Middle Of Nowhere November



Pardon the 3 month delay. December became incredibly busy (as well as January), but I'm back and here's a blog about my November travels.

It's was a whirlwind of a November. The good folks from ManaMedia gave me a killer opportunity to spend two weeks globe trotting with Sam Kweskin: riding around in helicopters, driving to the middle of nowhere, and meeting some extra small ponies.

I was hired by Mana to develop the creative approach and to art direct the shoot for Google's sustainability initiative. File under my favorite and most uniquely enjoyable project of the year. You can learn more about my role on the project here.

I couldn't be happier to have contributed to a clean energy project for Google, especially in a time where long term sustainability and fact-based scientific research are taking a back seat to... well, you've probably read the news. But beyond the excitement of traveling the world and riding around in helicopters, the real reward is contributing to telling the story of a better future for our planet. 


Google is investing in some really great things for our lovely planet. If you haven't checked out their environmental report you can catch it HERE.

We started out on home turf in Nor Cal. No timezone adjustments, so all was well. This was quickly followed by a 6 hour flight to Atlanta and another 11 hour flight to Santiago, Chile. One day in Santiago followed by a flight to La Serena and then a 3 hour drive into nowheresville Chile, a place where it rains 2 days out of the year. A place where you might have a translation error causing you to pour bleach all over your hands (not soap) by mistake.

After two days of shooting in the Chilean desert, we were back on a plane to Santiago followed by a 3 hour layover in Buenos Ares. We then hopped on a plane for an 11 hour flight to Amsterdam. Hit the ground, turn on phone, see who our next president is and (no comment). Step off the plane, get bombarded with news cameras, and head to our 3 hour drive to the border of Germany. 

2 days of shooting on the edge of the Netherlands and then back on the plane to the states. Whew! 



Between flying, driving, and flying we did manage to get a little time to drink 18 coffees and wander around Santiago meeting some good people like this guy. He made me a Yerba vessel, which I now use every morning. 

color coordination

No sleep necessary. Thank you Maria for being an excellent host. Amazing how much Santiago looks like parts of Los Angeles. Same climate, similar foliage, sunshine and purple mountains.  Almost equally spaced from the equator, but a with whole lot more water. 

Goodbye beautiful Santiago hotel. Hello beautiful Chilean desert. Day 2, land in La Serena and begin our 3 hour commute to a place that sees rain only 2 times per year. 


It's so familiar, yet so different than being in the Mojave. Even the beaches felt like Malibu in some places on the drive down. The people though: nothing like Malibu.  We met so many great people along the way including this nice Industrial Engineer who helped bring all of the solar panels to life. 

Miguel, our driver, was a solid dude. Miguel is from Patagonia and gives tours of glaciers. He showed me a photo on his phone of a glacier breaking apart and causing a small tsunami, which caused him to have to turn the boat around and get all of his tourists the hell out of there. Oh Patagonia. Someday. 

Our lunch stop in the middle of nowhere is the perfect place to have a translation error and pour bleach all over your hands before you eat. Ask me about that some other time. 

Copper mines are everywhere in this part of the country. Our helicopter pilot didn't speak any English, but we didn't seem to have any problem communicating. He knew we were both fans of epic landscapes, hence why he made sure to take us over this GIANT INVERTED MOUNTAIN.

Believe it or not, this isn't the first man-made pit to hell this size that I have flown over. I've seen them look just like this in Missouri, but I will say-that none have been quite this scary. 

Another interesting observation is that while we are miles from the nearest source of water and civilization, we still see tiny homemade shacks with people living in them.  Between the dry barren mountains, no cars, no electricity, and no obvious means of survival, I just don't know how they make it work. Yet they do make it work. It's fascinating. 

Perhaps this blog isn't the proper space to express my developing desire to simplify my life and my possessions, recognizing our cultural need for more more more, but we will save that for another day. I'm not over that threshold, but I sure do want to be a more responsible consumer. 

All these tiny holes are copper mines. Literally out in the middle of nowhere with undeveloped roads.


For reasons unknown, hopping time zones to Amsterdam wasn't quite as painful as Santiago. However, flying 10 hours with no contact to the outside world left us wondering how the election was going. The moment we landed, I turned on my phone to a quick apple news check and was then mobbed by reporters in the airport asking us how we felt about the surprise election turnout. That part was a little more painful.

I'm not going to get anymore political on here than I have already, but it's an uneasy feeling traveling the world and hearing the T word over and over while eavesdropping on Dutch conversation.

In terms of helicopters, we stepped down in size x3 and went into full on sardine status. It was a long long flight out to our location and it gave me plenty of time to learn about how insanely innovative the Dutch were for having created a country by reverting the ocean through irrigation channels. Also... cold. So very cold.

MotoGP Track

Not exactly a warm and fuzzy feeling to chopper back in the dark pouring rain. 

Perhaps my favorite thing about visiting Amsterdam (other than small ponies) has to be the gorgeous minimalistic design. Not featured on this blog is my hotel room that was full of sleek hidden storage and rooms, laid out in such a clean, modern aesthetic.

Or perhaps this waste facility that is actually pleasant to look at.

And this leads me to the grand finale of our adventure. Nothing could prepare me for what came next.


Yes! That's right! A thousand mini Shetland Ponies ready to love, snuggle, and cuddle with us before we were set to leave this magical place.

You know, sometimes you're just driving along in a dumfounded daze a little worried and unsure of the future. Maybe some stuff is happening that you don't exactly agree with and some things make you pretty worried about the future, but then this happens.

BAM! The universe sends a message that everything will be ok. You know why? Ponies. Countless chubby little useless horses that want nothing more than your attention.

And the leftover apples that you have in the sprinter van.

These last photos were taken with love by Sam. 

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