Kelsey has a great love for elephants and has even met a few in her day. When starting this illustration, I knew that besides elephants, I wanted the main character of the illustration to be a traveler. Kelsey herself is a world traveler with a great and adventurous spirit. You can read all about Kelsey's journeys on her blog: Lust for Life (and Adventure). It is aptly named, because Kelsey's love for life is apparent not only in her travels but in her everyday demeanor. Someday I want Kelsey to help me plan a grand adventure to a foreign land. It is amazing how many places she has visited and reading about her travels is giving me the travel bug!
Sadie developed a keen interest in travel at a very early age. She was born with an adventurous spirit and a great, insatiable curiosity. By the age of three, Sadie had already visited every country in Asia. By the age of ten, all of Europe had been explored by the inquisitive jet-setter. By her twenties not only had she visited every known country in the entire world, but she had visited every known country in the entire world twice. Yes, this does include Antarctica where she spent several days observing the behavior of a the elusive fuzzy-backed rainbow seal.
One day, she was in the outskirts of Timbuktu, sulking because her over-zealous appetite for travel had left her with nothing else to explore. But young Sadie still had so much life to live and she wasn't ready to give up on her wanderlust.
It was at this low moment when Sadie saw the woman with the green beard. She was not startled to see a woman with a beard, and she was unmoved by it's non-traditional color. Sadie, after all, was no ordinary woman. She was a woman who had already seen the entire world twice so something like a woman with a green beard was hardly worth noting. Or so she thought! The green-bearded woman had a secret that would shake Sadie's entire understanding of the world and the countries within it. The hairy woman could tell by the restless look in Sadie's eyes that she had finally found someone who she could tell 'The Secret' to.
In the world, at any given time, there are about fifteen people who know 'The Secret'. The green bearded woman was one of these lucky people.
'The Secret' is that the world is full of lost countries that do not exist on mainstream maps. Once in a while, someone will come across a lost country by accident. But it is rare, and if you find one lost country, there is little likelihood that you will ever find another. Unless of course to have a map, or more specifically a certain very important map: The Map To Secret and Lost Countries. There are seven maps in existence. Once you have traveled to all the lost countries, you must give the map to another person. This person must be a fellow traveler and seeker of wonderment.
The green-bearded woman had been looking for her traveling kindred-spirit for a long time. When she found Sadie, she felt excited and relieved. Finally, she could pass on her amazing knowledge.
Sadie is a type of person who easily believes the seemingly unbelievable. It did not take much convincing for Sadie to take the map and start her new set of travels. The first country she visited was Alahashan. All the inhabitants of the country have two heads and everyone speaks in rhyme. The first head says the first part of the rhyme and the second head finishes the rhyme. Besides humans, the county of Alahashan has only one animal: A mammal who is short, stout and covered with softy, curly fur.
The second lost country that Sadie visited, was an island near the South of France where every three hours, all the inhabitants stop what they are doing to participate in fifteen-minute long dance routines. Even after the mandatory dance routines are over, most inhabitants of the island keep dancing. People don't walk down the street, they dance down the street.
The next place Sadie plans on visiting is the Brittle Isles, where she will seek out the Secret Order of the Bearded Bear. Sadie's travel mentor, the woman with the green beard, got her own beard at the Brittle Isles. But with the green beard, the woman also gained the ability to speak to bears and other animals. Sadie thinks a beard may be worth the ability to speak to animals.
Sadie's absolute favorite place that she ever visited was The Land of Tusks and Talents, where she visited The Elephant Village. There were elephants everywhere in The Elephant Village. They were beautiful! Their gray, wrinkly skin and kind eyes beckoned to Sadie. She wanted to become friends with everyone of them. Luckily, in The Elephant Village, the elephants understand English. Sadie had many interesting, thought-provoking conversations with all her elephant friends. The elephants all had such unique and profound views of the world.
One day, while wandering the marsh with Lucile, her best elephant friend, Sadie made a solemn request of her friend. She asked Lucile to show her something truly amazing. Even Sadie knew she had seen far more 'truly amazing things' than the average person. But she would never quit asking to see more!
Lucile knew all about Sadie's great love of dancing, so it was easy to decide the amazing thing to show her curious friend. Lucile inhaled as much pond water as she could into her trunk, blinked her eyes three times, wiggled her nose and blew! Soon, dancing a jaunty jig in front of them, was the miraculous dancing water man! Sadie laughed and clapped her hands. She outstretched her hand and invited herself to dance with the water man. The elephants used their trunks to toot jolly songs, the water man bowed and Sadie danced.