Travel Break: Quarantined Water Art

In the past decade, the word “Travel” ignited the imagery of beautiful beaches, exotic forests, and the City of Lights, Paris. With the world at a standstill due to COVID-19, the new norm is “boredom.” Any form of travel for me is freedom. From a hike on Cumberland island to a four day trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina was what I lived for in my free time. Now, for the sake of preventing the spread of the deadly virus, I have had to dive deep into my favorite past time hobby, watercolor painting. With so much time on my hands, I could do more than just paint for a hobby. I can find a way to let it benefit me financially.

I recently went to the Riverside Arts Market in my home city, Jacksonville. I bought two pieces of watercolor art from a painter and fashion designer named Teresa Cook. Her work was original and fun to me. I envied her technique and the confidence she has in her work. It didn’t hit me until I got home that I might have the talent to make a little money on it myself. I only use to paint when I became too stressed out or my bad days with depression would take hold of me. I never wanted my hobby to become work, and it would take away the therapy I received from it.

Until I can get myself together with how I will come to make watercolor art financially beneficial for me, I will enjoy my thoughtless doodles and splashes of imaginary wonders on paper. I can’t wait for the moment when we could all get back to traveling and appreciating this gorgeous Earth.

Check out Teresa Cook’s instagram page, @teresacookartanddesigns.

Florae: Weeds are Flowers Too

Weeds are indeed the Devils of the Earth. They are resilient, durable, and, most times, annoying. I often wonder if that was the reason I created my hobby to hunt flowering weeds. I’m not sure what began the hobby, and I definitely wouldn’t talk about it amongst gardening addicts. They’d probably gouge out my eyes with their pruning shears.

Anyway, I took an interest in trying to see if weeds were as awful as we tend to make them out to be. I could compare weeds to sharks. Society (and Hollywood) created this fear in sharks making people believe that they purposely hunt human flesh when that is not the truth at all. Weeds appear as a serious problem. Yes, they are annoying. Yes, they can overtake an entire yard and are resistant tend to build resistance to weed killers. Yes, they have been around for hundreds of years, with no end in sight. I get it, but isn’t that the best part about them?

Apart of the Liliaceae plant family

I do a lot of hiking when I can. I never really noticed weeding flowers before until I picked up this strange little hobby. Now, on my hikes, I see them everywhere. I can barely get through a decent walk without stopping to snap a photo of a flowering weed I notice. And now I have an entire collection of weeding flowers on my MacBook. ( I am not ashamed. I won’t share it with anyone.)

These weeding flowers are just like mushrooms; rain brings out the best in them. I’ve tried replanting a gorgeous weeding flower I saw growing in my neighbor’s yard. The plant didn’t last one day. I tried several times after that, and the same thing happens even though I had preserved the rootball. Strange and wondrous, isn’t it?

Commelina erecta (Dayflower)

I’ve realized that flowering weeds are a great metaphor. They are strong and wild. Most of them have survived millions of years through evolution and continues to evolve. They are wild and beautiful, just like any Daisy, Rose, or Black-Eyed Susan. Perhaps that is why I began the hobby to hunt for them, to see them not as weeds but as this small power of life that thrives in places we don’t care to look. They contribute just as much to our ecosystems as any other living organism. Perhaps now, instead of seeing them as annoying and destructive, we could see them as little surviving heroes. At this point in our fight against climate change and Global Warming, we need all hands on deck to rescue our atmosphere.

(not sure)

Gaillardia pulchella (Indian Blanket)


Travel Break, A Hobby In Sea Voyages

Recently, I’ve had to take a break from travel because of my change in jobs going from morning shifts to overnight and having to put spending on hold to catch up on my priorities. At first, I felt like I was going to die of boredom without my nature hikes and road trips, but I thought since I have so many little souvenirs and collectibles at my disposal from all my traveling, I figured I’d display them for others to see.

Jekyll Island, GA 2017. Image Source: Nikki Lee

Bottle of shells – Clearance rack at Bealls. Image Source: Nikki Lee

Lighthouse Snow globe – St. Augustine, FL 2018. Image Source: Nikki Lee

Lighthouse – Gas Station. Image Source: Nikki Lee

I love anything to do with the ocean so I figured it was best to collect boats and anything that had to do with sea voyages. The boats I found on clearance racks at Marshalls, Bealls, and Stein Mart. The tiny figurines were collected at different beaches, and park gift shops.

The monocular and telescope were a steal from Stein Mart. I watched those beauties sit on the shelf for months at full price. One day I went in and saw them sitting on the Red Dot shelf. I discovered that they were both damaged. I didn’t mind it, they were going to be sitting on display never being handled so it was perfect. Patience is definitely a virtue!

Monocular with built in compass. Image Source: Nikki Lee

Image Source: Nikki Lee

Image Source: Nikki Lee

My collection is steadily growing as I keep an eye out for any nautical stuff that may go on sale. Though I may not be able to travel again just quite yet, adding to and showing off my hobby collection is just as much joy.

My entire tiny collection. Image Source: Nikki Lee

Every traveler should have a hobby or a collection because traveling the world installs inspirations that lasts a lifetime.