We are changing our focus in the Outdoor Industry and making moves to more literally "Empower Others Through the Wild Places." Keeping a focus on Outdoor & Adventure, we hope to encourage by "Calling Back" and diversifying the Outdoors by Giving Adventure. Join us.
Yesterday we jumped in the car just as the sun was setting to escape for a bit. To check out of the daily grind and check in with nature. A healthy rhythm we often forget to insert into the work week - but one that can make a world of difference in our day to day lives.
For me, escaping into nature has always been vital. Every Friday during my college years, I would impatiently watch the minutes tick by as I sat through my last few classes of the week. My Jeep Cherokee, waiting for me, already packed. I had to go somewhere, get out of the city. If I didn't have plans to head somewhere - I knew I would feel trapped. There is a sense of freedom to escaping the norm that I have always been addicted to - almost to a flaw.
The second I graduated college, I piled in a car with three of my best friends; together, we drove until we couldn't drive anymore. All the way to the Northern most point of Maine. A few months later, Joel and I were married. Only days after our wedding, we were loading our lives into a 27' sailboat headed South.
I guess you can say staying put is hard for me, it has always been.
So, when our car broke down, canceling our most recent cross country plans, needless to say - I was crushed. Not only were we staying put, but we were staying put in the last place I wanted to be - the town where I grew up. Let me first say, I do not hate the place I grew up, it holds all my best memories, my greatest friends, my family, and its shores are where I learned to surf. But, there are a million other places in the world I've yet to see and my hometown holds none of them.
Staying put these past few months has been a rough transition but, out of it, I have learned something that I will hold with me for the rest of my life. That is - how to put new laces on an old pair of shoes.
There is this old pair of winter boots that I love. They are Patagonia, built to last ( Yes! I do believe that there are some names that represent quality - that's another story for another day) The soles look as new as the day I bought them, the boot itself has a few hints of wear, but the laces were absolutely falling apart. The peeling and frayed laces made the boots look horrible. Patagonia no longer manufactured them and so, I disgruntledly began the search for a new pair of winter boots.
A few weeks later, when I had still yet to bite the bullet on a new pair, Joel and I snagged some brown laces from the store. They weren't the right laces, but they were close to the right color - it was worth a shot. I cut off the raggedy pair and threaded the new laces into my old boots. Bingo. They looked good and would at least last me another winter.
In the same way, I have been learning to put new laces on the raggedy perspective I have of my old town. It doesn't always have to be something new to be something good. As important as it is to always be seeking new experiences and as much as the unknown is a place of growth ; it is equally important to love and find joy in that which is already in front of you.
I would kill to be climbing a new mountain trail today, but chasing the sunset over the oceanfront where I grew up will do the trick. My time back home has been teaching me how important it is to learn to sing, like a canary in a cage. That though you might be naturally a flyer, you can also be joyful when staying put. You can make something out of where you are. It doesn't help just to sit in silence or fight the cage - rather, sing until it is opened. The adventure doesn't aways have to be in the going but in the doing. Get outside where you are and with the time that you have.
For me, until our next big adventure, I'll be running and biking the trails around me, watching a few sunsets and, every now and then, suiting up to surf Virginia's little winter peelers.
Cheers & Much love
"And God Bless America" my dad always belts out after praying at a meal - usually cueing snickers around the dinner table. This one's for you dad. God Bless America. Here's to America and how good it is to be an American.
There's a lot of scrap we can dig up to complain about our fatherland. Though on this day, not a lot of it is exactly necessary or even worth mentioning. This weekend, whether we are satisfied with our country or not, everyone easily falls into red, white and blue attire, clicks on grills, and enjoys all that is America. Am I right? So let's focus on what's worth acknowledging on Miss America's day of birth. That being, how blessed we, her lay people, truly are. Our dailies, comforts and even norms are unheard of to people in other corners of the world. In fact, you can watch them all but disappear without even leaving our own continent.
I must give a side note to my love for such other countries. There is something contagious about being in these cultures of simplicity where our comforts are striped away. But, on this day, I am reminded of how incredibly thankful I am for the provision of my native land. Simply by being born on a specific soil, we are handed a baton of opportunities. That alone is something worth celebrating.
This year, to celebrate the Fourth of July we spent our Saturday with family relaxing by one of our country'a shining seas. The water was refreshing, clear and calm. Days like the one we had are the reason why growing up in the Virginia Beach surfing community we learn to call our ocean "Lake Atlantic."
It was a perfect day and as I stood out on the sandbar with waves lapping at my ankles and both my sisters by my side ( a rare occasion), I decided to celebrate this July Fourth with a list of gratitude.
Of course, on the top of that list are the big things like small businesses, the ability to pursue creative endeavors, and a land chock-full of breath-taking views.
But what really pulled my heart strings, on this bright shinny Independence Day, was gratitude for the little details. And though I often find myself longing for distant shores, this weekend I am happy to be here appreciating my American made comforts.
I find gratitude as I fall for the rhythm of things like...
The scratchy zip noise between guitar chords.
The smell of good coffee when you first wake up.
The beautiful simplicity of wildflowers.
The common norm of a toilet seat.
The freedom to roam and the vessels by which to do so.
The way we somehow talk everyday into being a holiday.
The variety of cuisines made possible by our grocery store selections.
The colorful mess left behind after a few hours of painting.
The cool comfort of diving under a old quilt made soft and raggedy by years of love.
The safety in which to enjoy thunderstorms.
Watching heat lightening over the ocean with my feet on solid ground.
The instant refreshing rush of a cold shower.
The daily dance of fireflies.
The gurgling breath of a coffee pot.
Oh, and of course family and watermelon
Well, there's my current list of gratitude. What's yours?
What's Joel doing while I'm making smoothie bowls and working on yoga poses? Well, let me tell you about our 1993 Nissan Hardbody Truck. When we sold the sailboat, we drove back to Virginia in a rental car stuffed full with all our belongs including our dinghy. Joel sold the dinghy on craigslist and with the same money bought this slightly rusty, slightly problematic yet surprisingly reliable truck. Over the past month, we've been driving the thing up and down the coast and Joel's been fixing it up along the way.
Joel loves the truck. The other day, he looked at me and said, “I'm gonna own this truck 'til I die.”(Or at least until it dies, I thought)
For me, it’s more of a love – hate relationship. Ya, the price was right, but affordability comes at a cost. In this case, the cost is stinky, rough and rather uncomfortable. That being said, there is some love mixed in there. During our six-hour drive Saturday, as I sat fidgeting (and complaining ever so often) in the slightly damp, overly packed passenger seat; I had time to reflect on our lil silver beater truck. Amazingly, my heart grew for the thing. I realized that it symbolizes not only a time in our lives, but a way of life that we’ve chosen to live. And, I decided that if I were going to give anyone a slice of advice on how to live a budgeted yet adventurous lifestyle, my advice would be to buy a beater truck.
First, I have to explain the hate side of my Nissan relationship:
What I hate about our Nissan Hardbody
-Packing it is nearly impossible.
-Traveling in it is rather uncomfortable.
-The musty smell of country mud left behind from its previous owner lingers.
-The seemingly perpetually damp seats from Joel's attempt to pressure wash away the musty mud smell.
-The Mid-summer heat with no a.c.
-The huge dent in the tail gate
-When you play the radio, you can't charge a phone
-When you charge your phone you can't play the radio
Now, here’s why I love our Nissan Hardbody.
-It's rugged and four wheel drive - two adjectives that seem to bring only good things.
-Its lack of A.C. forces you to roll the windows down and pretend every drive is a ride home from the beach.
But most of all, It's what we could afford. Okay, so maybe we could've spent some more money and gotten a nicer car, with no rust and some A.C. But, that might have cost a couple more thousand dollars or maybe required a loan. (A couple extra thousand dollars that we could use to put gas in our tank or buy an air plane ticket - to go somewhere.) We chose adventure over luxury. Which, can be both rewarding and challenging, but to us, it's worth it. It's even worth the long, uncomfortable hours in the beater truck. Don't tell Joel, but if I had to choose again, I'd still choose our 1993 Nissan Hardbody.
So, maybe it’s buying a beater truck is not exactly what you need to do. But, to adventure on a budget will require some kind of sacrifice. Life's that way. Chasing our dreams often requires giving up something. It's all a part of the journey. The key is to embrace it and enjoy the fact that the sacrifice makes your dreams possible.