We met in high school in 1979. Mickie was 15 and Stefan was 17. It was love at first sight, soul mates. Our son Chris was born the next year and Justin and Ian followed in 1983 and 1985. Stefan was drafted into the German army when he turned 18 and Mickie returned to Colorado to finish Highschool, Beauty school, and have Chris. We reunited in Germany in 1982 and were married there that same year.
Very soon Justin was on the way and was born in Colorado in 1983. For the next 17 years we enjoyed raising our boys in the mountains. We camped almost every weekend in the summer, we don’t ski, so winters we spent more or less hibernating. 1995 made us grandparents for the first time, our beautiful Bella was born. Added to her ranks were two grandsons by marriage, four more grandsons by birth, and only one more granddaughter. Very heavily outnumbered by the boys in this family. In 2001 we bought a little 1.3 megapixel camera and took the family to Germany and The Netherlands. Two things were born from that trip, the love of photography, and the insatiable desire to explore new places.
We both come from traveling backgrounds and have brought that wanderlust to our marriage and infected our kids. Stefan was born in Coburg, Germany, close to where the East German border used to be. His mom married an American and he started moving around Germany before coming to the US for the first time when he was 14.
Mickie’s dad was a musician and she lived in every state west of Colorado before he passed away in 1972. Mickie’s mom married a GI and the family moved to Germany in 1976 where she started Highschool. Mickie moved to Texas in her sophomore year and met Stefan. Traveling is in our blood and a lot of our time and money go towards following our passions.
Our thoughts were always that having our kids when we were young would allow us to go on adventures when they were grown. Both of our lives have been touched with a hint of our mortality in the last few years. Stefan developed blood clots in both lungs in 2016 and Mickie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. Having overcome obstacles like these make you realize that life is precious, and time is not guaranteed. If there is something you want to do in life, take a chance and do it. Change is scary but regret is scarier.
Photography has become our passion and a lot of our trips now are planned around where we can get the best photos. We started off with one little camera and have moved on to really nice Nikons. We each had to have one because we were terrible at sharing. In 2003 we got a lot more serious about our photography, accepting jobs doing the photo shoots for a few weddings, senior pictures, and family photos but our favorite place to be is outside exploring. Landscape and wildlife in the US and architecture when we are in Europe. We are in our element when we are hiking to a glacier or climbing a cobblestone street to a castle. This is when we started planning trips with photography in mind, leading us places like Iceland, Gibraltar, and the west coast of the US. We have been to Austria with two grandkids and planned a road trip in Spain and Portugal. Nürnberg, Germany is a second city for us and serves as a nice home base in Europe.
Having lived in Colorado for three decades. I will never say we have all of the pictures one place has to offer but we have photographed pretty much all the places we were able to reach within a days drive of Colorado Springs, in every season. Colorado is a beautiful place to live and we are definitely spoiled by both landscape and wildlife photography opportunities. Taking pictures of this beautiful state finally brought us out of hibernation in winter. From the rutting season for elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, to the wildflowers in Crested Butte and all the way down to Durango to see the trains.
We love Colorado, it’s a beautiful place to live but we find ourselves looking for more and more adventures. Over the years, that lust for travel, and the excitement of exploring new places has led us to become The Wandering Grandparents.