In the summer of 2020, a bottle of Fleur de Mer rosé, a five-hour FaceTime conversation with a dear friend, and a simple "well, why not?" changed my life.
Just like so many others, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 hit me, my business, and my family like a ton of bricks. My content-marketing-for-book-publishers business—built from more than a decade of work as an editor in book publishing and content marketing—dove headfirst almost overnight. I watched my big plans render themselves entirely useless as the publishing industry focused on fighting back from massive losses. I was lucky to not have any clients back out on me, but very few were able to renew their contracts with me. I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands.
I began using that time to explore abstract painting. I have always enjoyed creative pursuits from art camps as a child to knitting and DIYing my home décor as an adult. I took art history classes in college and even interned with a small, independent art museum once upon a time. I thought a new creative hobby would help alleviate my frustrations and fears. I never expected to find a new vocation.
My first pieces are laughably terrible, but the feeling of taking blank canvas and filling it with color was too delicious to mind if everything I made was terrible, so I kept creating. I took classes and researched artists. I invested in better materials and more classes. I kept creating, trying new ideas and styles, and searching for what inspired me most.
In the midst of my creative discovery, I caught up with a great friend, fellow creative business owner, and travel buddy. I opened up about how lost I felt, how much I missed exploring the world, and my newfound love of abstract painting. Over the course of a 5-hour FaceTime conversation and a bottle of my favorite rosé, I babbled about a new dream that had been forming in the back of my head as I painted: to travel the world, share the stories of my adventures, and launch painting collections inspired by the places I visit.
I said something dismissive along the lines of, "...but that's nuts. I could never make that happen." And my sweet friend asked, "well, why not?" And I didn't have a real answer. Why couldn't I make that dream happen?
I have the experience. I know how to tell a good story. I certainly love to travel and have experience doing it. I was learning the abstract painting bit. I had the time on my hands and was fortunate to have a few ongoing clients and an incredibly supportive husband. Why not?
The next week, I sold my first 11 paintings via Instagram.
The week after that, I pulled out my favorite old travel photos from Paris, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Aruba, and more and painted from the heart.
The following month, I tried out my first pop-up shop and had a blast. I painted more and did another.
From there, I launched this site and began telling my stories.
In the future, I plan to incorporate my love of books and offer gorgeous coffee-table worthy books filled with travel stories, photos, and paintings to inspire your own adventures (even if those adventures are imaginary ones from your couch!).
If it hadn't been for a failure, a wonderful friend, a great bottle of wine, and a good question asked honestly and encouragingly, I may never have found my way here. I couldn't be more grateful.