Coastal Life: SoCal Edition

Posted from a friends house in Portland, OR.

So here we are in Portland, OR finishing up laundry, re-packing the car and getting ready to push off into Washington. I've been looking at our California photos over the past few days, trying to get them ready for our next blog post, all the while traveling through the amazingly/ridiculously lush, rocky, foggy Oregon Coast. I got a bit overwhelmed with it all - we spent nearly 4 weeks working our way up the Cali coast - with a dip inland to check out Kings Canyon. There are, to say the least - a 'fair' amount of photos. So what I've decided to do is break them up a little. This is here is going to be a SoCal Coastal edition. To follow will be a Kings Canyon Hiking edition and finally a NorCal Coastal edition...and as always we've put together a gallery on the side bar with brief descriptions.

Over 10 days we drove through San Diego, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad, Vista, Oceanside, San Clemente, Los Angeles, and Morro Bay. Stopping to see old friends and family along the way and and checking out the new cities as future potential abodes. Having lived in Brooklyn and then Dallas - could we transition to the beach/surf/sun life at the end of our travels? To be honest, as I look over our southern California photos I realize that for all our big plans to explore new cities we were really just chasing waves and the sunset everyday. Kaspar's brother-in-law had given him a refurbished fishtail surfboard in Mexico, so as we drove north - sticking to route 1 along the coast as much as possible, (with the new prized possession on the roof rack) Kaspar's eyes were on the waves.

We ended this section of the journey at the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum talking to Jack Smith (see more about the conversation @treibdesign) and hearing about some of his skateboarding milestones first hand. 

Stay tuned for next time to hear about our wet adventure in Kings Canyon...


scenes from: SAN DIEGO...


scenes from: CARLSBAD and SAN CLEMENTE


scenes from: MORRO BAY


Earth, Wind, and Sunny Days

As we left the city and drove south, thinking we had said all of our goodbyes, we settled into our thoughts, lined up our podcasts, and opened up our snack packs...We more or less had the next six days planned out, the hottest parts of the days would be spent driving, the mild evenings in parks camping. As we shared our route, many people remarked that it was not a very direct route West, “Oh sure, we know” we’d say, but that was the point.

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Doing What Matters

by Kaspar Heinrici - posted from Marfa TX

Yes we have already left Dallas, but as Ali mentioned in her last post.  I wanted to explain why were taking this trip. In many ways this trip is the tip of a big epistemological iceberg (at least for me it is).  Although Ali claims to be the thinker (love you sweetie) I have been thinking about why we should take a trip like this for sometime.  When I discovered that she agreed it was a good idea then it was on!  This post will be less whimsical and a bit heavier than Ali's style (as I tend to be) but it gets at why one might come to the decision to travel for a whole year.

How does one decide what matters?

We were preparing for this crazy one year trip and going through the logistics leading up to our May 1st departure. I kept bringing up my annual trip to South Padre Island to go kite boarding with my grandfather(testing the waters with Ali).  It seemed silly to plan a three day recreational vacation two weeks before going on a year long trip, but Ali seemed to realize it was important.  As I write this from South Padre Island I realize that what seemed frivolous somehow matters more than ever.

My grandfather is actually a great grandfather as of January of this year (more to come on my nephew soon).  He taught me to windsurf when I was 13.  He has since moved on to kite boarding and follows the favorable winds wherever they take him.  Over the last three years I have come down to SPI to take lessons in an effort to do this sport with him.  The other day we achieved this goal while out on the water whooping at each other on a tight reach across the lagoon with kites flying high over our heads.  In moments like that there is no question about what matters.  Woody is turning 86 this year, we are kite boarding together.  Woody is turning 86 this year, we are kite boarding together. No matter how many times I think that or say it out loud I cannot make sense of it.  His kite boarding friends can't understand it and have stopped trying.  They just imagine he is only in his seventies as if that makes it easier to reconcile.  It is like seeing a unicorn, it shouldn't exist, but it does.  There are so many reasons logic would suggest that what we were doing made no sense: Kite boarding at 85 could be considered an unnecessary risk and taking three days off before a major life change might not be the best use of time.  Despite what logic would suggest we were doing what mattered most in that moment.

These are the types of experiences that I think we are going for on this trip, whether they be with family, with one another or completely alone.  Logic defying moments that give life definition.  Below is a look beneath the surface at the "epistemological iceberg."  Disclaimer: These are summaries of much longer thoughts that have been edited for brevity, but I would love to discuss more in the comments or anywhere else.

Why are we here?

All possibilities are equally plausible.  The organization we perceive in the world is complete coincidence (the inevitable complexity that forms in particles over time).  It could be a grand design, but we will never have proof of the designer. I used to think (when I was about 11) that our pets were aliens who had put us on the planet to cultivate us into slaves and then take the natural resources of the earth.  It seemed to me they were just observing us and waiting to rise up. It sounds absurd, but in my mind this is still entirely a plausible explanation for why we exist.  While it is nice to ponder the why, and humans like to make up “whys” to give their lives meaning, it is ultimately arbitrary, therefore I find is better to focus on the what.

What should we do?

Well, since there is no why, no end goal, no real purpose then you should do what seems best, simply make the best of it.  What makes you feel good and does good (or at least doesn't do harm)? That which makes you happy and brings you joy without hurting others.  That’s pretty much it right there.  The world is an amazing place and there are a lot of things to experience out there.  In the end we should try to do what makes us happy.  Now you are thinking, "oh right like you can define happiness."

What is happiness?

Logical purpose balanced against innate contentment. As mentioned above, there isn’t really a meta reason or a purpose in life, therefore you need to find your own personal activities that make you feel purposeful.  However, if you are too focused on your specific goals and purposeful activities you risk missing out on the other main component of happiness.  The other component is being content with what we have already been granted by virtue of being human.  This means that spending time with family, appreciating nature, contemplating life and simply existing are all equally as important as having a clear purpose.  It is finding the balance between purposeful activity and aimless enjoyment that leads to happiness.  Too much purpose is stressful and alienating, too much aimlessness leads to sloth and induces anxiety about your purpose.  Ok, I know your patience is getting thin, I'm getting there.

What does this mean for us?

Purpose ebbs and flows.  Goals change, life evolves.  The key to life and marriage is never assuming there is a formula or a status quo that will sustain happiness. Often times it is periods of rest, education and relaxation that lead to the next sense of purpose.  Often the reward of achieving a goal is an emptiness, because the sense of purpose has evaporated.  Therefore, these two notions of“purpose” and “contentment” need to work together and balance each other or inform each other.  

Some major milestones have been achieved in our lives.  Ali and I have been together for over 10 years now.  We braved a move to the South and have established a life here.  Ali has completed the website she was recruited to produce and I have become the designer I wanted to be.  We have achieved beyond what we set out to do….so what is next?  We need to renew our sense of purpose.  We need to take a journey where the goal is simple contentment with our health and enjoyment of the world, while keeping an eye out for our next goal, our next purpose.  Until then we are going to be doing what matters and tempting fate to show us the next step.

For now I will leave you with this edit that my friend and amazing photographer Erick Barrandey made from us skating around downtown one day before I left.  Another example of wandering aimlessly in Dallas and yet everything being exactly as it was meant to be.

Logistics Aside

By Ali Filippelli - posted from Dallas, TX

There is that blurry line. It is a shadowy, dreamy soft space before it becomes a reality. You are not sure exactly how it happens…but you’re thinking about it, day-dreaming over your bowl of cereal in the morning, going throughout your days being distracted – like something grazing your shoulder and dissipating when you turn around. You are curious and do a little research while absentmindedly petting your cat. Rolling it around in your mind looking for flaws, and then…one day you say it out loud, to your wife, in bed. She looks at you like you are crazy but there is also excitement in her eyes. Barely pausing, she puts down her book and says “Ok, yes. Let’s do it.”

Dallas > Marfa >Rosarito > San Diego > LA > Santa Cruz > San Francisco > Oregon Coast > Portland > Seattle > Orcas Island > Vancouver > Leavenworth > Maryhill > Bend > Hood River > White Salmon > Eugene >-----> Amagansett >----:----- > Indonesia > Vietnam > Cambodia > Thailand > Bhutan > Nepal > India > Sri Lanka > Australia > Tasmania > New Zealand > South Africa > Namibia > Madagascar > Morocco > Spain > Greece > Italy > Croatia > Austria > Germany > Sweden > Norway

That is the general outline of our itinerary. It is a somewhat planned, cobbled together, fingers crossed, we got this, list of places we really want to visit. They are places where we will connect with old friends and places unknown where we will rely on expressive hand gestures to communicate. There will be road tripping, puddle jumping, long ass flying, busing, camping, trekking, motel sleeping and if I have my way a little resort dwelling.

We are leaving our jobs, our friends, our cat (in the loving care of our parents), and our stuff. We are leaving it all behind to travel, our six-letter word for employment over the next year…or so. When you realize that you are spending most weekends away and one of the best things about your city is the airport, it is time to answer the call. When you almost buy a house but don’t because it will tie you down. You start to wonder. Why not wander?

If you’ve met me and Kaspar, you know that we are like two sides of the same coin – married, but contrasting. I’m more of a heads, he’s a tails. Generally speaking - I ‘m the thinker, he’s the doer. I’m charting our trip with annotated post-its on foldout maps with cross-referenced excel docs. I’ve got forever stamps, world stamps, excessive amounts of 2” photos in case I need any id’s made, a small medicine cabinet for every possible worst case scenario. Every time I accomplish some tiny-hugely important task – I check it off my to-do list and then look up hopeful for a big high five but usually get a raised eyebrow instead.  You might call me an anticipator- a laid back one, but one nonetheless. So I say to Kaspar, “what are you up to then?” Oh him. He’s cleaning and sorting his skateboards. Packing them carefully and wrapping them in plastic. “But how will everything get done,” I say. “It will,” he says, “trust me.” But how, I sigh to myself. The thing about my husband is that he is a great transitioner, seamlessly moving from one project to another. He doesn’t stop what he is doing in this life so he can start up another, he weaves them together. So really there is no end - just a life with a bunch of beginnings. Which is great because I hate endings.  

We do this sometimes too.

We do this sometimes too.

So this is probably a good time to mention that we will both be posting here, and that you should expect different kinds commentary. Unless we post together and he tries to fuck with my shit and make it disorganized. Our posts will be a reflection of what we are seeing and thinking- and if you live anywhere in/near any of the places I’ve listed above, look out because you might hear a knock on your door…

You might want to know why we are going on this trip – I’ll let Kaspar tackle that one in our next post. He’s got a few ideas.

photo by Tamytha Cameron

photo by Tamytha Cameron

And finally to all of our friends we’ve made here in Dallas. When asked what our favorite thing is about this city, our answer is always, “our friends.” We love you. We will miss you the most.

These are some of the places we are going to check out over the next few weeks. Have you been before? Any suggestions? Let us know your thoughts!