What’s Your Happy Place?

It’s a simple question. But the answer isn’t always so simple.

Except when it is.


So, my real happy place is pretty simple…

Photo by Annie Beedy

Eric D. Johnson, musician, Fruit Bats


“I’ve got a few of those. There is something to be said for playing music in front of an audience and really connecting. But that’s a complicated place. It’s happy, but it’s intense and emotional and sometimes weird. So, my real happy place is pretty simple. I was a latchkey child growing up and came home to an empty house from a pretty early age. There’s an amazing scene in “Freaks and Geeks” where Martin Starr’s character Bill comes home and eats grilled cheese while watching TV that encapsulates that feeling well. But yeah, I like being home alone, right after working or doing something constructive or tiring or some combination of those things … coming back puttering around a quiet space, eating snacks, watching weird TV. Being a latchkey kid.”

Cynthia Rowley, designer


“If I’m not in Montauk, my favorite thing is a big adventure with my family. We pack up the kids and travel all over the world when we can. I love everything about travel—plane flights, strange food, interesting people, great (or even not-so-great) hotels. Just being in an unfamiliar place makes me really happy.”

photo by Elliot Ross for Carhartt

Josh Martin, surfboard shaper


“Hmm … so much good stuff in my life currently. I think it’s easier to pick a crappy place, as there’s not many of those! But, off the top of my head: I LOVE walking downstairs to my little workshop in my backyard. Most of the tools, smells, sounds and skills used there came to me from my dad. I had a great dad and even though he’s not physically here anymore, his legacy lives on daily here. Makes me happy big time.”

Eric, a 22-year-old Lyft driver in Los Angeles, who was born and raised in Compton and had been driving for about four hours and then stopped to honk back at somebody who had cut him off

“At the roof of the city, the top of the mountains, up by the Hollywood sign with that mountain view, you can see the whole of LA. And you just go there and chill, watching the whole city. Yeah, that’s what I like.”

Nate Reifke, artist/founder Salty Timbers


“Fresh air.”

Graeme MacDonald, winemaker


“Guiding the old Ford tractor through rows of vines planted by my great-grandparents. Layered in sweat and dust but knowing there is a glass of homemade wine (or brew) waiting for me at the end of the day.”

Reef McIntosh, head shogun on the North Shore


“Happy place is anywhere with my daughter, Chanel, light of my life! Picking her up from school or dropping off, getting ice cream, going to the park! She is a perfect blend of my beautiful wife Jessica and I!”

Susan Casey, author


“Five years ago, I looked out my office window at the cementscape of Manhattan and decided to chuck my job, my apartment—my entire urban life—and move to the most isolated archipelago on earth: Hawaii. It was all about the water. If nirvana were a color, it would be the radiant sapphire of the Pacific Ocean around these islands. And it’s filled with spectacular sea creatures: whales, dolphins, sharks, manta rays, eels, pufferfish—the whole crew. I love it; I love them. There is no place I’d rather be.”

Liz Clark, sailor/surfer/activist


“My happy place is laying in the hot sand on a remote beach just after surfing with some good friends … my speaker playing some reggae tunes and a pile of ripe mangoes beside me.”

Bernadette McComish, West Coast Madame at The Poetry Brothel


“In my bed, before I’m fully awake sometimes, I sit up and just start writing … still cozy, still half dreaming … the light barely coming through the curtains.”

Graham LeBron, film composer and DJ


“My happy place is in Coosa County, Alabama. There is a dynamited dam in the middle of Hatchet Creek near where my Dad grew up. When the water isn’t too cold, you can swim into the hole left behind and grab onto the rubble and let the creek wash over you. I can see his house from there. Though I’ve played in the creek near the dam my whole life, I didn’t discover this specific spot until I spent the summer there a few years after my Dad died. I’m sure he would appreciate it as much as I do.

When life is too much, I can always close my eyes and drift back to that spot, letting the current flow over me as the sun shines down.”

Leah Dawson, surfer/filmmaker/founder of Changing Tides Foundation


“Whenever I am in the ocean, no matter where in the world, I feel connected to the great universe by being in a big body of water. Water is a cleansing and rejuvenating element, so immersing myself in the ocean always feels like a soul cleanse and a reminder of what is important in life: the earth, family, and celebrating life. Having the ocean in my life undoubtedly helps me maintain my true north, which is staying grateful. When life is stressful, or there is sadness about circumstance, breathing in deeply with conscious gratitude always helps take the perspective a bit lighter.”

Evan Meyer, co-founder Beautify Earth


“My happy place is a period of focused, successive states of flow, where I improve upon my skills. In the morning for example, I’ll take an hour to do three of maybe a list of 20 things I love for 20 minutes each. For example, 20 minutes of nunchucks, 20 minutes of guitar or piano, 20-minute workout.”

Kassia Meador, creator, Kassia+Surf


“I was just there this weekend on a 7-mile hike 3,000 feet above sea level on the border between Southern and Central California where the currents change the landscape and foliage. Sunny Southern California to our left and moody central California to my right. The wind blowing fiercely through the valley, meeting sun and rain—around each turn, rainbows dancing over hilltops—the sweet scent of sage racing up the hills, tall grass to meet my face. The perfection of nature.”