When I was in 5th grade, we had to do a project on countries around the world. We were each assigned a country and had to stand in front of the class and tell all about what we learned. This is where my dreams of traveling began.

My parents took my brother and I on great trips but we pretty much stayed within the States. So when I was in my first semester at Art Center and learned they had a European campus in Switzerland, I was beyond excited. My friend Carlee and I were both illustration majors and couldn’t wait for our semester in Vevey, Switzerland. It was going to be my first overseas travel and I was going to be there with my best friend learning ART from some amazing European Professors. WOW. Can you image how excited the 21 year old me was?? BEYOND excited!!! Unfortunately, just before we were set to have the experience of a lifetime, the school unexpectedly (to us) closed it’s doors. Carlee and I were completely heartbroken. Really, I was so sad because we were soooo looking forward to this and my dream was crushed.

Fast forward a few years – I’m working at South Park and just started street painting during our summer hiatus’. I was having a blast and doing some really fun travel to paint in festivals around the U.S. But then I started to hear about all these fantastic festivals in Europe and just knew I had to figure out how to participate.

There were two events I had to attend…the first, was the original street painting festival in Grazie, a little town in Mantova, Italy. Italy!! EEK. Yes, had to!! Second was the Strassenmaler festival in Geldern, Germany. Again, EEK. Each event is a competition and each is in a little town where just getting there is a little adventure. I think I’ll have to write a post on each of these events because they were such a phenomenal experience for me. Needless to say, I had an amazing time at each event and made some incredible friends and connections in the street painting world. I won two international awards to boot!!! But – the best part of each of these events was actually being immersed in the culture of the event and the country. There is something really special about creating a work of art in a different country – Surrounded by local artists who may or may not speak your language, but understanding each other none the less because you’re working toward the same goal with the same dirty hands under the same beating sun.

Over the last 20 years I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world creating art. It’s crazy when I think about the opportunities I’ve had to paint in so many amazing places. I should probably mention that little phrase about ‘Manifesting Destiny’. The two things I dreamed about when I was young – becoming an artist and traveling. Suddenly, I was doing both simultaneously. Clients were flying me around to their cities to create a painting or help start a festival. It really wasn’t something I planned other then wanting to REALLY REALLY wanting to do both. ‘Manifest Destiny people – It’s a thing’. Do it!!!

I don’t think you can understand the importance of traveling and experiencing different cultures until you actually do it. And when you can’t do that, like now, you really miss it. Traveling is pretty much the only thing I’ve missed since the pandemic started. Not that I had any major trips planned or anything. It’s just one of those things you suddenly realize, may not be possible for a very long time. Which lead me to really think about where I would go if I could. So, I’ve put together a quick list of my favorite cities in the world. These are favorites for various reasons but all very special to me. So, over the next few weeks I’m going to share why I love each of these places and can’t wait to go back… Post pandemic, of course :). As well as a list of cities that are on my ‘Must Visit’ list. Manifest Destiny!!!

So first…My favorites!! In no particular order.

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Venice, Italy
  3. Edinburgh, Scotland
  4. Liverpool, Ireland
  5. Utrecht, The Netherlands
  6. Marrakesh, Morocco
  7. Istanbul, Turkey
  8. Bangkok, Thailand
  9. Jerusalem, Israel
  10. Paris, France