Adventure Abroad

In June I traveled overseas, and for twenty-five days was away from the safety and boring routines of home. The countries visited were Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary (cities – Zurich, Prague, Olomouc, Bratislava, Vienna, and Budapest). I was with my traveling cousin and the Gillette Chamber Singers.

The experience was good, great, delightful, daunting, historically illuminating, and warm! Even when one has prepared and packed well, it’s not easy. ( For example: train apps-good grief!, hydration, pee breaks not always free, changing languages and currency, and lack of gluten-free food or fresh vegetables.) The good & great parts were: going to Art Basel in Switzerland, climbing the Alps, singing in best ever fabulous acoustics, an evening cruise on the Danube, drinking refreshing varieties of “lemonade” (non-alcoholic), paddling down a river on a raft and seeing the back side of houses built into the rock walls, each morning enjoying a very full breakfast with every possible choice one could desire, going to a performance of  Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (orchestra having two grand pianos!), seeing Klimt artwork up close, and going to an amazing performance of Gypsy music and dancing!

Here are some favorite images from Art Basel in Switzerland:

While traveling, one quickly notices the go- getter people in the group. Some people don’t need a plan, are comfortable asking strangers for help, and are not fazed by late hours and miles of walking. I am not one of these people.

So it started me thinking about taking risks, and realizing that I like to be safe. I want to make it home in one piece with knees still functioning, so I walk slowly on those cobbled stone streets. I don’t want to have a coughing fit in one of those musty churches while singing, so I have a special tiny pocket in my music that holds a naked cough drop, just in case I get a killer tickle while singing. I will only take a tram to the Gustav Klimt art collection, if Tammi is also going!

I don’t feel that I am overly careful in other areas of my life, but sometimes it is not an easy thing to evaluate about oneself. I am comfortable being outside the box when creating contemporary art quilts, and also with my gardening and cooking. In these creative endeavors I remain safe, while at the same time not having a firm plan, going with the flow, and listening to the ingredients. I trust the creative process will be fun and also have nice results. (On occasion the process is exhilarating and the results amazing!)

While on this June adventure, I took many reference photos. Several times someone in our group would ask if they could take a photo of my cousin and me standing in front of something deemed worthy of tourist notice. My response was ” I don’t pose”. Even cousin Janet would explain that “Joan doesn’t pose. You can take a picture of her when she is candid.” So the irony is not lost on me, that while on this trip, I took lots and lots of photos of people taking photos of people posing! The focal point of my photos was the photographer, (and sometimes their shadow as well.) I think that it is rather ridiculous how many tourists there are, and how many are posing all day. I will be creating artwork about the flood of tourists, and this modern-day compulsion. I only feel a tiny bit guilty that in order to acquire the photos of photographers, I had to embrace being stalker and opportunist.

Excellent Green Salad: Combine fresh greens (including fresh dill), sliced strawberries, chunks of avacado, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a little salt. Serve into bowls and top with toasted sunflower seeds.

2 Responses to Adventure Abroad


I always enjoy your posts. Thank you for enlightening us with your thoughts, images and travels.


Joan…thank you for sharing your amazing experience. I can’t wait to see your new work…particularly the red umbrella.


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