The next project… Camper blog no. 1

This is the part I hope you read and then the rest is just all the clutter in my head there for your consumption if you choose:

Ideally I’d like to be on the road in May. I live in Orlando so that will be the starting point and I’ll most likely start with the east coast. I’ll update when things get closer, but I want to start hearing from you guys! I want to hear where to stop, where to hike, where to eat, what to do, etc! Anything that you think is special or intriguing from scenic detours to charming shops to dog friendly coffee shops to local markets or fairs. Or a craft you’d like to do together! I don’t want this to feel like a shop on wheels but more like summer camp on wheels. This is much more about pulling up to a charming park with stuff for pb&js and a bin full of art supplies and having a picnic/craft session with whoever wants to join. Comment and share your ideas and thoughts!

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Voice memo from drive to Philly

Warning, this reads like I speak and I only read through it once so I’m sure it’s full of typos but my eyes hurt and I can’t bring myself to read it again. And as a heads up here’s a tally count so you don’t have to tell me I don’t write well or have a good vocabulary, I’m acknowledging it on the front end:

and: 206

that: 79

really: 26

so: 43

I need to type out this whole process, even though I’m only a few days in I’ll regret it if I don’t write it out. So I figure I’ll wear headphones and listen to this while I’m at Sam’s and type it out. A few weeks ago I was uh, I don’t know if I was more sad than usual but, I was pretty sad. I was pretty down about the 12 year old boy who killed himself from being bullied and Leelah who also killed herself. And I was kind of struggling with these things. I went to a show in Orlando and met two girls who were so excited to see me and one of the girls told me I’m part of her inspiration for her art. She gave me a really sincere hug and while she was hugging me she told me I make her so so so happy. It was such a genuine connection, I teared up when I left. You see your numbers on the internet and you get messages but often times the internet doesn’t seem real. I feel like it’s not until you’re in person and you see these people and make genuine contact with them that it really hits you. I realized how much it meant to me and how much I needed it, or I guess needed the reminder because I’m often pretty discouraged and don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ve always kind of dreamt that one day I may have stuff in stores but hadn’t thought about it in a while and after this encounter I had this epiphany that I needed to be in a big box store. I felt I had a social responsibility to take on that kind of project and to give it everything I had even if it seemed unrealistic. Because if I could help anybody else be nicer or be happier then I felt like I had to do it. So I got really caught up in it and I was doing all this research and watching all these corporate videos and telling everyone I wanted to be in this one big store. And I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I think my numbers are decent and I think the testimonials from people are the most important and that I could probably get a positive vibes/be nice product line in a store. I was really hyped up on it. Financial reasons were not why I was doing it. I wanted it to be more of a collaboration with the store, I thought it needed to go beyond just a positive vibes product on a shelf but it needed the videos and store displays and it needed to be a whole campaign to try and convey the authenticity of it. I met with an old friend of mine, Nich, who helped me out when my old best friend Michelina and I were doing Chree, a little clothing line when we were 17, and he was a mentor to us. I haven’t seen him for years and I saw him when I did chalk art in Winter Park a few months ago and we caught up a bit. So once I had this idea I knew he was who I should meet with and talk to about it. We got lunch and we ended up talking for over three hours and it was very eye opening to me about what it would really mean to take on a big box store project like this. And using words that I don’t really like and words that scare me like celebrity, and I was like no I don’t like the word celebrity and he said “well you’d have to embrace it because that’s what they’d be in to and you’d have to own it”. And just capitalism and you know, he just said I can’t have my cake and eat it to. So as involved as I would be in the process there, I would still be losing some aspect of it. The thing that really really hit home was well, a couple things, one thing was we went to his friend’s wood workshop and we were talking to him and just trying to figure it out. Just trying to figure life out. How do you balance everything? And where is happiness? And how do you gauge success? Yadda yadda. He knew nothing about anything I’ve done so I told him some of my beanie sales numbers and he was trying to figure out how, like how that happened or what I do. I told him my beanie sales are reflective of a few times I’ve put beanies up, that I haven’t quite taken the initiative to run a constant store because it hasn’t been worth giving up other things in my life. I sell 1,000 beanies and then I go hike in Colorado for four months. And he said, “well it sounds like you’ve already got it figured out”. And then Nich followed that up with, “if you do a big box store collaboration it’s maybe hiking a couple mountains a year and calling and checking in with your assistant”. That’s not what I want. I don’t know if mentally I could handle the pressure and demands (added thought that wasn’t on the voice memo, I don’t want this to sound like I can’t handle the demands of work. These demands take on another perspective when you’ve built a brand around yourself. It becomes overwhelmingly self absorbent and while things are solely in my hands I can find that balance for myself between the attention on my art and the attention on me, I hope that makes sense). And also, another thing Nich said is everything, all of it, is about finding your inner peace. And he looked at me and said, “Charlavail, if finding inner peace for you is fixing everything, you’re never going to get there”. And um, that hit really hard. Then his friend kind of pointed out to me that there’s no way to take a product, such as my beanies, and produce 100,000 units and put them in a big box store and have them maintain the magic that they have right now. And I know not every beanie sale is as significant to that person as the next but I do know some of you put a lot of faith and a lot of emotion into a material object and that’s remarkable and phenomenal and I never anticipated it. It’s just been the best and craziest thing, getting messages all the time “I wore my beanie into surgery” or “I was having a bad day and I wore it and it turned my day around”. It’s just that you can’t really measure the effect of positive energy and even if it’s inspired by an inanimate object it’s still powerful. I would never want to lose what we have right now, we as in me and you. Yesterday I rewatched Amanda Palmer’s Ted Talk and at the end she said, “celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance but the internet and the content that we’re freely able to share on it are taking us back. It’s about a few people loving you up close and about those people being enough”. I can relate to that so much. The big box store idea was kind of a naïve attempt at a wide spread movement that wouldn’t be as organic as what we have right now. I don’t want to give that up, I don’t want to lose that, I don’t want it to look like I sold out or for beanies that exist right now to lose their meaning to people. I do think that some positive would come from a positive product line being in a big store, I do think that we need that, whether or not that it’s my job I don’t know. Before I met with Nich I had come up with more product ideas, store display ideas and commercial ideas. I’d come up with this artwork and sketches and I really wanted to use it because I loved it. So I thought, well maybe I’ll just do a small pop up shop. I’ll build this stuff, I’ll ship it from big city to big city and I’ll go into a little retail location and run a little retail shop for a week and still get to do the product line, do all the art stuff that I wanted to do. Just realizing I could do it on my own, I didn’t have to rely on someone else. So I was toying with that idea and logistically it didn’t seem to be worth the time and money, it wasn’t working out in my head as I wanted it to, I wasn’t feeling the inspiration from it. So that idea wasn’t working out but I wasn’t quite ready to drop it. I was just thinking about it trying to figure out what could I do, I really just want to be in touch with you guys. Because everything up until now has taken so much longer than I had anticipated and I thought that I would be on the road with something by now, when in fact I haven’t even really started the project that was suppose to come next.

How do I explain this?

Okay, so let’s see, the confectionery, okay back up. Some of you know my dream was to open up a bakery. I went to pastry school at Valencia Community College in Orlando, I looked at buildings, I had all these ideas I’d been dreaming about for years. I can still picture it in my head, it’s this big elaborate project that’s magnificent in my mind. Then I started looking at potential buildings with my dad, I wasn’t ready to make that step yet but I was just trying to figure out where in Orlando I wanted to do this. I guess I always imagined maybe there was this little magical part of Orlando I hadn’t discovered yet. So we start driving around and looking at buildings and realizing there was nowhere in Orlando that would be conducive to this project and that was really discouraging. I like parts of Orlando but generally speaking I don’t really want to be in Florida. And a bakery ties you down and even if it was successful it would take a long time to get there and the statistics are hard and they’re real, like 9 in 10 restaurants fail in their first year and I didn’t want to be naïve about it. And I knew it would be less art than I wanted, even thought the initial design would be art based it would be more business and hard hard restaurant work and it would lose it’s magical artistic element for me (another side note that wasn’t on the voice memo, I don’t want to discourage anyone from opening a food business! I just realized it was the wrong path for me if I wanted art to be my day-to-day job). I changed my mind about that which is kind of a hard thing to do because when you share your dreams with people on the interent some people aren’t very open to you changing your mind. They think you failed or call you a quitter or that you were a liar, etc. So that was kind of hard. And I initially wanted to open my bakery 11/11/11 and it’s 2015 and still don’t have any one project thing that I’m very proud of and that’s kind of discouraging and I feel like a failure sometimes even though I know that’s not necessarily the case. Anyway, so the confectionery was the idea that followed the bakery. I was like, what can I do that still has a pastry element but is more art based. So I came up with this idea that would be a pop up shop of sorts and I would rent retail spaces in initially five big cities then if it went well I could do more cities. This idea is a lot more intensive than the camper idea and I don’t really know how to break it down and explain it. I don’t want to share too much because it is still something that I want to do, regardless of how long it takes. But I have a the whole interior of the confectionery shop planned out and it would have a pastry counter and it would either need to have a kitchen in the back or we would have to rent out commissary space. The art would be the main attraction though and it would be free and hopefully I would sell enough merchandise and pastries to keep it afloat. The confectionery is kind of everything, almost everything I am building up into one artistic project. It’s years and years in the making even though I don’t have a lot of sketches and stuff, it’s everything I’ve been planning for the bakery carried over. I really need it to be incredibly done, I guess. I want to be an artist. I want to look at it and it all matches as one beautiful portfolio and the skill set is incredible. It’s a gallery, it’s impressive and I know I’m not there yet as an artist. I’ve stepped away from art for the last couple years and I’m intimidated to even sit down and pick up a pencil and I want to know that I can be an artist and that’s going to take a lot of practice. And that’s really what I wanted to start next but that’s a year and a half probably two years in the making. I just feel like that’s too long to step away. I need to get in and be involved with you guys and meet you guys. This is also a way for me to practice art and when I’m on the road I can be doing art. I can get back into the routine of drawing and painting and figuring it back out again because I haven’t done art in a really long time. I did the aprons, which took a year and half, so much longer than I ever ever could have imagined, so much harder than I could have imagined. Production based, not artistic for most of it. Then after that the puppies were born, I didn’t do any artwork I just hung out with puppies all day. All the meanwhile I’m selling beanies. Then my dad and I spent our summer in Colorado and I told myself I would do art but we ended up leaving the condo almost every single day to just be outside and I failed myself again not doing the art I wanted to do. Since I’ve been home I’ve been busier but just somehow a few years went by without very much art. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that this camper roadtrip is different, it’s a totally new idea that I had a week ago. So I want to emphasize that I had this idea last week and there’s already a camper in my driveway (so much of this sounds like I’m a spoiled kid haha. I do live at my dad’s house because until I’m ready to move out of Orlando it doesn’t make much sense not to and we get along and he loves having the puppies around, etc. But I support myself otherwise and I’m funding this project. So in saying I had this idea and now I have a camper isn’t saying, hey I got what I wanted right away, it’s saying you can make things happen). I had this idea, I told my dad and he totally got it right away. I showed him a camper I wanted to buy and he said let’s go get it and we got it. These projects are totally different ideas, they have similarities and I can see why people would think that this idea was planned saying, “you’re finally doing it!”, but it’s different. I don’t share a whole lot so I don’t expect people to know these things. The confectionery is very intimidating to me, if I sit down and try to do a sketch I freeze up because I want it to be perfect. Whereas this, it’s not that my hearts not in this, it absolutely is, it’s just more fun, light hearted and more cartoonish. I can’t quite explain the difference but with this I just know I can knock it out. I’m really excited! I have some artwork for it already. I just want to get in the camper, totally renovate it and paint the outside of it. I want to be on the road and get to know you guys. It will be less of a shop and more of a cute hangout. It’ll have stuff for sale in it but it’s not the main focus. I want it to be charming and fun to look at and fun to come see. I think I started talking about all this to explain the camper thing and went off on all of it.

So I had this idea at around 3 in the morning on the 16th and I was up for a few hours after that, my thoughts were moving so fast and I was looking at campers on craigslist. There were a couple, nothing that seemed really great. I want to be transparent with this project so I currently have about $10,000 to invest into this project and bring it to life (money made from beanie sales). Ten thousand can seem like a lot but project wise it doesn’t go very far (I’ll be breaking down expenses on the blog) but I know it’s enough to get started. I’m really trying to not let fear get in the way of this project so I just wanted to go for it. So I realized when I was looking at campers that they were going to be in the $3,000 range, that’s doable. I had emailed probably five potential campers and nobody got back to me right away which when you’re excited can be discouraging. I was suppose to leave for Philly on the 20th and I had emailed craigslist listings on the 16th and 17th. Even though I’d be checking craigslist constantly I checked one more time after Blake and I went and saw Selma on the 18th, which by the way I cried almost all the way through. And there were some parts where I started crying and thinking about all these other things in the world and whatever and had a hard time not leaving the theater to pull myself together, which is also why it’s really important for me to do this project right now because I’ve just been having a hard time lately. Which I know is kind of silly, and I’ve always thought its silly to live such a good life and it’s not that I feel sorry for myself I’m just overwhelmed with sadness and it’s a crippling sadness for me. And it’s important for me to focus on doing what will give me hope and make me happy and I know meeting you guys and seeing the country will help and inspire me. So anyway, we got out of Selma and I’m checking craigslist and it’s probably like 2 in the morning and I see this camper for sale that had been posted around 10:30. He was asking $2,000 for it, it was in Rome, Georgia which is about 8 hours from us. It’s a 1965 camper and looked to be in decent shape. It wasn’t gutted like some of the other ones I was looking at. It didn’t have too much charm in the photos to me though but it was a good price. I emailed him and was bummed I didn’t see it sooner thinking maybe I already missed my chance. I woke up the next morning around 9:30 and he had emailed me saying he already had like 5 other inquiries so to call him as soon as possible. I run to my dad’s room to ask him to call him and I can hear my dad’s on the phone, so I’m waiting for him to get off and I realize he’s on the phone with the guy from the craigslist listing. I knew this guy had to have a southern accent because my dad started talking with an accent. My dad gets off the phone and said that Dairyl had called him since we were the first ones to email him and he wanted to do right by us and make sure the first person that asked got the chance to buy it. So we told him first thing the next morning we were going to go to the tag office and figure out what we would need and then if it worked out we would be on our way. Then we remembered the next day was MLK day so we had to wait until Tuesday. Meanwhile I’m very anxious, I’m thinking he probably doesn’t want to wait for us and he’s going to sell it. Even though I was suppose to be leaving for Philly, I knew I had to do everything I could before I left because I was so worked up about it and I didn’t want to let fear get in my way or talk myself out of it so I just had to be impulsive and act on it before I left. So my dad went to the tag office the next morning, Dairyl was still willing to wait for us and we got out of Orlando around noon on Tuesday. We stopped on Hampton which is south of Atlanta to see another camper. This camper was a 1953 Rod and Reel selling for $1,000 and I was absolutely smitten with the shape of it. It was gutted on the inside, in pretty rough shape and not tow ready, we would have had to put it on a trailer to get it home. It’s a project I’d maybe like to take on one day but it was way over my head, I wouldn’t know where to begin. It would also need more money put into it to get it just in it’s simplest blank canvas form. All the wood would have to be taken out, then the interior sandblasted, new tires and maybe even a new axle. But I loved the shape so I was trying to figure out how to get it home. We were looking up trailers and couldn’t figure out a way less than $1,000 to get it home, which I didn’t want to do. We spent the night at my cousin’s in Atlanta and the next morning I was trying to figure out if I wanted to go look at the 1965 camper, the one we originally made the drive for. After seeing the shape of the 1953 camper I wasn’t sure I would like the 1965 one, it’s a little boxier, it doesn’t have the teardrop shape that I like. So I was thinking do we want to drive another hour north to go see this if I’m pretty sure I don’t like it because I wasn’t crazy about it in the photos. We decided it was worth going to at least look at and start getting an idea for what I’m looking for in these vintage campers. We drive to Rome, Georgia and pull up to Dairyl’s, he’s super nice and waiting for us. I see the camper and I’m immediately in love with it. It’s so much cuter in person. It’s in exceptional shape especially since it’s 50 years old. The interior has no leaks. It’s got a bed, two little benches with a table, a kitchenette and a bathroom. I absolutely know at that point that I want it. We check it out and it looks good and Dairyl’s confident it can be towed. We drive ten minutes down the road into town and I take out the money. We go back and when I handed him the envelope of $2,000 and told him he could check it and make sure it’s right he just says, “I trust ya” and never even opens the enveolope. The purchase and the tow home went smoothly. It’s parked next to the garage at my house. Now I’m on my way to Philly. It was hard to leave it behind because I’m anxious to get in there and start working on it. I’ll be in Philly for almost a month and I can work on ideas and figure out the logistics and expenses. I want everything to be ready to go when I get home from business plan to renovation sketches. And that’s where I’m at so far! I don’t expect very many people to read all that haha but there it is, I don’t expect most entries will be nearly this long.

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37 thoughts on “The next project… Camper blog no. 1

  1. it sounds weird but i’m realy proud of you! i’m so happy for you and it’s so inspiring to know that you have new project and that you are inspired again, and you are doing art again

  2. Wow it was indeed a lot to read but still very inspiring. It’s nice of you to share it all, to see how this project works in your head and what it’s like if that makes ssense. I’m sorry you feel sad and I wish I could tell you in person (instead of the internet) how great you are, because you are. I’m glad this project gives you hope and I can’t wait to see how this turns out! So excited 🙂 good luck and enjoy Philly!
    p.s. if it works out in the US maybe you can bring the camper to Europe too!

  3. Hey there,
    I have to say I feel so incredibly proud (is it odd to be proud of a someone I’ve not met before) of you for venturing out and doing this. Reading this made me very emotionally attached and very inspired. I wish I had the courage and wholehearted inspiration that you do to take an adventure or do something that scares me…
    I’m glad your doing this, and happy for you as well. It’s difficult when we find ourselves in a rut and simply need out of that (although it’s not always simple to get out of a rut). I think you can inspire so many people out there (and already have) with the words and the art and life you create. Thank you for sharing this with us and taking us along the journey.

  4. Hey hey,
    So happy for you with this new adventure, bet it’s gonna be a blast! I know you and Sam stopping through MS didn’t work out last time and I’m not sure there would be a big enough market for a legit meet-up here, but if you’re driving through north MS on your way to a meet-up and want to stop for lunch, I’d be so happy to show you around. We have this incredible organic cafe here in Oxford and I can take you to see William Faulkner’s house. (If not, that’s totally cool, I’ll probably come hang if you have a meet-up in Nashville :)) Hope you have the best time on this adventure and I can’t wait to see what you do with the confectionery in the future!

  5. Hey hey,
    I’m so happy for you with this new adventure, I bet it’s gonna be a blast! I know you and Sam stopping through MS didn’t work out last time and I’m not sure there would be a big enough market for a legit meet-up here, but if you’re driving through north MS on your way to a meet-up and want to stop for lunch, I’d be so happy to show you around. We have this incredible organic cafe here in Oxford and I can take you to see William Faulkner’s house. (If not, that’s totally cool, I’ll probably come hang if you have a meet-up in Nashville :)) Hope you have the best time on this adventure and I can’t wait to see what you do with the confectionery in the future!

  6. I’ve been following you for so long. Through the bakery idea and all of that. I am so happy you found something you’re excited about and feel like you can financially handle it. You are the reason I got back up and did art. You are the reason I was happy again and the reason I had the guts to cut off 20 inches of hair. You are a reason for so many people who I bet are very very excited to see you on your adventure. You deserve everything you get charlavail. You give so much to us without even knowing it. I’ll be there in Seattle or portland no matter what.

  7. Hi Charlavail! You probably don’t remember me. My name is Justine and I met you at a Paramore concert. You were with Blake and you had on this alluring orange eyeshadow and you were kind of stressing out about beanies. I even took a Polaroid photo of you and Blake. ANYWAYS, I took the time to read this entire post. It’s so eye-opening to hear about how you’re approaching your fears and just what you’re doing to live a beautiful life. I can really relate and it eases some tension that I’ve been suffering from for a while now. If you’re ever on the West Coast, Crystal Cove is so pretty for hiking and beach time! I think they even let dogs in over there so Melon and Bear can play. I’d love to have the opportunity to meet you again and be a big support to what you’re doing. See you soon! 🙂

  8. If you’re looking for places to stop, you should look into Fredericksburg, VA. It’s a pretty small town, not too small. But the downtown area of it is pretty incredible. There are cute little coffee shops, bakeries, antique stores, record stores, and a farmers market every weekend 🙂

  9. I totally remember when you set the 11/11/11 date for the bakery! Jeez, I’ve been following you a long time! It’s been a joy to watch your various ventures and I cannot wait to see your camper project develop and unfold. Good for you for being able to adapt and try new things – and also for not wanting to half-ass your ultimate goal. Whoever called you a quitter has clearly not got the same passion and sight as you. Best of luck, sweetie – can’t wait to see and hear more!
    Lily xoxo
    http://tinygreycat.co.uk

  10. Oh Vail baby! It’s going to be the most amazing thing ever. Can’t wait! AND, this is so beautifully and naturally written. Good for you. Very proud momma 🙂 ❤

  11. Vail. I read the whole post, and I wish I could tell you in person how inspiring you are. You’ve overcome so much things, you’ve been able to look past your fears and insecurities (which can be devastating sometimes cause it’s such a difficult world for arts nowadays! I wish I could be as brave as you and enter the Arts college. I entered design instead and I don’t like it that much) and I’m so grateful you are sharing this with us. I can imagine how difficult must be for you to expose your fears, changes, and also your dreams, to the whole internet. But don’t worry, cause your adventures, good or ‘bad’, are an inspiration for all of us. And it makes me happy everyday to see your pics, stories, drawings and products. Don’t let some haters bring you down. I know this project will be wonderful, just like everything you do, and I wish I could be there to watch it with my own eyes, I swear! Good luck on the road, Vail. Lots of love from Chile! ♡

  12. Dear Charlavail,
    Words can’t describe how happy I am that you’re happy and about to embark on something you love. You’ve been an inspiration for me for the last few years and your positivity has made all of the difference in my life. I know how it feels to do something that matters and to want to make a big difference in some of the things happening around you, but please know that you are making a difference and that your art and creative mind has quite an impact. Your openness and honesty is so relateable and comforting, as is your art. Plus, photos and videos of your pups never fail to bring a smile to my face.

    If you have any interest in coming anywhere near Chicago (or anywhere in Illinois) during your camper adventure I would love to meet and hang out with you and your beautiful pups. I’ve never hiked anywhere in the state, but I’ve always heard (and seen) wonderful things about Starved Rock to the point where I’d love to go. Anyway, if you are looking to make a stop anywhere near Chicago or in Illinois, please let me know if I can help find places for meet ups and that sort of thing. I would love to help you in any way that I can.

    Again, I’m so genuinely happy for you and for this exciting new adventure in your life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. It really means a lot. You deserve only the best.

    I hope you have a wonderful time in Philly and I look forward to hopefully meeting you this summer!

    Warm wishes,
    Danielle

  13. I totally feel ya with the whole not doing any art for a long time thing, it’s a battle I’m still trying to win.

    I really hope this new project works out. Sadly I won’t be able to be part of it, as I live in the UK, but I can’t wait to see photos of it developing!

    You’re so inspirational ‘vail, don’t ever stop being you. ❤

  14. You’re so inspirational! Good luck on your new project. As you head up the east coast, you may want to consider Norfolk, VA as a stop. There are some really cool and artsy areas of the city like Ghent, or you could even stop in Richmond, VA as there are some really interesting areas there.

  15. I can honestly relate to this so much. My dream is to open a 100% vegan brick-and-mortar cafe/bakery. I struggle with a lot of what you wrote about – like the self-doubt and scary statistics. It’s really nice to see that other people feel like I do but still manage to do cool dream stuff. I’m really excited for you and for your journey! I’m well determined to make it to one of your stops – whether or not you stop in my state! 🙂

    I’m totally gonna advertise for Minneapolis though. We could have a little craft picnic at one of the lakes in the city or at Minnehaha Falls (waterfall and giant park that connects to the Mississippi river). There’s also lots of art fairs, farmers markets, and free outdoor events in the summertime. Minneapolis also has a lot of really good vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants – Hard Times cafe is amazingg and cheap! As an added bonus, we have a lot of hiking trails down by the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers and various little wooded area. Honestly, I could rave about MPLS forever.

    Sending you all my good vibes & hope to see you soon!!!
    xoxo

  16. Read every last word. I’ve been around since your Chree days and can say you’ve always been a hard worker and sometimes life gets tough but you’ve always managed to pick up your feet and produce so many amazing pieces of Art. The 11/11/11 bakery is what inspired me to open my own and I plan on attending culinary school once I’m done my bachelors of commerce with a minor in entrepreneurship this fall. I’m in absolute awe with the Cordon Bleu up here in Canada and I can’t wait to start. If the bakery idea every finds its way back into your beautiful and creative mind, don’t hesitate to send me a shout out. I’m in love with the pastry making aspect and you’re in love with the art so I’m sure we’d make a pretty fantastic team.

    In the mean time, I will be fully supporting any project you take on and I can’t wait to see the what your creative mind and hands bring.

    You have the most beautiful mind, keep dreaming big.

    Christina
    http://www.instagram.com/christina_wong

  17. This is so inspiring!
    I’ve been following you on social platforms for a few years now (my boyfriend and I have a pair of matching positive vibes beanies and are excitedly waiting for our new uncoolest beanies to arrive!) and I gotta say, it’s pretty remarkable how you approach your projects. You seem like a really amazing girl overflowing with ideas and creativity and it’s the most interest thing watching you create. I really like this particular post cause it shows that it’s actually not that easy getting where you want to be, there are tricky things that always try to set us back, and we may change our minds about other things, but if we keep our head high and persevere we may find new opportunities to grow and learn. It’s so inspiring watching you fight for what you want (even if sometimes you are somewhat fighting your own mind) and doing things your way and not settling for anything less.

    I hope this project goes beyond well, and that you find happiness in whatever project it is that you end up taking on next, whether it’s a confectionary, an art gallery, or whatever it is you may come up with. You really seem like someone who will do amazing things just by staying true to herself.

    Lots of positive vibes from halfway around the world!

  18. Dude, please don’t fret about future plans! They are definitely heavy on the mind and it’s hard when there are rude people on the Internet, but we are there for you no matter what. If you ever decide to do pop up shops, there is a great little place in San francisco called needles and pens, my friend did a pop up shop in one of their locations and it went well.
    If you make it out to the bay area, I’d love to craft with you and take you to Scrap SF. It’s a donation craft supply store and you can find almost anything and they have really great prices. I do hope you make it out to the bay and I’d love to tell you about all of my favorite places to hang, shop and relax.
    I wish you all the best of luck with your summer camper trip!

  19. I hope you come to the Maine and New Hampshire area!

    This is in my town 🙂 http://blog.adventureswithrenee.com/2010/09/quick-trip-up-jockey-cap-fryeburg.html <– It's a nice little hike and you can see basically all the mountain ranges in NH and ME from the top!
    https://www.facebook.com/FroagiesIceCream?rf=209930205723867 <– Then there's Froagie's, my favorite local ice cream shop! Try their Cotton Candy hard serve ice cream, it's my favorite 🙂 Their orange pineapple hard serve is really good too!
    http://www.fryeburgacademy.org/pac <– It's the performing arts center from my alma mater (high school). It has a small little art gallery, too!
    Weston's Beach in Fryeburg! It's a river and it's the best swimming place in town.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bridgton-Twin-Drive-In-Theatre/110760448960435 <– I LOVE that drive-in!

    http://www.northeastwaterfalls.com/waterfall.php?num=144&p=0
    http://www.nhtourguide.com/waterfalls/dianas_baths.htm
    http://www.shermanfarmnh.com/wordpress/

    If you need anything else or want to meet up, just let me know 🙂
    There's also the Old Port Festival in Portland, Maine at the very beginning of June!

  20. Oh Charlavail…
    This is so beautiful, and I’m cheering for you. Do not be afraid, and if you have fear, that’s fine, but you’ll get through it. I can feel how much you are excited, happy and all, I can feel it just by reading this text.
    You can do this, I believe in you, and give you my full support.
    I know the chances of you going in my country are low at the moment, but who knows in the future? But, I’m happy for all the people you will meet, and be able to tell you how your work is important, and how beautiful & inspirational. You have my support, the buyers of beanies, and from all the one who admire your art too

    you have a beautiful soul and a good heart full of good intentions Charlavail, always remember that!
    Sending good vibes (as you always spreads) and lots of love, all the way from Brazil ❤

    I'm SO EXCITED for the next posts and to see everything you will do in the trailer, it is beautiful by the way 🙂

  21. This is so, so, so awesome! And much like other folks, I feel super proud and so stoked for you, even though I haven’t met you? Haha. I’ve been a follower of yours since 2009, and I must say, every venture you’ve taken on and done has been inspiring. You persevere, even when you feel overwhelmed, and I think that’s just amazing. You ignite this brilliant fire within people to be creative, and that’s truly remarkable.

    I cannot wait to see where this adventure leads you! 🙂

  22. I loved reading this and hearing about your ideas! I’m always curious about your projects and what you are going to do next and the last few months I wasn’t really sure what you wanted to do. That’s why I’m happy to know that you are going to do this amazing project!! 🙂 You are so inspiring and have impacted a lot of people with your art! I hope you will have fun with this project. We are proud of you! :’)

  23. Dude, first of all, I love that this post was so long. I adore reading your thoughts and opinions. When I first started following you, years ago on tumblr (I think 2008??) that was the main thing that attracted me. The delivery in which you give your ideas is always so passionate, I feel that the reader can’t help but be pulled in. I’ve also felt that you and I have always had similar aspirations and seeing someone achieve the things they want is really inspiring!

    Anyways, as a fellow artist I know that we are our best and worst enemy. Self doubt is the enemy of creativity, and lousy people on the internet don’t help. I hope you embrace the good and turn the bad into a motivator, so you can accomplish everything you want to! So many things you wrote spoke to me, which makes me really happy. I’ve been having such a hard time lately with art. I can’t even force myself to produce little doodles. It’s like I do 1 or 2 paintings a year, if I can muster it. It’s rough, so I think I know how you’re feeling! And my life is amazing, so I don’t know why this mental block is in place. But anyways…even if things don’t go as planned, you always have something neat to share with us, be it travels, puppy dates, art, etc. I’m so stoked to see what you have in store for us!

    You and I actually met on 11/11/11. I’m not sure if you remember. I thought it was the neatest thing ever that I could meet you on such a special day. My friend and I were in Orlando for a show and we stopped to have Chipotle and Starbucks with you. If I were as eloquent in person, I would’ve told you what I just typed, but my written word is better than my spoken one haha.

    I’ve lived a lot of places in the US, but the one that I’ve always connected with the most is Colorado, and you’ve already been there, so I’m not sure I have many other recommendations to share with you! Although, I do give a special mention to Portland, OR. That city was so welcoming and “green” friendly. And when you’re on the outskirts of the city, you can see the mountains. I didn’t have a chance to visit them while I was there, but maybe you can!

    Also, I recently moved from Hawai’i to Montreal, Canada. Should you and Sam or just you…or you and any of your buddies find yourselves up here, you and your gang are more than welcome to come visit with me! I think you’d really like it up here, if you like NYC and Colorado. I’m not sure how many fans you have up here for you to oblige that, though.

    Anyways, sorry for the novel! Can’t wait to see what you have planned (or not planned) next!

  24. Nyack, New York and Peirmont, New York have beautiful hiking trails over looking the Hudson with lovley cafes like the Art Cafè and the Runcible Spoon. Hope you can come over here I’d love to meet you 🙂

  25. I’m so freakin’ excited for you and I only wish I was as brave as you to try new things and experiences but you are so talented and you need to know that. I think this idea is perfect and I want everything you have planned to follow through because someone as talented and sweet as you deserves such great success.

    I would love meet you, when you first posted about traveling, I was like “oh my, I might be able to meet her and personally thank her for giving me inspiration for trying art!” (I love art but I’m not as talented but seeing your art and how organic it looks gave me that push to at least try it out) Im hoping you would be in the Mississippi coast area or maybe New Orleans but I’ve come to realize that anywhere is worth the drive to possibly

  26. I’m so freakin’ excited for you and I only wish I was as brave as you to try new things and experiences but you are so talented and you need to know that. I think this idea is perfect and I want everything you have planned to follow through because someone as talented and sweet as you deserves such great success.

    I would love meet you, when you first posted about traveling, I was like “oh my, I might be able to meet her and personally thank her for giving me inspiration for trying art!” (I love art but I’m not as talented but seeing your art and how organic it looks gave me that push to at least try it out) Im hoping you would be in the Mississippi coast area or maybe New Orleans but I’ve come to realize that anywhere is worth the drive to possibly meet you!

    You have a good soul and I wish you all the best and I can’t wait to follow you in your process of this terrific idea!!!

    Love from Biloxi! 🙂

  27. I had tears in my eyes the whole time I read this all. I admire you so much for so many reasons. I started following you on tumblr about four years ago and had no idea the impact you’d turn out to have on my life. Thank you for this post and everything you do and I 10000% believe in you and support anything you do because I know you’re capable of something great – whether it’s something huge that reaches people everywhere or something smaller that still touches lives and hearts. You have the heart to do anything. I hope you can be happy and feel better about yourself. I absolutely have been feeling down lately too, but it seems like no one I know is too – or at least they don’t share that fact and hide it inside. But every photo you post or thing you write or create makes me feel a little happy because you’re simply inspiring.

    Lately all I want to do is travel and experience life in new places and the insanely strong spark is from seeing what you do and have done. I really hope you could make it your way near me because I’d love love to meet you. I’m in between niagara falls and buffalo, new york. Buffalo has some coolness and artsy-ness in some neighborhoods outside of downtown, and really the whole city is gaining popularity and life recently with renovations and new places I’d love to show off! Niagara falls of course, if you haven’t seen yet, is a big deal that unfortunately I don’t realize enough because I live so close to it. But I do love hiking the falls gorge trails. It’s an easy hike but still pretty. Oh also, east aurora is a town about 20 minutes away from buffalo that has a huge historic 5 & 10 variety store called vidler’s. You could literally get lost in the store, and I could see you enjoying it, there’s unique little things of all sorts and vintage candies and toys and it’s fun.

    Sooo ya I hope we could meet up somewhere and be happy and explore. Good luck with this project and any others that may come up. And enjoy it 🙂 xo

  28. If you ever make your way to northeastern indiana, I think you would love the coffee shop I work at! It is a non-profit centered around kids and providing a safe and nurturing environment for them. We have band nights, craft nights, and really everything in between. We wouldn’t charge you to park in our back lot and I know that a lot of people here would be interested in seeing your work/meeting you/making art with you. We’re a small town, but super friendly and I would personally love to meet you! Feel free to email me for more information or questions if you’re interested! I am so excited to keep up with your entires on this journey!

  29. Hi Charlavail,
    I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and I wanted to let you know that I think your journey is so inspiring and reminded me why I’m doing what I’m doing. It’s been an interesting couple of years, but I’m now halfway through my music degree, and its definitely partially due to your positive vibes and hard work. I’m so glad to see your plans becoming reality! If you ever come to Nfld, Canada, you’ve got a warm bed and a place to stay, and someone to show you around our myriad hiking trails! Can’t wait to see how your plans unfold.
    Good luck!

  30. Hey Charlavail, I am a french girl, living in Australia, and currently writting from Indonesia, a bit tricky haha.
    Anyway. I’ve been following your work for a few years now and it is so interesting getting “on board” with you from the beggining in your new project.
    You truly are an inspiration to me, to a lot of people, even if I am not really an artist myself, you are just one hell of a girl, really brave and positive and ambitious, and fighting and working hard for what you want, all of this with nothing but kindness and this will to help people, connect with them, and make the most of life.
    It’s actually a little thanks to you as well that I decided to leave France to go as far from home as I could on the planet (which happened to be Australia), because seing all your photos of your travel and coloade and oh my god alaska and bondfires and everything, and most ofall freedom and happiness, just made me want to see the world.
    Thanks for sharing all of this, I relate to this new project of your as i wanna travel more because I’ve decided this is what I’m gonna do with my life, see the world, and eve if I’m not gonna be sharing any art Because I don’t have these skills, I wanna meet up with people and share stories and make memories.
    I have to go back to france in a few months cause unfotunatly I can’t stay in Australia, and I decided to work for a few months and go travel around the USA cause I discovered so many beautiful places throught your an sam’s photos and videos.
    And dn’t know where to start and where to go but I have time to organize all of this and who knows, we might meet along the way. Thanks for the inspiration, I wish you all the best with everything, and I’ll be of course, a little part of it throught instagram and tumblr
    Love and hugs
    V.

  31. I got quite emotional reading this, I know you probably won’t read my comment but everything you’re feeling is valid. I think a lot of artist go through this. I look at my own work over the past 4 years and think, geez is that it? Is that really all I’ve done? But think about it, some of the greatest artist that ever lived took years and years to achieve ONE painting! This is just in a different medium that’s all. But I completely understand where you’re coming from. It is hard, so hard when it’s just you battling yourself basically. But you have people, on the internet and off, who believe in you so much and want to see you succeed and be happy. You can do this, no matter how long it takes, you can do this xxx

  32. If you end up doing the east coast, you have to make stops in either NH or ME. First NH: I would say hiking the Franconia Ridge is a necessity. It is the most beautiful hike I’ve done in the White Mountains. And you must take a drive along the Kancamagus. My fiancé and I plan to continue our goal of hiking NH’s 48 4,000 footers, and bringing along our new baby. We also plan on meeting thru-hikers on the AT to spread some trail magic. You are more than welcome to join a hike if you’d like.
    ME: We also have a family cabin/camp on Schoodic Lake in Maine. I plan on staying there and making the short drive to hike Mt. Katahdin. You are also welcome to join for that if you’d like.
    Your positivity and desire to do good is infectious, and I’d love to return the favor and spread some kindness your way as well. Cheers, smiles and positive vibes.

  33. I’m super excited for you! I’ve been a supporter of yours for years and everything you’ve done has made me so happy! I hope your biggest dreams with this project come true, because it would be awesome to meet you on your travels.

  34. If you roll through Fairfield ct you should totally stop by my family’s cafe/restaurant thing, Chefs table. I know you’re friends with Carly Kalafus and thats where kicking daisies originated haha my dad was their manager! It’s a really good atmosphere and I’d definitely treat you to a meal 🙂 you could definitely set up a lil craft thing in there, it’s super casual and has big table perfect for group crafting 🙂 Id love to meet you, you’re such an inspiration! xx

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