I’ve just gone through the familiar inquisition at the Canadian border, it always gets a little sticky when they ask that question, “What is your plan?”

It is the same question many people ask me when they meet me, with them I tend to be a little more candid, “I don’t have a plan, it is more of a general idea…” This inevitably doesn’t go well at borders, though despite my more acute answer the border agents still tend to look at me in disbelief.

Truth is it is a bunch of ideas, ideas of places go, people to meet, things to do and skills to learn. Whether I’ll get round to them is irrelevant, they are more of a guide.  To me not having a fixed plan or idea leaves one open to opportunities that might present themselves and allows one to be flexible enough take those opportunities and see where they might lead.

When Virginia‘s friend mentioned that he might have a friend in Sacramento who may be able to help me out with some prints of my work, my first thought was that I didn’t really want to backtrack to Sacramento when my “plan” was to head north, but the chance to learn a new skill and have some prints done weighed on my mind. The decision to make the trip became and easy one once Virginia decided to join the adventure.

We spent the day with Stuart Ratcliff, an inspiring artist, on his family’s estate which reminded me of something out of a Lewis Carroll novel, as did Stuart’s intricate art which littered his studio. He generously and patiently donated his day to us, printing and matting photographs so that when we hit the road north we had two boxes of gorgeous prints to show off along the way.

The prints remained snug in their boxes through snowy peaks and freezing lakes, up winding mountain passes and onto sandy beach tracks until we arrived upon South Bend in Washington where we stumbled upon a delightful little space called Elixir Cafe.

When one of the girls asked how I was with heights, I chuckled with a smile at my recent experience climbing ladders in South Lake Tahoe. Coffee turned into lending a hand putting up their Christmas tree. Which in turn lead to showing them the prints which were met with enthusiasm as they struggled to select their favourite ones to display in the coffee shop. The prints will be on display until they are either sold or I pick them up on my way south. So if you are passing through South Bend, Washington in the next month, why not stop by, have a Pumpkin Spiced Chai and if you walk out with a print your drink will be free.

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