Category

Photography

Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt. Fuji, Osaka, Hiroshima

Somewhere in my mind, I’m able to return to that window seat on the Shinkansen. Gazing outward towards the countryside, I can still see it all, feel it all. Entire systems and a way of life, moving past me in haste. The understanding that I am but a visitor, passing through something that is much more complex than I will ever be able to comprehend.

With departure and distance, a certain perspective is granted. For some reason or another, despite thoroughly enjoying my visit to Japan, it’s taken me quite a while to sit down and revisit the brief sliver of time I spent there.

I’ve found myself frustrated in how to best describe the experience. So many of my favorite moments happened during the in between. The moments where the camera is no where to be found, and you are simply present. It’s an odd feeling to sense a moment slipping by, and the desire to capture is there, but something else says, wait, pause, savor this.

This concept does not bode well for the fledgling documenter, especially in an online world that is driven by visual stimuli. Sometimes it feels like a futile effort to take photos, as it will never entirely capture the true essence of what is there. With that said, I continue to try. I encourage you to visit Japan.

Tokyo

Continue Reading…

A Year Spent in Motion: 2016.

As this whole passing of time thing continues its unfaltering march towards infinity, I figured why not take a minute to reflect on what all has happened this year. A little notch made on the metaphysical tree bark, if you will, that perhaps some future version of myself might one day find curious.January – Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, TX – Fledgling memories with a new troop of troubadours.February – Rialto Beach – Forks, WA – If I was looking for powerful, I found it.

Continue Reading…

Hiking Mt. Fuji’s Yoshida Trail

Prior to booking my ticket to Japan, I had no desire to hike to the top of Mt. Fuji. I had seen photos of it on travel programs, thought the snowy peak looked quite nice from the comforts of my warm abode with functioning amenities, but never really thought to myself, “I need to be on top of that.” Proximity sure is a son of a bitch.

Once I realized where the mountain was, and the seemingly smallish effort it would require to attain this summit, the seed had been planted. There was no turning back. “I enjoy hiking,” I thought to myself. This will certainly be a grand way to spend two days in Japan. Travel and outdoor adventure. What a perfect pairing of things I enjoy! Oh, even better, the hike is rated as moderate. In hindsight, this statement does contain a smidgen of accuracy when looked at through a glass full of vision distorting oil.

Hiking path on Mt. Fuji's Yoshida Trail.

Mist covers the volcanic rock of Mt. Fuji.

My journey began leaving out of Tokyo. Feeling a bit citied out, I found myself on a train bound for Kawaguchiko, where I could catch a bus up to the 5th station to begin my hike. It was my first train ride of any sizable distance, and I was enjoying being able to utilize my JR Pass for the first time, and watch unfamiliar countryside zip by. I had checked the weather report before departure, and I knew that there was a chance of encountering rain. Approaching the mountain, this chance imperceptibly morphed into a gray certainty of hovering precipitation. It was going to be a wet day for walk up a mountain.

Arriving at the 5th station, there was already limited visibility. Having condemned myself to lugging boots and a heavy jacket around for this specific endeavor, there was no way I was going to back out of this. I prepared my gear, worriedly purchased water (did I have enough?!), and bid adieu to the dry warren of the station buildings. Helllloooo, Mt. Fuji!

A cornucopia of volcanic colors.

Aside from the moisture, I didn’t think the beginnings of the hike were all that bad. In a way, the mist and rain was pleasant (I told myself), because I became so scorchingly hot inside the shell of my jacket from labored physical activity. Watching people pass in the opposite direction, I wondered what they knew, that I didn’t.

I opted to hike up the Yoshida trail, which by and large is the most popular trek. I had arranged for overnight accommodations at a mountain hut at the 8th station. Leaving around 3:00p, my only goal was to arrive before sundown, which thankfully I did. That’s where things kind of began to take a turn.

Vantage point from the 8th station mountain hut.

In my mind, once I reached the 8th station, I had 30 minutes left beyond that to make it to the summit. All of the articles I read talk about staying overnight to acclimatize, and give yourself a rest and warm meal, in order to pleasantly continue to the summit to watch sunrise. Arriving to my hut around 5:30p, I was proud of what I had accomplished; albeit, a bit soggy. I had found my lodging despite rain and language barriers, and I was able to watch the shadow of Mt. Fuji grow against the horizon as the sun went down. When double checking what time I needed to leave in the morning to catch sunrise, I was told 1:30am. Wait.

Continue Reading…

South Florida and The Keys

south-florida-and-the-keysMy first experience with South Florida came in 2012 while I was on my way to Peru. I had always wanted to see what Miami was like, so I booked a long layover and stayed in a hostel on South Beach. I will never forget it, because unknown to me at the time, my credit card information was stolen upon check in. Naturally, I wouldn’t find out until much later while I was in a very rural part of Peru, when I had no cash left, and the bank had locked down my card for fraud. Thanks, Miami!

My second experience would come via a music cruise leaving out of the Port of Miami. You know, one of those ones where they herd you in like cattle, and feed you the most delectable seafaring sodium logged blocks of food. Moooo-ve! There is something resembling a cheesecake to be had!

I thought it was high time to give this area a redemption visit. I hate writing off entire geographic regions based off of one or two shoddy experiences. I was in Orlando for work, so I decided to get a rental car and make the trek southward. I made a rough sketch of possible destinations (thank you, friends!) and off I went.

What is this place?

I didn’t know what to expect, prior to arriving in Miami. It’s one thing to spend time online researching a destination, it’s another thing entirely to be on the ground experiencing things first hand. As with many locations, my only frame of reference has been what I’ve seen on television and in movies. In my mind I was arriving to one giant yacht party, Tony Montana, and a plethora of guayabera shirts.

I ended up staying in the Little Haiti neighborhood, and it proved to be a great jumping off point for exploring the rest of town. Since I had a rental vehicle on this trip, I decided to drive around for the sake of driving around, in an effort to orient myself and get a feel for the neighborhoods. Little Haiti, Wynwood, Little Havana, Downtown Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne. Each one had such a unique feel, and I barely scratched the surface. The confluence of cultures is quite remarkable here, and each imparts its own particular flavor to the area. Miami felt both accessible and exclusive all at the same time.

Outside of the Perez Art Museum.Outside of the Perez Museum of Art.

Downtown Miami.I’ve never been attracted to the guise of opulence, but there is something so appealing about the way Miami does it.

miami-7-perez-museum-of-artExhibit inside the Perez.

Continue Reading…

The Balance of Endeavors

billy-head

I always return home with a certain glint in my eye. Finally! A moment to decompress and pursue the thing I’ve been wanting to pursue for however long. There it is, all the time in the world (kind of). Now what do I do with it?

Perhaps it’s a complex I have. A good complex in that I have to get my work done before I can play. If people are counting on me, I feel bad working on my own projects. That’s the way it should be, right? There is incentive at the end of the tunnel. Get this stack of things done, and then you can go and play.

Any time I try to sit down and dig into these personal projects I am weighted with the knowledge that there is something else I should be working on. I’ve battled with this for a while. Being on 24/7 is the nature of my role while I’m on tour. I’ve been conditioned. I am a workaholic. Coming off the road I find that I have to set boundaries for myself, or things start to feel icky. Actively deciding not to work, is just as important as deciding to work.

An outgrowth of prioritizing my work load lends fatigue to my brain when it does comes time to work on personal projects. My brain cells are slouching, haphazardly sitting on the curb looking up at me like, “Seriously, dude? You want us to do what right now? We’ve been working all day!

I am so used to having my days filled with structure. At home I try to organize myself with activities and environments that are conducive to productivity. With this being said, I don’t want to be busy for the sake of being busy. I want to occupy my time with things that I enjoy and make me better in some capacity. Free time often feels insurmountable, but I’ve reached a point where I am better able to control that feeling.

I’ve been enjoying working on my blog as of late. I came into this undertaking with the misguided notion that this would somehow be my golden ticket to supplementing my income while I’m off the road. I’ve since tossed that notion and am focusing on the act of writing and taking photos for my personal enjoyment. If that does not exist first, I am doomed from the onset. Things are still relatively new and fresh around here, so I am glad I’ve caught myself before getting too far along on that misguided path.

I have two areas of focus that I’d like to better explore here in the coming weeks and months:

  • Planning, documenting, and sharing my journey to Colombia.
  • Putting together a free online curriculum for those interested about different aspects of the touring industry.

To think of looking back a year from now, at a site filled with information and resources is something that encourages me, and makes me want to keep at it. Thanks for reading along.

Let the good juju flow.

Natchez Trace Parkway

natchez-trace-parkwayThe air sticky; the cicadian croon floating.
A white tail swish-swishing amongst the farmer’s bounty; life teeming underfoot.
Hay bales stoic in quiet observation.
Beams of light; incandesced, pouring through the canopy.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is one of my favorite day trips right outside of Nashville. It is a 444-mile expanse of roadway that stretches from Tennessee, all the way down to Mississippi through Alabama. Lots of farm land, lots of curves, and lots of fresh air. Plan accordingly and gas up before embarking. There is a welcomed shortage of advertisements and amenities along this stretch.

natchez-trace-road-signSomewhere along Tennessee Highway 13 South. I am so curious about the stories and lives of local residents.

Opening for The Rolling Stones

 

st-paul-and-the-broken-bones-rolling-stones-buffalo-7-11-15

The scene: Exit airport. Sitting alone at the bus stop shortly after 9pm, near Five Points in Nashville, eating my to-go slice of pizza with a thousand yard stare; gently placed back into my human fish tank by some otherworldly hand. Did that just happen? Am I dreaming? No one will believe me.

I’m still processing.

Opening for The Rolling Stones, hands down, is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had working as a tour manager. To be able to do it not once, but twice, is something I will never forget. Being able to share it with a group of individuals I’ve been through so much with, in such a brief span of time, is nothing short of incredible.

Watching the Stones crew work was an experience all in itself. The crème de la crème of road crews; no egos, and nothing to prove. Only presence, demeanor, and flow.

The above photo was taken moments before The Rolling Stones appeared in the tunnel for a photo-op. Rock n’ roll icons, mere feet away. A fun time to be a fly on the wall.

I can only imagine what will happen next.