Beartooth Mountains —

today is the oldest you've ever been, & the youngest you'll ever be again.

Today a friend & I when up into the mountains, & did some kayaking at West Rosebud Lake. The lake is located at the base of the Beartooth Rocky Mountains. We did a little hiking too, climbed up some gigantic boulders & ate lunch. The mountains are so majestic & snowcapped year round - I'm always struck with awe at the sight of them - & even more awestruck with the One who created them. To put it simply, when I see mountains, I think of God. He's so awesome, He *created* the mountains. He owns the skies - & still He wants my heart… It was a really beautiful day, the water was FREEZING cold, (guessing around 40 degrees) but the sun was nice & hot. Perfect Friday.

"You are worthy, our Lord & God, to receive glory & honor & power, for you created all things, & by your will they were created & have their being.” Revelation 4:11


Sketches —

Here are some sketches from my Europe trip! All were done with ink pen, India ink, some pencil, & watercolors. I'm hoping to actually spend more time working on these pictures -  painting them bigger on canvas with oils. These are just fun studies. :)

"Azores Country Cottage" 9x11 watercolor/ink sketch.

"Cable Car Tracks, Lisboa, Portugal" 9x12
"Busy Intersection, Madrid, Spain" 9x9
"The Crooked Alley, Tangier, Morocco" 6x8


My trip to Spain, Morocco, Azores, Portugal, & Gibraltar

 TRAV•EL |ˈtravəl|
no obj. ] make a journey, typically of some length or abroad:

"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given to us. We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, & adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes wide open." 

So. I recently returned from a rather impulsive trip. My trip lasted for 24 days. I traveled by cruise ship, ferry boat, bus, jet plane, gondola, car, and foot. I visited the Azores, Portugal, Gibraltar, Spain and Morocco. It was such an opportunity, I'm so thankful I was able to go….  Still can't believe I went!

The great gorge in Ronda, Spain.

I was blown away by all the history, the architecture, the people, the different lifestyles & customs. I'm still thinking about the amazing sights I've seen & all the neat people I've met. I'm thinking about these people going about their daily lives, an entire world away from where I live; so similar to me, & yet so very different.
"In your life you meet people. Some you never think about again. Some, you wonder what happened to them. There are some of you that wonder if they ever think about you. And there are some that you wish you never had to think about again…  
But    you   do." - C.S. Lewis 
Children playing in the warm Mediterranean Sea. Nerja, Spain.

That's the only thing that really bums me out about traveling. It's thinking about all of the amazing people that touched my world briefly that I'll probably never see or have anything to do with ever again. That, & the fact that I've just barely seen a tiny corner of the world - there is still SO MUCH that I haven't seen…yet. I've always had wanderlust but I've really got the wanderlust bug now. I don't think its ever going to be satisfied. ;) 
A door within a door & arches for good luck. Tangier, Morocco.
I'm thinking about the richness of life, & the thrill we get when venturing into the unknown - the anticipation, the uncertainty. It was exciting, I really loved it. I was drifting alone in a sea of people. I was unable to comprehend the languages that were spoken around me, I was unable to read & understand the billboard road signs. It was a humbling, funny & interesting experience. When passing locals on the streets, we would look at each other & wonder about each other but didn't ask or talk. Maybe a brief nod of acknowledgment was exchanged, along with a greeting of "buenos días or buenas trades, or buenas noches" just depending on the time of day. I know a random handful of rather unhelpful Spanish nouns, & I know how to say I don't speak Spanish or understand. (Something I had to say about anytime anyone tried to talk to me. Ha!) I can ask for a bathroom or a doctor, I san say yes, no thank you, etc. But I really didn't interact with too many Spanish people outside of hotel workers. 
Frigiliana, Spain. A charming seaside town built on a hill.

Spain has an unemployment rate of 28%. Portugal is 15%. Morocco is about 11%. All the cities I went to, however beautiful & ornate, had a slightly impoverished & dirty feeling about them. Even the rich people didn't have as much as you would expect, the poor folk has much less then you would imagine, but made the most out of what they had. Gas prices in Spain were around 1.44€ a liter or $7.25 a gallon. (Can you, if you are an American, imagine paying that much for gas? Makes the current $3-$4 gas price seem good.) So with gas in Europe being that expensive, everything else was equally expensive. I took around $300 cash for spending, I converted about $200 dollars to Euros & got about $140 Euros back. (The american dollar is worn less, so I "lost" money converting it.)

Oh, I did I tell you about the airport in Madrid? It was so nice - so quite! There were no annoying tvs to loud overhead speakers. It was a "silent" airport. I enjoy flying, & this was one of the nicest airports I'd really been to. So relaxing. (But I did get heckled twice by security. They gave me the "patdown" and searched my carry-on.) I don't think they liked my camera. Ha. 

"Backyard" of the Spanish Royal Palace. Madrid, Spain 
AND European restaurant service was so laid back & relaxed compared to American restaurant service.  It was pretty interesting. You didn't have the waiter coming by to check on you every three minutes - in fact, if you wanted anything, you practically had to wave your waiter down. & you aren't supposed to tip the waiters/waitresses over there. Apparently they actually get paid. 

Street of stairs, in Tangier, Morocco. 

And another thing I wasn't expecting was that *everyone* in Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar smoked. It's apparently a European thing. They all smoked & looked fabulous doing it. Everyone there dresses nicer. Smart street style. I don't know how they can afford all those cigarettes. (Everything was so expensive!) But it was pretty nasty. I cannot stand cigarettes or 2nd hand smoke. 

Fishermen off the coast of Morocco. 

Some people were friendly, others were not. Some were happy, others had a hollowed look in their eyes, as they scanned faces in the crowds, not seeing anything. I saw rich & poor people, gypsies,  businessmen, professional beggars, homeless folk - all intermixed with each other & perfectly happy to ignore each other. Just like anywhere, I suppose. They were all going about their daily lives, living their own life… We're all such curious beings. 
Cadiz, Spain - a beautiful city. The weather was really warm & dry.

 Traveling makes me think of when I was younger, I would spend hours & hours walking in corn fields & the woods -  exploring & searching for arrowheads. (I was a strange child, I grant you.) Whenever I did find an arrowhead, I always wondered about the Indian who once held the arrow. What was his name? What was he doing? How old was he? Where was he from? What did this land look like 400 years ago? Has anyone stood where I'm standing? Was someone here a month ago, an hour ago, a year ago, or never? I wondered the same things about the people & places I saw while traveling…  I suppose I'm so awestruck because I've never been anywhere so historic & far from home. I've traveled to 30 states, (20 more to go!) & until a few weeks ago, had never been outside the US. As an artist, I'm always curious about & constantly amazed by people's perspectives & lifestyles. 

Edge of the city & high country. São Miguel, Azores.

 São Miguel town square. Azores.

Lisboa, Portugal. 

The Puente Nuevo bridge, Ronda Spain. 

I'm thinking about the peculiar way people see things so differently from one another. I'm always wondering if someone has seen what I see. When you look at a person - any person, remember that everyone has a unique story. Everyone has gone though something that has changed them, & made them who they are today. I don't think any two people ever see the quite the same thing. It's interesting & complex. So much happens that we'll never know about or see! But the real things haven't changed. 

It is still best to be honest & truthful; to make the most of what you have been given; to be happy with simple pleasures & to have courage when things go wrong, to stand strong for what you believe in. People are people no matter where they live or what they do. 

The narrow alleyways of Tangier. 
I'm feeling truly blessed to have an awesome Lord & Savior, to belong to my rad family, to have so many wonderful friends, & to live in Big Sky Country! It's truly a wonderful thing to be alive. The world is a big place. Explore it. Look through key holes. Meet the moment. Live adventurously. 

"Travel is about the gorgeous 
feeling of teetering on the unknown.


So right now, stop whatever you are doing, (but you can finish reading this!) - Get up off your lazy bum & go outside, stand there in silence. Take in your surroundings. Look at the people. Look at the landscape or buildings. Look at the rocks, streets, look at the flowers. Look up at the sky & contemplate how awesome & meaningful life is. When we really stop to look, this life is pretty amazing.

"I want to travel across the world 
& breath the air of new places."

Coast of Africa. 

On the ship I met one of the few Americans, an old man named Sid, who hailed from NY. He was 87 years old. After the trip was over I gave him a hug, & he looked at me & said, "Time is now. Enjoy life." It kinda sad, because I doubt I'll ever see him again. We met, shared stories over good food & wine, left a few small footprint on each other's lives, then moved on.
Standing ON the Rock of Gibraltar! Took a gondola up to the top. 
Bird's eye view of Atlantic while standing atop the Rock of Gibraltar. 

Now I say the same to you. Time is now. Forget your age & enjoy your life. It doesn't matter if your 18, 37, 59 or 100! I'm 22. I don't know who you are, or if there's even anyone here reading this. But I want you to go out & enjoy the life you've been given. Be enthusiastic. Be Thankful. There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. Never apologize for your enthusiasm - never. Live with purpose. Grow. Laugh. Party. Communicate. Travel. Think. Care. Love. Keep the wonder.
Soli Deo Gloria!


Inky Sketch —

This is a pen & ink sketch I did of a street in Madrid, Spain! It was so busy, there were people shoulder to shoulder on the streets… This was an interesting Y shaped intersection. I wish I could make the photo bigger, but if I did, it expands beyond side walls of the blog.

Working in monochrome tones had always been one of my favorites. I love charcoal & pencil!