La Méricaine is the story of a french girl living the american dream. as a big fan of clothes that don't look like clothes at a first glance the beautiful blankets and capes immediately rised my spirit of adventure. Valerie Hernandez created a true homage to the great outdoors and is bringing the adventurous life of the prairies to the city streets and beyond. the world needs more stories like this.
how is it for you to run your own company after having worked as a designer in the sports fashion industry for many years?
it's a great feeling to work by oneself. I am responsible for my choices and decisions. I had the chance to work in large industries where I have learned a lot. today I can make use of the experience in my entrepreneurial life. I work with French suppliers I've known for a long time. it is very important for me to contribute to the French industry.
your collection is inspired by the native american tribes. what fascinates you about them?
I chose the Indian inspiration because I like these people for a very long time, because of their colours, their tradition and their blankets of course. they wear similar heavy wool coats for their entire lives: from birth to marriage until death. for them life is a journey with no end.
imagine yourself being wrapped up in a blanket next to a cozy fire place. where would it be and who would be with you?
I can imagine myself being wrapped in a blanket with my boyfriend watching a cool movie with a glass of red wine, it's a bit a cliché, haha!
longboarding brings skating brings happiness brings places and people. one of those amazing people I got to know through longboarding is Janine La Franca. Janine belongs to the fearless girls who go downhill without turning their hair. she's a ball of energy and no surprise she's ambassador of the longboard girls crew pushing girls into longboarding – the thing that changed her life. in the beginning of this year her passion brought her to Israel. and because guest posts are my favourite posts Janine is taking over.
Israel – surrounded by conflicts but never the less a home for countless nations and religions. not necessarily the number one travel destination for a lot of people. until some time ago I did not have any connection to this country or its inhabitants. not till my friends from LGC went there to make a longboard movie last year.
it surprised me in a way but at the same time it made me really curious. because even in the small world of longboarding, this fact lead to differences of opinion. but Israel means so much more then political and religious conflicts. even if they are part of Israeli life. then in January of this year I suddenly happened to get to know the Israeli hosts of my friends, that in the same time run a longboard company – Dasilva Boards.
we instantly clicked and after a short time an invitation to their home country followed. I decided shorthand that I would love to get this adventure started and to visit the foreign land. for preparation I read a magazine for political education about Israel from 1995 that my sister found while she was clearing up her stuff.
I wanted to stay unprejudiced and for that reason I did not collect further information besides the experiences of friends that went there and told me positive things throughout. shortly after my landing and several safety checks I got a sunny and warm welcome by Ben, one of the founders of Dasilva Boards. the adventure started wit a drive to Ben’s wonderful little country house in the middle of green fields and fragrant orange trees at about 30 minutes away from Tel Aviv.
we were expected by team rider and colleague Ido and a befriended artist that already did some designs for Dasilva Boards under the name Untay.
we spent the first evening very relaxed on the cozy couches on Ben’s terrace with pleasant summery temperatures – and that in march!
the next day I had the pleasure to swim in the Mediterranean sea and to relax in a hammock hanging in the beautiful garden of Ben's friends who live right at the beach front. here I learned about the generosity of Israelis and that togetherness and cohesion are really important for them.
they share what they have and the most important thing is that everyone has a good time! above that I learned that in Israel the Saturday is like our sunday and that sunday is the beginning of the new week. the upcoming days were lead by changeable weather – as did the natural spectacle that I had the chance to experience on our travels from Tel Aviv to the green and luscious North followed by the warm and dry South. In the North at the Lebanese boarder we found new longboard track and shortly tested them on damp ground. wonderfully curved and super fast roads in a dreamy surrounding.
the landscape with its lush green reminded me more of the Black forest (Germany) then of the Mideast or even of the Mediterranean impression from the day before. the air was fresh, clear and cool, the view offered deep green valley and castle forts.
the next day that should already change drastically. we drove down south – into the middle of the Israeli desert – to skate the worlds biggest crater „Mitzpe Ramón“.
it was breathtaking! dunes and sandy rocks as far as you could see. gusts of wind that changed their direction after every corner and every downhill run we did. an experience with the power of nature far off from the waves of the ocean. to round off the spectacle the sun gave us wonderful light as a gift to die away the day. that day I fell in love with the desert...
the greatest thing was that we would soon come back here to celebrate the Purim-Fest. It is similar to the carnival we know but the costumes would be chosen more after characters from fairy tales and fantasies.
in the next days some city-tripping was on the list. Tel-Aviv is an exciting city. In every corner you can find fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices and it smells after oriental spices everywhere.
there are second hand markets, groceries, handcrafted goodies and art all over the city. the inhabitants seem to be self-confident and strong and you find a peaceful togetherness of every skin color, culture and religion. you can easily wander through the allies on your own and find something new and different behind every angle. be it the giant city beach, the beautiful old city of Jaffa with its big arches and little hills and parks, the singing of the Moazin that calls out for the Muslim prayers and alternative quarters like Florentine with its nice bars and terraces. actually Florentine is only a street but all the way you can find cozy cafés run by alternative people having their very unique style. it is a beautiful place to get lost at night and to discover something new all the time. I got especially fascinated by the street art that you can discover also in other parts of Tel-Aviv besides Florentine. And even by getting lost on your own you will never stay alone for long – you meet nice travelers or curious locals that talk to you and like to make you have good times.
the next weekend we packed friends, food, tents, costumes and a big sound system and we started another trip into the desert. unbelievably this day was accompanied by an interplay of rain and sunshine. the result of that were giant, lucent rainbows in the middle of Israel’s desert. first I didn't believe my eyes and was pretty fascinated. and moreover the rain created little rivers on the dry desert ground. They ran through our campground under the tents and dried quickly after.
for the end of my trip we planned to spend a day in Jerusalem. the city is older then our calculation of times and truly had more influence on our daily life of today then any other city. mighty symbols of the most important religions, like mosques, abbeys and synagogues are built next to each other. the city is surrounded by a wall and is separated in a Jewish, Christian, Armenian and Muslim district. When you look down from the accessible rooftops of the city you can find catholic priests walking next to Muslims and orthodox Jews. it's a fascinating floating on the streets on which once Jesus walked. you can observe the wailing wall, that is right next to the temple and where religious Jews speak their wishes to while in the same time young soldiers bearing heavy weapons pass by and distract the view. a city full of contrast right next to each other.
it was an exciting last day in Israel. we enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere at the farewell-evening on Ben’s Terrace – in the middle of the fields covered in the beautiful fragrance of the orange flowers again.
I will remember this trip for a long time. the country and especially the people I met there will always be worth another trip.
thanks to longboarding for this wonderful experience. open your eyes, mind, heart and soul.
photos by Tom Goldwasser, Ben Kaufman and Janine La Franca
this is Sophia. a girl that loves & lives for traveling. some of you who grew up near the mountains as well maybe know this feeling that let you intuitively identify your equals. be it through their shining eyes or their huge love of adventure. I've been pretty amazed once I stumbled upon Sophia's blog maybe you like because I knew that she is one of them right away.
besides presenting friday awesomeness picks and looking unbelievable sweet! on her outfit posts Sophia shares stories that happen close by the arctic circle. she's Iceland bound and fortunately she takes us with her every time when she heads to the island by taking many many pictures.
Sophia riffled through her photographies from Iceland to show us ...
… a place that felt energetic
… a place that paused you
… something you never can get enough of in Iceland
… a place you would like to stay forever or you would like to come back over and over again
… a moment that felt like a dream
… something funny that happened on your last journey
… something you would like to share with us
don't miss to follow Sophia on instagram if you'd like to see more of her freezing adventures and if you eventually want to know if I prefer either cheese or bacon check this out on maybe you like.
at times when Vienna gets a little grumpy it has always been a good choice to jump on an airplane to follow the sun. coming back hardly ever felt so eased and trustful before. it might be because of the people I met and life plans that I got to know, that are at some point no plans at all. or maybe it was the fact that there was enough space to just be and the time that I had to question all the conditioning and ideas of a proper life that were even not mine.
but let's do some fun travel talk! my trip started with a stopover in Zurich where I stayed overnight at the airport. whenever your connecting flight departs the following day go and check sleeping in airports to find a cozy place for yourself. from Zurich it has been just four more hours to reach the Canary Island that promises 300 days of sunshine and consistent swell all year long.
once I arrived in Fuerteventura I went up to the north of the island to Corralejo, the hometown of my home away from home: Planet Surfcamps. I watched beautiful sceneries passing by that changed from bleak landscapes with rising volcanos to endless white dunes all along the way accompanied by the sparkling Atlantic Ocean.
so much loveat Punta Blanca
Playa del Cotillo
golden hour at the North Shore
after a warm welcome at the newly built surf house I headed out to explore Corralejo. omg, it's a longboarder's
paradise! those streets down to the beach scream for miles of smiles while cruising. just consider to duck down to get your face out of the way of friendly waving palm leaves.
besides being a cool place for longboarding and going out at night Corralejo is a great homebase to check different surf spots with various beach and reef breaks around within a short time. Fuerteventura serves spots for all levels and you can be sure to be in good hands once you jump into the van that brings you preferably to Rocky Point, El Cotillo, to one of the spots at the North Shore or if you are lucky enough possibly even to the french bakery in Lajares on the way back. do yourself a favour and get a brownie in this hippie village, it's so good.
if you are into skating flat or dancing on your longboard you should check this parking area at the roundabout on the top of the mainstreet that leads down to the center. you gonna have fun.
things that are pretty much fun as well
playing ping-pong, jumping into the pool, cooking together with your roomies or having bbq at the surf house, challenging yourself on the indo board, doing yoga, playing Marco's drinking game, squeezing in a layday at flag beach, wandering through dunes, hiking up a volcano, taking a boat to Los Lobos or just enjoy doing
sweet nothing at the roof terrace at night.
and do remember this tower. it will lead you home in tipsy nights.
some final personal questions to Fuerteventura what are your favourite colours? brown, beige and turquoise. do you have a favourite stone? volcanic rock! what do you crave for? playing with waves, watching the clouds passing by
and I like to party. what's your favourite food? paella, fish and papas arrugadas. and what about your favourite animal? I love goats.
the pureness of the landscape gave me so much space and clarity that I can't imagine to not come back someday soon. in the end the moments that I remember the most are the ones about
people, laughs and smiles.
when two creative minds think alike it's banging! rue stiic and salt gypsy collaborated for the second time and they bring some earthy tones and metallic vibes onto our surf board. love love love this. so much.