Browsing Léa Jones’s photography work is a peaceful, thoughtful peek into her multi-national world. Léa spent time split between the Netherlands and the south of France as a child. Now married to her British husband, and the mom of 3 children, Léa is based out of the US, but regularly travels back to Wales, England and France to visit family.
Léa shares a little of her travel history and some thoughts on top travel destinations:
“When I was 14, I went on my own to England. I remember being a little scared and worried in the underground in London and my English was not that great, I couldn’t even pronounce “Euston” (in my mind it didn’t make sense that it was pronounced the same way as “Houston”) but I made it to Coventry. I can’t imagine sending my daughter alone from Paris to Coventry, but I guess my mom didn’t mind! I thank her today for being so free with us and pushing us out of our comfort zone. At 16, 17, 18 my summers were spent working in Switzerland, and then at 19 I hopped on a plane to go to college in Minnesota.
It would be hard for me to choose a favorite trip. Esparon de Verdon in Provence in the South of France is absolutely fabulous. It’s crazy beautiful, the weather is amazing, the lake is a perfect blue, and the food from the markets is delicious, particularly if you like fresh fruit, bread, cheese, wine and “tapenade” (black olive paste).”
Lea’s children have had the wonderful opportunity to experience many different cultures during their young lives. From watching the Tour de France with Papy Bébert, their 80 year old neighbor in France, to horseback riding in the mountains of New Hampshire, Léa works to encourage her children to understand that every culture is different and that there is value in those differences.
“I love watching them observe people and how they react. They definitely notice that people value different things in each culture. They also think it’s hilarious how the French pronounce “Minecraft” and “Angry Birds”!
I also hope to nurture in them a desire to travel the world, see new places and to learn from others.
Last but not least, my main motivation for going back to France each year is for them to keep speaking French. My now 4 yr old learned to speak French last year when he was three. It took him less than 2 months to be able to communicate well with his cousins, and it came right back when we arrived in France this year.”
All of the globe-trotting she has done has given Léa valuable insights into travel, both when accompanied by small companions and on adult-only trips. Léa says her most important tip for traveling with kids is to “be very flexible” and learn to go with the flow. Years of traveling has taught her that kids do not always react favorably to changes in their routines, and it is necessary to bend the rules and allow for the unexpected, from time to time. On the other hand, carefully crafting travel plans to allow for “a couple normals days with regular night routine and meal times” in a single location is a really smart way to make kids feel at home on the road. As for general travel, Léa advises that we give ourselves the opportunity to more thoroughly explore a single location, rather than trying to skim the surface of many in a limited number of days. “…I like to focus on one place and fully take it in; I need time to take photos, I need time to sit down and observe, and I need time to let it sink in.”
As for gear, Léa likes to travel with a small variety of cameras. This year, she brought along a mirrorless Fuji XE-2 with kit lens, as a great grab and go option for keeping in her bag. Léa is also enjoying the autofocus on her newly acquired 35mm AF Pentax, as well as shooting some medium format rolls on her Pentax 645n. Regarding film stock, Léa consistently finds herself drawn towards Portra 400, but she has also been enjoying Fuji400h, as well as experimenting with Agfa Vista and Lomography 400.
As I, personally, have very recently moved from Europe back to the United States, I intimately understand how the travel bug can grab a hold of an individual’s heart. Although Léa is very well traveled, she still has a desire to see more:
“I would love to go to India with my kids. I want them to experience a very different culture. I also want to visit the North of Europe: Norway, Sweden and Finland, and I dream of making it to South America, the very southern parts, Patagonia in particular. So many beautiful places out there. I also want to travel across the US with the kids.”
I truly (and a little selfishly) hope that all of Léa’s travel dreams come true, as I would love to follow along through the beautiful photographs she shares.