Sunday, October 21, 2012

One Year Around the World- A Retrospective of Drawings

On September 20th, 2011 we returned home from our trip to Ireland, decided to quit our jobs, packed up our belongings, and purchased some plane tickets. One month later on October 21st, 2011 we handed over the keys to our apartment, strapped on our backpacks and headed to the airport. It's hard to believe it's already been a year since we began our travels around the world.

Today is October 21st, 2012 and I've been thinking back on the past year. I've kept with me a blank notebook that I use to write down flight information, important phone numbers, hold receipts, sketch, and write about our travels-which I use as a reference for this blog. I filled every page because every day was full of new experiences that I didn't want to forget. There was not a single day that was unremarkable. It's amazing how when you stay in one place, you fall into a routine and the days just start to blend into each other. You could fill just one page with an entire month. That doesn't happen when you're traveling. I love that I've kept this beat-up sketchbook/journal/calendar/phonebook because I never want to forget a single day. I hope that if my life were a book it would have millions of interesting pages.

I'm feeling nostalgic on this one year anniversary of the most amazing flying leap of my life. It's been one unforgettable year. I've put together this little retrospective in sketches from my notebook. It's just the first few months and I'm missing a few countries. While I always post photos of my trips, I don't normally share my sketches with anyone. They are not masterpieces. Typically, it's just a place or a thing that I find interesting and I sit down for five or ten minutes to doodle it but when I look at each drawing I can remember everything about the moment I created it more vividly than looking at our photographs. Probably because I have to look more intently and be more focused in the moment rather than looking through a lens. As you will see, I only had three pencils. A red one, a blue one, and a black one but I made a point to write or draw something everyday-or to at least do something that was creative. That way, the trip wouldn't just be a passive experience just for myself and I would have a way to share it with others. So here goes...

September 19, 2011- Johnstown Castle, Castle Lake, Wexford, Ireland. Our one year wedding anniversary. It's a typical gray and wet Irish day. Darren had to shoo away some unruly peacocks so I could finish this sketch.
(Read this post: Wexford, Ireland)

October 24, 2011- Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey. When I look at this sketch I can hear the call to prayer and smell the roasted chestnuts.
(Read this post: Turkey)

November 11, 2011. Trilokya Mohan Narayan, Kathmandu, Nepal. A messy and unfinished sketch thanks to the man who grabbed the pencil out of my hand. After a short tug of war, I retrieved my pencil and changed locations. Then a group of school children surrounded me to see what I was drawing and to ask for chocolate. The sketch was abandoned to search for the Kit Kat at the bottom of my bag.

November 8, 2011. A Sherpa trekking through the Himalayas wearing just shorts and rubber flip-flops. It is cold and wet and the ground is slippery.
(Read this post: Nepal)

November 24, 2011. 6 pm. (Thanksgiving) Agra, India. We are at the Taj Mahal. I'm trying to sketch but it's getting very dark so Darren is holding a flashlight for me. A guard with a machine gun yells at us to turn off the light and leave. When a man with a machine gun tells you to do something you listen so I never got to finish my drawing.

A rubbing of some Indian Rupees. Sometimes foreign currency can be confusing but not in India. A "thumbs up" for One rupee and two fingers for two rupees. It doesn't get any easier than that. Love it.
(Read this post: India)

December 4, 2011- Hanoi, Vietnam. A little old woman selling pineapples.
(Read this post: Vietnam)

December 10 & 11, 2011- Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand. I got very sick and couldn't do much so I spent a lot of time sleeping on this beach and eating coconuts. I can smell
coconut every time I look at these drawings.

December 15, 2011- Karon View, Phuket, Thailand. Feeling a little better so we rented a moped to get around the island. As I'm quietly working on this, an annoying tourist decides to light up a cigarette while watching over my shoulder. I moved to a new location and then he chose to stand directly in front of me to block my view. I moved three times and was never able to finish the drawing.
(Read this post: Thailand)

January 7, 2012- Bondi Road, Sydney, Australia. We had a couple of hours to kill before our airport shuttle picked us up. We are sitting in a park on Bondi Road and there is a cricket match going on. I find cricket very boring so I worked on this drawing instead.
(Read this post: Australia)

A rubbing of some New Zealand coins

January 9th, 2011- Frankton, New Zealand. View of Queenstown.
We found a fantastic campsite just outside of Queenstown. We parked our van on the lake and I sat on a picnic table and sketched this view as the sun was going down.

January 13, 2012- Abel Tasman National Park, Coquille Bay, New Zealand. This very vain bird perched himself right in front of me and would not move out of my view until I did a portrait of him.
(Read this post: New Zealand-South Island)

January 20, 2012- Ambury Park, New Zealand. We spent the night camped out on a working farm. We were allowed to walk along their trails but we were not allowed to chase the chickens. 

 January 20, 2012- Karangahake, New Zealand. I sat beside the stream to work on this drawing when it started to rain. We packed everything up and got back in the van. Then the rain stopped so I got back out to work on the sketch again. Then the rain came back. Mother nature did not permit me to finish this drawing.
(Read this post: New Zealand-North Island)

This post was meant to be about our recent trips to Ireland and San Francisco but-and maybe I'm procrastinating just a little-it's hard not to look back even though the story isn't over yet.

New posts about Ireland and San Francisco will be coming soon. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New York and Philadelphia

Central Park, NYC
September was another busy travel month. We visited New York, Philadelphia, Ireland, and San Francisco.

It had been seven months since I had been back in New York and almost a year for Darren. Seven months was the longest stretch I'd gone without a trip in five years so even though I was enjoying my time on Maui, I had some really itchy feet again and a bad case of "island fever".

We had two great excuses for the excursion. The first was our friend's wedding in Philly and the second was our niece's Christening in Ireland. So off we went.

New York was busy, crazy, and noisy as usual. Aaah! it was good to be back!

Darren proudly shows off
 my Butterfly sculptures
Darren and I stopped in at the Bronx Zoo to visit some of my old coworkers at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). WCS owns and operates all of the New York City Zoos which includes the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium. Their headquarters is at the Bronx Zoo.

September is a really nice month to visit the zoo because the weather in New York is fantastic. Also, because September is the quietest month for zoos and museums since kids have just gone back to school and most field trips won't be planned during the first month back to school (this varies depending on where you live. For example, kids in Hawaii return to school in July so therefore July would be a quiet month for museums). We pretty much had the whole park to ourselves and I got to show some of my exhibits to Darren.
That's me standing under
the sign I designed for
the Madagascar! exhibit
Darren tests out my
 "Threats to wild dogs" interactive

Two weeks later we were having our breakfast in Ireland and heard on the radio that someone leaped from the monorail over a sixteen-foot fence and into the tiger enclosure. The tiger did nothing wrong so I was relieved to learn that the man was rescued and the tiger did not have to be put down. The tiger was just defending his home which is what anyone would do if they had an intruder.

There was also a tornado while we were in New York. People seem to think that I attract earthquakes just because I coincidentally seem to be in every country where earthquakes have occurred but this tornado dispels that theory. I attract all types of natural disasters without discrimination.

After a wonderful and hectic week visiting friends, we headed off to Philadelphia on the Megabus. This was my first Megabus experience and since our tickets were only five dollars I set my expectations really low. I was very glad to discover that my preconceived ideas about the Megabus were completely off. It was an immaculate, air-conditioned double-decker coach bus with a bathroom and televisions. The reclining seats were very comfortable and the bus wasn't even half full which was surprising since some tickets cost only one dollar. I'm still trying to figure out how they stay in business. I was expecting a packed rickety old bus with diesel fumes blowing in the window and a lot of motion sickness but the Megabus was fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone.

Philadelphia, PA
It had been a few years since my last trip to Philly (you can read my older post here: On the road again). I was sent there for work so I didn't get to do all that much but did get to check a few things off the "must-see" list such as the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall. This time we were in Philly for our friends' wedding which was at the Franklin Institute, a brilliant venue for this museum couple.

My first time visiting the Franklin Institute was on a field trip in the fourth grade. This was also my first time ever visiting a hands-on science museum and it was there where the spark was ignited and my love affair with museums began.
The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA

The reception took place on the roof with the beautiful city of Philadelphia as a backdrop. The cocktails were served amidst the Giant Heart, Electricity, and Changing Earth exhibits so in addition to being delicious (there were mini cheesesteaks being served!) it was the most entertaining and educational cocktail hour ever.

Darren learning about electricity in his muscles
The reception was set up in the main lobby where we danced the night away under the Franklin Memorial. It was a really fun and unique wedding. We had a fantastic time and I think Ben Franklin did too!
Ben Franklin attending the wedding reception
Please check back soon for another post about Ireland and a new post about San Francisco.
In the meantime, you can read some of my older posts about Ireland and New York.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October News

I will be displaying and selling some of my paintings during Lahaina's "Second Friday Art Night" on October 12th from 5-10 pm at Longhi's located at 888 Front Street in Lahaina, Hawaii. There will be a cash bar and complimentary valet.

copyright Kim Nolan

If you can't attend this event but would like to purchase a painting please contact me for pricing and shipping information.