Saturday, July 28, 2018

Traveling with BK Sketch Notebook and Traveler's Notebook

Since our family started traveling in mid-June, I have been carrying my Traveler's Notebook everywhere. It's my wallet and my journal all at the same time. And maybe because we are away from home, I feel that holding my TN grounds me more than ever.

I finished my first travel refill and moved into the 2nd one. I'm using BK Sketch Notebook and loving it! Ame has recommended Global Arts Papers to be outstanding mixed-media papers and she was totally right. The pages have the mat tactility with just enough texture, and it works so well with fountain pens and watercolor paint. I also really appreciate the notebook cover Frido designed for this refill. We wanted to create an open-ended feel where the blank notebook does not intimidate anyone to start using... so all the design elements on the cover are hand drawn and written by Frido using his favorite mechanical pencil from Modern Fuel.

I know I will treasure my travel journal so much for many years to come.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

We have YouTube channel:)

One of the goals I have for this summer while I am away from the BK studio in Los Angeles is to be more fluid with our storytelling, especially with videos. So since we arrived in Germany, I'm having tons of fun tinkering on video editing.

And now we have our official YouTube channel:) 

I have added a little video above to our BK welcome clip. I hope you have a chance to stop by and check out our channel. Like everything, it's a slow process to figure out new things but I try to tell myself "slow and steady".

We have tons of ideas about stories we want to share using videos so please stay tuned!  

Friday, July 13, 2018

BK Official Instagram!

For the longest time, I went back and forth between having or not having the BK official Instagram account. We are such a petite and personal brand and I felt like having an "official" feed makes us separate from the intimate feeling I have always enjoyed. But now our family is traveling for such a long time... away from the physical studio in Los Angeles, it made sense that we have a separate account that keeps updated information and announcements about what is physically happening in our studio. So here it is!

Our hashtag is still #baumkuchenstudio if you would like to add a hashtag to your IG post when you share photographs and stories that relate to BK:) 

I also love that everyone from our BK team can contribute to this feed, not just myself. Like everything we do, the process will be very organic and I trust that it will reflect who we are in the truest manner. I am looking forward to sharing stories, ideas, thoughts, inspiration, an update from the BK team as well as from our beautiful community... and more on this thread. 

BK summer 2018. Here we come:)


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Stamping away with joy at Traveler's Factories!

Between our stay in Ishigaki Island and the final travel destination, Germany, we spent one night in Tokyo. We arrived in mid-afternoon, and we only had time until the next morning, so we kept our time simple. We booked a hotel nearby Tokyo station because we knew to arrive at Haneda airport from Ishigaki and to depart from Narita airport to Hamburg, Germany would be fairly accessible from there. We were also looking forward to visiting the Traveler's Factory in Tokyo Station.

Traveler's Factory, Tokyo Station
Maybe because I never lived in a metropolitan city with large transit facilities..., but Tokyo Station was pretty over the top for my senses. The underground avenues below the train stations that were laid out like spider webs very much felt like a giant maze to me. I researched ahead of time where the Traveler's Factory was inside of this large station, but it still took us a while to find it.

It was helpful to know that the store was inside of the section called "GrandSta Marunouchi". I kept asking people where this area was and once we were inside of the GrandSta Marunochi section, we were able to find an area map that gave us detail directions. I found out later that a part of the GrandSta Marunouchi (but not the whole) was inside of the paid part of the train station terminal (inside of the actual JR station) where you could only access with purchased train tickets. We bought the cheapest tickets even though we didn't need to ride any trains only to find out that Traveler's Factory was actually 'outside' of the train terminal. Ah! But we did find it after all, and all four of us had a lot of fun adding some exclusive stamps to our notebooks. Some of the special stamps featured different prefectures of Japan, so of course, we added: "Shizuoka," "Tokyo" and "Okinawa" to our pages.

On our last day in Japan as we were departing from Narita Airport, we had a few hours of an unexpected flight delay, so we luckily got to make a quick stop at Traveler's Factory in Narita Airport and once again stamped on our pages. At this store, the exclusive stamps featured different countries you could visit! I really loved how Traveler's Company differentiated the offerings based on the location of the stores. Satchi made a page on her TN refill about places she would like to visit. It included Egypt, Brazil, and Africa:)

Both stores are very compact and fun stops to make if you are trespassing the area.

To my joy, both of our girls are finally enjoying the art of adding stamps to different journal pages. It was delightful to watch Satchi and Coco's intentional face as they added different designs to their pages.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Play & Breathe // Ishigaki Island, Japan

I believe every "travel" has its purpose and meaning to contribute to our family and life. More often we don't know what the purpose is meant to be until we embark on the journey or even after we return home. Or do we simply find what we are looking for when we travel because our senses are more accute?

I don't think we knew what to truly expect from our stay in Ishigaki Island. When we picked the location to visit back in February, we just wanted to be somewhere outdoor-oriented and warm. Warm enough for all of us to swim and spend time together as a family after having an incredibly full winter and spring at our home in Los Angeles.

What we felt from our 8 days on Ishigaki Island was the beautiful void and emptiness in our minds that resulted from the constant mode of simply being. Interestingly, we never knew how full and busy our minds were until we experienced how empty and still they could be.

The island is slow paced. No freeways. No crowdedness. It's surrounded by beautiful blue emerald ocean and corals and the land is covered in dark green jungle. It's so hot, humid, and high in UV that it's unbearable to be outside during the mid-day. But being out in the nature in the morning and early afternoon feels cleansing almost like being in the sauna room. We were lucky to have arrived right at the end of the island's rainy season.

Where we stayed:
As we usually do, we rented an Airbnb house which was a renovated traditional dwelling that had charming details of what used to be with updated kitchen and bathroom. Renting a house allowed us to cook most of our meals and had enough space for us to spend time and relax indoor during the hot mid-day. We journaled, studied, and wrote tons of postcards from our dining table. Girls played for hours with what we had at our home away home. Jumping between futon piles, making a pretend game with their beloved stuffed animals, and playing the game of Yahtzee with Frido...

Yonehara Beach:
Beaches in Ishigaki were beyond amazing. More than anything, we were taken away by how uncrowded these beautiful beaches were. Each beach has its own charm but one of our favorite beaches we kept going back was Yonehara Beach. We visited the beach at low-tide and mid-tide. We rented life vests at a general store located in the parking lot and enjoyed snorkeling for hours. The part of the beach had a sign for rip current warnings so we stayed close to the shore but sea life was abundant and full of exciting discoveries for all of us.

A day trip to Taketomi Island:
15 minutes ferry ride from Ishigaki Island took us to Taketomi Island which had visually stunning traditional dwellings and a village that has been preserved over time. We started the day as early as we could to beat the heat! We rented bikes and explored different parts of the island. Frido's favorite part was looking for a star-shaped sand that is truly unique to this island and Satchi's favorite part was riding a bike. I loved sitting at the beach and staring at the water...

Bits and pieces of delicious eats:
We didn't eat out a lot but here are some of our favorite finds!

Cafe Sunkiss
This cafe was recommended by a lifeguard we met on our second day in Ishigaki. It was a warm day (as usual in Ishigaki) so all the other guests were eating inside but I LOVED sitting on the shaded patio. A perfect post-beach lunch with sand between our toes.

Blue Cafe
After eating a lot of Japanese noodles, we were ready for something else and we couldn't have asked for more! Great iced coffee, pizza, waffles...

Ishigakijima Reika 
I was in search of a traditional "Kaki-Gori" (shaved ice) in Okinawa. I told Frido that I wasn't going to leave the island until I find one. So I was thrilled to walk into this charming establishment in the city of Ishigaki. Flavors and ambiance were both exactly what I was looking for.

I knew that our stay in Ishigaki was necessary and essential because immediately after we arrived at Hamburg (our next and final destination for our summer travel), I started writing. Multiple new stories, ideas, and creative contents are getting ready for Baum-kuchen as I type this story. My creative juice is flowing again because I had an opportunity to empty my mind that has been overflown with a plate full of projects and responsibilities for last few months.

I am sure that I will continue to feel the effects of our time in Ishigaki for many days, weeks, months ahead. And that's why traveling is magical. Small or big. It shifts the course of our life just like that.


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