Category Archives: Travels

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!

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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!

Back to Aussie, Full Time

I arrived back to Australia emotionally drained.  I had missed my flight out Peru and ended up accidentally spending 2 days in Buenos Aires which was pretty amazing.

During this time I had taken a job offer for a surf company located in a little town south of Melbourne in the surf industry capital, Torquay, Australia.

Going into this I was very unsure if getting back into a corporate lifestyle in a small town in a country where I knew no one was the right decision.  But I figured I should give it a crack, and the company and I worked out a 3-6 month trial to see how we liked each other.

I flew into Sydney, stayed a few nights and watched the world cup finals with some Germans and Dutch friends. I closed my storage locker, packed up my gear, loaded up a hire car, and made the 12 hour drive down to Melbourne and the state of Victoria.  I was back in the surf industry, designing sandals, only this time I was down unda’!

Back to Peru, Because I Went Crazy

After two and a half weeks in Indonesia I flew back to Peru, where I had just been 3 weeks earlier.  I took a giant leap because sometimes, not matter what the circumstances, the odds, or the situation you have to do it, even if it is just to prove to yourself you have the balls to try.

If you ever see me you can ask me about my trip back to Peru.  Even months after I went back I still have a hard time explaining what happened.  It changed me, my perspective, and what I value in life.  This act of madness has also taught me that even if you do everything you can in a given situation and do it well, you can still fail.  Learning to deal with this reality has been one of he hardest mental battles I have had to face so far.

World Class Surf Spots and Last Days In Canguu

 

Happy Phil

Happy Phil

 

After the all the festivities from the wedding, and the parting in Kuda at the Hard Rock, the 4 of us that surf decided to take a few days and explore the world class surf spots that have made Bali famous.

First stop on almost any surfers list to hit in Indo would be Uluwatu.  This surf playground boasts some of the most consistent and best shaped waves on the planet.  Its the spot that put Indo on the surfing map and its not hard to see why from the moment you walk out to the cliff edge.

 

Uluwatu

Uluwatu

 

 

Uluwatu

Uluwatu

 

 

Uluwatu

Uluwatu

 

 

Uluwatu

Uluwatu

 

Ulu’s is really a series of spots along the outer reef edge.  The 200ft white cliffs frame the scene and protect the water surface from wind.  Adding to the magical location is the access point which is a cave and small pebble sandy beach.

Unfortunately the cliff face along the goat path to the cave entrance is riddled with hastily built restaurants, shops and surf shops. If you can focus through this mess and look straight ahead, it is not hard to imagine what the first surfers to discover this place saw…simple surf perfection.

 

Uluwatu

Uluwatu

 

 

Path to Padang Padang

Path to Padang Padang

 

The next stop on our tour was Padang Padang.  Walking down the the beach was an experience just like Uluwatu.  The wave wasn’t breaking this day, but I got a great shot of the “crack” in the rock entrance to the waters edge.

 

Relaxing at the Canggu Shops

Relaxing at the Canggu Shops

 

After our time on the Peninsula, we rallied back through the traffic hell of Kuta, Legion, and Seminyak and burst out onto the country side driving back towards Tanah Lot and the little town of Canggu.

We had made reservations at a modest guess house just outside town but still on the beach.  The place was great, and it was a short walk up the beach to the Canggu shops.  This quickly became my favorite place in Bali

As I have traveled, I have found many spots to emit a certain energy, some good, warm and welcoming, others dark, cold and guarded.  Canggu is on the good side of this energy, and is one of my special spots.

 

Canggu View

Canggu View

 

 

Room at Canggu

Room at Canggu

 

There were 5 of us staying in a little one bedroom place.  Full on surf trip style. Luckily the guys at the guest house had an extra mattress and we threw in on the floor.  The next few days we just woke up, surfed, ate, internet-ed and relaxed. Pretty much the perfect set-up

 

Thumping Waves At Canggu

Thumping Waves At Canggu

 

 

Thumping Waves At Canggu

Thumping Waves At Canggu

 

 

God Rays At Canggu

God Rays At Canggu

 

 

Heavenly Black Sand Surf Beach

Heavenly Black Sand Surf Beach

 

 

Close Out

Close Out

 

 

Bali Sky

Bali Sky

 

 

Bali Sky

Bali Sky

 

 

Bali Clouds

Bali Clouds

 

 

Bali Clouds

Bali Clouds

 

 

Canggu Sunset

Canggu Sunset

 

 

********

********

 

 

My Happy Place

My Happy Place

 

 

My Happy Place

My Happy Place

 

 

Ahh Canggu

Ahh Canggu

 

 

Canguu Shops

Canguu Shops

 

All the guys left a few days before I had booked my flight out.  I spent three more days relaxing on the beach, surfing, eating, catching up on the blog and setting myself up to go back to Peru.  I said in the past that Peru ended up being a special place for me, and looking back now it really did change my perspective and ultimately the direction my life is headed in. I had to go back to do something…something crazy.  I took these last days in Canggu to prepare myself for one of the biggest leaps I have ever made.

An Indonesian Wedding Story

 

Tanah Lot, Bali

Tanah Lot, Bali

 

We checked into the luxury beach resort on Legion Beach in the Kuta area of Bali after arriving from Java.  After backpacking and staying in hostels and guesthouses for over a year, this place was a 180 change.  The Ramada was decked out with a meandering pool, and beautiful surroundings.  It had beach front property and I could walk to the surf beach in exactly 45 seconds.

We checked in got our rooms and headed to the hotel bar overlooking the beach.  I finally got to meet the rest of Dustin’s friends and family that made the trip and we shared a few drinks.  I wanted to crash early so I could get in the water and have a surf first thing in the morning.

The next few days where spent surfing, eating, drinking, lounging in the pool, getting clothing tailored, and exploring the cluster mess of Legion’s shops and claustrophobic streets.

The night before the wedding we had a candle light BBQ seafood dinner on the beach at Jimbaran.  Although there are too many restaurants, too many tables, too many people, and too much smoke from 60 massive BBQ pits, this is still a special place to have dinner.

 

Dinner on the beach in Bali

Dinner at Jimbaran on the beach in Bali

 

We visited Tanah Lot, (see first picture in post) a Buddhist temple about 45 KM from Kuta to the west along the Balinese coastline.  The temple is built on a rock cropping separate from the main coastal cliff line.

 

Tanah Lot Gate

Tanah Lot Gate

 

 

Coastline along Tanah Lot

Coastline along Tanah Lot

 

 

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot Temple

 

 

Tanah Lot Entrance Complex

Tanah Lot Entrance Complex

 

 

Tanah Lot to Infinite Ocean

Tanah Lot to Infinite Ocean

 

 

Wedding Group + One Massive Snake

Wedding Group + One Massive Snake

 

On the way back from Tanah Lot, a group of 6 of us that had rented scooters to tear around the island made a detour to visit the surf trendy spot called Canggu.  on the way out to the coastline we got lost and took several small farm roads (more like paths) along rice fields.

More on Canguu to come!

 

Balinese Country Side

Balinese Country Side

 

 

Rice Paddy and Farmer

Rice Paddy and Farmer

 

One night we decided to splurge and went to The Ritz Carlton in the ultra posh resort area called Nusa Dua.  This is easily the nicest hotel/resort I have walked through.  The crown jewel though was the Rock Bar.  To get down to the actual bar we took a 45 degree rail lift that dropped us along the white sandstone cliff to the rocky water edge.

 

The Ritz

The Ritz

 

 

The Rocks Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia

The Rocks Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia

 

 

The Rocks Bar look out.

The Rocks Bar look out.

 

 

Adjusted

Adjusted

 

 

Sitting amongst the rocks at The Rock Bar.

Sitting amongst the rocks at The Rock Bar.

 

The drinks here where $18 USD.  In Indo, known for its cheapness, this place was priced out even in United States main city standards.  But the price was worth it for the surroundings.

 

Another Rock

Another Rock

 

 

More Views from The Rock Bar

More Views from The Rock Bar

 

The wedding day arrived. The weather was questionable.  Luckily the rain held off and the ceremony went off without incident.  I was very surprised to be at a Christian wedding in the most Muslim populous country in the world.  Come to find out though, there is a large Christian population in Indo as well, and Dustin’s new wife happened to be Christian.

 

The Boys Getting Ready

The Boys Getting Ready

 

 

Dustin the groom really getting ready.

Dustin the groom really getting ready.

 

 

The Isle

The Isle

 

 

The Bride

The Bride

 

 

Married

Married

 

There was a reception, and a party after the wedding.  Pretty standard style wedding all in all….except in Bali.

The day after the wedding we moved back to Kuta and stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel for 3 days.  This was all part of a really good priced package that Dustin got for all of us that made the trip for the wedding.

The Hard Rock Hotels are well known for their pools, and this one did not disappoint.

 

Hard Rock Hotel Pool, Tuban, Bali

Hard Rock Hotel Pool, Tuban, Bali

 

 

Boohya!

Boohya!

 

 

Boohya Again!

Boohya Again!

 

 

Pow Gloves Crew Underwater

Pow Gloves Crew Underwater

 

We had fun with my G10 and water housing!

 

Floating Heads

Floating Heads

 

 

Party

Party

 

 

What a crocodile sees.

What a crocodile sees.

 

 

Cabanas around the pool.

Cabanas around the pool.

 

Most of the wedding guests headed out after the 3 days at the Hard Rock.  A few of us stayed around though to catch some surf.  We wanted to get out of the grime of Kuta and decided the best place to go was Canggu.  This started my love affair with the little town of trendy surf in Bali…..