Podcast feat. Allen Gula, co-founder of Conscious Impact

I just got a heads up this morning of this wonderful interview featuring Allen Gula, a good friend, brother, and co-founder of Conscious Impact. It was recorded by Emil Walker, a filmmaker and creative from the UK who hosts the podcast series "Inside the Ride" and was recently a volunteer at Conscious Impact. Being in the states now, I didn't get a chance to meet Emil, but thanks to Allen and the team on the ground in Nepal, I recently got connected with him to collaborate on a short film that Emil is putting together for our project and community. I most certainly will share the film with you all once he releases it online. 

I feel reinvigorated by Allen's words and strong sense of purpose and commitment in this great conversation. Allen has been a friend since 2012 and he's one of the main reasons I moved to Seattle in 2014 and got involved with Conscious Impact and going to Nepal multiple times since 2015. I'll always have him to thank for my profound experiences, lessons, and tremendous growth internally and externally as a result of our friendship and the magnetism he has provided me and many others in bettering ourselves, being of service to one another and to the world.  

You can tune into this 46-minute podcast via your favorite apps, and here are some direct links: 

Pomponio Beach Adventure (Video)

Been a while. Not the adventuring. That hasn’t stopped one bit. But it has been a while since I’ve cut together an adventure-oriented video purely for fun and sake of creativity. I’ve been learning lots about editing, sound mixing, color grading, workflow, pitfalls to avoid, better storytelling, and more (thanks, YouTube and all the great creators on there!).

Really, the next logical step is to apply the new knowledge by practice and repeat. Rinse and repeat. So here it is: a quick cut of an afternoon adventure with 2 good friends on the coast of northern California. Make sure that sound is turned on. Good headphones & speakers definitely recommended.

New sights, that gorgeous late afternoon light, spring blossoms, the open road, wind in your hair, aerial perspectives of where the land meets the sea, waves, oh the magical sound of waves, all meshed together with an uplifting track by a.m. beef (music licensing via artlist.io). Videography + editing by yours truly.

Thanks to Vidu Love & Nimna Perera for being great models ;) , and hat tip to Vidu also in getting some behind the scenes shots of me on that gorgeous afternoon!

Video also viewable on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/subtledream/pomponioadventure

Norway - GoPro Teaser 1 (Video)

Turn your sound on!

And confession: I've been procrastinating.

I have years upon years of travel footage, recorded interviews, and nature time-lapses piling up, and with every trip I take that pile of unedited content keeps enlarging without being seen, heard or enjoyed by others. I'm going to change that, and it starts with this.

This is a quick 60 second cut/teaser made solely with #GoPro footage from my first 48 hours in Oslo, Norway. I've been learning more about editing, vlogging, color grading and being a better filmmaker and storyteller, and I want to and need to improve.

I've recently subscribed to a music licensing service that allows me to have publishing rights to soundtrack to complement my content, and I am absolutely jazzed to create more and fuller pieces to share with you all. Supporters on my patreon will continue to get early releases and exclusive content, which I post on patreon and also right here on Insta. Enjoy! 🇳🇴

PS: everything was shot on auto with an old GoPro Hero5 Session. I got it used on eBay for $140. Point: nearly anyone can create fun content without pro equipment

PPS: special thanks to Evan Speckles, Lene Martinsen, Bernhard, Eivind, Jonn, Johan, and Angelika & Adam at Club 27 Hostel in bringing some fresh conversations, hospitality, and simply a grand time in those first 2 days! 🙌🏽

Feature on LA Yoga

I've got a little golden nugget of a read for you all :)

"This was a conversation with Jonathan Lee, longtime volunteer and media coordinator extraordinaire at Conscious Impact. Conscious Impact is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to sustainable development in Sindhupalchok, Nepal. And it is where I was heading just a month following my training.

This conversation was before we had even met in person, when we were connected only through the social sphere prior to my arrival at camp. His words woke me up, not only because he was so nonchalant with something I was hesitant to share so early in a friendship, but because I knew it meant he had experienced life to be that same kind of magic. The kind that inspires people to live with more intention and purpose, knowing we’re all interconnected."

Full piece here.

Grateful for Andy Vantrease in beautifully articulating her experiences and words along with my photos from our time in Nepal to an audience on LA YOGA Magazine that I wouldn't otherwise have the ability to reach.

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On the waters

There's something magical about being out on the waters in a canoe. I'm actually quite new to the sensation, but I can tell you when a fiery sunset is coupled with absolute stillness on the river plus the songs of hundreds if not thousands of birds near and far, the combination is next level. It's utter awe and pure wonder. ✨

Patrons: in case you're not on Instagram at all or have been on it recently - I've added all of you who are on the platform to my 'Close Friend' list (VIP, really ;) ) and put up content exclusively for your eyes only. Yesterday I uploaded a very cool hyperlapse video taken above Stockholm, as well as this photo along with 9 others with captions. I just had the realization I could be utilizing this feature to share more exclusive content with you more frequently, and hope that you receive value in exchange for your support, and enjoy what's to come! 🙏🏽

If you're not yet a supporter on my Patreon and would like to learn more, please head to www.patreon.com/subtledream

The financial and spiritual support that I get via my closest supporters has helped me (re)connect more deeply with a number of you, gotten me back to Nepal to work and support Conscious Impact, financially give back to other individuals and organizations that in my opinion do tremendous GOOD in our world, encourage me to experiment further and constantly improve my craft, and provide discounts in ordering prints - which in itself is such a reward, seeing my captured memories on your walls! I cannot imagine where this journey will keep taking me, AND have you join in! Thank you so much for considering, and please please - you're not in the position to give at the moment, simply tuning in and engaging right here on Facebook and Instagram is already wonderful. 🙌🏽

Immense gratitude and shoutout to Luke Fernandez for recently hopping onto the highest tier on my Patreon page. I so appreciate your support and can't wait to deepen our connection stemming all the way back to Panama in 2012. Also to my sista/mero bhaini Rose Flanigan in becoming my latest supporter. Stoked to keep working with you as we explore and expand our interests and passions while supporting one another. 💪🏾✨

The cabin in the woods to remember

Last night in this wonderful little cabin in the woods of southern Norway. 🏡

This rustic wooden home has earned a special spot in my heart. It has reminded me what is important for me, and where I'd like to place my time and energy towards in the following decade. I don't want a fancy apartment in the city. I don't care to sink myself into a 20, 30+ year mortgage plan to pay off a house that'd tie me down from my travels and beautiful pursuits in life. I want to have an open sky to watch the sun and moon sail across the ever-changing spherical palate of blue, orange, pink, purple, and grey. Instead of transporting unsustainable amounts of water from far away aquifers and rivers while flushing away urine and stool with perfectly potable water, I'd rather drink directly from a uncontaminated stream/well and compost my excrement to (re)close nutrient cycle loops. I don't mind chopping wood for fire and growing for food & medicine if that means putting me in a position of being a steward to plant and nurture more than I harvest. I want to share the ecosystem with wildlife and especially with pollinators, not to dominate the landscape with pesticides and other forms of control. I'd like to know my neighbors and share meals with them rather than always minding my own business. I desire for space to have a pet or two, and space for children and adults to roam and explore, for friends and family to visit and camp under the stars as I frequently do. I dream of watching the first Spring blooms, and with that the first bees to buzz about in search of those very blooms. To walk the land and feel it, smell it, and see it transform through the seasons. I envision a community uplifting me that I also contribute to in helping one another achieve our dreams and aspirations, for we rise by lifting others.

This cabin is exactly what I needed and didn't know I needed to continue walking intentionally and making my years on this planet enjoyable and fulfilling.

Immense gratitude to Johan in opening up his cabin, life, and adventures with @sticksmagricks and I, and of course too for Evan in inviting me to Norway to share this memorable experience with him.

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Nephew time before I depart

One of my favorite moments in Los Angeles before departing for this trip to Norway was taking my youngest nephew out for a bike ride at a nearby park. He rode on the front rack. We have done this several time before, so he remembered the drill and rules - absolutely no touching the wheel while we're moving, and hands gripping the handlebar at all times.

The late afternoon light was perfect. We rode inside the dam where overflowing water would flood where we were standing. He and his brother both have been into rocks and crystals lately, so often our outings would include crystal hunting. He would show me all the cool pieces he discovered and let me evaluate whether they are as cool as he thinks (and in bringing them home too). Exercise for me, fun for him, memories for all of us, and $0 spent. As the Mastercard commercial would now announce: Priceless.

I snapped these timeless photos with a $28 manual focus lens that was actually defective. So often it's not about the gear to capture and preserve memories.

Norway photos to come, but I have so many memories from California I still wanna share before the Scandinavian reel begins.

Throwback to 1996

23 years (and 1 week) ago, my parents and sisters and I immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong. What a journey that has been. For all of us.

Well I'm flying somewhere far again, but this time I'm not moving. I am headed for Oslo on my first trip to Scandinavia. On my first evening I'll be hosted by a Couchsurfing (CS) host named Eivind who has hosted over 1,000 travelers in his apartment in the past 8 years.

I've been on the CS network since 2009, and it's been a string of fun-filled encounters and new friendships, to say the least. Look out for content from beautiful Norway very soon!

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Hyperlapse over the California coast

Oh, California.

As nomadic as I may have been in the last several years, I do still call California home. It is, afterall, where I've spent the most time in my life. I associate rather deeply with this land, its many peoples, the mixture of cultures, the apparent and underlying issues, and even its geology.

This is a primer to a longer post tomorrow. This home state of mine is gonna be a theme. The week-long trip I have just gotten back from has really provided me a whole lot to reflect upon and opened up new perspectives, ideas, and I'd say opportunities as well.

PS: this hyperlapse video is a newer thing I'm learning to do. It's time-lapse pumped up to the next level.

Big Sur - aerial boomerang

To be amongst these old, wise, beautiful trees. 🌲

What a fun, lush Spring day running through the streams and forests around Big Sur. I caught the perfect sunny and mild weather window a few days ago. The Spring rains are back in full force today and it's a welcome contrast while continuing to provide the land, the plants, and wildlife more precious water. 💦

Let's see if on my southbound journey I'd be able to swing through the region again and catch a bit more sunshine and outdoor time. ✨

This boomerang-style aerial video is a carbon copy of what Johnny Harris does (and does so superbly). He makes top-shelf, inspiring, informative content for Vox, with his wife Iz Harris (who I'm more than happy to support on Patreon), as well as on their own channels.

Christchurch

Having spent half a year in and around Christchurch, New Zealand, I have stacks of vivid memories from this little city.

From my experience, it's colorful, and though it may not have the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles, London, etc., it is a place where humans of various backgrounds, appearances, and beliefs co-exist, mostly in great harmony.

I remember it feeling like a breath of fresh air as I met the locals - through their questions of who I am/where I am from/etc. - rather than placing assumptions and judgements onto me by my appearance and accent like I've experienced in California and the US in general, that the inquisitiveness stems from genuine curiosity. I don't recall ever feeling out of place or any social anxiety being a POC in New Zealand.

The side of Christchurch I got to experience as I landed into the Social Enterprise World Forum and PechaKucha all within the first several days is one of innovation, action, global solidarity, reconciliation, and community. Although there's no doubt one could see and feel the effects of destruction, grief, and loss from the earthquakes 8 years ago, there is a certain energy and sense of personal and communal purpose unlike ever before to (re)build a city for its people by its people. That spark has fostered neighbors to get to know one another better. That has allowed community gardens to pop up and sprout their seeds in the soil as well as the minds of many. That has gotten folks to work together in putting "we" before the "me."

Last year this time, I was right there in the city, enjoying the heck out of Holi with hundreds at the largest park in Christchurch Central. Holi is a Hindu festival of love or colors that signifies the victory of superior over immoral. All of us in this photo were born in different countries. We are united by our similarities as well as differences. And that is where all of us will keep going. Victory of superior over immoral. Celebrate culture and embrace diversity. White nationalist rhetoric, fear, and hate has no place. Period.

Deep deep love and support to everyone affected directly as well as indirectly by this horrific event. 

Gathering for a meal

Gathering for a meal. A human phenomenon that all of us, no matter our language, our religion, social status, dietary preferences, gender associations, rich or poor, inherently share.

To be invited into someone's home for a meal can be an extraordinary experience.

I've been going through the Nepal archives lately. It's part of the process of picking myself back up from the slump that a number of you have read about and seen. I'm most thankful for those who have dropped some love and phoned me directly. I promise I am significantly better now. I've got a lot to look forward to, and a good chunk of that is seeing/catching up with/venturing with some of you.

Nepal has been such an immense part of my life since 2015. When I say Nepal, I refer to the whole experience - the land, oh that sweet, sweet chiseled mountainous terrain we call the Himalayas, the elements, the people, the generosity, the chaos, smells, sounds, textures, the juxtaposition of life and death, deep ancient traditions with modern influences, and the squat toilets.

The meals, too, of course. The shared meals with the locals are something else.

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More desert magic

On a roll now, don't ya think? 😉

This is what I would call desert glow. Spring bloom. Super bloom. Mega bloom. Or mega glow, spring glow? Alright, I don't actually have a name set, but WILL YOU JUST LOOK AT THAT?

Nature never ceases to amaze in its creation and beauty. The flowers in the first photo are called lupens. To my knowledge, they are one of the first blossoms in the spring and they are nitrogen fixers. They intake nitrogen from the atmosphere - and most of our atmosphere is nitrogen - and pump it through their leaves, plant body, and into the ground. The nitrogen is made bio-available for other microorganisms and plants to utilize for their cellular magic-growth. In the spring, as the temperature warms and the conditions become conducive to sprouting or regrowth, this nitrogen, along with carbon, phosphorus (and other trace minerals too), and water, allow plants to do their thing.

Lupens only hang around for around 3-4 months from my observation. They come first and die first, but they give other plants and living beings what they need to thrive. Seeing them in the desert helped remind me the resilience and cyclical regeneration of plants and all the living systems that sustain our earth, and us.

Do swipe through, because there are 2 more accompanying desert glow captures. Oh I love these.

So this glow that got me to write in caps - I woke up at the crack of dawn to witness and capture these scenes. I had slept in my car the night before because of the semi-crazy winds and desert rains. Some people may think this is rough. However, consider this - I rolled out of my vehicle and walked across the meadow in absolute peaceful silence except for the first song birds. I'd consider that my commute. At this moment for me, this is the free and unattached life I wouldn't really trade much for. Well, perhaps a tiny house in the woods, next to a river, with a little garden, within a community. One can dream (and take action towards that reality).

Reawakening

"We are the low tide as well as the high. When bones and broken bottles appear. Small creatures die in the sun and shrinking puddles.

Between the tides shifting from low to high or high to low, the apogee on either side, is called a slack tide.

Those bones and bottles aren’t going to just go away.

But ask yourself. When is your favorite time to go to the beach? Low tide eh. When the hidden becomes apparent. When we can observe and wonder at the wrack and wreck of all the evolution that happens on the edge of things.

There is beauty in destruction, death, detritus, and chaos. Entropy is the other apogee of order. The most powerful people I know can embrace the range of existence. From rage storm and wildfire, to the small patterns in the sand.

You, my amazing friend, embody both the body, ocean, and vessel, earth, and the tidal interplay between. I see it in your work. And I see it in your heart! Have faith brother, in the process and in yourself. I do in you :)"

Huge, immense gratitude to my brother Brian Hasabe for these poetic, elegant, and profound words.

I've rediscovered the fire within myself. 🔥I'm on my way to being in the groove. This desert trip was everything I needed and didn't know I needed. I've been posting heaps to Stories but will continue to write & record more. I've realized more and more how many friends, acquaintances, and even strangers understand the feeling so well themselves.

Perhaps my little contribution back is to help others through what was a newer experience (of temporary depression, helplessness, and utter lack of motivation to accomplish almost anything) for me.

Here's a first set of stills of the snippets of the spring bloom magic out in the desert as well as the beautiful geology with none but my very own best company, and... a bunch of cameras. Nature and exploration are some powerful medicine.

Much love and appreciation for so many of your words and immense support in all forms. You've helped me back up. 🙏🏽 Onwards to all that I've been wanting to create and share with you all.

Coming out of a slump...

I finally made something the other day. Feels good to create again. This slump has been dark, unkind, and lingering. I am just trying to take baby steps in getting back in my groove.

This is from our time at Joshua Tree National Park back in winter solstice. Trying some new animation and sound effects in videos.

Music by Tone Ranger with a track named "Flow," used with permission via Jumpsuit Records membership.

Big thanks to my supporters via Patreon (patreon.com/subtledream) in their continued financial support in allowing to create beautiful things like this.

The ocean, life on the edges

The ocean's been a theme in recent weeks. It's been especially apparent since returning to California after visiting the Pacific Northwest. I've found myself at the ocean often admiring its force as well as tranquility and all the magic that occur at these "edges" - as described in #permaculture - where one ecological habitat meets or transitions to another. The life that these edges attract and the shifts in the way of being from the microscopic level way up high to the birds' eye view, is astounding, humbling, and peaceful.

Enjoy this set from Baja California Sur + Southern California taken in the past couple weeks.

Women's March Poem (Video)

2 years ago, I recorded my good friend Alyson's poetry / spoken word piece on the "sunset terrace" in Nepal for the Women's March in DC and women all around the world.

I've had the utmost pleasure to work alongside Alyson since 2016 within Conscious Impact as well. She's the visionary behind the Youth Empowerment program, and currently she's in the village of Takure in Nepal continuing to run the program, finding a Nepali coordinator to improve and expand the reach of our work, while also helping to build up the coffee cooperative processing center for local farmers to process and sell their organic coffee beans in the future.

I am thankful for her presence, strength of character, devotion, authenticity, and friendship.

The video can be viewed on Vimeo as well.

Check out Alyson's other work at Alyson Noele Poetry or alysonnoele.com

Wedding in Baja - first snippets

I'm hired on as a videographer for this wedding, but as a stills photographer at heart, I can't help but snap some single frames and panoramas for myself. The wedding is off to a banging start - I'm getting into the flow of managing 3+ cameras to get multiple perspectives to visually tell the story from the sandy beach to high up in the sky. Enjoy this set from our rehearsal yesterday. T-minus 1 hour till we rock and roll for the main day! 🤙🏽🌊

Big thanks to my man @vidulove for this opportunity!

Baja

I'm in México. To be precise, the bottom tip of California.

This is Eliu. He picked me up from the airport. Eliu is originally from Mexico City. He liked it there quite a lot, he tells me. He spoke of the diversity of people and cultures there, of the arts, the foods, how alive everything is. He laughed and then added "if you like traffic too." Eliu left a number of years ago (exactly how many slips my memory), and thinks that it's too hot here in Baja, but ultimately believes it's a nice place to live with clean air, nice environment, relaxed vibes, a good job that pays him well and raise his 2 kids with his wife.

I joked with him that 2 is plenty, as they are quite expensive. He laughed and agreed. We then laughed about his uncle who's lived in Los Angeles for 40 years and still speaks not a word of English because he lives in a neighborhood where everyone speaks Spanish. When I asked him if he has an interest in visiting him, Eliu said no. He seems content with his life here.

We talked nearly continuously for most of the drive to the town center. My brain got to exercise a part of its memory that hasn't been activated in a while. Speaking a language you haven't yet mastered requires a heightened level of focus that also puts me into a state of appreciation. In this case, I most definitely appreciated Eliu's slowing down his speech and using simple words to convey his thoughts. I appreciate the ability to connect with another human who's doing what he can to create comfort and happiness for him and his family. I appreciate that he's the first Mexican in Mexico that I got to chat with, because I gotta say - the narrative that much of society in the U.S. paints is not a relatable, working young father like Eliu.

I was really struck by these mountains when we drove out of the airport. Gorgeous ridge lines. I'm glad I caught the moment Eliu pointed at them to tell me about them. I didn't take this with a fancy camera. If you've gotten this far, it's because the story held your attention. And for me, this photo will always jog my memory to that car ride towards the late afternoon sun, realizing again how much us humans have in common rather than different.

Stories like this are made possible thanks to my patrons-supporters on Patreon, a platform that allows content creators like me to get financially supported. You get more perks than simply ensuring that content like this continue to be made and shows up on your newsfeed - head to www.patreon.com/subtledream to find out more. :)

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