James Sturz
James grew up in New York City. Now he's building a house in Hawaii. Along the way, his travel journalism, short fiction, and essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, among more than 80 publications. He's also author of the novel "Sasso," and contributed to "Italy: The Best Travel Writing from The New York Times." You can visit him at www.jamessturz.com.

Recent Posts By James Sturz

Building the Hawaiian Dream House: The Roof Isn’t Literally on Fire, Only the Stars

Here’s a roof in Hawaii. Or is it the ceiling? My friend Jason Cohn took this photo last fall, when we went camping in the Big Island’s Waimanu Valley. (You can read about it here.) It’s Jason’s wedding this weekend. His fiancée and he are holding it in North Kohala, and I’m flying there from New York to take part. […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Stretching Out

I grew up in New York City. The population wasn’t 8 million then, but it’s where I’ve lived most of my adult life. Paula’s from admittedly smaller Mendoza, Argentina, but she’s been in New York for nearly 25 years. So wanting space was chief among the things we dreamed about when we found our parcel in North Kohala. Combined, the […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Wood, I Would

When I grew up, on the twelfth floor of an apartment building in Manhattan, Arbor Day was always in April. But the follow-up question was usually something like this: What are trees? The holiday goes back to 1594, when a Spanish village 13 miles off the North Atlantic coast inaugurated it to plant a horse chestnut and lime tree grove. […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: A Cow and a Whale of a Project

I started this blog last September by saying one of things that attracted us to our lot were the cows and whales. The cows are Angus and Charolais crossbreeds. They live full-time on some 500 acres, of which our grassy parcel is just part. They look like this when they’ve been let in the gate: Back in the days when […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Going Up

Looking at the earth from above is like looking at a blueprint. This is the Big Island. So here you see azure water smashing against rugged cliffs, sprawling pastures, the lushest valleys, crescent beaches, and unnerving flows of molten lava. The photos below are from Paradise Helicopters’ sunset tour, which circles the island as decisively as the hands of a […]

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Building the Hawaiian Dream House: Island Birds

This column’s for the birds. When humans arrived to the Hawaiian Islands, there were more than 140 species of native birds. Today, more than half of them are extinct. There’s no other place in the United States where avian extinction has been so extreme, and even now two-thirds of Hawaii’s forest birds are endangered. But I intend this as a […]

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Building the Dream: New York’s Long Love Affair with Hawaii

The elephant in the room this week—the massive one that reaches from the northeast through great swaths of the south—is the blizzard. Ah, Hawaii. Big Islanders are quick to point out that it snows there too, atop Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, but that’s not the same thing. I’ll skip posting photos of what that looks like here, since I […]

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Building the Dream: Walls

I talked two blogs ago about footings, so now I’ll move on to walls. Sometimes in Hawaii they look like this: or this: or this: or this: or this: or even this: In descending order, that’s the first of the Kohala sea cliffs abutting the Waipio Valley beach, thousand-foot Wai’ilikahi Falls in the nearby Waimanu Valley (just the bottom’s visible […]

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Building the Dream: The Science of Hawaii

I’ve already said I find Hawaii magical, even if I don’t necessarily believe in magic. I’ve talked about the moonbows, but here’s a rainbow just off our land. One day, in 2016, we’ll sit outside our house and maybe, if everything is right, we’ll see one like that again. One more thing I find magical about Hawaii is the science. […]

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Building the Dream: Construction Afoot

Please forgive the play on words, or the loose visual puns (in the order pictured below, that’s a gold-dust day gecko at North Kohala’s Puakea Ranch, me learning to free dive under the watchful gaze of a Performance Freediving International instructor at Honaunau Bay, and driving a hundred head of cattle on horseback at Dahana Ranch in Waimea)… …but now we’ve gotten started on the […]

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