"Resolutions and Revolutions"
For those of us who are are not avid winter sportsters, the winter blues can strike hard. After the holiday hype, the early months of the new year can seem long and tedious There have been many cold New England mornings where getting out of bed was a monumental task.
It makes sense, we too are susceptible to physical and emotional hibernation, otherwise known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). How to combat this energy sapping, seasonal depression? Lots of articles point to light therapy, we could all use a little extra sunshine, but I think there is something to be said for a New Year's resolution.
A task or goal is a great way to shake off moodiness and push yourself to get outside and get going, despite the chill. My goal this year? To get back into prime climbing shape for springtime in Colorado. Training for any sport takes time and focus. Results are gradual, and there will be plateaus, but by setting a schedule and creating a time frame the winter doldrums can fly by, rather than drag on.
This spring, I want to see revolutionary results, so I better get out of bed, hit the gym, and make the most of my down time. Now who's with me?
recently watched the documentary "McConkey" that follows the life and legacy of legendary skier and base jumper Shane McConkey. An adrenaline seeker... (READ MORE)
Rock Your Terrain
As an athlete, it is essential to have confidence. Without confidence, there is no risk-taking, no first steps into unknown territory. But from confidence, can stem hubris: excessive pride, egotism.
I admit, I have a bit of an ego. I think I can do it all, and do it successfully. This confidence has helped me accomplish many things, but it has also led me into less than desirable situations. I have noticed that these situations usually involve three specific things: water, wildlife, and weather.
Never assume you can ignore the power of any of these elements when adventuring.
The first time I hit the desert trails, I thought I'd be fine without my water bottle. Generally, if you are running for an hour or less, you can do without; but one wrong turn, and I was past my hour limit feeling dehydrated and anxious in the setting sun.
You don’t want to be in this situation, especially in the desert. Even on cloudy days, it is dry, and before you know it, your eyes are scanning the blazing horizon for an oasis.Even if the extra weight can be a pain, I now humbly bow to the power of water.
My first encounter with javelinas occurred one early morning. Javelinas are wild boars akin to Pumbaa from "The Lion King" with javelin-shaped tusks. I naively trotted through the Arizona brush, snapping photos and videos of these strange creatures. I later learned they are quite vicious. Attacks are not uncommon.
Cacti attacks are not uncommon either.The worst are the cholla. They may look cute, but their “fuzzy” looking barbs will doggedly attach to your skin and clothes, leaving you sitting in the dust trying to pick them off.
So be on the lookout. Whether its javelinas, rattlesnakes, mountain lions or mountain bikers I would advise leaving the earbuds behind. Stay on the trails and try your best to learn your environment’s unfriendly flora and fauna.
In places like New England and Colorado, you have no idea what could be heading your way, as they say, “If you don’t like the weather wait five minutes.”
There have been sunny days that have ended in hailstorms, where I was left sprinting and shivering towards shelter. Now, I am all about extra layers, even if I have to shed them mid-run.
To rock the trails, you must know your terrain. I try to prepare as best I can for all situations, and I make sure my phone is with me. With water, knowledge, and a lifeline there is the potential to avoid worst-case scenarios even in extreme environments.
All Roads Lead to Home?
All roads eventually do lead us home, and though our time spent there may not be a continuous vacation, the experience of getting back to our roots is never a bad thing. Yes, there is the potential for family feuds, lackluster reunions with friends, and an overall sense that you have returned to a place stuck in time, BUT all those seemingly negative possibilities have the ability to produce positive action.
I will always be a New Englander, even after time spent in the alpine, the desert, the Bay Area, and years abroad, there is nothing like that salty air. I grew up with the ocean a mere five minute walk from my house, so it has been a strange few years being away from the place where I probably belong most- by the crashing waves.
During the two weeks that I was home, I made a pact with my other half to eat as much raw seafood as possible, which meant multiple rounds of oysters, little necks, and sushi boats. Culinary expenditures aside, during this time, I felt a true cleansing of the palate and of the mind. I was finally getting the nutrients that my New England body needed to fuel not only my beach runs and autumn ocean dips, but also my creative passions.
It made me realize that I truly want to be a writer, a writer of the outdoors and all the things that come with it. It also made me realize that in the next calendar year I need to find my coast.
As a nomadic creature, I have had my fair share of epiphanies with each move I have made. One thing is for certain—there is no utopia. Fiji is great, but it’s not utopia. All we can do is find the places that come close, explore, adapt, and in the end, learn more about who we are and what we really want in life.
"The Balance of Belonging"
Following our true passions is not an easy task. Often, we are encumbered by careers, monetary needs, family expectations, and most of all, our own expectations. Personally, I have always followed the mantra of living in the moment. This ideology allowed me to pursue travel and adventure in many exotic locales; however, there came a point when my friends and family saw me only as a selfish escape artist with little “drive” or contribution to society.
It was only a matter of time before I also became frustrated with my directionless wanderings. I had experiences, but I was not putting them to use. Here is the balancing act. Harnessing that energy and passion, and making it into something tangible and stable. This is key to living a full and balanced life. We are always going to find inhibition and roadblocks in our pursuit of our true passions, but if we can utilize other outlets to fuel them, then it is not too hard to find where we truly belong.
I hope you enjoy following my Great Escapes, as I pursue my passions and try to find the balance between work and play.
Until another episode, enjoy your recess.