Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rather Listen? Check out the podcast for this post!

The world is full of beautiful places.
How we visit those places is up to us.

In each place there is an adventure, but most will never find it. 
Cameras in hand, caked with sunscreen, a tourist enters a far away land like they enter a movie theatre. 
They expect to be entertained
To take all they can for a short time, before rushing home to critique their experience.
An explorer leaves the beaten path in search of a greater adventure. 
We seek education, not entertainment. 
We respect the places we travel for what they are, not for what hollywood says they are. 
An explorer enjoys every moment, even when wet, cold, or broke.

An explorer chases discovery, open to new cultures and new ideas. 
A tourist has expectations, but an explorer treats each experience with a humble attitude.

Though I fear I may still be a tourist, I strive to leave my selfish tendencies behind.
After all, to explore is to sacrifice your comforts for the joy that a new experience will bring.

Wherever you are,
Whoever you are,
Go Explore,


Monday, February 24, 2014

Rather listen? Check out the podcast for this post
So, I've been blogging here consistently since I was 19 years old, but I have the feeling that most of you have no idea who I really am, even if you've read all of my posts from Arizona to Maine!

Here are 12 things you probably don't know about me.

1: I was inspired to explore the outdoors during a canoe trip in Ontario when I was 14 years old. Our instructor was a 22 year old female college student from Winnipeg named Sam, ironically. Her fortitude, resilience, and leadership skills inspired me follow my passion of becoming an adventure blogger.

2: I have always loved to read, but I have never loved to read anything that was required of me. I usedspark-notes all throughout high school so that I could read books about the outdoors in my free time.

3: Though I love to read, I'm an extremely slow reader. I blame this on my day dreams. I will consistently start a chapter, get an idea from what I'm reading, then completely forget what's going on in the book.

4: I would really like to live someplace cold one day, so that I can have sled dogs (a dream I've had since I was about 4 or 5)

5: The first time I went canoeing I tipped the boat after about 10 yards. In my defense, there was barbed wire involved... this might make a good post

6: In high school, I had the male lead in every single musical during my 4 years. The roles were Tony-The Boyfriend (probably my least favorite), Albert Peterson- Bye Bye Birdie, Danny Zuko-Grease, and my favorite by far, Curly McClain-Oklahoma.

7: It was during the show Oklahoma my senior year that my wife and I started dating.

8: I started blogging when I was 18 after I felt I was being censored by the high school newspaper sponsor. I had a column in the school paper that was relatively popular, and received some positive feedback from students and staff. After a while I was told by the teacher that my articles sounded as if they were just random thoughts I had at 3am... which was kind of the point. The last straw was when my article describing our principal's dating advice was shot down shortly before going to print. Too bad. It would have really helped some of the students out. The blog was originally named after the column.

9: I write my best while I'm listening to Lecrae Radio on Pandora.

10: I once had a rash in a really bad area for 4 months between my trip to Nicaragua and the Arizona Expedition... I'm not going into any more detail on that one

11: I slept in a sleeping bag from late elementary school to when I got married.

12: I'm completely revamping and improving upon my original plan for my next kayak expedition, but more from that soon!

Thanks for reading guys!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's tough to pay for an expedition. I learned that when I sold my jeep to fly  to Arizona... and when I almost didn't get to the Gila Wilderness last year... and right now as I am attempting to get sponsorship for my current expedition (and you should probably follow me on facebook or twitter to keep up with the preparations!)

Luckily there are awesome adventurers like Al Humphreys to point us in the right direction! I was recently reading his blog when I found a post that he published recently. It contained many of the methods that I have used to save money for expeditions myself. Instead of repeating everything he said, I'll steer you over to his blog. There's really some great insight! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rather Listen? Check out the podcast for this post!

In preparing for my upcoming kayak expedition I thought long and hard about purchasing a backpacking stove. After all, everyone else uses one, right? I thought about the pros and cons, comparing my past experience of stoves vs. cooking on an open fire, and in the end, fire won hands down.
Of course, many others would benefit more from a simple stove, especially those travelling through areas with fire restrictions. Ultralight backpackers would probably benefit more from stoves too. Then there are the polar explorers, and other outdoorsmen who travel through areas where combustable materials are in short supply. Stoves are quick, and easy. They also take very little knowledge to be able to control.  But, for my situation, I have to say that the fire wins by a long shot.
Melting snow over the fire in the Gila Wilderness
An Open Fire Takes Up No Space In A Pack Or Drybag
With a stove, you're forced to carry it, and any fuel you'll need. With a fire, it's as simple as carrying a ferro rod, or some matches. It's as simple as that. By leaving behind a stove, I can carry more food, and thus, stay in the woods longer. 

An Open Fire Throws More Heat
Why does that matter? You may ask. After all, it doesn't take much to cook a small meal. Picture this...  
You're canoeing down a river and after a long day of paddling the temperature begins to drop. You accidentally tip your canoe in a rapid. At this point, would you rather sit next to a little cook stove, or a roaring fire? Many stove users carry extra fire starters just for situations like this.  
It's also reassuring on cold winter days to have a way of heating up someone in your party if they are showing signs of hypothermia. However, the real benefit of the open fire is its versatility!

An Open Fire Is More Versatile For Cooking And Heating
A stove confines you to how many burners you have (which in most cases, is just one) where a fire can provide more cooking space then I could ever use. This means that after I catch 5 trout, I don't have to wait to cook them after I'm finished with the rest of my meal, I can cook the fish and a bowl full of rice, all at the same time. 

Evaluate which option is best for you, and go for it!
Here's an awesome photo taken by my friend Tim Smith of Love the snowshoe setup Tim!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

This week I am determined to come up with a way to make my kayak collapsible!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

So the new year is upon us! I've always believed that New Years resolutions were just an excuse to put off setting goals until the 1st of January, but this year, I was one of those procrastinators...

A New Year is the perfect time  for those big goals to be announced, so here it goes:

Raise $50,000 for Tiny Hands International: For my big goal this year,  I decided to pick  something that I don't think I'll be able to achieve.  However, there's nothing that will stop me from trying! In 2011 and 2012 I learned how to survive in a variety of wilderness environments. In 2013 I did my first expedition to raise funds and awareness for Tiny Hands. Now, in 2014 I will use my past experiences to make a difference in the fight against sex trafficking.  Though the Gila Expedition in 2013 was great, it was largely crowd funded, and other than  the sponsorship I received from the Jack Mountain Bushcraft school, I was left to fend for myself.  This year I've thrown "crowd funding" out the window, and decided to focus my efforts on finding sponsors. This will hopefully free up more time for me to speak about sex trafficking, and cut down on the time I spent attempting to fund the expedition.  So, if any of you know someone with a business who would like to be a corporate sponsor, tell them to hit me up at!

(also, while we're on the subject, I'd like to encourage all of you to check out a big expedition that Chance Stephens is doing to raise funds for Tiny Hands. Great stuff!)

Although I'm a huge fan of the giant resolutions, I don't discount the simple, yet meaningful goals for the new year.  

In 2014 I will
  • Read more books. In 2013 I spent too much time on other things. I love reading about topics I'm passionate about, and I think the more I read, the more innovative I become.  I'd also like to do more study in regards to the human body, and how it reacts in different situations (weather, under stress, etc).  
  • Go white water rafting with my wife.  I found out on Christmas that my parents (as they do every year) decided to forgo a physical present, with an experience.  It makes sense to say the least, and I wish more parents did this.  I'm excited to say that they decided to take my wife, siblings, and yours truly rafting next summer. Sydney was with me when I went on my first roller coaster, and after hearing my embarrassing screams, I'm pumped to see how she reacts to my natural environment. I'm positive that she'll show more bravery than I did before that roller coaster...
  • Learn beginner mountaineering skills.  I've wanted to do this for the last few years, and I'm tired of waiting!
  • Teach wilderness skills courses.  After all, it's kinda my thing... I just haven't devoted the time and energy required to get a course off the ground.  I will be working towards some beginner level courses for kids and teens!

Monday, December 16, 2013

For the past two weeks I have been deeply involved in the Christmas musical production "Word on the Street!" It was definitely a good time, and I was honored to portray a modern (dare I say hipster) version of Joseph.  As you see in the photo below, what made the show even more special for me was the fact that my wife Sydney played Mary. She's far more talented than I am, but that's a different story... 

I just wanted to let you guys know what's been going on with me and why I haven't been posting on here.  Though much of my very short supply of brain power was being used during the show, I was constantly thinking of new ideas for blog posts, projects, and of course, my kayak design!  Thank you all so much for your support, and stay tuned as our exciting new adventure unfolds!

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