photography and text by CAMERON SMITH
You gotta lose some weight to get ready for the road, so we’ve sold or given away nearly everything we own. We have become material anorexics. I traded my iPad to an alcoholic couple living in a barn in Ventura for a Honda XL600. My love, Kat, buys a cheap Yamaha — another old racehorse ready for the glue factory.
We have almost begun to travel, even without leaving; we are already living on the road. We bought an old ambulance and have been sleeping in it, parked next to our friend Mark Engle’s San Diego engine shop. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “I have a motorcycle and a sleeping bag, what more do I need?” and that’s enough for Kat and me. Nothing tastes as good as
being light feels.
It turns out it takes a lot of work to polish, weld, and wrench a turd before it can become a well-oiled machine. Still, I would recommend it to everybody, as you will learn a whole lot about your ride if you build it piece-by-piece. You’ll learn other things, too. That’s the fortuitous side effect of the creative process. Using the lathe and mill, I turn raw metal into useful shapes, like suspension components and engine parts. I weld on the frame, strengthening it, and I make racks and brackets. I sew waterproof saddlebags from cheap surplus army satchels, and turn tent poles on the lathe. Working with one’s hands is the closest a man can get to conception: turning nothing into something.
We choose to ride on motorcycles, for they belong halfway between the world of the hitchhiker and the pilot. Fast, but close to the earth. Immersed in reality, without screens of any kind. Sights and smells hit us at 70 miles per hour, and unlike train-hopping, we can derail anywhere we please. We’d learned this a couple of years before, when one day we bought a dirt bike in London and the next day drove it as far south as our bike and bodies would allow —which, as it turned out, was Nigeria.
Now, we’re planning the same improvised escape, starting this time from Southern California. I wonder where we could end up and what to expect. How will we cross The Darién Gap in Panama, where there is just forest and no roads? What is the Amazon like? Is it true, as Frank Black says, that there’s a Los Angeles in Chilean Patagonia? Who knows how far we will go and how many miles we will travel.
[Table of contents]
Two girls in Shikoku and the Seto Inland Sea _ Japan
by Erika Kurihara
Carsten Höller in Kinshasa _ Democratic Republic of the Congo
by Carsten Höller
Robert MacFarlane _ Walking and the Wilderness
by Xerxes Cook
A day in Beirut with Charbel Haber from Scrambled Eggs _ Lebanon
by Negar Azimi
Two-Way Mirror / Hedge Arabesque by Dan Graham _ Fondazione Zegna _ Trivero _ Italy
by Xerxes Cook
Eileen Gray’s e.1027 house, 1929 _ (before renovation) _ Roquebrune- Cap-Martin _ France
by Peter Lyle
Shiraz to Esfahan (and back again) _ Iran
by Xerxes Cook
Bordallo Pinheiro Garden _ Lisbon _ Portugal
by João Basto
Terry Richardson x Jack Pierson _ Ready-made poems _ United States
by Terry Richardson and Jack Pierson
Christmas in Patagonia _ Argentina
by Max Farago
Cameron Smith and Kat Hessen _ On the road again
by Cameron Smith
Just back from Havana by Gary Indiana _ Cuba
by Gary Indiana
Victoire de Castellane _ Seychelles 2003 and Île de Ré 2013
Victoire de Castellane