"So, do you work for GoWesty?" I hear from over my shoulder.

photo by joel martin

Aidan and I both turn and a guy about our age is standing behind us with a cup of coffee in his hand.

"No, we just came from there, they just did a bunch of work on our car. They're sponsoring a trip we're doing."

"Oh, they sponsored a trip of mine, too."

We stare. To have your 30-year-old van sponsored and fixed up by the same company is not common. The light turns on for me and Aidan at the same time.

"Are you...?" I frown.

"Our Current Sea?"

We knew Donnie as an inspiration for our own project, but we had only ever seen him talking to us from a video he made for his own project and put online. He had made his way to the coffee shop where we were sitting in Santa Barbara because the one around the corner--his regular spot--was under construction. Aidan's GoWesty t-shirt made him curious enough to come over and ask about it.

Donnie's calm demeanor, indicative of some profound self-possession, made talking to him extremely easy. He's one of those souls roaming the earth that never have trouble finding friends, and he’s currently the only person who has ever invited us to his birthday party without telling us first.

photo by parker hilton