A couple weeks ago, Blake and I left the camper and flew south for a few film projects. Luckily there is oversize parking at Denver International Airport. It feels strange to only have been in the camper
for 3 weeks, and then leave for a 2 week trip where we will be flying and living out of suitcases, but we are being open about our clients’ projects and where they need us to shoot. This way we get to see as much as we can; often places that we wouldn’t normally go. We will pick up our route when we get back. But this just reiterates how much Blake and I keep telling each other that this road trip we’re doing might not just be a one year trip; it may be a new lifestyle for us- where we follow our work, and keep exploring in between, and we could do this for a few years.
We flew to Austin for the first three days of this trip to see Chris and Nikki, and wanted to see the city. The best way we found to see the city was to hop on a Bird scooter and breeze through town, showing us the downtown area, Congress Street and Rainy Street. The scooters are all over the city. We were able to find one right outside of the building we were staying at and they end up being a pretty fun way to see a new place. We made sure to eat BBQ several times in the 3 days we were there, so much that I was essentially in a food coma the entire weekend. I loved the Austin skyline, and didn’t realize that Austin had a pretty similar vibe to Denver- lots of active people out during the day biking, running, etc, with trails right through town. What we loved about Austin that is a complete change from Denver was the proximity to Lake Austin and access to boating activities. Our friends took us out on their wake surf boat on Lake Austin and taught us to wake surf. The views on Lake Austin are amazing, especially because of all the multi-million dollar beautiful lakefront properties that were just so interesting to see. Blake did pretty good wake surfing and was even able to throw the rope a few times. I at least got out of the water most of the times, but will have to keep practicing. Growing up in Denver, we weren’t raised around water sports, so any time we get out on a boat is a treat.
The restaurants we loved in Austin:
https://swaythai.com/ Texas BBQ inspired Thai! Brisket Curry? and Brisket fried rice! The curries were a bit too spicy for us, but everything else was to die for.
https://www.bangersaustin.com/ Sausage house and beer garden. Very impressed with the house made sausages and unique combinations of meats (Duck and bacon!)
https://saltlickbbq.com/ We were told from a friend this was the best BBQ they’d ever had, so we had to try. While we didn’t think the brisket quite held up to the best on earth standard, and maybe this was because we’d already stuffed ourselves earlier in the day, we thought the experience was worth the 30 minute drive out of town, since the Salt Lick is set on a vineyard with its own wine cellar, and they have the meat pit right in the middle of the restaurant. We liked driving past the rolling hills outside of town- we didn’t know Texas had hills!
We spent the next 4 nights filming a property near Tulum, Mexico. The process of getting our gear into Mexico was not an easy one, and we learned a lot about the Customs/Aduanas process in Mexico. The Mexican customs wanted a 16% tax on anything brought into the country over $500 by air ($300 by land), and if that value exceeds $3k you are required to hire a customs broker to assist in the process. Now, we normally do our research ahead of time when we bring a drone into another country and usually expect some sort of tax or deposit for the drone, but as this was the first time flying to Mexico with our newer professional gear, we missed the memo on the 16% tax on all items (not just the drone). We’ve driven through the border with the gear before and no issues. The problem stemmed from Southwest Airlines delaying our luggage a day. We had a 3 hour drive from the Cancun airport to our filming location, and without all of our gear, we had to drive the 3 hours each way back to the airport the next day. Obviously our pelican cases get flagged at customs, and since they were delayed a day, they ended up right in the hands of the customs agents. So we learned about the 16% tax, but the issue is that they want to tax on the retail value of our gear, which would be thousands of dollars. We spent a couple hours convincing them that our gear was used and not worth the full retail value, and they eventually brought down the value they were taxing. Still ended up with a $716 tax to bring the drone and gimbal into the country. We sure learned our lesson here, and can’t imagine how much these fees could be for large scale production companies, so we are looking into the broker option for next time, which helps you pay for the gear once and last for a year in and recognized by many counties.
Despite this setback, Tulum was really beautiful and we’re excited to show the project we were working on in a couple months!
One thing that’s a total shame in the Yucatan right now is all the beaches are covered in an invasive seaweed called Sargassum, which is covering all the beaches. Some of the big resorts have the resources to haul it off the beach, but its heavy when wet, so it would take a bulldozer, so we still saw many areas that still had piles of seaweed.
We were able to take a day in between filming to visit one of the cenotes near Tulum, which are areas where the limestone has sunk in to the ground to expose the groundwater. The water is really crystal clear, and a lot of people snorkel or scuba in these water pits and caves. The one we went to was called Cenote Azul, and areas of it were as deep as 20 meters. We paid a 6 dollar entrance fee, and rented a snorkel for $4. The water color was amazingly blue and clear, and there were open caves to the sides of the pool where the water got really deep. The only downside was that the pool was actually quite crowded, but it seemed to be more crowded with locals rather than American tourists. What we found funny was that so many people were wearing life vests, even though the majority
of the cenote was like a regular pool, which I wouldn’t wear a life vest to. There was a spot to cliff jump from (~15 feet), which everyone was doing, and watching others jump, so we jumped too!
Spent the final night on the beach in Cancun before heading to the airport. It’s a fun experience to let our business take us to new and exotic places, and we are constantly learning from our experiences and excited for where the next journey will constantly be.
Now we’re in Miami, and we have a few different projects going on this week in a variety of areas. We’re filming a promotional video in the Wynwood arts district for a local artist, Adrian Avila, who has his own studio where he works on art for his next show, as well as has several murals around the art district. We’ve also been filming some local musicians Jovan Figueroa and Jamil Bashir to put together music videos for their songs.
While in Miami, we also checked out the South Pointe Beach. At sunset people are doing yoga in the grass, and slacklining. We were there on a Sunday, and watched all the cruise ships depart out towards the ocean. Good vibes all around South Pointe.
Also what I loved about Miami, which I actually wasn’t aware of, was the presence of health food all over the city. We saw so many health restaurants, with Poke bowls, and acai bowls, and raw food bars. We love to eat healthy like this, so it was refreshing to have to many choices. We also found the Wynwood Yard, where there are several foods trucks open all day. On the other end of the health spectrum, the best of these food trucks is the World Famous House of Mac, which although we waited an hour for food, is super delicious.
We had fun in Miami, but we’re ready to get out of the humidity. We thought we’d be headed back to the camper in Denver at the end of this week, but we actually got the call to head straight to New Jersey for a quick 2 day project and then fly back to Denver.
We landed for a few days in New Jersey to film a luxury property for a couple days. Unfortunately New Jersey weather wasn’t on the same page as us and it drizzled the entire weekend. We had also hoped to see some east coast fall colors, but I think we were a bit too early. Still, New Jersey was a new state for me, so it was fun to see the Manhattan skyline from the roads in New Jersey, and the property we filmed was a Russian inspired palace with very intricate details, from gold plated railings, to hand made plaster, and the entire exterior of the house was made of hand cut stones. With everything hand made and personally designed for this property, this was a real fun one to film. The listing agents even brought out a 570S McLaren and a Mercedes G-Wagon to film with.
Back to Denver!
We just landed in Denver, and spent a day visiting family before making our…third attempt…at leaving on this road trip! The camper survived sitting at DIA for 3 weeks, and we made it back before the really freezing temperatures so luckily nothing froze since we didn’t winterize the camper before leaving for three weeks. We’re sad we missed seeing fall in Colorado the last few weeks. One of our goals for this year was to see the iconic landscapes of fall leaves in the foreground of the first snow on the mountains, and we made it back probably a week too late, and now a lot of the trees are dead and there’s a good layer of snow on some of our mountains. But this is just one sacrifice of running your own business. While we’re thankful we get to make our own schedule now, we are also just being open to wherever our filming gigs take us, so instead of seeing fall this year, we got to see beautiful ocean waters in Tulum Mexico, which we probably would have never seen on our own accord. We’ve been graced with hotel showers and real kitchens over the last three weeks, so now we have to readjust to RV living!