Visual Installation at Sports Basement Bryant St, SF
“Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life is not meant to be lived in one place.”
3 months backpacking through South America, Asia and Europe, I learned that knowledge, awareness and flexibility are the most important elements on the road. I created an interactive project in which I exchanged art for food, transportation and shelter. I set the budget at $50 per day, taking all the photos for this show on my phone. I want to prove that we don’t need a lot of money to travel. All we need is desire.
I hope to encourage others to step out of the system and their security, to experience the world anew and to bring a different consciousness to light. Traveling resets our minds and changes our perspectives. Traveling is not optional, it’s the prerequisite for a life worth living.
VALUE EXCHANGE PROJECTS
Concerned with the growing consumerism of today's world, I decided to create a travel with art experiment. Could I circumnavigate the globe eschewing the need for a large budget? Could I replace cash as currency with skills, could I create a more human and connected experience? There are many projects that I created on the road. I exchanged my art skills for food, home stay and museum tickets. There are countless rejections, I took these challenges to grow stronger. However, the ones who accepted me were so loving and became a part of this unforgettable experience.
Project Highlight 1 - A couple traveling with their 3 children in an RV for 7 years
Punta Arenas, a small town in Patagonia on the edge of the Strait of Magellan. I met this friendly couple who have been traveling around South America in their RV for 7 years. They travel and work from place to place with their 6, 10 and 12 year old children, the youngest of whom was born in their RV. They are in school anywhere that has internet. They don’t have to sit in a classroom to learn, their children passed all the educational requirements for their age and they are happy, the couple told me.
I was deeply impressed and offered their children a week of art lessons at the hostel they are working at. For exchange, they offered their comfortable couch. There aren’t many online art programs for their age. Therefore, the kids were very happy to have me on board as their art teacher. We can’t communicate between my English and their Spanish at all but their curious eyes are wide open and desperate to learn. I taught them to draw the sunset of the ocean, make cartoon models with the clay on the muddy street and fold origami crane.
The day I left, all of them lined up, gave me a postcard they made and big hugs. I will never forget their wide curious eyes that sent me on the road when they waved goodbye.
Project Highlight 2 - A family who gave me more then a ride in Punta Natunas. South America.
I started my first hitchhike in South America. Some of those “dangers” were as I expected. Such as when I got in a Van with three big guys on Easter Island. They had been drinking and lost their respect, but I took control of the situation and arrived at my destination safely. I’ve learn that reading a situation and understanding your own abilities will help you deal with any circumstance. Your mind is the most powerful weapon. However, the ones who give me rides on the road are the most precious souls who put helping others as their priority.
I was cold and starving in the middle of nowhere. I’d been walking for 4 hours and was lost. It was like a spark in the darkness when this sweet family stopped their 4x4 on the shoulder of the road. I was surprised when I saw an old man, old lady and a crying little girl in the car. “Why would they stop a car for a stranger at night?” That was my classical immediate thought. I gratefully expressed my thankfulness with a smile and showed them the town where I was headed on the map. They nod, signaled me into the car, the old lady handed me a blanket and we resumed the journey together. I turned the map into paper animals giving them to the little girl. Soon she stop crying and smiled to us. They invited me to their home, fed me a hot homemade meal and sent me on my way the next morning. The entire time we couldn’t communicate with words other than “Hola” and “Gracias”. Trust and an open heart is the universal language.
Back to San Francisco, I offered a disabled young man a ride from Petaluma to San Francisco. He hesitated to get in to my car and was full of concerned questions. I told him this story and he finally felt relief. I thought you would take me somewhere and rob me, He laughed to himself. All you need is good intuition and trust, I answered. When I dropped him off, he asked me how can he pay me back, I said, please trust people and help others when you can. The human mind always tends to take you the dangerous place but if we are open to help others with consciousness the world will be a better place to live.
There are many stories like these on the road. We can easily pay for anything by cash. However, we won’t experience these beautiful human connections and we won’t have stories to tell our grandchildren in front of the fireplace when we grown old.