I am musing about travel, and why it seems so important to me now, why I dream it and love it.
My childhood was spent in a small apartment in University City, on the edge of St. Louis. As a family we traveled only once during my first 18 years or so, to a farm in the Ozarks of southeast Missouri. It was called "Mae and Belle's Farm." I was told that I begged to return. Here is a photo of me at the farm. Clearly I liked being there. I can still recall the feeling of being around so many trees.
I wanted to see the rest of the world. "Digging to China" with a small shovel got me nowhere, but I was able to travel vicariously via my stamp collection. I no longer have those gorgeous stamps but I do have a vivid memory of a stamp of a giraffe in Mozambique, and one of a Camaroon woman carrying a jug on her head.
My Aunt Mildred told us she had traveled solo "around the world," which I and my sister did not believe. I treasured my castanets from Jamaica, but assumed that’s what she meant by around the world - to Jamaica. Only in the last decade or so did I find an old photo of her on a camel in Egypt!
Years ago I asked myself what my big dream was, as a person, and as an artist. Every time only one answer came up. The answer was not fame and fortune. It was not getting my work into a hotshot gallery or the Hirshhorn Museum. The answer was travel. I hardly knew what it meant, but there it was, over and over. Finally, well over a decade ago, my husband and I began to “travel.” Already in love with New York City, we crossed bodies of water to see new lands and new cultures. We went to Prague, to Costa Rica twice, to Paris, to Vieques three times….. and in the last 2-3 years to Alaska and Hawaii. There is a part of me that is ravenous - the little girl part that got as far as the farm in the Ozarks and still wants the whole world - and the grown up woman artist who is is GETTING the world and is feeling nourished and inspired by every little bit.