Who are you?

 I am a photographer and teacher trying to balance my yearning for travel and adventure with an equally strong desire for a real home.

This is a journey that may not exactly have an ending, but it began in the Adirondack mountains of northern New York, where I was born in a one-room log cabin that my father built by hand, felling the trees himself from the huge woods on our land. I grew up with no electricity until I was six years old, when my family began a ten-year odyssey across the West in an old wood-paneled Jeep Grand Cherokee and a travel trailer. We moved from a campground on the California ocean to the middle of the Arizona desert and back again, up to a pretty 5-acre plot of land in Oregon, returned to the east when I was ten, continued on to the rolling farmland of Wisconsin, and finally landed on the humid and beautiful sunbake of a key just off the western coast of Florida.

So far, my story has taken me from traveling, teaching and photographing in Europe, Asia, Central and South America to nearly-married life with a fly fisherman in remote Montana and to my most recent home on a small island off of South Korea.

I know that I cannot ever abandon my vagabond roots, but I’ve found that I also love the feeling of being truly at home in my own little corner of the world.

Follow my journey as I continue to make my way out into the great blue beyond and back again.

Along the way, I’ll be posting bits and pieces of my life and the things that make my days brighter.


What does “a bolt in the blue” mean anyway?

I’m a Bolt, and I’m out in the blue!

What kind of camera do you use?

I use a Nikon D7000 and an 18-200 mm lens. I also use a 50mm lens sometimes, and occasionally (but not often) a Nikon SB-700 speedlight.

How do you feel about sharing your photos?
That’s fine with me! Just be sure to properly credit and link back to my site.
Can you post a poem that will make me want to pack my bags?

Yes! Read on….

 Questions of Travel

There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams

hurry too rapidly down to the sea,

and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops

makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion,

turning to waterfalls under our very eyes.

–For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains,

aren’t waterfalls yet,

in a quick age or so, as ages go here,

they probably will be.

But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling,

the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships,

slime-hung and barnacled.

Think of the long trip home.

Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?

Where should we be today?

Is it right to be watching strangers in a play

in this strangest of theatres?

What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life

in our bodies, we are determined to rush

to see the sun the other way around?

The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?

To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,

inexplicable and impenetrable,

at any view,

instantly seen and always, always delightful?

Oh, must we dream our dreams

and have them, too?

And have we room

for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?

But surely it would have been a pity

not to have seen the trees along this road,

really exaggerated in their beauty,

not to have seen them gesturing

like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.

–Not to have had to stop for gas and heard

the sad, two-noted, wooden tune

of disparate wooden clogs

carelessly clacking over

a grease-stained filling-station floor.

(In another country the clogs would all be tested.

Each pair there would have identical pitch.)

–A pity not to have heard

the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird

who sings above the broken gasoline pump

in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:

three towers, five silver crosses.

–Yes, a pity not to have pondered,

blurr’dly and inconclusively,

on what connection can exist for centuries

between the crudest wooden footwear

and, careful and finicky,

the whittled fantasies of wooden footwear

and, careful and finicky,

the whittled fantasies of wooden cages.

–Never to have studied history in

the weak calligraphy of songbirds’ cages.

–And never to have had to listen to rain

so much like politicians’ speeches:

two hours of unrelenting oratory

and then a sudden golden silence

in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:

Is it lack of imagination that makes us come

to imagined places, not just stay at home?

Or could Pascal have been not entirely right

about just sitting quietly in one’s room?

Continent, city, country, society:

the choice is never wide and never free.

And here, or there . . . No. Should we have stayed at home,

wherever that may be?

~Elizabeth Bishop


22 thoughts on “FAQ

  1. Thank you for stopping by and following my blog. You have a very interesting story. My daughter loves photography and just got her first really good camera. I will send her to your blog for tips 😉

  2. Hi Serenity Bolt, thought i’d stop by and see what you’re all about…
    I think in a lot of ways we could possibly be the same person! 🙂 When I clicked on your gravatar I could relate immediately. Not only have I long wanted to adopt a Labradoodle and call him Atticus (I actually have a t-shirt with TKAMB on it – one of my fav books) but I completely identify with the yearning to travel and hypocritical need to home-make. I have a beautiful home, but alas I have only spent spent 27 days in it since last October for my NEED to travel. I justify it to myself by telling myself that my home gives me a place to belong in this world alone as so often when you travel you are never alone.
    What do you think? Why do you think we’re like this?
    Stay safe, serenity, looking forward to exploring your blog.
    Kazza x

    • Hi Kazza, thanks for writing to me. I checked out your blog and it looks like you are having some amazing adventures in Africa! I hope someday I can make it there. I think we’re like this because we demand MORE out of life. I just want to feel like I got as much out of it as I could and, for me, one of things that means is seeing as much of the world as possible. I also feel like I have this whole sphere of life (cooking, having a dog, having lasting friendships and being near my family) that fulfills me in a totally different way but is equally important. I think the reason we also crave a home is because we (or at least I) need time for reflection, and always being on the move means never having time to process my experiences or relate them to what I feel is my “real” life.

      I also need a home so I’ll have somewhere to put all the weird, cool things I find along the way. Maybe I just saw too many movies growing up where archeologists/anthropologists (I used to want to be one!) have rooms crammed with weird objects they’ve picked up on all their strange travels and that put me on a mission!

  3. Hello,

    I just checked your website. Wonderful pictures especially the ones in South Korea. I like “LIZ” too. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for following it. Yours is soooo cool !, ;-), have a great day !

  4. Thank you for liking my post. I see you traveled a lot. That’s also my wish. Have you always traveled alone? Can you tell something about that. I wonder what you teach.

  5. Give to me the life I love,
    Let the lave go by me,
    Give the jolly heaven above
    And the byway nigh me.
    Bed in the bush with stars to see,
    Bread I dip in the river –
    There’s the life for a man like me,
    There’s the life for ever.

    Let the blow fall soon or late,
    Let what will be o’er me;
    Give the face of earth around
    And the road before me.
    Wealth I seek not, hope nor love,
    Nor a friend to know me;
    All I seek, the heaven above
    And the road below me.

    Or let autumn fall on me
    Where afield I linger,
    Silencing the bird on tree,
    Biting the blue finger.
    White as meal the frosty field –
    Warm the fireside haven –
    Not to autumn will I yield,
    Not to winter even!

    Let the blow fall soon or late,
    Let what will be o’er me;
    Give the face of earth around,
    And the road before me.
    Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,
    Nor a friend to know me;
    All I ask, the heaven above
    And the road below me. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

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