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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Interview on She Explores

I was delighted when I was asked to be a part of the "Women on the Road" series from She Explores. I love that Gale has dedicated a portion of her website to celebrate women on the road.  She also writes about her adventures from her Sprinter Van.  Want to get inspired?  Read the interviews on her site and if you'd like to read mine, click HERE 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Newsletter Sign-Up

I would love to send you updates, events, news, and travel stories to you via email!  I won't bombard you with email, but just some updates every now and then with things you might be interested in.  You can always unsubscribe if you decide later that you don't want to receive updates.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Vanscapes

As some of you know, I took a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand in April for three weeks without Max to wander around solo in a van.  After a 13 hour flight, I took my two very full bags on public transportation when I arrived and after I was dropped off, I walked to the van rental company.  What seemed like forever, we went over the rules and regulations of the van until it was time to take the keys and start my journey.  

I drove out of the lot with hesitation since I am not familiar with driving on the left side of the road.  In fact, I missed my exit because I was afraid of making a right turn.  Eventually I followed another car and made it on the freeway going north.  I pulled off the highway before a toll freeway to a gas station to practice pumping gas (as if I have never done that before) and to pay the toll on the kiosk.  After I pumped gas, I moved the van around to the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.  I went in to grab a sandwich and when I came back to the van, all of my bags and everything I brought with me was stolen.  Just like that.  Everything.  Camera, clothes, etc was gone.  All I had left was my wallet and iPhone and luckily I grabbed my passport from my backpack and put in my purse as a last minute, "maybe I should take this with me" thought. 

I waited for police, filled a report, spent night at police station so they could fingerprint the van in the morning and then the next day... I was finally on my way, for real this time.  

I really wasn't that upset.  It was just "stuff."  The thing I was most upset about was my hand written travel journal.  I am pretty particular about clothes and can wear out an article of clothing if I like it.  Of course I packed all of my favorites and swimsuits. Ladies, you know what I mean when I say a good swimsuit is hard to find.  I bet the one you consider your favorite is a few years old because it fits just right.

I digress... Since I had my iPhone on me, I took all of my travel photos with it like I do when I travel the states and post on my Instagram account ( @alisontravels ).  It wasn't a big deal to me to use it since it's the camera I use the most these days. 

The first day on the road, I found a spot out in the country with fields of sheep (the photo shown above).  I got out of the van to take their photograph but they all scattered and ran away once one of them saw me and got spooked.  So I went back to the van and sat in it for a while to see if they would come back.  I leaned back (hiding from the sheep in the van) and took a photo from the inside and couldn't believe how beautiful it looked.  I was actually in the place where I've seen so many beautiful landscapes.  I've arrived.

From that photo, I continued on and used the passenger door window as a photo frame to all of the beautiful surroundings I came across.  My new visual travel journal would be images taken from the drivers seat of the van so I could remember what it was like and hoped that by doing so, it would give my friends and followers a sense of being there with me, along for the ride.

I also did this with the sliding door and displayed my toes to give it a human element.  

Aline Smithson wrote a nice article for her blog, Lenscratch that you can read HERE and David Carol wrote a nice piece about the sliding door views on PDN's Emerging Photographer that you can read HERE. Thank you both for sharing this series!

I hope you feel as if you took a little tour of the country with these images.  It's a beautiful country with wonderful people.  I will never forget it.



Monday, May 5, 2014

National Geographic

It's still hard for me to believe that my image and National Geographic are next to each other in this screenshot photo.  Last December, I went to my first portfolio review in New Orleans, LA.  I was nervous about showing my personal series to top names in the gallery, museum and art world. What would they say? How would they react to my process? It's always a bit daunting to show your personal work to the world but as I am learning, it's the most rewarding thing you can do.  Sure, people might not like it and that is why it's "art."  It's subjective.


I decided to participate in the reviews since my work was selected to be shown at the Ogden Museum of Art in New Orleans in conjunction with PhotoNOLA.  I felt that would be a nice opening line when presenting my series to reviewers.  I am a shy person so this is not the most comfortable setting for me.  I'm sure it's not for most...especially for the first time.

The first review was exciting since it really set the tone.  I walked up, introduced myself and said it was my first review ever.  It didn't seem to phase him and he was positive about everything, giving me both positive statements and some constructive criticism.  This is why I am doing what I decided to do.  I wanted honest feedback.

When I met Kurt (writer of the National Geographic article), I had a day of reviews under my belt and I have to say that I was my most relaxed self with Kurt.  We have 20 minutes to present with each person and when I met Kurt, we talked about our dogs for about the first ten minutes. Then it was, "oh yeah... here's my work..." I could have been so relaxed because I felt that nothing would come out of the meeting.  I mean, he was representing National Geographic.  I didn't think my work fell into the realm of the holy grail of travel images which is Nat Geo. So, when he contacted me a few months later to feature it on their photo blog, "Proof", I was completely shocked and so very honored.

Being vulnerable and putting my work and life out there to be seen and judged has brought me more gifts then I could have ever imagined.  Thank you.

To read the article, click HERE

Here's a photograph of me with the images displayed at the Ogden Museum of Art in New Orleans (photo courtesy of Christa Blackwood):

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How it started

If you are new to my blog, welcome!  I've been writing here off and on for about five years now.  I haven't been writing as much as I would like lately but I am hoping I will change that someday.  The Photo Brigade published a story I wrote about living in a van and some tips on how to do it if you are thinking of a similar lifestyle.  I also share how I ended up living this lifestyle and what I did to get here. 


To read the article, click HERE


Friday, January 17, 2014

Bingo Culture on Slate.com

Last week, my "Bingo Culture" series was featured on the front page of Slate Magazine.  What an honor it was to have my images shown to bring some light back on the game of BINGO.


To see the article, click HERE

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

So long, 2013

It's the first day of the new year! Normally, I would start to think forward (which I will after this post), but I wanted to take a minute to remember all that I did in 2013.  Thanks to Instagram, I can scroll through all of my photos and remember what I did.  I would usually do that in blog posts, but I haven't been making time for these posts as much as I have done in the past.  I am so grateful to all of my friends and loved ones in my life.  I am also thankful to the new friends that I met this year!

Here are some of my most memorable moments of 2013.

In 2013, I…

Drove through Big Sur on Highway 1
Spoke about my work at Open Show, Venice Arts
Awarded 3rd place for "Brothers" at Photo LA
Started my new series, "Reflected Identities"
Visited Death Valley for the first time
Photographed the Cover of Airstream Life Magazine
Hiked to the Hollywood Sign
First Place Winner for Instagram Series in PDN's Emerging Photographer Magazine
Images wheat pasted in Denver for the month of photography's "The Big Picture"
Went to Sequoia National Park
Selected for MOPLA Smashbox Show
Camped in the Alabama Hills
Slide Show Series Grand Prize Winner at the Palm Spring Photo Festival
Photograph published in Sunset Magazine
Celebrated 4 years of life without Alcohol on April 5th
Interviewed for the Candid Frame
"Brothers" photograph and story in Popular Photography Magazine
Photographed WW2 and Korea Veterans visiting the war memorials in Washington D.C.
Photographer for Airstream's Alumapalooza Festival
Photographs in Musee' Magazine
Lived in Portland, OR for two months
Published in Square Magazine
Had my heart broken
Learned the Wet Plate Collodion process
Watched my best friend get married
Licensed images to a big Agency
Spent a month Wandering around the Pacific Northwest
Selected as a finalist for Critical Mass
Took Film Images and used the darkroom to develop and make prints
Put on a wetsuit for the first time
Published in Seities Magazine
Selected for the Art of Photography Show
Attended Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas
Watched Numerous Sunsets and a few Sunrises
Lived in Austin, TX for a month
Photographed Max in a cotton field and in snow
Met some amazing new friends
Visited White Sands National Monument
Backcountry Camping in Big Bend, TX
Had 5 Images shown in a Museum (Ogden Museum of Southern Art) in New Orleans
First Portfolio Review
Took Portraits of 40 Friends for my series
Published in Black&White Photography Magazine
Four Shows in a row at the Center For Fine Art Photography in Ft. Collins
Spent Thanksgiving with Strangers
Interviewed for a Documentary
Spent Christmas Camping with my Mother

Visually, here's some of my favorite images from 2013:




Follow me on Instagram here:

I hope you have the best year ever in 2014!  

Looking for more?

Here's what I did in 2012, 2011 and 2010


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thank You

I have so much to be thankful for.

As I type this from my iPhone, I am thankful that I am in a warm place and have all the things I need.

In addition to my basic needs, I wanted to take a moment to list some things I am thankful for. This is just a list from the top of my head right now and I know I am failing to list so many things. This is what I'm thankful for today.

I am thankful for:

- My Mother and family for understanding my traveling lifestyle and is supportive no matter what.

- My friends who reach out to me and make an effort even though I am out of sight.

- the amazing community I have met through photography.

- my partner in crime, Max. He keeps me smiling even during times when everything seems to fall apart.

- my ability to roam the country and do what I want on a moments notice.

- to all of the amazing women who have opened up and allowed me to photograph them for my series this year. Thank you Cat, Traci, Jamie, Cal, Carrie, Jo, Iowana, Shanta, Ariana, Carrie, Teri, Kari, Tyler, Kiki, Sam, Kathy, Brandy, Angie, Dian, Dani, Dani, Lara, Morgan, Natasha, Robin, Vicky, Laura, Susan, Sahar, Trish, Carolyn, Val, Cat, Kristin, K.J., Rebecca, Mimi, Karen and Jiela, thus far. You are all an inspiration to me.

- to the photographers, jurors, publishers and all the people who have wanted to feature my art in their publication, show, blog, in in their home.

- the airstream, camper, van, tent and travel community. Love your support and following your adventures on Facebook and Instagram.

- for art. Without you, life would be dull and meaningless.

- my sobriety. Life is so much more beautiful when I feel it all.

- to all of the strangers I've met on the road by chance. Thank you for allowing me to take your photograph.

- to the stranger I am going to meet today who invited me over for a Thanksgiving meal with her family.

- to the people who take the time to write me about their life or how a post or photograph of mine made them feel.

- Instagram. For the people I follow and who follow me. We're a strange bunch and I like it!

- to the amazing photographers who inspire me.

- for life lessons and experiences. The good, the bad, the hurt, the pleasure...feeling everything. An engagement with living.

- for the forgiveness of the people I forgot to mention on this blog.

- to you, reading this. Thank you. Thank you to all who have donated, offered your home or have pointed me in another direction, whether you know it or not.

Additionally:

-Aline Smithson for the continued support of my work and for the friendship.
-Heidi Lender - for being a virtual shoulder to cry on. It's nice to know another soul that wanders as I do.
- Christa Blackwood - for opening up your home to max and I, without even knowing us.
- Dan LeHouillier - for being my best friend for over 20 years. You always keep me laughing, even through texts when I'm away.
- Amy Carlton and Eugeine Frerichs for the opportunity
- Kristiana Spaulding - for the friendship and inspiration
- Rose Red - for always being there, no matter what
- Katy Chung - thank you for your friendship your generosity, and for always taking me in.
- Cat Carrel - for your friendship, through a lot of ups and downs.
- Rebecca Rebman - For calling me out, visiting me on the road, and pushing me in the right direction.
- Cal Phoenix - for being there and being open for all of my crazy ideas
- Traci & Jamie - thank you for your friendship, the laughs, being open to my shoots and for sticking with me through my crazies.
- Stu Schmal - for being you and for putting up with me all of these years.
- Brandy Trigueros - for your laugh and always putting a smile on my face
- Carrie Vandenberg - for reaching out
- Tanya Dubnicoff - for being the straw 4 1/2 years ago
- Ronnie White - for your words, art, hope and picking out max
- Beth Faherty - for your words of wisdom and a virtual ear when I need it most.
- max - if you could read, you would know how much I love you and how much complete strangers love you too.
- mom - I love you. Thank you for putting up with me for 42 years.

Happy Thanksgiving to you reading this! I am sure I forgot someone or something so my apologies in advance.

Here are some images from the last month that I am thankful for:

Xoxo
Love, Alison and Max

































Tuesday, October 1, 2013

You Are Living My Dream

When people find out about my current or past travels of living on the road, a lot of the time their response is, "you're living my dream!"  I am always flattered that someone would want to choose the lifestyle of traveling like I do.  Lately, I have been responding with, "you can do it too and live your OWN dream."  Most often, that is followed by, "I would if only..."


If only.

Those, "if only's" are choices. Choices we made in our life that we want to, or need to keep.  Maybe you bought a home that you feel you can't leave, or kids, or a marriage, or your job, or your pet... Those are all great reasons to stay put and not do anything different in your life (not that there is anything wrong with that life) except be envious by posts of other people living a life that is YOUR dream.  The question is, "do you really want to live your dream?"  If you do, what is preventing you from making the choices needed to pursue that dream?

The truth is, you don't have to buy that house, you don't have to have children or get married, you don't have to have a traditional 9-5 job in an office.  American culture wants you to spend your money on things to fill up the home you bought and throw away things that you are bored with.  All the while, you hope this will make you happy in your heart and fulfilled in your life.  It might give you a momentary sense of happiness but it fades and crashes fast and then has the opposite effect.  Over time it makes you feel overwhelmed and trapped.  The more space we have, the more we want to fill it with stuff.  

I know of several families with children who live on the road.  If you don't want to travel alone, you can do it with a partner.  I can't imagine traveling without my dog Max, but that is a choice and it limits what I can do.  I am ok with that.  

I own a home and rent it out when I live in the van.  There are several online companies that will help you find someone that will pay you to live in your home with all of your furnishings in place.  I come back a few months out of the year and each time I do, I get rid of things.  I sell or donate the ten years of stuff that I have collected in my garage.  A collection of emotional items (Grandparents furniture, photographs, art) to things I thought I needed.  It's a bigger rush to me to get rid of things now, as opposed to buying something new.  I put out a stack of plastic chairs that I had for parties (which I don't have anymore) out on the curb with a free sign on it.  I was so excited when someone picked it up.  It was giving them a new home instead of a landfill.  If I decide to have a party, B.Y.O.C (bring your own chair) will now be included on the invitation. I digress. 

Here's the thing.  YOU CAN live your dream...whatever that is.  It's all a matter of choices and planning.  Do the work.  Be persistent with your goals and do something to move closer to them every day.  I will leave you with a short clip of artist, Chuck Close on what he would tell his younger self.  

What I took away from this is:
1.) You can do anything
2.) Inspiration is for amateurs.  Professionals show up and do the work.
3.) Continue to do the work, even if you don't feel like it.  Eventually it will get you somewhere.

Time to live YOUR dream.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

15 Seconds of my year in Photographs

As you might imagine, I've taken a lot of photographs the past five years while living on the road.  Here are just a few iPhone images of my life on the road the past year with Max.  

Here's a 15 second glimpse of what we did...

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