Tag Archives: solo

2 Days 190 miles – Portland Maine to Townshend, Vermont

Standard

Back on the road again, and this time solo.

First I wanted to see what it was like to ride alone, and second I wanted to visit my friend, Tyler who I originally took the train to the East Coast with.

The plan: Ride 2 days to ride to West Townshend, Vermont from Portland, Maine to see Meadow Bee Farm where Tyler and friends were working and staying.

       

The first day I cycled 100 miles to a town outside of Manchester, New Hampshire to a warm shower host, Art and Sarah who welcomed me at the end of the bike trail. They gave me a bed and a wonderful comforter and a beer and in the morning catered to my every need and made me fruit and yogurt and PB&J snacks for the road. I felt like a daughter it was beautiful! They had a wonderful garden and two lovely dogs and a great home.

   
  

The ride was intense as it was my first trip riding 100 miles and the last 15 miles was on dirt road with tons of large rocks and roots exposed. I had some difficult time with my google maps biking directions that took me into strangers back yard, sand roads that are impossible to bike on, and large up rill dirt roads that were ridiculous and absurd to take a touring bike on. Part of me thinks that the directions are for mountain biking and not road touring.

  

   

I was fortunate enough to learn about the history of my mothers side of the family from my grandfather Bruce. He told me that in the early 1600’s that my family was located in Maine in what is now called Saco its just south or Portland. I couldn’t believe it was on my way so I took some time to get a coffee and enjoy the town. Unfortunately most of the information in the historical libraries only dated back to 1750’s so I wasn’t able to find information on the Libby’s, who owned a market in town. Pretty amazing history and special for me to visit the town.

  

The next day I was up early and headed to Goffstown and road a good 90 miles to Brattleboro, Vermont where I met Tyler and we swam in the lake and headed to the Farmers market where we met all the Farm friends! I got to see the farm and then we headed to Chabot at a friend bakery “Earth, Sky and Time” where we sang beautiful songs and had a potluck. More about the farm soon, just wanted to send a update about my riding solo time! What a beautiful life this is!

   
    

Mural Making in Punta Arenas, Chile

Standard

Where: Punta Arenas, a buzzing city that is just four hours south of Puerto Natales on the Magellan Straight in Patagonia, Chile. Filled with cruises, sailboats, murals, sculpture, wildlife and high pitch windy shores.

I found a homey Chilean restaurant called ¨La Marmita¨ which means the cooking pits owned by Lorena and Alfredo.They immediately took warmly to me and this was the first time as well that I was marketing myself in person as opposed to using email.I told them I would be around for two weeks, showed them my images of my work on my phone, and told them for food and money we could do an exchange. 3 days later and I got a call from them saying that they would love me to paint a border around a blackboard for them. I agreed, seemed reasonably small and after I took a look at their vegetarian menu we had a deal.

SAM_2686

The exchange: 10 hours of work for $60USD, and meals from the restaurant (included desserts, juices, and coffee). I ended up taking showers there and using their WIFI as well because I was camping or staying on a sailboat and did not have an access to those luxuries!

SAM_2709 SAM_2706

SAM_2705 SAM_2582

What: A mural border around a ¨to be¨ chalkboard which will showcase the specials for the day. My instructions were limited and the direction was rather free. Lorena said she wanted a colorful border with birds and flowers and that she trusted me. I love when clients trust me, it makes for such better work. She gave me a lot of space, and freedom to do what I needed to do. Very accommodating.

SAM_2581

SAM_2673

SAM_2697

SAM_2688

SAM_2694

What I learned: Never take for granted the love and support someone gives you. Accept kindness and let love in. The couple really made me feel at home. They always told me to treat the restaurant like my own house, made me lunches with their 9 year old son an just treated me with love and respect. I learned how to accept all of it and be present with them every time I was at the restaurant. Acceptance.

Psychedelic Car Mural in Puerto Natales, Chile

Standard

Process6

A new mural in Puerto Natales, Chile and it is my first piece in this beautiful country. It also marks the start of something special for my mural making path. I tried spray paint for the first time and on a car for my first time as well. I had a lot of chances and time to experiment with the new medium. But first a little about Puerto Natales because the energy of the city really inspired and influenced the way I painted the car.

SAM_1537 SAM_1546

Puerto Natales, Chile is where the sunsets at 11:30pm for the start of summer begins here. The mysterious glimpses of light disappear not too long after 12:30pm. The crisp air looms wisely amongst the mountains that are landscaped over a cold windy lake. Here the tony black and neon birds play and flutter together.

The town is small. The people here know each other and you are never too far away from meeting another adventure seeker. Beyond the super touristy mask of Natales and away from the boardwalk or Main Street is a lifestyle of tranquility, oozing with peace, long gorgeous trekking, rock climbing and a clean energy.

SAM_1557 SAM_1545

Where: Erratic Rock Hostel, owned by Bill native of Salem, Oregon who has lived in Natales 15 years. The hostel has simply a wonderful vibe, homey energy as the Erratic family definitely knows how to make a person feel welcomed. With a limitless supply of classic movies on VHS, a cozy gas fireplaces, homemade bread and peanut butter, Sunday brunches and a wonderful network of interns who work and commit to helping out in the hostel for a couple months a year make the place a unique home that just happens to be a hostel. It’s a special place.

SAM_2240

Here is everyone that volunteers and helps out at the hostel, we took a lovely bike ride against the wind near the coast. Just stunning views, good people, and the outdoors. While my stay at Erratic Rock we went biking, I learned how to crochete, and we never went without an empty stomach or cup of black coffee.

SAM_2133 SAM_2143

Side note, I was able to paint a guitar while staying the the hostel as well for a friend. Here is a little peek.SAM_2178

The Mural – Progress Shots and Process

SAM_2121 SAM_2233

SAM_2153 SAM_2220

I was super nervous to start painting, more nervous than I have ever been to start a piece just simply because it was a new medium and a new canvas. Here you can see the hesitation, and just me learning how to use a can. But I knew that I had to keep moving with the piece and not think too much! Here above is when I first just started the piece and I washing the car on the side walk. The police were upset and came to tell me to move the car and wash it in the river. Go figure.

The story of how I got the van gig: I was renting gear for the Torres del Pine trek at Base Camp which is a rental store just next to Erratic. It is actually owned by Paul, Bill’s younger brother. So the rental store wast open at 10am on a Saturday so I had to wait for them to open.

I was walking away from the rental shop when I saw a friend I had made in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. He waved and signalled me to come into the hostel. The first thing I was greeted with was the manager Julie, also from Oregon who said “Want a cup of coffee? You can’t have a real Sunday morning without black coffee.” I immediately was intrigued. Well after 1 hour of playing cards and chatting with one of the employees, Ruth, she mentioned that they had just bought a van needed someone to paint it. I volunteered immediately and made plans to stay at Erratic after my 5 day trek into the national park. It was seemingly simple and effortless. !

Accommodation: Mural in exchange for a bed, food and rental gear. I rented quite a few things from the owners brother, Paul, next door called “Base Camp”. It is a great little business: a bar and rental store which is super successful and a nice pairing to his brothers hostel.

What I learned: How to use spray paint, and more importantly how to use it effectively in the Patagonia wind. What an experience. Because the wind was so strong and it rained quite a bit it was quite the challenge or maybe an excuse to stay longer. The first couple of layers were hard as I was experimenting and getting used to the medium. Once I got rolling and more comfortable it was fast, so much faster than painting and in a different. The concepts of color, content and design are the same, but the process is different and there were shortcuts and tricks I learned.

At first, I kept wanting to put my fingers on the car and change the outcome but the paint dries almost immediately and this was hard to get used to. I realized how much I love using my hands. This is why I like painting so much. The paint brushes and the way the bristols move.

Anyways, with spray you just use a finger, nothing more. Maybe some stencils if you want. Literally my pointer finger and my thumb on my right hand were super sore after the third day painting. Pretty crazy to think that’s what created the whole piece. Just my finger!

SAM_2249

Length of time: Almost 2 weeks including 5 days where I went trekking through Patagonia to get experience. I painted maybe 2-3 hours every other day or so. I will return to Erratic for Christmas. My second Christmas away from home and today marks the first day of Sumer here in Southern Patagonia in Chile and Argentina. Pretty crazy how South I am!

Process5

Process4

Progress Shot for the Front:process3

Progress Shot for Van Side 1:process1

Process 7

Process2

After I painted the van, and ironically on my last night we got to take the van out (me and some of the volunteers) to go camping. We ended up driving to Lake Sofia, about 45 minutes out of town and I got to sleep in the car. I was so happy that I was able to get into the car, and experaince the van outside of Puerto Natales and on the road. What a gift!

SAM_2416 SAM_2364

SAM_2358 SAM_2389

SAM_2405 SAM_2404

I feel super fortunate for the experiance. I love all the people that I have met from Erratic and feel super special to be apart of the family there in Puerto and for those friends who live all over the world. Thank you Erratic and watch out for more spray painting murals coming soon! I even went back to Erratic Rock for Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!

erratic rock christmas

Puerto Madryn Mural, Argentina

Standard

Where: Puerto Madryn which is the start of Patagonia and known for whale watching, seals swimming, kayaking and visiting the beautiful peninsula where you can see penguins and if you are lucky orca whales (which actually are a species of dolphins and not whales) trying to attach the lazy seals on the beaches. Apparently, it is one of the only places in the world where you can see it happen. I went on a whale watching boat tour where I saw gigantic whales jumping in and out of the water and even a mother and her baby! Did you know that whales are solitary animals that only are found together the first year when a baby is born (mother and child) and when the whale’s mate (female and male). Pretty crazy, they are solitary other than that. After a year the mom just leaves the baby and they never see each other again.

The hostel was called La Casa de Tounens, owned by a young French man and filled with many travelers from all over the world.

What: A large outdoor mural, on concrete and done with acrylic latex house paint. The mural was influenced by the boat tour I took and I found the space perfect for this large whale of a tale.

The length of time: It took one week, about 4 hours a day.

Accommodation: Free food and bed. I was in a 6 person dorm. There was great hang out spaces and a movie room which was lovely to catch up on some movie time.

What I learned: Headphones and music are not always better. I have an idea that I need music to work, but here the birds were so loud and there were not too many people outside hanging out so I worked without music and found a new source of inspiration from it.

SAM_1262

SAM_1269

SAM_1272

SAM_1326

SAM_1330  SAM_1325 SAM_1311 SAM_1308 SAM_1307 SAM_1302

Train -Buenos Aires to Bahia Blanca to Puerto Madryn

Standard

When I heard that you could take a night bus to Puerto Madryn that takes 9 hours I thought, “Are you crazy? I need to cut that trip in half and take my time!” Well, you could say that’s what I did…but a little more than what I wanted.

The experience of taking a train is one that I have always wanted. I’ve never been on a long distance train or an overnight train so I wanted to try it. Maybe I over romanced the idea, but it was something I was determined to do. The train was also 1/4 the price as well.

$95 AR Pesos ($11 USD) is what it cost contrasted to the $430 AR Pesos ($53 USD) for a bus. It was only 4 more hours and for all buses I’ve endured the last year I was up to the challenge.

When I arrived early to the train station (which was gorgeous and made me nostalgic like i had seen in movies) I found my seat next to two people, and thank goodness next to the window. The weird thing about the seat was that it was more of a bench because we were all sharing the same cushion. You could feel everyone adjusting and moving.

No problem I thought. But as more and more people started piling on the train the hot neon lights and noise was making me feel claustrophobic, maybe 150 people were in one car and it was the type of train that had some seats facing each other. So much energy and chaos.

I had a moment right before we left where I thought to myself “Should I just get off now? I know there’s a night bus I can take and it’s just a mere $95 pesos and subway stop away. You have time go go go and get off!!! Go go go! There is no way you can stand this for 12 hours!”

Then the other part of me calmed me down and said “You wanted the train experience don’t cop out and fail before you even try”. So I stayed. Mistake? Some could see it that way. I look at it as an experience I can learn from.

Well sure enough as the train starts slowly, the noise and chatter gets louder. “Surely it will get more quiet as we make our way into the night.” I thought. Argentinians can stay up all night and never get tired I swear. Even the children are up at 4:00 am. So it’s super loud, I had headphones but I could still hear and smell the newly paired couple who were sitting next to me kissing and telling each other their life stories because they were falling madly in love with each other and did I mention smoking cigarettes? So I opened the window but then the surging neon lights were attracting flocks of bugs from outside so now bugs were lining my face waiting for a shot at the light. Calm. Calm. Calm. I told myself. Only 12 more hours. Calm. Everything changes. I kept saying.

I got up to use the bathroom and when I finally entered the bathroom it’s hot boxed with cigarettes and weed and there’s just a whole in the floor which was the bathroom. Yikes.

I didn’t sleep at all. The train turned into 11 hours then 12 then 13 then 13 and 30 minutes then 14 and finally and we arrived. I couldn’t believe that I made it. I really couldn’t. BUT with all that said I am proud of myself for taking the train. I followed my rule of “Don’t let anyone tell you if something is good or bad. You must figure it  out by your own experience.” I got my train experience, I got what I wanted. Now I appreciate buses. Now I understand how beautiful it is I have your own seat and how a dark and quiet bus is paradise.

Then when I got in at 11:00 am the train terminal I had to walk 15 blocks to the bus terminal. Found out there was only 8:30pm buses so I knew I had to stay in Bahia and kill almost 10 hours waiting!

The ticket was $321 pesos ($37.5 USD) and almost 10 hours. Easy breezy ride and trust me I slept the whole time!

Colombia Dia 76

Standard

I have been in Colombia 76 days and thought I would start counting the days. I spoke with my Dad last night and I agree with him in that when you experience new things and places to go your idea of time is quite different than what you think of in normal life. No routine, always meeting new people and my life is always changing. I have never experienced anything like this.

I am feeling like I am finally getting to a point in my travels where I have enough experience to really start making strides and travelling in a cost effective and more intelligent way. For example cooking in hostels: people always say it’s cheaper. It isn’t! Unless, you really take time to figure out what you are going to buy, how you are going to use every single thing you purchase, and count out how many times and meals you will make to use everything in an efficient way. I think someone should make a cook book for hostels because I see a lot of people buying groceries like they are going back to their own personal home. You never use everything and sometimes you have to travel with food to make it worthwhile to eat that way. Sometimes it’s cheaper to go to the corner restaurant and purchase a pizza or menu of the day that is less than 3 dollars.

Antoher thing I have learned with time: don’t always listen to hostels advice on travelling, don’t always believe what other travelers say about a place, and if you really want to learn about a city or place you just have to go there yourself and experience it. Also there is always, always, always a cheaper way to travel than what you guide book says. I also have learned to not go on the same route that a lot of travel companies, busses and guide books tell you are a better way to go. Very interesting travelling can be cheap, easy, and way more fun if you don’t follow the normal route.

I have been thankful enough to stay for free and eat for free. In return, I cannot stand paying for thigns that I think are too overpriced, even if they may not be in terms of Untied States mentality, my mind is officially in the Colombian way of thinking. For example, I went to Playa Blanca yesterday, arguably the most popular tourist destination in Colombia. Everything was overpriced! However, I knew this and spoke with certain vendors and explain to them that I have been travelling as an artist, don’t have enough money, appreciate their service, and negotiate with them a fair price. Even if it’s the difference of 8 mil a night for a hammock (4 USD) and getting them to give it to me for 4 mil (2 USD) a night, it really does make a difference if I am going to be travelling for a year!

I keep thinking that I need to leave Colombia, like I need to get out because people just don’t stay in one place this long! Yet I constantly need to remind myself that I am travelling intelligently, that not everyone paints, and that the slow route is in fact better to get to know a culture. My hopes for the rest of my travels is that I may get to do a mural with someone, that I will meet a friend I can travel with for longer than 4 days and that I meet a community that is more like minded as I am of artists and down to earth people. All sorts of people travel and all sorts of people exist in this world. I am determined to find one that is more like what I am striving to become in my life. I know it exists, and I have a lot of time to find it. However now I feel ready and open!

Palomino Comes to a Close

Standard

ImageThe first day that I got to Palomino I saw a man, or I should say boy, that was holding a dead alligator that he picked up from the river. This boy was posing for the camera and quite a site to see. He was proud of the alligator and claimed that it was dead when he found it. I think otherwise.Image

I was able to explore the Sierra Nevada’s a little bit as well. I went to Valencia which was a beautiful hike with waterfalls everywhere. We swam in them, super cold and clear and tons of fish swimming all around you! They would swim close but never touch you. The water smelled clean and of fish, so pure and beautiful. I went with a local friend I made that took me on his moto taxi.

Fortunately, but unfortunate for me, the Sierra Nevada are very protected by Colombia in order to preserve the indigenous tribes villages. So if you want to enter the Forest you have to go with a guide that can be quite expensive and take a long time to be able to process.

20130218-162437.jpg

There is also a famous ¨Lost City Trek¨ which is comparable to Machu Picchu in Peru, but in Colombia. It was a little over my price range and I wanted to do a long trek in Peru so I skipped it. But the Sierras are considered to be sacred for the indigenous so they are keeping the large Nevada’s away from tourists and people not from the area, which I think is amazing. I did get to have some coca with the indigenous and was able to speak to some of them as most have their own language.

20130218-162511.jpg

Throughout my travels it has always beyond amazed me at how willing the people of Colombia are to share. Even if the people here do not have enough for themselves, they will always always share with you. Something else I am learning about the culture: If someone asks you if you want to share something with them or they want to give something to you (food, jewelry, anything) take it! It is considered rude to turn away people. They ask you if you want something, because they want to give it to you. I love it! I remember being on the back of a truck in the blazing sun in Venezuela and there was a group of us needing water. The only person to have water let each of us have a sip instead of having it all to himself. I love this concept and feel like I do not even do that with my close friends in the States. Its growing on me!