for the (artful) traveler


As I work on my visual memoir, I’m thinking a lot about travel as a creative practice and creative practice as a way of journeying with more ease and joy…and presence.

These are some images from my current sketchbook.

I get into image making to help me write. Help me think.

When I’m deep in writing, I read a lot of poetry, and a lot of other people’s memoirs.

These bits of John O’Donohue’s poem, For the Traveler, are weaving their way into my pages…


Here’s the whole poem (try to image in it recited in Irish brogue)

Every time you leave home,

Another road takes you

Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.

New places that have never seen you

Will startle a little at your entry.

Old places that know you well

Will pretend nothing

Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself

Alone in a different way,

More attentive now

To the self you bring along,

Your more subtle eye watching

You abroad; and how what meets you

Touches that part of the heart

That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune

To the timbre in some voice,

Opening in conversation

You want to take in

To where your longing

Has pressed hard enough

Inward, on some unsaid dark,

To create a crystal of insight

You could not have known

You needed

To illuminate

Your way.

When you travel,

A new silence

Goes with you,

And if you listen,

You will hear

What your heart would

Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:

Make sure, before you go,

To take the time

To bless your going forth,

To free your heart of ballast

So that the compass of your soul

Might direct you toward

The territories of spirit

Where you will discover

More of your hidden life,

And the urgencies

That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,

Gathered wisely into your inner ground;

That you may not waste the invitations

Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,

And live your time away to its fullest;

Return home more enriched, and free

To balance the gift of days which call you.

~ John O’Donohue


Tell me something wonderFULL…

Imagine you could learn something useful for documenting your own journey…

What would that be?

The theme is: pilgrimage…travel notebooks…visual journals…travel photography…writing and documenting your journey… creative adventures… what do you want guidance or inspiration on most? 

Got any favorite traveler poems and quotes? 

Ask me in the comments. I’d really appreciate your input. Thanks!

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