About Me



I’m Jolene, a writer and travel photographer from Bellingham, Washington. My mission is to inspire you to book a flight somewhere, anywhere. If you’re more of the armchair adventurer, I hope to bring the world to you through words and pictures. Between trips, I’ll show you the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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.

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.

Of course, I’m not always traveling. I work full-time for a medical insurance company, so that keeps me grounded. Between trips, I like to find the beauty in all the ordinary things at home. That was the original reason I started this blog. It’s great to travel, but it’s even better to appreciate home and find new things to love about it every day.

My Camera

As far as my camera goes, I’ve used everything from cell phones to DSLRs, and I’m convinced a person with vision can create art with just about anything. You don’t need a fancy camera to take great pictures (although it can help). Some of my favorite images are those I took on that cheap, little 5 megapixel point-and-shoot in the UK. I try not to worry about what other people are doing; I shoot what is beautiful to me. That’s all that really matters. But, for those who are curious – right now, I’m shooting with a Nikon D800. My favorite lens is the 24-70 mm f/2.8.

My travel and theater photography has appeared locally in Cascadia Weekly, WhatcomTalk, Southside Living, and Adventures Northwest Magazine.

Contact Me


50 comments on “About Me”
  1. Just caught up to this. I’ve actually been to Skellig Michael … what a remote and mysterious place. Your picture says it all.

    1. Thanks, Ann! It never ceases to amaze me how those monks found Skellig Michael all those years ago and build those beehive huts at the top of it. It should be on the bucket list of anyone who wants to visit Ireland.

  2. mausilee says:

    Wow, so happy that I found you! I also love photography, travelling and of course Ireland. I’ve been there two times and will go there again one day… looking forward to follow your blog 😀

    1. Hi Sandy! Thank you for visiting my blog. I always enjoy hearing from other people who have traveled to Ireland and love it as much as I do.

      I look forward to following your blog as well!

  3. lemonissimo says:

    Respect rather cool blog! Like it!

    1. Thank you for the blog love!

  4. Jeff Sinon says:

    Jolene, the last two sentences in the first paragraph are about as true as it gets. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have. I hate the “you must have a really nice camera” comments I get when people look at my photos!

    Yes, a fancy DSLR makes realizing the vision in your head a LOT easier, but only if you learn how to use it. I see far too many people who’ve spent a ton of money on a DSLR and then set the dial to the green box, full auto setting and use it like a point-n-shoot.

    Beautiful photographs by the way, can’t forget that 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jeff! Yes, I’ve seen the same thing – people invest in these pricey cameras and just use them as point-and-shoots. Good photography takes imagination. And we have to be willing to challenge ourselves.

      1. Jeff Sinon says:

        Too many people think they can buy their way to good photography. Somehow by buying the best, they think great photos will miraculously appear from their camera. What’s a shame is that when those great photos don’t come, the camera will be tossed in a closet and forgotten.

  5. Having met your work and hoping you can and will check out mine (yes…the ulterior motive!) you are nominated for three awards at…http://bythemightymumford.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/the-award-trio/. And love your gravatar!!!! 🙂

    1. Well gosh! Thanks so much for nominating me (and liking my gravatar)! I will definitely check out your blog, Jonathan. 🙂


  7. 4feet2mouths says:

    Jolene, you have a wonderful approach to photography. Thank you for following 4feet2mouths on our food and travel adventures.

    1. Thank you for visiting and leaving such wonderful compliments. I look forward to following more of your adventures.


    Your wonderful blog has been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award! If you accept, more information can be found here:


    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs and please KEEP POSTING!

  9. Love your photos Jolene… another thing we share: red hair, writing, photography… oh the ties that bind! 🙂 Really enjoyed your galleries. If you’d ever like to do another write-out, let me know. I’m in. Or, out.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting my blog! We do have a lot in common – and I’m always up for another write-out. 🙂

  10. heniges says:

    Hello Jolene! Thanks for following my blog! Looking forward to checking out your pics!

    1. Hi Kara! Thank you for visiting. I look forward to checking our more of your blog as well! 🙂

  11. Rob Moses says:

    Bellingham is the best! I used to live just up the road in White Rock, BC. We almost moved there, then just last year decided to try a little east in the city of Calgary, Canada. I often still think of Bellingham though 🙂

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog, Rob! I have lived in a few places over the years, and Bellingham is definitely my favorite. It has a little bit of everything. There are some gorgeous places in Canada too. 🙂

  12. Hi Jolene! Love the pictures and the fact your a red head. Happy shooting!

    1. Well…redheads are a little magical you know. 😉 Thank you, Jim, for visiting my blog!

  13. Harold Green says:

    Your blog has inspired me this year. Therefore, I have nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger of the Year Award.You will find all of the details at http://throughharoldslens.com/2012/12/20/inspiring-blogger-award-presented-to-through-harolds-lens-2/ . Congratulations! Harold

    1. Thank you, Harold. I am honored. 🙂

  14. xavigeis says:

    Hi, I have nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog” award! Here the link: http://xavigeis.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/one-lovely-blog-award/ – congrats!!

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and for nominating me!

  15. Jeanette says:

    Hi Jolene! I nominated you for Ireland in the Picture the World Project (http://www.thedepartureboard.com/picture-the-world-project) 🙂 Hope you have a very happy Tuesday!

    1. What a great idea, Jeanette. Thank you!

  16. 80eightblog says:

    Thanks for the follow Jolene…And the shots of Ireland are glorious…

    1. You are welcome, and thanks for the compliment on my Ireland photos! I look forward to seeing more of your blog.

  17. seattle99 says:

    Jolene: I think you will love Thailand!

    My favorite, except for yours of course, photo site:


    khup khun krup,

    1. That is a beautiful gallery – thank you for sharing! 🙂

  18. seattle99 says:


    Great blog!

    As far as Bellingham, if I didn’t live here (Chiang Mai, Thailand); there’s NO QUESTION, I’d live there.


    1. Thank you, Jon, for visiting my blog! Bellingham is one of the best little cities in the Pacific Northwest, and I love living here. Although, Thailand is on my bucket list! Yours is a corner of the world I haven’t yet visited but am very interested in doing so. 🙂

  19. Hi Jolene, I’m also a MN native, living in Arlington, WA since 2005. Thanks for liking my photo, which led me to your blog. I like what I have seen and will be back.

    1. Thank you, Gary! I appreciate the follow. 🙂

  20. Love your photography! Your Nikon will understand your taking time away but somehow I think we feel it worse than they do! Thanks for taking time to visit my blog.

  21. fiztrainer says:

    I love your blog and I wanted to do something to really show my appreciation for all your beautiful posts so, I’m giving you this award … the Liebster Award. If you’d like to honor other bloggers with this award, you can see how to do that in the post at my blog. If you’d like to simply receive the award and enjoy the honor, that’s fine too. Just know that I think you’ve got a great blog and I thought all my followers should know it too. Have a great night! 😀

  22. schleefy says:

    Hi I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award because I really like spending time at your blog……http://schleefy.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/sunshine-award/

  23. bonniegunkel says:

    Hi Jolene! I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award. I really enjoy following your blog and am happy that we have now become friends on Facebook. Thank you for supporting my photography! 🙂

  24. abraalani says:

    Hi Jolene, we’re almost- sort-of neighbors! 😉 I haven’t yet been up to Bellingham yet (moved to Renton in November) but I have a friend in school up there and have been meaning to get up there at some point. Heard its beautiful!
    Thanks for stopping by and following my blog, welcome! I think I will enjoy following yours as well.

    1. Hi Abra – Bellingham is beautiful, great for taking photos (but then most places are in Western WA). Hope you can make it up this way sometime. Thank you for checking out my blog and for following as well! 🙂

  25. Brittney says:

    Hi, Jolene. I was just wondering how you got started in Photography..I’m really into it and would like to pursue something in it. I LOVE your photos! They are super good and I hope to be as good as you or at least some what close. 🙂 Someday I want to be a professional Photographer were I can have my pictures in magazines..ect. I know I am probably still to young to be able to really get started being that I am only 17…but I was wondering if you and I could talk some more and maybe if you wanted to…help me out a little? I totally understand if you aren’t able to. It was just a thought:) thanks!

    1. Hi Brittney – thank you for visiting my blog. 17 isn’t too young to get started, and it’s great that you know what you want to do! Shoot me an email at jolene@jolenehanson.com. I’d be more than happy to share with you what I know.

  26. Tele says:

    Your site is lovely, Jolene! Glad to meet you in class tonight, and glad to see your work here. You’ve got a great eye and beautiful photos. (I especially like your post about what the best camera is!) I’ll miss class next week, but will see you the following Tuesday.

    1. Thank you…It was nice to meet you as well, Tele! You have such an interesting story – I look forward to hearing more about it in class.

  27. Debbie Dunne says:

    Hi Jolene
    I found a great balloon picture on your website and was wondering if I could use it to advertise a kids party on my website
    Debbie Dunne

    1. Hi Debbie – yes, feel free to use it. Thanks for asking! 🙂

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