Weekly Photo Challenge – Favourite Place

I have to be honest and confess that my Favourite Place is where I live: Cortes Island, BC, Canada!!! It is one of the many islands on the West Coast region on the Salish Sea. I live on 33 acres, tucked in between two provincial parks – one of which is Kwas Park – and on the banks of two white sands lakes, Gunflint and Hague. And then there is Hanks Beach, a lush forest trails that leads you to the ever-changing sea. I take advantage of both Kwas Park and Hanks Beach on a daily basis where I get to see all sorts of wildlife, very few people, and to experience new levels of tranquility every day. On top of all this visual enchantment, I share this beautiful place I call home with a very supportive community with an abundance of talent. The bounty never ends…

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Staycation = Art-Vacation

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Everyone’s idea of a  perfect staycation may differ, but whatever your idea is, I strongly suggest you try it some day. First off, no matter how you choose to spend it, it will be spent where you live and taking advantage of your local attractions, your home, your family and your favourite activity (mine is doing art in case you didn’t know!) I decided on the fly to take a mini staycation last week. For me, this means doing all the things I just mentioned above but adding to the mix staying in the present moment and taking a break from social media – which also means something I highly recommend – no screen time!!!

My staycation coincided with a very sunny and crispy week, weather-wise, so I spent a lot of quality time with my family and in my art studio being creative and admiring the gorgeous weather from the warmth of my house. I felt it would also be great timing to spend time preparing my upcoming vacation to Costa Rica with my best friend. Not only am I excited about going there but also because I know that I am due to return one week before the official start of spring and life will get busy as we move into gardening time! I also took the opportunity to start working on my biggest painting to date! A piece I am creating for a summer art show on Cortes Island. I have to say I am having fun working on a big projects but they’re labour and time intensive; it felt good to take the time to nail out my concept and get the bulk of it done. I look forward to sharing my new painting “Space” with you this Summer. Of course my family (2 mixed-breed Chihuahuas) love hanging out in the studio with me and watching the work grow!!! xoxo Laura

A Staycation!!!

What does that word mean to you? Have you ever taken one of those? And if so, what did you do? Or what would you do if you took one?

So I just had a staycation right here on Cortes Island… and I think it’s a really interesting thing to do and would suggest everyone to give it a try – whether it means taking five days, two weeks, or a month off your regular routine. Mine ended up lasting two weeks and instead of jetting off somewhere you have been before or on to an new adventure, try Staying Where You Live!!!

So I obviously stayed on Cortes Island, in  beautiful BC, Canada. I did this for many reasons: 1st – I love where I live as there are many activities to do here that I enjoy but don’t always give myself the time to enjoy… I am often too busy to – shall I say – smell the flowers and chillax. 2nd – I had a desire to slightly change my routine. For one thing, we went through a very long, cold winter which saw us spend much time inside, and then I co-produced an art event (Expose Yourself) that had me working from September to March and kept me at my computer more than I usually want or desire. I also created an art installation that grew beyond its original scope to something much bigger than planned, which meant a lot of work inside my studio (which I love!), and with the sunlight rising earlier and setting later, I started to feel antsy for the outdoors. And 3rd – I needed to not be distracted from who I really am, take some well needed time in my own brain to figure out what my next move/chapter/mission really is and figure out what do I love, what am I really into, what and who did I really want to vote for (politically as we just had an election in our province), what do I really stand for?

So of course, my staycation meant staying in my own environment – my home, my studio, and my brain! And with my family and away from social media (there were a few moments, I do admit, when I did go on social media but only for very specific reasons). It was refreshing in so many ways. Yes, I missed seeing what my friends were up to, chatting on my network because I do live in a very rural area and can be quite isolated. Taking a break from the computer however, helped me realize how much distraction there is on social media; it can take up so much space in your mind and leave little space to see how to get to the next step, or makes you lose focus and forget what your goals are in the first place.

My staycation turned out to be very interesting in ways I did not expect: For one thing, I saw things on Cortes Island I had never noticed before and will certainly share on some of those things in future posts. And the list of what I did accomplished during that time is quite extensive: I finished my online classes and started a new introductory class at the School for Aromatic Studies, which I also finished (this was very inspiring and brought me back to my roots in so many ways, but that’s for another blog post). I got all caught up with my spring work in my gardens. I  started installing the show that was created during the Curators Workshop for the upcoming season at The Cortes Island Museum on Refugee Cove. I brought out my hula-hoop again. I went boating on the Salish Sea. I went out for brunch with friends and had a beautiful dinner with my sweetheart at our local restaurant at the Gorge Marina, and spent countless hours walking up and down all the different white sandy beaches with my family. Yes, the one down side of a staycation is that you still have to do your chores, run your usual errands but at the same time, you know you will be sleeping in a clean and comfy bed and enjoy the food! So all in all, it was great and I am now ready to move on to an enjoyable rest of spring and a fruitful summer ahead, and keep working towards the next chapter of what “creating art” means to me. I hope everyone gets an opportunity to try a staycation someday because it was a thoroughly refreshing experience that taught me a lot about myself and my goals.

And here are a few photos of my staycation!!!

xoxo Laura Balducci

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