When people first learn about my work, they often ask me about my travels. I feel fortunate with the opportunities I’ve had to travel all around the world and still marvel at the unexpected doors my art opens and what opportunities it creates. Once a week now, I’m going to try and post a “field note” to share my stories and experiences. To begin, there are the sheer logistics of traveling of keeping in good humor and form. When I spent a year traveling solo around the world with a Thomas J. Watson fellowship in 2004-2005, I developed some basic rules for travel while in Tibet:
1) Never pass up a chance to sit down, go to the bathroom, or fill up a water bottle.
2) Never make decisions while feeling stressed, scared, or tired. Instead, rest, eat, relax (breathe!), and then face the challenge. (See my journal page below)
3) Go with the flow: The generosity and hospitality of people is more often than not genuine. The unexpected and unplanned can often be the most rewarding.
4) Be generous. It will be reciprocated. I try to share my art as much as possible. It opens doors to friendships and new experiences… in Tibet the nun who bought me dinner after I sketched her portrait and the nomads who fed me tsampa with chura (ground barley mixed with butter tea and yak cheese) as I sketched their tent.
5) Patience! It takes a while to get to remote regions. And once I get somewhere, if I like it- stay! If not- go away!