Saturday, October 31, 2009

Traveling as an Inward Journey

I love to travel and was always drawn to experiences new things. As a child, I had a map of the United States on the wall at the foot of my bed. I would study it and memorize the capitals and states. I wanted to visit all the states and was so happy when I could count up more than the two states PA and NJ as states I had visited.

I like to travel far away, to exotic places. Despite the inconvenience of long flights, or the fear of being so far from home, I am always ready to go some place new. The jet lag and hassle of arrangements are worth it. Once I leave my comfort zone and start the journey, I am ready to face the unknown- another culture, another place. I will learn from the travel challenges about the places I am visiting and about myself as well.

Someone once asked me why I travel. What's the point? This person never goes anywhere new. He stays home. In the Torah, God tells Abraham to "Go Forth." Rashi, the medieval Torah commentator, points out that these words literally mean "go to you." He understands this to mean that God is telling Abraham to go forward for his own good, to delve into himself. Go on a physical journey and find your true self- who you should be- in an inner journey at the same time.

Maybe being away from my familiar surroundings and culture frees me to learn more about myself than I normally would. I will be doing things I would normally not do- like riding in a helicopter, or going on a glacier, or climbing a mountain. I will be negotiating travel experiences and challenges. I will be meeting new people and seeing new things. I can see things differently and understand who I am more clearly. I am renewed. I discover this self-knowledge in an unfamiliar setting, coming home changed by my experiences.

I would like to thank Rabbi Danielle Stillman, Hillel advisor at Ursinus College for her insights into Lech Lecha from the Torah Portion in the Jewish Exponent, 10/29/09.

From top: Yellow Sky, mixed media and Yellow and Blue, mixed media, use vibrant hues and earthy textures, incorporating the mystery of memory and the magic of place. They express my reaction to travel and show how the journey from physical places to places in my being have been changed forever.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Favorite Ocean Vacations

Some of my favorite vacations included ocean stays. A trip along the South Ocean Road in Australia which included a stay on Kangaroo Island was one of my all time favorites. Arranged by Esther Beckman at Altour International, I would recommend it highly (914-993 -4085).

Another favorite was Cairns in the tropical north of Australia, which seemed an oxymoron to me. But it was a fabulous area. We stayed there a week and had a wonderful time exploring the area. The Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rain Forest, where the Rainforest meets the reef, snorkeling, boating, crocidiles, mangrove trees, lots of exctement. @whitsunday on twitter.

Another favorite was Prince Edward Island which is a great surpsie. Although it is far north, the Gulf Stream makes the water warm and comfortable for swimming. The red earth and farmland right up to soft sand beaches made it a nice contrast. We stayed on the north shore. (

St Martins on the French side was very relaxing and wonderful for a week. We stayed at L'Esplanade which I found online. Lovely rooms with kitchenettes and easy access to wonderful restaurants if you wanted. We rented a car and drove to different beaches every morning and afternoon, until we found two we really liked and then went to those more often. The Atlantic side had waves. (

Moorea was also an amazing ocean vacation. In a small bungalow only yards from the South Pacific (pinch me), we watched the palm trees sway in the breezes. Problem was the reef was so thick, you could not swim or walk in the water there. We did snorkel and swim in other parts of the ocean, however. The resort we stayed at had many activites everyday. It was paradise in so many ways. Contact Esther Beckman for travel plans.

A special ocean vacation is Long Beach Island, a favorite spot for over 25 years. Right on the New Jersey shore, it is hard to beat!! Beautiful sandy beaches, great waves for body surfing, not too far from home, only blocks between ocean and bay, Old Barney lighthouse, Fantasy Island amusement park!! Heaven on earth vacation spot. Plus LBI Foundation for the Arts and Sciences. (

The pictures from the top are: Easter Island in the South Pacific Ocean, Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island in the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Horn in the South Pacific/Atlantic oceans, Turks and Caicos Island in the Caribbean, and Ocean City in the Atlantic Ocean

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ocean Views

Even though I prefer land to water, I must admit there is something relaxing about looking out at the ocean or a body of water. It is soothing, calming, mesmerizing... meditative. The colors of the blue waters vary so much. The blues are turquoise, aqua, green, clear, crystal-like, gray. These mixed media images reflect my remembrances of ocean views at various times.

From the top they are: Ocean Wave, Ocean View, Turquoise Sea and Aqua Sky.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Appreciating the Ocean

Although I am not a beach person, I do love to look at the ocean. I do not like being in the ocean- the sand and shells on the bottom, the waves knocking me down, especially since I am not a swimmer, the size brings up my fear of drowning. But I appreciate the eternal nature of it- the constancy of the waves, the vastness of the water, the predictability of the tides. It is a force of nature to be reckoned with- greater than man. It helps put humans in a place in the universe other than in charge. I am in awe of its beauty.

The series I did based on the oceans and seas I have had the pleasure to see: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Coral and Tasman Seas.

Here are two mixed media examples from the series. From the top: Turquoise Waves and Turquoise Water.