Culture Shock and Kelp in California

Surfacing at Laguna Beach

Twelve days ago, my plane dropped down onto the tarmac of the LAX airport. The sky was clear as we landed. Houses aligned like Legos. On the horizon, mountains stood blue and distant, their silhouettes crisp against the empty sky. I knew almost nothing about those mountains. Michelle and I …

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The Haenyeo Dictionary

Muljil means “water-work.” On Jeju Island, South Korea, this word refers to the work of the haenyeo, the elderly diving women who live as the real-life mermaids of Jeju’s volcanic coast. Or so muljil means on Jeju, at least. Dropping the phrase 물질 (muljil) into google translate, I get the word “substance.” The same …

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Chuja Island by Foot, Fins, and Flatbed Truck

Islands are an addiction. Wherever you stand, whether on an archipelago, an extinct volcano, or a continent masquerading as something self-contained, there will always be a smaller island. This weekend I found myself on Chuja Island, a tiny dot of land alone in the waters off of the Korean peninsula. …

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The Channel Islands: California at its Best

Stand on any California beach between the Gaviota coast and San Clemente, and you won’t be looking at the horizon. Instead, you’ll see a series of low ridges, flats, or plateaus winding in a hazy purple between water and sky. Although you might not guess it from shore, that faint …

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