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General Packing Instructions:

Itís time to gather up supplies and make preparations for the Journey

Packing supplies for long distance travel may sound difficult.  It may be hard to decide what to bring, because obviously you canít bring it all.  So a paring down of supplies and finding smaller versions of our favorites is going to be our task.  This is not going to be stressful, itís going to be fun. Itís going to be easy to pack light.  Thereís not much to it.

When I went to India with my sisters and my mother, I traveled with a plastic baggie that I had a few supplies in.  My India Visual Travelogue was 6Ē x 8Ē and spiral bound, which was nice for working in tight situations where I didnít have a lot of room, such as packed busses.  I kept both of these in a side pocket of my backpack.  Spiral bound is nice because it can fold back onto itself, though I prefer hardbound.  My difficulty and disappointment: my pages were stark white.  When you donít have a lot of time, itís hard to feel successful with all that blank space.  I suggest you  prepare some pages with paint or texture, or create a book, like Lou Ann did, for her last trip (see link) or even alter a book  of History, Mythology, or Travel from your expedition ( which will be easy to find at Library sales, or second hand book stores), and gesso some of the pages or gesso out the words to make room for your own words and experiences. I should have done this myself on our trip to Greece.  You can read more about this in the July/August 2008 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

Two things will have to come first and they will decide what supplies you can bring. 

1.) Choosing your book (See "Choosing a Book" in Visual Journals page)

2.) Deciding what kind of bag to pack your supplies in.

Packing Your Art Bag

Do you want a case that your supplies and your book both fit nicely into?  Be realistic about what you can and cannot carry. You may want to walk around with this book/bag for a day and see how it goes.  Each trip will be a little different, so please see packing instructions details for your expedition.  Like in Mykonos, we will be stationary, and will have the luxury of using more supplies and being able to stretch out a bit. So you can pack some extra materials in your suitcase.   (Anything with liquids- such as paint- your will need to check. Right now, you can bring three ounces each of whatever fits in a small quart plastic baggie- as the date gets closer weíll check on the rules and regs for international travel and keep you posted on future updates but you will want to check with your airline).  I usually have a travel kit for the plane, and then bring a few extras in my check in luggage. (I also like to get a window seat because then I have just a little more room to spread out.)  For on the spot journaling and note taking, you may want an even smaller book or notebook and just a pen.  Chris from our Greece Odyssey last year had a great Le Sportsac fanny pack - very chic - which fit her Moleskin journal, a few pens and her water colors as well as passport and money, and she was good to go.  Plus, she wasnít uncomfortable carrying around a heavy bag and having to switch shoulders, or worrying about leaving it somewhere - everything was conveniently on her person!  Some of you could be very brave and opt not to bring anything and just get it all there. Or you may be like Lou Ann, and bring a bunch of stuff, and then just leave it there for some budding journalist!

 At the Altar of our own Creativity

1.)  Your Visual Journal is the most necessary item.  It is important that you consider that this book will indeed travel.  So size will be important, and perhaps thickness.  Feel free to email me if you are unsure about book choices and I will be happy to help you out. meandpete@msn.com

2.) What are you going to carry your stuff in?  Like your Visual travelogue, this is a personal decision. Do you want a clear bag?  So you can easily find everything?  Do you want a little case with a handle and a zipper?  Do you want something cheap and functional like a plastic ziploc baggie?

Visual Journalists need a supply of things that are precious to us to encourage a meeting with the self.  Our voice deserves beautiful and magical items to aid us in our expression.  I encourage you to walk into a store- even if itís just the grocery store- and purchase something that appeals to you- donít worry about high art, art, pleasing the teacher, impressing the other participants, or anything else, buy the thing that looks like fun, that looks pretty, that makes you stop- and if you say oh no, not me, then thatís the thing you should definitely get!  Commit to your creative and authentic voice by surprising her with something frivolous and outlandish!  Yes fringe!  Yes pink glitter glue!  Yes Hello Kitty mini gel pens!  Yes Goddess rubber stamps and Acrylic Glaze or paint in extraordinary and vibrant colors.  You donít need to buy a whole set- offer yourself at least one gift.  You deserve it.

Okay.  So now youíve got your Book for your Visual Travelogue, and youíve chosen your bag or case for your supplies.  Letís pack it up!

Basic Creativity Tool Kit

3.) Scissors. (Find out from your airline for international travel what the rules are for scissors.  I have traveled to Mexico with small kids rounded scissors, and to Ecuador with small pointy scissors.  Then I usually pack a big pair in my check - in luggage).

4.) Glue.  I think the best glue for travel is a Big gluestick like UHU. Itís convenient, not so messy, works fast and dries well.  Do not waste your time or energy with a cheap office brand glue stick or brands like Ross and donĎt bother with small ones.  They seem practical because they take up less room, but they are terrible to work with, so donít skimp on size.  I usually bring three big ones on the plane, and then pack 9 more in my suitcase.  I have fear of running out of gluestick.  So I always bring plenty.

5.) Your favorite writing pen.  Consider that we are working quickly.  You may want your favorite writing pen that smears and takes a while to dry for Mykonos, but for on-the-spot artistic and verbal excavations, you may need something that dries immediately. And you may want a couple colors.  I like black and red.

Thatís as basic as it gets.  But keep reading because I have some recommendations to make your pages more fun, but none of this is necessary, and it is all up to you.  So gather your stuff, and then only pack what fits.  If you really wanted that water color set, but it wonít fit, opt for a few water color crayons.  Still wonít fit?  Break them in half.

6.) A pencil.  You can bring a regular number 2, or you can get an ebony pencil or graphite stick from the art store.  We will want to do some sketching.  Some pencils donít fit in my case so I break them to fit.  You may want a small pencil sharpener.  (But you can always sketch with your pen- there are no rules.  Itís great when you forget the thing you love or the thing you know how to work with and then have to figure how to do it differently and realize it was the best way for you after all.

7.) Color: one of my students gave me a great travel Windsor and Newton watercolor set.  I love it.  Itís small and it fits neatly into my case and even has a little brush with it.  (Then on the plane I order water and use the last of it for my paints.) When I went to India, I brought some cheap water color kidís set from the grocery store- it was disappointing.  But brush markers can add color quickly as well and also blend with a little spit or water.  In markers, just bring a few colors. Sometimes you can find mini marker sets or little hello kitty mini pencils.  That stuff works great for us.  I highly recommend you bring a small container (jar or tube) of white acrylic.  I got a cool mini white acrylic in Mexico I love! And then I bring a few other small tubes or containers of paint.  I like Pink and turquoise.  Donít worry about having a whole set of anything, pick the colors- just a couple of them- that choose you - even if itís just because they match your case- it will be amazing what you can make work with very little.  I have certain colors that I love, so I always make sure I have them.  (red, black, yellow ochre.)  And then itís always super exciting when I donít have them, because I have to try something different!  You may also want a few colored pencils or water color pencils.

8.) Gel pens.  You will need a couple so you can write on top of dark surfaces.  (Sharpies paint markers are great for this and come in varying tips).  I usually like a light one- like white, gold or silver or pink, and a dark one like black, blue, purple, or brown.  And I have this bloody red like a brown I canít live without.

9.) Other drawing tools:  If you have some water color crayons, bring a few of those.  Think of your expedition to think of what colors to bring - desert, tropics, blues for Greece or just bring your favorite colors and weĎll make it all work!  Include some light or pastel, colors, and some dark.  China markers are great for drawing.  My favorite are black, red, and white. But blue & yellow would also be good.  You can usually find these at fine art stores.

10.) Brushes: I bring a few brushes in my case.  The case is small & the book is small, so you donít need a brush thatís too big. I generally have a thin tipped, and then a couple quarter inch thick brushes.  You can always pack some bigger ones, which I do recommend, in your checked through baggage.

11.) Alternative attachments:  I highly recommend clear tape or any other kind of tape.  In a hurry, tape is the way to go. I also have a mini stapler and mini staples- you can get these mini kits at office supply store or target that has a mini stapler, a mini tape, a mini hole puncher- they are awesome!

12.) Wet ones Wipes:  I tear out a bunch and then fold them into a baggie for my travel kit.  You can also purchase a small travel package.  These are great for spreading paint in a hurry, wiping up messes, cleaning glue off hands, cleaning up things like brushes, rubbing water color crayons, bleeding things- they are very handy.

13.) Wax Paper:  bring a few pieces of wax paper- the size of a book page, that you can slide in between your pages if you donít have time for them to dry.

14.) Rubber Stamp letters:  probably seems frivolous, in light of our space issue, but I love mine, and I have a small set. I also rubber band my box of letters and anything else that could be problematic.  But that also means you have to bring some stamp pads. (which I would rubber band closed as well).  I go with staz on because they print on everything including plastic and glass, and dry immediately.  So while youíre at it, you may want to bring a couple rubber stamps.

15.) Crayons for rubbings:  they make big flat sticks specifically designed for doing rubbings- if you are thinking you will want to do this- you will also need a few sheets of tracing paper or other thin paper.  But water color crayons or regular crayons will also work for this.  WE did this a lot in Greece- it was great!

16.) Collage kit:   I usually have an extra envelope or baggie with some collage items. Start collecting images and ephemera that appeals to you- but you could even make an envelope that fits in the back of your book or is an actual page:  wrapping paper, copies of photos, stickers, postage stamps, maps, images from magazines - stuff youíve been saving on your bulletin board or refrigerator-anything you like - for whatever reason.  Then add as you go along- plane tickets, baggage claim stickers, labelsÖ while working on my journal in India a man inquired, ďa memory you are collect, yes?Ē Yes.

17.) Your favorites. Make sure you include these.

Do not bring any oil paints or combustible materials. No spray fix or varnish - we wonít need that stuff anyway.

 Creating Preciousness

Visual Journalists need a supply of things that are precious to us to encourage a meeting with the self.  Our voice deserves beautiful and magical items to aid us in our expression.  I encourage you to walk into a store- even if itís just the grocery store- and purchase something that appeals to you- donít worry about high art, art, pleasing the teacher, impressing the other participants, or anything else, buy the thing that looks like fun, that looks pretty, that makes you stop- and if you say oh no, not me, then thatís the thing you should definitely get!  Commit to your creative and authentic voice by surprising her with something frivolous and outlandish! Yes fringe!  Yes pink glitter glue!  Yes Hello Kitty mini gel pens!  Yes Goddess rubber stamps and Acrylic Glaze or paint in extraordinary and vibrant colors.  You donít need to buy a whole set- offer yourself at least one gift.  You deserve it.

  Getting to know you...

If you have time, itís important to get to know your book by beginning to work in it.  If you donít -no big deal- weíll get started when you get there!  No pressure!

 Preparing Your Book

1.   Intention:  Take some private uninterrupted time.  Word association - Write down any thoughts, ideas, emotions that come to mind as you think about making this trip and what it means to you.  What does it mean to you to pack for a womanís journey?  What do you want, what do you need, and how will you prepare?  What do you hope to return with?  Donít worry about writing, poetry, spelling, grammar, or God forbid, making sense.  Youíre just taking notes.  Weíre only beginning.  We want to see whatís in there. (No, we will not read or share these)

2.   Leaving:  Open your book to two blank pages - anywhere - front, back, middle (I like to leave the end pages blank and finish them at the end w/a dedication).  Grab a few magazines - cut or tear images and glue them across these two pages to make 2 collages- just be spontaneous - donít plan- this is not art:  one is about what youíd like to leave behind for good - the other is what you would like to replace it with.

3.   Somewhere in your book, create official walking papers and letters of reference for your intrepid inner traveler, the one brave enough to make such a journey.  What would such a document look like?  Who is important enough to write them?  Your mother, the Dalai Lama, God?  Do they need official seals, stamps, and are such documents notarized?  Is there a photo, like a passport?  Make these preparations in your book.  I love working on the airplane and while I wait at airports!

      See you very soon! Have a safe and enjoyable flight while creating in your Visual Travelogue! 

You are about to embark on a creative journey to the center of your being, to the center of an ancient civilization... if thatís not worth chronicling, what is?

 I work back and forth adding notes directly to my artwork/imagery in my Visual Travelogue.  I talk to it out loud by writing it down as I go along.  I enter into its interior- and I donít worry if itís stupid, pretty, mean, empty, trite, or ugly.  And that is not to say I am not afraid.  I am.  And I should worry if I were not. I stand at the abyss of all my wanting looking down into it, crying and screaming and breaking down, scribbling, scraping, tearing,  and yelling and laughing and giggling until I am spent and crawl back out, satisfied, feeling the power and richness of my own self and this incredible journey that only I can describe.  This is not for anyone but me- and I am dedicated to myself this way.  Isnít it time to be a disciple of your Higher Self? To see its workings and hear itís murmurings across the expanse of your pages.  Page after Page, Book after Book.  Thatís why my motto is ďSaving Lives, one page at a time.Ēģ Speak up, for yourself, and let no one else tell your story for you.

Packing Tips (from Lou Ann)

I like to bring along about a dozen or so of Juliana's recommended cheapy craft paints.  I picked some up at Walmart for $0.44 each last summer before traveling to Greece, and at end of trip I just left them behind as a gift for our tour guide, Elena.  She is a very special person, and seemed to completely connect with the concept of the visual journaling that I did throughout my trip.  She loved the paints, all of $9.00 worth, as well as some other not-very-expensive supplies I left behind.  And, it gave me more room in my luggage for souvenirs. 

My other favorite packing tip is to bring a small roll of bubble wrap in my luggage.  Gives me something to wrap the breakables I always seem to buy, and costs very little.  So it is easy to leave behind and free up some space for all my precious finds.

 

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