The "Trash Cyclone," in the Pacific and why, if you didn't already have a reason to limit plastic consumption, you do now.


Addie Ross


35.7541° N, 76.5930° W

A few weeks ago I was driving through a Taco Bell with a friend. We ordered one of those ridiculous Baja Blast Mountain Dews to split and, purely by habit, I asked the woman at the window to nix my straw. She did, no harm done, but as we pulled away from the drive thru window my friend asked, "No straws because of that Facebook turtle video?" That did it for me. I launched into this whole rant about social and environmental responsibility and how single use plastic is destroying the world, but, in hindsight, I'll be honest, a lot of that is just a ruse for me. The scariest part of this whole pollution thing, in my opinion, isn't the future consequences, it's what's happening now. I've always been a recycler, I've always tried to limit my plastic consumption, but about 3 months ago a friend and colleague made me aware of the "Trash Cyclone" in the Pacific. That scared the pants off me. If you haven't heard of this massive shitstorm (pun absolutely intended), look it up! This is a 600,000 square mile, 80 metric ton hurricane of trash that sits between California and Hawaii. Now imagine getting caught in something like that. Marine wildlife absolutely does. In fact, certain species of marine wildlife actually mistake some of this plastic for food, launching them headfirst into this turbulent storm of waste. If that isn't enough to scare you into drinking your Baja Blast without the straw, frankly I'm not sure what will.


A response to the shark attack in the Bahamas– recognizing the importance of coexistence in our oceans.




23.0343° N, 77.3963° W

Last week, everyone and their brother was posting the same upsetting, terrifying, and ultimately disturbing article: an insta-famous model was attacked by a shark in the Bahamas. All she was doing, these articles claimed, was floating in the middle of a frenzy (yes, we googled it, that's the plural) of sharks when she was suddenly dragged underwater by a nurse shark. While she has sustained no permanent injuries, the internet has erupted with opinionated comments on both sides. So let us express ours: regardless of how safe and serene a beach might seem, when you step into the ocean you are entering the wilderness. You would not pose in the center of a litter of bear cubs for a photo, because they are notoriously protective and frankly, it is their space. It's shocking that the same amount of caution would not be used in such an experience with sharks. While this Instagrammer ultimately seems to agree with us, despite her bizarre lack of education on the matter, there should be no question that the shark was simply acting within the bounds of its instincts. This incident is a shame, because it reinforces the tendency to demonize sharks and completely overlook human fault, but if we all could understand how important coexistence is, especially in our natural world, we could actually stand the chance of repairing our relationship with these oceanic creatures and make serious strides toward saving our ocean.


Knowing the value of quick packing and its importance to an adventurous lifestyle.




40.7465° N, 74.0014° W

As a friend, business partner, and adoring fan, I think one of the things I admire most about Eilish is her sense of mobility. This woman knows how to get up and go– for instance, I am willing to bet that if she really counted it out on her planner (color coordinated and hyper-organized, of course) she would find that she spent more days last spring out of Savannah than in the city. However, it isn't so much her frontierswoman attitude of being ready to explore that is so impressive, but her ability to adjust her plans, and more importantly pack, all at a moment's notice. It's a skill I am constantly trying to emulate, but as a culture geek I can't tell you how long I spend considering the repercussions of my color choice, etc. in the clothes I choose to bring. But this is one thing I've learned: stick with the neutrals and ease of use. If your plans change in only a few days, as mine just have, spend your time getting yourself acquainted with the culture, don't spend it packing. Neutrals are key, but more importantly, as I have learned from Eilish herself, who is never far from a photographic opportunity, make sure you're in clothes that you're comfortable moving in. Because nobody likes a stiff photographer.


The art of the break and knowing when to give yourself one. How to step away when it just feels like giving up.




39.7537° N, 76.5914° W

About six months ago, when I told my mom that I was going to take about a month off between the end of school and the beginning of a new job in Texas to sleep and work on passion projects, I was already freaking out. You see, for both Eilish and I, a day off feels like a day wasted, so a month off equates to a little less than a lifetime that we consider down the drain. But here's what my mother, in all her wisdom, told me: "Cars need to downshift to climb steep hills." When you are on the brink of the next great adventure, or even just have a few extra days of PTO, take it. The fact of the matter is, as many of you who are in the depths of your creative process might know, the work often actually improves after you take your breather. So when you get the opportunity, don't pass it up. Use that time to inspire yourself– take a day trip, go to a museum, and most of all, sleep. I know I still struggle with this balance, but who doesn't appreciate the effort?


What language means to responsible design– how to keep in mind what is most sacred.




32.0835° N, 89.0998° W

Within the realm of the creative community, there is a common understanding: if you are designing for something or someone, you had better know them, inside and out. Henry David Thoreau said it best when he referenced being both "within and without," removing yourself emotionally from the issue while keeping yourself close enough to gain an understanding. Such is the case with employing language to the creative journey– without gaining a decent understanding of the native language of the culture you are working with, you lose one of the most pure and sacred aspects of the culture itself. Do you have to speak it? Ideally yes, but not necessarily. But do you have to understand and respect its impact? Absolutely.


How to survive the layover in a foreign country that actually might never end. Like ever.




23.1136° n, 82.3666° W

So here's the deal about being at the airport: nothing is ever guaranteed. The chance of a successful departure, shockingly enough, becomes even slighter when you are in a third world country. So how do you get out? When the current political leader is threatening to close the United States border to the country you are currently stuck in? You charge your batteries. We mean this mentally, physically, emotionally, and literally. Make sure all gear is charged up, water bottles are full, you are as far from sleep deprived as you can muster, and you have something to eat. Because there is only so much you can do before things get dire. And if you can, if there is the option, take a ferry. Always take a ferry.