Santa Totally Rocked NYC

Hearing the hum of a thousand Santas

Hearing the hum of a thousand Santas

I’ve been traveling around upstate New York, and in New York City for the past few weeks.  After a fantastic Thanksgiving with family, and a wonderful time staying with my sister Rachel in her amazing upper east side apartment in Manhattan.  I decided to travel back to NYC for Santa Con.

For years I have wanted to attend this gathering, a Santa Convention in NYC.  I have always been on the west coast when this meandering city party occurred, and being 2 weeks before Christmas it was impossible to get back and also be back for Christmas Day.

This was finally my year.  If I was going to be in the USA, and in New York State, I was sure as hell going to be in NYC for Santa Con!

Here it come.....wait for it.....

Here it come.....wait for it.....

Rachel and her roommate Jen were cool enough to let me crash for a few days.  I got a suit, pieced together an ensemble, and headed out into the city dressed in red felt accompanied by a sibling elf.

8000 Santas in Central Park!

8000 Santas in Central Park!

We met the cluster mass of red in the middle of central park.  We walked into a mayhem of fur and felt.

Santa is getting rowdy.

Santa is getting rowdy.

This isn’t really a bar crawl, or a scavenger hunt.  It is just Santa shifting around the city from one spot to the next, spreading Christmas cheer and rowdiness. We used Twitter, the Santa Con web site, and a phone number that we called to follow Santa’s Sleight from area to area in the city.

Santa Catches the 5 Train

Santa Catches the 5 Train

Santa then moved to the west village.  Imagine 8000 Santas on the 5 train.  I hope there were no young children around.

Santa Ryan, Santa Phil, Santa Timmy

Santa Ryan, Santa Phil, Santa Timmy

I met up with some old friends from Christmas past.

Angry Elf Rachel

Angry Elf Rachel

Santa's Sleigh

Santa's Sleigh

Santa’s Sleigh was the leading star.

Santa Has a Bright Future

Santa Has a Bright Future

Santa ended his quest at Big Black Pussy Cat, a great bar / club / venue in the west village.  If your ever in NYC I highly suggest you check this spot out!

HO! HO! HO!

I’m Home!

I’m Home!  Its been almost 20 months since I last stepped foot in upstate New York.  I am headed back 2 weeks ago. This is a long over due visit back to my family and friends.

The Corporate Life Is Not The Life For Me

After 5 months of working for a surf company designing sandals, I had a stark realization.  Over the past year and a half of being on my own, working freelance, calling my own shots, and going whenever I wanted to go, I don’t fit into a corporate style office job any more.  I don’t think I will fit in ever again.

Now I’m sure many of you reading this are like, corporate job + surf company does not equal up, and you would be right assuming this.  I speak more of the inter office politics, layers of management that enforce artificial limits on what can or cannot be done.  If a process is set up that is not efficient, or harmful, why is it a battle, or simply not possible to change it quickly to make everyone’s job or the product better. Usually the reason is because you are stepping on someone’s toes.  That is the type of corporate inter-working I am referring too.

The fact that the job I took, wasn’t what I expected, or that the company wasn’t structured in a way I would prefer to work may have a part in my alienation from an in house design job, but my inclination is that this feeling runs deeper.  I think I am addicted to being on my own.

I talked to the company and let them know that I wasn’t feeling the gig, and that I didn’t think I would be around long term.  Of course, within a week they found a replacement.  This was a bit of a shock to me, and I find myself scrambling to get ready to head back to the USA.

I am feeling very melancholy about the whole ordeal.  After 10 years of thinking about this around the world, multi-year travel, it looks like my big trip is coming to an end.

Amazingly much of this trip has gone roughly to plan.  I knew I would return broke and ready to get to work.  I was hoping to have clear direction into a business I wanted to get into.  I think I have that. I was hoping to have met some people that I might someday or today start working with.  I might have that too.

I don’t know how to get to where I want to be, and don’t really know the people that will guide me there, but now is the continuance of my search.  I have proven to myself that money is not my motivating factor, and that I can survive with stress and fear in my life.  I am ready for the next step.  Now its time to figure out what that is, and then how to do it.

Bored, Lonely Days In Torquay

There has been a lot of down time here in Torquay and Aussie.  I have had the chance to travel a lot with work, but it is not the same as traveling like I have been for the past year and a half. The people I work with are great, exactly what I would expect working for a surf company.  The people are very similar to those I worked with back in the states.

The big difference here, I think, is the small town I am in seems very tight knit.  Also, where I work, and sit in the company building that is not very conducive to meeting or interacting with many people. Now I know that it takes about 6-8 months, sometimes a year, to really incorporate into a place, make friends, and feel like part of the fabric. The problem is I’m not sure I am patient enough for that right now in my life.

Another contributing factor is after my experience in Peru, I am having hard mental battles trying to keep positive and think that I can still effect the outcome of my life through just my actions alone.  I am realizing that so much of what happens to us is determined by other people, and circumstances beyond our control.  I feel out of control, and it has been hard to deal with.

I’m sure I will look back on this (or at least I hope to) and see that it was only a down time after many months of excitement. I hope I can come through this and start to enjoy the amazing place that I am in. As of right now, I am giving it a total of 6 months, and if something magical doesn’t happen, I will probably move on to the next thing.  What that is, I have no idea.

Back to Bali, This Time For Work!

A week after returning from the Gold Coast marketing trip I took another work trip, this time back to Indo.  Our destination was Bali for a product meeting, line range call, and a final sample review.

Its amazing getting to go to a one of the best vacation destinations in the world for work.  Even though each day was busy from 9-5, we still managed to get up early and get a surf in most days.  We each had a scooter, and tore around the island going to and from dinners, surf sessions and market shopping.

I got surf in at a few new to me spots like, Uluwatu, Kuta Reefs, specifically airports rights where we got the wave to ourselves for 45 min early in the morning, but also had to contend with sea lice.  It was like swimming through needles.  I got several more days in at Canguu and a day in on the reef out in Nusa Dua. We also checked out Dreamland but I did not surf on that occasion.

With my second trip to Bali under my belt, I am officially in love with the place!

Weekends In Melbourne

Melborne is a rad city.  I really find myself enjoying it.  It reminds me a lot of New York City but without the filth or despair.  I am surprised by Aussie as it has a familiarity for me.  The culture, people, and feel of the place is really similar to the states and all the good and bad that comes with that similarity.

A good way to describe and relate Aussie and its two main cities is this:  If Sydney, with its great weather, harbor and hills geography, and glitz could be compared to LA, Melbourne would be its opposite. It would represent New York City in the states.  Melbourne is the cultural hub and has a great little grit and underground vibe to it.

Out In Melborune

Out In Melborune

Torquay is a quite town in the winter, so for a few weekends I drove the 100K, 1.5 hours to Melbourne for some entertainment.  My friends Ed and Steph who I met in New Zealand are living right in the city and offered me a couch anytime I came up.  Ed works in a restaurant so he is busy on the weekends and at nights.  This means that most times in the city I have wandered alone.   I even had a few nights out on the town by myself.  One or two nights alone out is not too bad, but after that it starts to feel a little sad.

Section 8

Section 8

Section 8 is a cool concept bar.  The space is a asphalt lot down a tight street.  The owner put 2 shipping containers in the space and made one into a bar and one into storage and toilets.  The tables and sitting area are exposed and the whole lot becomes a beer garden.  Each time I have been to Section 8 the music selection has been some of the best I have listened to anywhere I have ever been….no joke.

Some Little Watering Hole

Some Little Watering Hole

I’m by myself here in Hell Upstairs.  Cool little bar on a really great cafe filled street in the heart of Melbourne.

Croft Institute

Croft Institute

From Wednesday through Sunday there is a permanent and very large farmer market in Melbourne.  It is one of my favorite places in the city so far.  The main enclosed building has delicatessens, and some great bakeries.  Another section of the building are occupied by butcher and seafood stalls.  Out behind the building under an open air roof are all the veggies.  Across the road are rows and rows of selling booths filled with everything from cheap Chinese goods to footwear, clothing, souvenirs and everything in between.

Victoria Market

Victoria Market Deli's

Victoria Veggie Farm Market

Victoria Veggie Farm Market

Victoria Veggie Farm Market

Victoria Veggie Farm Market

Victoria Veggie Farm Market

Victoria Veggie Farm Market

Getting to and from Melbourne from Torquay is pretty convenient.  I can drive, or catch a train from the South Geelong train station which is about 20 minutes from my house in Jan Juc.  The train drops me off right in the city proper at the Southern Cross Train Station.  One way takes about 50 minutes.

Southern Cross Train Station

Southern Cross Train Station

Southern Cross Train Station

Southern Cross Train Station

Thanks for reading!

Sydney and Gold Coast Market Trip

A month into the job I went to Jakarta for 2 weeks on my first factory development trip.  I have never been to Jakarta so it was a first time experience.  I was excited to see our factories and the capabilities they had.  I like to relate a factory trip to the clips from Mr. Rogers when they used to show how things get made, except I get to see it in real time, and smell.

Unfortunately the 2 weeks for the development trip were by far the most difficult I have ever experienced.  I ended up doing hours upon hours of administrative work that is a waste of time and money when on at factory trip.  We should have been focusing on improving processes, learning how the factory set things up and made sandals, not filling out paper work.  This was a learning lesson for me as I am surprised that long established companies would do work this way.

A month after the Jakarta trip the footwear team (consisting of me and the girls footwear designer) along with the wetsuit designers went on a domestic (Aussie) market trip.  We where to go to Sydney and the northern beaches, then hop up to the gold coast and visit Byron Bay.  I can say that I have never had a more packed travel schedule than this job is ending up having.

Manly

Manly, Sydney, Australia

After a full day of kicking around the city of Sydney we drove over to Manly.  This is one of the main beach for city dwellers and is a famous surf spot.  The beach is simply beautiful.

Manly

Manly

One night in Sydney after dinner one of my co-worker’s friends took us out to a cool little hidden bar.  It was Monday, and the place was mellow but busy.  The wall background was perfect for black and white photos. If your ever in Sydney, check out the Grasshopper Bar if you can find it down the alleyway, its rad.

Night Out In Sydney With The Work Crew

Night Out In Sydney With The Work Crew

After a tour of Sydney and Manly we flew up to the gold coast.  This is the Aussie vacation destination.  The entire coastline is developed with resorts and there are several world class surf spots.  Snapper Rocks and Duranbah beach are 2 of the most famous waves on he planet, and some of the most surfed. The crowds can get heavy.

Duranbah

Duranbah

Duranbah

Duranbah

Lucky for me, the footwear Product Manager is a obsessed surfer.  He met us up here for 3 days, and each morning we would head over to D-bah for a dawn surf.

I got one of my best barrels ever which I can describe as the ocean giving me a hug….its imprinted into my brain forever.

Snapper Rocks, Superbank

Snapper Rocks, Superbank

Superbank

Superbank

Snapper Rocks and Superbank where pretty flat the entire time. This is the second time I have been here and I have never gotten it with swell.  I would love to see it when is pumping.  Maybe next time.

Ridiculous Night Doing The Belt Buckle

Ridiculous Night Doing The Belt Buckle

Our last night on the Goldie we ended up dragging each other out to some of the clubs in Surfers Paradise.  Think of 18 year old’s getting smashed and terrible club music in a velvet draped room.  It was a big joke being there as all of us on the trip are well past this point in our lives, but there is something to be said for stepping back and visiting he insanity once is a great while.

Here I am doing the belt buckle, it is my little piece of Americana I can bring and a nod to Jeff Prescott my old university roommate who dazzled me with this move so many years ago.  Thanks Jeff!