For the artist in all of us.

560332cc485ea3e88edea5c771d13bdb I may be a good cook, a lousy housekeeper, a strong artist. I am messy, disorganized except as it pertains to designing, a demon for creative detail, and not real interested in details like polished shoes and floors.

My life is my art, and when it gets dull, so does my work. As an artist, I may poke into what other people think of as dead ends: a 60s psych rock band that I mysteriously fall for, a piece of classical piano that hooks my inner ear, a giant sequined pineapple pin I just like and add to a nice outfit, thereby "ruining it."

As an artist, I may frizz my hair or wear weird clothes. I may spend too much money on a vintage dress that I'll never wear because the pattern lets me paint about Paris in the sixties.

As an artist, I design whether I think it's any good or not. I paint things that other people may hate. I film vignettes just to say, "I was here in this moment. I was happy. It was a Tuesday and it was perfect."

As an artist, my self-respect comes from the work. One design at a time, one sketch at a time, one painting at a time. Two and a half years to finish a painting. Twelve drafts of one design. Four years and counting and still not finished with that sketch. Throughout it all, daily, I show up at the morning pages and I write about my ugly couch, my rotten outfit, my delight in the way the light hit the trees on my evening run.

As an artist, I do not need to be rich but I do need to be richly supported. I cannot allow my emotional and intellectual life to stagnate or the work will show it. My life will show it. My temperament will show it. If I don't create, I get crabby.

As an artist, I can literally die from boredom. I kill myself when I fail to nurture my artist child because I'm acting like somebody else's idea of an adult. The more I nurture my artist child, the more adult I am able to appear. Spoiling my artist means it will let me type a business plan. Ignoring my artist means a grinding depression.

There is a connection between self-nurturing and self-respect. If I allow myself to be bullied and cowed by other people's urges for me to be more normal or more accommodating, I sell myself out. They may like me better, feel more comfortable with my more conventional appearance or behavior, but I will hate what I've become. Hating myself, I may lash out at myself or others. When we are not creating, artists are not always very normal or nice -- to ourselves or to others.

Creativity is oxygen for our souls. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage. We react like we are being choked, we will react as if fighting for our lives --- we are.

To be an artist is to recognize the particular. To appreciate the peculiar. To allow a sense of play in your relationship to accepted standards. To ask the question, "Why?" To be an artist is to risk admitting that much of what is money, property, and prestige strikes you as just a little silly.

To be an artist is to acknowledge the astonishing. It is to allow the wrong piece in a room if we like it. It is to hang on to a weird coat that makes us happy. It is to not keep trying to be something we aren't.

If you are happier writing than not writing, painting than not painting, singing than not singing, acting than not acting, directing than not directing, for God's sake (and I mean that literally) let yourself do it.

To kill your dreams because they are irresponsible is to be irresponsible to yourself. Credibility lies with you and God -- not with a vote of your friends and family.

The Creator made us creative. Our creativity is our gift from God. Our use of it is our gift to God. Accepting this bargain is the beginning of true acceptance.

(excerpt from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, adapted and edited to fit my life and perspective)

5fc5fbeaf0ba9cda0116c99a08a94743

Van Camping | A Guide to the Simple Life

Check out this little video on Van Camping featuring Foster Huntington from The Burning Houseand A Restless Transplant

If you haven't checked out Foster's The Burning House, do yourself a favor and check out the blog and his new book based on the project. The project is derived from the question, "What would you take with you if your house was burning?" It's an incredibly interesting viewpoint and glimpse into lives of individuals all over the world.

Cheers to your adventures!

The Fruits of Dystopia

Take a break from your day and watch this new Cyrus Sutton short, The Fruits of Dystopia. It's described as: "The Fruits of Dystopia" is a short film about having fun in a less than perfect world. Cyrus Sutton explores an escape from modern trappings through excerpts from classic dystopian novels "1984," A Brave New World," and Fahrenheit 451."

The video is not only beautifully shot and edited, it serves as a reminder to simply enjoy our imperfect lives as they lay out before us, just as they are meant to be. I love the excerpt, ...so it is suffering and evil which makes possible the recognition of virtue.

Enjoy!

Reflections from the Road | Part II

road trip, vintage, reflections, travel, craving, photography, west coast, escape, world domination summit, WDS, 2012

© Whim and Fancy

Editor’s Note: I’m back from my little jaunt on the West coast! It was amazing and I have so much inspiration to share. From the beautiful sights to the beautiful lessons learned from our ultimate destination of the World Domination Summit, the trip was a beautiful chapter of life. My brother and I took the trip together with my newly restored Elsie, a 1960 Shasta Deluxe, exploring Northern California, the Oregon coast, Portland and everything in between.

To hopefully inspire you in your everyday adventures and dreams, I’ve decided to share my personal essay of the past weeks. It will be posted in Part I, Part II and Part III and feature photography from the trip as well as the story behind Elsie. I hope you enjoy it!

__________________________

Part II

Elsie won’t budge. She smokes, she cranks, she stubbornly stays. We coax her to one shop to diagnose and it’s closed. Another shop and nowhere to leave her overnight to hopefully be healed and back on the enticing road in the morning. Nowhere to land, but a quiet neighborhood park on a quiet street in Petaluma, CA. There’s something to be said about sleeping on a 45 degree angle, illegally boondocking, and waking up and walking outside in front of an unbeknownst a.m. yoga class. But, I’ll let you come up with that. Quickly running back in the car, we set off with a fire extinguisher between my legs in nervous anticipation for arriving at the now third auto place without Elsie catching on fire. The second wouldn’t work on my ol’ gal. The third shop was eager and happy to begin investigation on Elsie’s stubborn feet. As the testing began, we were released in to the nervous unknown to explore the town for the day.

1960 shasta, vintage

© Whim and Fancy

It was a perfect place to force a stop. God knew all along. We could’ve easily encountered Elsie’s surprising stubbornness going 75mph on the highway. The adventure would’ve ended for all of us. Petaluma is the exact kind of place we wanted to find and it indeed happened without prior plan. The best experiences often do, don’t you think? We refueled at the most delicately quaint and passionate bakery café called Della Fattoria, indulging on a delightfully prepared breakfast and what Ryan still claims to this day is the best coffee he’s ever had. I loved that place. I loved having a plump and chewy molasses cookie at 8 in the morning and I loved having to tour through the entire kitchen set up just to use the bathroom. It made me want to eat more of the their food, walking through the energy and craft produced in methodically creative passion. Of course, with my senses increasing in life, I was able to notice this all. I was able to notice the woman staring at her artfully topped espresso in great delight and the lady next to me switching seats with her elder to protect her from the energy of the jostling counter. Do you get why your mind wanders to the road now? Do you see how awakening your senses also awakens your creativity? It was sad to walk out of that café, knowing that it wouldn’t be any anytime soon I could return.

della fattoria, petaluma, california, cafe, local

© Whim and Fancy

“Bodega Bay is just 45 min away,” Elsie’s technician suggested. We pointed West and finally met the ocean. It was cold and alive with wind. We dipped our toes in the murky sand wondering how Hithcock was able to dream one of the most memorable thrillers to this day. I looked around for birds to try and put myself in the film’s scene, but they were few and far between. Anxious to get back to Elsie, we started to head back, stopping only when a sign made us realize we had a hankering for crab mac and cheese and hot chowder.

bodega bay, california, shore, wind

© Whim and Fancy

bodega bay, shore, jump

I specialize in awkward timing. © Whim and Fancy

hitchcock, bodgea bay ca, the birds, road trip

© Whim and Fancy

On our way back, I couldn’t help but focus on Elsie’s fate. It was enough to mourn one day away from her, but what if there were more? We couldn’t wait any longer on our trip, we had a final destination to attain. I prayed for a miracle, but alas, it wasn’t meant to happen. “She needs a whole new axle,” the technician explained, “and they don’t make her kind any more. We need to either custom build one or retrofit a modern one. It will take about 2-3 weeks.” Cue stomach drop. Enter mild to moderate breakdown. All the blood, sweat and tears I (and my more than generous family) had poured into her and now she can’t even make it to the ocean? I have to leave her, go on without one of the main reasons for the trip? There was extreme disappointment, anger, embarrassment, failure and frustration all rolled up into one emotional outbreak. I thought I triple checked every renovation, upgrade and maintenance needed for ol’ Elsie. Turns out the wheel bearings weren’t greased when the new tires went on. Thus, they were grinding and aching and moaning across three states before they finally managed to cause the demise of the entire axle. Make sure the wheel bearings are greased. Seriously, Trailer Owning 101. It’s the first thing I learned, actually. I was so disappointed.

shasta trailer, axle, wheel bearings, vintage, 1960

© Whim and Fancy

I know it’s just a trailer to some. But, for me, it was more. It was a chance to create another story and open a new door in life. More than that, my family made some significant sacrifices for her me. “I’m sorry Nay,” my brother consoled. I felt bad letting him down. We were both so excited for it. And I still knew that all the adventure lie ahead, just instead of via trailer it would be via tent. I just needed a little time to mourn and adjust expectations, you know? After drying off from the monsoon of emotion and unloading the trailer contents in the car, I reminded myself that another story will still be created and a new door would still be opened. In fact, it reminded me (once again) that I’m not in control of my story and, instead, I’m in control of only how I respond to my story as it unfolds before me. I found an odd glimpse of beauty in that uncertainty of life.

sonoma, california, petaluma, sunset, road trip

© Whim and Fancy

Driving off into the sunset sans Elsie, I caught a glimpse of the Francis Ford Coppola winery (I absolutely love Sophia Coppola, so we had to stop). Ah, what a perfect time to reflect on another day. It was a good lift of emotions, a restart that could be easily ignited with a new experience ahead. Actually, I’ve found that is the primary way for me to build up and move on after any trial in life. A new experience. Every breakup, every disappointment, every cusp between hardship and learning is jolted into new momentum with experiencing something new. A new hobby, a new club, a new sport, a new hair color, a new outfit. In this case, a simple new experience at a winery. And, of course, all the new experiences to follow helped even more tremendously.

francis ford coppola winery, california, fields, road trip

© Whim and Fancy

As night fell all around us, we finally hit the ocean. I knew it as soon as the curvy road presented us with a vast freeing break of landscape coated in midnight black. I could smell it in the air and feel it in my hands as the wind rushed by. Where would we sleep tonight? Right by this magnificent wonder. The one wonder we are missing in beautiful Colorado. The ocean wasn’t far from the campsite we ultimately chose. We pitched our tent in darkness and fell into an exhausted slumber awakening only when we were fully renewed for the remaining quest ahead.

northern california coast, road trip, adventure, travel

© Whim and Fancy

Bigfoot country. Actually, Redwood country. Both are equally intoxicating in their magnitude. Of course, the Redwoods don’t hold a candle to Bigfoot in my mind. They are magnificent. Magnificent in size looking up and over. They form a tall canopy that coolly blocks life from the sun and only occasionally lets the rays greet the greenery as if for the first time. They are stunning.

avenue of the giants, the world, blessed, travel, adventure, motivation, redwood, california

© Whim and Fancy

And quite musical. In fact, I think that’s where the tale of Bigfoot began. When you walk through the vastness of the Avenue of the Giants you are silenced in awe of their size. You feel instantly insignificant in the presence of their domineering age and stature. I kept hearing instruments. “Is there a band playing?” I ask my brother. Then, I hear a faint humanlike scream. My thoughts immediately go to Bigfoot. Oh gosh, here I go. But wait. It’s the trees! Each tree makes a unique song as it stubbornly sways in the comparatively weak wind. Some moan, some scream, some sing tenor, some bass, some soprano. It’s beautifully haunting.

redwood, avenue of the giants, travel, road trip, adventure

© Whim and Fancy

redwood country, california, road trip, adventure, travel

© Whim and Fancy

Naturally, we find a place to set up our tent right among these historic creatures. Over whiskey, poetry, and smoke, my brother and I get to know these ancients and sleep peacefully among their symphony.

Onward we trek. Wearing the scent of campfire (the signature Colorado perfume) we set forth in search of the perfect place to celebrate our country’s independence. Camping was in our mind until we stopped at the little Oregon coastal town of Florence. Stopping at their main inn in the historic downtown, we instead settle on a cheap room near the boardwalk. After a delicious and fresh seafood dinner in a cozy eatery, we sit among the townsfolk and delightfully indulge in a blazing display under the stars. Happy Birthday, America. We cheers to new friends at the local watering hole and delightfully reminisce on how great this movie is so far.

oregon coast, ocean, view, travel, adventure, road trip

© Whim and Fancy

bridge, oregon coast, travel, adventure, road trip

© Whim and Fancy

 oregon coast, travel, adventure, road trip, ocean view

© Whim and Fancy

oregon coast, ocean view, travel, adventure, road trip

© Whim and Fancy

Oh my gosh, how I love Oregon. It reminds me so much of Colorado only with the vast blue ocean at its rim. Driving up the Oregon Coast Highway, I marvel at each coastal town and break often to photograph the ocean splashing against the lush, green landscape. Music is crucial here. It carries us along the winding highway set perfectly with the crashing waves, massive trees and rolling mountainsides. Beach House’s latest album, Bloom, fits perfectly with its ethereal voice and crescendoing melodies.

We head straight for Cannon Beach, of course stopping at Tillamook and Blue Heron cheese factories along the way. My brother and I are suckers for cheese and it was a nice break. Approaching Cannon Beach, I quickly fall in love with its charm. We have no idea where to camp, but end up miraculously finding a perfect RV park right near the beach with a grassy plot to set up our tent. We grab a bottle of wine and take the short walk to the beach right as the sun begins to set behind the endless ocean. Now, being from Colorado, I’ve seen more than my share of heart-tingling sunsets, but this… this sunset may have very well topped a lifetime of them. The sand acted as a pure glass surface, reflecting bold reds, oranges, pinks and purples as the blue-crimson waves crashed over the palatte in anxious joy for another. My mind was still and couldn’t help being overwhelmed with the sound of crashing waves, graceful birds and whispering misty fog.

cannon beach, oregon, sunset, road trip, adventure, travel, beach

© Whim and Fancy

cannon beach, oregon, travel, road trip, adventure, sunset

© Whim and Fancy

cannon beach, oregon, sunset, travel, road trip, adventure

© NoStepNoStory

travel, road trip adventure, lenay snyder

© Whim and Fancy

I quietly wonder if people who live here are as jaded with this sight as I am with the beauty of my Colorado home. I’m sure they know it exists like I do at home, but I can’t help but wonder if every day their breath is a little less taken away as their human nature calls it into familiar habit.

This trip has indulged in its due purpose and awakened my senses in pure delight. It’s even worked on the beauty I see back at home. But that doesn’t mean I still don't crave the sight of unfamiliar beauty like this. It’s exhilarating and it’s all within reach. A whole world of it. I feel so incredibly blessed to live on God’s most beautiful work of art. I indeed intend to explore as much of this gift as I can possibly cover.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in the same place your whole life and never travel. I sadly am all too familiar with how our human brains closes us in a familiar box of comfort, place, and habit. But, don’t be fooled by its apparent warmth at night. Only when your senses are alive, are you truly living as you were made to.  Your soul was meant to explore, to discover, to learn, and to do it with ample feeling. Your life is meant to be lived and noticed. Unfortunately, with all the innovation in our society today, it’s easy to loose sight of this. We miss so much in multitasking and trying to be as efficient as possible to keep up with the seemingly important demands of society. We sometimes confuse this with the word life. Life is demanding, life is busy, we say. That’s not life. That’s just expectations you’ve accepted from society and the community around you. To experience life and all its treasures is to slow down and notice its beauty and its lessons unfolding in a quiet whisper before you. I have to constantly remind myself of this. And trips like this, where they heighten my senses and show me unfamiliar beauty are the perfect medicine to get back to the wellspring of life.  Your soul, alive and fed with heightened senses.

How can there possibly be more than this? Well, now we head into Portland for a weekend of beautiful lessons and inspiration from another of God’s magnificent creations – people who are alive and living in their own unique purpose.

ocean, oregon, adventure, road trip, travel

© Whim and Fancy

Look out for Part III next week!

Reflections from the Road | Part I

road trip, vintage, reflections, travel, craving, photography, west coast, escape, world domination summit, WDS, 2012

© Whim and Fancy

Editor's Note: I'm back from my little jaunt on the West coast! It was amazing and I have so much inspiration to share. From the beautiful sights to the beautiful lessons learned from our ultimate destination of the World Domination Summit, the trip was a beautiful chapter of life. My brother and I took the trip together with my newly restored Elsie, a 1960 Shasta Deluxe, exploring Northern California, the Oregon coast, Portland and everything in between.

To hopefully inspire you in your everyday adventures and dreams, I've decided to share my personal essay of the past weeks. It will be posted in Part I, Part II and Part III and feature photography from the trip as well as the story behind Elsie. I hope you enjoy it!

___________________________

1960, shasta, vintage, trailer, road trip

© Whim and Fancy

What is it about traveling on the road that brings the perfect soul detox? A fraction of the process happens the same way via plane, but something about the vast landscape of this earth zooming by at 70mph brings a wonderment of the mind and sharpening of the senses I can’t seem to recreate elsewhere. I’m already back home and the feeling is just a memory I’m craving tremendously. It will fade with time and whenever I hear a quote or see an image of travel, the ashes will spark and an ember will again light the desire for the road. I don’t feel home now. It’s home with my family and close friends, but the rest doesn’t feel like home. My possessions are not my home. The environment I’ve known for 26 years isn’t my home. It only feels like home when I feel. When my senses are heightened and sharp and not dulled by my familiar story of how I’ve passed through time.

donald miller, travel, motivation

Oregon Coast © Whim and Fancy

There’s a quote by Donald Miller in his book Through Painted Deserts that I shared with you last week, “We are shaped by our experiences. Our perception of joy, fear, pain, and beauty are sharpened or dulled by the way we rub against time. My senses have become dull and this trip is my effort to sharpen them.” I couldn’t agree more. 

When you’re on the road, you appreciate more, notice more. Your eyes are wide open, your thoughts are at high tide. It wasn’t even the things we ate or the places we stopped. It was the movement on the road. The true nourishment for the soul. We were stripped away of our creature comforts and had only what we needed and what makes us smile. In my case, I brought books to read, my camera, my music and my sketchbooks. I never read the books. I found too much of a story in my experiences across each landscape. It is only when you are in this observant, open state, that you are truly quiet enough to notice the subtle, but powerful romance of nature – God’s most beautiful expression of love.

look up, notice, road trip, reflections, adventure

© Whim and Fancy

I try to always go to new places in my home city. I try new foods, meet new people, attend the latest events, but it never seems to shed the jaded layer blocking my senses. It takes at least a full day, I think. In this case, I had been craving travel for so long that I dove right in as soon as we put it in drive. We entered through Wyoming and watched the first of many silencing sunsets along the way. The feeling of freedom ahead is thrilling. It’s almost the IV before soul surgery. It kickstarts your senses, wakes them up after months, sometimes years of hidden slumber. Oh, there you melting rays! I see you hiding behind washes of orange and pink, waiting for your red hot leader to sink into another day. Oh, how I feel I’ve never seen you before! But, alas it was my clouded senses that have been holding me back from this true sight. My brother asks, “Why don’t we set alarms every day for this magic hour?” He has a great point. Why don’t we allow a break from burying ourselves alive to re-center in front of probably God’s most romantic daily act of love? How much happier could we be if we stopped to realize the magnitude of another day faded and the cusp of new time born ahead? Our senses might actually get some due exercise.

sunset, road trip, cannon beach, oregon, free, explore

Courtesy of my brother © NoStepNoStory

My imagination flourished. I imagined new lives, alternate directions and would dive for hours around the simplest roadside beauty. I imagined life with Elsie and I and all the visions we’d see with wide open eyes. She was reluctant in her old age, but she puttered along, happier with wind in her original wings. The only break we took from the coast over asphalt was in the back of a sleepy Walmart. But, even then, imaginations continued to burn from the first day’s launch. I imagined this as a life and lived it accordingly. I played the part beautifully. I enjoyed the open breeze and the early delivery trucks. This is a part of the life, I told myself and I basked in it. Breakfast on the road was natural and energizing. We weren’t conforming to the societal crutch of the Mcmuffin, but instead delightfully indulged in the natural fuel of fresh fruit, granola and yogurt. It was a relief to know that taking a break from your life didn’t mean you had to sacrifice any of your core values that serve you well. Change where change is meant to be.

I was so happy to show Elsie off. I put blood, sweat, and tears into her (literally all three) and managed to recruit my family to endure the hardships of her transformation with me. We all wanted her to shine and be free – or was that instead what they wanted for me? I wanted everyone to notice Elsie and her polished natural beauty. Most passed by with their brand new RV’s that were three times the size of my apartment back home. But every once in a while, I would catch someone reminiscing in her sight. I loved carrying the stories she’s lived and giving her another chance to create memories. It’s most of what fuels my love for “vintage” – the stories, the history. The laughs, cries and fights. The confessions of love and honesty, the silence of nature in its awe-inspiring energy. It’s like you can still feel all of that in her 52 years later.

1960, shasta, renovation, interior, vintage

© Whim and Fancy

1960, shasta, vintage, renovation, kitchen, radio, stove, interior

© Whim and Fancy

1960, shasta, vintage, renovation, kitchen, radio, stove, interior

© Whim and Fancy

She was refreshed to give another go at life. Not unlike myself, she had been sitting in a halted state for years, underutilized and rusting in her old beauty. I rescued her in 2011 in a mad attempt to jolt myself out of a paralyzing life of other people’s misguided dreams. We both needed a makeover and a breakaway. I jolted her from her dead end grassy plot while I left my parked career path. And onward we went, testing our new found freedom for a couple of weeks. I wish it could’ve been longer. I have a good feeling that this will not be the end of the story, but rather the first chapter after a long preface.

The Salt Flats were beautifully symbolic. It is a vision of something dead, once alive, but now dried up in all it’s vastness. Though, I see more than that ending. I instead see a blank canvas, a large, pure and sandy white canvas. A canvas much bigger than you. Almost symbolic of the future ahead and you, as a tiny colorful, alive dot, making your movement and mark as you dance and skip and play. ‘Tis life, isn’t it? At least the best we could all hope for.

salt flats, road trip, adventure, reflections

© Whim and Fancy

I wonder about people’s stories. I always have, and the combination of heightened senses and moving landscapes only exaggerates it. It’s the best kind of movie to watch – one that’s your own life with senses that are alive. I love it all the more as I see a vintage airstream roll by and I wave openly as if to connect our vintage affections together for a glimpse of time. He seems to not register – probably lost in his own movie, imagining the next scene.

airstream, vintage, road trip, adventure

© Whim and Fancy

The soundtrack is my favorite part. There’s always a perfect song for the moving, breathing, changing landscape. It engages you in your present time movie just like when you watch someone else’s. You don’t always notice it’s there, but that’s when it’s the best – when you suddenly come up for air and realize how the music took you to a whole other level of new that you were already watching, with more depth and injected passion and feeling.

lake tahoe, vintage, shasta, 1960 restored, forest, road trip, travel, adventure

© Whim and Fancy

lake tahoe, travel, beauty, adventure, road trip

© Whim and Fancy

Breaking at an RV park at the cusp of Lake Tahoe, I finally got a shower. It’s amazing how easy it is to be a hippie – only caring about needs as they come to you in their own natural path. Moving from vast mountain lakes to rolling countryside adorned with vines – ah, this is beauty I’ve never seen before. Fruitful, delicious beauty. We stop at a winery in Sonoma Valley, sweetly perusing the fields in curious wonder. It is so perfect that right then the sun continues on it’s descent and we can not more easily proclaim – what a beautiful day.

sonoma, wine country, road trip, adventure, travel, shasta, trailer

Courtesy of my brother © NoStepNoStory

Then, the fall.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of Reflections on the Road.

Soul Thirsty Thursday | Two Hours

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What would you do with an extra two hours today? This infographic is an interesting take on what you could accomplish if you freed up 2 hours of your day with increasing your knowledge in your career. I see it as a perfect realization that turning off the television or Facebook and instead being present in your life can do a lot of good. A LOT.

2 hours freedom, entrepreneur, time management, pursuit of dreams

here // click image for larger version