One of my besties, Ruth, has opened Lawton Trading Post in Outer Sunset, on 43rd and Lawton next door to Andytown Coffee. I’ve spent a few hours cleaning, merchandising, cash registering and stamping bags to help her out & her shop is now a retail location for my hand-carved and printed postcards. Stop by, say hi to Ruth, buy an amazing sandwich (tri-tip on Tuesdays!) and a postcard. General goods, with beer, wine, booze in a custom-built liquor library with a sliding ladder… plus prepared food touched by the culinary goddess hand of Ruth!
I handmade block-printed postcards for Beaverstock again this year, and Castoro Cellars supplemented them with some printed photo ones. In all, festival-goers sent out 224 postcards! Viva snail mail!
I’m back at my former employer AdventureSmith Explorations for a three-month stint, subbing in for their Content Manager while she’s on maternity leave. From social media posts (like the one above) to building new trip web pages to updating rates for the coming travel season, I’ve been busy! It’s been fun to hop back in with my old team, and I’ve gotten to taste some of the good life living and working in Tahoe again. One of my coworkers is a hobby mixologist and his amazing craft cocktails inspired a new series on the AdventureSmith blog that I launched: Sunset Sippers, a craft cocktail paired with one of our small ship cruises. Chris essentially makes one of his drinks, and we brainstorm our ideal small ship deck and destination to sip it on!
Trip building is one of my biggest tasks as the company grows and provides custom travel services for more and more small ship cruises around the world. One of the most recent trips and ships I built, Preservation Inlet Discovery, travels in New Zealand’s Fiordland region.
Here is a picture of most of the team on a small ship cruise aboard the Tahoe Gal in our hometown. While we don’t sell trips on Lake Tahoe (no overnight accommodation allowed here), we can still benefit from some on-water experience of course!
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Franz Josef Glacier: I drew this on the hike out, sitting on a rock, looking back at the glacier. It was a very peaceful moment for me, and super satisfying to be traveling alone, able to hike as fast as I wanted, and stop for as long as I wanted to sketch in the sun.
French Ridge Hut: drew this at twilight sitting outside on the kea perch between the outhouse and the hut. Colored it inside as it got too cold! We were looking at the map in the hut’s kitchen as I colored and at first thought a bit of Mount Avalanche was East Peak. The hut sits at 4,856 feet above sea level, which was an all-fours advanced tramp up 3,508 feet of elevation in just 4.5 miles from the Aspiring Hut in the Matukituki Valley floor, just outside of Wanaka near Rob Roy Glacier. This is one of the most rugged and magical places I’ve ever been.
Gebbies Valley: I drew this sitting in the front paddock of the farm I WWOOFed at on the Banks Peninsula just outside of Christchurch. I don’t love how the recently sown paddock came out; kinda wish I’d left the field white. In person, it was super cool looking with lines of new green sprouts. But this sketch does give a good sense of the happiness and home this land meant to me.
A peek at a few pages from my journal from Australia. I got really into sketching locations during my travels. I used a blank-paged Moleskine notebook, whatever pen I had on me, and my MINISTAFF colored pencil set—I highly recommend this for travel art!
I’m back in New Zealand after 10 days touring the southeast of Australia with a friend from the Bay Area, and WOW. What an adventure! We arrived in Melbourne and set off west right away in a camper van rental on the Great Ocean Road. We then retraced our steps and headed back along the coast east and then north up to Sydney. Here’s a peek at some of the highlights by region:
GREAT OCEAN ROAD: From Melbourne, we drove this coastal route as far west as the famed Twelve Apostles limestone stacks, then turned around and did the route again with different stops. I loved the shrubby, cliffy coastline around Torquay, Jan Juc and Bells Beach and watching surfers there; seeing koalas in the wild in the eucalyptus trees around the Kennett River Holiday Park; meeting a cute little girl who showed us how to pick up the birds at Kennett River (I think they were green rosella parrots); spotting our first kangaroos and wallabies on the dirt road behind Kennett River; and walking the beachfront by the Twelve Apostles towering in the surf just feet in front of us. This stretch of road also gave me my first real taste of driving Bela the van’s manual transmission. I’d only ever driven a few manual cars on very short distances before, and doing so here—and on the opposite side of the road—was a challenge but one I’m so happy to have conquered!
WILSONS PROMONTORY: Southeast of Sydney, this amazing national park is the southernmost point of mainland Australia. Here we hiked Mount Oberon for stunning views of the coastline and dozens of islands; journeyed to watch the sunset on the rocks at Squeaky Beach; trail ran out to Tongue Point; and were awoken by wombats rocking our van as they scratched themselves on our mudflaps throughout the night. I loved their sneaky ways of pretending they were just eating grass when we’d open the door to catch them in the act.
EAST COAST: Up the east coast of Australia we popped into numerous beach towns and parks. Favorites on this stretch were hearing kookaburras laugh and seeing tons of washed up coral and sponges at our Cape Conran camp; relaxing on the colorful slickrock coast at the Pinnacles; seeing a joey in its mother’s pouch at our camp in Tathra; venturing out to eat lunch on the tiny and steep Burrewarra Point at Guerilla Bay; eating boxes upon boxes of McVities Digestives; and relaxing on the bright white-sand Murrays Beach in Booderee National Park and getting hassled by a resident blind wallaby there.
SYDNEY: We dropped off the Bela the van south of Sydney and trained over to Bondi Beach, where we were able to stay with a mutual friend with an AirBnB. I loved Bondi’s coastal track; seeing swimmers in the ocean-fed swimming pool at Icebreakers there; the ease of the city’s train system; ferrying into the city from Rose Bay so that our first glimpses of the city center were from the water; and catching up with a friend in Terrigal and relaxing/exploring the coastline up there—saw tons of windsurfers and kite surfers one windy day!
Bye for now Australia! Think I’ll definitely need to return to explore more…
It’s been a fun dance the past few weeks juggling some serious travel (I’ve been as far north on the South Island as Totaranui and as far south as Te Anau) with my freelance editorial work. I accidentally hiked 24 miles in a day on the Kepler Track out of Te Anau in the midst of a proofreading deadline for GoldieBlox’s toy sets (parts from the GoldieBlox and the Builder’s Survival Kit pictured above)—and still hit my deadline! The trail was just so fun I kept going up and up, but eventually had to hike down all those miles. I’ve uploaded files from a sheep station, resized images at backpacker hostel kitchen tables, and pulled quite a few 6am wake-up calls to squeeze it all in. But I’m loving the flexibility of my work and how it is allowing me to visit such a special place like New Zealand. And one fun ironic thing is that I’m currently working on building up AdventureSmith’s New Zealand small ship cruise offerings, so I have been able to visit the places I’m writing about: Fjordland, Waiheke and Bay of Islands region, and today I head to Queen Charlotte Sound, where another of the company’s cruises sails.