Californication | SWIMS

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We partnered with Oslo-based photographer and videographer Herman Berger for an action-packed jaunt through the greater Los Angeles area. Having honed his travel instinct all over Europe as a competitive Alpine skier in his teens, Berger was eager to drink in the landmarks with an artist’s eye for detail.

Herman Berger


I was only in LA for seven days, but the things I got to do and see will be with me for a lifetime.

We hooked him up with Breeze Tennis Knit sneakers—ideal for the roving globetrotter—and set our sights on sunny SoCal. Read on for a snapshot of the modern good life in Herman’s words.
Another World: Exploring the Glamis Dunes and Slab City Lesson learned: there’s no such thing as a quick drive in LA. We spent 3.5 hours of our first morning getting to the Glamis Dunes. And it was worth every minute!

The windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla make this landscape absolutely otherworldly, and that’s before you experience the total silence and solitude. The more I looked, though, the more it felt weirdly familiar. Turns out Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars, The Scorpion King, and Lawrence of Arabia have been set in these dunes for decades! They’re steeped in adventure.

And the sci-fi didn’t stop there. Next up was Slab City, a bizarre hub for off-the-grid types in the middle of the desert. They mean it literally: this massive campground subsists without municipal fees, regulations, electricity, or water. It’s “live and let live” to the core, and it shows in the folk art. I was particularly mesmerized by Leonard Knight’s visionary Salvation Mountain.

LA from Above: The terrain is a trip, but the city is seductive—especially when the SWIMS team takes you on a helicopter tour. We boarded our private chopper in Burbank and headed west over the sprawling San Fernando Valley to the legendary Malibu coastline. Unreal! From there, we hugged the coast, passing Santa Monica and Venice Beach, before heading inland to gawk at the celebrity homes dotting Beverly Hills and Bel Air. Just as I finished daydreaming, we touched down in style on a rooftop in downtown LA. City lights, breathtaking heights: this I could get used to.

Time to Head Home Our time in LA was far too short, but we covered quite a bit of ground (and sky). It’s a place of unforgettable vistas, captivating characters, and tireless creativity. My kind of town. In the immortal words of Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back!”

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