Laura Fortune


I'm on a boat!

Family, U.S. Travel, RoadtripLaura Fortune1 Comment

August 12

Back in Austin and back with my uncle and aunt.  It felt most like a homecoming than I might feel anywhere.  When I was last here they helped me so much to build my display.  At the beginning of my trip, I arrived after a 24 hour day of my Jeep breaking down and having a new van rental.  I feel like a totally different person than when I was here on July 2nd.  I am a different person.  Unplanned, I drove close to 9,000 miles all over western side of the United States and into Canada.  I took it day-by-day and never could have imagined I would have the experience I did.  

Seeing them again and their enthusiasm for my adventure was so sweet.  It's nice to have people that realize what an undertaking it has been and feel excited for this moment in my life.

We packed up and went out onto their boat at Lake Travis and had a wonderful day and evening floating in the lake and sailing with their friends and just enjoying all being together.


Vegas to Tucson

Family, U.S. Travel, RoadtripLaura Fortune3 Comments

August 8

It's a 7 hour drive. I'm not sure any drive under 8 hours will feel long to me ever again. I arrived in no time, it seemed.  


I'm here to visit my uncle and aunt again and to go to the dentist the following day, in Mexico. 

The dentist office called to confirm my appointment and I asked the question that had come to my mind this week.  

"Will this procedure be fully completed tomorrow?"

"No, you will need to come back for the second part of the procedure in 2-3 months."

Well, damn.

And with that answer, I began researching having a single dental implant in Portugal.  


Art, Craft Show, Jewelry, FamilyLaura FortuneComment


July 22

I showed up to Hangar 30 of Magnusen Park in Seattle pretty early.  I have found going about this alone, I am generally one of the first vendors there and last to leave.  My set-up and break down just take me longer than seasoned show vendors.

I enjoyed the community of friends I had made throughout each show.  Other people had signed-up to do all of these shows and we began to recognize each other each weekend and have a certain camaraderie.  

And then I overheard someone describe this life as being a 'Carnie' and I was stopped dead in my tracks. Dreams do come true!


That evening I returned to my cousins house and he gave me a tour of the new home they would be moving to the following day.  I understand big moves and choices, and I’m happy for them. 

No Friend Left Behind

Family, Life Learning, RoadtripLaura FortuneComment

July 16

Saturday night after the show, I drove over to a friends house in Oakland where I would be staying for the weekend.  We lazed on her couch and caught up for a bit.  Then we drove into the city and I met-up with a good friend’s older brother, who has also become a friend of mine, and later another friend I haven’t seen since high school came through and we went dancing later that night. 

On Sunday, the same high school friend came by that morning to bring some treats for me and to relieve me for a moment to watch my booth.  Sunday evening, two friends of mine who I met in Brooklyn, came to see me and help me pack up.  We rode in my minivan back to the East Bay, and we laughed about old times and lamented that we couldn’t believe we were all on the west coast at the same time.

A friend's view from the floor of the back of the van as I drove us over to the East Bay

A friend's view from the floor of the back of the van as I drove us over to the East Bay

The family and friends I have been fortunate to see on this trip has been incredible.  So many supportive people from all parts of my life, who have taken the time to come to see me, and for me to see parts of their world and each with the ability to pick-up wherever we left off.  I’m a lucky girl.


July 14

FamilyLaura Fortune1 Comment

Today is my birthday, but the preparation really began the night before, when my brother, the kids and I went on a canoe trip down the American River and came across bushes of wild blackberries.  

It was the first time my brother took three kids in one boat, as a kayak is usually involved, or someone stays home.  They were great and just so much fun.  I can see the adventurists and discoverers that are developing in each of them and I felt glad for them that they have my brother to take them on these excursions, just as he did for me, and encouraged a bit of fearlessness.   


We stopped for a swim and it was on our second stop that we found the blackberry bushes.  My brother had everyone drink the water in the water jug he brought along, so that we could fill the jug with blackberries.  I believed we collected close to 6 cups of wild blackberries.  My 10 year old nephew was a champion and worked hard for the bounty, climbing into thorny bushes to collect more and more.  

I picked peaches from the peach tree in my brothers backyard and baked a Peach and Blackberry Cobbler for the birthday party.  What a treat!  We almost finished a full dish of the cobbler with vanilla ice cream, in one birthday party sitting.  So good.


Despicable Me

Family, Life LearningLaura FortuneComment

July 11

I love visiting this little family, and this morning we realized I hadn't been to their house in California for almost two years.  I had seen them in Tallahassee and on their trip to New York City, but as I was pretty steady with visiting, it just hadn't happened in a while.

As I get older and see the kids grow, I can't help but to think of how different my brother and my life has looked.  I've been free to come and go and stayed unattached to the responsibility of a family, and it's almost all he has known his whole adult life.  

I think this crosses my brother and sister-in-laws minds when I'm around, too.  Do any of us know more than the other when our lives are just so different?  Do any of us feel like we made a bold choice at some point in our lives?  I think when we talk about our experiences it's more of a consensus that we are all just trying to do the best we can on that particular day.  

And on this day, I went to see the kids swim practice and my sister-in-law as the swim coach, I took the kids to In-N-Out Burger, and to pick out one candy at a gas station.  Then I took them to see Despicable Me at the movies.  And when the movie began, I promptly fell asleep for the duration.  Despicable.    


My California Family

Family, RoadtripLaura FortuneComment

July 10

I left Los Angeles and decided to just boogie up to Sacramento to my brother’s home.  He has a wonderful wife who is a devoted mother and hardworker and their three kids are just super smart and great kids.  I love being around my family and I just wanted to chill out this week before moving forward and onto San Francisco. 

I walked into the house, and my five-year-old niece informed me that I was going to sleep in her room.  She has a calendar on her wall that was counting the down the days until I showed up.  I’m feeling the slumber party vibes.


Mexican Dentist

Family, International Travel, Life Learning, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura FortuneComment

July 6

My uncle and aunt moved from Breckenridge to Tucson and I was one of the first visitors to their new home.  Since the move they had began traveling to see a dentist in Mexico, a place highly recommended and much cheaper than American dental costs.  I have never had dental insurance and have always paid out-of-pocket for my extensive dental needs, so this appointment to see a dentist in Mexico was really exciting to me. 


I had never been to Mexico and it just seemed to be a funny reason to go. 

I had a loose crown and it needed to be re-cemented, a simple procedure, from my understanding.


After the dentist looked over my x-rays, it was brought to my attention that the loose crown was actually a loose tooth implant, and it was infected and needed to be extracted.  I was handed the tooth implant in a plastic bag, a prescription for antibiotics, a list of the costs that I will pay for a new implant and a follow-up appointment card to see the specialist in one month, after the bone in my mouth heals. 

I didn’t expect any of this.  I didn’t expect to have one less tooth for the month, to need to pay the cost for a new implant (it’s less than in the US, but still a pretty big expense), or to need to extend my roadtrip so that I land back in Arizona the first week of August. 

A few days earlier I was hit with the unexpected car loss and readjustment to the change of automobile, and now I was readjusting my trip again. 

It was overwhelming and shocking.  But the tooth problem needed to be taken care of and infection is nothing to ignore.  So I leaned into the change again and carried on.

In five days, I lost my car and a tooth.  Rolling with it.

Alright Tucson, see you in one month. 


Long Roads

Family, Roadtrip, U.S. TravelLaura FortuneComment

July 5

I left Austin around 5:15am and I headed west.  

This was a long day of driving, but these days feel really manageable to me, and I am happy for that.  I have a lot on my mind and then nothing on my mind for long stretches.  I drove through western Texas, and then a little of New Mexico and my final stop for the day was Tucson, Arizona.  I had never been in these parts of America.  There is not much there.  Long roads, plateaus, dry vegetation, mountains, and more long roads.  Not many people travel this part besides just to move from on side of the country to the other, so the driving was pretty mindless.  But here I am.



Independence Day Sail

FamilyLaura Fortune1 Comment

I have spent 3 Fourth of July's on a boat in Lake Travis with my Austin family.  I'd say that's a pretty good run.  We went for a quick and perfect sail, grilled a lunch on the boat and then headed back to the mainland so that I could pack-up and get ready for the next leg of this journey.

July 2nd and Day Two

Studio, Family, ArtLaura FortuneComment

I woke up at my Uncle and Aunt's house.  They are some of the most incredible people I know.  Crazy smart and super fun.  Basically the best combination.  They love to sail on their sailboat, bird watch, create beautifully crafted woodwork, cook amazing pizzas, and spend time with their friends and family.  Plus they have a parakeet that has an extensive vocabulary and says things like, "Wanna Kiss?  Wanna drink? Wanna coffee? Wanna take a picture? I'm so cute."

I asked my Uncle if he would help me build my display for the shows and to travel with.  He obliged and we got to work.  

It was a special experience to work with him in his woodshop.  He has built boats and architecturally complicated woodwork for multi-million dollar homes.  He is a wealth of knowledge and similarly shared stories with me of following my grandfather around (his dad) and learning woodworking and building from him.  I loved this time to spend with him and his generosity to help me out on my journey.  There's just something about being with family.



July First!

Life Learning, Roadtrip, U.S. Travel, FamilyLaura FortuneComment

5am Saturday July 1, 2017  Tallahassee, Florida

My Jeep was packed and I pulled out of the driveway at my Mom's house.  We did our traditional honking and waving, she ran towards the sidewalk to wave more, and I passed her with a shout out the window, "I feel like I forgot something!!" She waved it off and I continued down the road.  West coast bound.  Here it goes!


My truck jerked forward and the Check Gauges light came on.  The coolant gauge went way up and my truck felt like going over 60mph was a struggle.  My mind raced.  I needed to find a mechanic.  I needed to find a new way to get to my destinations.  Can my truck be fixed?  Can I just make it to Austin?  Ohhhh, that didn't sound good, can I make it to Pensacola?  Whoa, that isn't right.  I hope I make it to the next exit.  

6:30am Defuniak Springs, Florida

I made it to the Wal-Mart parking lot, actually the Auto Center.  Smoke billowed from the hood.  

I don't know the time frame of all the other events that happened that afternoon.  All I know is that at some point my Mom showed up, a tow truck arrived, the mechanic said the engine is fried, the first car rental place didn't have any SUVs available, so we drove west to the Pensacola airport where the line was 20 people deep, after all, it was a Saturday afternoon on July 4th Weekend.  

I reached the rental car counter and they had my car ready.  "Ma'am, because it was a sameday reservation, we couldn't guarantee you an SUV, so we have a mini-van."

Noooooo!!  Please do not make me drive a mini-van for the next month.  Please.  

We arrived to my new van, and once I saw how to make all those seats disappear into the floor, I was sold.  I fit everything in the back to one side and had room to spread out my sleeping bag.  My jeep didn't have A/C, or a great sound system, but here I was, with all of those luxuries.     

All the sudden my trip felt brand new and I immediately extended my time away.  I was going to take the trip around the country and up the west coast that I have always wanted to take.  I have a car that I trust and that I can sleep in if I need to.  I had the space to fit my display and better gas mileage than the Jeep.  

In my experience I try to make the best decision I can make at the time, and then life happens and decision ends up being made for me.  It was always meant to be this way.  

Eight hours after my initial departure, I was back on the road.  I drove through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and I made it to Austin, TX at 2:30am CT.

Down South, and kinda like it.

Art, Family, Jewelry, Life Learning, Moving, StudioLaura FortuneComment

I returned to the US in a whirlwind.  A visit with a friend in New York City outside of JFK airport, a quick stay with an old friend in Jacksonville, Florida, a sweet wedding in Asheville, North Carolina, a visit to my sister in a cabin in Elijay, Georgia....and that was the first 5 days back.

And after all of that, I needed to boogie down to Florida to set-up a studio and get to work.  I decided that in July, I would travel the west coast to participate in a series of Renegade Craft Shows, so I needed to stock up.  A series of events led me to Studio 209 in Thomasville, Georgia.

It's a perfect place for me, and this is a total surprise.  I'm growing fonder of being in an area I never thought I would return to.  I love my family and friends here, and the idea would come to my mind over the years, but then I would go for a visit and as fast as the idea came to me, it flew out the window and I retreated back to Brooklyn and back to the drawing board.  

The opportunity to have extended traveling time has changed me.  I don't feel trapped by places, because I can see that I can go away, experience new people and places, and return and quiet back down, work in my studio.  That is the life I want.  A studio life/travel life/gardening life/old truck with a dog life.  

And someday I will have that.  But in less than a month, I will pack up my 1999 Jeep Cherokee and drive west for a whole new adventure. 

January One

Moving, Studio, Roadtrip, Life Learning, FamilyLaura FortuneComment

Last night on New Years Eve at 6:15pm I drove away from Brooklyn.  


I love that black Jeep. It's been good to me, and I weighed it down with my crap for this trip to North Carolina. My mom Googled the swaying motion we experienced after hitting any bump in the road, it was referred to as "the death wobble." Alright, no thanks. I pulled into a 7-11 and unloaded some of my heaviest equipment.

If any one needs an anvil or forming stakes, there's a garbage can in West Virginia I know about with a great view and some good tools.