Ever since I set foot on San Juan Island, 20 (!!) years ago, summer's have been my busiest time of year. For the majority of that time, I worked at the Center for Whale Research, and that's when the whales were around.

This is me working on the research boat in 2015
But for the past several years, busy season means a solid three months at my booth in the Roche Harbor Artist Village. Even though I am not there every single day, I have no days "off" in the summer. Part of me really thrives on that intensity, and focused energy, but honestly, the other part of me gets exhausted. For an outgoing introvert, like myself, it's both fulfilling and energetically expensive. Basically by the end of Summer, I have simply run out of things to say, and have to go radio silent for bit!

Me in my booth at Roche Harbor

Booth # 7 at the Roche Harbor Artist Village


My typical pattern has always been to get down to Sayulita, Mexico as soon as the first leaf hits the ground, but for the past few years I've been switching it up. This year, I was so incredibly lucky to get invited on a trip to Japan to celebrate 30 years of KAVU. If you don't know KAVU, it's a Seattle based outdoor lifestyle brand founded by my dear friend Barry Barr, who grew up right next door to Roche Harbor. He's an amazing inspiration for small business owners everywhere in that he prioritizes the life experiences of his team over boring things like profits and margins. 

So, me and about 70 of the KAVU team, friends, and family all traveled to Japan together to celebrate. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN! I'm beyond honored that I was invited and was able to go. Truly the experience of a lifetime, traveling to a place I have never been, with some of the best people I know.  

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

Entrance to  Kabukicho, Tokyo

Erik, me and Kat at the Senso-ji Buddhist temple, Asakusa

Me and Barry on the streets of Shibuya, Tokyo

I came back so inspired by the harmony of contrasts I saw everywhere we went in Japan. The electric intensity of Kabukicho, Tokyo's red light district at night, contrasted with the serenity of the verdant Meiji Shrine mid morning. The sheer volume of humanity pulsing through Shinjuku Station, balanced by the ancient culture of respect for others. The many low lying towns and cities we passed, all peppered with sprawling industrial complexes, set 
against the seemingly untouched, densely forested hillsides.
And lastly, the genuine graciousness and kindness veiled under the reserved exterior of every single person we met.

Japanese Soba lessons at Kamp KAVU, Nagano

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano

Late night crew, Golden Gai, Tokyo

Sushi + Beer stop, Shibuya, Tokyo

The tiny bars of Golden Gai, Tokyo

Kyoto at night
Speaking of contrasts, the same day I returned from Japan, my dad had replacement knee surgery, which if you've had one you know, is no fun at all! I spent the next several weeks in my home town of Portland, helping him out. Again, lucky me, that we still own the house I grew up in and I got to catch up on some much needed couch time. 
Amazing 100+ year old Sequoia trees down the street from my childhood home
Just before Halloween, I flew to Asheville NC, to continue a course of study I began exactly a year ago. Many of you may know that I am a closet astrologer, but to be more precise, I'm an evolutionary astrologer. That means that each person's birth chart is not only a map of their soul's evolution, but a key to understanding their soul purpose. Naturally, this has lead me to exploring past life regression techniques, as the "reason" for your personal astrology is that "you" have been here before. 
Hiking in the North Carolina hills with the DMP crew

So I have now completed level three of four in the method of Deep Memory Process. It's an incredible therapeutic technique, but for me the best part is the people I have met through doing this. We are all soulmates in the deepest sense. At the end of the workshop I spent several days with some of them on a beautiful old farm in Pennsylvania built in the late 1700's, playing with horses, one of my other lifelong loves. 



Practicing natural horsemanship with Merlin a
stunning Gypsy Cob, Pennsylvania


Even Ozzy the tiny shetland with a big
attitude gets a turn:)

Just a few days ago, I finally returned to San Juan Island. After being gone for over 7 weeks, I can't even tell you what a relief it is to be back home! As soon as post this, I'm headed straight into my studio to do all the things you know me best for:) I haven't left myself a ton of time, but I do have another collection that wants to come out. 
We'll see what I can produce over the next several weeks!
Current projects...  What's on my bench right now!
My studio....This is where I'll be for the next several weeks....

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! I thought it would be fun to give a little glimpse into my post high-season life. It's so important for all of us to acknowledge the many facets of ourselves. I'm not just a jewelry designer/ small business owner. And you too, are a multitude of things, some of which might also need some acknowledgment:)

November 14, 2023 — Erin Heydenreich
Tags: inspiration


Tracey said:

Wowwww Erin! What an autumn you’ve had! Packed full to the brim with fascinating places and people and experiences. Wow. Even horses!!!? Ha! (where’s Jupiter??!! Hahaha) Let’s see what happens next…. :) I love you!

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