In May of 2017 I headed through the American Southwest with a goal in mind: I was going to start vlogging for real and giving YouTube my best effort.
Then I got in over my head, realized how much darn work making videos is, and slowed down for a while, only to pick it back up again with equal vigor this past January. Since then I’ve contributed a biweekly video depicting some of the most ridiculous adventures and more of the behind-the-blog experiences, fiascos, and stories.
Since then some experiences have stood out more than others. Over the past year, these are the best vlogs I posted in terms of WTF moments, things I still can’t believe happened, and heart-warming encounters with locals with both two and four legs:
Slab City: When a local squatter invited me into his house
Slab City in California is known as the ‘last free place in America’. I didn’t fully grasp this when I drove there in the dark to camp out overnight, thinking it was just a free campsite. It turns out that the entire slabs are a free place to live for anarchists, fugitives, and those who are flat broke.
It’s also one of the quirkiest places I’ve ever seen. Just about every living area is decorated with upcycled garbage, old tires, old TV sets, dolls, clay, hay, and a veritable cornucopia of odds and ends. It’s the kind of place you have to see to believe.
What I didn’t bank on is a local, Caribe, inviting me into his home to take a look around. I wondered to myself if it was a good idea, but accepted his invitation and filmed my most popular video of the year. You can watch it here:
Coyote Gulch: Solo Rappelling down a rock face
Coyote Gulch in Utah’s Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument usually requires an overnight in order to hike in and hike back out. I didn’t have the gear for that, but still wanted to see the amazing archways.
Through my research I read that I could get in and out in one day – if I rappelled down the canyon wall.
I decided to take my chances and buy some rope. Drone flying behind me, I solo climbed down to one of the best hikes of my life. You can watch it here:
Siargao, Philippines: When Everything Went Wrong
Siargao in the Philippines is a gorgeous island full of amazing things to do – it just seemed that every time I tried to do something I got sidelined by some sort of fiasco.
Flat tires, mixups, motorbike issues, and plenty of puppy kisses later, it all worked out, maybe even for the better:
My Berlin Apartment Tour
This is one of the more personal videos I published since, well, it’s of the inside of my home!
However I thought it was a cool way to show not only what my living space looks like, but what it’s like to live in Berlin.
My place is quirky, too, in a converted attic and full of flea market and secondhand finds, plus some items from my travels. Welcome to my humble castle (for links to the places where I bought some of the art, read the blogpost here):
My Travel Tattoos
This is another personal video – perhaps the most personal I’ve published yet – about the ink I’ve put on my body throughout the years.
Before I started traveling, I didn’t have any tattoos at all. Since then, I’ve covered half of my left side, received a blessing in the form of a tattoo from a monk in Thailand, and got a sacred symbol in Kathmandu to commemorate almost 3 months in and around the Himalayas.
All of my tattoos have a unique tale to tell and these are the stories behind them all:
When I almost died in a flash flood in Tanzania
This was easily the scariest experience I had in 2017, even more than solo rappelling down a canyon wall or entering a perfect stranger’s home in the middle of nowhere. It was after dark and I was in my tent about to fall asleep, when suddenly, the guard at the campsite in Arusha, Tanzania began shouting outside my tent.
I didn’t realize it at first, but he was about to save my life. The video shows the aftermath and my reaction right after it happened:
While I still have a long way to go in terms of improving and expanding my craft, I’ve had a blast doing more videos over the past year and I hope that if you’ve followed along, you’ve seen the improvement along the way and been entertained, too!
I’d love to know which of these was your favorite, and what you want to see more of. Be sure to subscribe here, I’ve got so much more to come!