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Travel Archives - Benjamin Caro

Benjamin Caro

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Travel

Last week I launched the beginning of my travel blog and YouTube channel, Vagrant Tourist. I will be migrating all travel-related posts there, and maintain this blog for everything else–updates on my film projects, editing projects, and writing projects (Yes, poetry, yes! Who’s psyched?). Unfortunately, I never really began to write here regularly, something I kind of regret. I mean, BENJAMINCARO.COM had everything. Sharing options, related posts, a whole damn color scheme. Why did I let it rot!? Why did I squander its love!?

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Why did I never write in BENJAMINCARO.COM?

I had so much trouble launching this blog the way I wanted it, and, while this might peg me as dense, I could not wrap my mind around what I would focus on, what categories to feature in the posts vs. what content to feature in other pages. Mind boggling. With the launch of Vagrant Tourist, I will be happily able to distinguish between putting on a cool, journalistic face over there, and getting a little more personal over here. It’s a great relief. Let’s talk about what will be here from now on, in terms of categories:

Film – Updates on screenwriting, directing and editing projects.

Food and Drink – All of the LAWeekly articles I wrote up will probably live under this category.

Poetry – Straight up.

Writing – Here’s where things get interesting. This will be a mix of creative writing, including fiction, non-fiction, journaling, and yes, poetry. I’ll throw poetry in there, too. Hope you’re okay with that.

Anything travel related will be at VT site.

So what’s Vagrant Tourist?

My idea behind Vagrant Tourist was to make a Vice-like brand (both blog and YouTube channel) for travel. Worldwide, Vice does some important and, you know, some not-so-important work. While I might not be investigating anything as, um, interesting as “How to Make Korean Poo Wine,” perhaps that’s okay. Both IFC and Onion launched Vice parodies recently. In a promo for Edge, Onion’s new show, a white guy in his late 20’s stands in a dilapidated middle eastern town and faces a woman in a hijab. With a concerned look and a serious, action-hero tone, he asks her, “When was the last time you got high?” I think it’s safe to say people are amused by Vice’s skater-attitude hang-ups.

That said, while the subject matter might be lampoonable, their documentary production is a classy affair. I love the run and gun shooting style and minimal music. There’s only the slightest touch of voiceover editorializing and producing. It’s barely there. Gone are news correspondents trained to speak like Harvard-graduated robots, or conversely throw on leather jackets to signify that they’re “adventure journalists.” Many Vice correspondents are models, musicians, or young journalists whose chief assets are their willingness to experiment. They don’t seem to interview their subjects, but rather talk to them.

This is the style of writing and video I want with Vagrant Tourist. There’ll be videos about my trip to Asia, but also about stateside hikes, walks, street art, whatever looks visually interesting. I’ve also got some great footage of Nguyen Tran, chef, owner and banana suit-wearing personality of the restaurant Starry Kitchen, to show me some of his favorite eating spots in the Valley. There’s all sorts of stuff in the pipe.

Hopefully, the site split will help me focus both sites, and give me some incentive to throw some new posts more both here and over at Vagrant Tourist.

If you haven’t yet, check out the new site, and subscribe to the YouTube channel!

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Snowshoeing at Rabbit Ears Pass, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Have you ever been snowshoeing? I bet you have.

You’ve trampled over wads of plants before while on a hike through the forest, veering off the path to check out a view or, you know, pee. Remember the feeling of buoyancy from the plants lifting your shoes off the ground? Essentially, snowshoeing is this. Snowshoeing is hiking when the forest is covered in snow, when you’re actually supposed to hike off of the path as opposed to on it, and when you’ve got freakishly cumbersome duck feet strapped to your legs.

My mother, sister and a bunch of friends showed up to Ski Haus in Steamboat Springs to rent some of the flipper-like contraptions. Upon the $10 fee, the clerk threw at us whichever pairs happened to be on the wall, a colorful array of shapes and sizes. My mom was a little concerned at this since apparently at REI they sized the snowshoe renters particularly, making note of height and width (Generally, taller ones are for men, shorter for women). I looked down at my pink-hued feet and thought about where the nearest REI was.

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This past summer I hatched a harebrained scheme to make some money while I was away on vacation. I used every start up share economy service I could get my hands on, including FlightCar, AirBnB and Zimride. In short, all hell broke loose—busted tires, stranger road trips, fine print. I wrote about the crazy experience in a piece for LA Weekly called “How I Hacked My Vacation”:

“Early the next morning, I arrived at the FlightCar parking lot in the quiet predawn dark. Floodlights illuminated the lot while a small office offered free water and coffee. The little operation felt like a relief tent at a refugee camp. I stepped into a slick black town car with another FlightCar patron, giving him a brotherly, knowing look just like, I imagine, any other secret society member might.”

Since then, FlightCar, which allows you to park at the airport for free and rent your vehicle while away on vacation, has opened in LAX. While I might’ve had a roller coaster ride the first time I used the service, you can bet I’ll be rolling up to the FlightCar lot at LAX on Monday on a trip I’m taking to Colorado. In the end, it’s just way too convenient not to have to ask your friends for a ride to the airport. You get to keep your friends.

 

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