Da Zhao Temple, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China. 2018, 9×7 in., micron on paper.
Jogyesa Temple, Seoul, South Korea.2018, 9×7 in., micron on paper.

My wife and I left for Asia in February of 2018. We initially penciled out a two month Buddhist pilgrimage around Shikoku, Japan. While planning, the two months turned into six, then ten. The final itinerary started in Hong Kong and ended in Japan. The trip snaked north through China, into Mongolia, then over toward South Korea and Japan. This would be the longest trip we’d ever taken. We wanted freedom to change course, so we planned little ahead. When we left Seattle, we had no return tickets and only ten nights of accommodations booked in Hong Kong.

It’s hard to sum up ten months. A long trip is a chance to slow down and reflect. In the unfamiliar everything feels worthy of reflection.

My sketchbook turned into a kind of passport. Not speaking the language, I just handed my sketchbook to people we met and made friends instantly.

For ten months I captured what I saw, from the everyday to the unexpected, in my sketchbook. I was unprepared for how profoundly art would change my relationship to our surroundings. My humble sketches opened cultural doors to friendship, opportunity, and adventure.