Japan (December 2014)

This was my third visit to Japan, and it was unquestioningly the best, partly because I am a more experienced traveler now. I am more accepting of my circumstances. I now appreciate the process of adapting to the way things are wherever I find myself.  When I wasn't teaching I had adventures . . . adventures in cuisine, learning the way of the samurai, temple hikes, tea ceremonies, and three nights on tatami mats in a ryokan. I saw geishas pop out of their incredibly mysterious quarters and became obsessed with tamago (omelet sushi). I failed to wrap my head around the enormity of Japanese nightlife but I did succeed at teaching full classes without relying on language. When it comes to being observant and thinking about everything from object placement, organizational systems, and courtesy, no one beats the Japanese. (Bless the heated toilet seats, lights shows and multitude of electrical outlets.)

I spent time in Osaka (the land of ultimately convenient food and shopping), Kyoto (Japan's historical and cultural center), and big city Tokyo.

I saw my first bamboo forest and learned that bamboo has defended itself against human animals with a climbing proclivity. They are quite slippery. I saw the abruptness and snow cover of Mt. Fuji and trees in colors I didn't know existed like strawberry blonde pines and cartoon lobster-hued maple. I will continue my morning matcha ritual and make good use of my new neck warmer.

I left with an immediate longing to spend more time and grow a deeper understanding of the eternally intriguing Japanese culture. Thank you Japan for being so welcoming.

Hong Kong (December 2014)

This past weekend I led a Flow Movement weekend intensive at The Playground in Hong Kong. The Playground is my type of place… it is dedicated to gymnastics, natural movement and bodyweight training. The owners, Kevin and Czon, invited me to teach and bring some new ideas to the HK movement scene. The eleven attendees and I spent two days training on a blue bouncy floor and a softly covered rooftop with panoramic city views. After the training, the Hong Kong media stopped by to learn some moves. It was very cool to hear what Flow Movement is described in Cantonese. One of my favorite moments was when my students asked if could come back for 6 months...twice a year. HA. Thank you so much Hong Kong!

 Photo by Kenneth Kao.

Photo by Kenneth Kao.

Germany / Poland / Czech Republic / Hungary / Austria / Switzerland / France (Sept. - Nov. 2014)

I started this trip teaching in Germany (where a good portion of my ancestry originates) and saw the youthful liberated energy of Berlin.  I then made my way through three cities in Poland: Gdansk; Warsaw; and Wroclaw.  I spent a week trying to replace all "W" sounds with "V" sounds in order to read anything.  I confirmed my love of Kielbasa and then passed through regal Prague and Budapest before spending time in Vienna.  The air, mountains, and elderflower juice of Innsbruck, Austria won my heart once again.  There is space to MOVE, the city encourages skateboarding (everywhere) and has organic markets.  Win!  I then made my way to Switzerland where I felt so safe I confidently took night walks through narrow streets of Zurich.  

The pants in this photo can be purchased HERE.

Next up was France for the second time this year.  After a few days in Paris, I headed to Strasbourg, the heart of the Alsace region, for a day of workshops and a photo shoot with Haze Kware.  The first picture has been released and was taken in a Petite France, part of Grande île, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  More photos from this shoot to come....

Utah / Seattle / Portland (September 2014)

America the beautiful.

We tend to romanticize countries other than our own.  But I think the United States really is spectacular.  This trip I made moves in Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.  Due to a detour driving back to Las Vegas from Mt. Zion I went somewhere I didn't even know about -- the Valley of Fire, Nevada.  These red rock formations that hold the heat of the day like dutch ovens provide the Mars experience on planet Earth.  I managed to tear holes in my clothes and a bit of my flesh on this rugged impromptu sunset climb.  It was totally worth it.

France / Portugal (July 2014)

Ever since I obsessively read the book, "French Dirt," when I was a young-gun, I said that I wanted to visit the South of France in the summertime.  I did!  For almost five weeks I taught across the Basque and Midi-Pyrénées regions to Côte d'Azur.  My trip finished in colorful Lisbon, Portugal, with a weekend intensive full of 26 international movement enthusiasts.  I didn't have a chance to meet Branko (one of my favorite DJs of Kuduro, Afro-House, and everything funky who calls Lisbon home) so…next time.

Colorado / Utah (June 2014)

Oh Colorado, how I love you!  Every time I arrive I think, "How does the sky look SO much larger here?"  Against logic and any explanation of topography and human construction, I maintain that the sky IS larger in Colorado.  This was my first visit to Utah.  Growing up and going to dance competitions, the kids from studios in Utah were always technical beasts.  I wasn't sure if they came from some kind of dance commune where they were forced to train from the moment they could right themselves or if they just had great teachers.  I still don't know, but I loved my time there.

California (March - April 2014) / Minnesota (May 2014)

I kept it domestic for a few months. I started by teaching all over Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Bay Area. I visited my friend's home which happens to be the Seva Ashram in Santa Cruz. I was greeted with flowers and all the veggies I could ever eat.  Soon after, the Flow team accompanied me to Minnesota to film the Flow Movement video series.
 

Australia / New Zealand (January - March 2014)

As an American, Australia is a wild experience.  In many ways, it is quite similar to the US: It has a comparable history and an equally diverse terrain, yet it is about as far as a landmass can be.  But it is what sets Australia apart that I love the most.  On this trip, I visited Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Ballaraat, Perth, and Cairns where I was able to dive the Reef and see giant clams large enough to sit inside (I did not try this since the clams were home).  In my third visit to Sydney, I happened across a modest little beach road called Marlo Road before moving on to New Zealand in the midst of the cicada apocalypse.  Queenstown, New Zealand is a powerful place.  It is an alpine town rich with Maori history and young adventurists.  I dodged insane downhillers while hiking the Tiki trail and toured Glenorchy (where Lord of the Rings was filmed).  New Zealand is pure beauty.