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Luci Westphal (Documentarian + Happier Place Founder in Colorado)

Luci Westphal (documentarian and Happier Place founder) among the autumn colors in the Colorado mountains.

Luci Westphal is a documentary filmmaker and photographer.  Together with her husband Scott Solary, she founded the outdoor leisure brand Happier Place.

Luci grew up outside of Hamburg, Germany. After Florida, Brooklyn, and Berlin, she currently lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado, with Scott and their dog Whiskey.

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.

Gateway North Fork River Colorado
North Fork of the Cache la Poudre River in Colorado.

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.

House in cove off Kachemak Bay, Alaska
Kachemak Bay in Alaska.

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.

Luci Westphal - Satanka Cove - Happier Place
Luci Westphal above Satanka Cove near Ft. Collins, Colorado.

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.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Endale Arch, bridge, tunnel to Long Meadow from Grand Army Plaza, Happier Place
Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY.

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.

Picture yourself sitting on the beach with your feet in the shallow clear water and gazing out into the distance where the blue sky meets the sea, Florida Keys, Loggerhead Beach
Bahia Honda State Park Beach in the Florida Keys.

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? 

The plan is to have all kinds of our tips and hacks listed in the Know-How section of the Happier Place website, for example having a Small Always-Ready Bag.

The first Happier Always-Ready Bag and Whiskey Dog in Colorado Happier Place.
The “Take A Break” Always-Ready Bag and Whiskey Dog out and about.

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.

Old Boca Paila Bridge on the way to Punta Allen in Sian Ka'an, Mexico.
Old Boca Paila Bridge on the way to Punta Allen in Sian Ka’an, Mexico.

Words of Inspiration?

Do more of what makes you happier. Hiking dog

Find Luci Westphal, her photography and videos online: 

TwitterInstagram – FlickrFacebookVimeoYouTube – Luci’s Blog

Photos of Luci taken by Scott Solary in Colorado. All others taken by Luci.

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