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ISSUE 6


Mazing magazine is vision put into practice. It’s a talented group of writers, artists, and idea-makers who want to inspire our generation to pursue creativity in spite of every obstacle, so that’s exactly what we’re doing. Through late-night brainstorm sessions and draft after draft, Mazing is the embodiment of its mission: celebrating young adulthood in all its unsteadiness. Finding inspiration amidst the chaos. Within these pages, we hope you find the motivation you’re looking for, to reach, to create, to hang, to roam, and maybe even survive. And we hope what you find here makes your life outside the page so much more.

HERE’S TO THE TRULY MAZING CONTRIBUTORS

www.mazingmag.com | @mazingmag


ESTY BAIN ILLUSTRATOR

NATHAN FAN WRITER

RYAN SHOPE WRITER

KEANA MCGRATH WRITER

ISABEL MATA ILLUSTRATOR

ILIANA FELIX WRITER

KATIE SWALM WRITER

ILANA BAER POET


MYCAH BURNS PHOTOGRAPHER

LIZ WILSON WRITER + TYPOGRAPHER

MIKEY DIGGS WRITER

BETSY FREEMAN WRITER + COMIC ARTIST

ANTHONY GUERRA ILLUSTRATOR + COMIC ARTIST

ANGELA LOWE DESIGNER + ARTIST

ANTONIO PEQUEÑO IV WRITER

TIFFANY LAMBERT WRITER + PHOTOGRAPHER


DAVI S JONES WRITER

KO DY COWELL WRITER

NATASHA ‘POSHY’ SCHUYLER DESIGNER

CORI DUNTON POET

ASHLEIGH MITCHELL PHOTOGRAPHER

KELLY COLLINS WRITER

SABRINA BELKNAP WRITER + POET

MARISA CHOW COMIC ARTIST


JUAN RODRIGUEZ PHOTOGRAPHER

STEPHANIE MARTINEZ WRITER

ALEXA HIGHSMITH WRITER

DAPHNE VAN DER OORD PHOTOGRAPHER

ANDY MARDERIAN WRITER

SABRINA DAWSON POET

MATILDE HULL PHOTOGRAPHER

HANNAH SHERMAN WRITER

JENNA REED WRITER


—— 6

KATHERINE KWONG

SARA FREITAG

Section Editor | Craft + Hang

Section Editor | Impact + Roam

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

COVER IMAGE | Mycah Burns SPECIAL THANKS TO | Interviewees Sarah Klapp & Leilani Perez EDITORIAL SUPPORT | Ryan Shope & Max Dunn MORAL SUPPORT | You Know Who You Are


Gentle Reader, In Mazing Issue 3, Betsy Freeman wrote of minimalism, “There’s simplicity in not having too much or doing too much. In that simplicity we find an opportunity to focus our values and priorities across the board.” On the level of design, I feel cozy with the concept of minimalism. In fact it makes things easier—just center that bad boy with some thick white borders, slap on some understated white text and call it a day. (Did I just spill the beans on my trade secret of designing this magazine? Oh no) But in the physical realm, minimalism comes at a cost. Last year I moved into a room with no closet (literally, no

KATHRYN SCHUYLER | EDITORIAL & CREATIVE DIRECTOR

closet), and that transition required cutting back on some excess. These things weren’t key clothing pieces or dearly held favorites. They are what I would call what if items—things I had clung to just in case I should ever need to bring out that bit of Halloween costume again, or burn that candle I don’t like. You never know. In editing poetry, I have often heard this concept called “trimming the fat,” a phrase which I appreciate for its gruesomeness as well as its accuracy. Often it feels like losing a part of yourself—letting these objects go. Minimalism gets even more complicated when it comes to our time and priorities. So many of the habits, substances, even relationships we cling to are what if items. Things we don’t need but feel risky to do without. Sometimes I think humans, like dogs, are den animals—we feel safer when we’re huddled in tight quarters with the stuff we’re used to. Nothing feels more dangerous than a wide open space. An empty schedule. A new city with no friends. A blank page. Yet these spaces of blankness, while they are often the spaces of our greatest fear, are also the fields of our greatest potential. As Andy Marderian writes in this issue, “I committed to using loneliness as an opportunity, an opening for new ways to make myself into the person that I wanted to be.” It is the work of an artist to look into a blank space and make shape

and light and color. It is the work of an artist to sit in blank spaces at all. So, in honor of the old springtime tradition and Her Majesty Marie Kondo, we are doing a little spring cleaning. In Issue 6, our contributors have donned their yellow rubber gloves to root out the junk we’ve been harboring. We are talking a serious game on budgeting, isolation, balance, goal-setting, and yes, items you definitely need to throw away (mugs! You only have one mouth!). And you bet your bottom dollar we are sticking to our guns on a minimalist publication design. As you turn these pages, dear reader, I hope you find within yourself the bravery to let go. The boldness to look into a wide open space and say, I will do something with this. I have to. And the gumption to make of your carved out spaces exactly who you want to be and what you hope to find. Who knew cleaning out your closet could get so deep. All my best, Kathryn

7 ——


TA B L E O F C O N T E 10 67 74 101

Everyday Essentials

Comic by Betsy Freeman

Interview with Mural Artist Leilani Perez Conducted by Katherine Kwong

21 22 36 68

Tell Me What You Eat and I’ll Tell You Who You Are by Nathan Fan

I M PA C T

HANG

Introverts: Behind the Scenes Comic by Anthony Guerra

Loneliness: How to Go Out Alone and

18 39 60 70 84 98

Setting Career Goals Without Letting Them Set You by Betsy Freeman Be Your Own Brand by Mikey Diggs

Apprenticeships

REACH

Conducted by Katherine Kwong

by Davis Jones

Finding Mentorship by Ryan Shope Values-Driven Work by Liz Wilson

To The Internet: The Pros of Online Learning by Iliana Felix

Not Feel Awkward by Andy Marderian Your Survival Guide to Long Distance Friendships by Keana McGrath

Living With Your Parents as a Young Adult Sourced by Katherine Kwong

29 32 44 64

Practicing Playfulness by Kody Cowell Living a Zero(ish) Waste Life by Hannah Sherman Share an Umbrella With Someone: Poetry and Social Justice by Sara Freitag

Social Justice: A Class of Activism Dyads by

Anthonio Pequeño IV

ROAM

CRAFT

Interview with Ceramics Artist Sarah Klapp

24 42 52 87 96

Strategic Style: A Traveling Wardrobe by Jenna Reed Finding Harmony in the Travel Chaos by Tiffany Lambert

The Liminality of Coffee by Alexa Highsmith Near, Far, Wherever They Are by Stephanie Martinez

An Abode Away From Home by Sabrina Belknap


POETRY

17 51 63 78 95

SURVIVE

ENTS

47 48 57 79 90

Verge by Sabrina Belknap Harder Look by Sabrina Dawson Snow Globe by Cori Dunton Shoreline Cartography by Ilana Baer Recuerdo by Ilana Baer

Things I Am Going to Clean Up...Eventually Comic by Marisa Chow What We Talk About When We Talk About Pain by Kelly Collins

Budgeting for Wedding Season by Kathryn Schuyler

Future You Needs You by Kathryn Schuyler

The Stretching Side of Growth by Katie Swalm

PHOTO BY MYCAH BURNS


—— 10


INTERVIEW WITH CERAMICS ARTIST SARAH KLAPP

INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY KATHERINE KWONG

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF SARAH KL APP CERAMICS

There is nothing quite like sipping a drink from a hand thrown ceramic mug. The tangibility and simplicity of mugs is one of the reasons Sarah Klapp loves pottery. Based in Santa Barbara, California, Sarah has been doing pottery and ceramics for over ten years. Mazing Mag sat down with Sarah to discuss the process of becoming a full-time artist and some of the beautiful lessons she has learned along the way.

11 ——


KATHERINE KWONG: HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED

ARTIST? HOW DO YOU NAME YOURSELF IN RELATION TO

IN POTTERY AND CERAMICS?

YOUR CRAFT?

Sarah Klapp: So, I took my first class in high school, and I had

That’s actually still something I am trying to figure out. I

a gap in my schedule. I thought, “Oh, what class would be fun

would say I am first and foremost an artist: that’s my passion.

to take?” I ended up choosing ceramics and loving it. The more

Ceramic Sculpture is my specific passion. So, that would be

I learned about it, the more I became interested. At the time I

a ceramicist. Pottery is like my job. It’s my living; how I pay

did not think I would pursue it as a college major or as a career.

rent and supply my art on the side. Pottery is more about

But, I took it again in college and realized, man, I just love this,

functional wares, while ceramics is an umbrella term for several

so I decided to major in it! Since that first class in high school,

different artistic skills. So, I’d say I am both.

I have been doing pottery for ten years.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR SCULPTURE CERAMICS PASSION. THINKING BACK ON THAT FIRST CERAMICS CLASS FROM

WHAT IS THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THAT AND POTTERY

HIGH SCHOOL, WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER LOVING?

TO YOU?

I just loved working with my hands and being messy. The

The distinction is how functional it is. That’s the main contrast

craziest part to me was that I could make a piece, fire it,

between my art and pottery. I make large abstract landscape

and then it would change state, you know? Then it became

sculptures that hang on walls. That was my focus in my

functional! That blew my mind. It’s something I made, but

undergrad degree. Sculpture is how I express my worldview,

that I still use everyday.

whereas, pottery employs more design and works with questions of “how can I make this more useful?” “Can you

WHEN YOU TOOK CERAMICS AGAIN IN COLLEGE, WAS THE DECISION TO MAJOR AN EASY/QUICK ONE?

make it more grab-able?” It is more scientific in a way than free-form sculpture.

I was deciding between photography and ceramics. I think with photography it’s more about selection and curating. With

IS POTTERY AS MESSY AS IT LOOKS?

ceramics it’s more about fine tuning a skill over time, which I

[chuckles] Yes. Messy is an understatement.

thought would be more useful in my time at college. I wanted to work with my hands and I fell in love with the versatility of clay. That’s what my heart told me to do so I did it. I realized I could also do photography on the side. It came from practicality.

SO THE CARTOONISH IMAGE OF CLAY FLYING EVERYWHERE HITTING EVERYTHING DOES HAPPEN? [laughs] Yes, yes it does! It is very messy. You have to wait till the clay splatters dry and then scrape them off and my studio is very small so it really gets everything. I probably spend more

DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A POTTER, CERAMICIST, AN

—— 12

time cleaning than actually making. My hands, it’s amazing,


13 ——


—— 14


when I am throwing clay, I can have my hands covered in clay

their support and their excitement. They are in all different

for six hours at a time and can’t do anything else like pick up

arts: music, graphic design, painting, photography, surfboard

the phone . . .

shaping—all very different, but same root of creativity.

LET’S GO BACK TO THE IDEA OF CERAMICS AS ART AND

DID YOU SEEK A SUPPORTIVE, ARTISTIC COMMUNITY

CERAMICS AS FUNCTIONAL POTTERY. HOW ARE YOU PRO-

FROM THE BEGINNING OR REALIZE LATER IT WAS SOME-

CESSING YOUR STYLE IN THESE ARTS?

THING YOU WANTED TO BUILD?

I think that’s a huge question. It’s kind of a life long of

I always knew it was important to me and I was always

gathering inspiration. Ironically, my sculpture style is very

naturally around these people. It wasn’t until after I was in

organic and messy and hard to take in. My pottery design is

college when I realized I had to be intentional about investing

very modern and minimal. They are two very opposite sides

in these relationships. That was huge, very important. Finding

of me. A lot of it, especially in sculpture, is listening to what

people I could keep in contact with, even over instagram, or

excites me. I love being outside: hiking, climbing, walking,

calling each other, “Hey, that thing you made is really cool,

and surfing. That stuff really excites me. My sculpture is a

have you thought about doing this?” Painters, photographers,

way of processing that and explaining that to myself and the

sculptures, illustrators, it all kind of connects.

people around me. That’s really my passion. It’s a form of communication for me. Whenever I am gathering inspiration, I just think, “I have to make a sculpture about this.” In pottery, the design comes from what I would want in my home. Having a vision for simplicity and use and happiness helps me create things for the everyday.

IN TERMS OF THE BUSINESS SIDE OF YOUR ART, HOW HAS THAT DEVELOPED? That is something I am still learning. It’s a process. Luckily, starting out in Santa Barbara, it’s a small town and I grew up here so I have connections from that. So far, it’s been word of mouth. I haven’t had to do a whole amount of reaching out. Ceramics is niche market so I wait for people who are

WHAT HAS THE SANTA BARBARA ARTISTIC COMMUNITY

really interested. Instagram has a been a big part of it. Some

LOOKED LIKE FOR YOU?

companies will post a picture of a set I made, another company

Luckily, I grew up around a creative group of people. We all

will see that and then contact me.

love to be outside and surfing together—pushing each other. Seeing my friends following their creative passions gave me

Some of the challenges were figuring out pricing, how to

the confidence to do that too. We brainstorm, toss ideas

communicate with business owners, meet their needs and these

together. Having other artists around me offering critique

things have been skills I’ve learned along the way and from

and fine-tuning my work is a quality game changer in the

getting feedback.

development of my art. It would not be possible without them,

15 ——


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS

IN SANTA BARBARA!

TO FORM A SUPPORTIVE ARTISTIC NE TWO RK?

Everyday is different, but every day has to be a bit different

If you have a passion that is really nagging at you do what

for inspiration. I wake up, drink coffee do something active,

it takes to make it happen and start small. There will be

usually surf, in the morning to clear my head and be outside.

roadblocks, but it’s worth it. If you aren’t really making money

I then go to my studio and start prepping for whatever I am

at first it does not mean you never will. It takes patience and

going to do, throw, trim or glaze. I turn on music and get in

commitment. If you love it, do it. For three years I taught at an

the zone. Then I try to do something social since I am pretty

elementary school. It was a 9-5 job and I did ceramics at night

much in my studio alone most days. I try to see friends or do

because I felt I had to. Now, I do ceramics full time and that is

something fun. The variety of each day is a huge plus.

great. There are still roadblocks, but I will find my way around. Don’t get too intimidated, because it’s more achievable than

FAVORITE MUSIC TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU ARE WORKING?

you might think.

Dr. Dog, Jose Gonzalez, Khruangbin, Tom Misch

WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO

WHO ARE YOUR CREATIVE HEROES?

MAKE?

Bill Catling - a very influential ceramics professor who drove

Oh man, I really love making mugs. As funny as it is, I’ve

me to find myself as an artist and scholar..

probably made thousands at this point. There is always another

Adam Silverman - urban potter in LA

shape to think about, a new strategy, and I feel like I’m

George O’Keefe - painter love her land inspired pieces

finally getting really good at it. It’s really rewarding to make

Kindah Khalidy - painter in SF

something and be like, “that’s good, I made that.” Other than that, I love making one-off pieces. Like large or small vases that are each unique.

LAST QUESTION, IS POTTERY A SPIRITUAL OR MEDITATIVE PRACTICE FOR YOU? I love that question. It is incredibly meditative. It’s a flow

IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TO STUDY

activity. You’re in the zone, you lose track of time and yourself

POTTERY OR SCULPTURE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

and your surroundings. I think anything like that is meditative.

Oh, number one, Japan. Japanese ceramics are just amazing.

That is spiritual and a good practice to have in life. It’s very

They are kind of the forefathers of what modern ceramics is.

important to not be in front of a screen all the time. It is very

They created a lot of the techniques. Second, Mexico, there

fulfilling for me.

is just this relationship potters have with the clay there. They dig it themselves, process it themselves and that intimate relationship is something I’ve always wanted to be a part of. To see more of Sarah’s work, visit her Instagram

TAKE ME THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY FOR YOU AS A POTTER

—— 16

@klappceramics or her website klappceramics.com.


VERGE BY SABRINA BELKNAP

Her heart began to beat in wildflower colors and ebullience filled her thankful lungs. Almond eyes enamored by a floral tapestry drenched in peach and tangerine. Tattered petals fell and made room for buds to break through. The feeling she longed for came to a pause, because right there she was rooted in the earth beneath her feet. Wrapped in the electric notion that she was on the verge of blooming again.

17 ——


SETTING CAREER GOALS WITHOUT LETTING THEM SET YOU

WORDS BY BETSY FREEMAN —— 18

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIFFANY L AMBERT


I would pay good money to never be asked again, “What’s your 5 year plan?” Similar to my signature when I’m checking out, I scribble a smiley face and bounce. The previous generation is not known for loving their jobs, so they rocked us to sleep telling us to achieve our dreams, save the world, and have a better life. That’s a lovely sentiment, but also an incredible setup for high pressure. What if that job is not dreamy? What if there is no trajectory to ever breaching into that first triple figure salary? What if you can’t pay for ramen or much less rent while lending a hand all day to others? Surrounded by other’s horror stories of life regrets, we must make a plan for success. Break that plan down into goals and stardom could be yours, right?

“The key to successful goal setting and achievement lies in broadening the end goal to your values and priorities.” Goals can be very effective, but also highly constrictive. The key to successful goal setting and achievement lies in broadening the end goal to your values and priorities. Focusing on just career titles and achievements is too narrow. “Write your eulogy not your resume.” That snippet I heard in a speech by David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, is perhaps the best advice I’ve heard when it comes to career goal setting. Start with your bigger picture goals and priorities for your life and quit with the titles. At the end of the day, what do you want to be known for? What is success in your eyes? As selfish as it sounds, it’s true that the only truly successful people are people who think they were successful. These conversations are great to have with yourself and your

19 ——


WRITE YOUR EULOGY NOT YOUR RESUME.

—— 20

- D AV I D B R O O K S

journal, but it is crucial to broaden your perspective by

inspired by a very recent unexpected life switch for me. I was

bouncing these questions around with others who have similar

zeroing in on step 3 of 10 of my perceived career ladder and

values and better yet, are further along their way. They may

I just hit a wall. Stuff just wasn’t panning out; what I wanted

have insights as to where you are being short-sighted. Added

wasn’t available, and what I was doing was boring me to tears. I

bonus is asking someone who knows you well. Said person

felt stuck and lame. Why did everyone but me have awesome

may help you sort through your thoughts and keep your goals

careers going? (Not true, but you know how this sort of feeling

authentic to your identity.

if you’ve ever ached for something). Randomly an opportunity came up that was 4 steps to the left. A sort of trapeze vs. a

After your mountaintop time of asking yourself existential

ladder. Stricken with unquenchable curiosity, I went for it, and

questions, it’s time to get tactical. Start to work backwards

I’m telling you it’s been the best thing that ever happened to

and get more specific: what kind of lifestyle do you aspire to

my career situation. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and it

have in the near and far future? Wealth—sadly, but truly—can

took something from left field to help me tap into a side of my

solve quite a few struggles, but is too broad. What is it that

skills and passions that I didn’t even know existed. However, as

you think wealth could afford you: flexibility? Taking care of

much as this latest step has been unexpected, it was a successful

expenses for your family? Lending a hand to others? An early

move because it lined up with the scheme of my greater goals.

retirement? Breaking down your greatest priorities and values gives you a platform to start to weave a more flexible and creative framework rather then pass/fail rigidity.

“Breaking down your greatest priorities and values gives you a platform to start weaving a more flexible and creative framework rather then pass/fail rigidity.”

“I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and it took something from left field to help me tap into a side of my skills and passions that I didn’t even know existed.” In summary, goals are good, but may need to be reframed from their classic definition. Get to know yourself, stay engaged, stay curious and enjoy your own path. Step by step goal plans

There are many ways to reach your destination, so when things

sound like an endless step-master workout. I would way rather

are not working out as planned, remember you are not failing.

go on a run in the woods.

Rather, you are exploring, riding, living. This paragraph is all


INTROVERTS: BEHIND THE SCENES COMIC BY ANTHONY GUERRA

Need a little introvert time? Color this comic in your style and tag @thefoolsart and @mazingmag to share!

21 ——


LONELINESS HOW TO GO OUT ALONE AND NOT F E E L AW K A R D

WORDS BY ANDY MARDERIAN —— 22

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATILDE HULL WITH MODEL ADAM MEREDITH


It was a Friday night and I was determined. I’d gotten a haircut

else was having a good time. Everyone else, it appeared to me,

that week, put on a nice shirt, and was ready to embrace my

knew exactly how to embrace this ambiguous identity as a

status as an independent and free-spirited young adult. I was

social, fun young adult.

going out for a drink—alone. Except lil’ ole me. Just trying to make it on my own in a new How hard could it be? I’m prepping myself as I get ready. Tons

place and desperate for community. My only local friends were

of twenty-somethings go out alone to make friends. I’m good

a select few acquaintances that I’d see at best once a month for

at small talk. I’m a freaking hoot. I can totally find someone

coffee. After graduating, I had very quickly gone from living

to chat with for an evening, maybe even crack a few jokes with

and working with my closest friends to suddenly being 300

the bartender—and maybe, if I’m feeling really confident, I’ll

miles away from my community.

make sultry eye contact with someone across the bar like they do in the movies. Besides, I’d spent a solid fifteen minutes Googling “how to go out alone and not feel awkward” earlier that day. I’d put in the work. I knew what I was doing. I was ready. I’m a fun young adult, dang it.

“There is a world-shaking change that occurs in the sudden transition from student to

“I had spent so long defining my identity and dictating my life by my friendships, that I was scared to find out what would happen when I was alone.” This isn’t some sob story—this is simply the reality that almost every post-college young adult is faced with as they enter the workforce. Loneliness.

professional. It’s coming up on 8:30 pm so I decide to leave. That seems like a good time to go out, right? Or is it too late? Maybe too early? Whatever. I’m going. I head over and finally stroll up to a favorite local hang out—trying to look pleasantly approachable and feeling confident that my outfit communicated “fun young professional that casually makes friends at local digs.” I step inside and it’s crowded as heck, too loud to hear myself think, and everybody knows each other. I try to find a place to sit, or stand even, and everywhere I turn there is one laughing friend group after another. Everyone else has friends. Everyone

College provides a bubble of community that is completely unlike any other phase of life. There’s no other point in your life when you are surrounded by people that are, in many ways, just like you—and there is a world-shaking change that occurs in the sudden transition from student to professional. You are suddenly forced out of your built-in, easily accessible, and frequently taken-for-granted community. For the first several months of life on my own, loneliness was the enemy. I had a steady income, a reliable living situation, and a college degree. But being lonely, I was sure, would stop

23 ——


I COMMITTED TO USING LONELINESS A S A N O P P O R T U N I T Y. me from flourishing. I certainly could not be a healthy young

So I took action. I committed to using loneliness as an

adult if I was not immersed in life-giving community like I was

opportunity, an opening for new ways to make myself into the

in college. So I continued thinking this way and I made myself

person that I wanted to be and shape my internal monologue.

miserable.

Loneliness, as I’ve been discovering, doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I stopped wallowing in self-pity and started building the

But what I needed wasn’t more friends. What I needed was

type of habits that I’d been talking about starting for years. I

a change in perspective. I had spent so long defining my

started working out, cooking more, going on walks, limiting

identity and dictating my life by my friendships, that I was

my time on social media, and going to bed early. It’s a lot

scared to find out what would happen when I was alone. I

harder to guilt yourself for feeling lonely when you are focused

didn’t know how to think about myself or even how to fill my

on how you can take advantage of what’s right in front of you.

schedule when other people weren’t there to do it with me. My community was everything to me.

So take your time. Stop worrying about when you’ll find community. Take initiative on new friendships when you can.

It finally hit me. I was getting in the way of my own flourishing

Take action in your own life. Give yourself habits and routines

and setting myself up for failure. I told myself that a thriving

that promote your well-being. Start becoming the person that

social life and a physically present community were essential to

you said you were too busy for in college and stop getting

my success. I told myself that loneliness, somehow, would stop

in your own way. Go on a walk. Eat a salad. You’ll find what

me from living the life that I want to live.

works for you.

“Start becoming the person that you said you were too busy for in college and stop getting in your own way.”

—— 24

And maybe, once you’ve done all that, you’ll finally know how to go out alone and not feel awkward.


25 ——


S T R AT E G I C S T Y L E A T R AV E L I N G W A R D R O B E

WORDS BY JENNA REED ILLUSTRATIONS BY EST Y BAIN

—— 26


It was a moment of travel triumph. As I placed each item

When packing for a trip, I try to strike a balance between

on the conveyor belt with decisive efficiency, the TSA agent

having what I need with enough variety to keep my ensembles

remarked aloud that, “clearly you’ve done this once or twice.”

interesting, while still having room for the books I’ll inevitably

He was correct, though my practice was far more extensive, as

buy along the way. And because I’m often packing with limited

I was preparing to board something like my 15th flight of the

space, I try to ask: how can I make less into more? A few

year. The compliment was a long sought after reward for years

general principles make the process easier for me: less is more,

of practice in dressing and packing for travel success.

practical is preferable, and neutral is better.

But traveling successfully is about so much more than winning

Lots of variables go into deciding what’s appropriate or needed

the TSA game. The process begins long before you reach the

when packing. Where are you going? What kinds of activities

dreaded security line. For many, one of the most difficult parts

will you do? What season is it? Romping through the streets

of traveling is packing. Deciphering necessities from luxuries

of Athens in August will require very different apparel than

when packing for a trip can be daunting. Limited space means

bustling through wintry alleyways of Vienna.

limited options and if you want to make the most of every square inch of suitcase real estate, you’ll have to be judicious

Let me propose an imaginary trip that covers some of the more

about what you take and leave behind.

difficult variables when packing. You’re going on a 10 day trip to Scotland in the winter: you expect it to rain, you will want to hike Arthur’s Seat, and you plan to go to dinner at a nice restaurant. You have a carry-on and a backpack. Ready, go.

“Less is more.” Choose versatile pieces that can be worn in more than one way. For women, perhaps a dress that can be worn on its own or with a sweater over top for a skirt and top look. For men, perhaps a sweater that you wear over a button up shirt, is also worn without the button up another day. When it comes to winter packing, strategic layering is key. Shoes are often big space hogs. I recommend three pairs, max: a “formal” pair for nice outings, a walking pair for casual strolling, and an athletic/hiking pair. If you can merge any of those pairs, do so. Perhaps you have a pair of athletic shoes that will serve for both hiking and casual strolling or a pair of casual shoes that could be “dressed up” for dinner. When it comes to hard choices between those shoes or coat you love

27 ——


the look of versus the shoes you know are more comfortable

I often plan my travel wardrobe by sketching potential

or the waterproof coat,

ensembles in order to visualize the pieces together. I look for

preferable. This leads us to

practical is always

any “stand-alone” items that will likely be worn only once, or

“neutral is better.” I don’t actually

that can only be worn with one other item, and attempt to swap those items out for more versatile ones. Seeing pieces

mean better, but when it comes to crafting a versatile travel

together is key in successful planning. Whether you draw

wardrobe on limited space, having a selection of pieces that

them or pull them out of your closet and lay them on the floor,

fit together is easier to do when using a neutral palate. I pack

visualization helps you recognize redundancies and potential

dark trousers and a pair of dark athletic pants that can easily be

shortcomings of your travel wardrobe. But if you keep it

worn with any shirt, as well as sweaters that I could wear with

neutral, stick to the practical, and try to make less into more,

any combination of other pieces. Adding visual interest to a

you’ll be well on your way to a stylish, minimal, and functional

neutral wardrobe falls to accessories. Pick your favorite watch

travel wardrobe. And with a little practice, you may even

or fun earrings, a scarf that can be worn a number of ways,

impress a TSA agent.

or a patterned sweater or shirt to add variety into your travel wardrobe.

LESS IS MORE. —— 28


PRACTICING P L AY F U L N E S S

WORDS BY KODY COWELL ARTWORK BY ANGEL A LOWE

29 ——


A friend and I spent a recent day off at a Better Buzz coffee

now—an unexpected, pleasant addition to my figurative box of

shop and we’d elected to enjoy our food and drink “for here.”

memories.

We turned away from the counter only to realize there was no more seating available.

Which brings me to the subject this story serves to introduce: playfulness.

Well, almost no seating. There was a small, wooden log “table” about a foot and a half in diameter, accompanied by two child-sized metal chairs. The chairs looked sturdy, so we decided to be weirdos and claim the space for ourselves.

“I mention my coworkers, rather than friends or family, because the nature of playfulness changes as we transition into adulthood.”

Somehow, we fit and nobody told us “no.” Our seats were located just to the side of the shop’s primary walkway, and the tail-end of the customer line was close enough for people to look down the length of their arm and have a giggle at us. Our two plates of toast were supported as much by our knees as the table, and we had to put our drinks on a nearby drawer.

“It eases the tension we shoulder every day by getting us to laugh and have fun.” It was a delight. Some of the other patrons shared their amusement with us, and a passing barista remarked on two separate occasions how much he loved our seating choice. We created an odd and amusing spectacle for the bystanders, as well as a funny moment of goofiness for my friend and I—all because we’d decided to act like we were tiny children for a breakfast sit-in. It wasn’t life-changing, but it did mix up the morning’s tempo. When I inevitably find myself in that coffee shop again, I’ll no doubt remember the experience. If nothing else, it gave me an anecdote for this article. It’s a permanent part of my life

—— 30

Playfulness is an expression of joy, of being lighthearted. It reminds people to be genuine, to smile, to do something in the moment instead of focusing on machine-like tasks, dry professionalism, or forced customer service pleasantry. It eases the tension we shoulder every day by getting us to laugh and have fun. Being playful makes a game of the moments we’re living, reminding us to live in the present where the future isn’t a concern and the past is left in our box of memories. Playfulness is a sincere form of happiness and creativity, and, best of all, it can be shared with others. My coworkers like to tease me about “loving everybody” and have even asked why I’m so nice to everyone I meet. I don’t mind the exaggeration; I like to share my joy, so it’s no surprise a lot of my coworkers know me for being silly and upbeat. I mention my coworkers, rather than friends or family, because the nature of playfulness changes as we transition into adulthood. In our twenties, we’re old enough to know the rules. We “know better,” and the consequences of inappropriate behavior can have lasting impressions on our friendships, reputations, and professional lives. Adulthood brings a slew of


restraints on how we carry ourselves in ways childhood only

by social media influencers, but we’re uncomfortable with

touches on.

pursuing silly whims. Most of the time, it’s the little things anyway—the little moments of scavenged joy from an

I don’t think this means it’s best to take the no-risk route and

unexpected burst of playfulness.

abstain from playfulness altogether; we just need to be more conscientious about what we’re doing. To play by the rules.

Small experiences like that add up. Playful decisions give us practice in the art of having fun with our lives, teaching us to

“Most of the time, it’s the little things anyway— the little moments of scavenged joy from an unexpected burst of playfulness.”

indulge in spontaneity and novel experiences. With practice, we learn to overcome deep-seated reservations with our public face, and to see the world with more interest. Our little silly moments train us to enjoy laughing at ourselves. Playfulness breaks routine, gives us a silly story, and—hopefully—does the

If all we risk enduring for a little silliness is a funny look or two tossed our way, why not go for it? Whether you’re shy or not, introverted or otherwise, I encourage you to practice getting comfortable with the idea that others may notice you having a moment of fun. How many times have we all heard some form of “don’t worry about what others think of you?”

same for a few strangers. Uncomfortable awkwardness is inevitable, especially while you’re still learning, but we can learn from those moments, too. It takes a lot of poorly drawn stick figures to make an artist, after all. It’s never too late to learn a new skill.

We romanticize the spontaneity and adventure perpetuated

31 ——


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