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Travel

This past weekend I was a guest camp counselor at Camp BC, a grown-ups-only camp experience at Basecamp Tahoe City, teaching a group about travel writing and journaling—with a focus on how to document a trip while you’re on one.

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Our small group met while a light snow dusted the ground outside, chatting about tricks of the trade writing for all platforms, from magazines and books to blogs and Instagram. I live-reported the event on AdventureSmith’s Instagram account. A few highlights:

 

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ruth-pete-roadSome of my good friends recently got married in Baja and post-wedding spontaneously hopped a ride north from Pescadero with another friend. I love the impulsiveness of these adventurers, so I took a portrait I drew of them from the beach volleyball court and Photoshopped it on some of their road-trip photos. These are the results:

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I recently traveled to Peru for a work trip with AdventureSmith Explorations and only had time for two small sketches. For photos from the journey, view my Instagram feeds: the personal/llama-filled @lis_k and the professional @adventure_smith, which features a fuller look at my wanderings in the Lares and Salkantay regions, Sacred Valley, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Huayna Picchu is sketched above while I waited in line for the gates to open; below is a view of Humantay Glacier, an acclimatization hike I took on the Salkantay trek. My full expert review is also now published on this trip – read my trip report.

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Here’s another look at some of the sketches in my journal from traveling in New Zealand. (view my Australia sketches here)

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Bye for now Australia! Think I’ll definitely need to return to explore more…