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Posts from the “Travels” Category

Travels: Havana, Cuba

Posted on May 1, 2016

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Four Days in Havana

The American Forbidden Fruit | April 2016

A few weeks ago I travelled to Havana, Cuba, an increasingly common destination for Americans though still not entirely a simple maneuver. You may have heard about relations being relaxed between the US and Cuba in July of 2015 and the shiny new embassy being opened right on the Malecón; the challenge still lies in getting to the country. While you can pay a tour group to organize your trip and fly you straight from Miami to Havana, this is excessively expensive and you’ll be stuck to an itinerary for your entire journey. Currently, this is the only way to get into Cuba with the US Government’s blessing. We opted for the less licit route, flying through Mexico City instead. This option is, admittedly, somewhat nerve-wracking given that your entry to the country is entirely at the mercy of two governments (Mexico and Cuba) who are not your own. I know you’ve heard it from every news outlet imaginable but now is the time to go. The hard reality for Cuba is that it’s infrastructure simply cannot handle the sheer amount of money that’s about to pour into the country from hotel chains and waves of legal American tourism. It’s a fragile flower floating just off the coast of Florida that’s mere months away from being swept away by the tall waves of capitalist influence.

Havana is so thickly layered in culture you could cut it with a knife; from the incredible, yet tragically crumbling architecture of a bygone era to the music playing on every corner and out of every home, this felt like a barrel-aged moment out of a Kodachrome-steeped imaginarium of sound and color.

I can’t say enough positive things about my experience in Cuba. Havana is so thickly layered in culture you could cut it with a knife; from the incredible, yet tragically crumbling architecture of a bygone era to the music playing on every corner and out of every home, this felt like a barrel-aged moment out of a Kodachrome-steeped imaginarium of sound and color.  I wanted to take this trip strictly as an observer and I think I successfully accomplished this. It’s, unfortunately, rather easy to get sucked into the tourism industry in Havana (which is their main source of income, anyway) and I wanted to do my best to avoid that. If I were to do it again, I’d travel with someone who spoke Spanish fluently as the extent of mine can find me a bathroom and that’s about all. English is not widely spoken, and while I can rustle up some French in a pinch, we found that Spanish is king here even if you’re in a French hotel. I felt incredibly safe walking around the city at all times. I opted not to take my huge Nikon D810 and instead brought my Fuji X-T1 thinking it would make me a little more inconspicuous. Unfortunately, the second anyone sees you with a camera, they’re all over you to get you to come to their cousin’s restaurant or to let them give you a tour for a fee. Everyone’s in it to make a buck so be travel-wise and just say no. That being said, at no time did I feel unsafe walking around day or night. See the full writeup here.

 

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Weekend Adventures Vol. 3: Big Sur, CA.

Posted on March 17, 2015

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I’m reprising an old series here, “Weekend Adventures: The Art of Getting the Fuck Out”. I go in cycles with Los Angeles, like almost anywhere I’ve ever lived. Sometimes it’s the place. It’s the only place. It’s where I have to be and I’m thrilled with it. Sometimes I really need to get the fuck out. These are the chronicles.

My girlfriend and I go to Big Sur every few years. People ask me, what’s so great about Big Sur? What do you do? The answer, my friends, is everything and not much. And that’s what’s beautiful about it. Think about all the time you spend packing shit in on your weekends just trying desperately to get the most out of the few waning hours you have to royally fuck off. Now go on vacation to Big Sur and cut that shit out. You can do everything and you can do nothing. It’s your time, you’re an adult. Spend it as you wish. The best part about it is that you can be just as happy running around on trails as you can be with a beer in your hand and your feet dunked in the river. Last time we went we weren’t entirely prepared for it’s majesty and were blown away by it’s incredible splendor. This time around, we knew what we were getting into and prepared both our eyeballs and our tastebuds for what was to come. Stocking the car up with our usual pumpkin/sunflower seed blend and plenty of water and coffee, we hit the road. Click here for the full article and photo set.

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Field Trip: Old North Clothing in Asheville, NC.

Posted on January 2, 2015

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I shot this photo set at Old North Clothing in Asheville back in the early summer of 2014 and somehow let these sit for many long months. I only rediscovered these photos after going through my semi-annual photo archiving and realized that for whatever reason this post never went live. That being said, I’m happy to launch it now. The photos may not reflect the current offering at Old North but should give you an idea of how the place feels, what kind of things they typically carry, and why you should absolutely visit.

Asheville has been a part of my family for a number of decades; we’ve had family living in Asheville or nearby for the past 60 years with my grandparents moving there after my great-grandparents in the ’80s. They’ve since passed on but I spent most of my summers in Asheville as a kid, much like my father did when he was young visiting his own grandparents. The major difference between his experience and my own was growing up in a big city and visiting Asheville was, for me, awful. I hated going there, staying in the mountains and rarely venturing into town due to my grandmother’s paranoia of anything urban or progressive. It seemed so backwards from what I was used to and I missed everything about the city. Click here to read the full article.

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Yosemite National Park: A Photo Retrospective

Posted on September 22, 2014

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A few months ago we were fortunate enough to grab a coveted campsite near the base of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park here in California. Getting a reserved site is tough given that Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks and almost twenty years ago there was a huge flood that wiped out a good number of the sites. We woke up at early 3 months in advance in order to get our spot and we got the last one left within a three month window. Feeling fortunate, we prepped for our trip.

Traveling to Yosemite was a great excuse to turn off and focus on things we like; camping, drinking lots of good whiskey, taking photos, and traveling. Here I present a series of photos from our trip highlighting a few of our hikes and cool sights. If you need a creative recharge or a respite from the working world, I highly recommend taking a trip to Yosemite. If you can’t swing that type of travel, find a campsite near you and get out of your own bed for a few days. It’s worth it. We’re not hardcore outdoors people and Yosemite caters to all levels of woodsy-folks. Camping between two streams at the base of an incredible mountain near the basin of several waterfalls while also being close enough to a few restaurants and a grocery store has it’s merits.

We hiked the Vernal/Nevada Falls trail which takes you through some of the more lush greenery in the park. There’s two major waterfalls along the way with plenty of views of the valley, Half Dome, and the opportunity to dip your feet in the river (be warned: do not get in the water as you could be easily whisked over the edge to a certain death). One of my favorite points of this trail was coming around a corner and the mist from the first waterfall beating the cliff face on your right. The rocks were soaked and covered in moss. It was a slippery climb but felt like something out of Lord of the Rings. Rainbows, massive rock formations, heavy mist, sunshine, and greenery abound. We ate lunch at the very top, the halfway point, which is the top of the second waterfall. There’s plenty of places to grab a rock and relax while recharging for your hike down the mountain.

You’ve probably noticed that things have been fairly sparse on the site recently. We’ve been busier than ever working on a variety of creative projects for clients around the country from music videos to photo shoots and haven’t had a chance to focus our time on producing the content that we love doing; free stuff for the world to enjoy. Recently the going motto has been if it doesn’t pay, don’t do it. Fortunately right now we’re able to jump back on board and do a little more with The American Classic. Whenever something you love becomes time prohibitive, it’s time to take a break and wait for the right moment to come and spark you with some inspiration. We’re happy to be here and hope you enjoy the content we have coming over the next few weeks. Click here to read the full article.

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Field Trip: Berkeley Supply Co. in Denver, CO.

Posted on January 13, 2014

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Every December for the past 7 years, I’ve made the pilgrimage to Steamboat Springs, CO. for some winter sports action. I like Steamboat a lot; it’s casual all of the time (read: don’t have to wear a fur coat to fit in), the mountain isn’t as miserably crowded as others, and the town has a great homey feel that some of the other ski towns lack. Every year we fly into Denver and make the 3-4 hour drive into the mountains. Every year we make the 3-4 hour drive back to Denver and fly out. I have distant family that lives in Denver and I never visit them because I’m an asshole and I really should make more time for them. This trip I did just that and had a few extra hours to kill so I swung by Berkeley Supply Co. who, like my family, I’ve been meaning to visit for a while. It was now or never so my girlfriend and I trekked over to the Tennyson district to check out the shop.

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Field Trip: East & West

Posted on December 16, 2013

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I had been hearing about East & West in St. Louis for a while; being from the area and still having a few friends there, they’d always tell me how I had to visit the shop next time I was in town. I went a year without going back to St. Louis so when I did around Thanksgiving, I made damn sure to check the place out. Brian Simpson runs an incredible shop, which is actually located in the Kirkwood neighborhood, just a little south and west of the city. I was blown away to find out that he carries brands like Rogue Territory, 3sixteen, Teranishi Brand, Apolis, and more. Not only are these all brands we’re huge fans of but any top level shop you’ll see in major markets carries these brands as well. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little hometown pride. Click here to view the interview and photos.

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Field Trip: Blueprint Coffee

Posted on December 9, 2013

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I worked in the specialty coffee industry for quite a long time and to finally have an article about a shop, especially one to which I have several connections, is pretty cool for me. I was visiting family in St. Louis over the Thanksgiving holiday and got the chance to visit Blueprint Coffee which was started by my friend and former bandmate Mike Marquard along with several other folks we knew from Kaldi’s Coffee and elsewhere. There’s been an influx of new coffee companies in St. Louis over the past few years; when I was getting my start, I worked for Kaldi’s and at the time they were the only show in town. Most of the new shops are fantastic and do a great job of curating a diverse coffee offering along with creating a pleasing atmosphere in which to enjoy said coffee. Blueprint, in my opinion, does this the best of all of the new shops and they roast their own coffee which gives them a massive leg up in the branding department. Some of the best coffee shops in the world sell other roasters beans but there’s something special about the shop/roaster combo that buries its way into people’s hearts. Blueprint’s clean aesthetic reminds me of some of the great shops around the country (Four Barrel, Stumptown, Intelligentsia, etc.) while pulling a color palette and geometric accents that are uniquely their own. Click here to view all images and read the interview.

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