Lives On the Road

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos of people who have been traveling in their cars and vans all around the world, and actually living out of them full-time. It’s an interesting concept and something I’ve actually been interested in for a long time. Maybe it started because growing up, one of my best friend’s family owned a VW van which had comfy bench seating, a sink and cabinets, and curtains. It was really cool!

Here are a few of the channels I follow:

  • Live, Work, Wander – These two are a lot of fun to watch. They travel around the US in their VW 4WD “Ripley”, camping, wheeling, and just having a good time. A bit over-the-top with the bathroom humor at times, and their van seems to spend a lot of time in mechanics’ garages, but the production value of their videos is excellent and it’s a neat perspective of an alternative lifestyle. Fun!
  • The Galavan – If you want a real feel-good and relaxing channel to watch, this one fits the bill. She is traveling mostly in the Western US in a large van (or is it a small RV?) and enjoying life. Her gentle way of speaking is refreshing.
  • Hobo Ahle – She’s been living out of her car and now van for a while now, and seems more like a newbie to the nomad life, but it’s nice to see how she lives and has fun on a seemingly limited budget. Her vehicle isn’t yet as built-out as others on this list so the evolution is interesting. And she has a great positive attitude!
  • CamperVanCulture.com – This family from the UK has some amazing overland travel videos in Europe and Northern Africa. The drone footage is excellent in their Arctic series too! I really enjoy their camping adventures, especially because they have a lot of footage of the scenery and no over-the-top dialog. Very laid back and enjoyable.
  • Phil and Vanessa Chan – This couple has been living out of their Honda Element in California for over a year, but just recently sold it so they could begin their European adventures in a van. Lots of great tips about daily life in an extremely small space. I can’t wait to see their next chapter in Europe!

There are many good YouTube channels like these to find and watch and it’s cool and inspiring to see people living lives outside of the “normal” rat-race. The life of a modern-day nomad is pretty intriguing, isn’t it?

On a side note, there’s been a lot of criticism lately about YouTubers and YouTube itself, but there’s a lot of great, original, independent content of all kinds to be watched. I think it’s so much better than watching corporate network television.

またね~

Back to Texas

"Airport Life" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“Airport Life” Los Angeles, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Well, today we flew back home to Texas. It was a wonderful trip, and we miss California and our family, but it’s nice to see our kitties again. 🐱❤️

Until next time, California! 😎🌴☀️

"California" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“California” Los Angeles, 2017

UCLA, Bowling, and Curry

"UCLA" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/750 sec, ISO200
“UCLA” Los Angeles, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today we took the high school kids (Bay and his two cousins) to the UCLA campus to check it out. There were actually quite a few people there visiting, unlike the ghost town that Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was, so that was cool. Unfortunately, almost all the buildings were closed for Winter break. Still, it was fun to walk around one of the top schools in the country.

"UCLA" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/1250 sec, ISO200
“UCLA” Los Angeles, 2017

For myself, it was very 懐かしい (nostalgic) because I used to work at UCLA for a couple years in the mid 90s. There were quite a few changes, but for the most part, it felt the same. Lots of memories came floating back to me, especially remembering places we used to rollerblade, the route we used to take when we went running, and the places we used to get lunch. Good memories for sure!

"Let's Bowl" Torrance, 2017
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/30 sec, ISO400
“Let’s Bowl” Torrance, 2017

In the afternoon we hit the bowling alley, then it was time for dinner at one of our Torrance mainstays: CoCo Ichibanya. When you order curry there, you can specify the level of spiciness, with 1 being the mildest and 10 the hottest. I usually get 10, and today was no different. I’d have to say it was the mildest 10 I’ve had there so far, but it was still satisfying and yummy. 🍛

"Level 10" Torrance, 2017
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/15 sec, ISO500
“Level 10” Torrance, 2017

I hope you had a nice day!

おやすみ!

Stadium Tour

"Stadium Tour" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO1600
“Stadium Tour” Los Angeles, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today we made a pilgrimage of sorts to the home of our favorite baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. We’ve done the tour before, by it was my nephew’s first time so we decided to all take it again. I’m glad we did, because the tour has been improved since we took it a few years ago, with more interesting historical facts, a tour of the press box, and generally more time to spend in each location, including the dugout.

It was a great little highlight of the vacation! I definitely recommend the Dodger Stadium Tour to any baseball fan. ⚾️

"Historic Logos" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/10 sec, ISO6400
“Historic Logos” Los Angeles, 2017
"Cool Car" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/13 sec, ISO6400
“Cool Car” Los Angeles, 2017
"Dugout Family" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/125 sec, ISO500
“Dugout Family” Los Angeles, 2017

Taiwanese Breakfast, Escape Room, and Mexican Feast

"Taiwanese Breakfast" Monterey Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/125 sec, ISO1600
“Taiwanese Breakfast” Monterey Park, 2017

こんばんは。

Today Bay, Mariko, and I drove up to Monterey Park so Mariko could meet up with her friend. Bay and I decided to join them for a light Taiwanese breakfast. It was pretty good, although it was more fried food than I was expecting.

After that, Bay and I visited a record store where I bought a few albums for myself and a couple gifts for friends, and then we met up with my family for a trip up to an escape room in North Hollywood. It was lot of fun, and we successfully escaped!

"Mural" Los Angeles, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/250 sec, ISO200
“Mural” Los Angeles, 2017

After the escape room, we asked the guy working there if he knew a good Mexican restaurant, and he immediately recommended Salsa & Beer. His suggestion was right on, as it was an excellent meal! I’d have to rate it towards the top of my Mexican restaurants. Delicious, inexpensive, and huge portions. Definitely worth a visit!

"Mexican Meal" North Hollywood, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/4 sec, ISO6400
“Mexican Meal” North Hollywood, 2017

Now, I must sleep… take care!

またね~

Christmas Day

"Stockings" Torrance, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.2, 1/60 sec, ISO3200
“Stockings” Torrance, 2017

Merry Christmas everyone! 🎅🎄☃️🎁

Tonight we ate our traditional Hawaiian feast: lau lau, kalua pig, dried fish, lomi salmon, mac salad, char siu, poké, and musubi. This meal is one of the highlights of my year! I hope you also enjoyed a nice Christmas dinner with your loved ones. ❤️💚

"Hawaiian Meal" Torrance, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.2, 1/125 sec, ISO5000
“Hawaiian Meal” Torrance, 2017

Xmas Eve

"Dumplings" Torrance, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO2500
“Dumplings” Torrance, 2017

Hello! Happy Christmas eve! This evening we went out for dinner at Din Tai Fung, which is a popular Taiwanese restaurant. The dumplings were so good!

This location we went to was at the Del Amo Fashion Center, which is the mall that we always used to go to when I was growing up since it was only a few minutes away. But nowadays, so much has changed that I hardly recognize it! But, I’m glad that this restaurant is there. 😄

Earlier in the day, I went with my mom to King’s Hawaiian Bakery to pick up a cake for Christmas day. It was super-crowded, but they had plenty of cakes to go around. Can’t wait to dig into the Haupia cake tomorrow!

"Haupia Cakes" Torrance, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.2, 1/300 sec, ISO200
“Haupia Cakes” Torrance, 2017

I hope you had a nice day!

おやすみ

Big Sur and Back Home

"Coastline" Big Sur, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/8, 1/200 sec, ISO200
“Coastline” Big Sur, 2017

こんばんは。

Today we headed down the coast to Big Sur for breakfast at Big Sur Bakery. The scenery along PCH was breathtaking, and because of the road closure farther down the coast, the traffic was very light. When we arrived at the bakery, there were only a couple of others there so it was a relaxed and carefree meal.

After fueling up our bodies with coffee and pastries, we drove back up the coast to Monterey, then across to the highway and on to our next stop, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. We wanted to check out the campus, but since it was holiday break, the school was empty and the buildings were locked. So we walked around a bit before continuing our journey back to Southern California. But it was neat to finally see the campus where I almost went to school back in the 90’s.

My brother and his fiancee were having an ugly sweater party, so we went straight there, ate dinner, and partied for a bit before returning to my parents’ house in Torrance.

It was a long day, but filled with cool sights, tasty treats, and fun times. The best kind of travel!

おやすみ!

"Coastline" Big Sur, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/8, 1/340 sec, ISO200
“Coastline” Big Sur, 2017
"Hallway" San Luis Obispo, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5, 1/125 sec, ISO800
“Hallway” San Luis Obispo, 2017
"Party Fujimotos" Redondo Beach, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.2, 1/60 sec, ISO3200
“Party Fujimotos” Redondo Beach, 2017