When You Don't Know Where You're Going...

“Well we know where we're going
But we don't know where we've been
And we know what we're knowing
But we can't say what we've seen
And we're not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out” – David Byrne

 Our journey continues!  After four months of work, hundreds of micro projects completed, countless cups of early morning coffee, and more than a few little moments of doubt, we’ve re-packed the van and have left our temporary home in Larkspur, CA.

I promise not to make this one an ode to the dead, a letter to Mom, or some sort of personal Yelp review of my father.  This little entry is a thank you letter to our pals in California, without whom our journey would be considerably less interesting and potentially not financially possible. I’ll throw in a quick recap of the past few months and lots of pictures.  

First, my friend, mentor and employer, Erik Jacobsen.  Erik has been so kindhearted and generous to me over the past four years; keeping me busy and giving us a place to stay while we worked in the uniquely expensive Bay Area.  Working with Erik has taught me a variety of new and useful skills.  Spending time with him, breaking bread and sharing stories, has been hilarious, educational and inspiring to me in ways I haven’t the eloquence of speech to adequately convey.  He is a true friend to Tiffany, to me and even to the little rascal, Pelé. Honest, unafraid to speak his mind and at all times interested in making the utmost of the moment; Erik, your friendship is a gift.

My friend Lala Jacobsen, Erik’s wife, is also high on my list of people who’s kindness has leveled out the path before us in a powerful way.  Lala is a nurturing soul who wants to see everyone fed, happy and safe.  She approaches the cooking of food and the feeding of people with deference, skill, and ultimately joy.  The product is undeniably delicious, and is even more nourishing for having been made with such love and care.   Lala, your smile, your easy-going attitude and your sweetness are so lovely to be around; we will all miss it tremendously.

ERIK AND LALA - Celebrating in Barcelona

Tiffany’s friend and coworker Marty is another invaluable companion.  It is honestly a testament to the type of person Tiffany is that Marty has such respect and trust in her abilities as a nurse.  He was instrumental in securing Tiffany’s employment. Tiff and Marty worked together for a few years before we left on our journey.  A word from Marty, a well respected operator of highly complex surgical equipment, was all it took for Tiffany to land a job in a competitive and crowded field of specialized nursing.  Marty is thoughtful, funny, loyal, trustworthy, and talented.  He Makes fantastic use of his intellect, charm and skill to make everyone around him feel like things might just be OK, so long as Marty is around.  We are mighty thankful to have a guy like Marty in our corner. 

 Our sweet, hilarious, energetic pal, Sally Palmer, is another confidant who deserves more praise than I can fit into what I now see as a one-heavy-paragraph-per-friend-format. Sally, among her many positive attributes, is a breast cancer survivor, a mother of three, a fearless world-traveling adventurer, is recovering from a broken neck with more vim and vigor than someone half her age, and is likely the most fun grandmother on the planet.  At every opportunity, Sally has provided us with meals, employment for me (working for her helped me pay for massage school), shelter, love, laughs, spirited games of scrabble, and a friendship as unique as she is.  We love you like crazy, Sally!

Sally, in her Sunday best.


In Southern California, I am thinking of Tao Ruspoli.  Tao believed in me, and trusted me to lend a hand at various projects around his home and on his most ambitious project, The Bombay Beach Biennale.  Your up-beat pace, your refusal to speak an uncharitable word about another, and your boundless enthusiasm for experience make me proud to call you a friend.  


Oliver and Cheryl Thorpe are two of the kindest and most giving folks we’ve ever met.  Oliver’s skills and never say die attitude are the reason our van is still rolling down the road.  Cheryl’s sweet demeanor and powerful yet gentle countenance give us something to shoot for.  Thank you both for being so cool, so generous, and so willing to help others.


Finally, as always, I need to send thanks to Dr. Uncle Chris Ryan.  Without Chris, our journey would be an entirely different animal.  Not only has he connected us to a much larger audience of interested and interesting people, he has become a friend. He is generous with his time, his resources, and his knowledge.  Chris also helped out financially when I was raising money to help our mutual friend, Ricardo, self-publish a beautiful book of his photos for the Biennale.  Always looking for an opportunity to help someone, literally willing to give the shirt off of his back, Chris is one of those people who actively practices what he preaches. You have been a tremendous influence on both of us, we are grateful to you for your friendship, your generosity, and your willingness to share your gifts with the world.  


There are too many other people who have influenced, shared, and have been true friends to us over the past few months to mention here.  If you don’t see your name here, please know we are thankful and glad to know you.


Big thanks to – Ricardo Serpa - Jane Maru – Mary Beggio – Uwe Martin – Leah Russo – Sean Guerrero – Ed Senft – And Many More!!


On my way to the Salton Sea, I stopped in Santa Cruz to have breakfast and record a podcast with this guy - Kyle Thiermann

Sunrise on the Salton Sea from Bombay Beach, CA

Pelé had no problem making friends in Bombay Beach

Pelé and one of his many girlfriends, Whitney…way in the background is one of our other pals, Karin Campbell

Daily sunrise yoga from this locale, led by my friend Freeman.

David and Pelé had a special bond…Behind him (in the mirror), sweet Lauren

This wall was erected to display a beautiful mural by Wyatt Mills

My pal, Dan Losa, resting in the Sensory Enhancement Tank, Bombay Beach, CA

No need to knock, everyone is home.

Lodestar, by Randy Polumbo

Mary Beggio, Ricardo Serpa and Jane Maru.

Me, holding Ricardo’s book, “Just a Few of Us”, and Ricardo himself! Bombay Beach, CA

Walking Ed Senft., seated in The Bombay Beach Institute of Particle Physics, Metaphysics, and International Relations.

Uwe H. and Frauke, at their home in Bombay Beach, CA

Chrome Sean Guerrero, in front of his sculpture, “The DaVinci Fish”

The prettiest girl at the Biennale, Tiffany Couch

I found this little message in a bottle on top of a peak in Malibu. My old friend, Gnome and I took our dogs on a hike on a beautiful spring day. This squat little pill bottle was tucked into a bush off of the main trail. I read the notes inside, and before replacing them and tucking it back into the bush, I left a little note for Tiff (not pictured).

Thanks to a random impulse, I took a split second decision to turn off of highway 1 to go to Ojai. Just in time for a sunset hike, Pelé and I were walking back to the van when I spotted a familiar face. The face belonged to a guy who Tiffany and I met in Costa Rica, nearly 8 years ago, Satya Columbo.

Ojai, CA does not suck

Pelé likes having a window from which to police the area.

Freeman, his mom and his dog at his home in Paso Robles, CA. I picked up Freeman, and we spent a night in Big Sur, CA. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to hang out with him. I dropped him off the next day in Oakland, CA.

Back in the North Bay…Pelé is at home wherever he goes, but he seemed extra happy to be back in his original home turf.