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Where You Smoke with @WhereYouSmoke: Sunrise, Sunset, Get High, No Stress

In this week's edition of our photo column, we talk to some weed fiends about the merits of smoking under a setting sun.

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All photos courtesy of @WhereYouSmoke

@WhereYouSmoke sprouted in a moment shared between a spliff and the great outdoors. Run by an anonymous artist who grew up in LA, the Instagram account and online platform celebrates cannabis lovers who like to light up alongside Mother Nature.

Each week, we’ve asked @WhereYouSmoke to share a few favorite Instagram uploads with MERRY JANE, and so far it’s been nothing but picturesque snaps and chill-ass stories to boot. For this week’s edition, we decided to celebrate the impending summer weather with some photos and stories of smokers underneath the setting sun. Before we catch some rays, @WhereYouSmoke shared a friend’s story about blazing at sunrise:

About a year and a half ago, I was promoted at my then-job and spent the rest of 2016 working six days a week at a minimum of 60 hours each week. I knew I had to cut my teeth at the new position, but by summer I was feeling totally depleted — as if my youth was slipping out of my hands. I kept questioning if the job was worth the stress, and had trouble getting perspective because all my friends had equally-demanding careers. There was something else bothering me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Eventually, I was able to finagle a 10-day vacation and booked a ticket to Berlin — a city I had previously lived in and secretly hoped to move to. I even applied to a graduate program there, one that would have been free to attend if I was accepted.

I’ll spare the “goes to Berlin once” anecdotes, and get to the point. I didn’t get into the grad program, but I did get the perspective I needed. On my second-to-last night in Germany — a Saturday — I went to a party that ended late, and everyone planned on going their separate ways as it was clearing out. As my friends were heading home, I debating making the techno sojourn to Berghain, the notorious club that stays open all weekend and maintains a strict door policy. I had been a few times before, but always with the helping hands of my local friends who are much cooler than me. On this night, though, it was one of those “go alone or you’re not going” situations, which felt terrifying. I realized I was so used to following orders, feeling nervous about fucking up, and keeping my head down that taking a risk by myself seemed unfathomable.

I couldn’t make up my mind if I wanted to go to alone or not, and decided to walk for a bit to clear my head. I made my way through Görlitzer Park, where all the migrants hang out and sell cheap weed, and bought a dime bag. Then I climbed up a hill that overlooks the park before smoking a big ‘ol spliff to the face. It was about 5AM at this point, and the sun was just starting to rise. As I smoked, my anxiety subsided and my thoughts switched from “If you don’t get into the club, you have no one to blame by yourself” to “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” corny as it was. The combination of morning sun and lowkey shake was the exact confidence booster I needed. Needless to say, I ended up going to the “Big House” solo, and with just enough weed left for another spliff, too. Now, whenever I’m feeling ambivalent or seeking some self-reflection, I know exactly what will do the trick. Just a little weed, the great outdoors, and a proper sunset or sunrise… throw in some German techno and we out.

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

@nick_blanco
25-years-old
Photo Taken in Malibu, CA in October 2015

@Whereyousmoke: Where was this photo taken?
@Nick_blanco: This photo was taken on the balcony of a room at the Malibu Beach Inn, located on the Pacific Coast Highway right next to the pier in Malibu. I was hanging out with a girl at the time who came from a very prominent family; born and raised in Beverly Hills, lived next door to Ice Cube... It was her birthday and her mom blessed us up with this room for a night. I was dead broke at the time and needless to say this was a crazy and amazing situation to be in, and one that I will never forget.  

What about smoking under a beautiful sky do you find special?
I just like to be outside in general. And, as I'm sure everyone who's reading this knows, weed makes everything better. I was born in California, but I grew up in Florida, and as cliche as it may sound, getting to see the sun set over the ocean is a very magical thing that a lot of people on the West Coast take for granted. My whole life, I was only able to see a similar scenario when the sun was rising on the east coast, which is still amazing but on the complete opposite spectrum. In California, the sun setting is such a beautiful end to the day that it’s like a theatrical show. It’s so consistently beautiful here, too. Everyone out in California stops what they're doing at golden hour and looks up to the sky. They appreciate it! It's an incredible feeling to give it your all throughout the day and be rewarded with something like smoking a blunt on a cliff at the beach with an amazing sunset. You can slow down, reflect, and appreciate what you're experiencing. It’s ideal for gaining perspective about where you’re at in your life, and how far you’ve come.  

You’re a skater and seem to be by the beach a lot! Is the above photo your favorite spot to get faded?
Haha, first off I gotta address this. Where I grew up, being "faded" means that you're drunk and high. It still throws me off to hear people refer to that when talking about being stoned. I am at the beach often, and of course I enjoy smoking there. But I don’t know if I would say it’s my favorite spot — the wind can fuck things up. I don't know if I have a favorite spot to smoke because I've moved so many times in my life. That said, I’m hyped on it because I’m always finding more and more rad places to smoke as I continue making trips around the sun.

@praveen1470 / @prankabstracts
27-Years-Old
Photo Taken in
Tamil Nadu, India in May 2016

@Whereyousmoke: Where was this photo taken?
@praveen1470:
We had been given permission to enter the Sathyamangalam Reserve Forest to do volunteer work for the community/settlements there. On our way back, we were scouting for a place to chill as we were closer to sunset. I sighted a plane far ahead and it looked like some water body. My instinct strongly suggested we head straight that way, and the place ended up being an insane body of water surrounded by mountains. We were all totally awestruck.

So you saw a sunset most people have never seen!
Yes, the area was restricted, and only we had special permission. I doubt I could get to the same spot if I tried to! [laughs]

What do you love most about blazing under a beautiful sky?
For us, it's not just about getting high. We look for new places and like to adventure out to crazy sites just to sit and enjoy nature’s beauty. The photo above was the best sunset we have seen so far in our lives, and the sky kept changing its hues to new colors I had never seen before with each minute that passed. Every angle we looked at was a view to cherish. The whole experience was unforgettable — cattle grazing, bucks at a distance, our reflection on the water, and a joint to let yourself be free.

@nahalghadd
19-Years-Old
Photo Taken in Pacific Palisades, LA

@Whereyousmoke: Where was this photo taken?
@nahalghadd: This photo was taken in the Pacific Palisades on a random bluff. Me and my friends were driving around and we got lost and it turned out to be a beautiful place to smoke.

What do you love most about blazing under a beautiful sky?
Smoking under the sky is almost mystical. It is as if I am inside the sunset, with every ounce of my body at ease. My eyes connect with nature and it relaxes my body in a way that is ineffable. Nature calms me and enhances the high because it's so serene.

Does smoking enhance how you think?
I have epiphanies about what the world is like and our purpose as human beings. It makes my life seem so small and as if it is nothing in the grand scheme of things. I love smoking with a group of chill friends and a really nice view — few combos can one-up it.

@rollingtreesconstantly
21-Years-Old
Photo Taken in Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Reserve in April 2017

@WhereYouSmoke: Where was this photo taken?
@rollingtreesconstantly: This photo was taken at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge. My boyfriend and I drove here, and there are plenty of trails to walk on. It’s a beautiful spot with trails stretching for miles in the Bay, so you're right next to the water. Lovely place for a jog.

What's your favorite part about smoking beneath the sky?
I love smoking under the vast skies and sunsets because it's a wonderful way to end the day. If the blunt goes out with the sinking sun I feel a sense of synchronization with nature. I am calming myself down, welcoming the night while highly medicated. I believe smoking weed connects me to Mother Nature a little more because I am not wasting this beautiful plant she provided for our health and enjoyment.

Have you ever experienced any stigmas or judgments based on your smoking habits?
Growing up as a stoner, I received a lot of judgement from my teachers. I played sports and was an honor roll student, but they always frowned upon my bloodshot eyes and skunky aroma. I could tell my coaches were annoyed with my habit of smoking before practice but it really helped my knees and elbows not hurt as bad. I was constantly told I needed to quit smoking, but that'll never happen.

What does being in nature enhance about your high?
Smoking outdoors certainly increases my high. The sound of nature and inhaling part of nature is just a beautiful, relaxing experience. My favorite place to smoke is in the water. Floating on a inner tube, sitting in a kayak, or just walking around with a blunt makes me feel fluid, free, like I'm floating in the sky. I enjoy being in a stimulating natural environment while I'm smoking instead of being trapped within four walls. There’s a sense of freedom I only feel while smoking outdoors.

What's one of your favorite things to do while smoking outside?
I love exploring dead end and dirt roads to find new outdoor smoking spots, and the beach is always great. On Google Maps, I simply zoom in on a patch of green or blue and drive towards it. If the vibe is right and there's not a lot of people around, I'll roll up and explore the area. I also love smoking on canyon drives — often there are turnarounds that make great park-and-spark stops that are far away from houses and people. The farther away from modern civilization the better.

If you like to photograph your outdoor smoking adventures, check out the submission page at www.whereyousmoke.com. And follow @WhereYouSmoke on Instagram.