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About 2 years ago I was invited to the first Designer Vacation (2012) in Palm Springs. I was so flattered to be among that group of women invited to attend. We were moving from Hawaii to California, I had a 10 month old baby and we were pretty poor but I just knew I was going to go!

A few days before the retreat I had a miscarriage… we had just moved across the ocean, we didn’t own much, our future was uncertain and then I had this huge loss. I felt broken and sad. I took Henry and Conor with me that year. At first it felt like taking my mom to the first day of school with me. I felt like everyone could tell I was suffering and needed to bring my security blanket. Everyone else seemed so young and free and wise beyond their years and accomplished all at the same time. Somehow, inspite of my sadness and my comparing myself I still managed to form what is now my creative tribe. The girls that I met that year are now among the first people I call when things aren’t going right. They are the first to tell me that I did an awesome job on my latest project. They know when things aren’t going well and they offer advice and empathy when I need it.

This year me and some of my favorite girls drove out to Salvation Mountain. It was incredible. I was so amazed and inspired by the size of the work and the devotion it must have taken to create it. My friend Kathleen had a baby this last year. Just like I did 2 years before she brought her young babe and husband. Kathleen (with her son tied to her in a sling) and her husband walked in front of me as we made our way down the side of Salvation Mountain. At one point it got kinda steep and she looked as though she might fall. Jeremy grabbed her arm and at the same time she said, “let’s go down together.” They walked slowly down the side of the mountain with their arms around each other. As I watched  them I started to cry. I think it was a combination of missing my own family, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for this creative tribe that I have found and the spiritual energy of the place. It was the feeling you get when you know you are exactly where you should be at exactly the right time.

I’m so glad that I have stumbled along this path. This creative freelancing path has not always been easy. It might look kinda glamorous from the outside world… Like I just travel and paint letters all day? HA! While it has been really great it has also been hard. I’ve had a few difficult things thrown in the mix like loss, and accidents, and clients telling me they hate everything I am showing them… and just life. But having a tribe of people who get it, who get me, who I can be myself around, who bring their babies to retreats and still act like bosses when they do it, has made all the difference.


  • Kyla Roma

    What a powerful experience, Jane. I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m glad that you’ve found your people and hope that we can be here for you to celebrate your wins, cushion the losses, and stay up way too late together. Meeting you was one of the highlights of my trip xo

  • Stacey

    I love this post. Thanks for sharing that moment! I miscarried before I had my first son. It can be a very isolating sort of sadness. So glad you went anyway and found creative soul sisters. It’s what I am missing in my life. It’s SO hard to be a stay at home mom, aspiring graphic designer and not have a group of people I can call my creative tribe. I hope to find it someday like you did.
    Thanks for also sharing the reality of ups and downs in your career, the the self doubt that you face. It is my number one enemy, and somedays I wonder if it’s even something worth striving for but the next day I wake up and the nagging is still there. Our hearts know better than our heads, don’t they…

  • Jamaica

    Such a sweet post! I love that we were all going through our own big moments at Salvation Mountain. I was inside the labyrinths feeling awed by the beauty when this was happening.
    Great to meet you and run with the tribe. <3

    • Jane

      Jamaica! So glad to have met you as well! I thought you were just taking crazy awesome photos of Star looking amazing as always! haha! Glad you got to go out with us!

  • Vanessa

    Gah, I love you lady. So happy to be able to call you a friend.<3

  • Kendra Aronson

    Jane – you are a beautiful soul. I loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing all these intimate moments. I wish I would have had more time to talk with you this year at Designer Vaca. You are such an inspiration to me, keep up the killer work!!

  • Becky

    Wow. This is so beautifully written, Jane. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. Already looked up to you, now even more so.

  • Time to Play

    […] + Noirve – Designer Vaca 2014 + Becky Murphy – Vaca Resources + Kathleen – Power Lady Posse + The Fresh Exchange – A Guide to Palm Springs & Joshua Tree + Nubby Twiglet – Fun & Sun + Jane Reaction – Salvation […]

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