Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Reflecting on 2015

Recently I was using one of my favorite travel apps, TripIt, to update details for an upcoming trip, and noticed a new feature: travel stats for 2015. According to TripIt, in 2015 I traveled on 8 trips, for over 40 days, across 16,138 miles, to 14 cities, in 3 countries. So. Cool. 

It gave me pause, and made me reflect on 2015. This time last year I remember thinking, “Bring on 2015, 2014 was nothing special, one of those transition years. I want to settle in and chill for 2015.” Little did I know that nothing would settle, in fact 2014 was just the preamble. 2015 was the real transition year and would be way more stressful. Looking back, I realize that it was actually a year of incredible extremes. The highs were soaring, and the lows were exhausting. 

2015 kicked off with the worst winter of all my years in Rhode Island. Spring surprised us with having to move from a place we really loved because of an asshole landlord. Summer was spent trying to feel at home in our new place (and honestly, I’m still working on that). Fall brought the realization that all my work stress needed to end and I quit my job (a relief, but also terrifying). 

On the flip side, we kicked off 2015 by visiting Portugal and the gorgeous city of Lisbon. I took way too many photos of people’s laundry hanging out to dry, and I ate more pastries in a week than I did the entire rest of the year. 


In the middle of unpacking boxes from our move, we kept our travel plans made long before we knew we’d have to move, and went to Acadia National Park. Seeing the sun rise on Cadillac Mountain was the perfect, restorative break to bring us temporarily out of the stress and back to reality.  


In the summer, I saw U2 twice, which included making eye contact with Bono while he sang Sunday Bloody Sunday ( ! ). U2 has the most tracks on my personal soundtrack, and tours are always touchstones for me. A reminder that art heals, and each of us can make the world a better place with the tools within us. 


In August, I turned 40 in Peru and saw Machu Picchu with my own eyes. I’m still coming down from that experience and often find myself speechless as to how to even begin to explain it. 



2015 was a bit of a weird ride, and I’m happy to be ringing in 2016. Looking back I realize just how much travel means to me. Letting stressful situations take over is easy to do, and for me, traveling is what puts things back in perspective. I’m so thankful I had such a great travel year, and have such a great travel partner for the journey. 


Cheers to new adventures in 2016. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Revisiting a Travel Journal

Whenever I get back from a trip, the journal that came with me gets put snuggly on a shelf in my studio, right next to the journal I carried on the trip before. Whenever I pick it up next, I am drawn to a lot of the visuals, even though I am the first to say I'm not "good at drawing." It doesn't matter whether I am or not, the quick sketches still bring me back to those places in a way that nothing else does.

Flipping through, I also notice that as the trip goes along, my writing becomes more relaxed, and sketches become more free. The voice in my head that's judging what I'm doing relaxes and shuts up. Also, I get used to my tools again, and into a different frame of mind, which takes some time. When traveling, I unplug as much as possible and don't check my phone in a spare moment I have, I open up my journal and jot something down. It takes a few days to mentally make that transition.

With that in mind, our winter trip is coming up in early 2016 and I want to give my brain a bit of a jump start. Between now and then, I'm going to carry a slim journal with me and try to do some of my journal keeping exercises daily to get the creative juices flowing. The goal is to get used to my tools again, and get that part of my brain in shape. Kind of like how I'm going to the gym so I'm ready to wear a bathing suit.



I kicked things off today by looking at some of the sketches I'd done in Peru, mostly small ones done in museums. I then reworked some of them using my pen with water soluble ink, and my water pen. I love this water pen, and for some reason I didn't use it at all in Peru, even though it's a great way to add simple shadows to a quick sketch.



Added bonus, great excuse to organize and assess my travel kit and clean things up.




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Experiences over things


Today on the Lady Project blog, my post with an alternative gift guide. Instead of giving stuff this year, give something more valuable: your time.

Head over and read the full piece, with ideas on what types of experiences make a great gift for someone you love.