Friday, June 29, 2012

Problems that money can't solve.

     There will always be problems that come up while traveling, and there are several ways of dealing with them.  Some people choose to buy their way out with money, while other more adventurous souls might wing it and try to solve the problem without monetary assistance.  The latter is, in my opinion, the correct choice.  Problems that you refuse to, or that can't be solved with money almost always create great new experiences. 
     While hopping around Europe last fall my friend and I had the opportunity to piggyback on a newly acquainted French friend's vacation to Rome.  Upon our arrival in Italy we promptly became lost and made it to the villa well after sundown where we relaxed and winded down with a few beers.  At around 11:00, we were surprised to hear a knock at the front door.  It was the villa's owner.  We hadn't been loud or rowdy at all, so it didn't worry us so much as it struck us as odd.  Why would she come down to speak with us at such a late hour?  She spoke little English and we little Italian, but after a few minutes of broken speech and poor grammar it was clear that two of us would have to leave.  The villa was rented for five... my friend and I were six... and seven... and so began the worst and best time of our European vacation.
     We were faced with the loss of the roof over our heads, and no prospects of another to come.  The housing development that we were in was accessible only by major highway, eliminating the possibility of walking to a hostel or hotel; public transportation stopped running at 10:00, eliminating that option; and we were too far from any major metropolitan areas to get a taxi at such a late hour as well.  We would have to walk... somewhere.
     An empty field about a half mile away on the edge of the housing plan would be our bedroom for the night.  We found a hole in the treeline that made a small plant lined cave, set our sleeping bags out, covered the entrance with a poncho I had in my bag, and drifted off to sleep... BEEP! Only a few hours later we were jarred from our sleep by a car, nearly on top of us, and honking.  This was followed by a several minutes of unintelligible Italian yelling from the car's occupant.  We had apparently chosen someone's parking spot as our bed.  We would spend the next night in the field's tall grass instead.
     In my last post I talked about packing light to allow yourself to be more flexible and more immersed in your adventures and discussed a little about how leaving things behind can lead to better experiences along the way, but as you may have guessed, leaving things behind can also be detrimental in some situations... and I LOVE those situations.  Getting yourself in some trouble makes any adventure more noteworthy, and as we found out before, the 'bad' times make for the best stories to tell about later.  Packing and traveling light is the best way to get these stories.  That's not to say you should be reckless; always have what you need to travel safely in whatever environment you happen to be in; but depriving yourself of a few comforts will not only lighten your luggage, but also lead to problems you'll have to solve along the way which in turn lead to good stories to tell later in life.  The story above wasn't caused by lack of equipment, but rather lack of preparation, but the outcome was the same: a problem that money couldn't solve and a good story to tell.

That's about it for now. 
Here are some photos of nature winning.

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Keys

        The less you have, the more you will experience.  A car might get you to the grand canyon, but your feet will get you to the bottom of it.  This is a very important thing to consider when you're planning any adventure.  It's an inverse relationship, I suppose.  You might be able to pack up all the amenities of home in a nice big bag, but the bigger that bag gets, the less likely it is to make it to where you want to go.  I learned quickly that the best way to travel is light.  If I'm not gonna use it everyday (Sleeping gear, toiletries, camera), or I don't absolutely need it (food, flashlight, clothing), then I'm probably not going to bring it.  It keeps your days free of distractions and lets you really experience what you're doing.  One of my favorite things to leave behind is keys.  Keys are for people who have somewhere to be, or something keep away from others and even more than that, they're a symbol of responsibilities, and ties to the frantic modern world that you're probably trying to liberate yourself from when you're traveling.  On any adventure you should be opening up to others, not closing off, and the only place you have to be is right there in the moment, so why bring any keys?  I came up with this logic: 
(You might not totally agree with it, but it's treated me well so far.)    

adventures = freedom
freedom = no commitments holding you back

keys = ties to commitments 
adventures = no keys

(I guess a car would be an exception,
but there are better and more fun 
ways of getting around)

So, maybe you see my logic, maybe not, but either way I always consider leaving a few things behind whenever I'm traveling about.  I might loose a few of the comforts of home, but they're more than made up for by new experiences.   

The summer solstice party is tonight.  I will be attending.  I will be bringing nothing but my camera.  

Have a liberated day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

First footage

Chris and Jeff eat dinner.

The first of many videos filmed on my newest toy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy birthday to me.

    Maybe not the most appropriate picture for a birthday celebration, but whatever.  I like it.  Got a GoPro HERO2 for my birthday on Monday.  Awesome!  Now I won't be having to purchase one for my next video endeavor.  It wasn't even a year ago that I thought these little cameras were toys, but then I saw what they can do in many videos online.

     I couldn't wait to try one myself.  I've talked to Rob at bar 11 and will be filming for my next video this and next weekend.  If I can get the hang of this new camera then it should be a good one. Pictures are fun.  Heres a few from a short trip to McConnells Mill state park a few weeks back.

Sorry about the less than eventful post, but hey, its my damn birthday!

Have a productive day yourself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Death. The great motivator.

        I found this video of the late Steve Jobs giving a speech at a graduation ceremony.  He touches on on all the points I've tried to make recently, although maybe a little more charismatically and a bit more concisely (and I thought I was doing a good job!).  Living for yourself, not worrying about making mistakes, having nothing to lose in the end.  If I'm not convincing enough for you, then maybe he will be, cause statistically you're probably reading this on something he made. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Consider your future

     Every time I've dropped out of life to squander my savings on various adventures, I've been told I was careless, impulsive, irresponsible; and that I should take the time to think about my future before making such drastic decisions.  I guess that's good advice, but no one ever specifies a timeframe when they say 'future'.  Tomorrow's the future, so maybe you should get a good night sleep tonight if theres something important going on then.  Next week's the future, so making plans with some friends of yours might be a good thought.  Next year's the future, so you might want to do well at your job to advance your career.  The same goes for five years, maybe you want to get married, buy a house or make some investments for retirement, but that's about as far as a lot of people go when thinking of the future.
     I've always taken it a little farther.  What about 50 years in the future? or 100?  Well, you might be around in 50 years, and hopefully you'll have some good stories to share, but in 100 we can be pretty certain anyone reading this right now will be dead...  Then what?  All we'll have then are the stories we've left behind.
     The farther we look to the future, the less our mistakes, our shortcomings, and yes, even our finances matter.  Eventually all thats left is what we did.  You can spend your whole life working for someone else and making 'good' life decisions, or you can think about your future and do something to help yourself get to where you want to be.  Maybe for you that means working a job and advancing your career, but for others (myself included) that's not the right path.  I've boiled down my decision making process to two simple questions:

     1.  Will this be a good story?

     2.  If I think of this on my death bed, will I be proud of what I did?

     If I can answer yes to those two questions, then it's a good idea; if I can't, then it's probably not.  Even if the outcome is bad on one of my 'good ideas', I've still got a good story that I'm proud of.  That's a correct decision in my book.  And like I've said in the past, we all know the 'bad' stories are the best ones anyways.

Have an outstanding day.