Destination Del Sol: ‘It’s About Finding Your Highest Excitement’

  The backside of the Honda Del Sol I painted ‘crazy’ shot somewhere in Baja, Mexico by  Daniel N. Johnson

The backside of the Honda Del Sol I painted ‘crazy’ shot somewhere in Baja, Mexico by Daniel N. Johnson

Stop. Can you identify the thing you want to do most in this moment? How about next week? What is the most epic thing that you wish you could do? Now, what keeps you from doing it? How many of those obstacles are real and how many of them are made up? How many could be eliminated with ease?

In my meditation lately I’ve been focusing on the feeling of being in excellent health. There is actually very little that makes me feel out of great health, most of the time I am able bodied, breathing, enjoying the moments and connecting to my creative spirit. One thing that seems to be very clear to me is that my joy is directly connected to my health and doing what I deeply, authentically want to do is a key contributor to elevating my joy.

These days I’m finding immense joy in making art, creating sacred space and sharing this art and space with other humans in unique, unexpected ways. I’m recognizing how many things I’ve been doing that may not be in alignment with my joy and health, and how I can get there with small changes in how I approach life.

This leads me to a great story about the time I bought a 1995 Honda Del Sol, painted it crazy, drove South with my friend and collaborator Daniel Johnsonand made it there by New Years Eve to ring in 2018 with some of our LA fam on a beach in Cabo San Lucas under a wild sky of fireworks blasting above us.

 

 Firework frenzy in Cabo San Lucas NYE 2018

Firework frenzy in Cabo San Lucas NYE 2018

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The Honda Del Sol holds a special place in my heart. I remember in 2009, our friend Bret pulled up to our shop in DTLA. He had the neon green model with a lil spoiler on the tail. When I came out to admire his vehicle he promptly raised the roof, literally detaching the targa top and lifting it with his long arms — this was quite impressive to me.

Later I recall ‘the homie’ Jeramiah showing up somewhere in LA or SF or Berkeley or Oakland in a Del Sol, here was another man, also too big for the car, cruising around shamelessly in what many would consider to be a pretty whimpy lil beep beep of a sports car. Jeramiah has always existed both 10 years ahead of his time and timeless, simultaneously.

The Del Sol also definitively represents the 90s. I believe one can tie car design of the last 50 years to the industrial design trends that were in vogue at various points throughout the half century. Honda’s breakthrough targa top Del Sol came sandwiched between their cult classic CRX Civic sport hatchback and the S2000, a very sleek millennial convertible (their iconic 2 door Prelude continued production from 78' — 01'). I believe it to be a very underrated car with great design for the period and a general air of ‘fun’ that few other vehicles embody so effortlessly. Even the front face is smiling as it rushes through the streets and freeways of big city USA. Here’s a lil Honda ad from 1993 that embodies what I’m talking about.

 

 95' Honda Del Sol Overview

95' Honda Del Sol Overview

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A few weeks before New Years I found myself in a major conundrum. What was I to do for arguably the most important night of the year??!! I had a few options, I could head to the mountains for fires and ski slopes with one crew, host another crew at my house or a friends gallery for a co-creative art party in LA or do the whim of an idea that came to me in one of my recent laughter saturated conversations with Jeramiah. We collectively visualized the concept for ‘Destination Del Sol’. The idea was to buy two cheap Del Sols for under $1000 each, paint them crazy, put in CB radios and drive South and see if we could make it to Cabo by New Years Eve, piling in as many fun strangers as we could in two tiny two-seater sports cars and taking photos solely on disposable film cammies.

 

 Jeramiah is a special dude

Jeramiah is a special dude

Shortly after this conversation I started casually looking for Del Sols in my price range on Craigslist. The ones I found didn’t exactly drive or were automatic transmission, a non-starter for a car that is readily available with a standard tranny. While this idea was still a pipe dream, a number of factors were colliding to make it more tangible than it may have ever been.

1) I was taking my friends Jackie and Justin’s Flow Mastery course and was being challenged to identify and follow my ‘highest excitement’. Often one’s highest excitement is a blend of what scares you or makes you nervous with what really excites you. Of all my options for NYE, 2018 Destination Del Sol was definitely my highest excitement!

2) I quickly realized my budget for finding a running Del Sol was more in the range of what I thought two Del Sols would cost. My CB radio plan was thwarted, also it seemed Jeramiah wasn’t as available for the journey as I initially thought. However, as soon as I mentioned the idea to my good pal and collaborator Daniel Johnson, his eyes lit up, I had a co-pilot.

3) As the end of the year was rapidly approaching I came across a white (think perfect canvas) 95' stick shift Del Sol on Craigslist with only a short list of tolerable issues. I took it for a drive, straight to a local mechanic and he gave it a full review. It needed a new clutch and some minor upgrades (battery, oil change, tires…) but was in pretty good shape all things considered.

 

 Smog check passed!

Smog check passed!

I decided to take the plunge, buying the car for a bit more than I initially thought I would. I left it with the mechanic to get it ready for the road and went off to Palm Springs for a solo Christmas trip.

Upon returning to LA after the holiday I had about 48 hours to get the Del Sol registered, packed up and painted. The mechanic ended up taking 24 of those hours to try to get the clutch just right, it was making a growling noise which he ended up not being able to fix before we left but could somehow tolerate. My dude Maceo and I got it smogged right as the shop was closing, it just passed after 3 fails. This was meant to be.

My next task was to bring it home and paint it. I had gone to Home Depot hours earlier to pick up some oil paint in primary blue, yellow, red, black and green. These specific colors are very important to me, when combined they make my mouth water, I want to eat them with my fingers and often feel I can actually taste their flavor.

I put a tarp in front of the garage just as the sun was setting and drove the car on top, lighting it with some portable fluorescents lodged in trash cans. The paint came through me, making broad strokes, circles, dots and other geometric shapes first in blue, then red, then green, black and finally yellow. Dan arrived fresh off a plane from Washington DC just as I started the yellow and he suggested we paint the rims, a perfect addition to the ultimate joy-spreading, road-tripping machine.

 

Painting the Rims.jpg

The next day I lit a ceremonial candle on top of the car as we packed up, burnt some palo santo inside to bless the space and we were off. A magical stage was set, but the journey was just beginning.

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The story continues, as it always does, but this piece is about connecting to what moves us from deep within, taking the plunge and doing it, even if it scares us a little bit.

 

Wanna hear more of the story and see the car? Check out our followup site from ‘Destination Del Sol’, an exhibition in Highland Park, Los Angeles where we shared select photographic works, artifacts, wearable art and automotive sculpture to raise funds for more art, health and joy.
 

 Check out the exhibition and more photos from the journey at  www.destinationdelsol.com

Check out the exhibition and more photos from the journey at www.destinationdelsol.com


Follow Ethan on Medium for more musings. This blog originally appeared on Medium on March 2, 2018.