Illustrating Salento

Illustrating Salento

These days, I’ve been illustrating scenes from my daily life in Colombia. It’s given me the opportunity to really observe my surroundings, slow down and reflect. A few weeks ago during the Easter vacation, I ventured to Salento, a small town in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle. Surrounded by lush vegetation, patterned houses,...
Sharing Stories: illustrating for others

Sharing Stories: illustrating for others

Recently I’ve been sketching and illustrating scenes from Colombia that have been present in my daily life for the past year. I’ve shared several of these images on Facebook and Instagram, and to my surprise, I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback. Some Peace Corps friends have even commissioned me to illustrate...
#4, Collaging Colombia, The Street Below

#4, Collaging Colombia, The Street Below

 [Magazine pieces in 7.5″ x 10″ sketchbook] La Boquilla, Bolívar, Colombia. November 2013. Squeaky pedals on a bike, roosters crowing, stray dogs barking, a man rolling his cart down the street and selling a dried corn drink by yelling “PETO!”–these are the sounds of the street below. The sun shines through the...
Maps and Markers: A Fish Vendor in La Boquilla

Maps and Markers: A Fish Vendor in La Boquilla

Mapping a section of La Boquilla A fish vendor down the street from my house Everyday I wake up between 5:30 and 7:30 AM. As part of my morning ritual, I wander over to the balcony and observe Boquilla’s principal street below. I see students meandering along the sidewalk in their...
Mapping Movement: a week on the coast

Mapping Movement: a week on the coast

A few weeks ago, I took my map obsession to the next level by enrolling in a free MOOC on Coursera titled, Maps and the Geospatial Revolution. In the first week, we discussed why we use maps. I personally use maps in several ways, the most obvious being to navigate...
30 shots of Mongolia: from Ulaanbaatar to Lake Kovsgol

30 shots of Mongolia: from Ulaanbaatar to Lake Kovsgol

I’ll remember Mongolia as the land of magnificent skies. During the day, the sky ranged from brilliant shades of cyan to Prussian blue, but after twilight, the Big Dipper pierced through a spattering of stars and the milky way lingered overhead. In addition to being culturally unique, Mongolia’s vast landscape...
Staying with nomadic Mongolian families: part III

Staying with nomadic Mongolian families: part III

Day 3: I arrived at the third family’s home, where I met my host mother and her two grown daughters. One of the daughters and I walked towards the forest to collect kindling for the wood stove. As I piled fallen branches into my arms, I remembered a moment during...
ㄱ through ㅎ: What I'll miss about Korea

ㄱ through ㅎ: What I’ll miss about Korea

It’s been awhile. My semester at GGU ended in June, so I packed my life into two bags and spent two weeks in Mongolia, living in yurts with nomadic families, drinking fermented mare milk, traveling by horse, and eating way too much goat meat. A few days ago, after a...
Secrets of Taroko

Secrets of Taroko

After a few days in Taichung, my Taiwanese friend Olivia and I traveled to Hualien, a naturally-preserved, remote beach town on Taiwan’s east coast. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and we spent a few days biking, walking along the beach and drinking beers on the rocks, while...
A broken air conditioner and an ajumma in charge

A broken air conditioner and an ajumma in charge

My middle-aged, ajumma Korean landlord has more energy than the girls who promote sales at beauty shops in Myeongdong, bouncing up and down in knee socks and repeatedly shouting the same phrase into a microphone for hours on end. She is never in my building, so she comes to my...
Latest entries
I've been a little lost, but here are a few links from the past year

I’ve been a little lost, but here are a few links from the past year

I photographed this man fishing at sunset from Cartagena’s walled city. The first year of my Peace Corps service in Colombia has come and gone without ever having to put on a sweatshirt. (That’s kind of a lie since I did visit Bogotá and Maine in July.) Nevertheless, I’ve (seemingly) attended hundreds of Peace Corps trainings,...
Front Doors in Cartagena's Downtown

Front Doors in Cartagena’s Downtown

For awhile, I’ve been wanting to photograph some of the homes scattered along the narrow streets in Cartagena’s downtown neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are usually quiet–just beyond the bustling tourist attractions and restaurants. Filled with bright colors, peeling paint, intricate architectural details, overgrown plants and people with somewhere to go…   -Text and photography by Sarah Shaw @ www.mappingwords.com....
From Korea to Colombia: an illustration of my cell phones

From Korea to Colombia: an illustration of my cell phones

When I was a child, my family had an old fashioned rotary phone connected to the wall by a curly cord. The numbers were arranged in a circle, and in order to call someone, you had to spin each one to a fixed stop position. I can still picture my mother, with her post-eighties perm, hurriedly twisting...
May and June: an assortment of novels

May and June: an assortment of novels

I’ve reached the middle of my 52 book challenge, and at 33 books, I’m well ahead of schedule. (I’ll attribute that to my newfound love of graphic novels.) I’ve exposed myself to a plethora of new authors and subjects, including the assortment of novels below. This collection is somewhat obscure; the only commonality among them is the fact that...
Summer Reading: 5 graphic novels

Summer Reading: 5 graphic novels

Welcome to my latest obsession: the graphic novel. I’ve realized that the combination of illustrations and text to tell a story is not only reserved for superheroes, children and fantasy. Lately I’ve been reading a selection of (mostly) non-fiction graphic novels, intended for adults. Not only are these stories interesting, entertaining and well-rendered, but they’ve inspired...
The House of Animals

The House of Animals

            -Text and illustrations by Sarah Shaw @ www.mappingwords.com. All rights reserved.
La Boquilla Tour

La Boquilla Tour

Even though I’ve hit the ten month mark in Colombia, I’ve failed to really show you how wonderful my Peace Corps site is. Now is your chance to glimpse some important places in La Boquilla through the eyes of my 9th grade English conversation club. Last semester, I worked with this group of students to film a...
Integration vs. Polo Shirts

Integration vs. Polo Shirts

The public high school–where the teachers are always nice and I don’t have to wear a uniform. I hate polo shirts. Polo shirts remind me of soggy french fries floating in dirty dishwater mixed with hamburger grease and crusted hot fudge. They remind me of running around with plastic baskets of chicken fingers, wearing chunky black non-slip shoes...
It rained in La Boquilla.

It rained in La Boquilla.

A couple weekends ago, it poured in La Boquilla. The rain pummeled down in one giant burst that lasted an hour, flooding the main road with a stagnant pool of brown liquid. I had plans to meet my friend at the beach, but instead, I stayed put. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in Colombia,...
a lesson about pants

a lesson about pants

An acceptable outfit: jeans and a see-thru shirt. As I was sitting across from José, devouring a Mediterranean-style crepe, I shifted in my seat and felt a thin layer of sweat underneath my bare thighs. I was wearing a dress, and the air conditioner had stopped functioning in the restaurant. I thought about something that...
A mix of everything in March and April

A mix of everything in March and April

I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read. — Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit Throughout the past two months, I’ve indulged in a good mix of fiction and non-fiction. I’ve chilled...
Festival de Dulces

Festival de Dulces

Today was the Festival de Dulces. The high school students celebrated by wearing jeans, blasting champeta, and selling goey mango, coconut, papaya and arequipe sweets. When I walked towards the school this afternoon, a bunch of kids yelled my name. “Sarah, a la orden,” one girl said, motioning towards the mango concoction on the table....