Category: USA

West Coastin the Pacific Northwest

In spite of only scaring one girl with my homelessness, my first trip North by Northwest was brilliant. Hangin with friends old and new, puffin tough, eatin tasty foods, drum and bass shows (whaat?), and snapping great photos in gorgeous places (see ‘em below) made it a trip I won’t forget.

Check the journey’s video log at the bottom (totally worth it)!

I thought backpacking in my car would be a breeze, but I learned it isn’t all peaches and cream.

PROS of traveling in my car:

1. Traveling with 40-50 pounds of gear OFF my back
2. Being transport commander brings the ultimate freedom to MOVE
3. Even though my little car’s a sedan, it doubled up as a good home in a pinch

CONS of traveling in my car:

1. Long highways + high gas prices = lonely, expensive roads
2. I nearly lost my mind dealing with parking and traffic jams in CBD’s
  • Solution: Parking the car at transit hubs & jumping on local trains & busses
3. Got some problems with my piloting style?
  • Solution: Well you kind sirs can stfd and stfu. You’re stressing me out when you get all scared about my revelation that I don’t even have to look at the road while I’m driving.


Journey route: it takes about 20 hours to reach the West Coast from Colorado.

After watching tweaker dramas through the holes in the walls of our hotel, and being woken up by an antsy cop for poaching camp in the woods, we left Redding, California for greener pastures.


Next stop was Oregon’s Crater Lake, which fills the remnants of a volcano that exploded 7,700 years ago. The cone inside the lake is another volcano that bubbled up about 400 years after the former volcano crumbled in on itself.

After a spontaneous friendsgiving in Portland, I got so involved in the music scene that I forgot I even had a camera.


The only photo I took in Portland was a good one though: the Nightmares on Wax live band!

Oregonians are across the board a smiling, friendly people. I picked up happy, warm vibes the whole time I was there, making it hard to leave. But I can always hear my name being called around that next bend in the road.

For me longer travel is a test of the will since it shakes me out of my routine, but I deal with it by recognizing that the adjustments I make to life on the road are ultimately a small price to pay for the deep value that really slow travel brings.

Loneliness is rarely a problem when arranging rideshares through Craigslist and Couchsurfing. The ability to preview potential ride-alongs through CS makes it an especially great tool to see if they’re an agreeable personality for the ride. It’s a great way to cut down fuel costs as well!

My traveler spirit’s felt a little dormant since coming home from Asia last year. I’m not exactly sure why San Francisco did the trick, but it’s the place where my nomadic-self came fully back online.

I think it was the city’s vibrant art, music, architecture and people that helped me remember how to do it: quiet the ego when it says I. I. Me…and let the camera view the world with 3rd eye vision. Slow down and let the tides of travel flow on the shores of life.


Street art is ever-present and truly epic in San Francisco and Oakland. How come every city in the world isn’t doing this?! Imagine how much prettier and vivacious the concrete jungles could be…

There’s something about the Golden Gate that pulls on the strings of my imagination, inspiring a few good photos:


Baker’s Beach is a classic spot for some bridge action.


I had to grab the classic bridge-by-night.

If you’re wondering how I spent two months on the road, rest assured it was done by barely scraping by. I’m slowly mastering the art, so I’m gonna write a hobo’s guide to traveling on your bottom dollar sometime soon.

Barely hangin on didn’t stop my trip down Highway 1 from being one of my favorites in the US. The raw, natural beauty of the coastline from central California through Washington is surreal. I got into some fun photography in the Big Sur area. I’ll let the photos do the talking:


I’ve been loving lunar photography lately. This one with a sunset over the Pacific hit me right in the heart.


Astonishing that a young industrial heiress used to live here, at McWay Falls on the Big Sur coast.


As the incomprehensively massive Pacific surf nearly destroyed both sides of the rock I was on, I captured my most rewarding picture yet.

It was a unique shot for me cause I haven’t nearly died so many times in a photo shoot before. I’ve never been so terrified of being swallowed up by the ocean, but this was THE place for the shot. I had to get it. I’ve had enough brushes with death to be at peace with my inevitable transition, but I can think of better ways to do it than being swept off a cliff, split open on the rocks below and sucked out to sea.

In the photo we have Big Sur’s classic sea boulders underneath a nearly full moon. The orange glow is the neighboring towns of Carmel by the Sea and Monterey. A fairly huge meteorite was pulled into orbit while the shutter was open, but sadly didn’t pass in front of the lens. The camera did catch a plane passing through the shot however: the yellow streak through the middle of the sky. In the distance some sea lions added their magic to the moment as they flopped around on the rocks and barked at the moon, or whatever sea lions bark at.


After meeting some fantastic family members for the first time, I creeped around Los Angeles til I found this little spot.


Another favorite: Venus in the Delicate Arch during sunset.

This one became another infamous shot as I took a major slide right up to the edge of a massive cliff while setting up. Just after the shot, I witnessed the setting of Venus for the first time. As the planet exploded into a firey orange on the horizon, I thought my eyes were lying little bastards. It was too good to be true. At the time I knew the camera could do no justice so I didn’t snap, but now I wish I had at least a partial memory of the occasion. This is how we learn I guess…

If you’re into photography and enjoyed this round, be sure to check out my page on 500px. It’s turning into my personal best collection, plus we can be friends on there, and share EVERYTHING together. Don’t be creeped out, I just wanna see your photos too.

Coming off the delicious high of a two year trip through east Asia left me with a travel hangover, but this trip turned out to be another 3rd eye opener.

Travel in the so-called 3rd world is imbued with magic, but I finally realized you don’t have to be surrounded by exotica to reach the wondrously high plateau of long travel.

What’s the lesson from this trip?

The most successful travelers reduce their expectations to what’s happening in the moment, and continuously live these moments until they’re totally immersed in the travel experience. And then they do it all again.

2013’s Pacific Northwest Video Log

Living in America (Photos)


These are the good times, people and places I miss while living abroad

Meet Dave

Meet DaveUnfulfilled by consumer lifestyles, I left on a really slow trip around the world. As a 3rd eye traveler on the New American Dream, my aim is to inspire and cultivate conscious living along the way....Read More...

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