Candace Rose Rardon

Candace Rose Rardon is a writer and sketch artist with a passion for telling stories about the world--be it through words or watercolors. In addition to running her blog The Great Affair, which has been featured in The New York Times, she recently released her first book of travel sketches, Beneath the Lantern’s Glow: Sketches and Stories From Southeast Asia and Japan. Follow Candace on Twitter @candacerardon and on Instagram @candaceroserardon.

Here on Salt Spring Island in western Canada, inside a 20-foot-wide canvas yurt—modeled after the round, portable dwellings of nomads in Mongolia and Central Asia—I feel closer to nature than ever. And yet the first thing I do upon waking is reach above me, retrieve my iPod Touch from the headboard, and refresh my Gmail inbox. In a matter of seconds, I find myself present everywhere but here.

The idea of documenting a trip through art isn’t a particularly new one. Aboard Captain Cook’s second voyage to the Pacific was oil painter William Hodges; artist Edward Wilson accompanied Robert Scott as he explored the Antarctic; even a 22-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier and her sister Lee completed sketches of their European tour in 1951. Three years ago, I decided to give this tradition a try. My first sketch was hastily drawn, with rows of capital Ls for windows and messy scribbles for trees, but I immediately noticed two effects the process had on me…