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!


  1. Would you really want to Chase chickens?

    1. I don't know how you could see a chicken and not want to chase it