Travelling You must go out into the world and observe as if you are separate,

take care in appreciating the subtle human ways of living,

The getting together, the breaking up,

A man playing guitar on a street corner

and the children dancing on the pavement in front of him.

Whether or not we are divinely made,

we have created something wonderful here,

something more than any accidental or purposeful creation

If you stay somewhere, and sit long enough,

you will be baffled by it all.

It is like we speak a language that needs no words,

we eat together, walk together

When the sun is shining we squint,

when it is raining we duck,

If you love someone you’ll hold them in the middle of the street,

When something is good, you clap

When something is funny, you laugh,

The artist will have the privilege of this,

everything is a game to seek the details that others miss.

But when you do love someone,

as we all hope to do, you’ll write a poem

About the corner of their face when they smile,

or their fidgeting fingers in conversation,

if you look at something from far away,

these things are easy to miss,

you are starstruck by its size or the appearance it gives.

To say the same about earth, maybe I don't love the beach,

for the horizon or the simple crash of the waves but,

for the ways it has held me all these years,

When I was a child and I searched in the gulf for jellyfish to put in a bright purple sand pail,

To bring to my mother, bathing on the shore,

And now I sit to watch the other children do the same,

while we all sit on our blankets, smiling in the sun.

If you look long enough, you will find, All the small parts that make this thing be.

You understand why it exists, more than you did before.

So, sure, we love things because they look a bit like us,

or remind us of something we had once loved,

and I can assure you the artist loves it too.

Perhaps not for the same reason, but all too similar in the end,

You love the sunrise because it is the sky you live under or the wide,

rolling river because of ferry boats, which remind you of a past lover,

They love it too, and they love you,

because it is all a blank canvas for their consideration,

paint pots for their artistic vision,

And no one loves this life more,

than the one who is active in its creation.

So art lies in the moment of a second glance,

when you believe in beauty enough to give things a second chance.

Backpacking through Europe, being young and broke, inevitably brought some unmet expectations. There has grown an influential online world within the world of travel, where comparison thrives and one of the most important aspects of travel is the chance to capture and share the beautiful places that you were in.

This being said, it's no wonder to me that, being poor travelers with no money for brunches at expensive cafes or tickets to famous museums, we felt as though most of our trip we would be missing out on the most valuable experiences that money could buy. We didn't do the typical things, the expensive things, that a young person would want to do in Europe. Value is a word most closely associated with money, but traveling and finding valuable experiences without relying on a wallet, taught us that there is something different and beautiful waiting for you when you aren't relying on the comfortability of a hefty travel budget.

It's interesting the gifts we receive in disguise of loss, as the saying goes, ‘When one door closes, another opens.’ Inadvertently, we had discovered a different way of traveling by avoiding the more expensive and popular places to go.

It's hard to say how popular this so-called method is, and although they look similar, I do think that it varies from the idea of traveling like a ‘local’. We liked to think of it as traveling more like an artist. We’d challenged ourselves to see life as an artist would. With low budget traveling you must adopt the vision of getting creative and searching for beauty in unlikely places. Even though you couldn't afford to get into the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, you still stumbled across a tiny yet bountiful farmers market up the street where you supported a woman's florist business, and the sunflowers remind you of something Da Vinci had once painted. If you adopt this way of viewing, you’ll find experiences that will bring you happiness that is unique to you, and easier on your budget.

Truthfully, art is just the sense of seeing, through paint or photography or experience. Tasting art, through balsamic doused carbonara pasta in Italy and drinking cold, aperol spritz. Hearing art, after getting off a 7 hour train and hearing the underrated talent of a busking musician, performing a classical version of Bella Ciao to a busy, neglectful audience. Art is crocheted into the roots of every country we’ve ever had the chance to embark upon, and this time in Europe, we got to see the patterns and stitches from the inside out. It's an understatement saying we learnt a lot, as we grew a new appreciation for the world around us.

And we found that when you focus too hard, on trying to blend in, on trying to look like a local, and being uninterested in the new and exciting things you are seeing, the very act of traveling will surely lose its luster. There is a difference between being a tourist, and being excited about experiencing new things. There is truly a great privilege in seeing a place for the very first time, in observing things as unique and special to you, and in a way that someone who has been living somewhere for a while has long ago begun to overlook.

It helps to know the place you are in, or to seek to learn, what is it that the people who live here love about it? Why are they proud to call this place home? Through these questions, you won't have to pretend that you're not a tourist, because you will not be one. You will be a traveler, someone who moves through places mindfully and finds experience and wisdom in every new place that you will see. Though the search for authenticity might not be a shared desire among all travelers, the search for beauty certainly is.

The truth is, we've found relatively insignificant and expected experiences when we were searching in the expected places. Yes, the things I saw were as beautiful as I anticipated them to be, but we often expect beauty to do more than just satisfy our expectations, we expect it to defy them. In a sense, we also expect the things we see to change us. We learnt how to see life as an artist. Painters screw with reality sometimes and intensify the saturation to make the scenery look more bright and colorful, much like how high expectations look in your head, unrealistic.

But when you create your own reality to live in through art, reality is as malleable as putty in your hand. You control it just as much as an artist controls the paint on their own canvas.

“The most interesting thing about artists is how they live.”

-Marcel Duchamp

Our world is created by how we choose to experience it. Our emotions and feelings shape the things around us, there is no objective experience; Only an individual's perception of it. Once you understand this, you will start to feel more in control of your traveling, knowing that you cannot expect places or things to create a good experience. Living like an artist is something we are all capable of, we do it everyday. The only difference between you and an artist is their ability to create art that reflects their perception of the world.

Artists recreate real life experiences, capturing still life more than a cell phone could. The art I saw created more than just a scene, it defines its origin, recreating the experiences to forever lock a moment in time. Enriching yourself in famous paintings in renowned museums, all the way to trying to decipher graffiti on the neatly squished front entries of the European streets made me realize how grateful we should be to even discover such beauty. Learning this new way of viewing our world was the best souvenir we could bring back with a heavy backpack. And continuing to use this new point of view, we saw everything in our lives as pieces of art, as moments to be captured and appreciated and beautiful pieces of our humanity.

“Beauty is the purgation of superfluities.”

-Michelangelo Simoni

Like An Artist: A Commentary on Mindful

By Riley and Sage

Madrid, April 1st 2023 After missing our bus to the train station, we had to take a 40 minute walk to reserve our seats and ended up stumbling across beautiful street art along the way.


Genova, Italy, May 2023 sage on left wish i knew where i exactly was Backpack to human ratio during our Europe trip to help put into perspective how much we had to carry. _Riley

Amsterdam, April 2023 After trying to figure out what to do on my last day in Amsterdam, worried about the prices of everything, I wandered upon this canal, which inspired a Monet painting titled Zuiderkerk. Not being able to go see Monet’s famous paintings in person, I was glad to still be able to experience the inspiration Monet did.