Friday, September 29, 2017

A year ago today, I left my fairly predictable life behind when I sat across the table from the people who bought my home. The plan was to have a "safe" adventure, and after spending 2 days at a monastery, go to a furnished rental in Michigan for the winter and then look for a place to rent or buy. For almost a year I struggled with the decision to sell my place, where I had been  for 10 years. I loved my space and setting, and could have been quite comfortable and happy there for another 10 or more years.  I would have been content, but I would have been doing the "safe" thing, the predictable thing and stayed firmly ensconced in my comfort zone. When I listened to my gut, I knew that while I could be perfectly content there, it was time for me to move on to something new... to a new chapter and new place, as scary as that was. So I sold my place to a couple who I knew would love it as much as I had loved it.

When I was at the monastery, my plans fell apart but they also fell together into what ended up being a 1 year journey and adventure that I could never have dreamed of, let alone planned! I'm thankful I said yes to life. I have learned about faith and trust, letting go of control, letting go of expectations, going with the flow, self reliance and resilience. And in the process I met the most amazing people, forged some special friendships and make incredible memories for a lifetime. I've been inspired by incredibly beautiful areas I had never been to. I feel so very blessed and thankful that things didn't work out as I had planned. I'm looking forward to the next year while I continue to travel and wander.

Through this year I have kept voice journals and though I'm a private person, I feel it's time to begin writing about my travels - both the personal aspect and about locations.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Knowing that someone believes in you is one of the most wonderful gifts to receive, and one of the most loving gifts to be able to give. In a world full of naysayers and those who discourage, that person who believes in you is like a light shining bright and true. A person who believes in you, who instills confidence and courage and says yes, it can be done... someone who fans the flames of your dreams,  and lights a match to give your dreams light and life, is a rare gift and wonderful mentor. That gift and mentor was my cousin Jack, my Mom's favorite cousin. This morning I learned he had passed away. I was going to do a blog post about my visit to the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens and their amazing rose garden, but it seems more appropriate to use these photos and talk about Jack, who loved gardens and gardening and roses and being outdoors. He loved working among beautiful things whether they were people or plants. He was one of those rare people in life that your noticed because of his quiet presence that was compelling. He loved life, he loved living, he loved encouraging others, he was the father that my father never was.

While I was going through my divorce, Jack was always checking in on me to make sure I was OK. He would send me articles in the mail he thought would be helpful. One of them was about Flickr. He knew my love of photography and encouraged me to join, telling me it would be a good way to learn & improve my photography in a  community, and was a free!  I put that article away for a few months, then found it and opened a Flickr account.  That one little thing Jack did, completely changed my life. We never know when these little things we do for people might be something extraordinary in their life. I told him it was because of him that my life changed - from that one little thing, from joining Flickr and making new friends and learning so many new things, it put me and my art and photography where I am right now. I'm forever grateful to him for caring enough to take the time to do that, and to encourage and to believe. How wonderful are people who care enough to do these little things that are such big things. He was a big believer in paying it forward and helping others. 

These wonderful encouragers of dreams, the mentors who say yes you can, I believe in you... they are such bright lights in this world. And now one of them is gone. RIP Jack Kasper, you were loved. You were one in a million. 

Encourage dreams. Take time to listen. Be a light. Look someone in the eye and tell them you believe in them. Each time I do these things I'll think of Jack.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

I'm seeing all the annual dad posts & it's hard because my father was mostly absent. I guess this is why I had to develop resilience & self sufficiency, although at times I wish I wasn't so much that way. I know my dad did the best he could under his difficult growing up circumstances. He fought many demons. When he was about 6, his mother took him & his twin brother to a boys school in Philadelphia. My grandma was raising them alone after their dad died prior to their birth. The school offered a scholarship for their education. But they didn't tell the boys what was going on, & my dad remembered being in a fenced yard & then seeing his mother & grandmother walking away outside just leaving them there. It was not a happy place for him. He did the best he could as a father who didn't know how or wasn't able to father.  But I did have a wonderful male mentor growing up who showed such love & patience to me & to his own daughter who had Down's Syndrome. Homer nurtured my art, took me for my first plane ride in his little plane & was at my wedding. Happy Father's Day to all the amazing men who fill these roles & shoes... they are truly extraordinary.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

For 8 1/2 months I've been living my dream from my 20s and being a gypsy. It's been exhilarating an life changing. And surprisingly, I've found it hard to blog about because it's been a very personal life changing experience. My inner and outer world has become so much bigger by traveling so many miles, meeting so many amazing new people and having to rely on just myself in many new ways. I've gained inner strength and resiliency and made many new friends. I didn't know if I could do this, but I guess the only thing to do when one is unsure, is to try & in the process grow. We can do many things if we just take action and take the first step. That first step propelled me thousands of miles and has created wonderful memories and relationships. But ironically, as much as I love the wandering and adventure, I find myself longing for the very simple joys of  the spring ritual of planting flowers in pots, having my own constant work space, feeding my birds and walking the same paths each day. I always found new joys in those everyday ordinary surroundings. In many ways, I appreciate those things even more now. But some simple rituals remain... coffee in the morning and tea in the evening, meditation, yoga, a late day walk someplace... and I realize that home is a place I carry inside.

Follow my travels on Instagram HERE and HERE! 

Find art prints from my travels in my ETSY SHOP and my SOCIETY6 SHOP.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Early in the morning two days ago, I left my art retreat in South Thomaston (Rockland), Maine, and drove 4 hours to the Canadian Border at St Stephen New Brunswick. From there it was an hour drive to St John, New Brunswick and the ferry across the Bay of Fundy to Digby, Nova Scotia. It was wonderful even though drizzling and moody, and much better than driving all the way around the Bay of Fundy.

I decided to stay at The Harbourview Inn in Smith's Cove at the suggestion of a friend. The rooms were cozy and the Inn was in the country with quiet surroundings and lovely open views. It was a short walk to the cove, which I heard was a good spot to find sea glass. I didn't have any luck. I did have a chance to meet a fabulous couple, Andrew and Ursula, from Switzerland who had also been on the ferry and were staying at the Inn. We went to dinner in Digby where they told me of their planned adventure. They were heading next to Halifax and then on to Newfoundland to see the icebergs. After a week exploring they planned to journey to Labrador and slowly wind their way to Quebec City from the North. They would then travel to Montreal and across Canada and then on to Alaska. Once their epic sojourn was done, they would drive back to Florida. I was intrigued, inspired and excited! I had always wanted to go to Newfoundland and Labrador! And I loved their adventurous spirits. 

The next morning we had breakfast together at the inn and I enjoyed listening to their stories philosophies. Andrew commented that people say they would like to have an adventure or travel, but he said people are afraid to get out of their comfort zones - which he called a rut. They both have had so many out of the ordinary experiences and travels. Andrew talked about having gone on a freighter and gave me sites to find information on such adventures. We parted ways and I left feeling so happy to have met them. While wandering and traveling you take a little bit of every person you meet with you, and leave a little bit of yourself behind with  people and in places... It is these chance meetings with fellow nomads that inspire me. A society of kindred spirits roaming and adventuring...