Chris Muscarella | CEO & Cofounder, Kitchensurfing
The Pixel Trade was an invitation from Chris to photograph a short sailing trip amongst the islands off the coast of Rockland, Maine. After hours of delays in JFK and a late night taxi driver playing all sorts of bad religious music, we stepped onto the Ramblin’ Rose, a beautiful boat indeed.
Interview with Chris
Describe your most memorable adventure as a child.
I assume that you're asking about adventures in the real world. I'll get to that in a second, but I want to state for the record that I think the most important thing about being a kid is where you go with your imagination. So, in truth, a lot of my most important adventures as a child took place in my bedroom—surrounded by pseudo-historical battles (made of legos) and terrifying monsters (which I made out of clay). Anyway.
I was a willful child. At some point, I had a fight with my parents. It was the middle of winter. I jumped out of my second story window into the snow with my pack, tent, and sleeping bag and set off into the woods. I pitched my tent and started reading a book and was happy. Then I heard some coyotes nearby—and then I heard them come up around my tent. I was terrified. When it seemed like they'd moved on, I packed everything up and headed home—it was deep in the night at that point. My father had locked the doors to the house, there was no sneaking back in.
What would you say was the biggest risk you’ve taken in your life?
I'm a calculated risk taker. I think a lot of people might look at some of my choices and think they're insane, but they're usually not made out of total capriciousness. I probably just value things differently. I think the things that have registered as the biggest risks are the types of things that everyone can relate to: telling someone you love them, realizing you're emotionally exposed—that sort of thing. Risks to your physical and financial health aren't a big deal unless you have a family or other people you're living for.
What about sailing keeps you hooked?
Harmony is a hard thing to come by in this world and it seems like we're making it harder. People are always worried about something happening somewhere else. Things like Facebook and a million things tugging at your attention don't make it any easier.
Sailing is therapy. You're on a solar schedule—the sun comes up, the sun goes down. You feel it viscerally. You're often in a place where your phone doesn't work, so you forget about the rest of the world. You get on the right tack and you're balancing the wind, the waves, and the sails. It puts you in a place where your worldview is really only about the next 8 hours. You go with great friends and you have conversations, but because your notion of time has been warped, conversations that happened yesterday seem like they've been going on for years. It's deeply humanizing. I imagine you could get a similar effect from a back country hiking trip, but I like the water.
Where is your favourite place to travel?
It varies. I like cities if I think that I'm in a place where I'm going to want to talk to locals and really learn the city. Sometimes though, you need travel for its healing properties—and that usually means a sailboat or somewhere that I can get away from the modern world. I'll also cop to a fetish for places that I think will change a lot during my lifetime. For example, I lived in China in 2000-01, I'd love to get to Cuba before the Castro regime is over, Shenzhen—where they make all electronics these days and was nothing ten years ago, and there's a town in Romania that's the spam capital of the world that would probably lead to some bizarrely memorable bar conversations.
Describe your most memorable adventure as an adult.
I turned 30 last year and was sailing with some friends in the British Virgin Islands. I ended up having a pretty thrilling sailboat race against Sir Richard Branson and then getting a champagne toast from him on his island. It was all unplanned, which made it much more sweet and surreal. See Photo here.
If you had to recommend a favourite music album, what would it be?
If you put a gun to my head for a studio album, I'd say Astral Weeks by Van Morrison.