Last weekend Charmie and I took the motorbike 3 hours north to the little mountain utopia known as Pai. The ride up was amazing. It reminded me of home…making the winding trek from Tennessee to North Carolina. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect with the sun when we reached the bottom of the valley. The view of the rice fields in front of the layering mountain silhouettes was wonderful. It almost felt like I was looking at an illustration that belonged on a “Visit Thailand” postcard.
We stayed at this incredible little bungalow village that sat across the river from the town’s main street. At the entrance of the village there was a small field of flowering plants as tall as our heads, with only a small little path to walk between. We slowly walked through in awe at how beautiful the scene was….butterflies fluttering around the purple plants with whiffs of reefer in the air. I started to wonder if there was something else growing in the middle of the towering plants, but with heaving coughing coming from all directions, I quickly figured out the game. Upon checking in the guesthouse owner whispered with a straight face, “If you want cannibas, I have.”…The tone for the weekend was set from there. It reminded me of being at a summer festival again. During the day people chilled out in their huts and hid from the sun. The streets were empty, with people rolling out only to grab food. Pai came to life at night. It seemed almost every bar had a firepit for people to gather around. The first night we watched a fire spinning contest and met some interesting people from all over. We shared a spliff with two dreadheaded chicks – one crazy looking one from Turkey and the other from Russia, and also a guy from Iran. As usual, I didn’t say much. I just sat there grinning at the thought of sharing that moment with those people from such far-out places (far-out to me anyways). Our backgrounds couldn’t have been more different, but we were all there together…at a small little mountain town in Northern Thailand.
The whole town felt like home. I met a leather artisan name Oil and asked if he could make me a pair of moccasins. He told me he could make them the following day and invited Charmie and I to come have coffee and hang out while he worked on them. We took him up on his offer and drove the bike up to his place the next morning. Him and his friends were incredibly hospitable. They gave us Chinese whiskey to sip on with our coffee and then cooked up some extremely spicy but delicious Thai food. It was a prefect day to end a beautiful weekend.
The month we spent in Cambodia, we spent some time visiting Aaron’s cousin in Battambang. Cambodia’s 2nd largest city, yet small enough where everyone seemed to know everyone. Tourism can really change a place and we were happy to see the lack there of in Battambang felt as if we were seeing it in it’s essence. We were enchanted by the feeling as if we have stepped back in time. Old French buildings still standing amongst dusty roads, small outdoor markets and with a short ride up to the mountain you can view the entire city. With each trip we always try to see something new, but Cambodia intrigued us so much we’re planning another visit in a couple weeks!
During our stay here in Thailand, we’ve experienced some unique and inspiring handmade homes and it has spurred our imagination into thinking about our way of living and how the space you surround yourself can really stimulate and create a beautiful energy that nurtures your soul. From simple huts made out of leaves in the midst of a mountain landscape, to concrete domes with glass ceilings under the most starry sky, to traditional Thai barns converted into artsy homes. All perfectly imperfect and passionately built, they have created an a new found appreciation in us for building your home beautifully and sustainably. What a dream it would be to have one to keep the road our home, and one in a far away desert somewhere, or tucked in the mountains with air so fresh, just breathing in revives you like morning coffee!
Images sources: from Moon to Moon
Sometimes some of the hardest posts to write are the moments so beautiful that words fail. That’s why Palau is just now finding a spot in our blog, our trip to Aaron’s homeland of Palau was definitely an island from our dreams. His family welcomed us with open arms, and kept our bellies full with fresh seafood. Such an untouched gem in the middle of the pacific abundant with life. Chickens literally crossed the roads, clams sat in rows for easy digging, bananas and papayas lined the streets, ocean so abundant with fish I felt like you could reach down and grab them. Every time we went fishing with his family, they came ready with rice and soy sauce and we feasted on the freshest sushi right on the boat. As our tanlines disappear, we’re reminded of how much we miss the island vibes. We’re booking flights for July, and we’re excited to say we’ll see you this summer Palau!
There’s something so beautifully organic about traditionally handmade threads, where each stitch creates a pattern, and each pattern holds a meaning. If we take a minute to pay attention to their details, we would unearth stories of the culture behind them. The faster this world spins perpetually into a technological age, I find myself aesthetically gravitating to pieces that I feel are quickly disappearing, techniques no longer widely practiced, and things that take translation. Maybe it’s my way of holding on and treasuring what was here and what is now. We’re all changing, the earth, our place in it, our lives, the people in it, and us. Whether we witness it or not, as we evolve we learn, unlearn, and relearn our way. Tonight we spend it here, under this glass dome to star-gaze and slow time down even if just for a night. Happy Friday everyone, hope you have an amazing weekend!
Find the tribal textiles and pillows in our shop here.
I should write Shae Detar a love letter for the beautiful and obscure grandeur she puts out there. A constant inspiration for us, she mixes film photography with paint and her images straddle the fence between watercolor dreams and reality. Pure magic!
Check out more of her work here.
Many people ask us what we miss most about America besides friends and family. We hear pizza, and surprisingly Brussels sprouts quite often. But the one thing we miss the most is the music culture. I look back at my pixie haircut, and double fisting photos and I get a chill up my spine. I can almost hear the music ringing down the streets, as herds of music lovers, artists, roamers, youngin’s, old hippies and techies rub knees and shoulders to their own beat. The sun is intense, but you happily earn your summer skin. Dry, dusty air can have you choking as you yell and sing out loud, then you chase it down with a cold lonestar. Everyone around you beckons for a double take and has you thinking to yourself, what are you wearing? what are you not wearing? We all look as bonkers as the next person, where do you come from you beautiful people?! Austin you were so good to us. You have us saying..America f*ck yea. I love your music culture.
Two beautiful worlds collide with these images. I was captivated by how alien these orbs of spheres looked photographed against beautiful landscapes. In the video Denis explained his background in a demanding sales job, a destructive cycle of drinking to suppress the anxiety of his high pressure lifestyle, and red bulls throughout the day to keep him awake through this monotonous cycle, until one day he saw the light. Literally. They were in the process of moving where in between he found time to pick up a camera and gravitated towards what he found exciting and freeing. Truly an inspiration for creative Independence, and how artists and or creatives alike who find themselves in a cube the majority of their days can start to feel depressed. It’s your intuition telling you there’s something more, something that will liberate you so much it gives you goosebumps. It may not be on the list of “job options” they presented to you in grade school when you were first asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As I get older, I realized this shouldn’t have been a list of options, but a fill in the blank/s exercise.
Learn more about the process of light painting in the video, or see more on Denis Smith’s site.
It dawned on us that is has been four months since our last camping trip. It was a beautiful night on the shores of Palau and we felt like we had the island to ourselves. I will never forget the “two-person” tent that we bought at a local store and once we popped it open we realized it was only big enough for one small child. Needless to say we to slept toppled on each other in random angles. Like playing twister, in a half awake state haha!
The holidays were here and though it didn’t really feel like the Christmas as we knew it from home, we were happy to spend it together for the first time.. ever. We decided no gifts, accompanying each other through this journey and experiences thousands of miles away from home was a gift that we couldn’t have imagined asking for. This year we traded the Christmas tree to for a teepee, we weren’t with family, but we had each other, and we didn’t exchange presents but grateful for intangible moments that continue to fill the pages of our journals.
The night we camped got down to a chilly 40 degrees(F)! We found this little compound called Maetachang which consisted of straw huts and tepees made out of leaves by serendipitous luck. Aaron was taking random back roads on the motorbike when he drove past this little commune already set up with tents and a huge campfire. We needed a place to shoot our hill tribe dresses that we added recently to the shop, and this place couldn’t have been more perfect to mix work and play. It was ran by a sweet lady who was an amazing cook, and a man full of smiles and the only thing he was serious about was keeping the campfire alive. Everything on site was made by materials found on or near the compound, the tables and chairs in the lawn were imperfectly made from scrap wood, wild chickens roamed, and they even offered food which they cooked on the campfire. Such a whole chicken for 200 baht (about $7). It was settled by a rice field and right beside a serene creek which we were lucky to have the place to ourselves. It was a beautiful day and night spent on this magical space of nature. We will definitely be back for more stargazing with beers and stories around the campfire.
Hope everyone had an amazing holiday!
We have officially entered the winter solstice. As we trade long sunny days for longer starry nights we are gravitated to travel inward. Enjoy quiet days with yourself, a journal, and your imagination. Be alone with your thoughts and let go of things that weigh on your soul. Forever be a student, and play with abandon. Reflect on the past, live in the present, and move forward with intention.