Sunday, March 11, 2007

A World of Change

my traveling shoes - AustraliaThis is a hard entry to write. How can I convey in words and photos how this trip has changed me. Only one person will really ever understand my words, my photos, my experience, because she has shared and lived every moment of it with me. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I never thought that I would travel so far. I am a woman who has barely been out of her own country (to Canada, yes, and a few Carribean islands, a few hours in Mexico on a cruise day tour last year). I am a woman who, until she was 41, had never traveled on her own (to Atlanta). I am a woman who grew up in a family, a time and a place (a mental place) when world travel was for the rich, the daring, and/or the foreign service. I know, I sound terribly old-fashioned and naive. I have friends who back-packed over Europe fresh out of college, 4 of my children have been to exotic lands like Italy, Brazil, Turkey and Nicaragua. But for me, travel was always a distant and until now, unobtainable dream.

in the Indian oceanIn this day and age, people travel easily. The world is at our fingertips and any place is now just a plane ride away (if you have the $$$, of course). As an adult, I have overheard conversations about shopping in Singapore, B&Bs in Ireland, favorite restaurants in exotic lands - all spoken about as if they were common and routine events. When I was with a group of people who were comparing world-wide travel experiences, I used to feel like a kid listening in on grown-up conversation, not sure I would ever experience what the world has to offer. And now I have - and with wide-eyed wonder and astonishment at every turn.

at the Sydney Opera"Here I am, me, with my feet in the Indian Ocean." "I can't believe it's me, here at the opera in Sydney, the Sydney OPERA house. "Here I am, me, lunching in the New Zealand countryside, eating foods I never knew existed." I made sure I fully stopped and drank it all in, imprinting in my mind and in my heart every single moment, every sight, taste, sound. The warm breezes, the calls of birds that do not fly in my America, the trees that do not grow here. The foods so fresh and tasty, cooked and served in ways that were delicious and new. The sound of voices speaking English, yet in a different tune and melody. Gentle people and dramatic places. Sunshine (no rain!) The very same moon my family slept under over but thousands of miles away.

Rotorua, NZI stood where the earth's crust is it's thinnest, on an inactive volcano in Rotorua, NZ - earth so hot my feet almost burned while I took this photo, steam escaping the earth's crust all around me. A day later I cooled my feet in the South Pacific. As guests of the most generous and remarkable people (my next entry will be about these people), I was able to visit places and experience both countries in ways I never imagined. Each day was a surprise.

standing in the South Pacific oceanIn some ways, Nina and I were like children, being driven around by our parents, who made sure we learned everything we could about the places we went, the sights we saw. I have never felt more at home, or more knowledgable about these places I saw, the people I met. As I said in the beginning, I will never be able to explain it fully. It was an experience of the heart as well as the eyes and feet. Over the next few days, I will add more entries - taking you through my trip from start to finish. I am so proud of the fact that I documented every step of it in both words and photos - 2 countries, 3 oceans, too many sights and people to count.

my journal at The MillhouseIn spite of the added weight, I made the decision to bring my journal. Along the journey, I recorded my thoughts, my impressions, snippets of overheard conversation and phrases ("that's got to grind you"), labels, stickers, shells and leaves, and of course travel ephemera. I can't wait to share it all with you. And no, there won't be any more feet photos. (Well maybe just one or two!)

23 comments:

Susan said...

Sounds so wonderful....can't wait to see and hear more!!

ArtsyMama said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post for an amazing experience. Love how you've summed it up here and the feet photos are FANTASTIC!!! Your journal looks so inviting. Kudos to you for living foot loose and fancy free, you truly are a world traveler!!!

nina said...

waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! i miss it all so much!!!!!! i miss YOU! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

Welcome HOME....!!!!

You ARE forever changed everytime you travel but especially when it involves going abroad.

When I went to China on business as a new product designer/illustrator.. I came back feeling very small in a GREAT BIG WORLD and very humble... AWE struck and grateful for my home, my life.... and a safe journey

Laura Krasinski said...

Lesley, you are such a lucky gal.. and talented too.. I hope you bring some of your travel photos to Chicago for us to see.

Judy Wise said...

I've been thinking of you all across the ocean and in the magical land of Oz. Can't wait to hear all about the adventure!

Cheryl Doran-Girard said...

Lesley--
I await reading the thoughts and see images of your trip. I yearn to experience "those far away places with strange sounding names" in a way I never did when younger. I often wonder if it isn't the human way of absorbing and storing the life that goes on around us as we age and can go about less frequently.

Marie said...

Glad that you've arrived back safely and had such a wonderful time. it was lovely to catch up with you in Perth, albeit so briefly.

Miss*Laurence said...

Lesley,
how I understand what you mean when you talk of not having been anywhere when everybody has been everywhere. Your post is a dreamy poem with songs, sand and warm breeze drifting to me, I am grateful that you will share your emotions with us, thank you.
And one day I will go in a distant land too, and will tell you all about it.

Ailsa said...

It was so lovely to meet you and Nina next door! What special ladies! It was like having a class with you, just sitting and chatting. You are so sweet, inspiring and such fun to be with. I'm looking forward to seeing your trip through your eyes.

love.boxes said...

A brave new world. Congratulations! :)

Ursula Clamer said...

This really is a moving entry, and it is truly fabulous that you got to have this experience in your life. I love the photos with your feet!
I feel privileged to have attended one of your classes and been able to see for myself how warm, generous and talented you are.
Thank you. Ux

Judy said...

HEY LESLEY WITH AN EMPHASIS ON THE "S" - LOVE THE ENTRY AND ESPECIALLY THE FEET PHOTO'S. WHAT A GREAT WAY TO DOCUMENT THE TRIP. ANYWAY JUST WANTED TO POP IN AND PAY COMPLIMENTS TO YOU FOR BEING SUCH A WARM AND LOVELY TEACHER, I SO ENJOYED THE CLASSES IN PERTH, YOU WORK IS SO INSPIRATIONAL.
GOTTA GET SOME OF THOSE RED SHOES - JUST LOVE THEM!
CIAO AND REGARDS, JUDY
XOXOX
AND YES WE MISS YOU!

annie said...

how beautiful it must have all been! i love the photo of you infront of the sydney opera...wonderful...carefree...i want to experience new lands...new people...new oceans! thanks for sharing...will check back for updates...annie

Ev said...

I am so glad that I was part of your new chapter of world travel, I would have loved to have shown you this part of the world I call home now, though I bet you are glad you missed our HOT days that followed your brief visit. Maybe next time you are over you can come and see Perth through the eyes of an expat Scot who has chosen this little piece of heaven on earth. I have found the perfect frame for one of your pictures I bought, all I need is some appropriate backing for it and it will be on my craft room wall to remind me of a fantastic day in your workshop.

Ro Bruhn said...

Hi Lesley
It was wonderful to meet you, we are all still on a high down under from having met you all. So glad you brought your journal and can record some of the entertaining events.
We feel the same when we travel to the other end of the world, you are all so far away, it takes us many hours to get anywhere, even across our own country.
Hope you can return some day and light up our art world again.

jpquilter said...

what a lovely post - I am heading out of the country for the first time this summer and I too expect to be amazed - Juliann

alex said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful journey! I was very touched by it.

There is nothing more powerful than the hesrt opening that happens when we first travel. It is like a walnut shell cracks off your soul. Especially if we happen to find our mirror in that place.

Thanks for sharing,
Alex

Megan Pickwell said...

What a moving tribute to our country, So glad you found it as special as I believe it is. Australians are great travellers considering how far away we are from everything, but I know we are always pleased to return home because we are soooo lucky. Thankyou for your generous teaching I learn't so much about image transfer and felt privileged to be in your class. Look forward to your next visit.
Megan

Megan Pickwell said...

What a moving tribute to our country, So glad you found it as special as I believe it is. Australians are great travellers considering how far away we are from everything, but I know we are always pleased to return home because we are soooo lucky. Thankyou for your generous teaching I learn't so much about image transfer and felt privileged to be in your class. Look forward to your next visit.
Megan

katie said...

you're back!! this sounds like an adventure of a lifetime - so wonderful that you and nina could experience all these 'firsts' together. and that you documented it and will share your journey with us through words are pictures is so exciting. i'm one of those women like you WERE - i have yet to travel to all the exotic places i hear talked about. someday....

Kristen Robinson said...

Lesley this post is so incredible. What a deep, wonderful and life changing adventure.I love the feet photos, memories of the path you have walked and will forever keep with you.

XO
Kristen

Karen said...

AMAZING!!!!!! i cant wait to see you to hear some more stories!!!