I’m about to hit the road again for one of the most ambitious trips I have ever taken. Between April 1st and August 31st, I will hit at least 25 States, 2 foreign countries, and a completely different hemisphere. I will camp, sleep on couches, in friends’ guest rooms/home offices, Air BnB’s, hotels, and occasionally my own car. I’ll eat Po’ Boys in Nola, Annie’s mac n’ cheese in stranger’s kitchens, avocados cut open with hotel keys by the side of the road, and I couldn’t be more stoked!
Road tripping is nothing new to me. I was practically born in the back of a Toyota minivan, piled in with dogs, siblings, and young parents for weeks at a time while we drove across the country to see family in all corners of the United States. My mother taught me how to read a road atlas and the value of a good car playlist when I still had baby teeth. By the time I graduated high school, I didn’t have a driver's license, but I knew how to navigate and convinced three of my friends to hit the road for a month, seeing 27 states for less than $800 and eating a lot of beans and rice. When I became a teacher, I spent my summers driving across Canada with my dog, Stella!. There are very few U.S. Interstates I haven’t driven at least part of, and I’ve made it to all 50 States, most of which by car.
It’s just me, this time. Stella! is gone, and while her passing still blindsides me with grief, on occasion, not traveling with a dog will allow me to spend more time in cities as well as more time recording what I see in the pages of my sketchbook. And, unlike previous trips that were the pause between semesters when I could relax and be on vacation, this trip will be my job. In the coming weeks I will paint plein air with the intention of selling my work in order to fund the next few hundred miles. I’ll document my experience through videos, sketches, and posts like this. I’m hoping to be as authentic as possible, though social media is an obvious distortion, and I’m not accustomed to drawing attention to myself. I have no aspirations or illusions about being an “influencer” paid to live the van life. My photos will be untouched and there will be good days and bad days. I’ll share them both.
But what makes being a traveling artist so fascinating in 2023 is the access my audience will have to me wherever I am in the world. Likewise, my clients will still be able to work with me. Between Washington DC and New Orleans in two weeks, I will complete a commission from an agency in Los Angeles, for a mural in a grocery store in Kansas City. As long as there is WiFi, there is a way! I have every intention of continuing my illustration career; I’ll just have an itinerant one.
More posts will come about the privilege behind this experience and the anxiety that goes with asking people to assign value to it. But my best work has always come on the heels of travel, and I am excited about this new direction. I hope you are too.
If you are interested in supporting my career, there are a few ways you can do so:
First, follow my journey here and through Instagram. You can sign up for my Newsletter to see it all. I promise not to spam you 🙂.
Second, buy my work! I’m offering 8 x 10 in prints of anything on this site for $45. This includes shipping to anywhere in the U.S. I will also sell the originals that I do on site. These I will post to Instagram and Facebook, so let me know if you see something you like and I will drop it in the mail. HMU at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, maybe you just like me but not my art (no shade…to each their own), then you can buy me a coffee. Save me from the hotel key avocado, and send me $5 for a breakfast sandwich.
Thank you for your love, support, and patronage. I promise to make it good!