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The Blog

The daily, and somewhat random, musings of the FOLK editorial team. From the journeys, to the vlogs, to the behind-the-scenes-into-the-office moments of the team that brings FOLK to life. 

Bumbling Around

Christophe Chaisson

AN ESSAY BY CHRISTOPHE CHAISSON

Honeybees are perhaps the most beneficial and enchanting insects that grace the planet with their sweetness. One of the most beautiful, thought provoking characteristics of these tiny, efficient workers is their sense of purpose and belonging. The Hive is a vital aspect of not only their survival but a key component to the very essence of their being. 

In this regard, I am filled with envy matched with pity for the bees. As a twenty year old, who has lived a life not aligning to the manual society gave me, a sense of belonging is an earnest desire of my heart. Sense is actually too weak of a word to use to describe the deep ache inside of me that cries out to belong. I want to live in a state of belonging with a hive of my people toiling day and night towards a united goal. Not a specific goal, but one of love, hope, and acceptance. Unlike the bees, who seamlessly harmonize and know their specific purpose, me and so many others have had to wrestle and search for our purpose, place and identity. 

Yet, that wrestle is where my pity for the bees resides. Never in their lives do they have to question what they are doing or who they are. There is no choice, simply instinct. In the midst of the struggle is where I have discovered unimaginable beauty and community through the questions and pain. Not once was I the only lone vagabond embarked on a journey of discovery, I met others along the way. Not one story or person was identical, still compassion, connection, and empathy abounded binding us together. My identity is unique solely to me; my purpose is not clear-cut ingrained on the forefront of my mind, instead Life has presented me with an option to chose what gives me purpose. I can chose money, status, sports, followers, materialism, anything either positive or negative as the fuel that runs my life. What I have found fills me with purpose is The Hive that I went out and discovered. They also discovered me and chose me. Community that chooses to know me, embrace me, and challenge me are the ones who I call my Hive. At the end of day we are all just bumbling around together trying to make the world a sweeter, more fragrant place. 

A Warmer, Wilder December

Ben Ashby

As the cold air invaded Alabama, and as the college students fled our small Alabama town, Ethan and I found ourselves longing for a warmer, wilder December. Our destination was unquestionable – the cactus-dotted Mojave Desert bristling with Joshua trees. We filled my car to bursting and headed west, chasing the setting sun. 

After a few nights on the road and a couple more wrong turns, we arrived at a star-lit cabin in the desert. Surrounded by red mountains and vast plateaus, we made a home in the San Bernardino Valley, basking in all it had to offer. 

One could spend forever climbing the rocks and exploring the infinite shacks speckling the desert, but Ethan and I found solace in our bungalow. The first morning left us breathless. The waking sun doused the cabin floor with light. It spread like the rising tide until the whole room was painted yellow. Rubbing our eyes, we wandered out the door and felt the fire for ourselves. We couldn’t say a word. I think we were both scared of losing the moment or forgetting how incredible – how almost frightening – it felt to shrink beneath that endless sky.

PHOTOGRAPHY: ETHAN GULLEY | ESSAY: CLAIRE WALTER

 
 
 
 

Creating narratives through photography and design, Ethan Gulley is a natural storyteller. Claire Walter, a writer and fellow creative from The South intertwines her words with Ethan's visuals to tell a joint narrative. 

ethangulley.com

Neverest Outfitters in Alaska

Ben Ashby

For most of human history, people didn’t buy things to just throw them out after a year or two. People bought goods as investments and did what they could to maintain what they possessed. Moreover, artisans stood behind their work. When the wear and tear of everyday use took its toll, goods returned to their makers for artisans to mend seams and replace broken hardware before they sent each item back to its owner. People marked the value of their goods in how long they lasted and how well they worked throughout their lifetime. They took steps to ensure what they owned lasted as long as possible.

Photographer Tyler Wesley took some bags by our friends Neverest Outfitters up to Alaska for an adventure. Today Tyler is sharing the images with us. 

Letting Go | An Essay by Brandon Roberts

Ben Ashby

LETTING GO...
Brandon Roberts


Journal Entry Vol.2 #21
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 12:41pm
University of Montana Soccer Field, Missoula, MT

When I really start over and hand everything over to God or whatever it is, it is so scary and my immediate reaction is to control the situation. I know, always, what the right answer is, because I’ve tapped into my inner compass. It’s boils down to wanting to save my ass and face at the same time. I can’t. I have to pick one. No matter what it is, it’s scary. The big things always are and even the small stuff.


It’s about being honest with myself and stepping outside of my comfort zone. I like to keep with things that are comfortable and easy. Eventually, after holding on for dear life, I let go, and I find the courage to take one small step, then the rest follow. When that happens it feels good, and I get motivated to really let go. All of this happens when I listen to my gut. It’s always the right voice. Always. These steps always lead to pure bliss, moments of serenity and complete happiness and excitement for the future. 


After all is said and done, this cycle repeats over and over again. That is life. 
 

Midnight in Paris

Ben Ashby

After our time in the South of France at Le Logis we spent a few hours in Paris. This was my first trip to Paris...and sadly we arrived after many of the tourist-must-stops had closed. Armed with our Sony A6300 Mirrorless camera we headed into the night for a bit of the Eiffel Tour and the area surrounding it. 

The South of France @ Grey Goose's Le Logis

Ben Ashby

The week was not supposed to include a quick trip to the South of France and a night in Paris. The week was supposed to be spent in the office here in Kentucky...but when my friend Luke asked if I'd join him in the South of France I couldn't say no. 

I spent six years taking french....can I speak french after all those years? No! ...but I can read it, and I absolutely love the history, the culture, and the bread. This was my first trip to France and it was beyond exciting to see my textbooks come to life. 

For the adventure we had been invited by Grey Goose to spend a few days at their chateau outside Cognac. In the region all of their vodka is made. I don't know much about vodka...but I can tell you with scenery like that...the stuff is bound to be good. 

The following are a few of my images from the trip. 

New York City: A Day at FiftyNYC

Ben Ashby

One of our favorite places to visit each summer is New York City. The city comes to life as the days grow long and the pavement becomes fire under your feet. Ever since our first trip to New York City we have had a soft spot in our heart for Midtown. On our most recent trip we stayed at FiftyNYC, a delightfully modern space right in the heart of it all. The following are a series of images Heath shot in the hotel and in the blocks surrounding. 

If you're looking for a quiet retreat with lush bedding, modern-meets-art-deco-inspired bathtubs, and spacious balconies we recommend the FiftyNYC

AEO TULUM TRAVEL DIARY

Ben Ashby

Story and Photography by: Beau Simmons | @rseabve

Location: Tulum, Mexico

Company: American Eagle


Hola from Tulum, Mexico, where the ocean water is crystal clear, the sun is always shining and the food is amazing! After a quick plane ride, we landed in paradise, and Raphael, Fanny and I couldn’t wait to explore Tulum.

We stayed at Papaya Playa Project, a tropical themed hotel where each room was decorated uniquely with straw rooftops and its own personal space away from other guests. Rather than a typical resort where there are people everywhere you go, picture a place tucked away in a lush jungle just a hundred feet away from the ocean with nothing but the sound of the waves and a light breeze; a place where you can get away and be at peace with nature but still have great company when you need it.

We dropped our bags off in our room and grabbed dinner at the hotel restaurant. I cannot begin to tell you just how amazing the seafood was! To be honest, everything tasted amazing in Tulum! The food was fresh and had unique flavors unlike anything else. After a decadent dessert, we called it a night to get ready for the upcoming day.

We enjoyed breakfast and the beautiful scenery right at our hotel, taking advantage of the hammocks on the beach. The ocean front was decorated with hundreds of twisted palm trees, colorful cabanas and even some iguanas. Surrounded by palm trees, we couldn’t resist getting a few fresh coconuts and taking a dip in one of the pools.

After our swim, we headed to Gran Cenote which is an underwater cave. Tulum has over two hundred underwater caves. The caves are great for snorkeling and swimming, but we decided to just dip our feet in and enjoy the landscape.

Next up on our list was lunch at Posada Margherita. This place was located right on the beach and had quite a few beach chairs for relaxing in while you enjoy an appetizer or a cold drink. Once we filled up our stomachs with delicious food, we explored the area and found a cool little rooftop that overlooked the beach and had amazing views.

One of my favorite things about Tulum was all of the shopping right along the beach. We browsed the shops and ended up renting bicycles to get around town. After a long first day we decided to grab a quick dinner at Mateo’s Mexican Grill before getting some sleep for our next day of adventures.

The next morning, we headed to the city after breakfast and checked out some unique architecture scattered throughout downtown Tulum. One of my favorite things about this place is the beautiful things around each corner, which makes exploring another country feel exciting. After some fun in town, we headed back to our hotel to relax and take advantage of the day beds and swing set right on the beach.

We couldn’t leave Tulum without exploring the ocean, so we rented snorkeling gear and went for a dip. We wrapped up the day by watching the sunset and having dinner at Tabano. Worn out from a long day we went to our rooms to catch a great night’s sleep before heading home the next day.

Tulum, Mexico is destination I highly recommend. It’s full of tranquility and peace and is a place where you can relax one day then explore the surrounding beauty on another. If you could spend a week or even just a few days in Tulum, who would you bring with you? Let us know in the comments below!