Boarding Pass – Felice Cleveland

Today’s edition of BOARDING PASS is an extra special one for me, because besides being an incredibly talented artist / printmaker / bookmaker / journal keeper / art educator (at my favorite place on earth), Felice Q. Cleveland also happens to be my best friend in the world and a constant inspiration. I still remember our first conversation as we sat on a stone wall in front of a beautiful French chateau during a visit of our study abroad program. For years we kept in touch through snail mail around the world to wherever the other was at (and we still do even though we live 10 blocks away). Several years ago, I was lucky enough to visit her for 10 days in Cameroon where she was a Peace Corps volunteer. Two years ago we traveled to Berlin together, this past fall to Austin, Texas, and on Thursday I’ve convinced her to take an overnight train down to Georgia with me. We often joke about making our own comic book, The Misadventures of Felice and Anne, but for now you’ll just have to enjoy a look into how Felice travels. {Thanks, Felice!!}

last trip taken:

India (Mumbai, Bundi, Jaipur and Udaipur)

{This banglewalla was so sweet, kept calling me “sister” and reminded me that you put bangles on “two by two” and you must keep your hand loose! . . . Man making a brass pot [which I bought].}
next trip on deck:
Savannah, Georgia
one place you would go back to again and again:
Bundi, it is like a wonderful magical land and I totally fell in love with every part of it–the landscape enchanted me, the people befriended me and I could spend all day just wandering the streets (oh and the food!). I truly cannot say enough good things about Bundi although I am torn between wanting to shout Bundi’s praises from the rooftops or to keep it a secret!

{montreal}

place you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:

Montreal, Austin, Texas or Barcelona.

preferred method of transportation:

On foot–it is much easier to meet people on foot and also take everything in, but I like anything local–rickshaw, moto, train or pirogue!

place you’ve never been but dying to go:
Top on my list right now are Argentina, Turkey and Tunisia.

{india}

place you’d never go back:

The Dulles, Oregon. On a family vacation as a child our car broke down and we had to buy a new one there and arrived a few days late at our destination on the Oregon Coast. At the time it felt very traumatic and I don’t have any really good memories of that place.
{austin, texas}

most memorable trip:

Probably last October/November when I had a reunion with two of my best friends in Austin, Texas. We had such a wonderful time–dio de los muertos festivities, tex-mex, vintage stores and in the end I met the love of my life!

{day of the dead: austin, texas}
how do you prepare for a trip?
I talk to a lot of people and do a fair amount of research. I really like reading books (fiction and non-fiction) and watching movies about or set in the destination of my trip. I make a lot of lists but try to plan the bare minimum so that I will be able to have flexibility and adventures when I arrive.
how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?
Photographs and I try to keep up some sort of journal as well.
{LEFT: Yogi, short for Yogesh. We met while I was waiting for his friends shop to open. He was sitting outside. I waited with him and tried out some of my Hindi. He invited me to tea. The next day we had dinner at his restaurant (it is called “Cool Restaurant”) while serving us whiskey not on the menu–it is illegal to serve alcohol in Udaipur. The last day we played poker, shared kulfi (like a milk and cardommom popsicle) and he bought me a shirt as a final souvenir. RIGHT: Oh, dear Gopal. We met when I used his one-computer internet cafe. He offered me chai and after my computer time we sat and talked about AVAM and our different work as artists. He showed me his paintings and I showed him my journal. Here he is contributing a small painting of Ganesh to my journal. [top left of journal below] }

what is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?

Definitely people. I love the challenge of trying to catch people in their setting and then also taking photographs of all the characters I meet and encounter along the way. The runner-up is probably patterns though, I like to use them as an inspiration for drawings when I get home.
{Ranji’s cooking class in Udiapur…Samosas for breakfast}

on an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?

Totally depends–anywhere from 30-300!

what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
I have my little Canon SD750 which is small and has a wonderful battery-life. Also my Moleskine Cahier Pocket Squared Notebook in Kraft Brown is a must. Plus I have this little zip-lock with markers, glue-stick, tape, scissors and pens that I always have in my purse—that way I can jot something down or paste it in right away. I also like being able to take advantage of down-time (waiting for food at a restaurant, waiting for a train/bus/plane, etc.) to write down a story, do a little drawing or record some cultural or lingual fact.
what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
I try to get my photos up on Flickr pretty quickly as that is usually the best way to tell stories after traveling. I’ll continue to work on my journal and of course go through the arduous process of unpacking and getting back into the “real life” routine. Mostly I just start thinking about where my next destination spot is!

{woodblock calendar inspired by Cameroon}
More from Felice on Flickr (including more journal pages).

Click HERE for more editions of Boarding Pass.

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