michaeljohncrawford michaeljohncrawford

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Michael Crawford  Contributing Writer @nouvellevague.surf | Pacific Coast and Elsewhere

Claire and I had a few hours to kill before meeting an old friend for a picnic dinner. Instead of getting caught in the rat race back downtown, we took a leisurely lunch of tacos and soda and then enjoyed some coffee and books down at the beach.
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The Outer Sunset blew my mind with its laid back vibe and abundance of everything I want in life. Within arm's reach of one of my favourite engulfing cities, the San Francisco neighbourhood sweeps you in with sleepy streets, wifi-free coffee shops, and a very unforgiving beach break.
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After exploring some side streets, we took to the sand, layed in the sun and watched some very talented surfers holding their own in the water. .
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#35mm #california #oceanbeach #exploretocreate #homeiswhereyouparkit #optoutside #storiesofthecoast #vsconature #pacificcoast #unsplash #freelance #nvsurf #folkstyle #filmphotography #ishootfilm #iheartsf #outersunset

"Far outside of my comfort zone, at an unknown taco stand in a country where I did not speak the language, I found a few unexpected minutes of tranquility which made all of the driving worth while."
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New article up on @nouvellevague.surf exploring the highs and lows of the quintessential road trip. Link in profile!

Weekends are a time for passion projects, putting the screens away, and spending time with loved ones. This weekend we're following our noses to Tofino to take pleasure in the simple things and hopefully ride some waves for the first time in many weeks. See ya out there!

Over on @nouvellevague.surf I'm diving deep and exploring the highs and lows of the quintessential surfing road trip. Why not take a few minutes to yourself, follow the link in my profile, and immerse yourself in a 5000 mile journey from Canada to Baja California and back? #mexico #roadtrip #surfari

Much to my surprise, the most profound lesson that I took away from our five weeks on the road is that I am at my creative best when I am stationary. I used to think of myself as the ultimate drifter, content only when I’m saying goodbye and sailing for broader horizons. In the ignorant bliss of my teenage years, I envisioned an older version of myself hitting the road and writing a novel from the cab of whatever car would pick me up when I stuck my thumb out. My recent travels have shown me that in the right locale, with the right people, staying in one place can be the most fulfilling way to live. From fostering relationships and solving problems to studying the local waves, coffee shops and the people frequenting them, there are rewards to staying put which most often come in the form of delayed gratification. I anticipate staying put will be an exercise in patience, an exercise in observing the minuscule parts of the daily routine that make it rich and full.

Our round trip from Vancouver Island to Baja California has been complete for almost one month. We have sold the van, signed an apartment lease, and become gainfully employed. Throughout the stress of all that adulting, I have been thinking about Mexico. Over the course of our five week trip, we spent a total of four days there and not once did we seriously contemplate going surfing. Roaming the streets and getting lost on washed out beach access roads was plenty for me. But I cannot shake the feeling of being strangely at ease in that country in spite of being so far out of my comfort zone. In a land where stories of gringo surfers getting robbed, or worse, are served with your morning coffee, I was able to ease into a sort of relaxed poise. I was careful and clearheaded, but free for the first time of an inexplicable anxiety that had been building since day one of my undergrad. We’re trying hard to stay put for a while, but I’ll be pinching my pennies with the hopes of returning to Mexico sooner rather than later.

Before I took an interest in surfing, the ocean was nothing but a shapeless, malevolent force in my mind. This was before I knew the first thing about how tide heights and beach bottoms influenced the form of the waves. I never wanted to be the one who fills the silence of a beach stroll with an endless, unsolicited surf forecast. But after spending a good chunk of the last year searching in vain for the perfect wave, I cannot help but notice the ocean's infinite moods. A stroll on the beach is not just a fresh escape but a study of wind direction and the indigosilver shapes forming on the shore. It is a perpetual decision process, wondering whether I'd rather be in the ocean. On this particular day, on a hike with old friends near Santa Cruz, I was more than happy to stay silent on dry land.

We went looking for a free campsite high up in the mountains. An hour of driving away from the coast got us so high in elevation that we had to start worrying about snow on the roads again. Playing it safe, we opted for the campsite at lower elevations, and the next day they closed the mountain pass due to snow and storm damage.

Spent two days trying to paddle through the washing machine conditions at Jalama. Even though it was sunny and relatively warm, we miss our beloved island. Tofino, we're comin' for ya!

Still dreaming of the extremely shapely storm swell we saw in Mexico. From almost half a mile away, this wave looks way smaller than it really was. We didn't even contemplate jumping into the sea with these monsters firing.

Gale-force winds and an angry ocean greeted us on the Baja coast. After four days of waiting in vain for the waves to get cleaner, we decided to high-tail it through the mud and get north of the border before the rain washed out the roads.

The winter storms forecasted to bring snow to Joshua Tree put a damper on our desert plans. It's hard to trust our old 2WD work van when the roads get slick. Treating this as a blessing in disguise, we decided cut our losses and head south of the border.

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