Photographer Alex McDonald has shared dozens of photo essays with us over the years. This one was a few years ago and remains one of our favorites.
Photographer Alex McDonald has shared dozens of photo essays with us over the years. This one was a few years ago and remains one of our favorites.
We love upstate New York! between Earth Angels, Upstate Stock, and now Wolf Jaw Press we are itching for a visit! Recently we sat down with Alicia Burnett, the owner of Wolf Jaw Press for a brief chat about what she does, why she is a maker and why you should support American made.
Who are you?
I’m Alicia Burnett, and I am a designer, artist, and all around maker. I’m also the sole proprietor of Wolf Jaw Press, a small independent printmaking studio that produces fine art screen prints inspired by the beauty of the natural world.
Where are you?
Right now my studio and I are located in the northern Hudson Valley region of New York State. I’m really happy living and working here. I think it’s a great location for makers like me that love nature and feel more comfortable living in the country versus living in a city. The countryside and farmlands of Upstate New York are a beautiful place to live; it can be quite rural, but it’s not so rural that I feel isolated and disconnected to the surrounding makers and local arts communities. I love the fact I’m surrounded by serene farmland and plenty of open space while still being close enough to New York City, Hudson, and Albany to be physically involved the art communities of those cities.
Why are you a maker?
I am a maker because it feels like the most authentic and natural way for me to live my life and make a living for myself. I am a maker because for as long as I can remember, I have had an insatiable compulsion to create. It’s just something that is in my DNA I guess.
What do you make?
Through my studio, Wolf Jaw Press, I make limited edition screen prints.
How long have you been a maker?
While I’ve always identified as being a creative, artistic individual with a strong desire to make and create, professionally, I haven’t been a maker for that long. I graduated with my MFA from Pratt Institute in 2015, and shorty afterwards I established Wolf Jaw Press. I’ve been a professional maker for less than year! Establishing my own studio and business has been quite the process, but putting in the long hours and hard work has been so worth it. Everyday I learn something new, and seeing my studio slowly but surely grow and flourish gives me an indescribable sense of satisfaction.
Why did you decide on what you do?
It took me a long time to find myself artistically. I attended the Rhode Island School of Design where I spent most of my time as an undergraduate student trying to find a medium that felt comfortable for me. I watched so many of my friends as freshman and sophomores immediately gravitate towards a specific major, and then to a specific medium or process. Meanwhile, I felt like I was interested in too many things. I wanted to do any try everything, but nothing I artistically experimented with felt right.
It wasn’t until the tail end of my junior year that I had a moment of clarity. On a whim, I decided to take a screen printing class with RISD’s printmaking department during the spring semester of my junior year. Within weeks I was completely in love with the screen printing process, but it still took me a few years to find the courage to establish my own screen printing studio and business.
The catalyst that finally pushed me to take the leap of faith and start my own studio were the repeated failures I had at trying to break into the corporate world of design. After my graduation from RISD with my BFA, and then from Pratt my MFA, I had interview after interview with companies and design firms, but it seemed that no one wanted to hire me. In hindsight, these “failures” in getting hired, while discouraging and frustrating at the time, pushed me to realize that maybe I should try to open my own studio and be self employed.
Favorite part about being a maker?
There is so much I love about being a maker! In short, I love the freedom and control it gives me in my personal and professional life. While being self employed undoubtedly comes with an expected level of uncertainly and stress, I have been able to experience a level of freedom that is both liberating and exhilarating. By being a maker, I get to do what I love everyday and I get to be my own boss. I decided what I want to make and when I want to make it, I create my own hours, I decide what projects and collaborations I want to work on, and I get to decide how and in what direction I want my business to grow.
I also love that each day always hold something new and different. I could never have a job where I do the same thing everyday sitting at a desk. As a maker and a self employed artist, I get to first and foremost create the art that I love to make, but I also get to explore and learn about financial management, business strategies, legal procedures, accounting, and marketing. I’m learning and exploring so much. I find that my days bouncing between slinging ink in the studio, compiling and analyzing finical reports hunched over my laptop, or researching small business growth strategies are engaging and deeply rewarding.
Why support makers?
When you shop for items made by artisans and makers, you can expect receive high quality goods crated with care while your dollars contribute to and strengthening a local economy. By supporting makers, you are also helping support someone’s passion. We makers care so deeply and passionately about what we do, and through buying our goods you enable us to make a living off of our authentic passion for creating.
FOR MORE: WOLF JAW PRESS
In the year 1870, a man named Camille Poirier came to Duluth, Minnesota with a dream of opening a leather and canvas good's store. Over 130 years later, this dream is still alive and growing.
Duluth Pack is the is oldest canvas and leather bag and pack company in the USA. Still located in Duluth, they have not ceased manufacturing high quality, built-to-last canvas and leather bags, packs, and outdoor gear in their century-old factory.
Their quality and values have not wavered or waned since their beginning. Duluth Pack continues to embrace their American made heritage. Not once have they compromised quality for quantity, instead they continue on in the one-customer-at-a-time way of doing business that they have always valued.
Duluth Pack sticks to tradition well as their craftsmen and women have been using the same reliable, timeless artisanal techniques since the beginning of the company. Not only do they cherish their customers, but also their employees. The talented sewers are actually able to sew their name with pride into the high quality product that they have thoroughly hand crafted with skill and precision.
Typical products found other places are built to fall apart and be thrown away. One of the many amazing things about this company is the life time warranty that they offer. It is a guarantee of the longlasting quality of their products.
As they honor tradition, they also have been cutting edge in their designs and keeping up with the times while maintaining the beautiful essence their company carries. There are 15 canvas colors available, along with wool, American bison leather, and an assortment of other American leather products to choose from. No matter the product you are interested in, you can be reassured of the highest quality.
Duluth Pack is special for a myriad of reasons. Their packs carry the power of storytelling and so many memories are made with the packs. Adventure calls when you get your hands on one of these packs.
Their humble beginnings back in 1882 has grown and amassed into a worldwide organization. Products are sold to a global consumer through their flagship retail store in Duluth, MN, their online retail store, and a global network of dealers.
Duluth Pack has extended a 15% discount in the online store for all of those apart of the Folk Family. Go pick out a pack perfectly suited for your next adventure. With so many styles and colors to choose from it is going to be a hard decision. (Personally leaning towards a Burgundy Scout Pack myself)
Follow them on Instagram to share some love with the Duluth Pack team for their generosity and commitment to their customers!
These last few days have been incredible stressful and emotional for many Americans, so to hear what Alexander Miles, an Australian, had to say about this country was balm to my soul. To see the beauty of the land that this nation was built on and to hear the affirming insights from a foreign traveler was a refresher for the love and hope I hold for America.
Enjoy a glimpse of Alexander and Lana's Great American Roadtrip where these two traveled, explored, and photographed the grand natural landscapes of the West.
Where are you from:
I was born in Sydney, Australia.
I've spent just as much time in Melbourne, Australia.
Where do you live:
I live in East London.
From someone on the outside what is the appeal of visiting America?
As a kid, I always thought the USA was like the wild-west. Fame, fortune, wild people and wild nature. Most of the media we consumed in Australia - especially growing up - has been centred on America. We are spoon-fed doses of Americana all our lives. As an adult, and having spent a lot of time in the USA, I realise that its part true and part fallacy. America is stunningly beautiful, complex and surprising. Anyone i've ever spoken to that've taken a trip in the states comes out of it enlightened and humbled by the people and the beauty of the nature.
What are the most iconic ideas/places/landmarks/narratives of "America" to the foreigner?
The great American Road Trip is something that almost every person I ever speak to states as the thing that they want to do. A rolling landscape of the road, dotted with weird and wonderful Americana. A lashing of the kitsch and miles of tired, weather-beaten signs advertising cheap gas or rooms.
I keep going back to the desert. There is a bleakness, a tiredness which I find really compelling. You can drive for days and at the end of your journey you can end up somewhere like Zion and you feel like you've landed on another planet. Incredibly rewarding as a foreigner to have the interplay of bleakness and the grand scale of the natural sights.
Also, not to be discounted are the people and places - those roadside truck stops with funny 'attractions' and museums. Diners always about the diners.
Where did you go on this trip?
We flew from NYC straight to Vegas. Picked up a convertible Mustang and hit the road - it is totally cliched, but we're from Australia, so we figured we had to do it. From there we drove through the deserts to Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Moab, finishing in the refreshingly green Colorado Rockies for a week.
Where all have you visited in the past?
Lots of California, highlights being Yosemite, Death Valley. Nevada, Utah, Colorado. A little bit of the east coast, NYC and Boston, basically. For me it seems like the bigger attractions are always more in the west.
What are some tips for navigating America if you aren't American?
Hire a car. There is no other way to see the USA other than by using a car. We were intimidated by the idea of driving on the 'wrong side' of the road, but it's a cinch and having the mobility meant we saw so much more.
Get out of the cities. For me the charm of the USA is in the nature, the small towns and the people who live out there.
Plan your trip and give yourself more time than you think you need. The place is damn big, and most great landmarks, national parks etc would need more than a single night to do it justice. We didn't do that last time. Lesson learned.
Try pretty much everything you can get your hands on - the variety of food you've got is staggering. S'mores! What a thing!
Biggest pet peeve about America:
Honestly? There isn't much. I'm trying to think of something?
Oh! Ah! I've got it! Outside of NYC more often than not you'll find the worst coffee in the universe. It's totally butchered. For the record, to be fair, any coffee is better than no coffee, but for an Australian it's always a bit of an adjustment to get used to the heavily filtered coffee. Or, worse yet, Starbucks!
Let's just chalk that down to cultural differences.
Biggest thrill of America:
The feeling of anticipation when arriving somewhere extremely grand like Yosemite, Death Valley or Monument Valley knowing that it's going to be good and then it's so much better (and bigger) than you expected. When you sit there, looking at these amazing sights, jaw hanging, quietly just taking it in. It's probably not the thrill you'd expect, but it is the one that sticks with you.
What makes America, America?
America has had a bad wrap for a long time and a lot of people still judge it harshly and unfairly today. It's a beautiful country, full of great people who are just finding their place in the world. It's far from perfect, but nowhere is.
I always think about a very sarcastic quote from a good friend of mine in LA who said when I mocked him and the USA prior to ever having visited: "You only hate us because we're number one!" I never really had much of a comeback for that and after having travelled through much of the USA, it was really apparent to me what he meant.
It's a damn good country.
To me, America being a country of 'more'. You want something? Well you can have more of whatever that thing is. You want a canyon? Well here's the biggest damn canyon in the world. You like steak? Well how about a huge, table sized t-bone? You want to buy absolutely everything organic shop in a vegan-friendly packaging with a soy latte and a kale salad? Welcome to WholeFoods!
You guys live large in pretty much every way, and it's pretty hard to fault the pleasure and charm of that way of life.
I'm inclined to agree with Alexander. America is a damn good country. Let's continue to uphold, appreciate, and fight for the beauty & values of America the Great.
You can catch more of Alexander and Lana's travels on Instagram.
Sit in awe as you watch their breathtaking timelapse of their journey through the desert.
Ricardo Rico is a 28 year old Brazilian living in São Paulo. His passion and career is photographing people. The photos he takes are very intimate and they portray a beautiful side to man's masculinity and beauty.
Christophe: When did you first become interested in photography?
Ricardo: I remember the first picture that I saw and I thought, "Wow how beautiful is it!" I wondered how that picture was created. I was a child and the picture was of Naomi Campell, from Playboy Magazine by David LaChapelle.
Ever since then, everytime that I saw a beautiful picture, I wondered how and why it was made. When I was a teenager I met a photographer and he invited me to help him during a photoshoot of a new upcoming model. That moment was my first real contact with photography and I fell in love.
C: Were you self-taught or did you learn in school/from a mentor?
R: Self-taught. My first exposure with photography was through a professional, however I did not have them as a mentor.
I researched and read about photography back then, and nowadays I continue do to do the same. I never stopped seeking more information.
Knowledge is an endless cycle, never stop seeking.
C: How did you develop your style?
R: So difficult, I have many doubts if I developed a style.
Hehehe "I love making new experiences"
Nowadays, my experience with 'The Lonely Project' has made me happy
C: What themes do you explore through your work?
R: Masculine beauty in physical and emotional forms is my current theme. I try to portray another man by mixing and molding a little of my subjects and a little of myself together.
C: How do you find and choose you subjects or locations?
R: The intimate/nude theme is a set for 'The Lonely'.
Normally the first contact with the candidate is online, and I explain my job and they tell me the reason that motivated them to seek being photographed by me. I get to personally know them, and we start a building a strong connection based on confidence. After all nudity is still a taboo and it is not easy to get naked in front of someone.
Usually, I photograph in their house. I see this place only on the day of the photoshoot.
Sometimes the place is amazing with a lot of light and I can explore the place many ways, while other times it is a patient game where I fight against the darkness to explore the maximum that I am able to do. However, the place is not very important, the focus is the human. The pictures I take and conversations we have are the most important objective.
C: What inspires your work?
R: The people are my inspiration. I loving walk on the street and observing the people near me. It’s fascinating to observe someone that have no idea they are being observed. Mainly lonely people, seated in the park, in the square, public transport, waiting for someone or something.
And movies, TV series, songs, and some photographers that I like so much are João Guedes, Wong Sim and Haris Nukem.
C: How do you compose an image? Do you go into the shoot with a specific shot in mind, or does the inspiration strike when you place your model in the setting?
R: All is an experiment. First, I need to get a harmonious atmosphere to feel free and confident. After that the experimenting starts. I continue to study and search what will be visually pleasing for the photoshoot throughout this entire process.
C: What has been your biggest lesson learned through creating your art?
R: I have learned to listen.
I have gained the opportunity to meet a lot of different people with culture and histories totally different and this has enriched me a lot as a human.
C: What do you hope your art says to people?
R: The interpretation is free and totally personal. In my opinion, the body is art and can be interpreted to many ways; it depends on the way that you see.
C: Why did you choose your craft? How hard was it to become profitable at it?
R: It is necessary for me and I cannot see myself doing anything different than photography in my future. Just like any other self-employment, this is a battle with ups and downs.
C: Any suggestions to newcomers to the field?
R: Make experiences, observe, make mistakes & correct them, do not give up, remake and try it again!
C: If you couldn’t be doing your craft, what would you do instead?
R: I cannot see myself doing something different than photography, however Graphic Designer is another option.
C: Any favorite moments of your career so far?
R: The gaze, of who I captured with my camera, this make me feels happy.
C: What would you do differently if you could start from scratch?
R: If I changed one thing that I did, I probably could lose good things that I won during this time.
Rico is currently working on a project that we can all support by clicking here on the Catarse website. (Brazilian Crowdfunding)
The second edition of Lonely Magazine is in the works and he needs our help to publish his fantastic work of art.
Michael Stricklin is a maker located in Opelika, Alabama. The business he founded, Loyal Stricklin, is a leather goods and accessories company. He shares with us the in's and out's of being a maker and tells his story of becoming the maker that he is today.
OWNER, FOUNDER, AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF LOYAL STRICKLIN
Christophe: Tell us about your process to becoming a maker. Did you go to college? Did you come from the corporate world? Or were you always a maker?
Michael: I took a serious interest in product development after returning from a study abroad trip in Italy. I realized I wanted to be able to create beautiful items on a smaller scale than the degree in Architecture I was pursuing would allow for. I started working with leather to make a phone case/wallet combo, mostly because I could make them at the desk in my living room. The material spoke to me and so I continued to develop my skills and products over the next year and a half. I launched Loyal Stricklin in the Fall of 2013 as I started my masters degree and went full-time once I graduated.
C: How did you decide you were finally ready to be a full-time maker?
M: I had my first mild success the Christmas season of 2013, and business never slowed down after that. By the time I graduated, I went full time with a few part-time employees helping me make everything. I haven’t looked back since.
C: Why are you a maker?
M: I wanted to become an entrepreneur so I could have time to do the things I loved and not have to answer to a boss. Turns out, it’s not the days spent leisurely doing whatever that I had hoped they would be. It’s a full-time 9-5 job spent in the studio now. I’m never really “off” though, and am constantly thinking about ways to improve a design or how to run the business.
C: Why are you still a maker?
M: God willing, I’ll be one for as long as I can. Even if Loyal Stricklin could not pay the bills for some reason, I wouldn’t stop. Creating and working with my hands is my passion, and always has been.
C: As a child what did you want to be?
M: I was always drawing and creating as a kid, which is why I went into architecture. I knew I wanted to be in a creative field, but you have to make a living too. My childhood experiences spending time in the garage with my Dad on DIY projects and the skills I learned in Architecture school really lent themselves to making this business possible.
C: Tell us about your creative process and the evolution of that process as you've perfected your craft and as you've grown as a business.
M: I stay pretty passive on design for a long time while I think about the next product. I usually mull it over, sketch something out, and then it might be weeks before I look at it again. Because I am heavily involved in so many as parts of the business — from marketing to production and running the business and all that entails— It can be hard to find time to set aside just for design. I keep a journal and pens in my bag at all times. Once I’ve fixated on the next product I want to create, then that’s when I get down to design, sketching slight variations until I have something I’m pleased with on paper. Then it’s onto the real design, which is creating samples and working the kinks out with the actual product. It’s important to me that our products are simple and cost and time effective, yet also beautiful and useful. One of the most important things to me is that our designs are coherent across our entire line. I don’t like to make something new just to fill up a void in our product line. I need it to fit into the overall aesthetic and design of our entire product range.
C: What inspires you?
M: For design itself, I’m inspired by anyone creating beautiful work. I love 2D design, but I really get excited about 3D design, from true craftsman in the leather world to furniture and building design. A lot of the time, inspiration has to take a backseat; I have employees and bills to pay, and I have to put product development on the back burner and instead go into production mode most of the time to make it all work.
C: How have you grown your business?
M: We’ve been really blessed with this business. It’s hard to explain how we’ve gotten to where we are in a “do this and you’ll succeed" kind of way. I’ve found myself surrounded by wonderful people who really pushed this business forward. Friends like Folk helping us on social media when we got started. If I were still working alone, I don’t think that I’d be where I am at all today. Our small town is cheap to live and work in, but beautiful with an incredibly supportive community; my wife has been my biggest supporter, pushing me to be a better husband, boss, designer, and businessman; My employees are hardworking and loyal, and really carry the weight of our better selling items, and Instagram has been an instrumental tool in our growth and presence online. We take careful consideration of our designs and how our products wear in, and don’t release a product we’re not completely happy with. All these things, plus our amazing customers and fans have really propelled us forward. I think we were also lucky that I started doing all of this before being a “maker” was a normal thing. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time, and I think that’s been huge for us as well in the relationships we’ve forward with our retail partners and customers as a whole.
C: How have you perfected what you make?
M: I’m obsessive over the things I love. I always have been. My mother used to get mad at me because I’d find a hobby, get obsessed, and then drop it once I had had enough of it. I’m lucky to have that trait, as it’s allowed me to push forward with this business. I’ve matured at least a little since my younger days, and don’t plan on dropping this obsession anytime soon. I need to create to have a fulfilling life, and this has been the perfect outlet for my desire to create.
C: Has this growth been easy?
M: Nothing about running a business is easy, but it’s worth it to my wife and me. Even the toughest moments are something to be thankful for, as it’s the hardships that reveal and refine your character and allow for the most personal growth.
C: What has been the most successful way to get your product out there?
M: Instagram and trade shows by far. We’re starting to look into more traditional methods of advertising in the new year, but connecting with our customers directly online and with small business and store owners in person has worked well for us. Life is all about people, and connecting with them. You can’t do anything worthwhile without including someone else, and that has been a core belief in our business since the get-go.
C: What does the future hold for you?
M: We hope to continue to be able to do what we love, hire more people and create more jobs, and grow as big as we can while maintaining our values. We’re constantly improving and refining our current product line and coming up with new ideas. I didn’t put “leather” in our business name, because it was never just about that. We hope to move into many different forms of design and product development and will continue to expand our offerings as we continue to grow.
C: Give us three tips you've learned as a maker that can be applied to everyday life:
1. Whatever you do, work your ass off.
2. Refine, refine, refine.
3. Always continue learning something new.
C: What is the biggest lesson you've learned?
M: It all takes a lot more time than you think. Don’t compare yourself to someone that looks like they’re doing better than you. Keep your head down and worry about you, and you’ll get there.
C: Why should we support and buy maker and American made goods?
M: The maker movement is just so real, so tangible. You're not just buying a wallet, or a candle, or a mug; you're buying into someone's passions, their dream, their livelihood. It's as if you get a glimpse into a part of their day--through their eyes--where they spent hours looking over and shaping the same piece that you now hold in your hands. That same care and attention will rest loyally in your hands, in your pocket, and in use for years to come. There's a beauty and a warmth to it that just isn't possible with your normal big box store purchase.
Even if you decide not to purchase from us, we hope that you will purchase with a purpose from makers, from artists, and from average Joe's just chasing their dreams and living life by their own terms.
If something isn’t good enough, we redo it. If a stitch doesn’t look right, we redo it. If a piece of leather doesn’t look right, we don’t use it. Quality control happens throughout the process.We make sure to only use certain types of leathers, with certain thicknesses for certain things. If the material is too thick or thin, it won’t work.
Since everything is made in-house, it isn’t too hard to maintain the quality we want.
C: How do you ensure quality of your brand and your products?
M: We’re a small team- only four of us make all of our products. I make all of our bags, my wife makes all of our wallets, and our two production employees, Kelen Rylee and Seth Brown, make everything else. The team has been trained to really understand the quality that we’re going for, and I trust them to only let products that pass my standards go out the door. If they have any concerns, I’m right there everyday in the studio alongside them to guide them.
C: How do you live authentically?
M: I keep the same schedule and routine everyday. I speak my mind, but have learned when it’s important to remain silent. I do my best to treat others well and with respect, and I love what I do.
C:How do you find the divide between work and personal?
M: The actual work takes place between 9-5. Thinking about the business never stops, but when I’m home, I do my best to be at home. Rest and turning off the business mind makes your work far better than if you just think about it nonstop. Don’t be afraid to take a break. You probably need one.
C: What is the biggest question you've yet to find the answer to as a maker?
M: Why are there so many different taxes? It’s insane. As a small business owner, I’m taxed from all sides. I’d love to be able to put more money back into the economy by providing more jobs, and buying more supplies and materials and equipment to expand, but sadly, growth is often slower than I want because so much has to go to the government.
C: How/Where can we find your products?
M: The best place to find us is at our website at www.loyalstricklin.com, at our flagship retail store at 711 Avenue A in Opelika, AL, or at one of our many fine retailers across the globe. A complete list of stores carrying our goods can be found at www.loyalstricklin.com/pages/stockists
By humbly and passionately pursuing his dream, Michael plays an important and vital role in the maker movement. People like you and me have a part to play as well in supporting our local, small businesses. It is a privilege to see Michael and his incredible business continue to grow and prosper. You can continue to follow their journey on Instagram @loyalstricklin
Candied violets are perfect for spring. They are perfect for cake toppers, fruit salads, or beautiful garnish when creating a platescape. They also couldn't be more simple to create and to master.
Simply take clean, organic, violet blooms. Place on a flat surface. Make sure they are dry. In a bowl mix together one egg white and two tablespoons of fine white sugar. With a small brush. I use a paint brush. Paint the egg white and sugar mixture very carefully on each bloom. Allow to air dry for several hours. Then you're ready to decorate cakes, plates, and more with these beautiful sweet petite moments.
I create these stories and never remember to publish them. This is a set we took last year at Muir Woods outside San Fransisco. The woods is the most insane pocket of giant red wood trees, and is only about thirty minutes outside SF.
You'll want to reserve tickets online as the wait to get in the park is otherwise rather strange and intense.
Last fall Brandon and I made our way from Seattle out to the Pacific coast for a night at La Push, Washington. If you've never made the leap and visited the Pacific Northwest, your visit is long past due. The nature is just insane. From the forests, to the rocky coasts everything is pure magic. These images were shot with a Canon 5D IV.
While we were on our trip we made a point to stop along HWY 1 to see the waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. This spot, right on the edge of the state park is the perfect ten minute walk down a sidewalk to get the perfect views of the waterfall as it cascades into the Pacific.
If you're doing this spot, there is a parking lot along the high way. The walk is fully paved and has few steps. If you're photographing this spot keep in mind that the waterfall isn't super close to the sidewalk.
This is a good sunset spot, but the sunset sets opposite the waterfall, so you'd be photographing the colors casting light across the landscapes rather than directly into the sunset.
Lets take a moment and propose the idea that you're on the Pacific coast looking for a scene spot south of San Fransisco. May we suggest Shark Fin Cove. It is a short drive down from San Fransisco in Davenport, CA.
The town is a tiny village along the Pacific Coast Highway. We suggest stopping here for breakfast and then hopping the couple of miles down the road to take in scenic cliff views. The cove gets its name from the large shark fin shape rock that sits just off the sandy shore.
Parking for this spot is a gravel lot along the highway. You'll want to wear hikeable shoes as the trek to the beach is down a make shift ditch/hill. Its about a five minute hike down the cliffside, but the dust and gravel make the hike a bit shaky. Once you're at the beach the hike is well worth it, but if you're unable to make it to the bottom the views from the top are equally amazing.
The cove has a decent sized, and semi private beach. We always go for the photo moments along the rocks and caves. The tides are typically pretty loud and heavy. Be careful not to get your shoes wet.
This is one of those spots to skip for sunrise or sunset. Do it in the middle of the day. The spot is unique for its fin shaped rock, not because of its sunset opps.
- Wear hiking shoes; its a short but dusty hike
- To best capture the full shark fin bring a wide angle lens
- Best hours to visit are mid day
- It is one of the few beachy spots between SF and Big Sur
Whenever you're at any of the beaches along the coast, be a good citizen and collect the garbage that washes ashore. The over polluted Pacific has sadly started washing a depressingly high volume of garbage.
(I got a little slap happy shooting this bag strap for Native Sons Goods, so please excuse it in every photo)
Ever wanted to dye your easter eggs with all natural dyes? Learn how! Gorgeous indigo blue eggs have never been so easy to create! The aesthetic is naturally authentic.Read More
Shamrock Peppermint Creams
BY: RIKKI SNYDER
To be perfectly honest, I’m probably only about 3% Irish, but as a little kid I always got strangely excited for St. Patrick’s Day. In grade school we would go outside for recess and come back in to find the items in our desks were all messed up and rearranged and the teachers told us it was from the pesky leprechauns. To this day, I still don’t know why, but I thought that was the coolest thing ever.
Many years later and I still find myself getting excited for March 17th to roll around. Seeing all the green of this holiday makes me feel like spring is right within my reach! It’ll be here before we know it and for that I’m celebrating with these bright green shamrock peppermint creams!
If you’re wondering what a peppermint cream is think of it as a slightly larger after dinner mint. That’s what it reminds me of. If you can’t find a miniature shamrock cookie cutter a bigger one will work just as well. And if you’re a chocolate lover like me, dip your mints in some melted chocolate and sprinkle with some St. Patty’s sprinkles!
Shamrock Peppermint Creams
1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
4-6 Tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Green food coloring paste
A mini shamrock-shaped cutter
Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl. Gradually add the condensed milk and peppermint, mixing with a wooden spoon. The mixture should come together like a dough and you may need to use your hands towards the end of mixing. To knead the dough, sprinkle confectioners’ sugar on a clean work surface. Shape the dough into a ball and push on it and press it onto the work surface, turning it round often. Do this for just a minute of so until smooth. Divide the dough in half and tint one half green using food coloring. Knead the dough again until it is evenly green. On the work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch using a rolling pin. Stamp out shamrocks with your cookie cutter and arrange them on a sheet of baking parchment. Let dry out overnight. Dip in melted chocolate and cover with sprinkles if desired.
This one is an absolute favorite and classic. Super easy to maker and so darn cute in these sweet canning jars.
Easy Banana Pudding
2 5 ounce packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
4 cups of very cold milk
4 ripe bananas
1 box vanilla waffers
1 quart heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 powdered sugar
Mix pudding mix and milk as instructed on box. Set aside. Slice bananas. Beat heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar until whipped cream is desired thickness.
Starting with waffers, cut or break as necessary to fit into jar, create layers. Alternate between the waffers, the pudding, the sliced bananas, and the whipped cream until jars are full. Finish with a a spot of whipped cream and a banana slice tucked into the top. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.
Use lids of jars for the perfect beach or picnic treat. Keep cold until serving.
Over the past month we asked Tribeca based photographer Ethan Barber to play around with the Fujifilm X-E2S and give us his thoughts about the camera and its ability to take shots around the city. We wanted to see how a mid level camera could handle content production and would aid in production with its easy to use interface and built in wifi.
Over the course of the last month, I’ve had the opportunity to try the Fujifilm X-E2S. As a full-time graphic designer who commutes into Tribeca each day from northern New Jersey; portability is one of the most important factors in a camera for me. Having a small bag, space quickly fills up with my laptop, snacks, and assorted winter gear. My old DSLR was bulky and heavy, but I lugged it around because the quality of photos I was able to capture with it were worth it. Switching over to this Fuji, I was able to capture photos with the same quality and depth as my DSLR, but with the lightweight feel and smaller body that this mirrorless camera packs. Despite its deceivingly small size, it easily compares to much more expensive and larger cameras currently on the market.
This camera is perfect for:
- Entry-level photographers
- Photographers who need to save on space.
- Small weekend trips and quick portraits.
Duane Street | Tribeca || FujiFilm XE2S
Greenwich Street | Tribeca || FujiFilm XE2S
The Corner of Crosby and Broome | Soho || FujiFilm XE2S
Building entryway on West Broadway | Tribeca|| FujiFilm XE2S
The intersection of Broadway and Howard | Soho || FujiFilm XE2S
West Broadway | Tribeca || FujiFilm XE2S
Where do I Want to Adventure to Next?
Meet Photographer Luke Gottlieb
Luke Gottlieb, the photographer behind Victor of Valencia on Instagram has been one of my very favorite photographers for a very long time. I dream of the day when I have the photographer skills and editing skills he has so brilliantly mastered. I wanted to learn more, so I made my way out to Colorado to learn Luke's backstory and life advice.
"Adventure is one of those things that keeps life interesting and completely fresh with experiences. It’s certainly the driving force behind most of my passions in life. It’s something I think about every morning I wake up too; where do I want to adventure to next?"
Why do you explore? To me, exploration allows the unexpected to come to the surface of our lives. Without exploration, we never learn or see anything new. I also have this constant feeling of wanting to know what exists around the corner. As a child, it seems your whole existence is all about exploring and being curious. I think that we cary some of that same drive throughout our lives as we get older.
Why take risks in life? Without risks, growth is absent. To me, evolving as a human being and having a better understanding of the world can’t happen unless you take risks or unless you really step out of your comfort zone.
Where are you from? I grew up in a small mountain town in Colorado called Carbondale. It’s an outdoor hub surrounded by old ranch lands, rivers, forests and mountains. It’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
What is your 9-5? I was never one to resonate very well with a 9-5 job. I’ve worked for myself the last 3 years and I can say it’s the best fit for me right now. I’m a full-time photographer. It’s amazing, but certainly has the challenges that comes with it. I often can’t remember what day it is, but maybe that is the point of it all… to just live life and experience every day as a new and exciting adventure.
When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? My dad was a musician and my mom was a music lover as well. I think when I picked up the guitar at the age of 12 I fantasized about being a rock star… as a lot of teenage boys do. I still play music, it’s in my blood and will be till the day I die. I record and do the occasional tour with my band. I don’t think I ever really had a firm grasp on what I wanted to really be in life, but I think that I have found my lane as a portrait and lifestyle photographer.
Favorite place you've visited? There have been a lot of profound experiences in my life. Traveling has always been a part of them. I think that my experience in Israel was amazing. It had a lot of impact on me. The history is stark and complex, but the culture and people are beautiful.
Place you most desperately want to visit? I have always wanted to post up in a bungalow on the beach in a place like Fiji or Tahiti. I have had a fascination with surf/island culture since I was really young. So much of my family is from southern California, so the ocean has always captured my heart and soul in a lot of ways.
What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? I’m going to circle back to my experience in Israel and say that it’s the greatest moment of humanity has been seeing and feeling the resiliency of that place. It’s a powerful area, with religion, history and humanity all wrapped up into a complex web. Germany was another really powerful experience. Seeing the concentration camps in person floored me. It’s wild thinking about the past while standing on the very ground it all those terrible events took place.
What has changed about you because of your travels? For me, traveling has expanded my view of the world. From that I feel I have become much more humble and modest. Maybe sometimes to a fault, but there are just so many amazing people and places in this world that it has forced me to be much more selfless and inspired as well.
Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met? I think a lot about this actually, who has been the most thought provoking person I have encountered. My dad would definitely be that person. We have had challenging and deep conversations my whole life and he certainly has encouraged me to think of the world in various different ways.
If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? I think I would have to say Edward Abbey. To some, he was an extremist in his views of the environment, but his passion for it and his love for nature is something I have resonated with throughout my life. His heart is in the southwestern desert as much of mine is as well. He is a deep thinker and adventurer and to see the world with him would be incredibly fascinating.
What are your must haves for travel? Pack lite, don’t plan too much and say YES. I have been more of a YES person as I have gotten older and what not a better time to say YES then being far away from home.
Give us a travel tip: In college, I did my senior internship in the Bahamas. I was part of a research team traveling around the islands and documenting the state of coral bleaching that was taking over the vast reefs surrounding the islands. It was pretty eye opening swimming around with the sea life and seeing the extent in which the reefs were dying. In the grand scheme of things it is a small and tiny area, but it was a direct way to become more aware to the state of our planet.
What would you say to someone who has never travelled before?
I think that if we could learn more about each other and be open to new ways of looking at the world it would allow us all to improve as humans. There is just so much diversity on this planet both in body and mind to think selfishly.
I would definitely not preach to them that traveling is necessary, but I would encourage them to reach outside of their comfort zone. To me, that is the largest hurdle for someone who has never traveled. Things come easy here (your native country), it is what we know best, but, to insert yourself into a country where your native language isn’t spoken as the first language is awesome. It makes you very self aware.
What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you? This goes back to the diversity answer, but I think it has taught me more about being a humble human being. When you really focus on the idea that everyone experiences this life in their own individual way it makes you more self aware and accepting of others.
When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone. What did you learn from that lesson? I can't think of a particular moment where I felt super out of my comfort zone. I feel that traveling in general always has moments where you feel that. It's easy to feel overwhelmed or unsure of how to do something when you are in those situations. I think a lot of people can relate to that. I typically just take a step back and know that I will be ok and that I can figure it out. It goes back to our primal problem solving skills. You just kind of get through it! That is the biggest lesson, to trust you will be ok and that being uncomfortable is quite normal for a lot of people. You just have to take some breaths.
What would you say to your former self? I would probably tell myself to take the money I would spend on meaningless things and put it towards International plane tickets.
What gives you hope? Meeting genuinely nice people who care about others and our planet gives me the most hope. Seeing people really connected with their place, wether that is culture or environment is a beautiful thing and makes me feel encouraged that that will be passed on to the younger generations to come. To all the people dedicating their lives to sustainable farming, you may give me the most hope.
Where to next? As I have gotten older I have an ever increasing itch to see more of the world. I’m a sucker for cinema and connecting to storytelling. I want to see all these places that just have existed on paper or on the big screen. This fascination I have with period pieces and historical storytelling makes me want to be inserted into the places they exist.
Is flannel always in season? I grew up in the mountains, so flannel will forever be a staple piece in my closet and truck. I probably wear flannel every 5 out of 7 days. It’s the best!
Finding the Happy
Our Guide to LA's Los Feliz
Heath Stiltner takes us on a colorful walk through his favorite Los Angeles neighborhood—Los Feliz—to share a few of his top places to visit and things to see. With a rich Spanish-Mexican heritage and artistic influence Los Feliz is his favorite place to visit in LA when he wants that cool California vibe with a sense of history.
As I pulled on my olive green overalls, the strong smell of my first coffee of the day filled the small studio cottage my friend had offered to let me stay in for the week. I’d been to the City of Angels before, but had never stayed so long in this neighborhood—Los Feliz. With its lively and diverse small-town atmosphere it was hard not to feel right at home here.
Bright and modern Spanish bungalows lined the street gently rolling through the neighborhood like old dirt roads recently paved, everywhere there was a feeling of the cool LA vibe version of a frontier town. You just can’t help but smile in Los Feliz, so a name which translates to “the happy” seems fitting—though it gets its name from its Spanish-Mexican colonial land grantee, Jose Vicente Feliz. Los Feliz is home to one of my favorite LA breakfast haunts, Sunset Junction Cafe. While I love the bright diner atmosphere of Sunset Junction, the thing that always brings me back is the amazing staff. (I live in Kentucky, and when I revisited the spot almost two months later they remembered me.) If you’re looking for that cinematic place where you can go work on your script and have amazing Eggs Benedict, this is your place. Sorry, I can’t guarantee James Franco will be sitting across from you, as well.
Full of coffee and eggs I go back out to explore the neighborhood, finding myself a comic nerd haven in Secret Headquarters, stopping for an American-made clothing fix with Buck Mason, and visiting several sets of hidden staircases for which Los Angeles is famous. Micheltorena & Prospect stairs are two such staircases in the Los Feliz neighborhood, Micheltorena is the more colorful of the two having been painted with hearts and rainbow colored risers. Los Feliz is a neighborhoods ideal for long strolls to discover hidden gems like these, and can be an amazing place for photographers looking to catch that authentic ‘sunny California’ vibe.
With Griffith Park to its north, the Los Angeles River to the east, and Hollywood and the Hills to its south and west, Los Feliz is the neighborhood to visit when you want to see all that LA has to offer. In only one day you can walk from Alfred Coffee on the edge of Silver Lake, have breakfast at Sunset Junction, shop and browse your way down Sunset Boulevard, hit the vintage shops of Hollywood Boulevard, get the best view the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park from the stunt Barnsdall Art Park property, and hike all the way over to Griffith Park itself. Los Feliz houses some of Los Angeles’ most famous architecture, and Barnsdall Art Park is no exception. Located at the crest of Olive Hill, Barnsdall Art Park is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument that houses Hollyhock House designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright and commissioned by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall as an arts & theater complex. If you want to touch a part of LA’s architectural history and get one of the city’s best view, I suggest visiting Barnsdall.
After spending much of my trip hiking the urban landscape, an escape to Griffith Park with my friend Keegan was a necessity. When you want a peaceful hike and an escape from the busy streets, Griffith Park is your haven. Donated to the City of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith in 1896, the Park has some of the best sweeping views of downtown LA, the Pacific Ocean, and the Hollywood sign—as well as free tours of the observatory.
After a long day packed with adventure, one needs to reflect with good friends and food. Making my way back down to the valley below, I stop for dinner in my favorite little Italian restaurant, La Pergoletta. Tucked away just off Hillhurst Ave., this gem makes some of the best pasta I’ve ever had in LA—and I love carbs. Taking a seat at one of the red and white gingham covered cafe tables outside I begin to unravel my day. The many faces and places I’d met in just just a day, and how many more lie in waiting just down the street. After devouring a large bowl of lobster ravioli and more bread than I care to admit, I start my walk back to the small artist’s studio At my friend’s home that I have grown to call home in LA. The giant cacti on seem to grow in the moonlight as I walk down Hillhurst Ave. It’s hard to believe that one small neighborhood can hold so much magic and history, but it’s not hard to believe the neighborhood where, sitting in his uncle’s garage, Walt Disney drew his first sketch of the world-beloved Mickey Mouse. Los Feliz feels like the hometown of Los Angeles, and it’s a hometown where everyone is welcome.
Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles.
Dinosaur Coffee, Los Angeles
Hache LA, Los Angeles.
Alfred Coffee, Los Angeles.
Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles.
Secret Headquarters, Los Angeles.
Sunset Junction, Los Angeles.
Sunset Junction, Los Angeles.
Hollyhock House, Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles.
Buck Mason mobile, Los Angeles.
Los Feliz, Los Angeles.
RISKS LEAD TO LESSONS
Paige first introduced me to Yoni a couple of years ago as we were driving across the US. Yoni, a recent college graduate was still in school in Nebraska. He met up with out group and took us to what I think was a bison range. I'm not super sure, nor am I sure we even saw any wildlife. It was cold, dark, and we were less than halfway across the US. For years I had assumed, like most Americas that Nebraska was simply a fly-over state. In that short chilly afternoon Yoni introduced us to the wide open beauty of the plaines. As a photographer Yoni travels the globe shooting portraits and weddings, for me, I was eager to learn more about how Yoni made it from Israel to Nebraska and how that altered his world view.....
Why do you adventure? It's in my blood, my father is a man of great adventure, I grew up listening to his stories of places he's been. When he met my mom (She met my dad while traveling the Sinai desert, while backpacking through Europe.), those adventures just doubled. They have boxes and boxes of photos they took from all of their travels, beautiful old school film. They can tell me the story of each photograph. That's probably the single most intense drive I have for adventuring and traveling.
Why do you explore? It’s the only time I ever truly feel like myself. I get restless easily, if I don't go on a trip often I start to lose my mind.
Why take risks in life? In the words of Ash Ketchum, “nothing in life is a waste of time.” Plus risks lead to lessons.
Where are you from? I was born in Israel, I moved to Papillion, Nebraska when I was 10. My mom's side of the family is from western Nebraska, so they all lived there. That's why I went from the desert to the icy winters of the Midwest.
What is your 9-5? Is that slang for job? I photograph humans, my dog, and landscapes on occasion. I just finished my degree in advertising at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
When on a trip it's more like a 5-midnight, because you almost always want that sunrise shot?
When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? I actually really wanted to be a mechanical engineer. I wanted to design car engines. My Dad is a private car dealer (that's a title hard to explain) I grew up around cars my whole life. Then I realized in college how terrible I was at Chemistry, that's how I ended up picking up photography.
Favorite place you've visited? There was this lake, outside Mammoth, California. Convict Lake, it's kinda famous. I went there with my friends Greg Balkin, and Taylor Burk. We stayed with another friend Josh Wray, who runs some advertising for mammoth. Anyway we woke up super early one morning and went out to this lake, in November of 2015. It was cold, like 6o, and Greg & Taylor needed to shoot for Oru Kayak. Being the only one not working for them, it was my job to be the guy in the kayak. I got in and almost fell in the lake, but I caught myself by plunging my right arm into the lake. Then I had to kayak for 25ish minutes with a freezing arm. I almost passed out getting back to the car. Not sure why but it's one of my most fond memories, maybe it's because I felt really courageous after that, or maybe it's because we went to a diner and I got chocolate chip pancakes.
Place you most desperately want to visit? I NEED TO GO AFRICA. I went as a kid but I don't remember any of it. I have a huge passion for animals. The bigger the better, and my heart aches daily for the ivory poaching that happens on that continent. I want to photograph some rhinos and elephants before I can't.
What is the single greatest moment of human humanity you've experienced while traveling? In high school I was on a trip to Poland with 150 other Jewish teens from around the country, we had a holocaust survivor with us. Just the cutest tiniest lady named Trudy, we were walking through Majdanek (the most "put together" death camp still in existence). Anyway I hadn't gotten more than a hundred yards through this place, with Trudy by side when she grabs my hand. At first I thought she might need my support, then I realized I was the one crying my eyes out. The human heart is an exceptional piece of understanding.
What has changed about you because of your travels? I feel that I grow a bit each time I get on a plane, I've learned most from meeting other people, and the farther away they are the more I seem to learn.
Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met? Dallas Clayton, he writes children's books.
If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? This question really stumped me until I saw "or in present" I would love to go on a trip with Obama, which I know sounds like a super lame cop-out answer, but it's not for political reasons, I just think he would love to hangout with some elephants as much as I do.
Must haves for travel? Stuff you should always pack?
Underwear. Everything else you can just buy, unless you don't have any money, then you should make sure you packed it. I always make a packing list, even if it's common sense stuff, you don't want to be at the airport and realize you forgot all of your t-shirts on the bed.
Give us some travel tips: You will learn to hate sitting in the back of the plane, not because of the comfort, but because of how long it takes to get off when you get somewhere you really want to go. Buy a car you can set up to sleep in comfortably. I suggest a Subaru Forester, mine's named Humphrey, he's really rad.
Buy a camera, even if you're not a photographer, you don't need to be, just take photos of everything you see, the market, the hotel, the car you're in, the views you see, the people you meet. We don't have perfect memories, we do forget, and those things you don't want to forget,
...trust me. Print the photos, keep them in a shoe box.
One day you might show these pictures to your kids.
Also be stupidly kind to the people who work in travel, you never know when you'll get an upgrade or a perk for being nice even when everything has gone wrong.
Give us a story any kind of story from one of your trips that was impactful: It's okay to travel alone, even for a day, the world is not out to get you. Sometimes I get the most out of a trip when I take a day to explore alone. Recently I walked 13 miles through Seattle in one day and when I got to the space needle, I just sat there and soaked it all in. Then I got some tacos. - always get tacos. It doesn’t always have to be a whole day alone, if you're not like that. I got to Granby Colorado for a wedding weekend in August, I got there an hour before the sunset, and I knew I had to get some photos before I met up with everyone. I went on a trail run and ran out of light before I got to the meadow I was trying to get to, I thought it was going to be a total flop. On the drive back, I found a group of elk that just came off the mountain, they were so graceful, I stood out of the sunroof of my car and observed. I remembered to snag a picture before I left, it’s kinda blurry but I love it.
Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger Make flights cheaper, make borders more transparent. We need to meet each other. More accessible tacos.
What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? Adventure isn't on top of a mountain, it's not the beautiful waterfalls or cliffs. It's everywhere, you've travelled before, I can almost guarantee it. You just didn't know you were.
What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you? How different they're not.
When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? I can't sleep in tents, I was backpacking with my brother once in the mountains of Colorado, and we had a little incident with a moose, it's a fairly long story but it got me good, and now I can't sleep in tents. Put me in a tent and you'll have a very uncomfortable Yoni.
This might lead you to the question:
"How do you sleep when you camp then?" I don't, or I just sleep in my car.
The greatest lesson I've learned from this: you CAN overcome challenges, no matter how impossible they might seem, you just have to think out of the box, and accept some situations but you have to try first.
What would you say to your former self? "Hey thanks for everything you tried to do, don't worry we figured it out, also one day you'll become lactose intolerant so please binge on ice cream, you can lose weight later"
What gives you hope? I'm a lame hopeless romantic, I've yet to meet a person that has made me completely lose hope in humanity. Then again, I haven’t met Trump in person yet.
Why do you adventure? Adventuring is a great way to disrupt the status quo of your routine and creates conditions where possibilities for growth, self-discovery and evolution are abundant.
Why do you explore? I’ve always had a certain curiosity that I’ve carried with me since childhood. I always have to know what’s just around the bend.
Why take risks in life? No one has ever done anything of great significance or value without taking risks. I’ve learned as much (if not more) from failure than I have from success so I’m not really afraid any more of the ramifications of taking calculated risks. “Shoot for the stars, land on the moon”, etc.
Where are you from? I’m from Arizona but spent some of my formative years living on a farm in Iowa. I wasn’t much of a fan at the time, but I do appreciate the lessons of the land and the work ethic that time instilled in me. Currently, I reside in Los Angeles, CA.
What is your 9-5? For the last 6 years, I have worked as a freelance photographer, filmmaker and writer.
When you were growing up what or who did you want to be? I told my mom when I was 5 that I wanted to be an environmentalist haha. I also always wanted to be an actor and I pursued music pretty aggressively for a while.
Favorite place you've visited? That’s hard because different places can bring out different sides of ones personality. I’d say that Alaska was awe-inspiring with all its untamed beauty and adventure at every turn. India was the most visceral and culturally foreign place I’ve ever traveled to and I would certainly love the opportunity to go back.
Place you most desperately want to visit? I am really hoping to plan a safari to Africa to document some of the tragically endangered species there. I’d also love to visit the Maldives before climate change and rising sea levels overcome them.
What is the single greatest moment of humanity you've experienced while traveling? I think one of the best parts of traveling is the random people that you encounter along the way. The people in Costa Rica are incredibly kind, helpful and laid back (“Pura Vida” for those in the know). The best example of humanity I’ve probably witnessed is a tuk tuk driver in India named Torry who I now consider to be a brother. Torry was known in Agra as “Torry of the dogs” because he’d spend a good portion of all the money he made driving a tuk tuk to buy food for all the stray dogs. He’d find sick puppies in the street and nurture them back to health. We’d wake up at sunrise some mornings and go to temple and then go feed all sorts of animals from monkeys to chipmunks to birds. Torry is an angel on this earth I simply adore him.
What has changed about you because of your travels? I grew up in a very conservative household and I think that traveling broadens your horizons and shows you that, in the end, most people want the same things—to love and be loved and just to enjoy their lives and their families. I’ve also learned to be a better listener and more present in the moment.
Who is the most dynamic and thought provoking person you've ever met? I’ve been fortunate to work with some of my favorite musicians, artists and entertainers over the years. I don’t think I could choose one person, but I am very grateful that my work has put me in to some rooms I never could’ve imagined being in.
If you could travel with one person in history or in present who would it be and why? The first person that came to mind was John Muir but I think I’d have to go with Bob Dylan—there’d still be the poetic-ness to everything, but the campfire jam sessions would be out of control and he’d be able to teach me how to train hop which would be pretty cool!
What are your must haves for travel: @atlassupplyco backpack, @moment lenses, @ezraaurthur journal, @nisoloshoes boots, @brixton wide brim hat, @swellbottle, micron pens, pocket knife, headphones, Canon DSLR, and a guitar if possible otherwise a harmonica.
Give us a few travel tips: The road can be romantic and magical, but it can also be exhausting and unforgiving. Take care of your body the best you can. Pack zinc, a good multivitamin melatonin, and plenty of socks. A high-quality neck-pillow can be a worthwhile investment. Also, a good translator app and a Mophie battery pack can come in very handy. More abstractly, I’d strongly suggest writing in your journal as often as possible and, more specifically, write about the experiences as sensorially as possible (what did the village smell like? What sounds did you hear that were new or foreign? What flavor profiles did you experience for the first time?) These details can often be fleeting as if in a dream, but if captured, can help to ground you and recall more specific s of how a place made you feel.
Give us a story from one of your trips: Most of my experiences on the road have been incredible and a large part of that is the people I have traveled with whom I have shared in both triumph and tragedy and a million laughs in between. That said, it’s important to really know who you’re traveling with and make sure that they are someone who will be able to go with the flow and not cause unneeded drama or stress. As the survivor of at least one trip where I did not account for this, trust me, it can change everything and profoundly affect your journey and spirit.
Based on your travels what is the single most needed improvement for humanity to be stronger? We need to talk to each other more; more specifically, we need to listen to each other more. Many people are predisposition to fear what they don’t know and it’s rather unfortunate because I believe the majority of people are good. We need to remember that borders are artificial creations of man and that most often wars are fought to the benefit of the ruling class. We are all brothers and sisters sharing this planet; and it’s a planet that we should cherish and care for.
What would you say to someone who has never travelled before? A lot of times people say to me “you’re so lucky to get to travel all the time” or “I wish I could travel like you do”. I want people to know that I don’t come from money and that, on my journey, I’ve encountered at least as much bad luck as good luck, but I made a conscious decision that traveling was of high priority to me and I worked hard to manifest a reality where it was possible. The hardest part of any journey is the first step, so if you’ve never traveled, pick a date and a place and just MAKE IT HAPPEN. Once you get going, you will be called to do it again and again. Traveling really isn’t that expensive if you are willing to sacrifice a little comfort for life-changing opportunities. Sleep in a hostel or in a tent. Buy food at grocery stores. A lot of countries are cheaper than America, focus on visiting places like that at first. If nothing else, hop in your car and drive a few hours on a day off and just explore somewhere you’ve never been!
What is the single greatest lesson you've learned from someone that is different than you? I had the incredible opportunity this year to spend a couple weeks with Tibetan Monks as they created a Sand Mandala. I learned from them the joy and peace that can be achieved through staying present and not having attachments. Life is transcendental and the only constant is change—embrace that as the truth.
When did you feel you were most out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that lesson? Be it hot air-ballooning through the final-frontier or repelling down a 200ft water-fall in the rainforest, I have chosen to face my fears head-on in an attempt to conquer them. Anytime you do something you didn’t think you could, you become a fuller, more confident version of yourself.
What would you say to your former self? I’d tell myself to not speak or think in self-defeating terms. Our brains are funny machines that often create “shortcuts” in the way we think in order to arrive at the quickest answer. Because of this, if a parent or teacher told you that you weren’t good at something or that something isn’t possible, you may be repeating that same Iie to yourself without even realizing it. If you daydream about being something, it’s already in you to be that. If a secret passion sings in your soul, you have to listen and follow it. Time is precious, put in the work and get going—this is your one life, make it count!
What gives you hope? I think that the internet and the gift of its infinite access to knowledge and to each other is helping to wake a lot of people up to the ways of the world and is creating a more educated and active youth that is rejecting the blind materialism of the past; one that is anxious to live in a more compassionate, conscious world that is more of accepting of one another and more protective of the natural world we inhabit.
Where to next? Hopefully Cuba with @ryannealcordwell.
Is flannel always in season? Being yourself is always in season.