Bit the bullet and paid a pricey sum for a new GoWesty gear reduction high-torque starter. We are kinda hoping that the days of having to crawl under the passenger rear wheel to whack the solenoid with a mallet to turn the bus would be behind us.
Looking back, we’ve been (temporarily) stranded in many interesting places because of this no-start issue. At freezing campgrounds beside foul amounts of horse shit. In the cold mornings of Utah, Quebec, Montreal. Perhaps the most iconic was when the border agent had to help us push Vanessa back into the USA from Canada.
Did the swap earlier today, and everything came together nicely, which is always a definite cause of worry as Murphy tends to remind us. Upon test fire, Kat and I looked at each other as it buzzed into life in a much higher tone than what we are used to. It kinda sounds like a spaceship taking off, and will take some getting used to. In the meantime, I will go write a song about The End of a Starter is the Start of Another.
A year ago today, we were living in our VW, making our way to Alaska during our honeymoon.
A year ago today, we slept under a glowing night sky of the Aurora Borealis.
When was the last time you experienced what it means to be truly alive?
When you turn things upside down, or inside out, is when you really understand what it looks like right side up. Sometimes.
Exactly 365 days ago, Kat, Nickel and I packed our bags into Vanessa and set sail with open hearts into a never-ending sunset. It took a long time, but we finally finished collating our pictures and had them printed into a two-volume photo book. There is a lot to see, and a lot to learn, after 24,851.2 miles on the road. Those are the exact figures from the honeymoon of a couple who declared independence from public norms and opinion, eschewed the modern and convenient emptiness of the soul, and succumbed to the romance of exploration via Volkswagen.
I have been terrible about writing up this experience, and analyzing what this all meant. I wish I could have told you as it happened, of what it felt like to grill your lunch in front of a massive and spectacular glacier. Twice. About seeing the wreckage of two fatal head-on collisions against semi-trucks, and thinking how there is more to life than being lucky. I wish I could have told you about the hitchhikers we picked up, and how shameful it is to be scared of other human beings. About that night we slept under the glow of the Aurora in the Yukon, shortly after almost hitting a wall of a hundred bison walking along a dark Canadian road. I couldn’t.
Because I felt like there were really only two other souls in the world that understood what it meant. And it almost feels sacrilegious to type it out, even if it’s just the internet. At the end of our trip, I was fond of saying that driving to Alaska and eventually the entirety of North America was anti-climactic. All we really did, was drive far. Every day. But of course, that was not the point.
I celebrated my birthday early, and had a visit yesterday from a mentor who continues to give Kat and I the gift of understanding Vanessa. Not just ‘understanding’ the quirks of an air-cooled engine – yesterday, I felt like we went full-circle. I realized that hidden in the frustrations of nurturing a relationship with a machine, lies an immense understanding of our relationship with the world, and how we choose to set ourselves free.
Like most other things, it only gets clearer as you put your heart into it. The world is out there, and we’d be fools not to dream – and even more foolish not to take that first step.
Stay forever cute and cuddly!
You are the cutest fat brother anyone could ever have! We love you!!
Facing the Eastern Sierras, shortly after the moon set. #ilikegettingawayfromallofyou
I am guilty of abandoning this side of the internet for more than half-a-year, while visiting exotic (and not-so-exotic) places of the world. I was worried about the non-linear sequence of events, and had a little maintenance to do in the back-end of things. Pictures are now going to be bigger, and the layout is dynamic and will adjust to most screen sizes (even tablets and mobile phones). I guess these are the problems of the 21st century, the modern day equivalent of 800×600 vs 1024×768 hooplas.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I figured, F it. I’m sitting on a massive backlog of material that I have been meaning to share. I’ll be back-posting dates, so keep an eye out for some crazy shit.
Not gonna lie – LOVE the smell of hot motor oil. Smells like goddamn adventure to me. Meanwhile, canine copilot don’t give a damn.
Spent the weekend at this classic beach house in Fort Bragg. Floor to ceiling windows facing west, right across the crashing waves. The Golden hour flooded the entire home as the sun set, and the moon sank into the ocean later at night.
True with anything in life. Patience, humility, belief in yourself and the inherent goodness of the world.
The photo editor of the Russian online magazine Look At Me, contacted me on Flickr and asked to include one of my photos on a spread about “Japanese Tourists All Over The World”. Of course I said yes!
Gotta love the internet!
Currently in a parking lot in upstate NY, listening to the dancing raindrops on the roof of our Volkswagen.
Thousands of miles away from home, with two of the greatest friends anyone could ever hope for.
I am, always, home.
We take the longer route not because we have no choice, but because it is a deliberate denial of the emptiness of traversing an easy line. When we choose to take bridges of convenience and the shortcuts of modernity, we surrender to the pace of mechanical indifference. Choose the harder path, and the world shall make itself known to you. One step, one mile, at a time.
The Athabasca Falls from Jasper National Park, in Canada. This was an awe inspiring sight, as the thousands of gallons of water thundered down the rocks incessantly. It was very powerful, trapping you in a feeling of helplessness and awe, knowing that you were so close to such an amazing torrent of power that would swallow you whole. It is vividly different from other waterfalls I’ve seen, because our vantage point was so close, and the roar of the water blanketed your ego and doused you in fear. We’re always used to being in control of our environment, but it’s sometimes refreshing to think that in fact, we are nothing.
Kat and I have been home for a few days, in anticipation for my friend Rudy’s big day when he finally grows up.
Here he is at rehearsal. He needs more practice.
It is a well known fact that I do not possess any facial hair whatsoever, and as a once-in-a-lifetime experiment coinciding with our month-long exodus into the Alaskan wilderness, I stopped shaving for over a month. If you are curious – it looked like shit, and Kat had to add eyeliner to make it look slightly less reprehensible. Fortunately, the phenomenon was only experienced by my wife, siblings and Kathlyn. I went back to looking younger instantaneously by at least 5-10 years as soon as I shaved the 25 strands on my face. Goodbye, douchestache.