At age 23, Lauren Metzler quit her job to travel the world as a comic book artist-turned-traveller. 4 years later and Lauren is still travelling, drawing comics about her experiences abroad. Lauren spoke to StyleAble about her wanderlust and her love of art…
“I grew up listening to my Grandparent’s stories about travelling all over the world. They were long term travellers; they lived everywhere they travelled and had children in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ghana and the Saipan islands. Whenever I visited my Grandfather, he would dazzle me with tales about his adventures living abroad. His stories inspired me to travel the world on my own and sparked my insatiable thirst for adventure off the beaten path. I grew up in a very artistic household. My brother, Matthew Metzler, is an incredible artist and taught me how to draw. I was very fortunate to grow up in an atmosphere that nurtured my artistic talents. Instead of telling me to be a doctor or a lawyer, my parents always knew that I would be an artist and believed in me. Not many people can say that, and I feel very lucky.
I was a bit of a reckless youth, hitch hiking with my friends around the Pacific Northwest, sleeping underneath bridges and playing music on the street. I remember reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac whilst hitch hiking. Every time I got stuck somewhere, he was stuck too – it was like magic. I was living the carefree adventures of my hero!
Eventually I went off to university, majored in Fine Arts and studied Art History and Painting whilst abroad in Italy. That was my first real taste of travel. I wandered all over Italy and France, mesmerised by the beautiful sculptures and paintings I had read about since I was a child. I drank wine underneath the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and swam in the Mediterranean, saw Mona Lisa’s smile and walked the ancient streets of Rome. I met so many wonderful people and had such an incredible time, really growing as an artist surrounded by such incredible art!
I knew when I got back to the US my itchy feet wouldn’t stand still for long. I booked a one way ticket to Southeast Asia and have been travelling for over four years now.
When I first moved to Thailand, I didn’t really know how to prepare myself as I had never been to Southeast Asia before. I got a job teaching English to cute little Thai kids in a small town in the countryside with a friend of mine. I didn’t really know what to pack. It was so hot, I ended up having to throw out all of the clothes I brought with me. After a while, I learned how to speak Thai and figured things out as I went along. I’m a firm believer in long-term travel because it really allows you to get to know the culture and the people, versus just being a tourist.
I’ve travelled all over the US, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, China, and Australia. In a month, I’ll be heading to Africa for a photography trip through Namibia. I’m super excited to see the wild beauty of Africa where my Dad was born, camp out in the National Parks and stay with the Himba Tribe!
I always fall in love with the place that I am currently travelling through, but I would say Australia is my favourite place (where I am now!). I love the vibe here on the northern beaches, everyone is a surfer and super artsy. I’ve dived in head-first into the art scene here and love it! I’m live painting at an event next week and also exhibiting my work in an art gallery in Sydney. A major change from living in Southeast Asia, but a very positive one for my art.
I work as I travel. Recently, I’ve started getting a little income from my travel blog, The Wandering Orange. I also sell art to fund my wanderlust through my online shop.
If I wasn’t travelling, I think I would explode! Well, not really, but if I wasn’t travelling I would definitely feel lost. Wanderlust is something some people have ingrained in their very soul and they cannot ignore it, no matter how hard they try. Making art and travelling the world are the only things I want to do in life. I could never work in an office, so I will always find a way to travel.
In terms of my art, I get a lot of inspiration from comic books and creepy faerie tales. My favourite illustrators at the moment are Charles Vess and Tony Moore. I’ve recently been getting more into photography as well and my friend Oliver Brennan is a true source of inspiration. His work is so amazing! Check it out here: http://www.oliverbrennan.com.au/
My favourite piece at the moment is one I did named “Osha”. I painted it after having a lucid dream where fish were floating around my head and melting into a tattoo on my back. It was pretty trippy!”
To see more of Laurens’ work, go to: