collabs - 24.07.2020

Taking A Break In Seattle With Quartier Collective

Almost a year went by since we last met with Marty and Taryn from Quartier Collective and with countries closing their borders and the restrictions of a virus-stricken world, we were eager to know how the family was adapting to these challenging times. We caught up with them in Seattle, home to some of the most breathtaking sceneries of the Pacific West Coast and coffee capital of the world! After travelling in France, Morocco and New Zealand, followed by a few months of being homebound in Idaho during the pandemic, Marty, Taryn and their 3 kids are finally getting ready for new adventures! We couldn’t wait to find out where the winds are taking them!

wordsMathilde Pagnier
picturesQuartier Collective

Hi Taryn & Marty, it’s been close to a year since we last caught up with you. Time does fly! Could you briefly run through what you guys have been up to since? 
Hi team! What a crazy year it’s been, for all of us, I’m sure. We made many new friends, got inspired about surfing (even the kids) and did a lot of work we’re proud of in the last year. After our visit with you we traveled from (take a deep breath) France to Spain, then the UK and Ireland, back to Morocco, then Greece, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. We were in Bali when the Coronavirus hit, and we really weren’t certain what we should do. We decided to make a run for Peru, where we had a photo shoot scheduled in the Sacred Valley. But we never got there. On landing in San Francisco, we heard the announcement, Peru was closing its borders. We spent a few days there scratching our heads then flew to Idaho, where Taryn’s family lives, to weather the isolation period. From there we’ve revisited some favorite Pacific Northwest places, with lots of space, trees and mountains and swims in the cold, clean sea. The big challenge has been coming “home”, but not being able to see many of the people we missed so much! The last few months have been quiet and peaceful, but with all of the stresses of a virus-stricken world feeling very real. 

We’re obviously living in a world that has drastically changed since then. Could you tell us how the Corona virus, the “lockdown” and travel restrictions impacted you? 
Besides literally stopping us in our tracks, the virus has changed much for us. Most of our income comes from photographing for brands and organizing travel, for our Gatherings and for other clients. Nobody’s traveling right now, so we’re leaning in on commercial photography. We’ve helped a number of brands shoot their new collections in this weird, socially distanced world, and the results have been great. At the same time, travel is our normal way of operating, and we have missed it! We are scheduled to leave for Ireland in a few days, with the required 14-day quarantine on arrival, but there are very real restrictions now on where we can go. The US is obviously failing badly at handling the virus, and we’re feeling the very literal affect of that. Our conversation today: “Well… where are we allowed? Turkey, or Japan, or Hawaii? Where can we manage a quarantine? Where will we be welcome?” We’d become quite good at planning steps as we go along, but right now the future is a fog of uncertainty. But if there’s one thing that two years of travel has taught us, besides how to be just fine with just us in a small space (we LOVED quarantine, actually), it’s how adaptable we can be. We can change course at any moment, we can rely on each other and our creativity. We feel well-prepared to move into this new world. 

Because of that whole situation, you spent a lot of time in Idaho, at Taryn’s parents. How did that new yet familiar form of living together work out? 
Travel is our home, and in a moment where everyone on earth is hunkering down at home, the lack of one feels potent. At the same time we are so privileged to have family with the space and appetite to welcome us. So many in the world don’t have that. We were aware of how unique this moment is, to be thrown together with Taryn’s mother, sharing space and working through challenges. It was a beautiful chapter and our relationship with her is richer because of it.

Did this new setting inspire any new rituals, hobbies or passions? 
During quarantine we started each day with coffee and 20 minutes of jigsaw puzzle. The kids traded in all of their rupees, yen, euros, pesos and dollars and bought skateboards, and rode them up and down the driveway. We birthed a sourdough bread starter we called Alberta, which is the name of the Canadian province where I (Marty) was born and which I tried to convince Taryn would be a good name for one of our children.

How did the kids react to not travelling for several months? Was it a welcome pause in a way, or did it upset them? 
Three days into our time in Idaho Viggo asked, “Can we go to Japan tomorrow?”. It was an adjustment, for sure. But there was a comfort in the pause, something sweet in the change of pace and the willingness to spread outside of our suitcases somewhat. The kids planted sweet peas in the garden in our first week in Idaho, and before we left they plucked some from the vine and ate them. We know that they aren’t really ready to hit the road again; what they really want is a dog and some steady friends. But this chapter won’t last forever, and on the other side of it will be an appreciation for a home base that comes out of not having had one! 

To us over here, Idaho’s a pretty mysterious place. Napoleon Dynamite may have something to do with that. What should we know about the Gem State?
Idaho has changed a lot since Taryn was a teen, desperate to escape. Boise, the capital, has grown, you can get incredible pastries and really solid coffee. The population lives and breathes on a vast network of hiking and biking trails that wind through the foothills towards the mountains. It’s still a very conservative place politically, but it’s far more in balance. At the same time Napoleon Dynamite still rings frighteningly true! 

You recently travelled back to Seattle. Are you planning on staying there until you can travel the world again? How’s being back “home” been?
Seattle itself still feels very shut, but we’ve managed to take trips to the mountains and to some of the islands off the coast. It’s breathtaking scenery and reminds us why this area, even after everywhere we’ve been, is so special. We leave in a few days for Ireland, where we’ll enter another quarantine and then base ourselves for the next stretch. We’re excited, but sad to leave. Home is a strange concept for a family like ours, but we definitely feel like we leave a piece of our hearts in Seattle.  

The United States seems to be in a state of angst and turmoil. Without wanting to get too heavy, how do you guys manage to deal with it all?
It’s been lovely being abroad these last two years and not waking to a daily barrage of lunacy from America’s cartoon character of a president. But there’s something that has felt really honest about returning right now. The country is failing on Covid (obviously), and we feel the effects of that in the economy and in our own mobility. But it’s also awakening to its fractured racial realities. And for people like us, who have skated by on the privilege afforded by our white skin and the ability to dodge the question of our own complicity, it’s been very important to be here for this moment. The Black Lives Matter movement has pushed the conversation to a point where it feels real change may happen in America. We’ve watched as millions of white Americans have discarded the notion of passive neutrality and stepped forward on the side of progress and justice. Yes, there’s a bitterness and tension in the air. But that’s not as bad as the peaceful denial that preceded it. We, Taryn and I, have so much to learn and I’m not sure we would have felt the urgency of those lessons if we’d been tucked into a jungle in Indonesia these last few months. 

Even while you were constantly travelling, going from continent to continent, you always asked yourselves the question if you were doing things “right”. Has the time away from travelling given you new insights in that regard?
We are terrible second-guessers and navel-gazers, and we always will be. But this time has given us certainty in some things: a) Could be the travel, could be luck, could be Taryn’s vitamin regimen, but we are raising amazing kids, and b) we cannot continue traveling at the pace we’ve been going. We need a place to park suitcases, to rest and plan further adventures. We didn’t build the off-ramp when we started this journey, so it may take us a little time, but in the next six months we’d love to have home bases in the Pacific Northwest and in Southern Portugal. If we’re allowed in ;). 

We still have plenty of waffles, chocolate and beer, are you guys still coming over or what?
Belgium! The fabled homeland of some of our favorite things, we are coming as soon as we’re able! 

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