Trying to sum up travel is futile, really. Of course, I took a billion photos of this trip to the UK, but for this post I thought I’d just leave this little video here! I’m back to bopping around the Midwest (until further notice) and glad to be able to allow everything I’ve experienced to drift a bit, and settle.
When I first arrived in the UK, I spent a weekend catching up with friends from grad school in Edinburgh, and then hit the road for a solo drive to the Isle of Skye and the Western Highlands for a few days, which was cathartic and rejuvenating. After returning to Edinburgh for a few more days, I took one day trip to London to check out some art shows about to close, and after a couple more relaxing and brilliantly sunny Scottish days, I went to London again for half a week to make a bunch of studio visits. Then touring around Wales for a long weekend with some friends, and back to Edinburgh for a couple more days (sensing a theme here!)… Finally, London for a little over a week, interspersed with a weekend in Leeds and an afternoon in Suffolk. It went so fast, it’s still difficult to wrap my head around it all!
At times relaxing and paced, and other times frenzied and exhilarating, how does one really encompass or share a series of events, experiences, and emotions that are so personal? Of course, though essentially personal, but it’s best spent with others. And while I occasionally value/need some time on my own to let things settle or decompress (I’m INFJ after all!), the unexpected and most striking moments that stick with me long afterward are always because of others I’ve met up with along the way. And as much as I love wandering the streets of cities I’ve never visited, scoping out architectural gems and finding cool spots or shops, the real core of a journey is in the people, and in finding a way to narrow the scope a bit, to make sure that experiences are genuine and not a lifeless itinerary checklist to tick. In my case, that’s finding common ground in something: art. (Big surprise there, I know–huge!)
Whether meeting for the first time or catching up with good friends — and everything in between — the most rewarding, encouraging, and inspiring bits of travel are often the most understated. It’s in the short stroll to the cafe across the street for lunch, discovering hidden gardens, grabbing beers on the sun-scorched rooftop bar, a tour around a disused air force base in a vintage Citroen, or the spontaneous meeting that turns into a 4-hour nerd-out conversation about painting. These are the things that stick. I’m so grateful for the seemingly endless well of opportunities to meet up with so many amazing people along the way — and to those I missed this time around, a return visit is not too far away at all.
Massive thanks to Scott McCracken, Florence Sweeney, Anna Jung Seo, Thom Trojanowski, Stevie Dix, Kris Day, David Surman, Tim Garwood, Clare Price, Sanne Maloe Slecht, Tom Wilmott, Jack Towndrow, Suzy Babington, David Auborn, the artists I met at Turps and all of the degree shows (and soooo many more!) for making this one of the most motivating experiences ever. The visits to your studios and spaces, or just to grab lunch, and through amazing conversations, are shaping what’s to come.