The EcoSend Podcast

What kind of materials come to mind when you think of climate-conscious clothing? πŸ€”

We'll bet Seaweed wasn't the first on your list, but as our friend Dirk Eschenbacher explains, Seaweed kelp is the ultimate "Climate Tech Material" and the perfect antidote to today's culture of 'Fast Fashion' and clothing waste.

Dirk is a fascinating character, with a long journey into Sustainability and multiple ventures spanning across Advertising at Ogilvy, running the number one luxury and boutique travel agency for Chinese clients, all the way to his latest venture - creating Seaweed T-shirts with Karma Beach Club!

James sat down with Dirk to inaugurate Episode One of our fourth series of The EcoSend Podcast, as we learned all about:

πŸ‘•The wonderful qualities that make seaweed the number one Sustainability choice for clothing.
πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ How China is leading the way across many aspects of Sustainable manufacturing.
πŸ’ͺ How Dirk navigates the various challenges of Sustainable Entrepreneurship.
✈️ The differences working in China vs. Europe
πŸ—ΊοΈ ... and perhaps best of all, some travel inspo from Dirk's adventures 'Overlanding' across South America with his family!

This was a fascinating episode to kick-start our new season and open your mind to the possibilities of creative entrepreneurship. Dirk's episode really brought to light the great impact we can have when we put Nature first in our work.

About Dirk Eschenbacher:
Dirk is a creative director, designer and entrepreneur living in Asia, creating and making things around the world. Dirk started out with a career in advertising, then created a luxury travel startup in China and now is making yarns, fabrics and clothes with seaweed.

Further Resources from the episode:
Dirk on LinkedIn:
Dirk's website:
Karma Beach Club website:

Music credit:

Creators & Guests

James Gill
CEO of GoSquared
Dirk Eschenbacher
Dirk is a creative director, designer and entrepreneur living in Asia, creating and making things around the world.

What is The EcoSend Podcast?

Our journey into the world of being a truly climate conscious business. Join us as we talk to fellow entrepreneurs, founders, marketing folks, and campaigners to help us build our new product, EcoSend: the climate conscious email marketing tool.

S4E1 audio

[00:00:00] James Gill: Welcome to another episode of the EcoSend podcast. I'm your host, James, and today I am joined by Dirk, who is from Karma Beach Club. And I am thrilled to be talking with Dirk today. I might well be wearing something that Dirk has made. And I'm excited to dig into Dirk's entrepreneurial journey and working in the world of sustainability.

[00:00:24] I also must say, Dirk is in a far more exotic location than myself. Uh, but I'm thrilled to have Dirk on the show. Can't wait to dive in. How are you doing today, Dirk? Good to see you.

[00:00:34] Dirk Eschenbacher: Hey, great, James. Thanks for having me. This is awesome. Uh, I'm doing pretty, pretty good. Uh, I'm glad we made this happen. It wasn't that easy.

[00:00:43] It took us a few Few tries, uh, because I'm a moving target right now, , uh, tra tra traveling around, uh, south of America. And, uh, finding that, uh, that timeframe where both of us have, uh, time where I'm stationary and you're not that busy. It wasn't that easy. So I'm glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:01:01] James Gill: It's, yeah, it's a real honor and I, I feel a bit guilty interrupting your, your trip.

[00:01:06] So we're gonna get into that in a sec. And, um, but maybe just before we start, uh, diving into that, Doug. What who are you and what what what what's your background? What have you what have you been up to and And, and yeah, I would begin to hear more about the, the man, the man behind the camera here,

[00:01:24] Dirk Eschenbacher: right?

[00:01:24] Sure. So, hi, uh, my name is Dirk and, uh, my, my surname is ashen bha. And, uh, I'm, I'm, I saw you, you didn't pronounce that. You didn't even try. I was wondering. I wasn't

[00:01:34] James Gill: sure if I would attempt it live. .

[00:01:37] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah. So, so, so I'm a, I'm a proper chairman, uh, Derek Ashbacher. And, uh. I, I'm a, I'm an ad guy by trade. Uh, I left, uh, Germany, uh, By, so, so I'm an app person by trade, and uh, in, in 95 I got a, I got a bit of itchy feet.

[00:01:56] I got a bit bored, uh, of, uh, working in Germany and living in Germany. And I left, I moved to Asia. Uh, first I moved to Thailand and I stopped working in advertising. I opened a travel agency travel agency at that time, an online travel agency. In Thailand and, uh, that kind of worked out for a few years, but then the internet, so I, I didn't get filthy rich during the.

[00:02:19] com boom. Uh, and, uh, but then the. com bust came and I stopped working. In Thailand and I moved to, I moved to China and worked in advertising again. I worked for a big advertising agency called Ogilvy and, uh, I, I ran like a bunch of creative departments around the Asia Pacific region. And I've worked on pretty big, uh, brands, car brands, and, uh, mobile phone brands.

[00:02:45] We did all the Motorola's and that during that time, early 2000s. And, uh, that was my mer was a big deal. . Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like the raise phone, the TV commercials with ham and, uh, websites and all that kind of stuff. Amazing. So that was, that was fancy. That was good. But then I got bored again in 2012 of advertising and I started another travel agency, uh, and a few partners in 2012 called du.

[00:03:12] And we recapitalized on the, on the demands. Of Chinese affluent travelers to stay in luxury and boutique hotels around the world. So we became the leading luxury and boutique travel agency in China. That's, uh, from 2012 to now, actually, there still are. There was a bit of a dent, uh, in 2020 with, uh, with, uh, Corona.

[00:03:39] So that was a bit of a pity. Yeah, so we did pretty well. We still do okay. Uh, but nothing like it was before. And, uh, since we had to kind of scale down and, uh, and, you know, refocus a little bit, I used that opportunity to explore some new, new ideas and new thoughts and new passions of mine. And I went into the sustainable textile business.

[00:04:07] I would call it. As you do. Um, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, so I had some time at my hands stuck there in China and I thought, Let's, let's research a little bit what China is doing on the sustainability front. I was quite keen to, to explore that and, uh, since I'm right at the source, everybody knows it's the factory of the world, but, uh, also what's quite obvious now is that there's a lot of innovation coming out of China, a lot of manufacturing, innovation, and, uh.

[00:04:36] And some, some really interesting stuff, right? They are leading an AI, there's so much cutting edge stuff going on. So I was thinking, so what's, what's cutting edge and, and, and, uh, sustainability when it comes to textile production, because I thought there must be something, right? So I researched a bit and, and, uh.

[00:04:53] I found out a few things fir first I found out that actually most factories there have very, um, very stringent carbon emission goals. Most of them are oh, really? Uh, have to be carbon zero within this decade, which is quite amazing. Wow. Some of them, some factories I work with, they have the mission to be carbon, uh, uh, carbon carbon zero by 27 or 28 latest 2030.

[00:05:21] Wow. And those are not small factories, those are huge factories, right? So I was, I was very surprised to learn that. I visited a bunch of factories. I'm not, I'm, I'm not a factory person. Uh, this is all, it was all new for me. I was very, very much surprised.

[00:05:34] James Gill: Neither am I, Derek, I must admit. I've not been to many, especially Chinese factories.

[00:05:40] I've been to at least, uh, at most

[00:05:41] Dirk Eschenbacher: zero. Yeah, yeah. And it's, it's, I mean, those, those, uh, beasts, right? They're gigantic. They have huge output. Those are football fields full of, uh, equipment. And they're really well run and uh, you know, very efficient and uh, very compliant and they're all set out to be carbon zero Very soon.

[00:06:01] That's that's incredible I I

[00:06:03] James Gill: guess because you know, you often I I know in in casual discussion a lot of people sort of They think of china as being well, very industrial as you said the the factory of the world, but also Often, you know, I, I think my mind goes back to when they had the Olympics and there was a lot of, um, it was in 2008 when they had a lot of, uh, pollution problems.

[00:06:27] Um, and so, yeah, to hear that actually they are in some ways by the sounds of it, sounds of those goals, they're actually Almost leading, leading the way for a factory, factory, running a factory in a, in a climate conscious way.

[00:06:44] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, so also interestingly, the pollution is not everywhere, but, but, but in many parts of the country, it's very much cleaned up and you know, not many people report about that.

[00:06:54] It's always better to report about that. The you know the the negative aspects, but they did definitely a pretty good job But yeah, so I was surprised to to see that and then I thought what can I do? Uh, that's you know exploring the frontiers of sustainability and uh And I came across this, uh, topic of, uh, seaweed and, uh, I was actually, I'm married to a Chinese, uh, to, to, to my Chinese wife and she's from the coastal city of, uh, Qingdao, um, which by totally coincidence was one of the very, very few German colonies we have had.

[00:07:30] And then even the, even the famous German beer, uh, a German technology used to brew the, the Qingdao beer. So she's from there. And, uh, I, I realized that Qingdao has a lot of seaweed industry and I got into this topic of seaweed and, uh, research seaweed and, uh, I realized that seaweed is like a, you know, you could call it a bit of a climate tech material, perhaps like very much absorbs, like, uh, uh, Like incredible amounts of CO2 and, uh, and it grows, uh, without needing, you know, water because it's in the water, obviously, no pesticides, no fertilizers, it, it, uh, deacidifies the ocean wherever you grow seaweed, you can also farm oysters and lobsters and crayfish and things like that.

[00:08:17] Clear the water. So it's a, it's a, it's an amazing crop. In fact, they say it is the most sustainable crop, uh, we have on this planet today. Wow. Really? I got really interested in that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I talked to me two years ago. I also wouldn't have thought that I'd get into, get into seaweed.

[00:08:37] James Gill: I mean, most people think of seaweed as being this annoying thing that sometimes gets on your feet or your arm when you go in the sea for a little swim.

[00:08:45] So, uh, yeah, that's a whole other way of looking at this.

[00:08:49] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah, so I thought how can I put two and two together and uh, wouldn't you know it, now I make textiles out of seaweed. So that's my, that's my thing right now.

[00:09:01] James Gill: That is quite a journey, Dirk. I think you might win for the most, uh, Most unexpected journey on this podcast so far, because that is quite, uh, quite a difference

[00:09:12] Dirk Eschenbacher: of, uh, you know, you just got to keep pushing and just explore new things.

[00:09:16] James Gill: I'm intrigued by what you're going to be doing in five years time.

[00:09:19] Dirk Eschenbacher: Um,

[00:09:22] James Gill: so, so as, yeah, so we all know what seaweed looks like when it's in the sea. What, how on earth does one turn seaweed into something? That can actually be worn. And is that even a good idea? , right? Yeah,

[00:09:40] Dirk Eschenbacher: yeah, yeah. So, uh, hey, Ardis, the gardener just walked past here.

[00:09:45] Um, had to, had to greet, greet him in Spanish, so of course. So, uh, ste the seaweed that we use, uh, and you may or may not have seen that movie called, uh, my Octopus Teacher. Netflix, which, oh no, I haven't yet, but I've heard many. Recommended Oh, is an amazing, it's an amazing movie and it's filmed basically entirely in, uh, what is called an ocean forest.

[00:10:07] It's like gigantic kelp, uh, kelp plants. Actually, kelp is not a plant, it's a seaweed, it's a algae. And uh, and you have to imagine like 20, 30, 40 meter long standing, uh, plants. Wow. Under the ocean. That's the, those, those brown kelp. Uh, brown kelp is what we use. And we use industrial farmed brown kelp. So, you can imagine, uh, kilometers after kilometers of kelp farms out in the ocean.

[00:10:36] And this is being harvested, the kelp. Then it's being dried. And it's being processed into what is called alginate. Alginate is uh, It's a material that it's used in, in, uh, it's a, there's a big global market for alginate. It's a thickening agent. Uh, you use it in beer brewing, you use it, uh, in foods, foods making you, you also use it in dental molds.

[00:10:59] Uh, so it's a quite a established, uh, material that's been around for many, many years, but we take the alginate and we turn it into a fiber. Turned into a seaweed fiber and that seaweed fiber. It's a staple fiber. It's about three centimeters long fiber That fiber has a bunch of amazing properties it for example, it doesn't burn You know, if you can hold it onto a flame and it's just flame retardant.

[00:11:24] It doesn't burn it also is antibacterial. So You know, it kills microbes and bacterias when they when they touch the seaweed fiber And also seaweed fiber is used in bandages, uh, in hospitals. So, uh, if you have like an open wound or something, you put it on because it's, it's soothing and it's non sticky.

[00:11:47] And it kind of turns into this kind of, uh, healing gel, if you will. And also seaweed, uh, alginate is used in facial masks and things like that. So it's a proper material and we, we use that seaweed fiber and we turn it into. We blend it with other organic materials like organic cotton, uh, or, um, we also use organically grown bamboo fiber and blend this together into spin it into a yarn and then we Take the yarn and Knitted into a fabric and then the fabric we turn into the t shirt that you're wearing right now.

[00:12:27] I can see So that's that's really how it works Great. Yeah, great. Great. Great still and this isn't

[00:12:34] James Gill: the first time i've worn it too. This is

[00:12:36] Dirk Eschenbacher: Great. I'm glad you come in colors other than green, right? They do they do. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah That's right. . Very,

[00:12:44] James Gill: very comfortable. It's very, I I'm not trying to, uh, sell your t-shirts here, doc, but they, they, you know, I was very intrigued when, uh, when you kindly sent one over, um, when we were talking about getting some, some T-shirts for EcoSign and I was thinking, what the heck are these gonna feel like?

[00:13:00] Like what is it gonna be slimy? Is it like ? And

[00:13:03] Dirk Eschenbacher: it, it just, it is a really

[00:13:04] James Gill: lovely material. . Yeah. Yeah. It's been through the wash, you know, it's, um, yeah, it's great. Uh. It's really quite incredible, and I, I'm, um, I'm sure we're gonna, well, it seems like maybe we're, you, you could be onto something here, maybe we're gonna be saying seaweed.

[00:13:20] Clothes popping up a lot more, uh, if this is the case, but that whole journey, I mean, how, how, how, um, complex is that journey in comparison to other materials? I guess there's, uh, lots of ways to make a t shirt. Does that, does that incur greater. Um, costs. Does it, are there any downsides to that journey? It sounds like you've put a lot of work and research into figuring this out.

[00:13:50] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah. So it's not, uh, off the shelf material. So if you're So, so right now, what you have, what are you wearing is that the t shirt. So, you know, I'm, I'm also at the very beginning of this journey and I'm experimenting with it. We, right now we've produced only t shirts and underwear actually because of its antibacterial properties right now I'm traveling and I'm wearing my t shirts every day and you literally like I do watch them every now and then, but you can actually go for, you can, you could go for a week.

[00:14:23] I'm I'm Uh, and not wash it and it's not developing any odors because of its natural antibacterial qualities.

[00:14:29] James Gill: That is, that is interesting. I, I may bear that in mind.

[00:14:33] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah, yeah, so that's why we only have to Sometimes nature gets

[00:14:35] James Gill: a bit tight,

[00:14:36] Dirk Eschenbacher: you know. Yeah, that's right. That's right. You should, you should set a timer on your app, uh, to remind you of changing your t shirt, you know, because, you know, because it's a good base layer on your skin.

[00:14:48] So that's great. And also, as you said, it, it's very soft. Like it, it has this cashmere kind of feel to it. So, which is great, but, uh, but to make it, it's not easy. You know, it's not like a, you can't buy it like a cotton fabric. You have to actually really. Create that yarn and then and then you need to make the fiber create the yarn and then knit the fabric and And then cut and sew the the actual garment And that process, you know, it takes like right now it still takes me about five months to do this So if you wow, if you say tomorrow, yeah, you want to have a uh Ecosent green t shirt as you do, uh, you know, and it needs to be in your Pantone color, right?

[00:15:34] It is a bit of an effort. Like I can't, I can't, I can't do this under five months right now, but you know, it's the beginning and you just got to try new things and we see maybe in the future. There's different techniques, uh, that make it easier because the problem right now I'll tell you technically is that you can't dye the fiber.

[00:15:54] You have to dye, the seaweed fiber can't be dyed, so you have to, you can only dye the fiber. That's it's blended with like the organic cotton, for example, so this whole process makes it a bit bit more complex But but yeah as things work, you know as innovation happens and as you work Yeah, this and more people perhaps want to have some seaweed clothes.

[00:16:16] I think if the demand rises the Technology will improve as you

[00:16:20] James Gill: know It's, it's also quite refreshing to hear something that's very much the opposite of, um, fast fashion, uh, which, uh, five months waiting time is definitely the opposite of that. So, yeah, so, so I guess there's, um, I know I can only imagine, but working in the manufacturing things in China and, and trying to figure this all out, like, uh, did you have much experience of this beforehand that you've been.

[00:16:50] You've been picking this all up as you've been going along and figuring out like how how the supply chain works in China then and that sounds like a Lot of complexity a lot of I mean, I I think many people listen to this podcast wouldn't even know where to start Journeys

[00:17:10] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah, I didn't know either. I mean, so I would say like in this, in this, I would call it now.

[00:17:17] I'm in the apparel business, I reckon. So all the textiles and I read obviously quite a bit about this and watched a few YouTube videos here and there. And most people, I think that start out, they would probably produce in, in, uh, I In other countries like in portugal or turkey and there's like there's normally there's like smaller run factories That can help you out with like small batch runs of like garments that you want to produce So that's that's a bit easier in china.

[00:17:46] It's not like that. There's no small factories. There's all everything is gigantic Now, I've been living there for a long time, so I know, I know my way around, right? I speak the language and, uh, I have a network over there and, uh, I'm in, I'm in also in like groups and circles of people that are in sustainability and, uh, clean energy and all those kind of things.

[00:18:10] So I, I, you know, I learned from that. But then you need to add, plus I, you know, I build a company before in China, a travel company, and I'm, I'm in the startup ecosystem over there, you know, we, we have venture backed company, the travel company, it's a travel and media company, we got like investment from several, uh, noteworthy VCs and also from Tencent, for example, so I, I know a little bit about the, the business environment over there, but still, yeah.

[00:18:41] You know, you just got to get out there and get your hands dirty. And it also means that you have to meet the factory bosses and, you know, drink one or two little glasses of, uh, of liquor with them. Especially if you, if you can't, yeah, if you can't order like 1000 tons, right. It's like a, you know, like you have to play, you have to be a player, right?

[00:19:07] I come in and say, Hey guys, like, uh, let's try this new, normally like a minimum order quantity of something. The MOQs, the famous MOQs are like a ton, I would say per color, but it's like, yeah, it's impossible. Yeah. Per color. So that's impossible for me. I'm trying to imagine

[00:19:24] James Gill: that. And maybe for listeners, like how many, how many t shirts is a ton of t shirts?

[00:19:32] Uh,

[00:19:35] Dirk Eschenbacher: it's a ton of t shirts, man. T shirt is about, it's about 250 grams. So you can make your own calculation, man. So it's like, uh, it's a bunch, it's a bunch. And you know, it's possible when you, when you have. And we, you know, I hope we will get there at one point, you know, uh, to, to sell enough to be able to, uh, put in a one, a one ton order.

[00:19:57] But so far in my, in my trial runs anyway, I couldn't do that. So, you know, you always have to smooth talk your way in and, uh, have a few drinks and tell them that it's all for. For the betterment of the planet and for, uh, you know, let's, let's try some experiments here and, uh, and then it works, right. And you can do this two or three times, but the, after the third round, it's suspicious and then you have to, you have to put in the, the bigger numbers then.

[00:20:24] Yeah. So that's, that's, that's not easy. Right. It's not easy, but it's, it's worth it. I think. It

[00:20:30] James Gill: sounds real from what you're saying though, Derek, that, uh, working in China and dealing with. With some of these factories, there's generally an attitude of wanting to do the right thing for the planet in general.

[00:20:45] Would you say that's fair or would you say there's still a challenge in trying to persuade people to think more sustainably about their

[00:20:54] Dirk Eschenbacher: production? Yeah, that's a very good question, James. And, uh, me, you know, it's a little bit close to my heart, this whole thing, because, you know, obviously there's a very big rift between China and the West at the moment and, and which I strongly separate like the, the people from the politics, right?

[00:21:16] So there's a, you know, I, I also. Do not deal with any politics and i'm also, you know, I also have my own own opinions and all that uh, but the people is a different thing, right and And there's two two two angles to this one is the market in china is actually fairly sophisticated and you know brands like weijia or Some other sustainable brands there You know, they're quite sought after in China and there, there is a very much a growing, a growing demand for,

[00:21:50] James Gill: for those not aware of Asia's the trainer company, right?

[00:21:53] They did make, uh, right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Thinking.

[00:21:56] Dirk Eschenbacher: Sustainably, sustainably minded. Products and you could argue that perhaps it's more like a novice. I see you're like caught in the marketing here. Do you know you're doing? You're doing the right stuff for the planet. Yeah, and uh. You could argue that many people buy those things for the novelty, you know, because also, again, it's, it's marketing in the end, a lot of it is all about marketing, whether or not you really set out to do the right thing for the planet, or you think it's cool to have to wear something that, that says it does the right thing for the planet, right?

[00:22:34] But anyway, so, so why China is the Chinese market is nowhere as sophisticated as the United States, for example, it definitely goes into this direction on, on the consumer side and on the factory side, you know, again, behind the factory, there's all people and all like from the bosses to the people that, that I interacted with, like that helped me, um, help me with the factory set up the production set up and I walked through those factories.

[00:22:59] Those are all, those are all, you know, cool and nice people that, that, okay. Yeah. Breathe the same air and eat the same food, right, and, and, uh, and they, they know about this too, right? And they also know, I mean, they have the, the government directions to be carbon, carbon neutral soon, but they also know that the global demand goes towards that.

[00:23:20] They, they're not necessarily say, Oh, I need to, I need to save the planet by reducing my CO2 emissions right now. But it wouldn't come necessarily from the. The factory worker, but I think the factory boss is very much in alignment with that And then they in the end it's a for profit Company and they, they turn to where the market demand turns to, and so they can see that.

[00:23:44] So when you go to those big fairs, where they, the big textile fairs, there's a lot of Chinese manufacturers that have some sort of green products already on the market. So it's there, right? It's coming. Yeah.

[00:23:59] James Gill: Very, very interesting to hear. And as, as in a lot of these conversations we've had on the podcast, it's like, there's It's often a lot of alignment in doing something better for the planet.

[00:24:09] Also, there's often drivers at play that also mean more, more revenue and more profit. There's often a lot of challenges that come with that, but the ideal situation increasingly that businesses find themselves in is that the smarter business option is to think about the planet too, uh, which, which sounds very reassuring and promising for.

[00:24:32] For the future. I, um, I, I would love to chat more about this, Dirk, but I also want to make sure we give time to hear a little bit about your, your, should I call it a road trip or, uh, what are you, what are you up to at the moment, Dirk, and where the heck are you again?

[00:24:51] Dirk Eschenbacher: Right. Yeah. So it's actually not called a road trip.

[00:24:53] There's a technical term for this, like a geek term, it's called overlanding. And I didn't know about this before either, but this is what I'm doing right now. I'm overlanding through Central and South America. So with my family, so we, we, we left China in July and uh, and now we are in Ecuador. And uh, so what we did is we bought, we bought a, we bought a land cruiser, which is a four by four car.

[00:25:21] And, uh, we've kitted it out with a, with a kitchen in the back, like some drawer system in the trunk, and, uh, some boxes on the roof, and some extra cherry cans for the gas, and then, uh, and then we set out to drive to, uh, to the southern tip of, uh, Chile which is Ushuaia and uh, that's where we are. We're like halfway down pretty much I'm, not quite sure if we're already halfway.

[00:25:47] I I I don't know it could it feels like No, it's it feels long the days are long. There's a lot of driving a lot of driving but So we're on this on this adventure and right now i'm I'm sitting here in Ecuador in the northern, we just crossed from Colombia into Ecuador yesterday and, uh, I'm sitting in, by, by total coincidence, there is this German guy, Hans is his name, and he has a, he has a thinker here, uh, that provides, uh, little cabanas and some, uh, some flat cabanas.

[00:26:19] Uh, grass areas for, uh, overlanders. So we, and he has a German restaurant. So for the first time in a long time, yeah, yesterday for the first time in the long term, I actually had a white, a white beer, like sitting there. And, and ate some German food. Yeah, that was pretty, pretty spectacular. Looking on, looking onto the volcanoes.

[00:26:43] That's incredible.

[00:26:44] James Gill: When was the last time you actually had some German, uh, food and beer? I guess, uh, it's been a while ago, right?

[00:26:50] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That could have been, um, In China, . It could've been. Yeah. It's been a long time. Yeah. That's

[00:26:59] James Gill: amazing. So the, the trip so far, how long have you been on it and how, how long is there still to go?

[00:27:04] I'm, 'cause I, I mean, coming from the UK myself, I'm really struggling to get my. You know for me a long journey would be going from uh, london to uh, edinburgh Um, and I suspect the distances you are talking about are a little bit longer than that

[00:27:20] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah, so it's been it's been a long drive And uh, so we went down from we got the car in los angeles A friend helped us buy that and then we drove down, uh, mexico for few weeks, almost a month and, uh, the Baja California, you know, all those things we've never, you always hear about it, but you never actually make it there.

[00:27:40] And then, and then Mexico was amazing, was really fantastic. And, but a lot, a lot of driving, especially the very beginning when you just don't know the distances. So, you know, it's going to be a lot, but you don't know how much it is. And then. The Baja, California was just quite a lot of driving and then it was also pretty hot.

[00:27:58] We got into a hurricane and, uh, and things like that. And then, uh, through Mexico and then we cut into Guatemala. Then, uh, my wife had to fly back to China, uh, for family reasons. She, she basically missed the entire Central America. I was with my, my daughter, my daughter and me, we went from Guatemala to.

[00:28:18] Salvador, we cut through Honduras into Nicaragua and then to Costa Rica and Panama and then you can't go any further after Panama like that. So we're driving a thing called the Pan American Highway, which goes actually all the way from Alaska down to Ushuaia. It's the longest road in the world. Oh, wow.

[00:28:34] And, uh, but there's this hundred, I think it's 87 kilometers between Panama and Columbia, just where after the Panama Canal, right? Which maybe you have a visual in your head, the Panama Canal. Just after that, where that Panama, that Central America meets South America, you can't. Go through because it's it's lawless territory, right?

[00:28:57] It's controlled by some Some some drug gangs and you have like tarantulas and snakes and crocodiles. So it's a very difficult So you have to ship the car actually from panama to colombia to cartagena in colombia So we got the car to this boat we found somebody to share a container with and we shipped the car over and then We just spent, uh, a few weeks in Colombia.

[00:29:21] I never even, you know, it wasn't really on my map at all, Colombia, I have to say, uh, even on this trip, I thought we just quickly go through and then cut into Ecuador. But turns out that Columbia was amazing. Like I have to say, like after Mexico was Mexico, Nicaragua, and then Columbia, they were all really amazing.

[00:29:41] And Columbia is really, it's a gem. It's really, really super. Like we really loved Columbia. And now, now we're in Ecuador. Now we're in the Andes mountains. Now we're at, uh, two, two and a half thousand meters. And we're going to go up to 5, 000 meters. And, uh, and we're looking forward to, to a bit of colder weather now.

[00:29:58] Yeah, it's good. That is

[00:30:01] James Gill: incredible. I feel like I've, uh My mind has drifted away from this co working space. I happen to be in in london today

[00:30:09] Dirk Eschenbacher: Yeah, I uh, so we're working as well. Sorry, we're working as my wife's an architect. She joined us again in uh in columbia We're back. Yeah, we're back united and uh, she's an architect and I have my business and a few other side things.

[00:30:24] So You know, we, we try to travel a day and then, um, um, you know, be stationary either for a day or two days and then see something and, uh, work a little bit, we actually bought a, uh, a Starlink satellite, uh, dish from Elon Musk. Which is amazing, I have to say. It's really, it's really amazing. Like, uh, if you ever had one, like, uh, it's this really geeky white thing you put up and, and it kind of finds its own direction to the nearest satellite and it moves around a little bit.

[00:30:57] And then you get a really good a hundred megabits, uh, connection. So. Wow. So, so it's great. Yeah. ,

[00:31:04] James Gill: that's better than, uh, a lot of the landline internet we have in the uk I think so. I won't get down that part. , , um, Doug, I, it is been such a pleasure speaking with you and I don't wanna hold you back, back from your, your adventure.

[00:31:17] Any longer so thank you for joining me on the show. I think anyone listening they might be on their commute They might be on a rainy train or train journey or something and this will help them get lost in the in the world with you so thank you for uh sharing your story and uh, we'll also make sure we link to your um, Well, your, your Instagram, your LinkedIn, you've got a website, and there is the t shirt, the t shirt store itself, Karma Beach Club.

[00:31:46] Uh, we'll make sure we link to that. If you're willing to wait a little bit for some t shirts, then that's the place to go. And, uh, hopefully we can help you ramp up the,

[00:31:53] Dirk Eschenbacher: uh, That's right. Oh, they're

[00:31:55] James Gill: in stock. Okay, okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hopefully we can help you ramp up the, uh, Hopefully we can help you ramp up the production of that seaweed there.

[00:32:04] All right. Thank you, Doug. Thank you for joining. Thanks.

[00:32:07] Dirk Eschenbacher: Appreciate it. Thank you, everybody. Take care. Thank you.

[00:32:09] James Gill: Bye. And thank you for listening today. If you've enjoyed the show and you want to tell more people about it, we would love you to give us a rating on whatever podcast player you're using, or if you're watching on YouTube, please do drop a comment and, uh, and let us know what you thought.

[00:32:25] So thank you

[00:32:35] ​