Inspired Photography

A friend's dad always said, "Don't ever let schoolin' get in the way of your education."  I'm glad I never did.  

At age 10, I embarked on my first trip abroad to Austria for a family ski trip.  Foreign travel opened my eyes to a larger world of new sights, sounds, smells, and tastes - experiences that cannot be taught in a classroom. The trip to Austria would be the first of many.  At fourteen, I spent the summer abroad in Germany, and have since traveled to 27 other countries, including a few island countries, and summers in France and Mexico.  My love for travel and other cultures even led me to a Master's degree in International Relations.

I am inspired most by foreign travel.  When I need to recharge, I love to hop on a plane and get lost in a sea of new faces, places, and stimuli.  I find that I appreciate my life and surroundings even more when I come back home to Kentucky.

Ansel Adams said, “You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.I would add, "the places you have traveled." 

I see Gertrude Stein, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald in Paris,

Hemingway at a bull fight,

Washington Irving in the shadows of the Alhambra,

my ancestors in Scotland,

and my heart in Kentucky.

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Kentuckian in the Big Apple

across from Radio City Music Hall
A couple of weekends ago,  I found myself at LaGuardia Airport climbing in a taxi on my way to Manhattan. The last time I had been in New York City was when I was a senior at the University of Kentucky. Prior to that it was my senior trip from my Lexington high school (Tates Creek). The time before was with my middle school (also, Tates Creek).

The trips to NYC as a teenager left me dreaming of leaving the rolling hills of Kentucky in search of riches and fancy clothes in the concrete jungle. New York City and Lexington seemed like polar opposites: lots of grass and low house prices in Lexington; very little grass and astronomical real estate in New York City. The lure of public transportation and my imaginary apartment ala Tom Hanks in "Big" were visions in my head for years.
The Highline

When I landed back in Louisville, I headed to my car, paid my reasonable overnight parking rate, and hit I-64 to head back to Lexington. I had a great time in the city, but as I pushed the gas on the open road, I realized how glad I was to be back home. When I watched the Kentucky Derby last weekend, I smiled when I remembered how I explained to several New Yorkers that people don't wear hats to EVERY horse race in Kentucky, and that Jack Daniels isn't Kentucky bourbon (it's Tennessee Whiskey, y'all).Perhaps a piece of me wants to still be a part of the city, but Kentucky is my home and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Kentucky Connections

Last week, I was trying to book a flight to Chicago from work. For a while, I contemplated driving as Chicago is only 6 hours from Lexington. Did you know that 2/3 of the US population can be reached within one days driving from Lexington?

If you prefer to travel by air, there are also many direct flight options from both Lexington (LEX) and Louisville (SDF) airports, as well as from the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati Airport (CVG) which is technically a Kentucky airport as well. I'm a little less familiar with CVG's direct flights as they lost about half of their flights when Delta stopped operating there as a hub. Major sad face.

Direct flights from Lexington (LEX), although I think Las Vegas is about to go away.
Direct flights from Louisville (SDF) - newest addition is SDF to Grand Bahama Island
In the end, I chose to get a fare for less than $200 direct from SDF to O'Hare (ORD). It only takes about 75 minutes to get to SDF from LEX, and was 1/4 of the cost of the LEX direct flights. I also booked a direct flight from LEX to New York (LaGuardia - LGA) for less than $300.

So while I love the Bluegrass, it's nice to be able to conveniently escape to so many nearby places! 

What would be your favorite direct destination?

A Kentucky Girl In Paris

In the summer of 2005 I spent a semester abroad in Paris, France. I considered myself a traveler of sorts, but I had never set out on a journey completely alone. This was a first for me and I was very excited, nervous, and optimistic all at the same time.

When I arrived in Paris I was immediately on a high from being totally alone in this city of millions. It was such a surreal feeling to travel abroad alone. For this Kentucky girl, it was an amazing experience and one I wouldn't trade for anything.

Here are some things I miss about Paris:

1) The Anonymity: You Kentuckians know how it is; everywhere you go in Kentucky you see someone you know or run into someone who knows someone's cousin who married so and so's best friend. I have to say that the anonymity traveling abroad was an amazing feeling. I could do what I wanted and wear what I wanted without fear that I would run into someone from high school. I would be walking along alone in the city and would think to myself that no one else in the world knows where I am right now. There's something surreal about that feeling.
2) The Croissants: Yes, they are as good as everyone makes them out to be and they cannot be replicated. Every morning I would stop by a local patisserie and get a pain au chocolat and a diet coke. This would be my breakfast on the way to class.

3) The Metro System: Coming from Kentucky I wasn't used to a public transportation system as complex as a subway system. I had to learn the metros and the very confusing color-coded maps, but once I got the hang of it, I was a professional city lady! Looking back on it, it was so easy and convenient to just be able to hop on the metro and travel across the city within minutes.
4) The Eurorail: Again, this is unlike anything even in the United States. Europe has such a complex and amazing Eurorail system. It makes traveling for the weekend super-easy and convenient. We would hop on the Eurorail and take a weekend trip to the coast.

5) The Scenery/Architecture: While Kentucky is beautiful in its own right, the scenery and old world feel in Paris was amazing. I am so fortunate to have taken tons of pictures so that I can keep these memories forever.