Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

The Complete ON THE ROAD Blog Series (So Far)

Click on image to go to blog entry

Chapter 1, Early June 2011:
On Chucking It All and Going On the Road
Ontheroad1 chucking it all
Chapter 2, Mid-June 2011:
Prepping for the Road
Prepping for road blkborder
Chapter 3, Late June 2011:
Before I Take Off
Before i take off
Chapter 4, July 2011:
Letter from L.A.
Letter fm LA
Chapter 5, July 2011:
Malibu Photo Shoot with Steve Chen
Malibu w stevechen
Chapter 6, August 2011:
Letter from Lincoln
Lincoln w type
Chapter 7, September 2011:
Letter from Baltimore
Baltimore
Chapter 8, October 2011:
Letter from Honolulu
Honolulu hawaii beach
Chapter 9, November-December 2011:
Letter from Brazil
Letterfrombrazil
Chapter 10, February 2012:
Leaving Home…Going Home
Leavinghome goinghome
Chapter 11, July 2012:
Letter from Dakota Street
Ds instudio
Chapter 12, October 2012:
Letter from Banff
Letter from banff header
Chapter 13, November 2012:
Letter from Santo Domingo, Part 1:
Arrival in the Dominican Republic,
and Photo Shoot with Muscleboy Jeison
Header letter stodomingo 1
Chapter 14, November 2012:
Letter from Santo Domingo, Part 2:
Dominican Boys Gone Wild
Letter fm sto domingo part2 B
Chapter 15, November 2012:
Letter from Santo Domingo, Part 3:
Javier: The Boy Can’t Help It
Ltr fm sto domingo part3 B
Chapter 16, December 2012:
Letter from Santo Domingo, Part 4:
TROUBLE, and Getting Wet in Cabarete
Ltr fm sto domingo part4
Chapter 17, December 2013:
Winter 2013: Everything Changes

Winter2013 everythingchanges cropped
Chapter 18, February 2014:
On The Road: Walking The Tightrope

Walkingthetightrope header

Baltimore.jpg

Click here to access all entries in Douglas Simonson’s “On the Road” Series


I left Lincoln, Nebraska on September 2 to fly to New Orleans. My father called me the night before to say, “Have you been watching the weather news?” He wanted me to know there was a tropical storm bearing down on New Orleans with lots of flooding predicted. He didn’t think it was a good time to go.

I went anyway.

No way was I going to miss my first Southern Decadence. I figured the experience of a bunch of gay men drinking, dancing and getting decadent in the streets could only be enhanced by additional moisture. As it turned out, I was right–kind of.

southerndecadence-crowd2.jpg

Early afternoon. Things were just getting started on Saturday.




southerndecadence-crowd.jpg

Taken from upstairs on the outside balcony of Bourbon Pub Parade



I met lots of new friends, I ran into some friends from Hawaii, I got very wet, and I had a lot of fun dancing in the rain. Only thing I didn’t get was laid. But that was as it should be. I love the idea of sleazy sex in the streets, but what I really want is a romantic connection. Things like Southern Decadence are no longer destinations for me–they’re more like speed bumps. But I’m glad I went, for the lessons learned.

southerndecadence-rain.jpg

Sunday evening. I ran back to my hotel and arrived totally soaked.

Sunday evening I returned to my hotel room at 10:30pm and packed because my shuttle to the airport was scheduled for an ungodly hour: 3:20am. There was one other passenger in the shuttle, a tall, beautiful woman from Australia named Kath, with whom I felt an immediate connection. Kath was on her way to spend a month in Havana. She and I talked about healing, energy work, and a myriad of other subjects all the way to the airport, then managed to get seats next to each other on the flight to Miami, and again talked the whole way, despite the small amount of sleep we were both functioning on. When I said goodbye to her in the Miami airport, we exchanged email addresses and gave each other a big hug. Interesting that the strongest connection I made with anyone in my Southern Decadence stopover was a spiritual one.

downstream-ramsesnow.jpg

Ramses in a painting from the early 90s, and how he looks now

I arrived in Baltimore a few hours later, and there was my old friend Ramses to pick me up. I’d seen him just a few weeks before at Gina’s place in LA, and it was great to see him again so soon. Ramses modeled for me almost 20 years ago, and at 40, he still looks so good he could easily model for me again if he wanted to. He’s been trying to get me to visit him in Baltimore for years and I finally made it.

ramses-infrontofhouse.jpg

Ramses in front of his house

Ramses owns a gorgeous old 3-storey brick house built in the 1890s. He gave me my own room and bathroom on the 3rd floor, and he let me set up my drawing station at one end of his dining-room table.

ds-diningroom-working.jpg

Me working in Ramses' dining room

I’ve spent my 10 days here in Baltimore working (drawing every day) and hanging out with Ramses in the evenings, going out for food and drink, and meeting lots of new friends.

ds-w-ramses-n-frds.jpg

With Ramses and some his (and now my) friends

I’ve also been doing yoga almost every day. In the absence of easy transportation to a yoga class in Baltimore, I’ve created a daily at-home routine using the YouTube videos of Yogatic.com featuring Esther Eckart. These are great yoga videos for home use. I created a playlist of 8 of my favorite Yogatic.com videos to follow and it’s almost as good as going to a class. The challenges of being on the road for months at a time mean I must take good care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually, and my yoga practice is a big part of that.

ds does yoga-2up.jpg

Doing yoga in Ramses' living room

While I was in Baltimore I finished a new colored-pencil drawing of Sam, and filled a good portion of my newest sketchbook. I even did a drawing of Ramses with his beloved (spoiled) cat Maxwell.

FB-sam-finished.jpg

New colored-pencil drawing of Sam I finished while in Baltimore

ramses_n_maxwell.jpg

Ramses and his cat Maxwell!

Tomorrow I fly back to Hawaii for a 2-week breather, thus wrapping up the first couple of months of my year-long adventure. I’ll stay in Hawaii for about 2 weeks signing prints, doing catch-up work with my assistant, and doing some painting (that’s one thing I haven’t yet found a way do on the road). Then I’m off again, and the plan is to do South America. That’s still taking shape and you’ll be hearing about it soon.

lincoln-w-type.jpg

Click here to access all entries in Douglas Simonson’s “On the Road” Series


• HANGING OUT WITH KELLY
• DRAWING, WRITING, PUBLISHING
• HEALING STUFF
• WHERE TO NEXT?

HANGING OUT WITH KELLY

I’ve now been in Lincoln, Nebraska staying with my sister Kelly for 2 weeks.

kelly300pxwide.jpg

I like staying with my sister Kelly because she’s very supportive of my art and she always gives me a great space in which to be creative. Plus she likes to hang out, drink beer, listen to music, and talk about art, design, books, being an entrepreneur, cute boys, and other stuff we both like…so we have fun.

My dad has been generous and loaned me his truck so I have transportation. And I’m spending time with my mom, PJ, who is in a memory-care center (more about that below under Healing Stuff).

I’ve also found a yoga studio where I can take classes, and a great YMCA where I can work out. So I’m staying in shape mentally, physically, spiritually…and of course I’m drawing, writing and publishing.


DRAWING, WRITING, PUBLISHING

While in Lincoln, I’ve been very productive. I completed a sketchbook…

2011sketchbook-8up.jpg

A few pages from my latest sketchbook, 2009-2011, which contains 80 pages of drawings

I’ve produced a new group of rough sketches…

aug2011sketches-7up.jpg

Some of my latest bunch of rough sketches. Click on the image to see the Rough Sketches Gallery on my website.

and I put together and published my 4th e-book, Brazilian Boys.

brazboys-ebook-7up.jpg

The cover and some of the page spreads from my 4th and latest e-book, Brazilian Boys (don't worry, the images are not censored in the e-book)

And there’s something else I’ve been doing…



HEALING STUFF

While I’m in Lincoln, I’m spending time with my mom, PJ, who is 82, has dementia and is in a memory care facility. Her awareness of the world around her comes and goes. This would be a very sad and frustrating thing for me if it were not for Quantum Touch.

A couple of years ago, I came across a book called Quantum Touch, which claimed anyone could learn how to heal others. I read that and thought, okay, I doubt it, but I’m intrigued. I took the book home and started doing exercises in “running energy”.

quantumtouchbook-cover.png

This is the book that turned me on to Quantum Touch

I was surprised to discover I really COULD feel the energy in my body, and could influence it just by intention. I wondered what it would be like to try the Quantum Touch techniques on another person.

A few days after that, my Brazilian Portuguese tutor, Luzia, called me up and said she couldn’t make our scheduled Portuguese lesson because her homeopath had given her an injection and missed the vein. Her right arm and hand were swollen and incredibly painful. I told her, Hey, why don’t you come over anyway? There’s something I’d like to try on you.

She was in so much pain she said okay, I’ll try anything. So she came over to my apartment and I had her sit on my couch and I sat next to her and laid my hands gently on her arm (VERY gently–she was in so much pain she could hardly stand to have me touch it), and “ran energy” into it for the next hour or so.

What happened amazed us both.

I found I could not only feel the energy buzzing in my hands, I could actually feel the energy moving in her body as well. And I could feel the nature of the energy changing as her arm responded.

It took about 45 minutes of “running energy” for the pain to go from a 10 to a 2 and for the swelling to reduce noticeably. (The next day, Luzia told me the pain was almost completely gone and her arm looked and felt normal again.)

I was blown away, not only by the fact that the technique worked, but also by my experience of actually feeling energy move in another person’s body.

That was my first experience with Quantum Touch, and since then, I’ve done it a lot, and learned a lot. And it’s not a totally unselfish thing; the healing happens to me, too. I’ve learned to love the sensation of connection and well-being that happens when I’m acting as a channel for that healing energy.

So when I visit PJ in the memory-care facility, I tell her, I’m going to run some energy on you now. She says okay, and I sit next to her, put my hands on her shoulders or her arms or hold her hands, and begin breathing and focusing. My hands start to buzz and I start to feel her body relaxing and responding. PJ gets very calm. Sometimes she goes to sleep. And sometimes she starts humming. I think of it as purring.

I don’t expect to reverse her dementia or anything like that. One of the things I’ve learned about running energy is that having expectations really gets in the way. I’m just there to provide healing energy and whatever happens, happens. And what happens is, PJ feels calmer, stronger and better for my having been there. That’s a gift, for both of us.


WHERE TO NEXT?

There’s a wild event in New Orleans I’ve always wanted to attend, but living in Hawaii, everything always seemed (and was) so far away. Now that I’m in Nebraska, New Orleans seems so close! So in a few days, I’m going to experience Southern Decadence for the first time. After that experience—and I will report on it!—it’s off to Baltimore, my first time in that city, to visit my friend Ramses. Then in mid-September, back to Hawaii for a few days to check in, sign prints, and get a little dose of the islands before I take off again…

Letter fm LA

Click here to access all entries in Douglas Simonson’s “On the Road” Series


PART 1: ESCAPE from STUFF!

I am in Los Angeles, having finally made my escape from Hawaii.

I don’t mean that quite like it sounds. It’s not about an escape from Hawaii. The “escape” has more to do with getting rid of possessions which had begun to possess me. The final days before I left were all about dealing with all that…STUFF. I was selling stuff, giving away stuff, throwing away stuff, and still keeping way too much stuff. There are boxes and boxes of it at my office.

But there’s a plan to get rid of it.

Each time I come back for a week-long check-in visit to Hawaii (the first one will be in September), I will sort through more of it and get rid of more of it. I’ve realized getting rid of stuff is a major theme for me these days.

So…going on this year-long journey is not so much about the travel as about the LETTING GO and LIGHTENING UP.

And even though I headed for the airport on Sunday with a huge suitcase weighing 60 lbs. and a very stuffed carry-on, it feels great to know this is all the stuff I need to have in my life right now. Plus I will lighten and refine the load during my travels, as it becomes clearer what’s really essential and what’s not.

PART 2: REUNION WITH GINA AND RAMSES IN L.A.

GINA has been a significant part of my artistic life ever since that day in Honolulu in 1986 when the phone rang and I picked it up to hear a female voice saying, “Hi, you don’t know me but I’ve seen your art and my boyfriend would be a PERFECT MODEL for you!” The boyfriend was indeed a perfect model. He is long gone, but Gina and I are still friends 25 years later, and when I’m in LA she is the person I stay with.

One of our best and most memorable times together was in Brazil in 2004 when I did my first Brazilian male-nude photo shoot as a direct result of Gina’s finding a boy on the beach who became my Rio talent scout. My friend Ramses was also on that trip, and the three of us totally bonded as a result of our Brazilian adventure together.

brazil-mar2004-0290.jpg

This is us in Brazil in 2004: Luiz, Gina, Ramses, Douglas. (Luiz, also known as Gui, is the Brazilian boy Gina met by chance on the beach who became my Brazil talent scout and 'events coordinator'. He's an actor in Canada these days.)

ramz-gina-coconut-ipanema.jpg

Ramses and Gina on the beach at Ipanema during our Brazil trip.

As it turns out, Ramses is on the West Coast at the moment, and has altered his plans so he can come to LA and hang out with us. So it’s a big reunion and the three of us are having a great time hanging out, catching up, and having some new adventures!

ds-ramz-gina-LA.jpg

This is us in LA in 2011. Gina, Gina's cousin AJ, Ramses, Douglas. (Fiesta Cantina on Santa Monica)

PART 3: CREATING ART ON THE ROAD

art-in-prog-ginas-LA.jpg

On the left, a pencil sketch of some palm trees I saw while walking to get groceries in Brentwood. On the right, a colored-pencil drawing of Nohea I've been working on that's about 60% finished.

It’s been a challenge finding time to draw, since I’m staying with two of my favorite people in the world to hang out with. But I’ve been managing. I’ve started a colored-pencil drawing of Nohea that I really like so far. I spend a few hours on it each day. Also did a little sketch of L.A. palm trees.

PART 4: NEEDING SOME ALONE TIME: SETTING BOUNDARIES

Being on the road means spending a lot more time in other people’s spaces.

I’ve been having a wonderful time hanging with Gina and Ramses but I’m realizing something. I am the kind of person who loves being with people, but I can’t do it for too long at a time. I gather energy and find myself by being alone. I get my best ideas, have my clearest reflections and am at my most creative when I’m by myself. Usually I have a LOT of alone time, and I like it. Now that I’m traveling I find I’m with people much of the time and I’m not used to that.

ramz-gina-santamonicapromenade.jpg

Even though I was having an emotional meltdown I still caught some nice images of our evening in Santa Monica on my iPhone.

Last night I had a kind of emotional meltdown because I went out (to the Santa Monica Pier and Promenade area)with Gina and Ramses even though I was already in need of alone time and hadn’t taken it. It was not pretty, but fortunately all was forgiven and we’re all still friends. I’m learning that it’s okay to say, “Guys, I need some alone time,” and go for a walk or to Starbucks or, if one’s available, just shut myself in a room for awhile.

Sometimes I just need to recharge my batteries!

PART 5: PHOTOGRAPHERS AND MODELS

KURT BROWN AND A BEAUTIFUL NEW MODEL


kurt-darius-DS-LA.jpg

I went to lunch with my friend Kurt Brown, a terrific photographer who lives here in LA and who also specializes in the male nude. We talked about everything, but especially models and shooting them and marketing ourselves. I told him all about my e-books, how much fun they are to create and how well they’re selling, and I may be working with him on producing an e-book of his photographs. We also shared lunch with Darius Dio, a stunning 26-year-old who models all over the world (see photos above). He’s a very down-to-earth, easy-going guy, and we talked about working together sometime soon.

PHOTO SHOOT WITH STEVE CHEN

stevechen.png

I’m meeting with Steve Chen (shown above in a shot by David Smith), a bodybuilder who lives here in LA, on Monday, and if all goes well, we’ll do a shoot on Wednesday, probably in Malibu. Steve has worked with my friend Kurt Brown in LA and my friend David Smith in Hawaii. I’m looking forward to photographing his beautiful face and body in the California sun.

PART 6: LOS ANGELES IS F**KING COLD!

I am always amazed at how COLD it is in LA. It seems the whole world has this idea that LA is a hot, sunny place where you can run around in a swimsuit all the time. That sure hasn’t ever been my experience. I always pack a jacket and/or a sweater when I’m coming to LA. It’s July and I just went out to get some groceries and even in the middle of a sunny day I got chilly as soon as I stepped into the shade. And at night, forget it. You will need to bundle up.

I’m not like most people, I guess. I actually enjoy 85-90 degrees and high humidity and no breeze.

With Albuquerque in July being my next stop, I will probably get to find out what it’s like at 100 degrees and NO humidity. Bring it!


If you liked this entry, please click on the Like button. Thanks!

Access all blog entries in Douglas Simonson’s “On the Road” Series here:


Chapter 1
    June 9, 2011   On Chucking It All and Going On the Road

Chapter 2
    June 21, 2011   Prepping to Go on the Road

Chapter 3
    June 29, 2011   Before I Take Off

Chapter 4
    July 18, 2011   Letter from Los Angeles

Chapter 5
    July 28, 2011   Malibu Photo Shoot with Steve Chen

Chapter 6
    August 20, 2011   Letter from Lincoln

Chapter 7
    September 15, 2011   Letter from Baltimore

Chapter 8
    October 27, 2011   Letter from Honolulu

Chapter 9
    December 10, 2011   Letter from Brazil

Chapter 10
    February 3, 2012   Leaving Home…Going Home!

Chapter 11
    July 7, 2012   Letter from Dakota Street

Chapter 12
    October 27, 2012   Letter from Banff

Chapter 13
    November 18, 2012   Letter from Santo Domingo, Part 1

Chapter 14
    November 25, 2012   Letter from Santo Domingo, Part 2

Chapter 15
    November 25, 2012   Letter from Santo Domingo, Part 3

Chapter 16
    December 3, 2012   Letter from Santo Domingo, Part 4


Before i take off

 

Click here to access all entries in Douglas Simonson’s “On the Road” Series

 

 

Okay, it’s June 28th. This was my projected date for flying to LA and beginning “the adventure.”

Well, two things. One, this kind of thing usually takes longer than expected, so I’m fine with that. Two, I have a funny feeling “the adventure” has already begun.

dougs-element-newcar.jpg

Sold my car and the money’s in the bank. It went to really nice people who love my Honda Element as much as I did, and are very happy to have it. I’m happy to be that much lighter. I got a nondescript little rental today and I’m zipping around in that, perfectly happy. Driving a rented car always makes me feel like I’m on vacation.

The apartment has not yet found a tenant. I’m not concerned. The right person always comes along at the right time. I’m a little concerned about how many plants remain in the apartment…but they really add a lot and I like having them there when the apartment is being shown. I’m hoping the new tenant will be a plants person and will be happy to have them.

Now that almost everything is in place, things aren’t so crazy rushed and I have a little bit more time…so maybe I can get a little drawing and painting done before I take off. In fact I may delay my takeoff a bit just so that I can do some painting in my “new” in-office studio. And I’m working on ideas for a new e-book (or two).

There’s also a July 4 pool party at my friends Chris and Will’s which is always one of the best parties of the year (they live in the old Lana Turner estate on Diamond Head and have a huge pool and one of the best party venues of anyone I know, plus they’re good friends and the vibes are always really great there)–and I may stay around so I can go to that. Let’s see, party July 4, recover July 5, fly to LA on July 6? Mmm, maybe.

I said the adventure has already begun, and it has. I really like the looseness and liberty I’m feeling, like being able to leave when I feel like it rather than having to match up to some external schedule…and having only a vague idea of where I’m going and when, and having it be okay that it’s not written in stone, and might change at a moment’s notice. And having some extra money from the sale of the car removes any money pressure I was feeling. Ah, freedom!

That feeling of lightness and freedom makes creating art a lot easier too. We’ll see what I can create before I fly away…

 

NEXT CHAPTER: Letter from L.A.

Prepping for road blkborder

Click here to access all entries in Douglas Simonson’s “On the Road” Series


Three weeks after the momentous decision talked about in my “On Chucking It All and Going On the Road” entry, things have moved along dramatically, and the shape of my life is changing before my eyes.

My studio has now been moved into my office and I’m still unpacking boxes and setting things up. It’ll be a few more days before I can actually start drawing and painting again, but things are moving along.

emptystudio.jpg

A few days ago this was my studio.

I’ve also been selling a lot of stuff—books, CDs, DVDs, luggage, kitchenware, odds and ends. Feels good to be “lightening up.”

The property manager I found has begun advertising the apartment for rent and dealing with prospective tenants. I’m dealing with the limbo state of living between my steadily-less-homelike apartment and my in-office studio, and although I’m impatient to actually get all this preparation out of the way and be on the road, there’s so much to do every day I’m far from bored.

There are long lists of things to do every day, but it’s all getting done. I’ve finally learned, when faced with huge piles of to-do’s between myself and the goal, to not think about the enormity of the task, but just remind myself, sometimes forcefully, “I don’t have to know how everything will get done. I just need to do this one thing I’m doing now.” Amazing how well this works.

One item got taken care of in an unexpected way when the beautiful 21-year-old dancer who had agreed to model for me before I left messaged me on Facebook saying “I don’t feel comfortable modeling nude”. This is after an in-person interview where we talked about every aspect of the gig including my being absolutely clear that it was full-frontal nudity and making sure that he was fine with it.

Oh well. When I was 21 I didn’t always know what I wanted either. (I sometimes don’t now!)

Although I do know, with more clarity than I’ve had about a lot of things, that what I’m doing right now is absolutely what I want. As the day for my departure nears, it all still feels totally right. (Not that I don’t also get nervous and frightened at moments…like sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat…but I just breathe deeply and remind myself that if it wasn’t scary, it wouldn’t be exciting.)

Anyway, a few days from now, when all this minutiae is tidied up, I’ll get on the plane for Los Angeles, where I’ll spend a couple of weeks with my friend Gina. Once I’m there and finally away from Hawaii and my previous life, I hope I’ll be able to decompress and see more clearly what’s next. Although I do have the first couple of months roughly laid out. After L.A. is Albuquerque, where I’ll visit my brother and his wife, then I’ll head up to Nebraska where the rest of the family lives. While I’m doing this California-New Mexico-Nebraska triangle, my passport will be in California getting its Brazil visa renewed so I can head there 2 or 3 months from now. A friend has volunteered his couch in São Paulo.

I also might end up in Australia in October, meeting some Hawaii friends there.

And Puerto Vallarta is calling me again, too…

About travel and living in Hawaii: There are a lot of destinations I’ve fantasized about over the years but was too often stopped by the extra time and money required to get there from these isolated islands. I’m looking forward to being in places that are adjacent to my next exciting adventure spot, rather than always having to deal with the 5-hour flight just to get to a starting point for your journey. I love Hawaii and I’ll always come home to it, but I sure like the idea of already being in New York, for example, when I decide to go to Europe.

plants-on-counter.jpg

I've already sold quite a few of my plants, but I had to move all the ones I still have off the floor so the carpets can be shampooed today.

I’m writing this in the midst of chaos, by the way. The carpet-cleaning people are coming an hour from now and as soon as I finish this, I have to drag all the furniture onto the non-carpeted areas of the apartment so they can do their shampoo thing. Meanwhile I’ll be taking my Honda Element to the carwash to get it spiffed up so I can photograph it and sell it on Craigslist. That’s the last big thing to take care of before I leave.

Still haven’t bought my ticket but that will happen in the next few days. My next post, barring unforeseen happenings, will be either just before I’ve left, or just after arriving in LA. Or maybe it’ll get written on the plane…