About Laurel

I was born on an wintery day on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.  Traveling became part of our lives; Mom, Leslee (my sister) and me.  Before we could be under-educated in public schools, Mom whisked us off to Mexico for a couple years of learning a new language  and playing Scrabble as a way to learn to spell and think critically.  I can remember the day I learned to say “Popocatepetl” the mountain top outside our window in Mexico city AND the day I got a score of 100 on the Scrabble board.

Back to Chicago we got stuck in a public school across the street from the Museum of Science and Industry and THERE is where we were educated.  Leslee and I would scoot over there at lunchtime, search the many halls and back stairways, often not getting back to class on time or at all.  We’d go after school unless we were taking riding or swimming lessons.  Museums became our classrooms and have been adding wonder to our lives ever since.

So, non-traditional education was and is my way of life.  We lived primarily in Hyde Park, the seat of the University of Chicago and diversity is the hallmark to the community.  Helpful when you are the product of a black father and white mother.  Mom’s family goes back to England and Daddy’s family originated in Lagos, Nigeria.  We have kept in touch over the generations which is very settling in unexpected ways, including when I”m traveling around our planet, I embrace us all.

I embrace cultural difference…I love the individuality of a people, art, custom, habit, food,

I want to go where it all started…I want to know how we got where we are…

I want to understand what came before…The past is as mysterious as dreams…life is good



  1. annacarisma

    hello laurel,
    so lovely to read this! am on the road for a month in ibiza in 2 hours. at some point when we both have time, it would be great to skype…thankfully life is good for me too!
    and also for my children! be well. love, anne

    • don’t you love ibiza and Mallorca is amazing too. Find an under ground cave…they got them there in spades

      • annacarisma

        hi laurel!
        yes, i’ve been coming to ibiza since 1985 & my mother bought a tiny piso in a great location on the quiet side of the harbor…across the paseo from the yacht harbor & 5 min. walk to the beach. are you in france now? would love to skype w/you when i return to amsterdam after june 7th…but who knows where you’ll be then? ❤ love, anne

      • I’d love to go back to Ibiza. I had a concussion when I was there last. Didn’t do too much that I remember except go into the cave there with the violins. Geesh, that sounds like I’m still concussed

  2. WOW…I remember the Museum and it was my escape from a lot of things! It is one of my favorite places at home! I love hearing about your lovely MOM and gee, how I miss her and your DADDY the most next to my own parents. I will send you a photo of my MOM, taken way before I was born. I forgot you traveled to Mexico with your Mother. She was so smart. My mom loved her. God bless you today, dear sister. Hope to see you when I get to Chicago in the late summer. Enjoying my birthday today and reading this is a great present to our collective memories. xo Charlo

  3. This is my second attempt in leaving a reply. I have so many websites and user names that I can’t keep up.
    I love your new site. Most interesting. It does your shop the recognition it deserves.
    The reason I had a problem finding you at first was because I did the search through Norton. When I switched to AT&T it went through immediately.

  4. Judge Shelli Hayes

    Hello Laurel!

    I am going to travel the entire country of Turkey this summer with a group of colleague and I want to by leather and household items and textiles. Any great suggestions or recommendations?
    How do I see your recent Turkey pictures?

    Your friend,
    Judge Shelli Hayes

    • You are going to have a wonderful time and lots of opportunity to find what you want and more. In Istanbul do not miss the Grand Bazaar but ask a guide to get you to La lee lee, that’s how it sounds not sure if that’s spelled correctly… for carpets find a big tapestry in Goreme near Cappodoccia. You will not be disappointed…Be prepared for the Grand Bazaar, you’ll need days..

    • I’ll post some new ones today…keep in touch

    • I just found out how to answer comments. I’m so sorry for the delay. I have photos and stories on my blog. Whatthetravelersaw.me

      Please let me know if you get this. I’d like to answer your questions…

  5. Well you know your blog has been a long time coming, but those of us longtime supporters know you didn’t have much time for writing in between travels (smile) and we now look forward to seeing the world through your eyes.We love ya girl………..

    Keith & Deborah Denmark, Denmark Photography Inc.

  6. annacarisma

    i just left a reply but don’t see it here….

  7. Just discovered your blog, actually via LinkedIN. Really enjoying your stories and provocative use of images, all stirring my imagination like a siren’s song.

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