I’m Jolene, a writer and travel photographer from rural Minnesota. Born a fourth-generation farmer, I spent the first years of my life running through cornfields, playing on my dad’s tractors, and reassigning piglets to different mothers based on color, throwing the entire barnyard into a frenzy.
I left the Midwest and relocated to Seattle, Washington in 2001, determined to live a life of adventure. Since that time, I have tried everything from skydiving to humanitarian work in Africa to volunteer firefighting. In 2015, I even quit my corporate job to live in Ireland. Having returned to the Pacific Northwest, I am focused on completing my BA in Creative Writing and plan to graduate Southern New Hampshire University in 2020.
Why I Travel
Every summer when I was a kid, my parents packed all seven of us into our rusted van and headed away from the Minnesota farmlands. I think there’s some driving force in my family’s Norwegian blood, some remnant of Viking DNA, which never let us rest. We were always exploring. My love of travel was born on the Little Bighorn battlefield, imagining General Custer falling to Lakota and Cheyenne warriors, stripped of his scalp and dying in the amber-colored prairie lands. Maybe I was a strange kid, but I found something deeply romantic about battlefields and sacred grounds, like history carried a physical weight you could feel if you just stood perfectly still and quiet in the middle of a field.
My love of photography began outside the borders of the United States. With only a little point-and-shoot camera, I flew to the United Kingdom in 2006 and captured images of castles that still hang on my walls today. Since that time, I’ve been to many places around Europe and Africa…and, like my Viking ancestors, have landed in Ireland more times than necessary. I have ten Irish passport stamps!! But what can I do? I love Ireland.
My mission is to inspire you to travel somewhere, anywhere, even if it’s just for a week or two. If you’re more of an armchair adventurer, I hope to bring the world to you through words and pictures. Regardless of your situation, dare to dream beyond the borders of your hometown. Travel if you can. Have adventures, big or small. Fall in love with the world and your one precious life. That’s the real ticket we should all purchase.
My writing and photography have appeared locally in Cascadia Weekly, WhatcomTalk, Southside Living, and Adventures Northwest Magazine.