Growing up, I knew a family (The Vollums) who had a Turbo Grumman Goose. On weekends the Vollums would fly their Goose to a lake house in British Columbia or McCall Idaho. In under two hours they could be worlds away from their house in downtown Portland (Oregon). I will always remember my first ride in an "Airplane-go-water," as I lovingly called them.

Seaplanes are used for exploring the territories and connecting urban and remote worlds and thus are inherently rugged.

A couple times an hour, commercial seaplanes leave from Lake Union in downtown Seattle, shuttling commuters to and from the San Juan Islands and British Columbia. These seaplanes turn a 4 hour commute involving ferries and multiple highways into 45 minute plane ride.

This is what I imagine every seaplane pilot looking like.

Despite improved roads and highways, Seaplanes remain the preferred means of transportation in much of Alaska and British Columbia.

I want to live on a secluded island or lake and commute to work one of these guys.

The location of runways doesn't hold these guys back. Seaplanes can land on roughly 75% of the Earth's surface. Ohh the freedom...

Thanks to Seaplanes in the Great Northwest for some photos.

Here are some more links,
Seaplanes in the Great North West (Blog),
Grumman Goose (Wiki),
Howard Vollum (Wiki),
NW Seaplanes (Scheduled Seaplane flights from Seatle to the San Juan Islands and BC),
DHC-2 Beaver Wiki.


The Fat of The Land

I am interested in basing a brand around a blog. At the heart of a brand lies a core philosophy that defines purpose and product. Most brands rely on physical products as the primary means to convey their ideals. For example, a Submariner conveys Rolex's message of supreme quality, heritage, and exclusivity. A Prius conveys Toyota's commitment to protecting the environment and creating quality automobiles. Toyota and Rolex first built quality products and then established brands around these products.

Technology is changing this paradigm. Now, a brand can define itself through online content such as photos, editorials or selection of other quality content. In other words, a brand can now establish itself and gain traction before selling its first product. Hypebeast could leverage their online following and authority on streetwear to create a collaboration with Nike or Adidas on a limited edition sneaker. Will Common Projects collaborate with Selectism?

For the last few months I have been toying around the idea of starting a blog(and hopefully a brand) with my friend Edge. Based around self reliance, a connection to nature, rustication and exploration, we call our collection of photos and writings The Fat of The Land.


Teardrop Trailers

Originally built with surplus aluminum (from WWII plane wings) and a 4' by 8' piece of plywood, the teardrop trailer is light, small and easy to tow. They gained popularity during the 1940's, as G.I.'s, returning from the war, wanted an easy and inexpensive way travel America. A teardrop trailer has a main sleeping quarters with either a full or a queen size bed and an external kitchen with a stove and a cooler (as pictured above). Their light and minimalist design allowed for a relatively inexperienced driver with a small car safely to tow a teardrop on single lane roads.

As cars' horsepower increased and the quality of roads improved, the teardrop trailer gave way to larger, heavier trailers like the Airstream, limiting their reign as king of the road to just two decades.

Today Teardrop Trailers are the prized possesions of forties and fifties car enthusiasts, who make the car show circuit in proper 1950's style. I saw my first Teardop over ten years ago at a car show in Portland Oregon. Their inherent minimalism and liberating ability captured my imagination.

Few things are more appealing than letting out to the territories with the hope of finding adventure and greener pasture. A "tent on wheels," as teardrop trailers are often called, would be awesome way to see the world and a great addition to any restless lifestyle.

These photos are of a Sundance Teardrop Trailer available through the Sundance Catalog for $24,000. They come complete with a Colemen stove and cooler, Formica counter tops, maple cabinets and efficient LED lighting.

If you are sufficiently inspired, here is a how to video for building a Teardrop Trailer.

Classic circa 1950's kitchen complete with Coleman camping gear. I imagine that plenty of babies were boomed in small living quarters of teardrops in the decade following WWII. Teardrop trailers democratized travel and enabled 20th century manifest destiny; they are American as Apple Pie.

Here are some more links, Gallery Classifieds
TomSweson Teardrop Project


African Safari

I have mixed feelings about African safaris. The idea of leaving urban areas behind and experiencing nature has and will always appeal to me. I spend far too much time connected to the Internet through my laptop, Xbox, and Blackberry and the allure of an idealized rustic experience, like a safari, is very compelling.

However, along with the rustic experiences come many of the negative connotations associated with European Colonialism in Africa, specifically gluttony, racial superiority, and entitlement. Even a safari's documentation conveys the West’s inherent feeling of entitlement. Why is it considered cultured and anthropological to show “Native’s breasts” on TV or in National Geographic but degenerate to show a white or black American's boobs? In some twisted way, writing about the problems with Safaris makes them even more romantic. Here are some photos gleaned from my hours perusing the Life Archive that embody the iconic African Safari including the staples: Landrover Defender, binoculars, high-socks-short-shorts, side-by-side shotguns, scoped hunting rifles, Safari Helmets, cigars, and of course, nude natives.

This guy is hunting more than just the local animals.

You know these trackers did all of the work. Check out his Desert Boots.

The Landrover Defender is an essential part of the African Safari.

Gold inlay and short shorts.

The Prize.