Everywhere I go I try to soak in the feeling of the place. I want to talk to the people, feel the sand, notice the difference in smell between an offshore wind and an onshore breeze, taste the food, drink the beer, soak in the saltwater, walk the walk, mimic the pronunciation of the local slang, and figure out which café serves the best coffee. All the senses work together to compile a picture of a place that can be remembered later like a song that instantly brings back a complete package of memory and emotion. I’ve collected quite a few of those.
I have my favorite coffee shop in Hossegor, in Durban, on the North Shore, in Western Australia. I remember the smell of being upriver in wild Gabon and surfing with naked locals in Sao Tome. I savored fried noodles with bits of charred onion in Bali, straight out of the ocean sashimi in the mentawais, and the hottest thai food ever in the Andaman sea. I am sometimes accused of having an almost Australian accent and I can pronounce “South Africa” like a local. I know what to look for when searching for a whale shark and where to find a few good hikes in Brazil.
When you travel so much, home becomes a trip as well. Sure, it is familiar. I know the names of most of the people I run into. I’ve already found the best coffee (French Roast from Trader Joe’s with organic sugar and heavy whipping cream made at home), which item to order at every restaurant in town (grilled chicken and papaya salad at The Riviera, carne asada burrito wet at Casa Pulido, and an adobada burrito with habanero salsa at Amigos, breakfast burrito with sausage and bacon at Phanny’s and Classic Burger), and exactly which surf spot to check first depending on the wind, tide, and morning buoy reading. I usually run down to the beach in my wetsuit, then run back home and into the shower to take it off. I walk to the bank, Trader Joe’s, a handful of Mexican food restaurants, Subway, Kinko’s, and even the post office. It’s comfortable, it’s convenient, it’s home.
Since I’ve been neglecting it so much over the last few months and the fact that for the first time in quite a while, this month’s calendar page is completely empty as far as international travel goes, I figured it was time to pay homage to the place I call home. That is, until a couple weeks go by and my travel addiction resurfaces… For now, I’m content to let my skateboard suffice as my primary method of travel. It’s good to be home in Redondo Beach, CA.
This is where i’m sitting right now
The view from the couch
Looking out the window to see what the wind is doing. In this case, not much.
Heading down to check the surf
If it looked like this a little more often, I might be less tempted to leave! This and the next two photos: Bill Watt
I’m addicted to Sector 9 skateboards
Sequence: Dave Hall