North to Alaska - Part I

North to Alaska - Part I

We caught up with our ambassador Lucia Griggi and John O'Callaghan, on their epic North to Alaska journey.

Some may say wanderlust is in our blood, some acquire it along the way, but for me I feel it’s always been my desire.

North to Alaska

The pure excitement I feel whilst sitting on a plane, heading to a place I have yet to explore, sitting at the airport feeling a sense of freedom. I’m anonymous in these grounds and I like to keep it this way. Meeting new people in different cultures excites me, understanding the way people tick and the stories they share. Hopefully they find interest in mine too. Staying still seems to bore me and in lull times I find it hard to exist. Being in an ever changing environment on the road keeps me wired and stimulated and brings out my better self. In contrast being still I fall apart and find routine hard to follow. I’ve never liked rules, fitting the mould and running the rat race, sometimes this has gotten me into trouble, other times it’s made me feel the freest I’ve ever felt. Saying goodbye to people on the road has always been the hardest, knowing it would be the last time I would see them in this life time anyway, but I am always the one moving so it seems easier than being left behind, at least in my mind anyway.

I work differently, not necessarily better or worse, just different. I’m a thinker and my mind explores life on its own terms. I use my camera as my creative outlet and draw my own picture through things I see through the lens. I try not to take life too seriously. I have few responsibilities in life. One is to always be the best side of me. Self improvement is important for my happiness and for others too. I travel the world in hope to see in a new way, especially through the tough times!

I have recently got back from a journey working on the World Surfing Tour in Europe, heading to Hawaii then straight to Australia. Soon I’ll finally be back in California where I base myself. I travelled through Mexico on an editorial trip which allowed me to swim in the Sea of Cortez with whale sharks and grey whales recently. Shortly after this I embarked on a journey North to Alaska, where I travelled up the North Pacific Coast starting in California, passing through Canada and into the wilderness of Alaska. This trip allowed me to open my eyes to what Alaska had to offer, clock up millage in a van and learn how to open my heart up to an amazing man, John. This highly talented man built and kitted out a van from scratch and though his artistic eye he created a place called home, this would serve us for the next three months on the road. The van was a place we would call home and use to build up a wealth of memories and fun times. Together we embarked on a journey, we left our routine behind, sold “stuff” we no longer required and had faith that the road would treat us well and keep us together and happy. We took the leap of faith and took our nomadic hearts to where they belonged. On the road and on the move.

Lucia in the van
San Diego to Big Sur, CA

Earlier this year John bought a 2002 Chevrolet Express 3500 work van and converted it into a mobile living space. John and I then took a 10,000 mile road trip to Alaska, looking for surf, adventure and some new culture along the way. It took John the best part of the early spring to work on the van. A talented woodworker at heart but a hard working graphic designer by day, John had studied "the arts" his whole life! This was a fun project for John and every day he had a new fixing to add into the van. I helped a little too of course!! Here is a short video of the van build out and an introduction to the trip:

Interview with John:

John building the Van:

It was then time to get going and head North! It was 10am and raining in San Diego. Alice the van pulled up outside my house and John was carefully keeping an eye on what I was loading into the van. I had packed light, he may have thought otherwise! I had packed three cases- one for my clothes, one for toiletries and the other for my smalls! The larger cases were packed full of photography gear and the equipment we would need to work on the road. One cupboard had a lot of hardrives in it! We took to the road and headed north. Battling out the freeway and its traffic as people here aren’t used to driving in the rain thats for certain! Once we had headed North a few hours we took to the windy roads heading to the Big Sur. This was when excitement kicked in and we had no desire to turn back or change route! We found a place off the beaten track to hide away for the afternoon into the evening. We surfed at willow creek a fun beach break that day. The waves were fun and broke off a rock south side of the beach. We had our warm suits on hooded and booted up courtesy of c-skin wetsuits, we had a fun session! Hot chocolate to follow or maybe it was a few beers!!

Below are a few snaps from the first stop of the trip. After this we are heading north to San Francisco onto Williams Oregon.

Big Sur, CA

Camping above the clouds. Mesmerized by the rolling motion of the sky! In solitude we sat, ate and enjoyed the simple things in life. Photo: Lucia Griggi

Cooking on Big Sur, CA

Here our good friend Cory shows us how to get down in the kitchen! She made us an amazing curry from scratch, she loves to cook and is really passionate about her craft. An inspiration to us both! Photo: Lucia Griggi

Big Sur, CA

A room with a view Photo: Lucia Griggi

Big Sur, CA

Here I take a minute to appreciate the perspective of the view. Everything was perfect, the light, the subject and time. Photo: John T. O'Callaghan

Big Sur, CA at dusk

As the sun sets over the clouds, Alice the van takes a rest. Excited to surf the next morning we get an early night. The sky was purple and reflected the end of a great day. Photo: John T. O'Callaghan

Big Sur at night

As night incroches on us the stars come out to play. We sat and listened to the silence around us. Photo: Lucia Griggi

Part 2 coming soon...

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