30 July 2012

Challenge of...Travel

I have always wanted to travel the world.

I was envious of those who got to do a semester abroad. I always wanted to go to "study" in Australia with the koala bears and the kangaroos. I want to see the frescoes in Tuscany and the temples in Kyoto. I have always been intrigued by the culture and the people of India and it would be otherworldly to see the Taj Mahal in person. It would be a dream to take my daughter on an African safari to see her favorite animal the elephant. And I was fascinated when we had foreign exchange students who traveled halfway around the world to live and study and play in my small hometown.

I have my online friends over in Europe (hello, friends!) who can hop on a train, or a boat and be in another country in a matter of hours the way I would travel to another state. And although the United States is all one country, I would argue that each state feels distinctly different, almost as if traveling to a foreign land sometimes. But other times it has been surprisingly similar. I harbor a secret goal of one day visiting all the 50 states. So far I have been to less than half of them. That is something I really should change.

I am a travel wannabe. I want to have the matching luggage and confidence of navigating airports and train stations. I want to be the target audience for catalogs like TravelSmith. I can read about the travels of others like Ali Watters on www.travelblog.org/. But time and money are often an issue. Only 30 percent of Americans hold current passports in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of State. I would be in the majority on this statistic.

The closest country to me is Canada and I would love to travel there someday. I have been to Mexico for that Spring Break fling back in 1987. My parents took us to the Bahamas and I honeymooned in Jamaica. But I have truly never traveled and that makes me a bit sad. But I love that I can hop on the internet and be someplace new in a matter of minutes, whether it is investigating my dream vacation destination or read about the travels of others.

Olympic-Sized Inspiration

Right now the Olympics is in full swing in London. It is always thrilling to watch the Olympics unfold, learn about the host country and see the spirit of Olympism unite us all no matter where we call home. I wasn't able to watch the opening ceremonies, but that is my favorite part. I love the pageantry and the spectacle of that event, and I hear that it was a splendid treat. One of my favorite parts is when the athletes from each country get to walk into the stadium in their smart dress uniforms with the flag bearers. The overwhelming sense of pride of nation is so evident. That has always been an inspiration to me. And it always made me want to learn more about all these nations that I may have never heard of before.

The flag of the International Olympics Committee was designed in 1912,
adopted in June 1914 and debuted at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics (source: Wikipedia.)

The flag of the Olympics is iconic with its six colors: five rings in blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white field. These rings represent the "union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world." Interestingly, every flag of the 205 countries participating in the 300 events at this years' Olympics games can be found in those colors. There are five main regions that the rings represent: Africa, the Americas (North and South America are combined), Asia, Europe and Oceania.

The Olympics are all about nationalism and pride of place, but they are also the perfect gateway into understanding and embracing the uniqueness of each people and land. A perfect celebration of all that makes this world a wonderful place.

Travel Is More Fun With Friends

Last year at the end of the Challenge of Color, I asked if there were any suggestions people would like to see for future challenges. I like a challenge that can be accessible to anyone, anywhere no matter their skill or chosen medium. I got a lot of great suggestions but one kept rising to the top for me.

My friend Marcie Abney of La Bella Joya has always been an inspiration to me. She has posted challenges on her blog showcasing architecture or art with interesting color palettes in something she calls Margie & Me based off a book by Margie Deeb called The Beaders' Color Palette. I love watching how those personal challenges of hers unfold and what others who are inspired contribute as well. I know that she loves a challenge and she makes the most beautiful jewelry with tiny seed beads. She is a marvel. You can get her tutorials in her Etsy site, and you should see the cool designs that she has has published in the new book Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry.

It was Miss Marcie who shared the idea of a travel themed challenge. I am pleased to be collaborating with Miss Marcie on this challenge as we travel the world.

Ready to take the Challenge?

Miss Marcie and I would like you to travel with us around the world from the comfort of your own home. In this challenge you will be tasked with creating an accessory that captures the spirit of the nation that you are assigned.

Whatever your inspiration... the climate, the landscape, the colors on a topographical map, the way the people dress or what they eat, the architecture of the cities or the natural landmarks... I challenge you to be inspired by travel this month!

If you love traveling, this is the challenge for you! For the Challenge of Travel, we will each choose a nation from the list of participating Olympic countries in the five regions and create an accessory of our choice to represent it. Here is how it will work:

1::Go to the tab above that says 'take the challenge' and sign up. Participation is limited to the first 80 who sign up between July 30th-August 4th. Get it? Around the world in 80 countries!

2::Choose a region: Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe or Oceania. There is only one rule: you MUST choose a region that is NOT where you currently live. (This is a challenge after all!) So for instance, I will not be able to choose the Americas. But that leaves me 4 other regions and a huge list of countries to investigate.
3::From the list of countries in each region (see links below) select a country. You will list this country in your form at sign up. I also found the links to the Continents at NationsOnline to be very informative with loads of jumping off points.

OR Challenge yourself... You can opt to have me and Marcie pick a challenge country for you from your chosen region. ;-)

4::Do a little research. Pretend you are embarking on a journey to that country. As with any travel, you might want to do a little research to learn what you can about the country. Go to Google Images and type in the name of your country just to see what comes up... investigate if they have a tourism board... take a look at their flag and learn about the symbols and color choices...find out what makes that country unique in all the world. The Olympic.org website is a good place to start as well.

5::Mark your calendar: Blog Hop on Saturday, September 1st. Yes, you must have a blog to participate in a blog hop. You are encouraged to blog about your country selection, your inspiration, your creative process. Be sure to tell share what you have learned about this nation. Please find a way to share something about the country on your blog: the flag, the culture, the landscape, the architecture, etc. It doesn't have to be all of these, but some way that we can learn about this place that will be helpful in making the connection with your accessory.
Hopefully we will have as many different countries as we have participants. But even if we all did select the same nation we would still have so many different interpretations. This is an exercise in how to take the the beauty of a place as your inspiration and interpret it in your own way. I hope that this Challenge of Travel hop will be a great way to expand your horizons to the beauty that is found in every corner of the world, discover something new from the comfort of your own home and find a new travel destination!

I will compile all the entries into the database and email all of the participants by Tuesday, August 7th with more information to help you enjoy the hop.

The official Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for "Faster, Higher, Stronger." But a more informal motto that has been adopted is, "The most important thing is not to win, but to take part." And for us...the most important thing, the only rule really, is to HAVE FUN!

What one place in the world have you always wanted to visit and why?


Alice said...

I love this challenge! Since I was a little girl my family took a summer vacation every year. We traveled by car (like most families did back then) and have been to all but a handful of states. And later with a husband and kids, we have been so fortunate to travel most every year. I have the traveling 'bug' and can feel myself going through withdrawls these last three years when life kept us from hitting the road.

To answer your question, I am happy no matter where I go, as long as I'm with the ones I love.

And yes you can count me in for this challenge!

Alice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn Doucette said...

What a fantastic challenge Ms. Erin! I would love to participate, but just have a plate-ith that over-flow-ith for the next 3 weeks... literally crazy busy. However, I will hop and visit all the participants on reveal day! I just love seeing all the creativity flowing forth from those that participate!


Tammie T Everly said...

Looking forward to this~ Great idea!

Paige said...

What a great challenge idea! I've always wanted to travel all over the world as well. The top of my list right now is France (I suppose it's been at the top for about 15 years, though). But I'd also love to travel to Spain, Puerto Rico, China, Japan, India, Australia...and all 50 states! I've only been to 4 states though...but there's still time! :)

Flights To Morocco said...

It is such an inspirational and challenging travel idea. I really like this challenging travel idea and must want to do it because I love to do challenging stuffs.

Cindy said...

Erin, you and Marcie have dreamed up such an interesting blog hop and challenge! I've been fortunate to have lived all over the world and would have a hard time choosing. Unfortunately there's no way I can join in with everything going on in the month of August. I just finished up my BSBP the very day before my reveal date!...and I noticed you said you finished early this time - good for you! :-) I know we both usually burn the midnight oil. :-)

Arlene said...

I'd like to play

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin, sounds like a fun challenge and I have signed up! I love to travel, although in recent years it's been restricted somewhat thanks to the kids. But I hope that'll change again down the road.

I'm a big fan of taking some time to travel -- back in 2001, just before my husband and I moved back to Australia after living in California for several years, we spent three months touring the states in our trusty blue Subaru. We saw so much, travelling from West to East, South to North and back againfrom big cities like NYC and Chicago to college towns and all sorts of things in between, cornfields, BIG things in small towns, weird and wonderful museums. And of course, those magnificent National Parks in all their glory! If I could do it again, I would in a heartbeat!

Raven said...

What a wonderful idea - I have completed the form and put the button on my blog - I truly hope I'm in time! :)

A Polymer Penchant said...

U used my iPad like a globe - good old spin and point! I'm going to love learning all about Tuvalu!

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

Yes, please! I'm all signed up and eager to fill up the gas tank (on my private jet, of course). This is a wonderful challenge theme... after all, who hasn't dreamed of seeing the world?

Anonymous said...

Wow! What an interesting challenge. I've never been anywhere! I've also never been in a challenge so I want to try. This is exciting!

Anonymous said...

Although I've never been out of the country, my husband and I love to travel. Last year we took off on a 3 week 4,200 mile "epic journey" through 10 states and visited beautiful places like the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains, the Outer Banks of North Carolina and gracious old cities like Savannah and Charleston. It'll always be a wonderful memory for me so your post about travel got me excited to be a part of the challenge - looking forward to it!

Elly Snare said...

What a great challenge! I live in the UK so the Olympics has been all over the UK media for months now, but I still wasn't prepared for just how exciting it all is (and I'm not even a big fan of sports).

I think this is a fantastic challenge and have signed up. I haven't travelled a lot either but I'm hoping to save up and go at the end of this year - this challenge will help me start exploring! Very excited :)


Amy F said...

I'm going to have to sit this one out (and you know how much i love you hops!) but have lots of fun getting stamps in your beady passport!

Jewels By Ine said...

This is a really great challenge! I'm from Belgium and I do like to travel! Mostley in Europe so I'm really excited to learn something about another country outside Europe!

Erin Siegel said...

Well, I was fortunate enough to meet your partner in crime here in person just last weekend! How excited I was to meet miss Marcie at Ornamentea in NC. She is lovely and you couldn't have picked a more beautiful soul to pair yourself with. Oh, miss Erin. This challenge is very, VERY tempting. It's the perfect theme for me and I'm so close to clicking that link up there to participate, but I'm afraid I may have too much going on between now and the deadline of your challenge. I told myself I wasn't going to put any more on my plate or participate in any blog challenges until I was past this busy stretch. You are making quite difficult to stick to that plan! I really would love to come along with you on this one, though...

Arlene said...

Are we going to get contacted about this further? :) Is there something we are supposed to do besides just blog about the country and what not and display the done product? ;)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin