Paris- Travel Journaling Pt 2

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
Walking in the Silage of Stories Past
Whispering through the alleyways
Written in the stones carved soft with moss,
Across oceans, through centuries,
The echoes of lives
and the layering of stories.
I can almost hear them.
Just beyond a corner
a hint of movement
a scent familiar and strange;
Stories collapsed in time
I feel them brush up against me,
Unhinged shadows.

Sacre Coeur Paris, Galia Alena travel photography
Months later and I'm still sorting through the thoughts of the trip. I didn't take many photographs on this time, partly because I broke my arm just weeks before the trip and the cast came off a week early so that I could fly without it. To lighten the load I left my SLR and lenses at home and took only baby and my iphone. I took some photos, but the trip was not about the photography, but more about the sketching and the art. There are some photos to add in, impressions, but the journal is filled with sketches and paraphernalia that I barely feel the need to add photos (and apart from a few spaces, there is no room for them anyway so I am going to have to get creative on how to add them).

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
The plethora of galleries in Paris is overwhelming- so much to gorge on in such a short period and now, sitting amongst the clouds and trees, listening to birdsong instead of the harmonies of church bells and sirens, I can only dream of those details- the colours, the brush strokes, the risks, each of those artists teaching something different. These paintings come to life in a way you can only imagine when you stand if front of them and let their energy speak to you. Oh that I could wander the galleries with my morning coffee before I head to my own studio.

Eiffel Tower Paris, Galia Alena travel photographyMum likes to tell the story of the man who hated the Eiffel Tower but continued to eat lunch there everyday. When asked why he answered "it is the only place in Paris you can't see it from" -boom boom.

Next stop: London where I head off on my own to meet a dear dear friend for the first time.

Part 1 of my Parisian Travel Journal is here

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal

Some thoughts on travel journaling and pilgrimage (from the new website):
A journey to a new place or a journey through a journal page will both take you on a pilgrimage to the center of your own heart, to an understanding of your own truths, to a knowing and comfort with yourself. Both will bring you closer to the peace of home and still that wyld spirit that wants to fly freely on the winds of desires, of greener grasses and the whispers of dreams.
Journaling and traveling can both be a journey on which, if you are receptive, you discover a deeper connection with yourself and the conversation with life. Both can act as a pilgrimage from which you are forever changed, giving you both new awareness and knowledge of yourself and the world, journeying simultaneously out into the outer world and deep within the inner world.
There are as many ways and reasons to travel and to journal as there are people. For me the two are similar in that they both are a way for me to embody the journey. The journey to align with my inner world as well as my outer, a journey in trust, a journey in which on the middle of the path one is expanded and changed forever, a journey in which you can meet yourself. A pilgrimage.
Both require me to stay open and curious, to watch and notice attentively, to respond with trust and wonder at unexpected opportunities. Both allow me to engage fully in  the conversation of life with wonder and amazement. Both gift me with myself.

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
"Sometimes it takes a great sky to find thatfirst, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.” David Whyte
There are many ways to travel but when a woman travels alone there is a certain amount of trust that is required, especially when details have been left open to chance, serendipity and faith. A window is left open for spirit to enter and the unique state of wonder and awareness that traveling puts you in enhances your awareness of these moments.
A pilgrimage can take many forms, some structured and religious, some based on tradition. Sometimes one is not even aware that they are on a pilgrimage yet the journey they take will change them forever as they find themselves touched by things they didn’t even realise they were seeking.

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
Traveling allows one to strip away the usual masks that daily life demands which can bury the true self, it becomes an opportunity to get to know yourself without all the usual baggage. When you travel the normal linear day to day time is suspended and you step into a time where routine has been suspended in favour of the fullness of the moment. When you art journal there too is a suspension of time. Your hands set to work busy moving paint about, making marks, selecting papers while your monkey brain watches and hopefully is quiet and distracted long enough for deeper thoughts and awareness to come forward- a moving meditation where the heart and hand is aligned.
“and turning the corner at what you thought was athe end
of the road, you found just a simple reflection,
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:”
  David Whyte

To the land of OZ

 I haven't announce here, or anywhere really, just whisperings, but come December 24th, my family and I will be heading home to the land of OZ. We've spent 2 1/2 years here in Queenstown NZ - there is too much to say so I'm going to say it in pictures but that will be a post for another day.

Ceramic mantra bowls by Galia Alena

In the meantime today I sent out the last of the custom made bowls until I set my family up again and find access to a new kiln. I'm really hoping there will be one in my future. This was such a special batch to make and a privilege to make for such soulful women, filled with love for family or gifts for sisters. 

Ceramic mantra bowls by Galia Alena

By Monday I will be putting my Etsy shop into holiday mode for a few months while all my beloved art supplies bob there way across the ocean. I'm hoping to re-open it as soon as I can with new creations. In the meantime, if there is something calling you then you have until Monday to put your name on- there are still a few bowls left.
Then I will be taking in some of this exquisite place while I still can- in between walks up the mountain and around the lake my daughter is dragging me to fear factory and there will be a girls road trip down to the bottom of the island to visit the dolphins. Trying to breath it all in while I can. I am going to miss the mountains and the lake but am looking forward to the heady sweetness of Gardenias and trays of mangoes and my friends!! Looking forward to my friends. Xx

Ceramic mantra bowls by Galia Alena

Working in the Travel Journal

One of my pleasures of traveling is in making and working in my travel journal, both on the trip itself and also when I return as I recollect and digest memories. Its a beautiful way to extend the magic of the trip and also to give the memories and experiences a tangible form that I can connect back to again and again.

So many marks made on location giving me access right back to the scent and senses of the place and experience.
The raw memories demand to be laid down in strokes of colour and words that spill forth, sleep gives way to the urgency of committing those fresh memories to form. 
Next is to write up thoughts and to sort the 1000s of photos that I took, print some and glue them into the book. Such a delicious process.

It's also the first week of my on line class Of the Heart, and I am loving being inspired by what the students are all doing, bringing me back to my own book and where I left off before I set off on adventure. And I think one of the highlights of the week was when one of my students posted a video of her front porch strewn with the project as her hands were beautifully messy in the act of creation. I think this might just have been the moment I got addicted to teaching.


LOVE- YES at Esalen

I've been away overseas for a month now, on an amazing adventure which I am still digesting- so so much good stuff. For now I am just going to work my way backwards through the trip week by week and share some images along the way.
Galia Alena Photography, Esalen, Big Sur, Passion Flower
 My last week was spent at Esalen on the Big Sur with Pixie Campbell's Shamanic Painting Retreat where much magic was had by all. Such an honour to spend time with so many incredible and divine women, I can't yet find the words to share with you so here are some photos:
Galia Alena Photography, Esalen, Big Sur,

 Spiraling in and out.

Galia Alena Photography, Esalen, Big Sur,


 Sacred circling with beautiful women in our sweat lodge.

Galia Alena Photography, Esalen, Big Sur, butterfly


Galia Alena Photography, Esalen, Big Sur, sweat lodge


Galia Alena Photography, Esalen, Big Sur,

Just a quick reminder that Of the Heart starts in one week and there is still time to sign up- I hope you'll join us.

Journals, journals, journals

Galia Alena mixed media art journal

Galia Alena mixed media art journal

Galia Alena mixed media art journal
Here are some recent journal pages from my journal that sadly has only one page left in it. It won't be coming with me as I head off on my adventures in a day. As I finished the coffee pot page above, I felt a sadness not to have this journal with me even as I am excited to be switching gears to be working in a travel journal and so looking forward to seeing what goodness emerges there.
Travel journal, water colours, Galia Alena
 I've made my new travel journal, although the signatures are loose. Unlike when I made my Bali journal (which I knew was going to have a Batik cover, just wasn't sure how the stars were going to align to make that happen) this journal has absolutely no ideas about how its cover might develop. I guess I'll just have to watch and see.
The trickiest part of packing is working out which supplies to take. I'm taking my Polaroid camera as I can't imagine an American road trip without a Polaroid or two and thanks to the Impossible Project that is still possible. Still haven't decided which other camera to take, and as for art supplies, today I decided that despite the fact that I'll be buying supplies as I go I still had to chuck out a pair of shoes or two so as to get in some extra supplies.

First stop Sydney where I get to be a tourist in my home town, hug some girlfriends, and enjoy a gallery crawl.

Some Pages from Bali

 It's getting closer to Christmas and the January holidays, which in this part of the world mean Summer Holidays, and my heart is getting wistful for another wandering trip. January is traditionally a time to travel and explore, but for this coming one we have no trips planned because I will be spending most of April away from home (in Virginia for SoulFire Retreats and for some photographic shoots in Sydney). We will probably load up the car and hit the road exploring this country that we've land in less than 2 years ago, so much of New Zealand still to see (in fact most of it).
The yearning to travel has me perusing my last travel journal, from Bali this past February, touching the soft, gently used Batiks I used for its cover and flicking through the pages of the adventures we had and the beauty we saw. Seeing the marks made on our travel, and the paraphernalia collected along the way glued in and reading little vignettes and stories, sweeps me right back into that experience and my gypsy heart is glad I have these tangible memories which allow me to travel back from my armchair with.
Itchy gypsy toes.

Water Colour Notes from Bali

Galia Alena, water colour, Bali
Cafe Lotus View
Galia Alena, water colour, Bali
Arma Museum
Galia Alena, water colour, Bali
Temples & Mopeds

Bali is full of so much eye candy, no matter where your eyes settle their is inspiration, rich craftsmanship, luscious foliage, offerings to the many gods and goddesses and ripe fruits hanging heavy. The place is dense with detail and life bustling everywhere. There's a sense of being in a sacred temple everywhere in Bali, even outside, where the very sky itself seems to descend and complete this island temple with its rain bearing clouds.
You can find a photo of the temple in the first painting here.

Bali Travel Journal

I've finished putting together my travel journal from Bali, well as finished as you can ever be, I'm sure there will be more doodles and writing, but finished for now. I never know what to call them, half journal, half sketch book, half art journal, half memoir, and yes I know, that's a lot of halves. I guess really its a no rules applies way to process and sit with the experience of traveling to another place. Some is done there and some is done on return when photos are processed as are experiences. What I do know is that they are a very tangible memory, especially the marks and brush strokes laid down in a place. I need only rest my hand on the cover of my Canadian journal and I am swept back.