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Teppei Teranishi

Joel and I have the deepest conversations whenever we drive out for long stretches. We were coming back from Tagaytay yesterday and somehow got to talking about how we were doing with decluttering our social media feeds.

As folks who spend a lot of time working from home (with me clocking it in at 90% of my days), the internet is both a refuge and huge stress factor in our lives. It’s too easy for us to launch into a round of “Who/what pissed us off in the internet lately?” and frankly, we’re trying to wean ourselves off the habit. It’s not productive and it only serves to put us up in high horses.

We delved into internet envy instead and our discussion shifted to “Who makes us feel bad in the internet?” It allowed us to discuss things that tend to weather our self-esteeem and as a result it also revealed what our insecurities and hangups were.

Enter Teppei Teranishi! Teppei used to be the guitarist of the band Thrice, a band I loved in college. The band parted ways some years back (I don’t know the details and I don’t know if there have been reunion efforts), and Teppei packed up his wife and three boys and moved to an island off the coast of Seattle.

He picked leather work while the band went on their tours. He’d be in the back of the back of their bus making wallets during down time. Leather working is one of those crafts that are very portable. It was one of the reasons he brought it with him on the road.

Photos Courtesy of Freunde Von Freunden

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Joel and I follow his studio on Instagram and we always groan whenever he posts pictures of the nature their family is surrounded by, the fresh seafood they catch, and their ferry trips to the city. Both of us romanticize people who work with their hands. It such a foreign concept for us because we make our living using technology and interacting with people. Even our hobbies aren’t very tactile these days; we just read books and watch our TV shows. Sometimes Joel will tinker with his model planes and I will get my fix from cooking pasta sauces.

We also have these intense discussions of wanting to move out of the city — Joel once lived in Palawan for six months and he gets a starry-eyed look to him whenever he reminisces about waking up to huge, blue mountains in the distance and getting his produce fresh from the wet market. Joel also spent a lot of his childhood being surrounded by nature (slopping hills and ancient trees in Pennsylvannia) and wilderness (Nigeria).

I, on the other hand, am a city girl through and through, but after being cooped up in an apartment for the last three years, I’ve been craving for sunshine and fresh air. What makes Teppei’s lifestyle even more enthralling is the fact that he’s thrown family life into the balance. Even with my urban leanings, Joel and I love the idea of raising children in a “frontier” environment. We’re big on instilling a sense of wonder for kids and in our current setup, we really have to get creative with family fun in malls and sidewalks if we’re in the city. Both of us have fantasies of raising our own vegetable garden (his) and spending our days preparing fresh, healthy meals (mine).

I guess this will just remain as our pipe dream in the meantine. Sometimes we’ll talk about spending two months in Palawan every year and making our businesses mobile while we’re there (our design studio and his teaching). But I don’t know. It’s all just talk. It’s really fun to dream.

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