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News

Fresh Pants

Stay Wild

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Our friends at Outerknown have just released some fresh new pants. The S.E.A. (Social Environmental Accountability) JEANS are made in the cleanest denim factory in the world. These jeans are so clean that even a wild bunch of North Shore Lifeguards were caught wearing them.

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If you care about clean water and sustainable goods made well you should probably pick up some S.E.A. Jeans over here >>>

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Read more about Outerknown goods in our upcoming Water Issue!

New Orleans Exploration Society

Stay Wild

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Creative Explorers
 

Story by
Justin “Scrappers” Morrison // @scrappers

Photos by
Sera Lindsey // @portablesera
Gabrielle Steib // @honeysighs
Alex Smith // @blvxmth

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Old Mardi Gras beads
hang heavy
from tree branches
like faded fruit

 

There was a moment when jazz was born. 

At the bottom of the food chain. 

Some folks hit bottom and they bounce.

The bounce turned heads and heads are still spinning.

There was a moment when jazz was discovered. The scene is in a George Schmidt oil painting hanging a couple blocks from the Ace Hotel. Past the parking lot paved with broken clam shells, brick dust, and secrets. 

MC Brown died on the sidewalk in front of that painting. Drank himself to death in a cardboard box. He was the last to go before this skid row neighborhood was gently gentrified. The painter wants to mix MC’s ashes in with the cement of the new sidewalk and install a plaque: “MC Brown slept it off here.” The kind old lady sitting in the tiny market next door inherited the ashes. MC is in a purple velvet bag on the table. We went and paid our respects. She said he was a good egg and gave us boiled eggs for free. Long live southern hospitality.

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It’s punk to be nice


Sera and I met Gabby and Alex poolside on the Ace roof. Gabby plays maracas, but not as well as her grandmother. She played a video to prove it. Alex works at a scrap yard and knows the value of the metal parts of his camera. Sera’s hair gulps up the humidity like a thirsty dog. Her shin blossoms into a tan. I peel an orange that drove from California to Oregon and flew all the way to Louisiana in my backpack. We are the adventure we seek.

I hear New Orleans is the only American city that saved its original town. If you’re really silent and sincere, you can see it between the jubilee of neon signs: Jello Shots, Po Boys, Barely Legal, Voodoux, and other desires. The sidewalk is cracked and ugly in ways only a skater could love. We walk in the road lit by car tail lights bouncing to a curbside brass band. 

Bourbon Street smells like someone barfed in a full baby diaper. It’s a weird dream; I don’t want to tell you about it. It’s a turtle without a shell. It creeps me out, but I have to see it. I have to feel myself in this place to know it better.

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Who Dat? 
A challenge.


I hear the future of New Orleans is Houston. Nah, it’s Alex, Gabby, and other locals who roll with the creative culture of this town. Drunken Texan tourists come to consume. They speak loud but have nothing to say. Chinua the DJ mixing juguetón beats in the Ace lobby has something to say. Freda, Defend New Orleans, Seaworthy, and the other shops next door have something to say. Slow Down. Loosen Up. Be Nice or Leave. 

Gabby took us to Norma’s for South American sweets and Williams Plum St. icy snowballs instead of gumbo, crawfish, and oysters. Alex took us to see the neutral ground. We stood on the track. Right in the middle. Snowballs melting down our throats. Waiting for the streetcar. We aren’t here to ride it. It’s too wild to ride. We just want to admire its jingle-jangle swagger.

A dove flies by with a broken eggshell in its beak.

A baby gator sunbathes in the city park pond.

A strand of old Mardi Gras beads falls from a tree and bounces in the gutter. 

I am a non-local standing on my tippy toes, looking over the shoulders of locals, howling for the brass band to never stop playing.

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This adventure was maDe with help from our friends at Nau clothing and Ace Hotel

nau.com // acehotel.com

The Spirit of Oaxaca

Stay Wild

Meet the Maestros of Mezcal

Story & Photos by Liz Devine // lizdevine.com

 

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Until recently, I was just a girl wandering through life thinking mezcal was some smoky liquor — the jury was still out on if I even liked mezcal. Two trips to Oaxaca and nine palenques (distilleries) later, I can tell you that mezcal production is something so unique and special to Mexico that all I want to do is spread the good word.

Mezcal is made from agave, the same plant tequila is made from. Tequila can only be made from one type of agave — the blue agave — but mezcal can be made from any species of agave that has fermentable sugars. So when you taste mezcal, be sure to ask what agave plant you are tasting. It’s like when you taste wine, you are essentially sampling the grape variety. Tasting mezcal is very similar, and each agave has its own distinct flavor. 

Agave is an amazing plant. Depending on the species, it can take anywhere from seven to 25 years to mature. Yes, I said 25 years (that would be the tepeztate species). 

The tradition of making mezcal started with farmers. Even though the demand has increased since then, most producers have not industrialized their process. This means it still requires a lot of man and animal power to produce. 

The center of the agave is called the “piña.” This is the part of the plant that is cooked and then later distilled. I saw agave piñas so big it took four full grown men to carry one. 

The agave are cooked in the ground in a giant earth oven. First they heat rocks over a fire until they are glowing red and then start loading the oven. It’s then covered with dirt and the piñas continue to bake for nearly a week. 

After they’re cooked, it’s time to mill the piñas. The most common way is with a giant stone wheel called a “tahona,” which is powered by a horse, cow, or donkey. The other method is to pound the piñas into the ground by hand with what looks like a Flintstones club. 

After the piñas are milled, everything is moved to a tank where water is added and the fermentation occurs over three or so days. 

Next, you distill (this is a story for another day) and then enjoy — “a besos!” This is short for “Mezcal se toma a besos,” which translates to “You kiss the mezcal, savor it slowly.” Sometimes the pour is very generous and sometimes there are 15 different types of mezcal to try. In four days of touring multiple palenques, two of those days had questionable endings. Like scream-singing “Africa” by Toto in the back of a van or hanging my head out the window like a dog for an hour drive back to the city. What can I say — it’s rude to refuse the maestros (distillers) if they offer you mezcal. 

Even though my Spanish is horrible, the pride and love these maestros have for their spirit easily translates, as well as the joy they take in sharing it. When you walk away from a mezcal palenque, you feel like you’ve met family who have welcomed you into their home and shared something with you that is truly dear to them. If you go to Oaxaca, do yourself a favor and don’t just go to a bar and taste mezcal. Go experience it. 

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Learn more // Experiencemezcal.com

8 Great Hawaiian Hotels

Stay Wild

How to Avoid the Housing Crisis

 

Story by Justin “Scrappers” Morrison // @scrappers

Photos by Sera Lindsey // @portablesera

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There are juniper berries in my pocket. 

Seeds crouched down like Olympic sprinters waiting to dig into dirt and grow.

I picked them on a hike recently because they smelled so good.

The aroma of blue clay, soft coyote paw, and the citrus sting of evergreen.

These berries have been burning a hole in my pocket for the last five hours. I’m flying through volcano smoke, above the deep blue Pacific ocean, to islands that have been invaded countless times. As a visitor to Hawai’i, it’s my responsibility to preserve what I came to experience. I won’t let these invasive seeds grow here, so I zip them up in my pocket till I get back home. 

Hawai’i is a good friend. Its big, warm hugs of true aloha wrap around my cold winter-bleached body. It never asked, “What did you bring me?” It only asks, “What can I share with you?” Whalers and rich hippies who look like me have colonized and abused Hawaiian kindness for over 100 years, yet bright, innocent smiles still light the runway for my landing.

The neon orange flowers outside the baggage claim are descendants of invasive seeds brought by past travelers like me. Plants and critters have been brought here by people who want these islands to be a specific type of paradise. As their paradise grows beyond their nose, it takes over native habitat. Local bugs, plants, birds, and people have been suffering a housing crisis on an island with serious growth boundaries. The housing crisis is the reason I’m writing a hotel story. I’d rather stay in a neighborhood and be part of the local scene, but I’d be taking housing away from locals if I did that.

When you visit Hawai’i, and I hope it’s soon, please stay at one of the hotels on this list. Trust me, you’ll love these places.

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Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

412 Lewers St, Honolulu (808) 923-8882 surfjack.com

Have you ever lived in an apartment with a shared swimming pool? 

It’s actually way cooler than it sounds. You end up making connections with people on a more personal level when you feel at home nearly naked.

The tile work in the Surfjack pool spells out: “Wish You Were Here.” You can see those words best from the cozy rooms above. They beckon you downstairs to the mid-century-inspired open living room scene. Neighborhood kids splash in the pool, beautiful strangers kiss new ideas together over fresh cocktails, I savor the crunch of fresh, locally-grown food, and visitors who came looking for aloha bask in its light shining from the faces who work here.


Kalani

12-6860 Kalapana-Kapoho Rd, Pahoa 1-800-800-6886 kalani.com

Love the chaos. 

Change is here.

Right now, up the highway from the Kalani, volcanic fissures are opening up and bleeding red-hot lava all over the neighborhood — destroying homes, streets, and parked cars. The Hawaiian goddess Pele is working on a redevelopment project. 

Staying in the Kalani’s treehouse, bungalows, or cottages will inspire you to live nicer with nature. Full walls are made of screen, so the wild ocean air engulfs you and lifts your spirits to the higher happiness known by manatees. People walk around fully blissed out and forgetting where they were even headed. I was headed to the communal dining patio, but got distracted by a wild boar family eating fallen fruit. I almost missed out on my own feast of local fish, organic grains, and fresh fruits and veggies. The food here will reset your guts like a good massage does to your muscles.  

The Kalani is a true community. Since 1975 outsiders have come seeking lifestyles beyond the limitations of mainstream society. All sorts of openness are exercised and honored here. People practice yoga, meditation, lucid dreaming, sustainable farming, shamanic rituals, and gender bending. I exercise my freedom at the clothing optional pool.

If you’re open and willing to experience a renewed outlook on yourself and others, we’ll bump into each other at the Kalani. 


Ka’anapali Beach Hotel

2525 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina (808) 661-0011 kbhmaui.com

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Ka’anapali is the most tourist-friendly side of Maui. 

I used to avoid going there since I’m a cool teenager who would never be caught dancing in a cheesy luau dinnertainment show with his drunk auntie, but that all changed when I stayed at this classic beachside hotel. I experienced the authentic good intentions of old-school Hawaiian tourism. 

Truly rooted respect for Hawaiian culture is infused in all the touristy offerings. The taro ponds growing in the courtyard are part of the Cultural Garden, teaching guests about native and introduced flora and fauna. Locals teach classes about Hawaiian language, crafts, and how to cut a pineapple. 

The whale-shaped swimming pool will always remind me of the time I heard whales singing in front of the hotel. I held my breath as long as I could in the ocean. The sound went right past my ears and I could feel the whales voices in my bones. Staying here was not the superficial experience I thought it would be.


Kula Lodge

15200 Haleakala Hwy, Kula (808) 878-1535 kulalodge.com

Nuzzled on the side of a long-dormant volcano, right outside the entrance to Haleakala National Park, Kula Lodge floats in Maui’s mountain air

The upcountry lodge vibes are unlike anything you’ll experience beachside. Kiawe wood burns in the fireplace and tropical flowers of impossible shapes bloom. Horned chameleons hunt bees in avocado trees outside your room’s wooden walls.

If Teddy Roosevelt had a dropout hippy phase he would have spent it here. Old Teddy would have tripped out on the podhuts that cascade down the hill below the wood-fired pizza oven.

This place is special and will give you a view unlike any other.


Hawaiian Island Retreat

250 Lokahi Rd, Kapaau (808) 889-6336 hawaiiislandretreat.com

My first night in the yurt, the solar power ran out and the room went dark. 

The sounds of nature perked up outside, the breeze felt more alive, and I realized I found the getaway I hoped for.

This retreat center offers outdoor spa treatments designed by lead therapist and inn-keeper Jeanne Sunderland. Her healing energy skills are rooted in la‘au lapa‘au, the traditional Hawaiian art of healing with plants, and lomilomi, traditional Hawaiian massage.

The main building is designed to use sunlight and ocean breeze cooling, saving the solar electricity to use for reading in bed. Every detail from the organic shampoo to the refillable water bottles is a sustainable effort to stay self-sufficient within nature’s limits.


The Modern Honolulu

1603, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu (808) 943-5800 themodernhonolulu.com

My little boy calls Waikiki “Hotel City.”

This city looks like Los Angeles but is right on the edge of a beach that was once private to Hawaiian royalty. Luxury hotels like The Modern have been built in a place full of natural luxury. The view and the extremely surfable waves are a taste of luxury that I will never get used to. 

The avocado toast made by local chefs, the artwork made by local muralists, and music piped into the underwater speakers within the pool are a luxury I can live with. 

While lounging poolside, I began to understand the yachtsmen. I smoothly sailed the imaginary ship “platinum poodle” and raised a champagne glass of local honey-infused kombucha to Hotel City.


The Laylow

2299 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu (808) 922-6600 laylowwaikiki.com

I’m swinging in a hanging wicker woven chair, surrounded by modern design sensibilities and the dreamy exoticism that WWII brought back to the suburbs. 

This is the Hawaiian vacation experience most folks come to Honolulu hoping for.

The Laylow rooms are spacious and minimally curated with lovely things. The Hideout is their open air chill zone. Classic tiki torches burn in the breeze, Stumptown coffee pours at the bar, amazing food is served fireside, and happy guests laugh about how dumb their stress back home is. 

The street below buzzes and thumps with the excitement of visitors running around an exotic city looking for what we’ve already found, a simple place to lay low. 


Iao Valley Inn

80 Iao Valley Rd, Wailuku (808) 633-6028 iaovalleyinn.com

There is a place on Maui where sacred drops of water gather together and run down a valley as a river. 

I have touched this water and it is the purest thing I have ever felt. Dipping into it cleaned my soul and brought me to tears. A crying baby man with his toes in the water, an innocence was rekindled.

The Iao Valley Inn was originally built at the river’s edge as a family house, but as the kids grew up and moved away, the parents opened the doors to visitors. It’s a very intimate bed and breakfast type setting.

I almost didn’t put this place in the story because I want to keep it a secret, but if you’re reading these words out of all the words in the Universe, it must be destiny that you’ll love this secret spot as much as I do.  


This story was made with help from our friends at the Hawaii Tourism Authority

gohawaii.com // #gohawaii