Boarding Pass – Christopher Bettig {The Mountain Label}

Today’s edition of BOARDING PASS comes to us from Christopher Bettig, the talented illustrator behind The Mountain Label. Christopher and I bonded over France and Baltimore (he is a MICA graduate) when working on his sneak peek for design*sponge. In the process I came across his flickr albums and knew he’d be perfect for this column. His response was one of the most enthusiastic ever, so without future ado, a look into the way the travel side of The Mountain Label. {Thanks, CB!}

{me in Melbourne}

last trip taken:
for sort of work related I went to San Francisco for my show at Giant Robot, and for vacation I went to India with my girlfriend Cindy.

{Jodhpur, India}

{Udaipur, India}

next trip on deck:
I’m going to Charlottesville, VA for some work stuff in a week and not exactly sure where my next “fun” trip will be… Egypt, Belize, Sweden, Denmark, Vietnam, Scotland, South Africa, Tunisia, U.A.E., Greece… so many place I want to visit!

{Yudanaka, Japan}

one place you would go back to again and again:
Japan, but not Tokyo… I love the small mountain towns like Yudanaka. St Malo, France where I spent a lot of time as a child and Iceland are a very close second & third.
place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
Melbourne, Australia is such a rad city, or Vancouver, Canada or Geneva, Switzerland.. I’d recommend every place to someone.


preferred method of transportation:
very tough call… I love being in airports and riding trains is so great too, but I’m going to have to say walking is the best. When you’re on foot you really get the vibe of the place you are visiting, you actually interact with it versus seeing it through a window.

{Salt Lake City, Utah}

place you’ve never been but dying to go: Antarctica.

{Jodhpur, India}

place you’d never go back:
Delhi. India was amazing and I loved Udaipur and Jodhpur so much but Delhi, especially Old Delhi, was horrible for so many reasons.

{Yudanaka, Japan forests [above] and forest inspired Converse design [below]}

most memorable trip:
Hiking up in the mountains of Japan in Yudanaka in the forests and listening to the natural hot spring rivers rushing by while snow monkeys walked around. Then walking back through the tiny town to the natural hot spring bath overlooking the river dividing the town and taking a long soak. OR… Cindy and I sitting on the roof of our hotel in Udaipur, India with a view of the lake and the 3 water palaces all illuminated while the call to prayer is sounding all around us at sunset. Then as it got dark the Diwali celebrations started and everyone was launching fireworks completely filling the night sky with crazy color until morning. Those are 2 of my favorite memories ever.

{Udaipur, India}

how do you prepare for a trip?
I don’t really. I just figure out where I’m landing and where I’m taking off from and the rest just falls into place.
how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
Mostly just photography and collecting small little things, like train tickets or flyers etc. I try and sketch some stuff but my trips are usually super packed with stuff to do and things I want to see that I just don’t have the time.

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
Everything, literally everything. I have 50+ photographs of doorbell buzzers from Brussels, Belgium.


on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?
Over 1000 and it just keeps getting worse.what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
I have a Nikon D90 dslr, a Fuji E900 point and shoot, a Holga with a Polaroid back as well as my iPhone all to take pictures & video with. I haven’t been bringing the Holga recently because of it’s size and the scarcity of film. Then I always bring my Moleskine large sketchbook and pens, but I don’t use that as much as I’d like. I end up using the pocket in the sketchbook more then the actual sketchbook.

what do you do after a trip?
I label all the digital files and make sure they are in the exact order that I took them, keeping the continuity of the trip is really important to me, and I do the same with the photos Cindy has taken as well. I keep them in separate folders though, and then I back them all up on a dvd. Then I’ll pick some highlights and drop them on Flickr so my family and friends can see. Not very crafty, I don’t even print any out!

{Sydney Opera house}

how long after a trip does this happen?
Usually within 2-3 days of getting back. Sometimes I’ll start uploading to Flickr while I am still traveling.. but that’s usually just for trips within the US.

{Paris inspired print}

My dream is to set foot on every single continent, and my goal is to set foot in as many different countries and different landmasses as possible in my lifetime.

website: The Mountain Label
etsy shop: The Mountain Label
blog: The Mountain Label
on Flickr

Click here for ALL the past editions of Boarding Pass!


  • Great blog! (I’m from your Monday night class—Elizabeth put your site up on the screen today!)

    I’m impressed by your apparent prolificacy. My biggest challenge with blogging has been burnout after a few weeks.

  • Christopher…you’re awesome! We’re taking a trip to Japan in August/September, so seeing your photos is definitely encouraging.

    Anne…fantastic, as always. Love the Boarding Pass series.

  • I’ve just recently discovered your blog, and as an avid traveller, I really love it. I especially love your Boarding Pass posts! I’m planning some trips to London, Spain and Portugal and have so much fun reading about other’s experiences out there.

  • I am reagular follower of your bolg and I like your this edition a lot.I agree that jodhpur and Udaipur are very nice place but delhi is not that bad.I love the pictures you posted on this blog.thanks for them

  • I love being in airports and riding trains is so great too, but I’m going to have to say walking is the best. When you’re on foot you really get the vibe of the place you are visiting, you actually interact with it versus seeing it through a window

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