Tag Archives: travel

Finding My Zen

In the midst of all the hate-filled rhetoric and fear going on right now in this country I have found a greater need to spend time out in nature in order to ground myself and find peace.

My goal is to share the beauty of nature with others so that they too might find that same peace and be encouraged get out and commute with nature themselves.

So, here are a few of my favorite Zen moments from my journeys.

All photographs ©Tracy J Thomas, 2016. All rights reserved.

Fall Colors

It has been quite some time since I have posted on my blog. I have been very busy teaching and exploring. I decided it was past time and wanted to share some of the beautiful fall colors I found while on a hike in the Sierras the other day.

Mobile Photography Awards – 2013


The Mobile Photography Awards is considered by many to be the creme de la creme or the “Academy Awards” of mobile photography competitions. Last year I was pleased to receive two Honorable Mentions in the 2nd Annual MPA’s for my iPhone pieces “Illuminati” (in Visual FX) and “Rubber Band Man” (in People/Portraits).

I woke up this morning and was thrilled to discover I have received four Honorable Mentions in the 3rd Annual Mobile Photography Awards. This time for iPhone photographs in the categories of “Performing Arts,” “Photo Journalism,” “Travel,” and “Architecture.” I feel very honored to stand next to some of the greatest mobile photographers from around the globe. The winners and honorable mentions in all categories are fantastic and the art of mobile photography seems to be morphing in leaps and bounds each year.

I was even more pleased by the fact that Ed Kashi was one of the esteemed judges. Ed is an award-winning photojournalist who I have looked up to and followed for many years.

There are still a number of “traditional” camera photographers who are naysayers when it comes to mobile photography. In my opinion, as one who has played seriously on both sides of the craft, it would benefit those individuals to open their minds a bit more and pay close attention to some of the stellar work that is coming out of the world of mobile photography. Many are competing quite well alongside traditional DSLR and film pros in all areas. Mobile photography is not going away anytime soon.

To view the winners and honorable mentions in all categories click here.

"Músicos" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Performing Arts category.

“Músicos” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Performing Arts category.

"Dolls Para la Venta" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Travel category.

“Dolls Para la Venta” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Travel category.

"In Praise of Blue" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Photo Journalism category.

“In Praise of Blue” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2014. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Photo Journalism category.

"The Blue Room" - ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved.  Honorable Mention in the Architecture category.

“The Blue Room” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2013. All rights reserved. Honorable Mention in the Architecture category.

I Left My Heart in Massachusetts

©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Here we go again.

With every trip I take, I find myself falling in love with the new surroundings and reaching the conclusion that yes, I should definitely live there. Or there. Or over there.

I have done this with Port Townsend in Washington, Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, San Luis Valley in Colorado, Moab in Utah, the island of Kauai, Paris, London, Singapore, St. John in the Caribbean. And the list goes on.

Just call me fickle. Or maybe it’s due to a little bit of gypsy intertwined somewhere in my DNA.

Our most recent foray was to the lovely Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For decades now I have longed for a trip to Boston and Rhode Island in order to place my feet firmly on the ground where our country had its beginnings. I finally got my chance when asked to shoot a very special wedding in New Bedford.

The minute our plane circled over the Boston skyline and approached Logan Airport I knew this was going to be an epic trip. I became immediately smitten with the aerial view and had no doubt I would fall even more deeply once my feet hit terra firma.

“Mass Turnpike” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

As with any new relationship, the first contact was a tad tentative. Finding our bearings and navigating the Mass Turnpike was a bit nerve-wracking straight off a six hour flight with nighttime approaching. We only missed one tunnel and were lead back smack into the heart of the downtown. But there were plenty of friendly Bostonians to point us back in the right direction.

After an hour drive, we reached our accommodations for the week; a charming little beach house in Fairhaven. The moment I stepped outside onto the back deck I felt myself take a deep breath and release it in a long, slow sigh. I could hear the ocean lapping at the shoreline mere yards from the house.

I was in love. Yet again…

The next morning revealed an astounding view of Buzzard’s Bay from the big bay window in the living room.

“Buzzards Bay” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

There was a quaint little beach shack directly behind the house that held fishing poles, clam rakes, a kayak and anything else one would desire to use at the beach.

“Beach Shack” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

In between shooting the pre-wedding events, we took as many side trips as time would allow.

No journey to Mass would be complete without riding the “T” into and around Boston. We drove to Quincy and hopped on the red line that lead us to the orange line that was supposed to lead us to the blue line where we would walk mere yards to the Long Wharf to catch a Boston Harbor cruise.

“The T” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Well, being a tourist is simply not being a tourist unless you end up lost at least once. We exited the “T” earlier than we should have after speaking to a local who told us we could hop out at Downtown Crossing and take a short walk through Quincy Market and past Fenueil Hall to the Wharf. His version of “short walk” and ours were worlds apart. So we missed our cruise.

We discovered how nice Bostonian’s could be when the ticket agent not only gave us a full refund but booked us on the next cruise for free! That gave us time to have lunch at a seafood restaurant where I drooled over a bowl of lobster bisque and fresh out of the oven french bread. I washed that all down with a wonderful Maine-brewed Hefeweizen.

“Boston Harbor” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The harbor cruise was relaxing and informative and provided a glorious view of the city skyline.

“USS Constitution” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

After the harbor cruise, we chose to follow part of the Freedom Trail up through the Italian section to the North Church, past Paul Revere’s house and then back to the Olde State House.

“Olde State House” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

The next day, we had lunch in Providence, Rhode Island and walked the hilly streets that were lined with incredible Cape and Victorian-era houses.

We strolled through beautiful Brown University where I began to think of ways I could attend Brown and acquire yet another degree. It’s good we didn’t visit Yale or Harvard or Dartmouth because I would certainly feel conflicted. Yes, I also fall in love with educational institutions. Especially the ivy-league kind that I could never afford to attend.

We drove to Falmouth and took a ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard one afternoon. Everything about Martha’s Vineyard embraced me. From the oldest working carousel in the nation to the quirky and colorful gingerbread cottages that line the MVCMA.

“Gingerbread Cottages” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

And then there was the steamed lobster…

Alex lovin’ on his steamed lobster – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

On our last day of the trip, we decided to drive all the way up the Cape to experience Provincetown. Of course I fell in love with every little historical town that lined the cape thinking “I could live here. I could live there.” The sense of history and beauty of the area was astounding.

Though quaint, P-Town was a bit too touristy for me. I can certainly understand its lure during the non peak season. We had lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall cafe that served incredibly delicious Lobstah rolls.

Lobstah roll in P-Town. – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

On our way back down the Cape we stopped in at Highland Lighthouse and were pleased to spot a pod of whales feeding just off the point. I got great pleasure posting this on my Facebook status: “Whatcha’ doing right now? Oh, just watching whales swim by off Cape Cod… Nothin’ special :-).”

Lighthouse at Truro on Cape Cod – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

It was such a magical trip for many reasons. I fell hard for the history and beauty of the area. I fell hard for the friendliness and happy demeanor of the people. I of course always fall hard for any town near an ocean and beaches, but these little towns drew me in like few others.

I could only imagine the lure of the Fall colors and how that would have sealed the deal for me. I would have adamantly refused to climb back on the plane for home if the wedding had occurred but a month later in the year. But that is one more of many good reasons to visit the east coast yet again in the future.

“Alone Time” – ©Tracy J. Thomas, 2012. All rights reserved.

Genes of a Gypsy

gyp·sy [ˈjipsē]: One inclined to a nomadic, unconventional way of life.

I would make an excellent Gypsy. In fact I am certain my Northern Irish genes contain a bit of ubiquitous “Traveller” DNA somewhere in the depths of that genetic spiral. And I am most definitely “unconventional.” If I had my way, I would be on the road full-time, taking photos and writing volume after volume about the people and places I met along the way.

Lucy soaks up the moonlight at Cave Lake State Park, Ely, Nevada.

A few months ago we purchased a 1956 vintage travel trailer that had been refurbished by a couple in Colorado. She is a beauty and her name is Lucy. The minute we towed her home I was ready to hit the highway. I created a portable solar generator that could power her lights even if we were camping somewhere off the grid. I began to research satellite internet, GPS communication enhancers and even switched over to Verizon so I would have more nationwide coverage for my iPhone. I felt this overwhelming urge to sell it all and burn some rubber on the path towards endless adventure and new discoveries.

Lucy at the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, San Luis Valley, Colorado.

We had what I would call our “Gypsy practice run” in the month of August; almost three weeks of pure joy camping with Lucy in Nevada, Utah and Colorado. It all just felt so right. Spending several nights camped in different places while taking side trips to National parks, ghost towns, old mining districts and hiking trails. Wherever we went we met great people, some of them had the Gypsy gene themselves and were doing exactly what I wanted to do full-time. Oh how I envied them for acting on their dreams.

Lucy just outside of Moab, Utah.

For now I am back in the “real” world and submerged in the reality that is my current life. But as I sit here writing and glance out the window at Lucy as she rests in the driveway of this thankless city, I pause for a bit with a big smile on my face, a dream in my heart and listen to the whisper of the road that keeps calling to me. Someday soon that dream will be a reality. Someday soon.
For more on Travels With Lucy, visit my other blog: http://www.travelswithlucy.com