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.



"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. πŸ”₯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. πŸ™πŸ½ Onwards to all that I've been wanting to create and share with you all.

Words-thoughts through a rough patch

It's incredible how easily our emotions can get turned upside down simply by a few words from the right individual. 
I've been, for the most part, riding on a high since landing in New Zealand 46 days ago. From reuniting with old friends, speaking for the first time in front of an audience of 500, attending an immensely inspirational conference of change makers, meeting heaps of new friends and making professional contacts, living and working in a new environment, exploring the wide open spaces and all the nooks and crannies in between, to reaffirming my own purpose and value in life -- this past month and a half has been enjoyable as well as enlightening.
I don't believe many people, including my friends and family members, understand why I do what I do and the unique rewards plus challenges that this lifestyle brings. For starters, it's easy to romanticize my travels as a never-ending fairytale of wanderlust and adventure. It's easy to look at my Instagram & Facebook feed and be "so jealous." It's easy to be mesmerized by the kaleidescope of colors, textures, foods, landscape, humans, sunsets, and moments of joy that I have meticulously captured and curated to organize, edit, caption, and share with you and the world wide web. That, my friends, is not the full picture. No one's social media accounts is ever the full picture. Anyone who thinks it's anywhere close completely undermines the platter of human emotions and spirit that makes life both challenging and endearing.
Like you, I sometimes-often struggle to get out of bed. I have had mornings, afternoons, and evenings where I sit there, with both palms of my hands in my face, thinking and feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders and in my heart (e.g. just now). Everyone's been there. I don't think I've been honest enough to myself to articulate and post those moments, too.

"... follow your dreams... But I do pray that you will settle down somewhere with a job/family one day."

The 'But' negates everything prior.

"... just something to make a decent living..."

Because I don't?
Because not having 5, 6, 7 digits in my bank account says I am not successful? Because my conscious decision not to hold down a regular job while putting down a mortgage to pursuit some rotten fantasy capitalistic societal propaganda "American Dream" makes me any less valuable? Because I choose to put my own happiness and the greater good of humanity and the earth before my financial earnings prove that I am not worthy?
Don't slap your right hand with your left. Don't say "I am proud of you" when the next thing out of your mouth is "will you settle down." I can't take this contradicting bullshit. 
I've been working hard and living a decent life. I don't need $50,000+ USD/year to live "happily." Hell I don't even need $10,000 in most parts of the world. Don't and stop using the standards that have worked well for others on me. "Getting a job", "make more money", "settle down", and "have a family" are NOT things I have needed nor need at the moment. 
I was brought up to be a decent human being, and I've been living within the moral ethics that you and many teachers have instilled in me. I in turn have done what I could to spread that to more people I come across who are younger, around the same age, and even older. Isn't that enough? Why does my happiness, my lasting joy, need to conform to some guidelines of the past? Can you really believe that there is one road map in this quest of life? I am not drug dealing. I am not harming anybody. I choose work that fulfill and cultivate meaning and purpose. I choose to invest in knowledge and in learning from the world instead of financing a $60,000 vehicle. I choose to serve those in need while nurturing my evolving needs and interests. I have supportive friends who nurture my creativity and sense of curiosity. Most of them bring zero monetary value to my life, yet their presence, their lessons, and their companionship are invaluable. That is all I could really ask for. 
Do you know how hard it is to uphold this nomadic, creative life? Do you know how many moments I have to stand strong in the face of defeat, failure, and disappointments one after another while thousands of kilometers away from familiar faces and loved ones? Do you realize the difficulty and the sustained strength necessary to continue staying inspired and to inspire when the media splits out tragedy day in day out, when I am aware that the ice caps are rapidly melting, the carbon and sea levels are rising, the soil are eroding, the ecosystems are being destroyed, with species rapidly going extinct, that there is widespread injustice, fear, hunger, pain, suffering all across the world, and folks undervalue your work, never pay you, and some even ask you to work for free? Do you really know?

Don't say "proud" so casually anymore. It's like cry wolf. You say that, and say something else enough times, and I won't even believe it anymore.

Tomorrow is a new day. Onwards.

The new subtledream.

One of the profound self-realizations in the past year and a half traveling, serving, and learning around the world is that I am meant to be a photographer and storyteller, for life. 

I have said that "I am a (professional) photographer," for a number of years now, however I haven't yet fully embody that statement to the extend of my abilities, potential, and passion - until these past two years. Over half of the 14+ months aboard was spent living and working with the Conscious Impact team in Nepal. There, I documented everything from animal sacrifices, weddings, rebuilding sites, baby trees, smiles, to snow-capped Himalayan peaks through the seasons, at the mercy of the elements + gatekeepers of electricity (available 0-16 hours a day), while essentially being outside 24/7. I lived in a tent like every other short and long-term volunteer. My work table was created out of fallen roofing stones and bricks we made which didn't pass the strength test. It was on this make-shift desk (with an awesome view) where I created/processed nearly all of the media content that folks have been seeing on Conscious Impact's website and social media accounts. It was in that village and surrounding communities where I captured and edited tens to hundreds of stills each day, storyboarded and rendered a slew of videos for project updates and fundraisers, co-managed our social media outlets, worked with each team - agriculture, education, rebuilding - to ensure proper representation of peoples and happenings. There was never a moment of dullness, and I absolutely loved it. 

I wore a lot of hats - and so did nearly everyone involved with the rebuilding project that sprouted in response to the devastating April and May 2015 earthquakes. I wore these hats happily a large majority of the time, and couldn't imagine myself being anywhere else doing anything else. That sense of deeper satisfaction that comes from doing something GOOD - something not only you are good at, good for yourself, but even more importantly for others you love and care about - was rewarding beyond the compensation of a paycheck. Day after day this happened, and through this came the realization that I truly could do this work everyday, go to bed exhausted, but with a smile on my face. As "season 2" (Year 2) of Conscious Impact came to a close, I am deeply joyed and proud of our achievements. The numbers: over 350 volunteers from over 27 countries have contributed time, energy, and financial support to (re)build a school, an orphanage, a community center, an office building for the local women's microfinance cooperative, and 3 family homes. We've also expanded the knowledge of local farmers on organic agriculture, specifically in the growing of coffee trees. As of this very week, over 8,200 coffee saplings have already been planted, and there is so, SO much more than just these numbers. 

One of my greatest goals and intentions in returning to the states this summer is to redo my entire portfolio. would finally take on a form that more fully represents who I am as a photographer, a videographer, a story-teller, and simply another human being. I wish for this online presence to show the world what I am capable of, and more importantly, how my skills and desire to immortalize happenings and preserve memories are able to inspire, add value, joy, and serve the greater good of humanity as well as Pachamama. I no longer want to say that "I am a photographer" and not fully OWN it. I found my passion years ago, but fear held me back from my potential. I have been afraid of not being able to "make it" in day to day life and making ends meet. I have been learning to overcome this fear. 

And so today, I present you the all-new subtledream - a completely fresh, mobile-friendly site with hugely expanded galleries, new content, a blog (which I'll actually update), and SOON -- the ability to order prints and digital downloads directly from the site through a secure checkout system. I've been dreaming, scheming of this for years, and it's finally coming to fruition. I've got to work out a number of kinks and continue to refresh and add content still, but I also feel that in putting this out there earlier for you all and the world to see, it'll really push and motivate me to keep making it better and better. 

My ask for you, my friends, family, supporters, near and far, are as follows: 

  1. Check out the new site! You may be on there. And even if not, you're in for a treat.  
  2. Give feedback via social media or direct message.
  3. Share with me your favorite photo(s)/memories that I've captured by sharing & tagging me and/or my social media accounts (I love it when people do that) - what's YOUR favorite #subtledream ?
  4. Download wallpapers! This is the most affordable way (just $2!) to digitally collect my photos to beautify the background of your desktop/laptop/tablet/mobile/etc. I plan to upload a new "photo of the week" on the site each week - all of which comes with a little story or context. For any particular photo you've seen or like, just contact me and we can arrange direct file transfer. 
  5. Order prints! This is one of the best ways to support me AND to bring tangible beauty right into your living spaces. I've created a special gallery of 200+ photographs which are ready to be printed and delivered to you! Most of these are also in various galleries on the site. We can bring them to life with different photo papers finishes (lustre, glossy, matte, metallic) and also canvas prints with the option of wrapping it around a frame. They would make - if I may say so myself - EXCELLENT gifts. In the future this process should be streamlined through the site, but in the meantime, talk directly with me! 
  6. Refer friends, family, and anyone else to my photo and videographic prints & services. 2018 is wide open for me, folks. Book me! You know I would travel domestically and globally for a good wedding/event/project/cause. Get in touch directly:
  7. If you have been on the receiving end of my services, free or paid, I'd love to hear about your experience with a review on the subtledream Facebook page. A 10% off coupon will be gifted for a future order. Yes! subtledream coupon! 

    I am experimenting with the idea of an online "tip jar." Over the years I have taken thousands upon thousands of photographs and videos, and spent perhaps even higher magnitude of time organizing, archiving, flagging, editing, processing, uploading for friends and strangers alike -- for free. I believe it's a gift of what I am able to observe and capture in the world - a snippet of beauty in time, if you will. In the end, isn't that all we can take with us? Inspired by the donation-based model of business(exchange) within my communities and travels aboard, I have offered my services and advice in recent years in a variety of circumstances, always being adaptive to the needs and context that are presented. I believe it has opened up opportunities that wouldn't have otherwise been possible if I was rigid on a fixed rate per hour or per gig, and I have learned an immense amount personally and professionally. If my photographs, videos, advice, words, etc. have brought you joy, inspiration, and/or a preservation of memories through the years, consider dropping a little something into my "tip jar." I am very grateful!

    In 2013, I embarked on a 3000+ mile bicycle and farm journey from coastal British Columbia to the US/Mexico border with the question, "Can travel, work, service, art, adventure, and environmental stewardship have an ideal overlap?" Many of you supported me on that journey, and upon looking through the list of supporters earlier today as well as that from the fundraiser for my first trip to Nepal in 2015, I cannot help but smile and feel deep gratitude for everyone who has uplifted me to get to this point. Is this what true community-supported-grassroots-no-middleman-global-collaboration could look like? Certainly something to ponder, and something we've discussed within Conscious Impact at great lengths... 

    I remember coming out the 2013 bike journey with noticably thicker legs (haha!) AND deeply inspired by the hard work of small-scale organic farmers and food growers, inspired by the raw natural beauty of the North American west coast, appreciated clean water and food in all forms, yet disillusioned by the injustice and corrupted industrial food system that exist in the United States as well as around the world. I wanted to continue expanding my horizons and improve my craft as a photographer to make better, more ethical decisions in day to day life and serve the greater good of humanity and the earth. 

    Still sounds familiar doesn't it? 

    Now, 4 years later, I feel that I have not only discovered that path but have walked down the right one. I thank you - each and every one of you - to have added a little to a whole lot of support, knowledge, value, and guidance to my life. Onwards! 

    With tremendous love and gratitude from Seattle,

    PS: Later in September, I will travel to Christchurch in New Zealand to collaborate with the Otakaro Orchard to help promote New Zealand's first urban food hub. It will be a place that locals and visitors alike can gain knowledge and inspiration about sustainable food systems in practice. Otakaro Orchard broke ground in early August 2017 and has taken inspirations from the Beacon Food Forest.