First Blog After 3 Weeks on Road

Moi on split cedar and cable walkway built by Lloyd House on a vertical seaside cliff face, leading to his house from his boat dock

The Ultimate Trip

I’ve been on the road for 3 weeks now. I’ve photographed buildings the like of which I’ve never seen (1500 photos and counting). I’ve met builders whose work is absolutely unique. I hit great surf. I’ve seen bears, killer whales, and a bald-headed eagle. (Yesterday a small sea otter jumped up on the pier I was walking across, 10 feet away, glanced at the human, and jumped back into the water.) It’s been an odyssey, the most vital and interesting (+ hopefully productive) trip I’ve ever taken. I’ve camped on beaches and had barbecued wild oysters. One stormy night I rented a room overlooking the sea, with fireplace and kitchen, and made a great dinner while the storm rolled in from the west. Another stormy night 3 of us slept in a surfers’ waterfront shack after a hot sauna, then swim in cold ocean, and the rain pounded on the roof. Plus I’ve gathered wonderful material for the book (see below).


For some reason I’ve run into a steady stream of people who are somehow exactly

the right people

at the right place

at the right time.

It’s been happening lately. I arrived on a small island by passenger (no autos) ferry 2 days ago, with backpack and tent in case I couldn’t find a place to stay. It was raining lightly. I ended up staying in a soulful rambling handbuilt house with great people and a great dinner, sleep, and breakfast and then on my way the next day. It also helps that every single builder I run into up here knows our book Shelter. Everyone was influenced by it. Driving into Victoria the next afternoon I called my friend Godfrey, he said come over right now we’re having dinner for friends, so I lucked into a great dinner and spent the night there. I’ve made a bunch of new friends, great to do this late in life.

The New Book

Working title: Builders of the Pacific Northwest. The book won’t get specific about exactly where all these places are; no place needs more tourists. I’ll be coming back to Canada in February and then May to finish gathering material for the book. I’m overwhelmed by the material I’ve gathered in the past 3 weeks. I can’t wait to get home and look at all these photos. I’ll try posting pics of these builders on the blog when I get the chance.

Skateboarding at Midnight

Victoria has broad streets and there’s little traffic at night, even downtown. I went out skating tonight, helmet, safety gear and all, and got in some good rides. I’m working on my turns, trying to get more stable and graceful in the movements. Right turn, weight on right foot; lead turn with left arm, etc. The kids don’t even think about it, they just DO it. At my age I have to think it through, get my body to make necessary moves — good for the brain I think. Well anyway, I came down a nice run into Douglas, the main drag, and the light was with me, so made the turn and started skating down Douglas and here’s a cop car across the road, and me with no lights etc. and of course he turns on flashing lights, does a U-turn in my direction and — goes speeding off after a car. Whew!

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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