Well, I leave tomorrow to start my 6-7 day, cross country drive to the great unknown.
which is sometimes called New Jersey..
I'm taking the scenic route, because Nebraska is an awful awful place, and also I've never seen most of these states since I was a baby. Even though I've never driven this far in my life, I'm so excited to see so many places I can explore with my beautiful lil Tacoma.
I'm starting off caravaning to Montana with some friends who are driving to Alaska, I'll meet some friends in Minneapolis, Chicago, and I'll be picking up an important part of this story in Detroit before we head out to Jersey.
You might be wondering why I'm traveling to the land of Gym Tan Laundry at all, like why.
Well see while I was in Panama I met an amazingly passionate and driven friend, Grant, who happened to be working on starting a restaurant before he traveled South,
And he happened to meet a group of amazingly passionate, driven, and naive souls who are ready to move their lives to the great unknown, (New Jersey) to pursue a common dream of building something beautiful.
Top left- Aaron, Grant, Amy, and Lauren,
Aaron is our head chef and I have seen him cook a 5 star, 5 course meal in the jungle, with minimal resources, and local ingredients, for a large group of complete savages,* pretending * to actually chew the amazing meal he made.
I'll be picking this handsome guy up in Michigan! Can't wait to drive with him from the slums of Detroit to the slums of South Jersey.
Also we might see Canada how neat is that.
Lauren is one of the most capable and badass people I have ever had the fortune to be thrown on this Earth with. She radically analyzed the food system of the entire community of Kalu Yala and created awareness for future change about what it takes to feed a community. She's already been successful linking local farmers together in the states, and she is going to create a system for us to source local, organic, fresh food in the most ethical, and optimal way we possibly can.
I don't know how we got so lucky.
Amy, in my opinion, is one of the sweetest, most compassionate, and positive souls I have ever come in contact with.
This smile is her natural state, I've never seen her frown, and that's what we need to gain the support of the community we enter. She is an infectiously gracious person who will win the hearts of all she crosses for us.
I can't wait to see what amazing things she manifests around us.
I have much faith in our soldiers of Satiety.
Fate it seems, is what brought us all together, because I have wanted to start and design a restaurant for years. I have talked about how there are so few restaurants killing it in the local./organic/sustainable game, and how successful it could be in an area where it's needed.
Funny things happen at a sustainable community deep in the jungle, and 5 of us happened to be feeling quite similarly.
I told them it would be my dream to be the creative director of anything they need from me, and it all seemed to happen so organically I couldn't help but dive in.
Interesting enough my dad started a Mexican restaurant called Gurther's in SLC. Utah at the same age of 21. So he has much to teach us.
We'll be starting with a food truck,which will allow us to be adaptable and conduct much needed market research for a brick and mortar restaurant while we build hype slangin bomb food to the people of the Far East.
We have support, and some funds, and we'll be buying something in about a week or two, Grant is already on the ground working hard to get us going.
I am going to be doing anything needed of me to make this beautiful, no matter what happens I am grateful for the opportunity to create, and I'll do my damn best you better believe it.
I hope you'll soon be enjoying the fruits of our labor as much as I have been,
See you soon on the other side,
I fly home to California tomorrow morning at 8am, I'm not sure how I feel yet, part excited to see my mama, and part sad to leave (at least for a while) this place that has been so good to me.
part also hate the idea of waking up at 5am
For those of you that don't know I started Hydrogen, my outdoor/hammock company about a year ago.
I have been working/struggling with getting something running down here in Panama, and today we picked up 6 hammocks from the amazing local woman I am working with, they are ready to sell for Kalu Yala. I have to tell you they are so beautiful!
also they are luxuriously enormous
A true 3 person hammock, you have never felt comfort until now.
They're not made of a sustainable material, (yet) like the recycled PET textile I've been striving for, or a sustainable natural material suitable for travel, but we bought it locally, and we have ethical local production from an amazingly talented seamstress named Auromelia who lives right next to valley.
There is more than hope for the future of this project, and it means I'm going to have to come down to Panama more.
This is a shuttle driver who said to watch his back and immediately fell asleep in Grant's hammock upon laying in it.
I understand you pal.
My point is, we're getting there, little by little, and I couldn't ask for more. And I couldn't be more grateful to everyone at Kalu Yala who has been here for me, supporting my products, rigorously testing my products, seriously rigorously.
This is an update from Alex Mofo who, along with Julia Dwyer and Hannah Strohmbom, is biking thousands of miles, from Panama all the way back to California....
Warriors of sustainability.
And guess what he is sleeping in?
Alex bought this hammock from me in the beginning of our semester.
He slept in this hammock literally every single night for over three months, and is now continuing with it on a trek that Frodo (and Sam) would be proud of.
Huge thanks to Dixie Hendley for all the help getting me in touch with the amazing local people of San Miguel, to Max Cooper and Meg Pelham for helping me finally find my materials, and Raissa Teles for motivating me when I was frustrated, lazy, deathly ill, and wanted nothing but to give up and play in the rio.
To Pamé Aragon for helping me to translate my subpar español, for constantly teaching me new things about this country, and for all around being a beautiful adventurous soul.
I would be lost without so many of you.
I can't believe the way things are going, and I couldn't be happier with the progress we have made, but honestly I am just happy for the opportunities I have had here, and to be breathing.
I have more to say, and less ways to say it, but thank you. Every and all.
I love you.
To my family of the world, for the things you do to help me, and for being beautiful inspirations to me every day.
I can't wait to share more adventures with you en la futuro.
Today is a day to appreciate the universe for allowing things to happen exactly as they needed to.
Today we can appreciate the things that have happened, maybe not how we wanted or planned them to, but truly as they needed to in order to forge our path through this place.
I applied to my Design program here at Kalu Yala at 3 am, on a whim from a photo I saw online, as I was preparing to go to Nepal. I hiked into Kalu Yala, (the sacred valley) in the Panama jungle two an a half months ago, and here I am.
Exactly where I've always needed to be.
We wake up to the dazzling light peaking over the mountains, illuminating the banana trees that line the organic food forest. We fall out of our hammocks or 2nd level ranchos, and start our day to the conch shell blowing for breakfast.
We work in our programs all day long, a lot of programs in the baking and humid sun. We end our days jumping in the serene río, playing, and laughing around the scratched wooden tables drinking wine out of chipped mismatched mugs. The conch sounds and we are served up locally sourced gourmet meals provided by our amazing and talanted kitchen crew who boasts almost 0% food waste. Everything is being fed to either the people, the chickens, or composted.
Electricity is limited with solar, and wifi is feeble and scheduled. Negative attitudes are sparse and mostly absent.
Every time we make the hike out of the jungle to the city, it's the sacred valley we come home to, where the drinks are never cold, and the hearts either.
We've had two events with over 150 people from The Thousands network which was basically just a huge group of 20 something entrepreneur partiers, then The Hatch Network right after that which was a week of some of the most inspiring people I've ever been around in my life including a lead NASA astrophysicist, amazing artists, photographers, and entrepreneurs. Led by Yarrow Kraner, the great connector of brilliant people.
I may not have been able to do everything I've wanted with my outdoor company plans for Hydrogen yet, but there is huge interest, and things are happening exactly as they need to.
I've been here for two months. I've hardly written, I've slept little, I haven't made as much progress with my projects as I want, and Panama shipping and material problems have been brutal. I've never felt so much turmoil and change in my life.
But I've been fucking living.
I have faced so much, and grown so much.
Some new projects are bursting through the seams in a way I can't control and some
big things are on the way.
Honestly though, more than any project, any business, any material thing, the deep personal changes that have impacted me, and everyone here at Kalu Yala have been the most life changing opportunities for growth I've ever experienced.
The raw connections happening here; to the people, plants, and the planet have been carving me away. They've been stripping away the unnecessary parts of me I thought were making me happy. Cutting out my heart and slow roasting it in the ground.
Juicy and rare, with enough for everyone.
You can ask me any questions you have, there is more to say than I could ever write, and I'll have some more to say, but I'm bringing this experience with me wherever I go.
Hopefully we can share some more,
Tonight is the night we realize we have everything we need.
Tonight we realize there is nothing we can buy, there is nobody we can meet, there is no where we can run away to where we will not have to face our challenges when we get there.
There is nothing outside, separate, or apart from us, that will "make us happy". That will finally "satisfy our desires".
Do you know why?
Because those desires are an illusion.
Our thoughts, or our ego, or our superficial self, when out of control, creates these illusions. Illusions that we don't have enough, illusions that someone has done something that "hurt us", illusions that something makes us "not good enough" for those around us, and mostly, illusions that we are not good enough for ourselves.
When we continue to seek in outside sources for our source of fulfillment, gratification, and our love, we beg for something we are already fabulously rich with. We create problems that keep us from feeling the appreciation for what we already have. We create starvation when we are already fulfilled.
We continue to dig through our neighbors garbage for scraps, when our home is stocked with rich, beautiful, exotic and unique, foods and well aged, expensive wine.
There is nothing that we don't already possess within, to be thankful, appreciative, and grateful for. There is no amount of money, no car, no amount of beautiful women that can finally fill our emptiness.
"That is the real spiritual awakening, when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were. So, the person is still there, but one could almost say that something more powerful shines through the person."
If we can only take a step back from our stressful days, our constant negative thinking, and our self harming behavior, take a deep breath, and look within, it is so easy to see. We have immense strength, we have kindness that can help those around us, we have immeasurable love, and we already have all the happiness we continue to tell ourselves is just right around the corner.
And let me tell you a little secret...
The only time that ever exists, the only time you are ever happy, fulfilled, content,
The day we realize we have everything we need, is the day we already have everything we've ever wanted.
Today is a day to look backward, forward, and then to look to the now and breathe deeply. A day to appreciate every moment that has brought us where we are.
We seem to be constantly forgetting we are clinging to the surface of a rock, hurling through a seemingly endless void, around a massive flaming ball of hydrogen fusion at 18.5 miles a second, which itself is moving about 500 thousand miles an hour through space.
Today is a day to be thankful for beautiful moments as well as the challenges, because without them we would be weak. For the love we have felt for the beautiful people who have graced our lives, and for the chance to have known those we have lost.
I don't presume to know more than anyone else about life and I can only guess that we are here to learn lessons, lessons on living. To learn about being grateful, compassionate, lessons on love.
We can think of all the lessons we have had to learn this year, all the hurdles we have faced, and we can be grateful for for the opportunity to be clinging to this rock together.
It's easy to forget that life is beautiful and short, and that it doesn't lend it's secrets easily by sitting around thinking about the past, or the future that does not exist.
Only in the now do we have any say in what kind of life we live. We choose however we may like, and we have much more influence than it may seem, for every moment is a step in any direction.
Choose the beautiful path.
Choose to see life in everything around you. Choose to find people who are kind to you. Choose to be kind to yourself.
Choose to follow your greatest dreams.
If you don't want to be where you are, you have two legs.
If you can't walk,
This is my favorite painting I have completed so far, and also happens to be my first painting sold!
It is the beginning of a new series where I am exploring much more intense textures, a less muddy, and more thoughtful color vocabulary. I am working on much larger canvases and panels, working my way up to over 6ft eventually to create living objects merging painting and sculptural elements.
I tried to take it off the wall to take to Utah and photograph it in the University studio but my mom was very upset about that. My step dad had taken it out of my studio before I felt like it was completely finished because he wanted our friends to see it when they came over for dinner.
Then it never left.
My mom begged me not to take it to Utah, and when I told her I want to try to get it into a gallery soon she got very upset.
A couple hours later my step dad texted me and said, "you sold your first painting, we want it in our home gallery to show".
I couldn't believe I sold my first painting, to my parents, but regardless it's special to me.
The best part about it?
I still get to see it all the time in my mom's living room.
How many people do you know that would love to get off their pills? How many people do you know that have been addicted to prescription pain pills that are passed out like candy?
I have known many.
How much sickness, addiction, and sadness is easily preventable?
I'm not a doctor, and I don't disagree with modern medicine, there are some people who desperately need life saving surgeries and some medications.
What I'm talking about is the rampant abuse and ignorance imbued in the system, and how we can take responsibility for ourselves.
Did you know most doctors only have to take one term of nutrition? And probably never have any education on natural alternatives?
So how can we solve this problem?
Everything aside 90% of all ailments, sickness, and disease can be solved with diet alone. You can decide not to agree with me on everything else, but if you stop eating any processed packaged bullshit, that's 90% of the problem.
If you eat shit you will feel like shit. If you feel like shit you will live like shit.
Clogged arteries and depression are very easy achievements.
Where to start?
Lots and lots of, organic, fruits and veggies. As much as possible. Smoothies, juices, enemas, if that's what you're into, not my place to judge.
Start by taking your favorite foods and slowly start adding in and substituting more and more veggies in for the other ingredients. Look up easy recipes, go to restaurants that have at least healthy options if not organic.
Do your research.
If you don't move, you won't move. If you don't move, you will have zero energy, you will lay around all day, most likely eating shit watching Netflix, and slowly work your way toward heart disease and sickness.
For which they will give you pills and triple bypasses to keep you alive, but not cure you.
Walk, run, crawl, climb, swim!
Do what you were born to do, have fun, live your life.
#3 NATURAL MEDICINE
If we observe nature you will see the poisons and venoms growing right next to the antidotes and anti-venoms.
How can we apply this principal to our problem? There are countless and vast options for illness and ailments that grow all around us.
If nature doesn't have the cure or at least the remedy, we aren't looking hard enough.
Pain relief, inflammation, blood pressure. These can be remedied if not solved with ginger and turmeric alone.
If you are eating tons of organic veggies, no processed shit, and exercising I highly doubt you are going to have many problems after some time, but if you are struggling, do some research into the millions of herbs that we synthesize most pharmaceuticals from. Try some for an extended period of time in the form of teas, tinctures, or capsules, on top of diet and exercise, and see if they have any benefits for you.
If not, fine, but at least you are conscious and making an educated decision of what synthetic medicine or surgery you might really need, or not need, and you will at the very least be in a much better place for healing, and living.
You don't have to believe me about anything, that's not my goal, if you disagree with me that's fine, but research and be conscious for yourself of the choices of YOUR body.
At the end of the day, that's the only thing we really get to have any control of.
You don't need to be gluten free, paleo, raw vegan, etc etc to be healthy, all you need is to truly care where your food is coming from, and if it supporting people, not corporations.
You don't need to be a straight, republican, or democrat, to be a vital and integral part of this country, and this planet. You don't need to be popular in person or on the Internet to connect and be happy. And you don't need 100k with a two cars a big house and two kids to be successful.
You don't ever need to be or do anything anyone tells you is "the right way".
You can listen, and you can learn, but you don't HAVE to believe, or become, anything you don't want to, or choose to be.
The only thing we NEED to have is love and respect for #1 ourselves, and #2 every person, animal, tree, everything, around you.
We can start there.
1.Stop wasting plastic water bottles. Get a re-usable one and do your best to never let it go. (Easy)
2. Buy less of anything in plastic packaging, more produce(using re-usable bags), more bulk bins(using jars) less bullshit. (Easy)
3. Look at anything you are throwing away, can it in any way be re-used or recycled? Can it be donated? Can it be composted? You will end up with almost nothing in there if you are asking this. (Easy)
4. Large corporations are VERY wasteful, and detrimental to the environment in many ways. How can you buy more local? (less packaging, less shipping, less waste) Farmers markets which are much cheaper ( easy, fun, and see #2.), gardening our own food (not easy, but even cheaper, and better), at the least trying to buy from small scale (ethical) local companies in any way possible.
Although not cheaper because they aren't being funded by Monsanto and other factory farms to use their modified (I can't even say crops or food because it isn't.) stuff, which is infecting many local farms with genetically modified pollen (and although the science is being repressed, for some reason millions of bees are dying at the same time...).
Hopefully this is all painfully obvious, but the list of corporations funded by Monsanto is very large, almost any *junkfood* companies will have either corn, or soy, in some way, which if not labeled as organic is almost surely modified by now.
*Proven* toxicology shows that modified foods are safe, yet there is billions of dollars going into stopping laws to allow people to choose what they are eating.
Large corporations do not care about you, they do not care about the Earth. They do not care about telling the truth. They care about getting your money, to the CEO's pocket. At whatever monumental cost to the environment, to our social systems, to our well being.
They don't care. So we have to.
5. Fully embrace that less is more. Donate anything you don't need, to those that are. Use less, get by with less. Minimalism allows you to enjoy life, the less you are worrying about possessions that don't matter anyway. My sister taught me that.
None of this is exaggerated, none of it is extreme, and none of it is hard. Change seems hard, talking your family into change seems harder.
But not as hard as telling your children or grandchildren there used to be a beautiful ocean "back in your day"