Jolene's Life in Focus

Photos and Stories from Around the World

By

The End of the Rainbow

End of Rainbow

I found the end of the rainbow while traveling through County Donegal, Ireland… Alas, there were no pots of gold or leprechauns. Only cows.

By

Page to Stage in 24 Hours – Twice!

The Idiom Theater’s 40th 48-Hour Festival kicked off last night. For those of you who don’t live in Bellingham, Washington (or for those who do and haven’t yet discovered the theater), the festival is two evenings of six short plays, all created in less than 24 hours.

I’ve attended several 48-hour festivals and have always been curious about what goes on behind the scenes. How on earth does a randomly assembled team write a play, memorize lines, rehearse, and costume themselves in only 24 hours? Twice??! Idiom founder, Glenn Hergenhahn-Zhao, was kind enough to let me follow around a team from start to finish with my camera during the last festival to find out.

Here’s a look behind the scenes as I followed playwright Kamarie Astrid and her team from page to stage on night one.

 

Theme ideas were collected at the kick-off party. 

untitled-9907

untitled-9909untitled-9928

Teams were randomly assembled…

untitled-9941

Group Photos…complete with a DJ. 

untitled-0001

Themes were then voted upon and one chosen.

untitled-9925

untitled-0009

untitled-0010

untitled-0038

And the winning theme was…
untitled-0080

Kamarie quickly went to work and was joined by fellow writer, Spencer Willows… 

untitled-0103untitled-0113untitled-0095untitled-0123…and they wrote and composed song lyrics throughout the night based on the theme, Existential Moonbeams.

untitled-0162untitled-0159

Early in the morning, the actors and director got the script.

untitled-0186untitled-0199

After a day of memorization, the actors returned to the Idiom for  rehearsal. 
untitled-0278 untitled-0250 untitled-0224

And finally, showtime!

untitled-0325

The actors took the stage.

untitled-0372 untitled-0399

After the show, a new theme was chosen for night two. Teams were reassembled, and they did it all again!

untitled-0563

By

Whidbey Island Landscapes

Outside of Coupeville

Outside of Coupeville

West Beach

West Beach

By

Two

_DSC7900

I prefer to travel solo. I can stay up as late as I want, sleep in, eat or forget to eat, go here or there and take pictures for hours on end without annoying anyone. Friendly strangers or bartenders usually end my daily solitude, and these random interactions save me from ever feeling lonely.

However, I was never more acutely aware of being single than when I visited Bruges, Belgium. I mean, even the swans were paired up for God’s sake! I should have known – the canals, the romantic boat rides under wispy willows, horse and carriage rides through cobblestone streets that lead to a veritable wonderland of chocolatiers and cozy tea shops. Bruges is meant for couples, and for the first time since I started traveling alone internationally I actually felt… lonely.

I may have gotten over it, but my head wasn’t on straight in April. Here’s what I learned and let this be a lesson for all of you – DO NOT under any circumstances go on a solo vacation when you’re trying to get over someone. DO NOT. If you absolutely must run away, go with a friend. Or, go somewhere without internet or cell phone signal. Climb a mountain or traverse a small strip of the Sahara. Do something that requires so much physical exertion that you don’t have time to notice how everyone in the world is paired up except for you. Otherwise, you may end up doing what I did – texting the person you’re trying to forget because you’re lonely and running up a $350 phone bill. Ouch.

My heart has recovered and other solo adventures await, but I’ve been rethinking the ideal travel situation. If I could have it my way, I’d have a travel companion (someone I know, not some yahoo off a website) who is with me for breakfast and dinner. We’d both, happily, do our own thing during the day and then reconnect in the evening to talk about it over drinks. Does the ideal situation exit? I have no idea. Perhaps I am asking for too much.

What works for you?

untitled-7878

_DSC8289

two swans

By

Redefining Happily Ever After

The Sun Already Set

I got married 18 years ago yesterday. Through some odd twist of fate in the Skagit County Clerk’s office, I was granted a divorce exactly 10 years to the day later. In the time since, I’ve literally flown around the world looking for that special someone. The only person I’ve found is myself. I’m pretty happy with her.

My dad doesn’t believe me. He called a while back, telling me how he prays every day that God will bring a man into my life. I told him not to pray for a man. If he’s going to pray for anything, pray that I’ll be happy, that an editor from a travel magazine will call and offer me a job. There was a quiet sigh on the other end of the line. I’m sure he’s still back in Minnesota praying for my future second husband.

When I pitched my Ireland memoir to a literary agent last summer, she asked me, “So, did you end up with the man?”

I replied, “Do you see a ring on this finger?”

She said, “People want happy endings. They want to escape their lives and imagine a better one.”

“Well, those aren’t my readers.” And, I thought, you’re not the right agent.

Does happily ever after mean you must end up with someone? I think every man and woman should spend some time alone before answering that question. Not a week. Not a summer. You need enough good, quality time with yourself to fall in love with your life. Your life. Not someone else’s. Know that you can actually take care of yourself if you have to, that you can have fun on your own, that you can walk into a restaurant at a table set for two and not grow red with embarrassment when the server removes the second setting. Keep embarrassing yourself until you don’t give a shit about saying, “One for dinner please.”

Yesterday evening, I tossed my new camera in the passenger seat of my car. (I call him Nathaniel George, or Nat Geo for short.) As I drove around looking for a place to capture the sunset with Nat, I thought – I have a good life. Today I’m Bellingham, Washington. In a month I’ll be Ireland. If I meet a man, fine. If not, that’s okay too. All that really matters is that I’m traveling the world with my camera, and that’s cool to me. That’s my dream.

Happily ever after can mean whatever you want it to mean.

By

The World Around Me

I write about the world to understand it; I photograph the world to appreciate it.

Old Boat

By

London Vintage

Perhaps it was the time of day or the lights surrounding each capsule on the London Eye, but all my photos turned out so BLUE.  My “before” photo is not at all how I remembered that view.

Playing around with my new Nik software today, I tried to salvage it.  I added a vintage filter using Color Efex Pro 4… and I am digging the result. Okay, the “after” photo isn’t how I remember the view either, but it has sort of an old postcard feel to me now.

Before

Before

After

After

By

Woodinville Lavender

10547262_10152598206134813_8730453233479289372_o

When planning your winery tour of Woodinville this summer, add Woodinville Lavender farm to the itinerary. The fields are in full bloom and worth a stroll. My friend Sarah and I stopped by yesterday, and despite the scorching temperatures, we had fun clipping a couple small bundles of lavender.

10551710_10152598206364813_7661656100415921634_o

10506809_10152598206099813_4211270842081618195_o

10333729_10152598206434813_8624543100105389264_o

10504943_10152598206549813_8499602741660727502_o

10496915_10152598206684813_340923367431167315_o

By

London in Black & White

untitled-7629

untitled-7637

untitled-7696

untitled-8359

untitled-8394

By

Blue Lagoon

_DSC8551

What would you do during an 18 hour layover at Keflavik airport? Stay there and wait? That sounds dreadful. Leave the airport and sleep? Tempting. Rent a car and drive around the Reykjanes Peninsula? YES, PLEASE!!

Having arrived at 11:00 p.m., I left the airport and slept first, but then I returned and rented a car in the morning, determined to explore the Reykjanes Peninsula in the few, short hours afforded me. It was just enough time to pique my interest in Iceland, and I think that’s what the tourism board was hoping.

I suspect that Icelandair deliberately undercuts their competitors on flights between the United States and Europe. Budget conscious tourists will book with them, despite the long layovers at Keflavik. They know that you’ll leave the airport and do something – whether it’s simply hanging out in Reykjavik or using the time to take a drive.

It is clever, because I loved Iceland so much I want it to be a future travel destination rather than layover. Other travelers have told me the exact same thing.

Here’s one example why:

The Blue Lagoon. Tucked away in a field of volcanic rock, steam rises from a geothermal spa. The temperatures were cold on that early April day, and the winds fierce (note lifeguard with winter coat!), but I envied those people with enough time to cast off their cares and clothes and take a swim.

Next time, Iceland. Next time…

untitled-8544

_DSC8543

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 537 other followers

%d bloggers like this: