Boarding Pass – Eliza Jane Curtis

I’ve been intrigued by Buenos Aires for awhile now, and after sharing a sneak peek of Eliza Jane Curtis’s (the force behind Morris & Essex) home over on design*sponge I was even more sold on this city which seems to be so full of color and life. After 12 years in NYC, Eliza was ready for a change of pace, and for the past two years has been calling the “Paris of Latin America” home as she creates beautiful hand-printed cards and creations. South America is probably the part of the world I know the least, so it’s great fun in today’s Boarding Pass to see how Eliza has taken advantage of her new home to explore a new part of the world. {Thanks, Eliza!}

{Designs combine my love of the city’s art deco architectural details and memories of childhood daydreams in the fields and forests of Maine to create motifs of geometry, nature and fantasy.}

last trip taken:
a visit to Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande, Brazil. Ilha Grande is a perfect paradise island, it used to have some infamous prisons which were only closed down in the past few decades. So it never got built-up and overdeveloped, it’s still mostly natural and quiet, no cars or roads, just jungle and beaches, lots of fishermen, and one small tourist town. There is a big, fabulous white beach called Praia Mendes Lopes, you can only get there by boat or by hiking a few hours through the jungle, and then it’s this heavenly beautiful, deserted place. Also, we fed bananas to a bunch of friendly marmoset monkeys in the jungle, that was incredible!

{Rio de Janiero}

next trip on deck:
hmm, not sure! I think we’re done traveling for this year, so probably our next trip will be spending Christmas with some friends on the beach in Uruguay! After that… more exploration in South America. We still have not visited Peru or Bolivia or Chile, and I want to see a lot more of Brazil, especially the wilder places in the north. We’re not going to live in South America forever, so I want to take advantage of our time here and try to see lots of different places, while we’re here. We want to see the salt flats in Bolivia, and I would really like to spend a bit of time in Valparaiso, Chile, I love city plus mountains plus ocean all together! And it seems like there is lots of interesting history in Valparaiso. I am reading an Isabella Allende novel right now, Hija de la Fortuna, which has inspired my interest in Valparaiso.

{Porland Head Light: this lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington in 1787}

one place you would go back to again and again:

I do go back every year to my family’s cabin in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and most years we also spend a weekend with family friends in this gorgeous cabin on a really remote & beautiful beach, near Popham Beach on the coast of Maine. Mostly, if I can get the money and time to travel, I like to go explore somewhere new every time! But these places have family and friends and so many years of happy memories (as well as beautiful forests and mountains and natural beauty!) that is what keeps me coming back over and over.

{on top of the world! Cerro Fitz Roy}

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

El Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina. It’s a tiny, remote village in the middle of the most astounding mountains. We were there in the fall and the colors were so incredible: the bright fall foliage turns the mountainsides red and orange and burgundy… and the mountain peaks and glaciers and lakes are really intense blues… you can do some very easy hikes, leaving from the village, that give you such amazing views, it really feels like being on top of the world.
{Patagonia glacial cave. Glaciar Perito Moreno, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. [right:] after a trek across the glacier, our guide hacked off some hunks of glacier ice and poured us all tumblers of whiskey on the rocks.}

preferred method of transportation:
i love biking! I would love to get in shape and do some long distance bike-traveling some day. Also love trains and boats. Airplanes and airports are the worst. But often unavoidable!

{Angros dos Reis – Rio de Janeiro province, Brasil}

place you’ve never been but dying to go:

oh gosh, I can’t possibly narrow this down to one place. Tokyo. Tuscany. England. I really want to take a boat ride down the Amazon, through the jungle in Brazil, and sleep in hammocks at night- a friend told me about doing this and I fell in love with the idea. Thailand. Croatia. I want to go everywhere!!

{tiles at Camino Real, Puebla, Mexico}

place you’d never go back:


most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:

My first trip to Europe, I visited Paris with my parents six or seven years ago, I had barely ever been outside of the USA and I was totally blown away! Paris is so beautiful and everything is so old, it felt like I was living some beautiful exciting fantasy, but at the same time returning to the ancestral homeland, walking along the seine, wandering around medieval alleyways on Ile de la Cité and drinking wine in 500-year-old cellars and clambering around the catacombs of ancient cathedrals. (I can’t help mentioning that it was cool traveling with my parents, they are awesome!)

{Santa Theresa at Night – Rio}
how do you prepare for a trip?

I always get so excited before a trip, I do tons of research online, and write down interesting notes in my little moleskine book. I also make a checklist of every single little thing to pack, I feel super nerdy about doing this but I am very forgetful so I need it.

{day 2 of north american road trip: connie’s diner in waterloo, new york}

how do you record your travels when you’re traveling?

zillions of photos. sometimes I sketch too, and I like to write postcards.

{a few favorites from my postcard collection}

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

markets, tile patterns, decorative architectural details.

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

I probably take at least 50 photos every day, maybe 100 some days!

{tiles in Plaza Espana}

what’s in your “designer travel kit” ?

always my camera, my knitting project, a tin of colored pencils, a thin Sharpie and a handful of little Stabilo colored markers, and a sketchbook or just a loose pile of paper scraps to doodle on.

what do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?

I’m pretty diligent about uploading photos to my Flickr site within the first week after my trip. I try to also write a blog entry for each trip, sometimes it takes me a few weeks to get that done. I’ve occasionally made a hand-bound photo album from a trip, I would love to do that every time but it’s time-consuming!

{Coati – according to Wikipedia, the coati also known as the hog-nosed coon, snookum bear, and the Brazilian aardvark, is a member of the raccoon family, a diurnal mammal native to South, Central, and south-western North America. these guys are cute as hell and not shy about begging for snacks. Actually one of them took a nibble of my camera, hoping it was a bit of hot dog. }

favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
postcards, snacks.

{Guara Viton turned out to be really tasty. Cebolitos were flavorless and weird. }

what are your favorite things to do when you’re traveling?
#1. eat and drink. #2. I love to go up to the highest place and look out across the land. I like to hike up mountains, or ride the elevator to the top of the highest building, or ride a tram or cable-car up a hill and look back over the city from above. #3. meet people. #4. rent a bike and ride around. #5. go swimming. #6. sit around drinking coffee and writing postcards.

{caipirinha time, Brazil}

website: Morris & Essex

on flickr
blog: Eliza Jane Curtis
Morris & Essex on Etsy

Click HERE for all the past editions of Boarding Pass!


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