New Zealand 2016 – Auckland

. . . I swear: these moments within days within months become a motion blur within my memory now because they pass so fast.

Nearly a year ago, I was prepping to spend all of March in New Zealand. For 30 days, I busted around in my crazy purple and green campervan, circumnavigating both islands and skirting birds while recklessly driving on the wrong side of the road.

This is the first in what will be a continuous series of recap posts, where I will finally post photos and words from my travels on that trip. And just in time, too, as I’ll be gearing back up to return again in April.

I know! – I know. Quelle pathétique, and how stupid. Alas, c’est la vie. I’ll never not be a procrastinator, it seems.

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(29 February 2016)

7:45p – Tarmac at LAX, which was a maze and a nightmare – Perhaps befittingly, my New Zealand travelogue begins with the image of Bilbo and Gandalf plastered across the neighboring plane out my window in seat 58K.

(2 March 2016)

8:56a – Auckland, New Zealand @ Jono’s in Mount Eden – Hot and cold faucets are opposite here, so my daily N Zed life began with an amused chuckle, washing the scrambled residue of breakfast eggs from our plates at the bottom of the sink. The air is moist here, on the other side of the world, and it reminds me of Martinique un peu. There is familiarity, though, in Jono’s curly mop and the scented hint of autumn on the air of the cool, cloudy morning. 

5:24p – Downtown Auckland – The wind is magnificent and bandies cooly about in the moist air. Even though the hour is busy as everyone leaves work, the atmosphere is subdued, as if we’re all muffled into calmness by the breeze. I’m meeting Jono for a drink, and then we’ll hang out in Mount Eden. (Editor’s note: we went to see the top of Mount Eden and could see all of Auckland and Rangitoto Island from there).

(3 March 2016)

8:51a – Auckland, Mount Eden – Mornings are one of my favorite parts of travel. We each have our AM routines, resplendent in their variation and monotony, and a ‘good morning’ is one where the coffee is hot, the air is cool, and we awake with just the right amount of time to appreciate each part.
Traveling takes that routine and adds new flair to every aspect that is familiar. The coffee is from a different French press. The birds and bugs – vibrating awake to rise with a surprising staccato as the shadows slide down unfamiliar boughs, roofs, and walls – have different pitches and calls than at home. There’s still bedsheets and showers, and yogurt for breakfast, but its sweet flecks of date, cacao, and chia twist the first hours’ regularity in such a nice, tasty way, eaten from a tiny, unanticipated spoon beneath the lid.
. . . I am someone who loves awaking early to the charms of a slow morning. And a slow morning somewhere new is the most incredible drowsy hour to savor the delightful unexpectedness of a new place. 

2p – Tyler Street, Downtown Auckland, with lemon, sesame, and poppyseed gelato – From: Malborough Street, all the way up and down Great North to Karangahape Road, to: all the way down Quay and back, past the jaunty yachts and park, down Te Wero Bridge where everyone mingled in the sun over oysters. I walked for hours and started to get hangry, but – too hot for anything to seem appetizing – I kept on, grouchier with every step. Finally, I picked a place purely on name and was utterly relieved to rest at a cafe with an open-air window in the shade. And that is how I find myself sitting near the bottom of the world (sipping watermelon soda and scarfing fresh fennel salad with shaved zukes, cukes, radish, chive, and summer tomatoes in a creamy dressing), warm and content, even though its winter in my bones and my heart thinks on Farmer Roy, who taught me to love fennel in the first place, and who is . . . 6,000? miles away.
Solo travel is peaceful and invigorating in a strange way, especially for someone so people-intent, like me.

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. . . My inclination to document and photograph is as all-consuming as it is excessive. Strap in, my loves, there are many, many, many New Zealand posts to come.


Cabo San Lucas, Part II

. . . Part I.

Every year, I am more grateful for this hectic life I lead and astounded by the perplexing luck I manage in surrounding myself with so many beautiful souls and so many new sights around this incredibly lovely world.

Be well, my pets. Go out and see things with your eyes! Keep good people at your side.

Love, SAW

Cabo San Lucas, Part 1

As I sit here sick and sniffling, staring into the snowing, grey sky – from my couch and through the window – I am reminded to finally post on warmer times.

Mexico was a dream.

In November, I traveled there to Cabo San Lucas for photo work with the beloved wolfpack, and – of course – brought along my sister-wives, my dirtbag ladies, our trio forming one of the most comfortable spaces I can place my mind or heart. We blitzed around Cabo San Lucas for almost a week, seeing everything we could while still sleeping lots, drinking beers in bed, and watching terrible movies all while cackling extravagantly.

. . . Part II.

Huntingdon Diary: July 26-27, 2016

Do you ever explore a place you already know well, peep its secrets, reacquaint yourself with its corners and alleys?

From my dining room table, I noticed a vibrant orange glow illuminating the windowpanes and rim around the air conditioner. From the deck, we spied an electric sunset.

Yesterday morning, Boon and I walked the west side of Huntingdon while the swaths of first sunlight were still freshly spilled. Already hot, we skipped between pools of untouched morning darkness to still our sweaty panting until we ran out of time and had to (admittedly) rush to work.

. . . The draw of documentary photography, I think, is elevating the mundane, everyday, white noise details of our lives into celebrated abstraction: an instant, a splash of shadow, something same-old-same-old viewed beautifully anew.

Keep noticing, preciouses. Je vous aime tout.

– SAWdust and the ‘yote

NoLa, Part 2

The end of the novel:

NEW ORLEANS IS GLORIOUS. Go there. Bring deodorant and loose pants.

Thanks to David and Joanne for being THE. BEST. HOSTS. We had an unprecedented time.

xoxoxo, my loves.

Be well till the re-seeing.


For the full gallery of all the images, click here. The password is: unclewillard