my life where I have been truly speechless, but walking up to the edge of the Grand Canyon was one of those moments. We arrived close to the end of the day as the sun was setting behind the rock. There was a rainbow in the distance and dark clouds above that was casting different light over the endless rock. The Canyon seemed to go on forever and ever switching from deep reds to browns. The sight is something you have to truly see to believe. I don’t think any picture in the world can do true justice, but we did your best.

We spent the night in Williams and I cannot recommend this town enough. A lot of people might miss it by choosing to stay in Flagstaff instead, but I feel like this town has a lot more character and history behind it. This charming little town right on Route 66  has an old West feel, a lot of wild west inspired restaurants,  a zipline through downtown, and even a “gun” fight every night.

We were exhausted from the days adventures, but stopped by the Historic Brewing Company for a bite to eat and for a drink. I loved this spot because it was right in the heart of the adorable city, and also had their own locally brewed beers and wine available. I tried a flight of the wines and then called it night.

Day 3 


Day three of our trip started with a drive towards Page, Arizona. Along the way we stopped at Sunset Crater. This is the youngest in a string of volcanoes in the San Fransisco Volcanic field. Appropriately named due to the volcano’s rim that is a dusky red like a sunset. It was a pretty interesting spot particularly hiking the Lava Trail. It is a one mile trail through hardened lava. It is amazing to see the vegetation that has been able to grow in the area.

the drive then took us Wupatki National Monument. This monument is among the largest Pueblos non the Colorado Plateau. It was called home by around 100 people. Less than 800 years ago this was the tallest, largest, and richest pueblo. Home of famers and artists, it was quite the community.

Our last stop of the day was what we had been looking forward to the most, Horseshoe Bend. There is a bit of a hike to the Bend so make sure to wear running shoes. Again we made our way up close to the end of the day with the sun hiding behind this incredible rock formation. Horseshoe Bend overlooks the Colorado River. The rock walls of the bend contain a variety of minerals which is why it has such unique and rich colours. This is a photographers dream.

Day 4 

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 12.28.19 PM20247774_10155640744097139_6911591374698083930_o20264752_10213509512508151_948992450725934147_n20374298_10213509511868135_651751855167974643_n20229124_10213491573499687_2022830054977672652_n20506970_10155676853587139_6650209255673865493_o

Our fourth and final day of the road trip I started the morning cooling off from the heat since we did this drive in the middle of August. I decided to explore Lake Powell with Lake Powell Paddle Board. It was an amazing workout and beautiful views of Antelope Canyon from the outside.

The day ended with the icing in the cake, the reason we had booked this trip in the first place, a photography tour of Antelope Canyon. We decided to visit Upper Antelope Canyon around noon to make sure the light was just right. The light beams in Antelope Canyon are what makes this spot so special. They only occur at a certain time of the day and don’t last long so to catch one is incredible. Our guide really made sure we were at the perfect spot at the perfect time to snap the perfect pictures.

We then made the drive back to Vegas going in and out of Utah, Arizona, and Nevada and through beautiful rocks along the way. I was in awe at all the beauty this side of the world had to offer, and to be able to learn from a world famous photographer who also happens to be my dad was an unforgettable experience. I hope that this blog is an inspiration to get out and explore and to find the beauty in this world.

Travel Tips 

If you are planning to do this drive here are a few travel and photography tips that I learned along the way.

  • Book in the summer: I know that it is unbearably hot in Arizona in the summer, but for photography reasons this is the best time to visit the Antelope Canyon. Because of the sun and where it is positioned, you are more likely to experience the beams in the summer months.
  • Go early or late: Besides the Canyon I would suggest either getting an early or a late start to the day to try and avoid the crowds and to get the perfect light for pictures. It is always best at dusk or dawn.
  • Wear close toe shoes: I wore sandals to Horseshoe Bend and was miserable, plus the rocks can be a little slippery so if you want to get the perfect shot make sure you have the right footwear.
  • Don’t plan too much for one day: Since we split up the main attractions, we had a chance to discover hidden gems like the crater that weren’t even on our to do list.
  • Look for unique shots: These spots are extremely touristy and so a lot of pictures are taken here annually so try and find a unique shot. My dad’s favourite picture of the entire trip was actually of a tattooed man standing in front of the Grand Canyon. You can check that shot out and more from the trip on his instragram @Steviewonderful110.

Happy snapping my friends,



Mia goes M.I.A: Making the most of a short trip

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.21.20 PM.png

Trying to explore a country but don’t have a lot of time? Well I have some tips for you About 9 years ago I took the trip of a lifetime with my best friend. Two weeks exploring eight countries in Europe. As you can imagine 14 days and 8 countries didn’t leave us a lot of time to explore the beauties of each one but instead get little sample sizes.

Yet despite being in some of the most beautiful places in the world like Switzerland or Austria for approximately 24 hours, we truly made the most of each experience and had the opportunity to see some of the main attractions these countries had to offer. We also had a chance to experience local culture and lifestyle. Planning a short trip? Here are some of my tips on how to make the most of your time.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.21.31 PM

1) Have a game plan 

When we were in Rome for less than 48 hours we wanted to see the Vatican, Roman Forum, and the Colosseum, seems like a lot right? Not if you plan ahead. We bought skip the line passes ahead of time. Despite going on a busy Saturday, we waited less than 20 minutes.

If you have some “must not miss” places on your list, plan ahead. See if you can skip the line, or if there are tours because they will always get priority access. Try and research to see if some attractions or places are less busy early in the morning or late afternoon. That will save you time which is precious when you are on a short trip.

2) Don’t be afraid to go with the flow

When we were in Paris for one night, I really wanted to see the Eifel Tower sparkle at night time, but my friend didn’t want to spend our whole 20 hours at the tower, so we compromised. We climbed the tower during the day and saw some stunning views of the city, and at night time we went to see a show at the Moulin Rouge. The show was incredible and I really got to experience even more of the Parisian culture in a short time.

Things are always going to come up, whether it’s a group disagreement, closures, or bad weather. Be ready to not get your way especially if you are only there for a few days. Instead make the most of what you do get to experience.  Hey, if you didn’t get to see the Eifel Tower sparkle, just means you will have to take another trip to Paris someday. At least that is what I tell my boyfriend.

3) Don’t Rush 

You aren’t going to see everything, unless you have found a way to clone yourself (If so, show me your ways). For example, when I was in Amsterdam I really wanted to see both the Anne Frank House or the Van Gogh Museum. Instead of rushing through the museums in hopes of seeing both, we decided that Anne Frank was more up our alley. We were really able to explore the entire museum, listen to our guide, and appreciate the history. I was so glad we had a chance to explore one museum to the fullest.

When you have a limited time, you may feel the need to rush around town in hopes of seeing everything, but if you do that, you won’t really het to see anything. By making compromises you will really get to enjoy what you do see. You will get to truly explore and learn about the areas that you do make time for.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.21.47 PM

4) Logistics, logistics, logistics 

On our trip, my friend and I made sure we took the first train or bus out every morning. This ensured we would have a full day and night exploring cities.  We purchased our tickets ahead of time, and would check to make sure everything was on time. When you have a short amount of time every minute is precious, and you don’t want delayed transportation to affect your trip.

Make sure to do your homework ahead of time. Make sure everything is running on schedule and what will be the quickest way to get to your next destination or attraction you are visiting. The more you know before you go, the less time will be wasted on figuring things out.

5) City tours are your friend

When we were in London for just two days we decided to plan a trip on a hop on hop off bus. We had a chance to see all the major attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, etc. in only a few hours. Plus we had a knowledgeable tour guide giving us information.

With so much to see and do in such a short time period, it’s nice to have someone else do the work. They know the best routes and the history. You get to sit back, relax, and take all the pictures your finger can handle.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.22.35 PM

6) Plan to return 

There is an old myth that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome you will return there one day. I made sure to do that because a day and a half in Rome was just not enough, and guess what, I will be going back there this summer and I cannot wait.

The best part of a short trip is you get a little taste of what the incredible city has to offer, and it just makes you want to come back for the whole meal. You get to see which parts you really loved, and find out more about cities that you would love to go back and visit for a longer time. Let’s just say it is an appetizer ahead of a main course.

I hope these tips help you plan a short trip of your own. No matter how much time you have, you can make the most of any vacation and get a glimpse of the beauty this world has to offer. So get out and explore. Bonne Voyage!

Mia goes M.I.A: Why Traveling with your BFF is the Best

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 5.32.21 PMAs I was looking through some old pictures, I came across some gems from a trip I took back in 2009 with my best friend. We did a European adventure of a life time, 12 days,  8 countries, countless memories.

The reason for this trip was a last hurrah together before we both went off to university. I was moving from Canada to the US for my studies and knew that time with my childhood friend would be limited. This was a time to really get to appreciate each other’s company.

At first I was a little nervous for this journey. We had never travelled before and I had heard horror stories of friendships ending over a bad travel experience. The trip started off in the airport with my dear friend throwing clothes, underwear, and shoes on the ground because her bag was way overweight. It was only later in the trip did we realize her toothbrush did not make the cut.

Yet it seemed our airport scramble was the only really hiccup we had in our near two-week adventure.

We traveled from Toronto to London to Amsterdam to Munich, to Austria, to Switzerland, to Italy (with stops in Venice, Florence, and Rome) to Paris, back to London. We saw the colosseum, the Eifel Tower, The Louvre, The Big Ben, The Vatican, The Red Light District, and the list goes on.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 5.31.22 PMScreen Shot 2017-03-23 at 5.31.15 PM

We laughed at cows being herded in the morning, we cried at Vimy Ridge, we danced on the streets of Munich and drank in their beer halls. But most importantly we helped each other through the lost cell phones, misunderstood languages, and we compromised on activities vs relaxation. If anything this trip actually made our friendship stronger by proving we can survive two weeks together, with no escape, in a foreign land

Needless to say that trip was an unforgettable experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to experience some of the most beautiful landmarks in Europe, but I had the chance to share these once in a life time moment with my best friend.

And so I decided to share with you all why I feel it is important to take that trip with your best friend, even if it scares the heck out of you.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 5.33.29 PM


  • Your BFF will have the patience to take a million billion pictures so that you can get the perfect Instagram shot
  • Speaking of a million pictures, you have someone who is willing to do the totally ridiculous touristy things you are supposed to do in pictures.
  • Any tough challenge you may face, you know you have your biggest support system with you, and the two of you will get through it together
  • Besties usually have similar interests meaning you can explore those interests together
  • And if you don’t have similar interests you care enough about each other to compromise. I will always go see a musical with Randi and she will always come to sports game with me.
  • Traveling feels safer when you have someone with you to look out for you. Your BFF will always have your back
  • You create life-long memories together. In fact, our friends still hate it when we bring up an inside joke from our Europe adventures.
  • Experiencing these moments whether it be the beauty of the world, or the struggles of not understanding the language, it brings you closer together (plus small shared hotel rooms makes you talk out any problems)

So get out there, see the world, and why not share it with your Best Friend by your side!



Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 5.32.04 PM