My name is JR Riel. I was born on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. I come from a long line of adventurers, drifters, wanderers and nomads.
Some of them were drifting sailors of the sea, canoe voyaging Kanaka Maoli or Tangata Maori, the original nomads of the wind who followed the stars and pushed the boundaries of their ancient Austronesian homelands further east and north into the deep heart of the Pacific Ocean eventually becoming today's modern day Polynesians, as well as a seafaring sailor from New England who, centuries later, captained the passenger ship Thaddeus, which carried the very first group of missionaries over to Hawaii.
Kaumalapau Harbor on the Island of Lanai, Hawaii
Others were nomadic cultivators of the earth, immigrants from the Philippines, China and the Azores Islands of Portugal, who found themselves wandering away from their birthplaces in search of a better life, arriving in Hawaii on boats, ships, and airplanes, to work the different soil of a foreign land.
Undoubtedly, these were all men and women of steely strength, strong character and determination. My ancestors. The original drifters, wanderers and nomads.
I grew up on acres and acres of land on the eastern end of the island of Molokai, in a house right by the ocean.
We had horses, cows, chickens, ducks, pigs, rabbits, wild deer and wild boar. We grew much of our own fruits and vegetables, and fished from the sea daily.
Besides growing up in Hawaii, I also lived in Long Island, New York for four years where I learned about the American way of life, and on the island of Lanai, Hawaii for eight years where I learned more about the Filipino part of me.
Now, I am currently living in Kaohsiung City, in the southern part of Taiwan, and am contemplating a move further south to the Philippines, where I can explore the many islands and cultures there.
*If you want to read more about my childhood, please check out my interview with True Nomads.
Eating Snake in Kaohsiung City
My multi-ethnic background is a blend of both Polynesian (Native Hawaiian) and Visayan Filipino (Waray-waray/Cebuano), with a dash of (Cantonese) Chinese and (Azorean) Portuguese thrown in for good measure.
Because of my cultural roots, I tend to share posts from the unique perspective of a Pacific Islander-slash-Southeast Asian drifter who is now living abroad. Check out my writing and see what I'm all about!
What is The Drifter Journals Looking For From Other Digital Artisans?
I am open to collaborating with any artisans, craftmasters, digital nomads or cultural-revolutionists who express themselves through digital media.
Although I'm open to all creative partnerships, I am particularly interested in working with other indigenous or aboriginal artists who come from a native background who have a unique message or artform to share that is related to traditional or contemporary native, indigenous or aboriginal culture, i.e. language, food or history.
Please check out my online stuff and learn what I'm about. If you would like to collaborate on a project, please connect with me throughsocial media or contact me here.