The value of sketching on my travels – or – Building time machines with ink

For those of you who are not on Facebook: Facebook serves up “memories” in your newsfeed from time to time – something that you “on this date” had posted a random number of years ago. This morning I was presented with this sketch of Vesuvio Bar in San Francisco that I’d posted five years ago. As soon as I saw the photo I began reliving that time.


Vesuvio Bar, San Francisco, CA – Moleskin Journal and Micron Ink Pen

I was right back in that bar. I could smell and taste my Irish coffee – remembering small details like requiring extra napkins brought by the waitress in the yellow t-shirt so that I could mop up the stream of melting whipped cream that had made the side of my cup sticky. I could remember the distinctive, faint aroma of the wooden objects in the bar that comes from decades of cigarette smoke and the salt air of a seaside town.  I could see the colorful stained glass lamps and framed photos and posters from times past on the walls. I could hear the voices of the people at the next table (they spoke of tennis matches and old-timey burlesque shows – the man in the black mock-turtleneck had a shock of white hair and a booming laugh) and the sound of the oversized barstools being dragged over the floor – a sound which seemed to be an unwelcome interruption to the thoughts of the man who strongly resembled Truman Capote sitting at the bar.

I became aware that I was experiencing in this moment the happy feeling I get when I’m in San Francisco. I remember planning to walk the few steps to City Lights Bookstore and then wander North Beach in search of Italian food.

All of this from a little ink.
Sketch Journals are part record, part time machine. Sketching demands that I am fully in the moment – a demand that activates all of my senses for as long as I am actively observing for the sketch.

As I relived this time from my dining room this morning, I had a comforting realization:  These volumes I’ve been filling will allow me to travel the world again and again long after my traveling days are behind me – a priceless gift to my future self.

I have been inspired to plan more travels (and my sketchbook is always #1 on my packing list) – I want to make sure that Future Me has plenty to relive.

Happy creating!










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