Res Ipsa wanted to hear from women who love to travel. Why? We want to share these amazing stories, inspire others - especially women - to travel more, and feature some enjoyable content worth reading. In our interview series, we hear from some of the most successful young women in the travel, art & photography, and health & wellness industries about why they love to travel, who inspires them to travel, some of their best and most recent travel memories, and how their personal lives and perspectives on life intersect and take shape from their travel experiences.
In part I, we interviewed Meredith Hanson, artist extraordinaire & "Designer on a creative journey" who founded her own professional art business, MeredithHansonArt, and technique, MersMethod, that is "designed to inspire confidence and self-discovery in kids of all ages through artistic expression." Meredith grew up vacationing with her family to Nantucket in the summers, and she just recently moved there year round where upon she discovered the incredible sense of community and magic hidden in the tiny island 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. She now spends her time designing and collaborating with others by painting one-of-a-kind designs on shoes, clothing, furniture, accessories and murals...sound familiar? In addition to her work, Meredith spends her time traveling in the off season with her family, friends, and amazing dog, Willis! Follow her adventures on her Instagram @MerHanson (Mer's photos are frequently reposted by Town & Country Magazine and other New England social media pages).
What inspires you to travel? Does being an artist have a lot do with it?
My very first travel adventure was to Kauai when I was 5 months old! Throughout my childhood, my family traveled extensively which was a great gift. As I travel the world as an adult, my passion for art allows for all sorts of inspiration. Photography and videography have fueled a new creative side to my career as I love to capture inspiration through my lens and then turn it into artwork.
What advice would you have for other women interested in traveling?
Do your research. Everyone shares their experiences on lots of social media platforms which gives me easy access to information about places to travel, hotels to stay at, restaurants to try, etc. People are traveling more because they are seeing friends, family, bloggers, and companies posting and sharing photos of trips and experiences online.
What’s one thing you can’t travel without?
My art supplies and now my Res Ipsa Kilim backpack! Everywhere I go, my gouache art set comes with me. Typically paints and other supplies can be incredibly difficult to travel with but luckily, gouache paints are so small that I can keep them in my backpack along with my favorite brushes and a pad of watercolor paper. I love that my backpack is one of a kind, has great structure and allows me to store all of my supplies on the go!
Have you experienced any inequalities traveling? If so, how do you manage them?
I have traveled to many different countries and I am lucky to say that I haven’t experienced any inequalities while traveling.
Would you recommend solo traveling to others, especially women?
Yes! I think it is very important to travel solo but to also travel solo at your own pace! The first time I traveled overseas without my family was after my sophomore year of college. I was accepted into an intensive art study program with the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland. I traveled with 16 other classmates and 2 of my art professors. This was one of the best trips and experiences of my entire life. Although I was not traveling alone, this was the first time I was on my own without my family to help guide the way. My classmates and I had the freedom to make our own agendas during those 3 weeks in Ballyvaughan which is when I really became comfortable adventuring out on my own.
What’s your favorite trip you took last year?
Cornwall, England! Last fall my boyfriend and I got out our big map of the world and highlighted every country we would like to travel to. England was at the top of our list because friends of ours lived in London and invited us to join them on a trip to Sennen Cove in Cornwall. We spent 10 days there and had the time of our lives! We left for England at the end of December and expected rain the entire time but we didn’t care, we were just so excited to be going on our first big trip together. As it turned out, we had several glorious days of sunshine!
At one of the pubs we stopped at, I found a book written and illustrated by a local artist who had hiked the South West Coast Path with her dog and her art supplies and painted as she explored. I was so incredibly moved by this book and her artwork that I made a pact with myself that I too would think of every day as an exploration and to record some part of it through drawing or painting. I hope to someday walk along that beautiful trail with my dog Willis and my pack of art supplies too!
What trip are you looking forward to this year?
I am traveling to Amsterdam with my mom this month — we’ve never been there so we’re psyched to visit lots of museums and bike along the canals! My mom and I read Donna Tartt’s book The Goldfinch which tells the tale of a young boy’s journey to keep a beautiful painting safe throughout his life and his travels. The actual painting is in a museum in Amsterdam and we can’t wait to go see it!
What brands do you think of when you travel?
I have several friends who have created careers in the travel and blogging business and I tend to find new products through their blogs or social media posts. When I think of traveling, I think about luggage, clothing and art supplies. More than ever artists are connecting with big businesses to collaborate and create conversation pieces. This is exactly where I am taking my art right now. I have collaborated with a dear friend who owns a handbag line and we are about to come out with our second line of art totes and beach bags. Paintings are no longer captive to canvas or paper…people are finding exciting new ways to print on products that tell a story wherever they go!
Personally, I love to shop local so a lot of the brands I wear and use are from shops on Nantucket. When I travel, I bring clothing and accessories with me from these island boutiques to photograph as well to share on social media so that people who follow me can connect with me either as an artist, designer or as a traveler.
Milly and Grace
Go Figure Barre Studios
Luggage/ Carry on:
Res Ipsa: Kilim Backpack
Comfortable shoes are also key! (I love my new Res Ipsa Kilim loafers!)
Beau and Ro x Meredith Hanson
Windsor and Newton
Fabriano Watercolor paper
Isabey Watercolor Brushes
What do you read or watch for travel news, inspiration, or updates?
Because I spend a lot of time on the road, I have become a diehard NPR fan girl! I also love to read travel articles in The New York Times and in Town & Country magazine, and through various social media platforms for news and stories on where people are traveling to and why. I also watch Hardball’s Chris Matthews during the week to keep up on what's going on in the world. I have also found great travel inspiration from bloggers like Charleston-based Julia Engel and The Every Girl blog which offers lots of tips on traveling globally.