Tag Archives: murals

Mural in the Desert

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Where: Joshua Tree, California – Joshua Tree National Park at the Joshua Tree Music Festival; 8ft x 10 ft; Acrylic paint; 2016

Hot sticky dry heat; the type of heat that makes you want to shower with your clothes on. Gusts of wind make the sun bearable as live melodic music floats through the air leaving traces of dance moves. Joshua Tree Music Festival in Joshua Tree, California is a unique festival with gorgeous scenery and over 4 unique music stages with quality music from all over the world. I have found myself here for the second season in a row. It is a magical place located in South Eastern California and the park is slightly larger than that of Rhode Island. It is huge! It straddles the San Bernadino county and Riverside county border and has over two desserts, the Mojave and the Colorado each with their own ecosystem and different elevations.

File_000(6)This was the first mural I have painted for the festival and what an experience! There were hundreds of people getting to watch and explore the process with you throughout 4 days. The beginning of my murals are not my favorite as they are just one layer of many and many to come. Sometimes I get frustrated with this process as people immediately judge it and think that it is done. For example here is the start of my mural.

The Progression

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The Final Piece. 
Not much to see, but that is what is so beautiful about the art process. People do not know when it is done. They ask me all the time “Are you done” when I have barely begun. Process is so important because it teaches you not to be attached to the piece and to what the viewer thinks. I go through different layers of my art and it is hard to share this process sometimes. People ask me about it, want to know more. And to be honest, I do not sketch and I myself do not actually know what the final piece is going to look like. I prefer not knowing, and letting the experience of the setting, environment and people around me shape the way that I paint. That is super important to me, and talking about the piece is something I want to do, but more so on what the viewer experiences rather than what I intended the piece to be. We have so many opportunities in life to be told what to do, what to experience and what we should see. I want my artwork to be something that is always right, because it is a feeling and unique to each viewer.

I painted a total of 3 days in almost 100 degree weather and high blowing winds. It was not the easiest of tasks. Not to mention the fact that the board I was painting on was also moving with the wind! It was quite the experience. I had lots of patience and of course, the festival to take breaks and enjoy. I met so many wonderful people while painting. I was quite engaged with a handful of people that would come to me once or twice a day, check in and talk about the process. Many were surprised with the final piece. They would tell me that they would have never expected it to get to that point. I like that element of surprise. I had some great photographers take progress shots which was wonderful.
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My piece was next to a beautiful art installation about two years old. It was “The Swings” that had two large swings and you could play on them and feel child like with them. People loved the swings. They would stop at the swings way more often then they would look at my painting but of course, the painting was an after thought and they did come and see it if they were not too blissed out from the swing. I liked this experience because I could hear laughter of adults, children and older people that were so thrilled to have the swing experience. I think this had something to do with my painting. That emotion of you tummy going up and down, up and down. As well as the feeling of letting go. The laughter. Children saying “THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE”. And there I was, quiet, observing in a secret spot just taking in all of the energy around me. Quite peaceful. It was a stunning installation. I was quite happy to be working alongside of it. The photo above, the rainbow metal structure is the swing.
There was also one interaction that really struck me and I will never forget. I was done with my painting, I had just finished on the Sunday, the last day of the festival. The sun was setting, I had taken all the pictures, cleaned up and was just sitting. I was looking at the final piece, wondering how I even created it and admiring the work, time and energy that I put into it. This was a contrast to the energy of the festival as people were running around and listening to music and dancing and I was able to exist in this alternative reality.So there I find myself admiring my piece alone.
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It is the last day and unfortunately the swings broke! No one was allowed to use them and they still would try to use them. I would do my best to tell people the bad news and ironically they would become more aware of my painting and I met more people this way. There were two women specifically that were trying to swing, and I said sorry-the swings are closed. Their attention was brought to my painting and they were speaking about it in front of it, not knowing I was the artist. I finally let them know that I painted it, and they were excited to chat about it. I told them my story about my mother and how I paint in her memory and the woman told me that she does the same. Her father passed just two years before and we had a wonderful time sitting in front of my painting connecting and getting to know one another. Really special and made me realize that in putting yourself out there, being vulnerable not only with painting in front of people, but in
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The mural took me about 20 hours total to paint, I used house paint that I got from ACE hardware. Just the basic colors and I mixed them. I use paint brushes and all is detailed with hand and paintbrush. I prefer the old fashioned way! I hope you enjoy the mural, whatever you see is what you are supposed to see. It is meant to be specific to the individual. Enjoy and thank you Joshua Tree for inviting me to paint with you!

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Proyecto de Pedaleo – Collaboration Mural

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This is one of my most favorite projects I have ever done. The murals that keeps painting itself…

Vienen desde Seattle Cristina! Mexico! Beautiful! 12742448_815486748552274_4099817604893194673_n Mexico! California! Yes! 12670322_804344156333200_4109102368704856084_n 12670554_809261105841505_6849309011698076449_n 12647525_802356846531931_3636936079675793018_n 12744607_815487928552156_494096165187563378_n 12646996_806501459450803_5194471518189293325_n 12347703_784427168324899_5109186728106992705_n 12592401_799718863462396_609506109077819445_n 12541166_801464986621117_7802651288094113071_n 12541009_802356886531927_3074796416029057138_n 12670110_806501496117466_4043224842760332899_n 12439540_799719906795625_5099429797484874940_n 12391299_785882841512665_1429675794084120982_n 12376508_785221584912124_8730392073311550586_n 12226919_775824765851806_3836251116168647645_n 12348013_783186095115673_1656918665007762061_n 12313552_779722598795356_5439720303886848775_n 12346574_780811968686419_6792227552521666329_n 12347793_783186291782320_223210873390970866_n 12239583_775824795851803_2504142713499328588_n 12308749_779722462128703_3201813429675870790_n 12366285_784050021695947_2835233678314186598_n 12088392_760388220728794_4562033277990765589_n 12347577_784427074991575_3041376503097520681_n 12108179_760388184062131_3466970195729643554_n  12219326_771613792939570_2873509282572244229_n 12208856_771622142938735_6752253056477016121_n 12345443_780812555353027_7927194467437689071_n 12342596_784427118324904_5466104802676059047_n 12006237_748938231873793_833417898214344283_n 12359965_783186355115647_5380800740189347486_n 12342524_785221621578787_4667617655200650302_n 12341404_780812422019707_2429764771460050472_n 11164799_683131381787812_9115220073727280353_n 12105882_764664750301141_3960902484411507910_n 11068304_687614024672881_7605146776557258569_n 12645142_806501376117478_3070912247589358610_n 12109265_759356994165250_5673157183717858127_n 12341377_780285068739109_6114608443086874168_n 12341339_783186255115657_1772778972687439328_n 12043205_759359097498373_8560607580710529277_n 12314023_780284522072497_9142651834022999622_n 11050659_674209252680025_1217103449483997940_n 12241453_775824632518486_4879052105354297233_n 12239628_773707676063515_4174821280400285822_n 11014931_687613881339562_8540182453926254271_n 11010616_768789366555346_2295969924401638950_n 12107751_761175053983444_7447352164543470525_n 12239597_775824659185150_1088410451528852223_n 12191929_769012633199686_3270511815902872379_n 12189802_769012773199672_361749079545191825_n 12189682_771622122938737_5736437508194590461_n 12187650_769012659866350_7620234306019662383_n 1897982_748938085207141_159569422041242702_n 12143355_769012709866345_3426044938605775703_n 12036805_765899790177637_7451067676275242094_n 12140823_760388150728801_3901057440400167876_n 10999640_674209479346669_4161809373608525570_n 10647015_683148088452808_8189605994458828589_n 10420357_674209932679957_7501759322314638576_n 12122886_769404819827134_1206073913274287070_n 12115452_775824835851799_2794512302507571165_n 12036845_759359234165026_2676114869130917200_n 10246311_769012536533029_4640190016464976948_n 12011275_748938258540457_1301916847842035031_n 11220099_764393686994914_4598073069734273868_n 11193437_683130941787856_5481388070810590155_n 11108213_683130931787857_7507626238384722192_n 10986564_712993878801562_3554285581591217137_n

Baja California

The Inspiration: As many of you know, I am not a stranger to staying on peoples couches, floors, back yards of anywhere I can with a tent. My journeys have been filled with hospitable and beautiful humans who have treated me like a family member. Among the many Lupita and Gabino from San Quintin stand out to me as shiny examples of this. Parents to daughter, Stephanie, they have welcomed hundreds of travelers yearly who bicycle down the Baja Mexico. They took me in for almost a week!

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They are made me feel like I was apart of their family and took care of me in ways that parents would. I met them at a hard time in my travels and they made me feel that I was not alone. Lupita and Gabino have so many travelers stay with them, they made a guest book and started having people write entries. Then it turned into a map where people would pin where they started their travels from. The day that I first stayed with Lupita and Gabino they were full of excitement for me to mark with a tiny tack where I traveled from. They led me to a large map that was covered in plastic lamenant and many different colored pins all over the map of the world.  It was incredible to see these physical pins from so many people. Connecting the world to make it seem smaller and that we are all the same. I was so inspired.

I knew this idea would come up again. And sure enough, three weeks later I was able to make it happen at the “Casa de Cyclista” in San Ignacio, Baja Mexico

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The Process: I ask to use some paints from the surrounding neighbors in Mexico and many of them laughed at me and then watched me paint from the street. They had no idea why I would want to borrow paint from them. Sure enough I found green, blue and white. The only colors we found. It was enough though and after one day of sketching (I typically don’t sketch but figured I had to in order to get the world perspective right) that I was underway painting.

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How long: It took me almost 4 days to paint. I had a little helper with me who got me coffee, and sharpened my pencil. He also just watched in awe as I painted. He would even help me erase my pencil lines. What a beauty this little helper was!

The exchange: Free stay and food for the mural.

The Location: San Igancio, Mexico at the Casa de Cyclistas. Click here for the Casa de Cyclistas Website. Thank you to Casa de Cylistas and thank you to Lupita and Gabino, ustedes tienen un lugar especial en mi corazón!

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Mural in Oakland 

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Where: Oakland, California at the Oakland Music Compex (OMC) in West Oakland with acrylic paint; January 2016

Happy New Year Mural! This piece is located inside the music studio of musicians. The building is amazing and is home to many working artists who practice and record. While painting I could hear multiple bands at one time.

I started with the moon and got into a drippy white paint scene and then started with writing out the poetry that the musicians selected. Poetry, lyrics, words and drawings. The musicians and I (Sara and Max) came up with the concept. We wanted something with words, but not over the top. We wanted to words to fade out and then become stars and constellations. We made sketches this time, which I normally do not do, and it was helpful in the creation of the piece.

The Progression:

 

  



Here I am! This was day 2 in the process. Below are more detailed images of the poetry and intricacy of the words,

 

   

  

   

The writing is poetry from the band, it is not meant to be read easily. I want viewers to engage with the piece and have to try and read it. In addition it makes the energy more scattered and interesting. I like the idea that you have to work for it! I think I put something like 30 different poems and sayings and songs.

 

   

How long did it take: 4 days, 8-10 hours a day

What I learned: Painting on a ladder is dangerous. Especially if you are on the top step! Communicate with building managers before you begin the mural and take more progress shots! It would be great to do some progress videos.

The Exchange: Paid commission

Whats next? I am on the hunt for a studio space in Oakland so hopefully some shows and some good time for making new work!

 A Mural in Burlington, Vermont

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Vermont is a beautiful and magnificent place! It is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States, it has forests that cover over 75% of the state! The green mountains are located within the state and the state is bordered by Massachusetts, New York, Quebec Canada and New Hampshire.  I ran into old friends, and made new ones. I never could of imagined it would of been this green and luscious, I am still in awe of the beauty and how friendly people were. Billboards are outlawed and there was no sign of cooperation’s, just tons of farm and local businesses.

I made my way to Burlington, Vermont after New York. We took a ferry about 20-30 minutes across Lake Champlain. I met with my friend, Cody that I met on a bike tour of the west coast and he actually met us on the other side of the ferry. He took us swimming and showed us around town. We got caught in a storm that was so intense but short. We met a woman who let us stay in her garage until it past.

It was great to catch up with Cody, to swap some bike touring stories and he hosted us for two nights. It was such a blessing. We also met wonderful people through warmshowers.org and turns out Ian knew them! Dan and Christine were their names and they help run a community bike shop and a bike shop in town. We ended up staying 1 week with them and so thankful for their hospitality. Their project is called Burlington Bike Project and if you click the name you can check out their project and website.

Their website also features me in their blog. You can click this link to check it out.

Who: Essentially the Old Spokes home is run as shop for just about anyone who needs help with their bike and then Bike Recycle Vermont helps create access to affordable education, job training opportunities, and a supportive and encouraging environment for people who need it!

Where: Burlington,Vermont

  

  

How long did it take: Only 3 full days of painting! This also included a day where many cyclists came through for a celebration of the North neighborhood called “The Ramble”. This included a community BBQ, displaying of the mural and tons of kids and adults asking about the mural. It was a pretty incredible space.

Dan and Christine introduced us to some beautiful people and we were able to plug into the Burlington scene pretty easily with their help. Potlucks, cooking, music listening and making, hair cutting and just hanging out I would move to Burlington because of the people and bike culture. They had a lovely co-op that we hung out at quite a bit speaking with cyclists about bicycle benefits, which Ian helps promote and run where you get benefits for riding bikes! It is as simple as that, empowering more cyclists to get moving and start commuting, touring, or just getting out there and riding. The program is amazing and I feel excited about helping out.

 

The mural was so much fun to create. I really enjoyed it, although its an older style I felt that it was the best thing for the Bike Shop and the community. I was able to paint certain local businesses and community organizations that the clients could relate to.

  
  
  

Here is the mural in detail, this was also one of the first times that I drew people in my painting. It was fun, I met some amazing people and wanted to include them. Ian is also pictured here with doughnuts as he handed out doughnuts to cyclists a couple mornings in the street. I drew Dan and Christine of course, and then I am meeting RJ and his children who helps organize Bike Party Burlington.


     

Here is more on the mural!

  

 I love to ride my bike. It makes me feel the true sense of the word free. I feel alive, I feel free, I feel strong and I feel like I can do anything in the world that I set my mind to. It is a beautiful feeling and a wonderful way to see the world.


  
  

We left Burlington after a week and headed to the state capital, Montpelier which is actually the smallest capital according to population in the United States. There our goal was to check in with all the businesses that supported Bicycle Benefits and make sure that they were still accepting cyclists and just promoting the cause. We tabled at the local co-op again and met some amazing people just encouraging people to get on their bikes. Bicycle benefits program is great it allows cyclists in many cities throughout the U.S. to buy a sticker for their helmet for only $5. Then they can go online and see the different local businesses where they get a discount. Discounts range from 5-20% off purchases, free cookies, free chocolate, free coffee, and more. It is allowing local businesses to support cyclists and cyclists getting rewards for cycling.

  
   

We got to ride through a lot of green beautiful mountains, I felt like I was back in Washington State. I am still in awe of the State.

   

   

Rain, rainbows, libraries, meeting new people!

              

I would absolutely live in Vermont, I loved it there. I think that I would have to live through a winter to actually understand what the state is all about. But either way I would be open. Thank you to all the people and friends that we met and spoke with. What a beautiful life! The plan now is to head east! New Hampshire and Maine!

Ballard Kiss Cafe Solo Exhibition, Seattle, WA

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Proud to announce for the month of January 2015 I will be displaying my work at Ballard Kiss Cafe in Ballard, Washington. I am super excited as it is a lot of my new work. Featured are 12 different acrylic pieces, its a great show be sure you check it out!

Thank you Ballard Kiss Cafe, and to Raymond Owens for helping me set up the show.

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The Final Mural – Yucutan, Mexico

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Yucutan of Mexico! You can really feel the transition from the coast into the north and yucutan of Mexico. Incredible energy filled with ruins and the nicest people who smile and look you in the eyes and invite you over for dinner. Really made me feel special and many of the people if not all I met spoke Mayan and were super proud of their background. I tried to learn but in the end it was extremely hard!

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So in the yucutan is where I painted my final mural of my travels. I couldn’t go to Mexico without leaving a Molly Keen mark so I thought why not? I decided to head to the jungle and away from the city.

Starting the Process of painting the mural. I don’t like to draw before hand or have something in mind. I like to have paints in my hand and just go for it. Here I was going with the window. I jut kept going and going and all came as it came. I like this type of process without thinking and just feeling!

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Here is inside the Palapa, you can see it will be a private room and its all made from bamboo and adobe (mud, straw, flour and water)

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Here are details of the work. The more I painted the more ideas and comfortable I was with the shapes and patterns.

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What: A mural! Inside a “Palapa” (bungalow) made from bamboo and natural adobe sealant I painted inside next to a honeycomb shaped window.

Of course the window also inspired me as I usually do not work with straight lines and geometrical shapes so I decided to take a risk and try something new.

The exchange: Painting in exchange for food and bed.

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The final mural

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Here is the view from outside of the palapa.

Inspiration: Inspired by the glorious stars and beauty of the animal choir at night, the darkness and power of the stars left a standing impact on me. I could imagine myself in this time and place when the Mayans were around and looking up at those stars for guidance and acceptance and for knowledge. I related so intensely to this concept and I have never seen them this bright. Also I happened to be in this location during a meteor shower so that made it extra special.

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Me and the final work!
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Where: Libre Union, Mexico at a Community called "Lemurian Embassy". The location was close to famous ruins Chichen Itza (Disneyland of Mayan ruins) and in the middle of the jungle. Climate is hot, bugs are heavy and we cooked and ate outside around a fire every night. No electricity, no Internent, nice relaxing place.

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Mayan ruins are everywhere and scattered just as the cenotes d the region are. This part of Mexico is super important and special. Here are three baby falcons that were so scared to see me they started chirping and their mom came for me. Huge birds the babies had feet larger than their bodies and their eyes reminded me of cartoon characters. Special moment.

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Just a 20 minute walk away was a pyramid from the Mayans. It’s a small one, but no one controls it and it can just go and hang out. It’s big enough that you must hike and then you are able to see a 360 view of the whole jungle. Imagine that picture perfect view where you’re able to see above the tops of the trees. Simply breathtaking!

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I was inspired by the blue and pink color combination. Here is the sunrise from the morning I hiked to the temple that overlooks the whole jungle. The energy of the animals waking up in the jungle pierced me with tranquility and silence.!

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This location was perfect to enjoy all the Yucutan has to offer. There’s a system of “cenotes” there which are lakes/caves/sunk holes that are all connected through underground and underwater passageways. This makes the area great for diving and exploring.

Also there was a type of plant flower that was the most beautiful purple I ever saw. Tried to capture it, just stunning.

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Wow I went to a new cenote everyday after painting. I even jumped off one cenote jnto the sink hole 75 feet! It was the loudest and most painful “booom!” when I hit the water. Ouch. You can see a little blob near the top of the picture that’s me jumping!

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The pictures that were laid out on the top of the water was just beautiful. The reflection of the sky, connected to the ground.

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More color inspiration I love the contrast if the red and blue here.

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Here is more from the cenote. I really explored the area. Not so many people and tons of places to go. Everywhere you need to go we hitch hiked and this is one of my most favourite things to do as you can get to know local people.

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There you have it. The last mural, I make my return home this week and can’t wait to give everyone back home a big hug and kiss…and then start planning my next adventure 🙂

Sailing with “Imvubu”

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I was fortunate enough to sail throughout the Chilean channels for a second time. The sailboat was called “Imvubu” (significance is a hippopotamus in Zulu). It’s a 54 foot South African steel boat that was only launched 5 years ago.

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Owner Ralf Dominick offered my friend Jimmy and I positions to crew in exchange for food and lessons in sailing.

Click Here for more information on Imvubu

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SAM_3552Ocean waves escalate up and repel down…up and down, up and down. 54 ft steel vessel “Imvubu” handles the waters with ease.

Swells swimming in from the open ocean push us to 1.9 knots and gusts of 45 knots against the currents and winds. Up and down. I feel thankful I don’t get seasick.

Patagonia is breathtakingly beautiful, with waters tinted a pale glacier green and mountains soaring and diving into the sea with mossy patches and happy green trees.

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My favourite part of sailing is when we are not moving. Anchored in a  cove. This is the best part.

One can hear all around the nature untouched and vibrant. The thick smell of the trees dancing with the shoreline. The sea mixing with the heavy winds creating a whimsical misty spray that follows the design of the erratic shifting winds.

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The sounds are chilling as birds voices echo throughout the forests and the stillness of the bays and coves consume one with purity of the air and open sky. If your lucky you can see pockets in clouds with striking stars in all their radiance and beauty with sometimes their only chance to say hello.

Weather changes quickly and the cove is alive. Alive with chaotic calmness as this change is frequent and can send the boat dancing with the clanky anchor chain.

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Sailing is not as romantic as one may believe.

Sailing takes a toll on your body as energy used to maintain balance is sucked away and one can feel helpless and useless at times. Sleeping becomes a routine in the daytime and eating becomes a highlight. The romance lies in the seam of the nighttime and the assurance in being sewed back together in the stillness.

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I learned a new language while sailing. New manoeuvres, parts and functions of a sailboat. Not only that but the importance of wind direction, strength, wind angle, and interaction with the boat. Navigation, meteorology, currents, cloud patterns, and air all play a vital role. You must be constantly aware yet the slow pace of the boat makes you want to drift to sleep. It’s quite the difficult balancing act.

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5 am or 6 am we wake up and anywhere from 6 pm to 11 we arrive to a cove to anchor for the night. Dinner, a drink and off to sleep. It’s become routine but almost mundane. No sailing is not as romantic as they say.

45-80 Nautical miles a day, 8, 10 and sometimes 12 hour days.

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Coffee and tea become quite the treat, as it takes time to make such a thing. When you have a warm cup and are in the crispy wet conditions it can warm a heart and body right up!

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Try cooking in conditions with open water swells and strong winds blowing. It takes 3-4 times to make anything.

Overall, I don’t get along with sailing too well. I think I prefer meeting new people, walking and exploring.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a wonderful experience but I think I was made for a different lifestyle.

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Meanwhile feeling grateful and appreciative for the openness and willingness the sailing world provided for me. There are always lessons to be learned in every experience.

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Here is a look inside of the boat!

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