Luci Westphal is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. Together with her husband Scott Solary, she founded the outdoor leisure brand Happier Place.
To kick off our series about people and their Happy Places, Luci asked herself some questions:
Why do you do what you do?
I’m a documentary filmmaker and photographer because I have a passion for exploring, capturing and sharing what I see. With my web series Moving Postcard I hope to inspire others to take a break and explore. Working on that web series, in combination with Scott and I embracing a new lifestyle in Colorado that included more breaks in nature, sparked the idea of starting Happier Place. We’ve seen in our own lives how getting away from it all and having some fun in nature makes us happier and more well-balanced. We really hope to encourage others to enjoy more such quick breaks without the stress of preparing for a huge nature adventure.
General Happier Place category?
Being by the water always makes me happy. I especially love being on the beach, no matter the time of year or the weather. There’s just something about the open sea that makes me feel both free and also connected to all the people I love around the world. I grew up near the big Elbe River in Germany and have always felt thrilled to watch the water and ships move in and out of the Hamburg harbor. In Colorado, I’ve discovered a passion for being on lakes – especially when we cruise around in our little johnboat Slow Ride.
Specific Happier Place locations?
There actually are so many places I consciously consider my Happy Places… Just a few: Satanka Cove of Horsetooth Reservoir because it’s the first place I went for a Colorado swim with Scott and Whiskey and it’s only 20 minutes from our home. Prospect Park, Brooklyn; on a picnic blanket with any of my people and some cold beverages – or while running the loop with my friend Erica. My parents gorgeous backyard in the beautiful Haseldorfer Marsch, Germany, because it’ll always be home and I’ll always feel safe there. Sitting on “Our Beach” at the Spree River across from the Museum Island with our Berlin friends and beers we just got at the Späti. Sitting on a real beach with Scott on the last morning of a vacation, eating pastries and drinking mimosas from the hotel breakfast bar – because we’re so lucky to be able to go on vacations!
What do you always bring out into nature with you?
A camera. Even though lately I’ve been considering to leave the camera and even my phone behind on an outing – so I can be completely free and in-the-moment.
Do you have any Happier Place hacks?
A dream destination (in space or time)?
Last year, I finally got to check off a decade-long dream destination: Cuba! Now, I’m just open to exploring any place I get the chance to visit. And I would love to take more trips to Cuba and to Tulum, Mexico, which I consider the best vacation spot.
Words of Inspiration?
Find Luci Westphal, her photography and videos online:
Photos of Luci taken by Scott Solary in Colorado. All others taken by Luci.