We're so excited for our next instagram feature: Jake Howell.
Jake is from Oklahoma but has decided to spend the next year adventuring around Spain! We love that he is always on the move and doing exciting things.
What do you do (student, working)?
Last May I graduated from Oklahoma State University with an English Lit. degree and no idea about what I wanted to do with my life, let alone what career/job I wanted to begin carving out. So, I had an old roommate who was just finishing up teaching English in Spain for a year and I decided to check it out. I was working at a summer camp in New England this summer and a few weeks after that I hopped across the pond. Now, I live and work in Madrid; I teach three fourth grade classes in a small mountain town an hour outside the city. I’m loving it.
Your instagram is full of pictures from really cool places. Tell us about your favorite place.
Thus far my favorite place has been Big Sur. It’s about 75 miles of untouched highway along the mythic 101 and it’s just gorgeous. Rolling flower-filled hillsides meets the Pacific Ocean. I’m just a kid from Oklahoma; we don’t have giant surf and hundreds-of-feet-high cliffs everywhere, so it was a real treat to not know a whole lot about Big Sur and take it all in this last summer. She’s magical. It’s one of those places that you’ve probably seen a lot of pictures of, but nothing can do her justice. If you ever find yourself in California, with a car, get on that highway. It’s worth spending a day (I’d recommend a week) driving the coast.
Do you have a favorite picture from one of your trips? What’s the story behind it?
Yes, definitely. The first big road trip I ever went on we hopped on I-40 west from Oklahoma City and slowly made our way to San Francisco and then eventually up to Seattle. BUT, when we rolled into San Francisco we had found a cheap place to camp across the Golden Gate bridge on an old WWII Battery site/naval barracks, so we pitched our tent super late at night, early December. Halfway through the night the tent collapsed and fell on us, but we were all so tired and warm we didn’t even care. So, the next morning when the sun woke us up, we all popped our heads out of the collapsed tent and were able to catch a beautiful, beautiful San Fransiscan sunrise across the bay. We all put on our long underwear and a jacket and just tore ass down to the water and started climbing down to some small cliff-sides on our side of the bay. My friends were all a bit ahead of me standing on top this big rock right off the mainland and I snagged this picture. The whole morning was just really sweet; definitely a magical moment for my first big road trip. Even better, about a year and a half later I was able to head back to the same campsite and recreate the moment: same rock, same ocean, same San Fransisco, different sunrise.
Who would your ideal travel companion be?
Uh, someone willing to marry me who has a love for French press coffee and sleeping outside and waking up early to catch the sunrise. Also, she has to like to driving with the windows down and she must have an affinity for Bob Dylan and cheeseburgers. This is really just turning into wifey-credentials, but you get it.
Any must haves you pack when going places?
Always bring an aux cord, always bring a cowboy hat and always bring a disposable camera.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Reading, reading, reading. Thankfully I got turned on at a young age and it’s been history since. Spain has given me a lot of free time to read, write, etc. which has been a blessing. Some books I’ve just read and would recommend would be On the Road, Infinite Jest, Lolita (I know what you’re thinking, but it’s a masterpiece. Just read it: you’ll laugh more than you ever have before.), Maggie Cassidy, there’s a bunch more, these are just a few. Please, read a book.
Keep up with Jake and his time in Spain by following him on instagram: @sundancehowell