The daughter of a freight train-hopping Hawaiian cowboy and a mother who drove with her boyfriend from LA to Oregon in a VW van taped shut full of sixteen beehives, Mariah Makalapua, the Portlander star of our latest video, says she is "committed to a more radical path than most people who have kids." A teen who wasn't even old enough to legally drink when she had her first daughter, Mariah was aware enough to not use parenthood as an excuse to settle. As the antidote to burnout mode (from working two jobs and going to school while parenting), Mariah saved up and sold everything for two one-way tickets to Guatemala and embarked on an open-ended adventure. Like the tattoo of the map of the world without borders on the top of her feet, she is a homebody whose home is wherever she is. For two years, Mariah backpacked through Central and South America, where her family of two settled down in Nicaragua for four months, fell in love with a vegetarian Hare Krishna family who had an Indian restaurant in the middle of jungle, and learned to teach yoga. Crisscrossing continents to Granada, Spain, Mariah stayed in caves with gypsies, then she traveled by bus through the Gibraltar Straight to Morocco, where she studied Arabic and French and acquired the skills to launch Medicine Collective, her line of jewelry, houseware, and talisman, from a master leather worker named Hassan.
Refusing restrictions and recognizing the fallacy of stability, Mariah states, "We have to realize that everything fluctuates and changes. Doubt and fear is a part of being whole, otherwise we wouldn't be human beings." Mariah embraces the ephemeral in almost everything, from dressing, where her clothes correlate to how she feels at the time, to children, who, unlike adults, "harness the magic that's in the moment right now." Her custom pieces are healing agents and wearable totems. None of the materials used for her Medicine Collective -- whether they're gems or antlers -- have been bought from a "douche bag who plundered a village." For Mariah, money should support your beliefs, such as propelling others to communicate what's buried inside of them through art. "I know the difference between when something feels right to me and when I feel nervous about something. When you tune into what your body is telling you, you can use that to your well being."
So stay tuned for Mariah's next one-way adventure. She just moved to Mexico with her two kids to teach yoga and not let Portland get even close to old.
Elisa & Lily
Mariah's video was edited by Omari
Shot, interviewed, and photographed by Elisa & Lily