I am in between spaces in my life. I finished graduate school and am selling everything I own. I accomplished one of my great goals and am standing at the top, surveying the land, wondering very seriously what is next. Because of this transition I have been feeling lately like I am without a place, and without a home. There is a gravitational pull into every direction of the unknown. And it’s made me wonder: how does one chart a course forward when you can literally go anywhere? Freedom can breed indecisiveness, and I do not want to be that way.
I started looking around and asking people who seemed to have some piece of it figured out: how to ramble and work and find peace all at the same time. Dylan Gordon showed up in my periphery one day, fresh off a plane from the other side of the world and no doubt plotting his next move. He is a surf, skate, moto, man-thing photographer who seems to move faster than anyone I’ve ever met. His work is golden-hued and forces you to pause. It seems he’s taught himself how to distill the essence of a good time. I want, I need some of that. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, people walk along and into your life at the right times. They do that, and so do we.
I was going back to California for a few days. Dylan said what I needed was some perspective, a nice break, and maybe a ride up into the hills to go skinny-dipping. So, I took a detour to see him in Ventura, just a hair north of the madness of LA. It’s a magical little world up there, and one I’d never truly experienced even though I lived no less than two hours south for most of my twenties. I slipped into a rhythm, one that reminded me of why I was once so madly in love with California. It feels like a ripe avocado or kissing a boy fresh out of a surf, all salty-faced and cold-lipped.
Time slowed to a crawl over afternoon beers and an ocean sunset in a blooming mustard field. And finally, I stopped thinking about where I was going next. We took his bike up into the hills in Ojai to a swimming hole – me holding onto him and listening to Elvis while we wound and dipped. Ojai is magic. And because there are few things we love more on this earth than a good place to skinny dip, I stripped down to the basics and did the backstroke in the crystal blue water all afternoon. And I found a new Important Place. I put it on my list. Places to go when you stop looking for somewhere to go.
So, can I be honest but kind of clichéd for a second? I decided on the ride back, a bit chilled and wind blown, but smiling so much it hurt, that I would not go anywhere but instead to go everywhere. For the next year, I will not stop. I will collect as many salient moments like this as I possibly can.
To be continued…