As I sit in my new office looking out over the greener than green rolling hills, just south of Bristol in the UK, with the smell of the country wafting in through the window from the local ‘cow’ farm, the whole Hawaiian experience seems like a distant dream. The huge contrast between here and there, making me all the more wonder whether it did really happen; did I really spend a year without trousers?
The first thing that hit me when I flew into Honolulu (just to be clear, I wasn’t actually piloting the plane) was the lack of huts and palm trees but in their place the overwhelming concrete jungle, which towered high into the bright blue sky. I was almost tempted to tap the pilot on the shoulder and say “oi mate are you sure you’ve got this right?”, to which he would have said “pffff, have you not seen Hawaii 5-O (the latest sexy, rock and roll version) dickhead, now get out of my cockpit!!”.
The whole idea of taking a year out from Europe, when I had just started to get my teeth into furniture design, may have seemed a bit cavalier and even a little carefree or irresponsible. I was faced with a choice, not a ‘salt & vinegar or cheese & onion’ kind of choice but one with far more importance. Someone top trumped my passion for furniture design and making, quite literally out of the water, so I packed my shorts and a few sketch books and embarked on a new adventure.
Being isolated on an island in the middle of the pacific far from all my tools and drawing board surrounded by a holiday atmosphere doesn’t mean that I completely abandoned everything to a life of surfing and pineapple munching. It was a great opportunity to start my blog, which enabled me to interview some fantastic and talented people, it opened my eyes and helped me to understand far more about my environment.
Now I am picking up from where I left off one year ago and not in central France but back in the UK after a 12 year break. The sky may not be as bright as Hawaii but with a bit of hard work the future will be. The impact of living so close to the ocean and being surrounded by the surf culture, combined with my unique experience, will filter down over the coming months; I am excited and impatient to get working on lots of new designs inspired by my year without trousers!