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Santa Barbara, Ca

I'm a full-time rambler and contract designer with as many skill sets in my quiver as there are plane tickets in my passbook. I've worked in ornamental iron, jigsaw puzzle design, bookmaking, glass engraving, and a variety of other mediums. I'm currently living out of a backpack as I trek my way around the world.


My Seven Super Shots with @Hostelbookers

Zak Erving

Probably not my brightest moment

Probably not my brightest moment

I’ve got a website-crush on Ryan Brown over at Just Chuckin’ It, so you can imagine my shrill schoolgirl-shriek when he tagged me as part of Hostelbookers’ Seven Super Shots Challenge.

The premise is simple enough: post a photo you’ve taken during your travels (with caption) for seven different prompts, include some obligatory text (like, “I’m am taking part in the Hostelbookers’ 7 Super Shots”) and hashtags (like #7supershots), and nominate five other bloggers to participate.

So that’s exactly what I did:

A photo that takes my breath away:

This was not an OSHA-approved activity

Craning my leg out over the Kuskulana River Bridge truss probably wasn’t one of my brightest moments, but this shot still stupefies me when I look at it. It’s a 240-foot drop to the river below, and the spring thaw wasn’t complete—not that it would make much difference if I fell from that height. Sorry, Mom: I hope I didn’t make you cry.

A photo that makes me smile:

To date, this remains one of my best travel experiences

This was one of those chance encounters that we all vie for when we travel: some obscure and random happenstance that brings the gift of joy to everyone in the immediate vicinity. A vagabond stood opposite St. Stephen’s Basilica, and with the help of a soft breeze captivated everyone in the plaza with his soapy bubble concert. I had only my disposable camera, and wound it carefully before snapping this shot.

A photo that makes me dream:

Spend the whole day here, if you go

This is one of those places that took me completely by surprise. I was initially turned off by the large crowds and motorized trams that take tourists to the trailheads—plus, it was raining. But as my friends moved forward along the pathways, I slowed down and stopping. The place had taken me in like I was a tiny magnet, and I had just found the pole. 

I long to go back.

A photo that makes me think:

Prayer chapel at New Camaldoli Hermitage

This is perhaps the most potent image of an ongoing search that is crucial and intrinsic to my life. My upbringing was Protestant, but in recent years I’ve been digging towards the question (and person) of god with both orthodox and obscure guides. This photo, taken at a Camaldolese monastery, is an example of both: at the heart of a rich tradition lies a practice and way of life often overlooked by the rest of the world, but no less integral. My search continues…

A photo that makes my mouth water:

Albina Press, Portland

If there were a kind of divining rod for quality coffee, I’m sure it would short-circuit if it ever came within 50 miles of Portland. Seattle and Italy might be more famous destinations for great coffee, but Portland holds the dark horse mystique. On top of that, holding a job as a barista here (like the Silver Lake district in Los Angeles) is the equivalent of having a master’s degree in mixology.

A photo that tells a story:

Fire-water, appropriately placed

This one isn’t so much about the story surrounding the picture, but what it represents. Since the diaspora that followed college graduation, my friends and I have shared our reunion moments with whiskey as our centerpiece. When and where we converge on a bar/restaurant after a time apart, we aim for the single-malt scotches and small-batch bourbons we know we can’t afford, but the occasion calls for it anyways. Over our glasses flow old stories and new ones, and thus the stage is set.

A photo that I’m most proud of (my National Geographic shot):

Hawaii: the fastest-growing state in the union…literally

Frankly, I’m not really sure why I picked this one. There are better photos even in this post, and I don’t think this shot of the Kilauea Caldera is that different from any other picture of it (it was taken from the same lookout area every other tourist takes their pictures). But I think what I like about it is how alien it looks. I don’t think this place belongs on earth, and I’d fully expect a picture like this to be taken by a space rover that has landed on Mars (or Venus, after it has cooled off). Regardless, I chose it because I enjoy it. I hope you do, too.

¡Tag, you’re it!

I’ve chosen a handful of friends (as per the Hostelbookers regulations) to participate in this project, too. Here they are!

Mittie Roger at

Leora Novick at An American Girl in Transit

Ian Ord at Where Sidewalks End

Ben Meyer at Ben There, Done That

Candace Rose Rardon at

Watch these guys in the coming weeks! They're incredible!