Aside from the indie night market, healthy vegan food options, handicraft boutiques, avant garde art galleries and hidden laneway shops, what I loved about Pai was the lanterns decorating the streets.
The Hill Station was built as a resort town in the early 1920s by colonial French to provide a respite from the tropical heat. Perched up at an alleviation of over 1000 metres the weather is mild and often extreme. Apparently over 900 people died over a 9 month period during the construction of the resort. Today it takes about 1 hour to reach the station, up a long windy well maintained bitumen road lined with monkeys. However back in the day, the harsh climate and remote location was cause for much trouble.
The idea for this collection began on a dirt track on the way to a pepper farm in Cambodia. Crawling along in an old taxi behind the dust of a tour bus, the road was rough and pot holed. The speed gave me time to absorb the rural scene unfolding out the side window.
The entry fee is a drink purchase. I can tell you now that holding a cup of purple butterfly pea soda and balancing the stairs and crawling between caverns is a juggle, with said drink and a day pack.
The bar is also called The 100 Roofs Bar. You can see why, when you see the vista from the top of the garden.
Nestled high up in the hills of Northern Thailand lies the charming town of Nan, a hidden gem that remains off the beaten path for Western tourists. A temple town surrounded by national parks, this place offers an authentic travel experience.
Nan is also an art lovers paradise. There is one particular artwork you will see everywhere.
I love the way the light shines through the frangipani leaves. Snap.
Wow what an amazing view. Tap.
And thus my photo gallery app fills up on my phone with hundreds of really beautiful travel photos of plants, flowers and landscapes, that probably won’t mean much to anyone else. So what to do with all the plant, flower and poolside vista pics?
The problem, I find is that we live in such a hustle culture, where even our hobbies are monetised or encouraged to be. I often feel guilty spending time delving into some new creative play if there is no income attached to it. Or worse, instead of getting lost in the play, I spend time consuming days trying to figure out a way to make money from my play.
The central highland city of Da Lat in Vietnam has some confusing and steep streets. I really should use the terrain setting on google maps to help me navigate. After missing a non-existent road and heading down a valley, I stumbled upon a set of stairs and narrow laneway leading back up the hill to where I wanted to go.
What a great analogy when considering my own flexibility and adaptability in life and it really explains those trees you see bent and thriving in unusual places and positions.
This palm however had a blessed life and grew magnificently proportioned. It seemed so mighty, beautiful, confident and grown to full potential.
One of my absolute favourite places so far in my travels of South East Asia, is Vang Vieng in Laos. While looking out my hotel window to the most dreamy misty mountain vista each morning, I had this idea to document my travels by creating a new design for each region that I visit.
I could spend all day at this place, lost in a tranquil jungle of green shade and beautiful leaves. My "Garden Cafe" artwork is about favourite places that you day dream about returning to. It is about the nurturing cocoon of a thick canopy and the beauty of being immersed in large leaves.
How happy are Sunflowers! During late summer and early autumn I make them a feature in my life. I visit flower farms, plant rows in the garden, wear sunflower patterned clothes and earrings and of course draw them.