find awe. radiate optimism

Venice Beach, California

Emerging from a year of cancer treatment and Covid lockdown, by setting out to find the life around me.

Every afternoon, I get on my bike and cycle around Venice Beach and Santa Monica. It’s one part physical health, one part mental health. Embracing sparks of life in everyday moments. Finding wonder in the Californian light. Finding life in others that helps find new life in me.

Nobody can tell me why I got cancer. Without being able to prove it, I feel fairly certain it was stress — from work, the state of the world, from moving fast. Slowing down has connected me to this place more than ever; I’d lived in LA 14 years and my appreciation of the everyday had atrophied. Now, Venice seems more visceral than ever. I’m drawn to the moments of youthful vitality, the quiet moments of reflection, and the weather moving through.

There’s a simplicity to the ways people find joy around the beach; surfers playing with wave energy, skaters flowing with gravity, acrobats exploring their bodies’ capabilities. Together, the healing power of nature, movement, community.

I wrote more about the process of this series here.

Khwai, Okavango Delta, Botswana

When I was 18, I met some people in South Africa who’d just left the Okavango Delta; I can’t remember the details of what they said about it (leopard walked past their campfire? kayak past elephants?), but the way they talked about it stayed with me all these years. They were giddy about the Delta.

So this trip to the watery wonderland was a long time coming. We spent most of our time in Khwai concession — Khwai is a small village on the east side of the Delta; Khwai is also the name of a river, and it’s also the name of a community-run concession (protected wilderness area). Moremi Game Reserve is in this area too, but we spent most of our time in the concession, where we had special moments with leopards, big herds of elephants, the incredibly rare African wild dogs, and so much more.

We stayed at the remarkable Khwai Lediba, and had the fortune of being guided by Phefo, who grew up traversing the Delta in a mokoro with his dad.