Author Archive for: Michael

Gone, but not forgotten. #RIPMyStache

If you know me or had a chance to meet me over  the past three almost four years the one thing you probably would have said about me is nice mustache.  I heard this at least once a week from complete strangers on the street.  Having a great mustache became my thing.

22187_10153335459129664_6352676136342498517_n  My mustache was an ice breaker in any situation and was helpful in closing deals.  I would get good seating at restaurants or special attention at an event.  Was this partialy because of my mustache?  I live in Venice Beach, one of the coolest beach towns in the world.  Venice is known for being a haven for trendsetters and hipsters.  Having a mustache gave me a new sense of belonging.  It was the missing ingredient I’d been lacking personally and professionally.  I met my fiancé after I’d grown my stache for Movember 2012. It was the perfect accessory to go along with the travel brand I launched #TravelWithMeaning.   I loved my mustache.

Sadly, my mustache was taken from me February 26, 2016 without my consent.


My mustache was shaved off by a   barber at Floyd’s Barbershop in Venice Beach. This may sound silly to some, but this has been upsetting and devastating to me. I’m sure you’re saying “how could this  happen” and “who cares? it will grow back.”  I’ll explain all of this to you, but what I want to share is  I did not want my mustache shaved off.  My mustache represented my brand.  This is my body and my choice.

Several of my Mo friends questioned why I would go Floyd’s.  I actually like Floyd’s, it’s less than a block from my house and cost effective.  However, I have a few issues with Floyd’s besides the fact they shaved off my mustache.  I’ve been a customer of Floyd’s for over eight months and I’ve  visited the location almost every two weeks for my mustache trim.  I’ve seen a few different barbers over the course of the eight months and all have done a solid job on my mustache.  The problem isn’t the barber, minus the one who shaved off my stache.  The problem is the lack of customer service.  Over the course of the eight months that I visited this location I felt like I was a new customer every time. I never felt appreciated or valued as a customer.


IMG_8205 So how did I let this happen?  I was recovering from shoulder surgery and had not shaved or showered in almost a week.  I was beginning to look a little shaggy.  My fiancé suggested I  treat myself to a trim at Floyd’s.   I had been feeling like crap from the surgery and the thought of having a barber use hot shaving cream to clean up my face sounded relaxing and just what I needed.  I called just after 9am the morning of Friday 26 to schedule an  appointment for that afternoon.  I asked if Jason would be in that day and was told he was still out of town.  I decided to go with another barber who had trimmed my stache two weeks earlier.   I walked into Floyd’s with my arm in a sling just before 4pm.  Of course they were busy.  They’re always busy, which is a good thing for them, bad thing for customer service.  I checked in with the receptionist, who after a few moments found my name and asked me to have a seat.  While waiting I saw Jason, the barber I had wanted to see. He was working, but was booked up with clients.  He apologized that I had  been given the wrong information. He told me to go online next time to book the appointment in advance.  Good to know. After waiting for fifteen minutes, I was beginning  to get a little annoyed. My shoulder was uncomfortable and I felt that Floyd’s screwed up by not assigning me  the barber I had wanted, even telling me that he was out of town. I saw the barber I was waiting for talking with the recptionist and heard her ask who was next.  I could see the receptionist fumbling around looking at the waiting list so I walked over the desk and said I should be next.  The barber smiled and said nice to see you.  As we walked back to her station I asked my barber why there was always drama with reception.  She laughed and apologized as the last time she trimmed me the same situation happened. The barber  asked what happened with my shoulder.  After sharing my shoulder surgery story I told her I had been unable to lift my l arm and to shave properly.  I told her my beard and face were looking a little shaggy and I needed to be cleaned up.  I NEVER said I wanted a full face shave, nor shave my mustache.  I take responsibility on my end for not being more specific with her. I trusted the barber.  I do believe it is the responsibility of the barber to ask the client what services they will be having and make sure there is an understanding.  Clearly there was not.

The barber started to trim the side of my face with the electric razor.  I asked her if she was cleaning it up before using hot shaving cream, which she said she was.  I settled into the chair and dozed off for a minute.  I could feel the razor going around the top of my mustache and asked her how much of my stache was being trimmed?  The razor stopped.  I sat up to see in my horror that  my beautiful mustache had been shaved off.   I was in shock. I said ” you cut off my fucking mustache”,  The barber was speechless.  She said “I thought you wanted a full shave.” I never said I wanted a full shave.  I asked the barber to please walk away and give me a few moments alone.  I did not want to be rude, mean or a dick to the barber, not to mention she had to still finish my shave. I took a few pictures, texted my fiancé and had a weird moment looking in the mirror at a face I had not seen in  a while.

I was assured I would not have to pay for the service and was pushed out the door when we finished.  I did not speak to a manager or anyone regarding what had happened.  I did not pay or leave a tip.  It felt very shady.  I couldn’t comprehend what really happened and was in disbelief that my mustache was shaved off.  It didn’t really hit me until later that night when going out to dinner my fiancé  kept saying that I looked so different, cute and attractive, but  different.


Six days after the shave, the awkward stubble phase.

I appreciate everyone who has said I look great without my mustache and it will grow back.  Thank you.  I do understand it will grow back and it’s always nice to be told that you’re handsome, however this was not my choice.  My mustache is growing back and is currently in an awkward beard phase.  I’m grateful not to have an issue growing facial hair.  Though, there is upkeep involved and it did take me close to a year to get the first stache shaped just right.    


This brings me to asking for your support by doing one of two things.  If you’re a Mo Bro, or have love for the Mo Bro’s here’s my request.

1. Watch and share the tribute video I made to my mustache using #MustacheJustice . My Mustache Tribute. Gone, But Not Forgotten 

2. If you’re a Mo Bro or have a Mo in your life please take a picture of your stache and share it on social media with #MustacheJustice


 What is my intention for this campaign you may be asking?

1 – I do not want to see this happen to another Mo Bro. Seriously, always make sure you check with the barber so that everyone is clear the stache will not be harmed if you’re getting a shave.

2 – As consumers we should be a stand for good customer service and not be ok with below average service.

3 – This is my body and my choice to shave or not shave my mustache. I want Floyd’s to be held accountable.




I have to give a big thank you to American Mustache Institute for sharing my story click here  and Up & Adam in the morning Q104.5 for having me as a guest to share the #MustacheJustice story.  To hear my radio interview click here.

I went around LA and asked some of my fellow Mo Bro’s how they would feel if they had their mustache shaved off without permission.  Here’s what they said click here

Thank you for letting me share my story.  If you have anything you want to share with me or tell me how ridiculous this is I can be reached at


Getting paid to surf and I’m not a pro #Travelwithmeaning

Check out my rad experience getting paid to surf.  Thanks Specular Theory!










Grand Canyon adventures with my crew!

The Grand Canyon has always been on my bucket list and neither my fiance (Nicole) or I had ever  been.  We headed to Arizona for my nephews high school graduation and decided to make it a Travel With Meaning adventure to the Grand Canyon….oh, we took our adorable and hilarious dog Barbara along.  Enjoy our adventure!

People at the Grand Canyon share what traveling means to them.

Happy New Year!

New Years: The day we get to look back at the year that past and plan for the one to come. We can create a fresh start for the New Year and do our best to stay on that path until we find ourselves back at the New Year looking for resolutions & intentions ahead. New Year celebrations have an extra hype on them. I can remember as a little kid asking a baby sitter to wake me up to watch the ball in Times Square drop. My Bar Mitzvah party was on New Year’s Eve and will go down as one of the best parties ever with my family. My millennium New Year’s Eve was spent working at an upscale supper club and will always be one of my more epic nights that lasted a few days into the New Year.  I’ve had some mellow New Year’s Eves, and crazy ones as well.  One that will always stay with me was in Sydney watching the fireworks over the Harbor Bridge.

I’m headed to Baja to bring in 2015 with friends;  Surfing, dancing, eating good food, laughing and smiling. With a clean slate on the year ahead, I’m committed to making this be my best year yet and set into creating what’s truly possibly. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year!

My Grateful Jucy Journey, Big Sur


I live in Venice Beach and have to admit life here is pretty great.  You can’t beat the weather.  Even when it’s cold it’s not a polar vortex.  As great as it is living in Venice, having a short Getaway every few months keeps me happy as well as creative.  You might call me a travel junkie and even short adventures are good ones. 

It had been three plus years since I’d seen my buddy Andy  from Brisbane.  When I was in Australia he took me on a few epic adventures climbing Mt. Warning to see the sun rise and trekking 18 miles in two days barefoot on Bribie Island.  So, I had to repay the adventure and take Andy aka The Ambassador of Adventure aka Odd Shades on a Cali road trip to blow his mind and challenge his out door skills.

My friends at Jucy  Rentals hooked me up with one of their awesome camper vans to take on a road trip in Cali.  Jucy’s are currently on the West Coast in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.   These camper vans are great for families, couples and friends to explore. My good buddy Andy happened to be visiting from Australia so I chose the bro trip getaway experience.  He’s a very outdoors type of guy, think Crocodile Dundee meets Bear Grylls.  I figured a Jucy adventure up the coast would be perfect. We threw our surfboards, wetsuits and backpacks in the van and headed north.


We filled up  the van with necessary food rations at Whole Foods in Oxnard. We spent a reasonable $35 a person.  Thinking of where to stay our first night we got lucky that friends of mine we’re staying at the Rincon Points Estates.  This is an exclusive gated community with a world class surf break right in front.  They let us park the Jucy in there driveway.  Score!

We decided that Andy would have the Penthouse and I’d crash downstairs in the Jucy.  The seats fold down making a double bed and even with two good sized surf boards in the van I was surprising cozy and comfy.  I only wish I brought a DVD with me to help me dose off that night.  Packing fail on my part.  None the less I put down the window shades to black out any outside light and slept like a baby.

I woke up early to have my first look at Rincon in the day light and check out the massive swell that had been gracing the coast for the past few days.


Andy choose to sleep in and not paddle out.  I jumped in the water on my own, but not alone. Rincon was packed with surfers from the top of the point back to the beach enjoying tasty and sizable waves. I got a few waves and was beyond stoked when I got out of the water.  It was time to wake Andy and continue our adventure north to check out the magic of the Central Coast.

We stopped off to check out the Elephant Seal viewing  just outside of San Simeno.  Wow!  I remember stopping here once when I was a little kid with my parents, but these things were enormous…and ugly in a cute sorta way.  Along with all of the other tourists we watched the females take care of the babies and the males battle for territory.



We didn’t have any campsites picked out or a real destination before we left Venice. What we did have was a picture of a sunset from a secret spot in Big Sur my friend told me I had to find as it would change my life.  How could we not go seeking this magical spot.  My friend’s directions were a little vague and the picture was taken at a different time of the year but I was going to find it.  We closely studdied the image of the sunset on my iPhone and went up and down a hillside until we were confident we found the spot.  We sat and enjoyed what was unfortunately a foggy sunset.



Our open road adventure was shaping up to be an epic one. As we knew there was more to come


We camped the first night in Big Sur at Plaskett Creek Campground north of the secret spot.  Which for the price of $22 for the night was reasonable and also made me feel better camping near a bathroom/showers and not pulled off the side of the road.  Setting camp up in a Jucy was super easy.  You just push a button and the penthouse raises up.  No need to set up a tent, which makes camping so much more fun & easy!  We made soup for dinner and had a few beers while playing cards next to the fire looking up at the stars.



Rolling out of Plasket creek early the next day we went for a hike along the bluff above Sand Dollar Beach.  Welcoming in the sun for the day and mesmerized by the beauty of the coastline and size of the waves this was an awesome morning.


I had been told no trip to Big Sur is complete without stopping at the Big Sur Bakery for coffee and bake goods.  Great call!  The delicious pasteries and good, but pricy coffee was just what we needed to keep the adventure going.

We pulled into Pfeiffer Beach paying the $5 parking fee and walked along the beach to get a better look at the coast.  The incredible coastline in Big Sur is filled with giant rugged rock formations creating an amazing back drop of the landscape.  We both agreed that the stunning coast drive along California highway 1 is much like the famous Great Ocean Drive  along the coast outside of Melbourne.


If there’s a rock, Andy must climb it.

Continuing the journey north we stopped at Andrew Molera state park to go for a hike and check the surf. Doing the mile walk from the parking lot to the beach we walked through open fields, saw a deer, and could taste the salty ocean air from the approaching beach.  When we got the gorgeous horse shoe shaped bay the waves were pumping.  They were easily ten foot and probably a little bigger. There were a few guys out, but it was a little too big for  us.  We climbed up the side of the cliff next to the point to get a better look at the waves and follow a trail that wrapped around from the headland.  Overlooking the ocean watching massive waves roll in with the sun shinning on the bay  had me incredibly stoked for the guys ripping it in the water.



We walked back along the headlands trail to the parking lot.  This was a much longer trail and it was getting cold.  I  made one mistake when we walked to the beach, for some reason I thought we would check the surf and then return to the car.  I didn’t have anything with me or a  bag with survival items (food, flashlight, jacket) Andy on the other hand was fully prepared.  Fail on my part.

We got back to the Jucy hungry and cold or maybe that was just me.  Either way we pulled our portable Jucy stove out and made an awesome picnic lunch.  We were full and refreshed and back to the adventure ahead.



We were given one more secret spot to check out the sunset from a guy Andy met in LA.  Always up for the adventure we ventured slighlty up the coast and found this epic sunset spot off a trail.  We set up chairs, cracked a beer and watched the sun fade away through the clouds.


We rolled back into town to get a few supplies for the night and stumbled on $2 taco night at theTap House tavern.  $2 tacos and beers were a no brainer and so delicious!  Pulling the Jucy into Pfeiffer State Park we made a fire, had some tea and scanned the sky for shooting stars.  The camp site was reasonable priced at $25 with bathrooms and showers near  by.

Leaving Pfeiffer early Tuesday morning we were not sure if we were headed back to LA that day or wait to see where the day took us.  After stopping at a vista over looking the ocean to have breakfast I knew there was no way we were making it back to LA this day.  Dinnig on a breakfast of fruit, eggs and tea we enjoyed the view of the fog coming off the coastline.  I could not think of a better view to start the day.



Heading south we stopped  to check out Mccovey Waterfall and then continued along to seek out some manageable surf. We opted not to surf in Cayucos and wondered around the main street.  I had to get cookies at the Brown Butter Cookie Company.  I recommend the chocolate chip!  We checked out a few antique shops and the Cayucus saloon that’s been there since 1906.  Super rad!

Continuing south we pulled into Morro Bay next to the rock to check the surf.  The north side of the rock was huge and closing out, but the harbor side was perfect.  Andy and I suited up, grabbed our boards, and paddled out.  Andy is Australian, but doesn’t surf that often and had never wore a wet suit before.  The old wet suit I had for him to use might not have been ideal for the cold water, but none the less it kept him some what warm and we charged the surf.  I did feel bad that I didn’t have extra booties for him.  I think it took several hours for the feeling to come back to his feet.  The surf at Morro Bay harbor was good  and we both got a few fun ones.



The only thing to do after a fun surf is grub. I was so excited to hit up the Lil Hut Fish N Chips for chowder and a crab cake sandwich.  I had eaten here when I was in Morro Bay late Spring and couldn’t wait for  to get some warm chowder in my belly. We were in a food coma after feasting at the Lil Hut and chilled out for the sunset.


Making the call to get some distance south behind us we decided not to camp in Morro Bay.  I reached out to a friend of mine in Santa Barbara who suggested we camp at Refugio State beach.  Rolling into the camp ground just after 8pm we could already feel a big difference in  the warmth in temperature.  The camping fees were higher than anywhere else we’d stayed at $35, but since we were literally next to the ocean and there were hot showers and bathrooms we gladly paid the fee’s which turned out to be very well worth it.  This was by far my favorite camp ground we stayed in.  Not only could we hear the waves crashing at night and see stars from our camp site, but the grounds were well kept and bathrooms/ showers clean. I woke up early the next morning, as you usually do to check the surf.  Siting on a bench looking out at a beautiful beach while the sun rose over the coast I reflected on how spectacular this road trip had been without having a road map to begin. The tide began to drop and the surf was picking up.   I walked back to camp to wake Andy and make the remaining food rations we had for breakfast.

The moment we suited up and started to paddle out the fog began to move in. Fast.  Within ten minutes of being in the water we couldn’t see  twenty feet in front of us.  We could hear the waves crashing outside on the rocks and caught  a few fun ones inside when the wave reformed on the second reef.  After about an hour we were both of need of a hot shower and some food.  One of the locals at the beach suggested we try the Mesa Cafe in Santa Barbara.  I love getting the locals advice when I travel, it’s another true sign your on an adventure.



We filled up on hearty meals at the Mesa Cafe and caught  up with my Allison, who met Andy when she was in Australia three years ago.  Sitting at lunch talking with friends about past adventures and future expeditions had me very present to one of my favorite sayings.  It’s not where you go, but who you meet along the way.  Meeting people, expanding communities and having life changing experiences with others is what My Grateful Journey represents.

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Andy and I said good bye to Allison and made the final push south back to Venice.  We rolled into Venice just after sunset with the Jucy in one piece and my Girlfriend Nicole making a home cooked meal.  Always good to come home.

I’m so grateful to have had a few days to step out of my day to day life and have an open road adventure.  So good for the soul. I’m committing to doing one adventure a month.

I’m also  beyond grateful to have had the road trip experience and another epic adventure with Andy.  Safe travels, mate.  Looking forward to seeing where the open road takes us next.



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Open Road Adventure with My Girlfriend

Hi there!

It’s been a while since I posted on My Grateful Journey.  The journey didn’t stop, rather  it’s been transforming in more incredible ways then I could have imagined.  One of the biggest developments on My Grateful Journey is… girlfriend Nicole.  I’ve learned many lessons along this journey, but having someone to share the ups and downs of life makes the journey that much more special.  Nicole and I took a road trip a few months ago up the coast along highway 1.  Seeing friends in Santa Barbara, stopping at random seafood shacks, and driving down roads we had never been on. It was truly an open road adventure!  We spent a few night in San Luis Obispo staying a The Apple Farm which has a old school charm with modern features, amazing staff and an incredible farm to table resturant (  We also visited the beautiful Tolosa Winery which is run entirely on solar power. I had my surf board strapped to the top of Nicole’s red VW bug “Ruby”, but wasn’t having any luck finding surf…..until we started heading back down the coast and pulled over at one of our last spots .

The coastal drive  along Highway 1 is one of the greatest ocean drives in the world and a perfect place  to have an open road adventure! #Goforit

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The grass isn’t always greener.

grass isn't always greener