Thursday, April 26, 2012

Where are you going?

When someone learns of my plans to live in my van and travel around the USA, the first question I get is, "where are you going to go?"  My answer is "I don't know" or "everywhere!"  I wish I could be more specific but I really never know.  I tend to have a general direction on where I will go and depending on the weather and circumstances, it determines the next day and so on.

I admit that it's not the best way to travel, but it's worked for me so far.  I would like to see Marfa, TX and perhaps make it out to the salt flats but other than that, it's a blank canvas.  I am assuming I will travel with the weather so that usually means I will head North during the hot months and South in the Fall.  I always enjoy being on the East coast in late summer.

I will be making goals along the way and sharing photographs, including portraits of people I meet on the road.  If you know of a place I shouldn't miss, please let me know.

You can always follow me here:
Instagram - user name is alisontravels
Twitter - @alisontravels

Also, to help fund the trip, I am thinking of publishing small books in limited numbers to sell with portraits and travel photos. Once that is completed I update that here.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

MOPLA Group Show And Other Upcoming Show Announcements

I was just notified that 3 of my images were selected to participate in the MOPLA (Month of Photography, Los Angeles) group show at Smashbox studios!  I am thrilled that not only one but three photos were chosen by the jury (Dee deLara, VP of Creative at Smashbox Studios, Jen Jenkins, Founder, Giant Artists and Jill Greenberg, Photographer) to be on display.  You will have to come and see the exhibit to see which images were selected.  The show will run until May 17th at Smashbox Studios  in Culver City if you are unable to make the opening reception on April 26th.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, it's a well done show and opening.  I was in this show two years ago and that was the first show I ever submitted to so it's exciting to be back.

I also have a few shows opening up on the East coast area as well if you are located there.

Vermont - Photoplace Gallery "In Your Dreams" exhibit from April 17th - May 12th
Virginia - The Kiernan Gallery "Both Sides of the Lens" exhibit from April 10th - May 6th

Lastly, I wanted to also mention that I was selected to participate in the group show in F Stop Magazine's April edition.  A screen shot is shown below.  Images are on bottom corner left and 4th row from the top on the right.  Both images are from my "Bingo Culture" series.

Thank you always for your encouragement and support!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Three Years Of Living Life Without Alcohol

Today marks three years of living life without alcohol.  To some, that doesn't seem like a big deal but for me three years ago, it was something I didn't think I could do.

In some ways, three years went by pretty quickly but there were days when it felt that time slowed down so much that I could hear the seconds tick in my head.  I am grateful for the life I have today and wouldn't trade it for anything.  I am very fortunate to be healthy and have friends and family that love and support me.  I wrote about why I quit in the first place on this blog which seems like such a long time ago.  Looking back, I do wish that I journaled more about how I was feeling and what thoughts popped in my head.  Mostly for me, drinking was a way to escape a problem or it was used as a reward that quickly turned into a habit.  What do you do when you get together with friends?  Drink.  How about when someone gets married, you land a promotion, or you get a divorce?  Most likely, there is drinking involved.  I would say that in my social circle, alcohol was included in every gathering.  I didn't have any friends who didn't drink.  I'm sure if I did, I would question why they weren't drinking.

I am a few years out of my "firsts" and I have to say that I've changed a lot since then.  It's not just about having soda or water instead of a cocktail.  It's an entirely different thought process you have and one that doesn't change quickly.  I used to plan my life around alcohol.  Meaning, I would be sure that I wasn't driving or that I was staying the night if I planned to have cocktails.  It might seem hard to believe but I am a shy person.  A lot of the drinking was to have a couple of glasses of wine to take the social anxiety edge off so I wouldn't be so nervous and afraid to make chit chat because of my insecurities.  My brain thought that I would be boring or not fun to be around if I wasn't laughing and cracking jokes all of the time and being the one who entertained.

To me, life is so much more fulfilling when you're not spending most of your time drinking, thinking of when you are going to drink or numbing out in some fashion.  When I first quit drinking, I had to figure out what to do with all of the time I spent during happy hour or the hours the next morning trying to forget the pain, or trying to remember conversations.  It was during this time when I picked up a camera and I haven't looked back since.  Now it's a rare occasion when a day passes by when I don't take a photograph.  I am still a bit hard on myself and my personality is still the same, it's just that my head is clear now. I am not perfect, it's just that I am now living life the best I know how while working on being a better person in the process.

I write about my experiences with photography, travel and even alcohol because it's just my story.  Everyone has their own path and I wanted to be honest about mine so people understand that things can be possible if you want to make a change in your life, no matter what it is.  Sometimes with great challenges come great rewards.  I dont want to sound corny, but I know that to be true for me.

If you are searching, I hope you make a change or a decision that will change your life for the better.  It might not feel like it right away, or even for months but small steps do count.  If you stick with it (whatever it is) long enough the rewards will come.  For me, that decision I made for myself was 1,096 days ago and each day I am thankful that I made it.

Earlier blogs about what it was like to quit:
The first 150 days
One year of living life without alcohol

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Getting Ready To Live On The Road Again, For the 4th Year...

It's the time of year where I start thinking about goals and what I want to do when I grow up.  I just had a birthday and now I'm diving into my (cough) um, later years and I think  time, all of a sudden started going by faster.  Like, really fast.

This past year I decided to stay in one place and go to school.  My year is up soon so now it's time to get out and see the country again.  I toured around the first year in a teardrop trailer, the next two years in a tent and now I am going to roam around in a van.  I am pretty excited about it.  It's really the little things like waking up and making coffee without anyone seeing me. What a luxury! Usually it's me slowly getting off of the ground in the tent to an upright position and walking in slow motion to a bench to put water in a pot to boil for coffee.  I can barely see out of my eyes and during this time you will usually see an early morning camper already cooking breakfast after their morning run waving to me across the way yelling, "good morning."  Thank god I will escape that torture in the future by not being seen.  Ok, I am really not that groggy in the morning but sometimes this is how I feel in the morning when I try to sleep cozy in a tent in 28 degree weather.

The other luxury is saving money by sneak parking to sleep somewhere and not having to pay the hefty fees some campsites are charging these days. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the adventure.

As with years past, I plan to document my travels here and write about the people and places I come across, including any tips that I might have to share.  I hope to capture even more people in photographs than I have in the past.  I don't know how long I will be living in the van, but it will be a while since I can go pretty much anywhere with it in about any weather.

If you are new to the blog, below are some links to topics that might be of interest to you about my travels.  I can't wait to get going and I will be sure to let you know when I do!  As always, any suggestions of places or people to meet are appreciated.

I wasn't sure what to name the van.  My teardrop was named "trailie" and for some reason, "Campy" came to mind so it's going to be me, max and Campy!

xo Alison and Max

Click on topic to learn more about:

My story on quitting my job to live on the road that was published on
How you can do it too!
What I did in 2009
What I did in 2010
What I did in 2011
Tips on Traveling with your Dog


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