Woman of the Week: Marie

Marie and I have been best friends since about fifth grade, when we were partnered up to work on math together in school. We spent the next few summers swimming everyday at a country club pool, Marie’s mom picking me up every morning and dropping me off when we’d had our fill of swimming and sun. Her family later took me on vacation to Sanibel Island, and most recently, Marie was my travel partner through Southeast Asia! This woman has an amazing artistic eye, no matter what type of art she is producing, but her photography skills are definitely evident and I can’t wait to see the work she creates as she enters graduate school for film in the fall. (All photos in this post are Marie’s).



1. Tell us about yourself.

I’m moving to LA in a month to go to graduate school for film with a concentration in directing, at UCLA. I’ve been able to do a lot of travelling the past year because I’ve been living with my parents and working as a barista.

This past year I’ve visited Southeast Asia, Arizona, Colorado, Serbia, London, and Mexico! Before that I studied printmaking at Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy for six weeks. It was an IU study abroad program through the fine arts department. I’ve also traveled to Paris, through Italy, and to Serbia with my family and my boyfriend’s family.

A photo Marie took while at the Great Sand Dunes National Park this June.
Marie’s shot was able to capture a bit of the immensity of the dunes.
Billions of grains of sand. Photo credits to Marie R.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Hang with friends, read, photography and painting.

Marie at the Women’s March in Washington DC.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

The Vegetarian by Han Kang. I’d describe it as a psychological thriller? It’s about a Korean woman who decides to become a vegetarian after having a violent nightmare. Her decision to become a vegetarian creates a ripple effect of violence, betrayal, and chaos in her family.

2. Why do you travel?

To see different cultures, to see how different people live. It opens your mind to new philosophies and ways of being. I also like going to museums in different places and seeing how art has developed differently around the world, seeing famous works of art in different places. Eating good food is always a highlight as well.

A beautiful mandala on the roof of the Islamic Arts Museum.
Another beautiful shot from the Islamic Arts Museum.

3. How do you balance travel and work?

It has been relatively easy for me to request off work as a part time barista. I’m working almost full time, but the fact that it’s right under 40 hours means that I’m still making money but I have the flexibility of being part-time.  And I’m living with my parents right now so that definitely helps in terms of saving money.

A close up of a plant at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
A little bee, pausing on a flower petal.

The film industry is gig-based, so once I enter that industry in LA it should be relatively easy to plan time off between gigs to travel.

4. What is the best lesson you’ve learned from your trips?

I get perspective every time I travel… it helps to shake things up in your life.

Speaking of perspective – a shot from the bottom of the statue at the Batu Caves in Malaysia.

Realizing you’re not as boxed in as you think you are back home?

Exactly. You’re reminded how small you are it puts your problems in perspective. It reminds you that you can be spontaneous and you can change direction at any time.

5. Tell us about one of your favorite travel experiences

In Thailand, we were staying on a secluded beach on the coast of Krabi in Thailand and the ocean was really still, the tide was low, and the water was warm. I swam out a bit and just sat in the water for about two hours and watching the sun go down. It was just one of those spiritual moments where you find peace in the natural beauty that surrounds you, where you feel content to just exist alongside it all.


Views of our bungalow pier from the beach – when the tide is low you can walk more than a mile onto the beach, but the its high tide, the water comes up to the first few steps on the staircase!



6. If you could share one travel tip, what would it be?

Go in knowing that things will go wrong. You’ll have unexpected costs and you won’t always follow your itinerary. Just to keep an open mind and appreciate the adventure… even in the hard times.

What’s an example of a hard time you’ve had while traveling?

When we [Marie and Sarah] were walking to the White Temple and we couldn’t find the bus station, so we were walking around in the heat for hours. We just had to stop at that coffee shop along the way and drink some water and chill out. We had to accept it that we might have to change our plan and there was no need to give ourselves heat exhaustion in order to stick to the schedule.

The White Temple was a sight to see once we finally made it!
The White Temple and the hands underneath the bridge!
More from the White Temple.

There was another time when I was charged 100 Swiss francs because I’d ridden the train without a ticket, as an example of an unexpected cost. So budget travelling is good, but be realistic.

Marie and I on a lookout point in Hong Kong.
Wrapping up our time in Southeast Asia with a sunset cruise on the Hong Kong waters.



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