Is it mid-August already?

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Phew. Slipping a couple weeks behind here on this August release. It's been an absolute whirlwind in the best way possible here in and around Seattle. I'm gonna have to do a followup post this month like in July because the news and content keep piling up for me to want to include for you all. Here's what I've got for you all today: 

  • Beacon Food Forest

  • 'Good news you probably didn't hear about'

  • Intentions for CI Season 5

  • Updates from Everybody Eats NZ

  • Upcoming travels & work

  • Videos

  • Podcasts

  • Pretty pictures

Beacon Food Forest Photos 

That header image may look like a Google Earth/Maps image, but it's far closer and more recent - right from Beacon Food Forest's recent work party on July 20 via my drone. Being able to take my new gear to capture the food forest from the sky and on the ground again bring me and many people joy. Being a volunteer-driven project since its inception, the food forest has lacked a dedicated media person since I left Seattle in early 2016 except for a several-month period later that year. It has since gone through pretty radical changes - the groundbreaking of the "Phase 2" expansion plus the continued growth of all of the existing shrubs and trees. As I cycled through the bike/multi-use path cutting right through its center, I'm confronted with a visual that is looking more and more like an actual forest. The various layers in height and density throughout the open harvest area is starting to mimic that of a natural ecosystem, except of course, all of the plant species were planned and planted intentionally to maximize sustenance production for humans, pollinators, other wildlife, in addition to building the soil, sequester carbon, and many more positive functions. 

This coming weekend, I'll have the opportunity once more to get my hands a bit dirty and volunteer for their monthly work party. Thanks to your ongoing support, I'm able to also bring my craft to the table and help this selfless community to document the team effort as we nurture the space as one of the largest project of its kind in the states while also planning for a greater project for later this year and possibly the next, too (more to come!). 

Good news you probably didn't hear about (thanks, Future Crunch!)

  • Los Angeles has announced the largest, cheapest solar + storage project in the world, at half the cost of a new natural gas plant. Wright's Law FTW. Forbes

  • Ireland has joined the growing list of countries that say new petrol and diesel powered vehicles will not be allowed on the roads after 2030. BBC

  • 8.8 million Nepalis have gained access to electricity since 2010, and officials say the country is on track for universal access by 2022. Kathmandu Post

  • Heart disease rates in the UK have declined significantly - it's still the leading cause of mortality, but deaths have decreased by almost half since 2005. Telegraph

  • Good news from North Korea. According to the WHO, smoking rates have declined by 8.4% since 2012, thanks to a government-led anti-smoking campaign. DailyNK

  • Rates of HPV in Britain have fallen by 86% among young women aged 15 to 19 since they started being vaccinated in schools in 2008. Times

  • UNESCO says that 19 African countries have reached gender parity (equal numbers of boys and girls) in primary education in the past decade. Brookings

  • Kenya's High Court has ruled that rape survivors have the right to an abortion, a landmark ruling in a country where abortion is still illegal. Reuters

  • An estimated 10,000 LGBTQIA+ teens in the US have been protected from conversion therapy in states that have banned the practice since 2012. NBC

  • Canada has passed its most progressive Fisheries Act in history; for the first time since 1868, there's a legally binding requirement to rebuild fish populations. Oceana

  • The Scottish government has met its annual tree planting targets for the first time. 11,200 hectares were planted last year, a significant increase on 2017. BBC

  • Since 2000, the area of land dedicated for livestock pasture around the world has declined by 1.4 million square kilometers — an area the size of Peru. MongaBay

  • Thanks to rigorous anti-poaching strategies, one of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves has just gone a year without losing a single elephant. Independent

  • In the first six months of 2019, sun, wind, water and biomass produced more electricity in the world's fourth largest economy than coal and nuclear combined. DW

  • In the first six months of 2019, Scottish wind turbines generated enough electricity to power 4.47 million homes - almost double the number of homes in Scotland. CNBC

  • According to the United Nations, in 2018, global HIV-related deaths fell to 770,000, 33% lower than in 2010 when 1.2 million deaths were recorded. DW

  • A new report by UNESCO says that between 2006 and 2016, India, Ethiopia and Peru achieved significant improvements in nutrition, sanitation, child mortality, drinking water, schooling, electricity access and housing. India alone lifted 271 million people out of poverty during this period. Understandably there's been wall-to-wall coverage of this story on every major global news channel. The Hindu

  • New diabetes cases in the US have declined by 35% since 2009, the longest decline since the government started tracking the statistic nearly 40 years ago. STAT

  • Mali has announced it will begin providing free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five. Universal healthcare, not just for rich countries. Guardian

  • Drug overdose deaths in America declined by around 5% last year, the first drop since 1990. It's almost entirely due to better control of opioid painkillers. NYT

  • Last year crime rates in the 30 largest cities in the US declined by 3.5%, violent crime by 4% and murders by 8%. Did someone just say 'hellholes?' Brennan Centre

  • Ethiopia has kicked off a new campaign to plant four billion trees and will monitor progress with a satellite the country is launching in November.

  • Since introducing new fuel efficiency rules a decade ago New York has cut nitrous oxide and particulate emissions from taxis by 82% and 49%, respectively. Nature

  • Costa Rica has just signed a new law banning the importation, commercialisation and delivery of all styrofoam containers and packaging. Costa Rica News

  • South Africa has nearly doubled its number of marine protected areas, increasing the proportion of conserved territorial waters from 0.4% to 5.4%. Cape Talk

  • For the first time in 17 years there will be no commercial whaling in Iceland after the sole company certified to hunt whales failed to renew its license in time. Newsweek

How flippin' amazing are these POSITIVE news bits?! Seriously, subscribe to their fortnightly newsletter if this sort of content uplifts you anywhere near the way they do for me. 

 

Intentions for Conscious Impact Season 5

There are some clear goals & intentions for returning back to Nepal this autumn. 

As mentioned in the previous post, this will be the first time Conscious Impact is offering an earthbag dome workshop where folks are paying (versus suggested fundraising) for a dedicated course to learn and essentially become capable of building or leading their own earthbag structures. I will bring my documentation gear and skillset to work with the core team and participants to film (and learn personally) this process to better showcase and promote ourselves for future workshops and natural-building specific outreach + marketing. 

I miss my community there. It'll be absolutely wonderful for me to get back to witness firsthand the progress we've made since early November last year (oh goodness!) as well as to return to a state of service and community living with a healthy routine - something which I lack here in the states on most days and wish to better cultivate structure of my day to day life. 

I also wish to hear/witness/experience/capture snippets in more of the Himalayan country as I gain clarity on the theme of my future (and first) photo book(!)... more about this below. This may mean that I'll set aside a week or so to travel to a new region for some trekking and exploration. 

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Everybody Eats NZ

Just like Collett's Corner that I've posted an update about, Everybody Eats NZ is another social-GOOD project dealing with food waste AND feeding the poor while bringing the issue to the forefront of people's minds and taking immediate action. I financially contributed to them back in 2018 while living and working in New Zealand, and have happily stayed subscribed to updates because they simply kick major butt. This month I wish to share with you all this fresh and exciting news flash. This is the power of grassroots mobilization and crowdfunding to make dreams realities: 

As a financial supporter of Everybody Eats, I want to update you on our journey so far and our new permanent restaurant.

In June 2018, we successfully raised over $120k in one of New Zealand’s most successful project crowdfunding campaigns, to set up New Zealand’s first permanent pay-as-you-feel restaurant. 

We got to work quickly and by September were operating 3 nights per week, subleasing Woodworks Cafe in Avondale. We had planned to build our own kitchen and to increase to 5 nights per week, however ongoing landlord building works meant we were delayed. In December the business changed hands and in January it reopened as Te Whau Eatery. With building works still going, we continued to operate for 3 nights each week, feeding around 120 each night, our 3 course, pay-as-you-feel meals. 

In April, as 6 months of frustration with builders ended, we were finally ready to move forward with our kitchen, however with the experience of operating more permanently, we decided this was not the right site for us to invest the money we had raised. The position and layout of the cafe were not suitable, and the subleasing arrangement was less attractive after the business changed hands in December. Since then we have been looking for another site, with all the money we had raised still safely in the bank but with 6 months of lessons from operating more regularly. 

Today we begin work on what we now think is the perfect home for Everybody Eats, in Onehunga. It was a failed cafe, a standalone building with 14 car parks, two kitchens and a mezzanine floor overlooking the main restaurant. We will be subleasing to a cafe operator and shared office/meeting space provider. The aim is to create a community hub, that is always activated, where people will gather for coffee, lunch, meetings, evening meals and everything in between.

We have the support of some incredibly generous businesses, who are donating their time, energy, equipment and expertise to help us achieve a $300k fit out, on a much smaller budget. We aim to be open in late September.

In the background we continue to operate our hugely successful Gemmayze St pop-up in Auckland City. We are now feeding on average 330 people each Monday night, with NZ’s top chefs continuing to help. We’ve been lucky to work with the likes of Josh Emmet, Des Harris, Samir Allen, Dariush Lolaiy and Josh Barlow over the last 12 months. 

We hope you will make it along to the new opening of Everybody Eats in Onehunga, so will send you an update once we have a confirmed date.

If you can think of anyone you know that may be able to support us with our fit out, I’d love to hear from you. Right now we are looking for a tiler, vinyl flooring company/installer, large indoor plants, commercial kitchen shelving and an artist for a large mural.

Warm Regards
Nick Loosley

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Upcoming travels & work 

There has definitely been some solidification of my schedule since the last update, and I am happy to know that the rest of my year is essentially planned out for a change ;) Here's the latest of when I'll (mostly) be where: 

  • Now - 20 Sep : Seattle / Pacific Northwest [summer, ongoing editing, mountain & water frolicking, friends]

  • 21 Sep - 2 Oct : San Diego / Los Angeles [for photoshoot + family time]

  • 3 Oct - 9 Oct : Seattle [for wedding + prep for longer trip]

  • 10 Oct - 18 Oct : Pisa / Rome / central Italy [for wedding!]

  • 19 Oct - early-mid Dec : Nepal [for Conscious Impact + personal project]

  • *MAYBE* Early to mid-Dec : Hong Kong [visiting extended fam, friends, and networking]

  • 20 Dec - holidays : Los Angeles / southern California [mom's 70th birthday!]

  • Holidays to early Jan 2020 : Seattle / Vancouver / southern British Columbia [for wedding!]

  • .

  • ..

  • Open

  • ...

  • ..

  • .

  • Dec 2020 : Patagonia?! Why? Total solar eclipse.

Inspiring Videos 

Dandapani - on purpose in life (5 min 42 sec)

How India runs the world's largest election by Vox (7 min 34 sec)

Amazing Podcasts 

These are recent favorites, and all of them have been repeated in parts so that I could fully soak in the messages and lessons embedded between the words and emotions. They resonate hugely to my life now and of late, and I hope you'd also find value by these humans. As most of you have probably been able to tell, I am a huge fan of Jay Shetty's podcast, and thankfully it is available on many platforms for streaming. Podcasts have been some of my best go-to's in diving deep within myself, gaining new knowledge, be challenged on what I had thought was true, and to positively reprogram my mind for a healthier, better self. 

6 Reasons Why We Need to Develop the Emotional Skills Our Parents Never Had (29:47) -  by Jay Shetty on his show On Purpose 

What We Nurture (51:34) by Sylvia Boorstein on Krista Tippett's On Being 

How to stop caring what other people think of you (73:22) by Gary Vee on Jay Shetty's On Purpose 

Pretty Pretty Pictures  

A good chunk of why I've returned to Seattle this summer is because my network of quality humans here, and its proximity & abundance of wild, beautiful, really beautiful places. 

I've been hiking, cycling, kayaking, camping, and backpacking all around my previous (and I suppose current, too) home state, and I am simply in awe all over again. 

One of reasons why this update-post-newsletter is 2 weeks late is because I spent 2 nights out of the city and immersed myself in the Cascade mountains with electronics and communication turned off (minus cameras + music/podcast). 

Here are some highlights from that recent journey: 

With love and gratitude, always, 

Jonathan

PS: published this at 1:30am, so please excuse any typos or grammatical mistakes!

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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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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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.

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.

Everest Basecamp & 3 Passes Trek

Everest Basecamp + 3 Passes Trek in the Khumbu-Everest region of eastern Nepal

Dates: 21 March - 16 April 2017 (27 days total)
Start: Shivalaya, ~1,800 m
End: Phaplu/Salleri, ~2,300 m
Lowest elevation: ~1,500 m, at Dhudu Kosi River crossing near Nuthala
Highest elevation: 5,643 m (18,514 ft), at Kala Patthar
Temperature range: -10 to high 20's °C
Transport: Bus + legs only! :)

Everest basecamp (yellow/orange tents), Khumbu Glacier (behind basecamp), and Khumbu Icefall (above glacier). Nuptse in the background 7,861 m (25,791 ft) in the center-right. Everest slightly hidden behind the clouds in the middle-back.

Everest basecamp (yellow/orange tents), Khumbu Glacier (behind basecamp), and Khumbu Icefall (above glacier). Nuptse in the background 7,861 m (25,791 ft) in the center-right. Everest slightly hidden behind the clouds in the middle-back.

Trekking Map (incomplete)

Gear

A snap of nearly everything minus the snacks before departure.

A snap of nearly everything minus the snacks before departure.

  • 50L backpack
  • 2L water bladder
  • 1L water bottle
  • 0.5L thermest - amazing for hot drinks
  • water purifier (Steripen Ultra)
  • water filter/pouch (Sawyer mini water filter)
  • sunglasses - so very crucial
  • regional trekking map - also rec'd: offline maps
  • Kindle (Paperwhite)
  • Down sleeping bag rated for -7C/19F (REI Igneo)
  • mini first-aid, sunblock, moisturizer, mini towel

Clothing & Footwear

  • (3) pairs of quick-dry undies
  • (2) pairs of wool socks
  • wool/fleece beanie
  • (2) fleece neck warmer/gaiter
  • fleece gloves
  • synthetic short sleeve
  • convertible quick-dry shirt
  • wool long sleeve base layer
  • quick-dry hiking shorts
  • full-length synthetic tights
  • rain jacket/shell (Patagonia Torrentshell)
  • insulated jacket (Patagonia Nano Air)
  • light fleece sweater (Patagonia R1)
  • lightweight windbreaker (Patagonia Houdini)
  • quick-dry hiking pants (Patagonia Quandary)
  • soft-shell pants (Patagonia Simul Alpine)
  • trail-running shoes (Brooks Cascadia- wore these most of the time at lower elevations and on mild days. more notes below
  • mid-top waterproof boots (Salewa Firetail EVO) - too warm for low elev., primarily used them at 4000+ m. more notes below
  • full-length gaiters (REI Alpine) - see notes below
  • microspikes (by Kahtoola) - see note below

Clothing/gear note: The retail $ damage on these pieces of gear would be nuts. The reason I was able to afford them is because I had worked in the outdoor industry and got everything heavily discounted while under their payroll, and the occasional thrift store gems! REI Garage Sales are awesome, too (sorry folks, they are only in the US). There are many low-priced outdoor gear shops in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and other trekking towns that carry replicas of North Face/Marmot/Mountain Hardwear/etc. base layers, jackets, pants, and accessories for ~20-50% the branded retail cost, and a good number (though certainly not all) of these products function very well, or even just as well as the real thing. That said, I've seen porters/guides/other trekkers hit the trail in the low valleys to high passes with simple shirts, jeans, flip flops, and everything in between. I don't believe there is a "correct way," though I do think there are certain materials to avoid to make the journey more comfortable and be ready for varying circumstances in weather. I'm fortunate to have solid gear that has kept me safe, warm (mostly), dry (again, mostly), and should likely last a long time. I also believe in Patagonia's environmental and social ethicacy and other companies' similar statements, and wish to support their work. 

A water filter/purifer is highly recommended to minimize the chance of catching water-borne illnesses and eliminate the need for single-use plastic water bottles. 

The trail-runners were great and I wore them for most of the trek. Even with temperatures dipping below freezing at high altitude and/or early mornings, with medium-weight wool socks and as long as I kept moving my feet stayed happy. The mid-top boots were welcomed at higher altitudes (4000+ meters), stream crossings, and trekking over ice/snow, and for some additional lateral support, but I am blessed with strong ankles and therefore didn't absolutely need them for this reason. Another benefit with wearing ventilated shoes - MUCH less stink. ;) It's more weight to carry 2 pairs but I felt prepared for the hugely varied and at times unpredictable conditions from 1500 - 5500+ meters.

I think gaiters and microspikes are optional depending on the time of the year and snowfall from previous season. My friends and I started in late March, which is considered early in the trekking season. Folks do trek all year in the region, though with the winter cold between Dec-Mar, much fewer people, including lodge/guesthouse owners, are at higher altitudes. We luckily had friends who had just returned from the region and told us that traction device and gaiters would be useful as they had gotten snowed-in at Gokyo (a seasonal town at 4790 m) for 2-3 days in the 2nd/3rd week of March. I would imagine later in April and May these 2 pieces of gear can be omitted to save space and weight. I couldn't speak for the rest of the year. There's always Namche Bazaar - the hub of the Khumbu-Everest region - to get the latest word on trail conditions and weather and to pick up supplies of all sorts.

Camera Equipment

Additional notes: The focal length range was tremendous and made for nearly every type of shot possible. The quality from those zooms with the full-frame sensor is impressive, however the weight was undoubtedly on the heavier end. More than half my pack's weight was in camera gear and accessories. I would certainly consider a lighter setup (ie: 1 wide angle prime + 1 medium-range prime, like 85/100/135mm) or a mirrorless/micro 4/3rd's camera with an all-in-one + prime lens. The GoPro/monopod combo was great fun to have, and the tripod was essential for me to do night and long exposures as well as time-lapses.

Looks like a tiny bag, but the weight was quite killer (especially with all the snacks) while ascending and at high elevation. Ascending towards the 2nd of the 3 Passes, Cho La (~5,370 m) from Zonglha, 6 April 2017.

Looks like a tiny bag, but the weight was quite killer (especially with all the snacks) while ascending and at high elevation. Ascending towards the 2nd of the 3 Passes, Cho La (~5,370 m) from Zonglha, 6 April 2017.

Ama Dablam (6,812 m) rising into the sky behind tea-guesthouses in Pangboche (3,980 m) on 30 March, 2017.

Ama Dablam (6,812 m) rising into the sky behind tea-guesthouses in Pangboche (3,980 m) on 30 March, 2017.

Descending from Island Peak basecamp (~5,070 m) back to Chukhung (~4,800 m) as a wet rain/snow mixture was falling on 2 April, 2017.

Descending from Island Peak basecamp (~5,070 m) back to Chukhung (~4,800 m) as a wet rain/snow mixture was falling on 2 April, 2017.

Walking thorugh the Khumbu glacier just outside Everest Basecamp (~5,300 m) on 4 April, 2017.

Walking thorugh the Khumbu glacier just outside Everest Basecamp (~5,300 m) on 4 April, 2017.

Dawn hike up to Kala Patthar (~5,600 m) from Gorakshep (~5,150 m) on 5 April, 2017.

Dawn hike up to Kala Patthar (~5,600 m) from Gorakshep (~5,150 m) on 5 April, 2017.

View from Kala Patthar (~5,600 m) a minute before the sun peeks out behind Everest (dark tall peak on the right) iteself. 5 April, 2017.

View from Kala Patthar (~5,600 m) a minute before the sun peeks out behind Everest (dark tall peak on the right) iteself. 5 April, 2017.

One of the Gokyo lakes half way up Gokyo Ri on 8 April, 2017.

One of the Gokyo lakes half way up Gokyo Ri on 8 April, 2017.

31

365 days ago, I was in a yurt nestled in the forests at the foothills of the Cascade mountains with a dozen quality humans (and a puppy). Stories were shared, candles were lit, beers were drank, foods were enjoyed, and good vibes were felt all around. In the couple months that followed, I sold my dwelling on wheels, sold my car, quit my job, bid farewell to my friends and community in Seattle, gifted and donated much of my belongings, and packed life necessities into a suitcase, a duffle, and a backpack. I paid my family a visit before setting off for Asia to be, live, work, and serve alongside the Conscious Impact crew once more.
It was intended to be an indefinitely long journey of self-exploration and discovery, of service, of learning, of adventure, of beauty and the never-ending search for it anywhere and everywhere, and growth of the mind, body, and spirit. In these past 10 months it feels that I've gone to the moon and back.
A year, 7 countries, dozens of new connections, hundreds of kilometers walked, and thousands of km's cycled later, through rain storms, hail, desert winds, from sea level to 5200+ meters, over land and sea, #hitchhiking, and even the diarrhea, the blood, the sweat, and tears - I'm grateful to be right here, right now, where I am. To be alive, to be in good health, to love, be loved, and feel loved.
I'm grateful for my privileges and opportunities, past and present, that have led me here. I'm grateful for the people I have crossed paths with and taught me tremendous lessons. I'm grateful for my mother, and to have my family be supportive of my unconventional lifestyle. I'm grateful to have broken from the consumeristic culture and discovered fulfillment within. I'm grateful to be able to utilize my skills, my abilities, my curiosities, my passions, and my energy with others who do the same. I'm grateful to feel challenged consistently. I am so alive.
Tonight the waxing moon in the clear sky illuminates the entire terraced hillside where our volunteer camp of colorful tents, tarps and bamboo structures are. Tonight I am once again excited for what the new day and another rotation around the sun will bring forth. 🌞

Hitchhiking with some newly-made fellow backpackers in Ladakh, India.

Hitchhiking with some newly-made fellow backpackers in Ladakh, India.