Boarding Pass – Jamie Diersing

Boarding Pass is a weekly column exploring the creative ways people travel and how they record their memories.

Not everyone can manage to make a dirt collection cool and beautiful, but creative director and co-founder of Egg2Cake, Jamie Diersing has me left wanting to take a pocket full of dirt from the next place I go. I love all of her stunning landscapes from around the globe, and it makes me want to spice up the way I travel for a bit more outdoor adventure (well, maybe when it warms up). Thanks so much, Jamie!

Last trip taken:
Glacier National Park in Montana and the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks)

Next trip on deck:
Nothing is planned at the moment but I actually dream about going back to our last destination: Emerald Lake in Alberta, Canada. Picture the turquoise water of the South Pacific surrounded by glacial mountains, forests and wildflowers. Completely surreal.
One place you would go back to again and again:
Canada: The scenery continues to blow me away, so much so that we took two trips there in back-to-back years. British Columbia is amazing, especially Vancouver Island and Vancouver. And the Canadian Rockies in Alberta is phenomenal in scenery and wildlife.Places you’d most likely recommend a friend go visit:
most amazing water: Tahiti (where an overwater bungalow is a must-do on your life’s bucket list)
best view from room: Ladera Resort, up close view of the Pitons on St. Lucia in the Caribbean
best snorkeling: Great Barrier Reef and Tahiti
wildlife: Canadian Rockies (grizzly and black bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, cougar)
sealife: Great Barrier Reef (sea turtles, sharks, sting rays, fish)
wildflowers: California Poppy Reserve, Anza Borrego State Park, Death Valley National Park; Mt. Rainier, Canadian Rockies
mountains: Rainier, Hood, Tetons, Whitney/Sierra Nevada, Rockies, Canadian Rockies
desert: Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Anza Borrego, the southwest
coast: the entire Pacific
camping: Sequoia National Forest, Anza Borrego and Joshua Tree in southern California, Gold Bluffs Beach in Northern California, Arches National Park in Utah
most relaxing: Hawaii (for that tropical, exotic feeling without the typical stresses of international travel; also not too difficult with babies or young children)

preferred method of transportation:
Car. There’s nothing like a roadtrip (especially cross country) for the transitions in your life. It’s a great opportunity to step out of a rut and clear your mind. You can also ease into the destinations you arrive at, as opposed to airline travel, which abruptly drops you into different time zones, climates and cultures.
Places you’ve never been but dying to go:
“Edge of the Earth” places: Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Patagonia (Torres del Paine National Park), Easter Island, Iceland, Mt. Everest base camp (being a place that inspires and pushes people).

Place you’d never go back:
The main island of Bora Bora. Tahiti, in general, is simply stunning, but after staying at resorts perched on small, surrounding motus, it was a real shock and horror to visit the main island and see homeless, emaciated and crippled dogs everywhere. Being in “paradise”, the situation caught me off guard and was extremely upsetting to an animal lover. I think I cried for the rest of the day.

Most memorable trip in 2 sentences or less:
Honeymoon in Australia and New Zealand. The longest we’ve been away and the furthest we’ve traveled. The friendliest people anywhere, spectacular scenery.
How do you prepare for a trip?
Research and planning months in advance! This phase is as enjoyable to me as the actual trip. I think I must have been a travel agent in a previous life… the details come naturally and I love coordinating trips for groups of friends, such as our backpacking trip to the top of Mt. Whitney and multiple running relays that involve a huge amount of logistics. Once I arrive at a destination, I like to leave no stone unturned since I never know when I’ll be back.

How do you record your travels when you’re traveling? / What’s in your “designer travel kit” ?
Digital SLR camera to capture the sights and a small journal to record the events of the trip and anything else that I want to capture. I’m a big listmaker so I’ll also write about new foods I tried, funny phrases and packaging from another country or how many methods of transportation we took to get to a remote spot. The iPhone also takes great snapshots and video. Something that I’ve only started doing in the past couple years is capturing sound clips on an iPhone recorder app. You’d think video would potentially be the best of all worlds and knock out photos and recordings but I love having the “memory sources” isolated… it really provides a unique focus. Some of my favorite recordings: the nightly orchestra of tree frogs in St. Lucia, the cacophony of African birds at a wildlife sanctuary, the cheers and background music at the start of a relay race, my daughter’s voice as a toddler and my nephew in his first hours after birth.

What is your favorite thing to photograph in a new place?
Landscapes, without a question! Also: wildlife and unusual or humorous signs.
On an average, how many pictures to you take on a trip?

What do you do after a trip? how long after a trip does this happen?
I’m pretty obsessive about getting pictures into a photo album as soon as I unpack, because it’s the best way to preserve that vacation feeling. And now I contribute to the Egg2Cake blog as well. I am also a National Park fanatic and I’ve had this idea for years of having a big map on the wall on which I put a pin for every new park I visit but I have yet to accomplish this. I even have a lifetime competition going with a good friend to see who has been to more parks, although parenthood has temporarily slowed us both down a bit.
Favorite souvenir/thing to bring back?
I’m a compulsive collector of found objects in nature. I joke with family and friends that I’m cheap and easy to buy for, just grab some dirt from your next trip! I have a collection of sand bottles (93 currently) from around the world that I started over 15 years ago on a my first visit to Death Valley. On that trip alone, I collected four different colors and textures in sand and dirt, even green and purple. Two samples that always raise eyebrows: the bottle of water (from the Athabasca Glacier in Alberta, Canada) and the empty bottle from the Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii. I don’t consider myself to be superstitious, but after reading some letters from visitors that took lava rock home and the awful luck that found them, I decided to demonstrate some unusual restraint in lining my pockets. My husband lives secretly in fear that we’ll be arrested going through airport security with my finds and my father says that there’s no predicting the explosion that will occur at my home if the bottles fall from the wall and the worldly contents mix.
I also have a collection of other natural finds throughout my house, including twigs, stones, dried flowers, seed pods, etc. Let’s just say all these tiny, loose objects make for infrequent dusting! I could put them all in a display but I don’t like that they’d become inaccessible to spontaneous scrutiny.
How do you keep the big picture in mind?
I continually update an adventure resume which allows me to see at a moment’s glance how fortunate I’ve been to experience so many great things. The intention behind it: To treat play with as much respect as work. Life is all about balance. I love seeing adults engage in opportunities to play and accomplish a challenge as a group. I firmly believe being curious and playful supports an inspired and creative life. And I love combining a physical challenge amidst spectacular scenery. Some of the highlights: Olympic Torch Relay, LA marathon, running across the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco relay marathon, a moonlight bike ride through White Sands National Monument, ziplining in Vancouver, summiting Mt. Whitney (tallest peak in the 48), snorkeling in Tahiti and the Great Barrier Reef, a GPS scavenger hunt in Oregon’s high desert and various running relays throughout the west.

Check out the other half of Egg2Cake with Kate Rivinis Blackman on Boarding Pass.


  • What stunning and adventurous locales! I love the sound recording, being an auditory person that is an amazing idea, Also…collecting the “earth”, LOVE that!!

  • Awesome collection. And how depressing about the dogs in Tahiti. I think I would have spent all day crying, too. I know I couldn’t handle a thing like that. In Dubrovnik, I spent most of my spending money on cat food for all the local skinny strays – and their kittens – rather than trinkets. I got to know a few of the stray kittens pretty well, too. It was hard leaving them. Not knowing what their fate would be.

    Anyway. Great Boarding Pass!

  • I love the way you displayed your collection, especially the sand. I too collect sand and have some from all over the world. My favorite is probably the small ziploc bag I have of sand collected outside of King Tut’s Tomb in Egypt (collected for me, by a friend). I have been looking for a way to showcase all that I have for some time but can’t seem to find anything I like. Where did you get your jars?

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