Category: Videos

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

Help Me Nail the Best Job in the World

Jauntaroo’s hosting a competition to find a traveling representative for their company. View my submission here, or even better, follow this link and vote my chances up!

Always support good music! This song was courtesy of Random Rab, please give him some love!

Blowing Stuff Up with Colorado Fireworks

Remembering that the Good Life isn’t all intensity and no fun, we took to the backyard for a little spring cleaning. The latest Colorado fireworks laws and fire bans make it hard to have our pyrotechnic fun, but a snow storm helped us find our way. Mix a little boredom and some extra junk and here’s what you get. Since it’s sure to be another desert-like summer, this’ll probably be our last chance to play with fire for the season.

The Mystery of the Hobbit – Homo floresiensis

When I was on the island of Flores in Indonesia, I couldn’t pass up the chance to geek out on the anthropological mystery of “The Hobbit species” Homo floresiensis. We have yet to figure out where they came from, how they got there, and what happened to the little guys. Worse yet a fierce debate broke out about whether or not they were just a diseased population of modern Homo sapiens.

Chinese Lion Dance – Tet New Year, Saigon, Vietnam

The video shows a traditional Chinese lion dance in Vietnamese style at a Tet New Year’s celebration in central Saigon. The custom comes from a Chinese tradition called “cái ching” (青採) which translates to “vegetable pick.” The meanings of Chinese words are often connected when they share similar sounds, especially when the associated meaning is really positive or really negative. Since “cái” (青) has the same pronunciation as “cái” (财), or fortune, “cái ching” is meant to be an auspicious occasion.

In the “cái ching” tradition, different types of vegetables are hung outside of businesses or homes as a challenge for the lion to obtain. The more difficult the challenge, the fatter the red envelope of “lucky money” to be rewarded.


This picture taken in Vancouver’s Chinatown shows how it was done in the days of old when the lettuce was hung 15 to 20 feet above the ground and only the best martial artists could reach it.

Today the competition is usually acted out in dance. The lion dance, and sometimes the dragon dance, are performed for important occasions including cultural and religious festivals, business openings, birthdays and wedding ceremonies. The Vietnamese have adapted their own style to the Chinese lion dance, as seen above.

Travel to Taiwan! (Video)

I’ve got an odd fetish for poor Asian countries, so I’m not sure if Taiwan ranks as my favorite, but it is a fantastic country with all the order, comforts and general pleasantries that are missing from mainland China. There are a lot of things to do here, and if you’re a native English speaker, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself teaching English and studying Chinese like most of the other expats. It seems like a comfortable, Good Life to me.

Highlights From the Video: A Taipei street party, betel nut girls, Taipei night markets, tasty turtles and snake blood, a Filipino disco, Taroko Gorge, local hot springs and volcanic mud baths.

Places Seen in the Video
Taipei and its night markets, Taoyuan and its dirty Filipino disco (Thai OK), Taroko Gorge and local hot springs.

Best Time to Travel to Taiwan
You can travel somewhat comfortably in Taiwan all year long, but the summer months are especially hot and humid, while the winter months are cool and especially rainy. The spring and fall months have the best temperatures and generally dry weather.

Transport
The Taipei MRT (subway system) is very modern and extremely efficient. It’s well connected to Taiwan’s nationaltrain system which again is modern and very timely. The railroads circle the island, cut into the mountains at a couple different cities, and feature some of the world’s best high speed services.

Eats & Drinks
There’s no way to avoid the fact that Taiwanese food is diverse and delicious. You can easily find a number of strange and exotic foods reminiscent of mainland China (can anyone say bull dicks?). If you’re into expensive international dishes, Taipei can suit your needs. But if you want cheaper local delicacies, you can stay on the thrifty side as well, from about 30NT for squid balls to about 150NT for Taiwanese brunches (very similar to English and American breakfasts). Being an island, delectable seafood specialties are never hard to come by.

Travel to Philippines (Video)

Every country shows a different side of its unique beauty with each visit, but my time in the Philippines stood out above the rest. Take a look and find out why:

Highlights From the Video: Eating balut (duck fetus), island hopping and snorkelling in Busuanga, cliff jumping, waterfall swimming, biking, SCUBA wreck diving, transport on top of busses and inside dump trucks

Places Seen in the Video
Manila, Busuanga Island (Busuanga): Concepcion, Salvacion, and nearby islands

Important Notes for Philippine Travel
Manila is a mostly horrid city, but don’t be dismayed because the world’s best islands are only so far away.
Some areas like Manila and Cebu have crazed locals who see foreigners as walking ATM machines. Know where you’re going in these areas and BE AWARE of your surroundings.
English is spoken by nearly everyone, so it’s quite easy to find your way around the country.
Some of the world’s best wreck diving can be found near Busuanga, Palawan.

Best Time to Travel to the Philippines
The best time to travel always depends on what you’re looking for in your trip (do you want to see lots of people or none, for instance). The dry season for most of the Philippines starts in November and ends around April. Since I don’t like constant rains and prefer to see less tourists, the best time for me is in late November/early December when the rains have stopped but the massive crowds of the high season haven’t quite shown up yet.

Transport
Manila has a modern train system that’s easy to use, but you’ll have to be careful of your belongings here as thieves are on the prowl. Generally speaking, travel on land isn’t a problem.


Jeepneys and tricycles are always ready for hire.

When it comes to traveling between islands, boats are a little sporadic, oftentimes around one per week. Flights are fairly cheap (only a little more than most boats) and tend to leave about every day.

Lodging
Most of my time was spent in Busuanga, so I can only recommend two places that I thought were top-notch. Ann & Mike’s in Concepcion is a cheap stay (600 pesos low season/700 pesos high for double capacity). Ann is Filipina and Mike is her Dutch husband. Mike is a very talkative, friendly guy who rearranged his life at 50 years old. He quit the grind, or the mice wheel as he likes to say, and chose to live the Good Life with the business he’s now running. Both Ann and Mike are a delight to stay with.

I have to give my highest recommendation for Al Faro Resort, across from Puerto del Sol, which is 3 km from Concepcion on the way to Coron. Their list price is 3700 pesos for a room, which is well out of the realm of backpacking prices, but you can do much better if you find some roommates and negotiate the price. The atmosphere, food, swimming pool, view and company of Al Faro are incredible.


View from the legendary tower of Al Faro at night.

Eats & Drinks
Like most east Asian destinations, you can spend a lot of money in the Philippines if you want to, or you can spend a little. Fortunately food is fairly cheap here. Street food comes in around 30 to 50 pesos and food is restaurants are in the 80 to 500 peso range. Drinks can be damn cheap if you buy them on the street (~50 pesos for a liter of coke and 80 pesos for a liter of rum), but if you buy in a bar or restaurant they’re going to be much more expensive. Local specialties are balut, adobo and seafood!

Travel to Flores Island, Indonesia (Video)

Simply put, Flores is one of the most interesting and hospitable islands in the Indonesian archipelago, if not the world. The flavor and diversity of life in Flores is astounding, even against any island I’ve visited before. Highlights include Gunung Kelimutu, Komodo Dragons and world class snorkeling and diving.

Road Trip Through Bali, Indonesia (Video)

One of the best things to do in Bali is get a bike and get the hell outta Kuta / Ubud. The more remote, less crowded areas of the island are truly amazing. Check out my Balinese road trip:

Highlights featured in the video: Babi Guling in Muduk, Denpasar, mountains near Munduk, Bunut Bolong (a tunnel through a tree), fresh coffee at Ngiring Ngewedang, the Hindu Temple Tanah Lot and sunset at Pantai Berawa.

Transport
There are tons of busses and ferries to get around Bali and between the neighboring islands. Of course Merpati, Sky Aviation and Lion Air are good choices for flights within Indonesia. I hear Batavia Air has plane crashes on the reg so watch out for them!

Lodging
If you want to stay in the south, look for places in Seminyak to be close to the clubs or do a homestay in Canggu for a quieter, local experience.

The cheapest place to stay near Ubud is in Bona, at Ketut and Geks House. Their homestay was some of the friendliest hospitality I ever had to pay for and their village life so close to Ubud is really interesting. For 150,000 Rp. you get your own house with a bathroom, kitchen, living room and porch. With three sleeping surfaces, your stay could be quite cheap if you split it.


Ketut and Gek are really friendly hosts, a real pleasure to stay with.

My other recommendation in Bali is close to Negara. Hotel CSB is the “mellow surfers retreat” in the town of Pekutatan. One room with two beds costs 75,000 Rp. The hosts are nice and you can rent a surfboard for 50,000 Rp. a day (better than Kuta’s 50,000 Rp. per hour).


The view from the room: about 100 meters away is an empty beach with nice breakers.

Eats & Drinks
There’s a huge variety of foods in Bali. Areas in and around Kuta have just about anything you can think of, but the prices tend to be pretty high, in the 50,000 Rp.+ range. But the warungs throughout the island offer all kinds of good Indonesia food for about 10,000 Rp.


Babi Guling, a Balinese traditional slow pig roast can’t be missed.

The undisputed king of Babi Guling is Selingsing Cepaka, found in Buduk, just north of Canggu on the way to Tabanan. It’s down some backroads and really hard to describe where it is so you might have to find someone who already knows to reach this place. They open at 4am and close at 6am so get there early before the pig’s devoured.

Why Do Chinese Kids Love Michael Jackson So Much?

This is teaching English to spoiled Chinese kids in real life. I never figured out why the King of Pop is never gonna die in China, but at least he helped me kill time in class….

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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I hate a Roman named Status Quo! Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal.
Ray Bradbury

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