It’s a bizarre concept really. Having grown up in capital cities my whole life I had always planned to escape, to go somewhere very far away and seek adventure for myself, just the way I want to. I was inspired by summer on the beach, and winter in the mountains, I wanted it for myself but I’d never considered it from the other side. Bizarre then is the notion that now that this is my life, time spent in the city has not only become novel, it has become rare. The fact of the matter is I absolutely love Boston. More comparable with Edinburgh, with home, than any other city I’ve visited in America. It’s beautiful, clean and lush, big enough that there is always something amazing going down, and small enough that you can reach it with haste. Having lived in Boston before I jumped at the chance to spend some time again, for I have come along way since I last lived in this city. Before, adventure was my prerogative now it’s my vocation. Let’s see what this city really has to offer…
I could think of no better place to spend the season’s change. Hitting the concrete running at the end of summer, I haven’t worn shoes for three months but there is something comforting about the city streets. In a city so densely populated as this there are so many people that as soon as you hit the bricks, you disappear. To indulge in urban delights was my goal from square one, from fast food and movie theatres, to cultural melting pots, real electronic music and big, big parties. With the help of a few good friends I rocked to Pretty Lights on the night of Hallowe’en in the biggest zombie apocalypse on the East Coast. I infiltrated a secret warehouse party in Allston. I made it all the way down to Virginia as part of the University Tour, Charlottesville retains it’s legendary status in my mind as do the kids of UVA – you know who you are. It would be wrong if I were to leave Boston without leaving behind a few mixtapes for the best of them. There is one thing I haven’t done though, I have yet to cycle in Boston. Home to an impressively prolific fixie culture, my brother rides fixed gear through the streets of London and makes it look good, I want to feel what he feels, but that will have to wait until next time. I did however sate for the first time ever, my appetite for driving the city at night. With the right surroundings it transports you, but with the right music it’s magical stuff. I do miss the Nantucket Defender, the soft top beach wagon that runs best on salty dreams and sandy nights, but for a city with sharp edges we were in need something a little more punchy. Not to be outdone by their own track record of killing it, at every opportunity, Jack Wills brought in the Scout to be Boston’s resident Landrover. A whole twelve months since I last drove her on the 2011 Autumn University Tour, it felt good to be back behind the wheel of my girl. Admittedly the first few hours back on the city streets were a little sketchy, Comm Ave is no beach, but that didn’t last long. After all Scout is the fastest in the fleet…
This Autumn I watched the sky change from the streets of Boston. Before I knew it the nights were dark dark dark, and December was almost upon us, which can only mean one thing. So I consider my novel time in the city from one more angle, I get to thinking about how all that I’ve driven to achieve so far, is everything that I am doing right now. Amazing, that I feel I can stake claim to the achievement of some lofty, farfetched ideals, with such casual prowess. The question at hand is what now? What next? Well now I do it all again, but even better. I’m in now, this is my life and my story. I have my friends, my passion and my momentum.
One ticket to Aspen please…
During my time as a Seasonnaire, Jack Wills has consistently placed opportunity after opportunity in my path. Most notably the chance to spend a summer on Nantucket Island. One summer which turned into three, which in turn became something different altogether, and much, much larger. A dear friend once told me, you can wash the salt from your hair, but there is no way you can get the island out of your blood. And I fear she may be right… I’ve taken so much from this island over my three summers, I’ve done a lot of growing up here. It sounds strange, to grow up in a place where people go to escape growing up. In some ways I feel like Peter Pan. And whilst a skeptic may question the motives of a boy in green tights, who sneaks into bedrooms at night and openly encourages the use of fairy dust. Nobody can deny that he lives a charmed life. Because he of course has captured dreams without sleeping, youth with no elixir, and play with no price. He exists exactly where he wants to be, and nobody can tell him otherwise. Not even Wendy.
Something else Jack Wills has given me is people. I now ‘know people’. I have met, followed, led and ran with some of the most vibrant young upstarts that this life has to offer. I can’t say I’ve enjoyed the company of every single person I’ve come across, but I’ve damn well made the most of the ones I haven’t. The best part is that every now and again, sometimes few and far between, you come across someone that just clicks. Well, I’ve got two.
Dear William & Amber,
There is no question that we have developed our own unique brand of questionable dynamics as a trio this summer, but that’s just it. With a ‘total hours of separation’ count that you could sum up on one hand, throughout a whole summer, we are absolutely three. I could not have foreseen being placed in a close proximity environment with two characters farther in interest but closer in ideals. We are literally the most distant ends of the spectrum to one another, but with common ground right in front of us, on which we danced hard, all summer long. I have now lived with the sassiest bitch and the grumpiest lad. King William, you give the warmest hugs, you have lushest locks, cook the meanest banquets and purvey your own brand of honesty that strikes a relentlessly unforgivable balance between humour and clarity that I will miss without end. Princess Amber, you do have the bluest eyes, you do have the tannest skin and you do have the brightest smile. You captured the heart of every American boy on the island and then left them in the dust on the dancefloor, you will always be my partner, you will always be the Princess and you absolutely will not stop until you get to the beach. I will miss you so. This is not my first summer, but this has definitely been the best. I am honoured that I got to be the one to show you my Nantucket, and delighted that you both pushed me forward in ways that were just for me. I have learned so much from being around both of you that I am walking away with a new stance, I walk taller now. 22 is supposed to be the age when a young man figures out exactly who he wants to be, I may not be able to wax seal it quite that eloquently, but my puzzle pieces have definitely started lining up. I don’t know where I’m going, but I damn well know how to get there. Thank you for my best summer yet – I love you both. You fucking virgins.
Leaving the island behind is a scary prospect, I haven’t worn shoes for four months and I don’t know if I’m ready to see a traffic light again. Truthfully there is no place I have found that I would rather be for summer than right here. Apparently the world is bigger than Nantucket, but I know for a fact that there is nowhere quite like it, because life is different here – island time is potent. Now that my days have numbers I get this fuzzy feeling every time I set foot on the beach. I think of every single person that has played a part in shaping the experience of my summers, and I wonder if I will ever find another place with as much virtue to be found, as this island has to look for. I admit that thinking about the big question mark makes me nervous, but I swore by the unknown back when I left for my big adventure. One thing is for sure, it’s the people that make this place beautiful…
I have seen sides of this island that long time lovers of Nantucket might only ever wish to taste, and I still haven’t been to the Whaling Museum. I never dreamed there would be so much adventure to be found on such a small spit of sand, but it’s the unseen moments of summer that become the defining lines of experience, enjoy the pictures because they don’t even come close. The moments that matter are the ones you share, when every possible variable all around you lines up just right, and for a short while they all sing in unison to let you know that you are here, now, and no one can ever change that.
Thank you Nantucket, I will never forget.
Sitting in the Jack Wills Summer House with the windows up and doors wide open, my skin is brown and my arm hairs are blonde. I’m back for the summer and feeling good.
Every winter I gain so much momentum, led by freedom and fed by passion, all along the mountain tops. But stepping off the ferry the island comes rushing back with the smell of sea air. My summer months were always about living Island Time, about slowing down and feeling the breeze. Every summer I would live to give in to the tide, to bank more beach time than your next man and absorb every piece of depth the island had to offer. Naturally each year my perspective has shifted a little. Gradually sinking into the island, looking past the postcards and trinkets that enchant the masses, and seeing and breathing the real island, with the real gems. Gems that you don’t talk about, out of respect for their privacy. By it’s very definition, it’s the secrecy that makes a secret special. Perspective is a unique concept by essence, and mine is no exception. Island time is no longer about sleeping in and being late. Island time is about never stopping, squeezing every ounce of gold out of the afternoon light, and every gram of silver from the stars. Flying high, seeking adventure at every turn, and sleeping on the beach when you’re done. Jack Wills Seasonnaires
I’ve grown so much during my time spent on Nantucket. It’s a bizarre environment. You can get up to more mischeif in one summer than you would in a full year anywhere else, in whatever form that entails. Summer on the island is like an experience multiplier, life times 3. Nowadays there is perpetually something happening somewhere, the only question any more is which path will be the most fun? And just how much can you get away with…
Like in any environment there are so many factions that exist on the island, the way they all fit together and spill over is fascinating. I’d love to look over a social/political map of the island because you’d best believe it would be intricate. But no matter where you come from, or from which angle you look, the real magic of the island is in the youth. The generation of college kids that arrives every year to spend the best summer of their lives rolling in the sand, exploring the secrets, falling in love and getting into trouble with their friends. Nobody can put a measure on the richness and value in the experience alone, of living out every day amongst the boys and girls of summer who come just as sure as they go. Such a big part of the glow is the mortality of the experience itself. All good things come to an end, so live now and think later. If you can capture even a slice of this you will see what Nantucket is really about. If only for a split second, you will know the island.
A playground the likes of which most people will never see, or even dream of. There are rules of course, and there are restrictions, some stringent and some less so but they all exist for a reason; without them the island would have lost it’s charm long ago. Now I’m staring straight down the barrel of my third summer. As with any rulebook some rules were made to be bent, and others made to be broken. Half the fun is not getting caught…
I love this island.
Once again I reached the end of winter. And once again it was the best winter of my life. Charmed is the man who claims the best 6 months of his life, twice a year. Charmed is how I feel. Once more the snow was melting, and once more seasonal lovers were left to cry over their smashed prospects as adventurers laced up their boots and zipped up their bags in favour of looking to the horizon. This winter was like no other for me, personally, professionally and passionately. It seems the deeper into snowboarding I go, the more I fall in love.
This winter I feel like I came of age as an instructor. I discovered how to lead my students through discovery and progression in a way that focussed entirely on squeezing every ounce of experience from it all, every step of the way. I got fired for the first time in my life. But in the same winter I truly found the way I love to teach, and the way I love to lead. By playing with the mountains.
This winter I unlocked my freestyle. For the longest time I’ve had the foundations to fly in any direction, but let’s face it, freestyle is it. I found my true riding partner, his name is Ricky Ryan, he is my best friend in Aspen and I owe him some fire. Like Daedalus, he taught me how to fly. This winter I got my first 540, and my second 540, Frontside and Switch Frontside. I was going for all 4 5s but I caught an injury right at the beginning of park season which definitely put a stop in my progression. Dislocated a rib on my lower left side, far from pleasant and an injury that is apparently not supposed to be possible. Logical then, that the only other person I know to have suffered such an ailment is my father, when I am very much my father’s son. To put it bluntly, I fell out of the sky.
This winter was the first time I’d ever returned to a ski town during my 4 years in North America. I was able to build limitlessly on the foundations that I had put down the year before. I saw sides of Aspen and Snowmass that I could only dream of before, I followed every trail, scent, rumour and rope until my appetite was sated of adventure and mischief. I got to spend a whole nother winter working with one of the most inspiring, and forward thinking organizations I am so lucky to be a part of, the Aspen Snowmass Ski & Ride School. I got to spend another winter shooting and playing with the amazing, versatile and dynamic Content Crew, trumped in their collective awesomeness only by the spectacular individual prowess of the characters that make it a collective. You know who you are. In short, for a whole 6 months I got to blend the lines of passion and professionalism with some of the coolest people I will ever meet. For the first time since I left home, I found home. And with it comes the very first taste of my nomadic lifestyle finally reaching an anchor. My heart is in the mountains.
This life I have come to lead in pursuit of experience, inspired by heroes and dedicated to forward movement. Spurred into extraordinary situations by the insatiable allure of unique experience and the richness of living young and wild, and free.
My last month in Aspen was spent riding slush pools and monster trucking turf patches, in tank tops and sunscreen with my very best friends. But as with all good things, eventually winter must always come to an end. The snow melts and the rivers swell. We are left with no choice but to turn our faces to the wind and look for the sun. I love winter with all my heart but but I also love being a Seasonnaire, and the flowers I can see sprouting in the pavements mean that something special is on the horizon. Summer is coming, and I feel the pull of the tide. Sometimes the best feeling in the world is just giving in. Aspen to Nantucket. See you on the island…
And then I went to Coachella…
But I didn’t just go. I went with three of my favorite snow kids from Aspen ever. Cali Babe, Vegan Babe and Mega Babe.
So poor were our efforts to prepare, and so stacked against us the odds of the car even making it. That I believe somewhere along the road in Aspen, all of us cast out our fears of time, money and concealment. If this were any other trio of girls I would have been locked in a flaming pillar of regret from the very beginning. But it wasn’t . The moment we stepped in the car we had passed the point of no return. From then on it was about making it to California, nothing else mattered. Before we knew it we were blasting through the Nevada desert on a babestation road trip where everything and everyone we touched worked out in our favour. Without any of us even noticing, the trip went from “fuckwherearemykeys” to “catchusifyoucan”. How could we not make it?
With three babes at my side we barreled across state lines destroying vegas, hollywood and about a thousand of those windmills that turn wind into electricity. Instead of wind into flour. Whoever bridged that gap was a legend. Without even trying we had hookups everywhere we turned, we slept comfortably and drove with feet up. We turned great friends into a 4 person adventure unit and we absolutely would not stop until we reached the West Coast.
We finally reached the gates to Coachella at sundown on Thursday night. Resourcefully, the babes had stocked up on Four Loko “babejuice” in Vegas and cracked it for the ‘roll-in period’ of pre festival STOKE(D)CHELLA. That night we setup our little crib away from the mountains. We had the smallest, most gnarly looking little tent on the whole block. 147th and Park Ave. But we had an air mattress power pad that reached wall to wall, and the best babes on the block all in one place. Jealous?
I honestly swear I went into that festival with such noble aspirations, to capture everything and produce one megalodon piece of content on the flip side. But I woke up that morning to 106degree heat, in a lush green polo field in the middle of the californian desert, surrounded by palm trees, with jurassic park hills and blazing blue sky for miles. That kind of changed everything. So I took a deep breath and I laid down my camera. Coachella, after all, was my reward to me after the best winter of my life. A bizarre feeling, setting aside my content driven aspirations in favour of whole hearted absorption of experience alone. Full circle. I was 22, in California, and it felt great, to hold something back for my eyes only.
Being in the mix at Coachella was like no experience before it. Festival people are some of my favorite people in the whole world, they are free and they fall in love every day. I saw so much beautiful music and went from vibing to The Weeknd and Frank Ocean, laying under the stars to Explosions In The Sky, and surviving a full-scale galactic space war with Swedish House Mafia. Except instead of death there was dance, and instead of lasers there were more lasers. And then I saw Dre.
I would delight in showng you everything we did. But I take even more pleasure in holding back. If any of you ever actually find me, I promise I’ll tell you all about it…