The mission of WeGotNext, Seedlip's 1% for the Planet partner, is brought to life by their incredible ambassadors & their projects. Seedlip connected with WeGotNext & their ambassadors to explore the infinite definitions of what nature is & how it connects us all through sharing these individual experiences- their roots.
For this installment of this series, we caught up with Everett Ó Cillín, curator, cyclist, and WeGotNext ambassador.
I. How do you define “nature” and how do you connect to it consistently?
Nature IS connection. Connection that comes from recognizing, respecting and caring for life in all its complexities.
II. What lessons from your time as a cycling guide have supported your journey back into the world of arts and nonprofits?
For me, creating a bike route is like curating an exhibition. What do you want to see or share with the world? How are these themes and ideas linked? How can I create an experience that is supportive and expansive? My brief career change as a cycling guide and tour specialist helped me focus on the visitor experience in new ways. So much of what you do as a guide has nothing to do with the bike and EVERYTHING to do with the relationships you build with the people you meet and the lands you travel through.
I agree with Robert Filliou when he said that “Art is what makes life more interesting than art.” It's something that has made its way into the way I think about bikes and touring. I was reminded of this definition by my good friend and artist Tessa Hulls in a recent talk she gave about the complex cultural history of cycling at a local bike collective here in Santa Cruz… “it’s about bikes but it's not really about bikes. It's what we do with them.”
III. How does your project with WeGotNext grow from your roots?
Bike touring is an emergent form of travel. A way of connecting to your own body and the world around you that's both empowering and vulnerable. As a queer and trans creative I am inspired by life's intersections - seeking out people, places, and ideas in transition. Iceland is a land in perpetual transition, a land of fire and ice where the weather plays its own mercurial charter in the cultural landscape. My project with WeGotNext will allow me to continue an ongoing conversation around the conditional relationships between bodies and landscapes through a self-supported bike packing expedition in Iceland. To guide this conversation, I’ve created a route based on the artwork and poetry of Roni Horn that will physically link several of Iceland's major glaciers with arts communities that have themselves emerged from the ever-changing socio-economic landscape created by industry and extraction.
IV. You've shared the importance of advocating for and celebrating our relationships to the lands on which we live, travel, and connect with one another. What does that look like for you and how might others learn to do the same?
There are so many ways to advocate for and celebrate our relationships to the land and more than human worlds. In the most basic ways this can look like following Leave No Trace guidelines and giving these spaces the respect, they deserve. This respect includes acknowledging the first stewards of the lands on which we travel and working to support efforts to return stewardship of these lands to indigenous communities. Through direct action or financial contributions, building knowledge of the places you inhabit can bring you into a better relationship with the land and with the communities that build their lives around it.
At the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History I currently work to organize collaborative exhibitions and programs that work to question social norms and share underrepresented stories. Outside of working in the arts I am grateful to be in community with people and organizations who advocate for a greater understanding of our relationship to place and to each other. As a regional adviser with Bikepacking Roots, committee member with the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship and former co-organizer with the Radical Adventure Riders (RAR) I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to advocate for and celebrate our relationships to the lands on which we live, travel, and connect with one another. For more information you can listen to this short 6 episode series, Within & Without, that I produced in collaboration with RAR in 2020 shortly after stepping back to make space for new leadership.
V. What advice do you have to inspire others to connect to their roots?
Tap into what inspires you. Draw from it what you need and let it nourish you so that you can grow strong enough to give back to it.
VI. If you could invite 6 individuals to a dinner party you’re hosting, who would they be and why? What Seedlip cocktail are you serving?
Roni Horn, Lucy Lippard, Rebecca Solnit, Tessa Hulls, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Jay Melena. I would serve the Light & Breezy and spice it up with a splash of pickled jalapeño brine.
Watch Everett's 'My Roots' story below.