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Santa Barbara, Ca

I'm a full-time rambler and contract designer with as many skill sets in my quiver as there are plane tickets in my passbook. I've worked in ornamental iron, jigsaw puzzle design, bookmaking, glass engraving, and a variety of other mediums. I'm currently living out of a backpack as I trek my way around the world.


Mindo, Ecuador

Zak Erving

Sanctuary of Waterfalls, Mindo

“Do you speak Spanish?” a gaunt old gentleman asked me in his native tongue, wading out to where I was at the edge of the waterfall’s spillway. He was wearing shorts that were much too short, much too small, even for his wiry frame. But he seemed at ease, barefoot on the slippery rocks. Maybe a lifetime of sloshing through rivers. Maybe gravity didn’t grab him like it does the rest of us.

“Sí, un poco,” I responded confidently, with swagger in the step made in his direction.

He simply pointed behind me, the same way a grade school teacher does for her student, who is desperately and futilely seeking the right answer (if only you had paid attention!).

I followed his index finger over my shoulder, and noticed a large group of people, all looking over our way. There was a man with a microphone on a boom, and another next to him wearing giant headphones. One woman was holding an umbrella for another woman…or was that a man? In front of them all crouched the cameraman, his lens reflecting back at me, back at us, on the other side of the river. Somebody official-looking sighed, and her shoulders sagged.

So much for a waterfall sanctuary here, I thought after getting over the initial embarrassment. But no matter: there were six more cascades to find, and this was only the first.