Thoughts on Adventure

The past six months have been a whirlwind for me. We've had some major ups and downs, and everything in between. Time seems to be moving at twice the rate it was moving before our little boy arrived last June. In a few days I'll be saying goodbye to some of my best friends and starting a new professional journey after 3+ years with a great company. It's exciting for me to see the progress that I've made as a photographer. I've been able to team up with some awesome brands to promote recreation, adventure, and service. 

This past weekend I learned an important lesson. I was able to attend the funeral of an aunt. She had suffered a severe stroke roughly 20 years ago following an extensive surgery to remove a large brain tumor. Since that time, she has faced overwhelming health challenges with overwhelming courage.

I learned a lot about my aunt Sadie at her funeral. When she was young, she spent her days exploring the Idaho countryside on horseback with her sisters. She was obsessed with horses, and had a love for all animals and the outdoors. She fell in love and married my uncle Bob. Her passion and adventure shifted to her little family and their life in the small town of Soda Springs, ID. She was known by everyone for her kindness, optimism, humor, and adventurous spirit.

Sadie's life circumstances changed dramatically after her stroke – she had to re-learn how to breath, how to talk, how to swallow, how to walk, how to live. The stroke took a lot from Sadie. It took away her independence, it took away her ability to ride horses, it even took away the functionality of the muscles in the left side of her face, but her stroke could not take away her spirit. Sadie remained one of the most loving, optimistic, humorous, and adventurous people you'd ever meet.

Sadie had every reason in the world to complain, but she didn't. She had every reason to shy away from people, but she didn't. She had every reason to give up, but she didn't. Sadie continued to adventure – it just looked different. Eating solid foods. Conversing with family and friends. Getting out of her chair. She gave it her all, and eventually she relearned to talk and was able to walk with help. Sadie continued to serve those around her (with the help of her husband and neighbors), she continued to smile, she continued to poke fun at my dad every time they sat down to talk.

This week, I learned that adventure has much more to do with our spirit than with what we are doing. Most of the adventures I share on social media are made up of time spent in the outdoors, whether it be camping, hiking, biking, or shooting photos, but some of the greatest adventures in my life involve life at home with my wife and baby, trying to determine the best career path for me and my family, meeting new people, trying new things.

What is adventure? It's a part of who we are. Your adventure will be different than mine, and it should be! Life would be boring if everyone's adventures looked the same.

"Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life... You make it"  – Thomas S. Monson

I hope we can all be a little more loving, a little more optimistic, embrace humor a little more, and find adventure in our everyday lives. We could all afford to be a little happier.

Thanks for the invaluable life lesson Sadie! 

Roots

I come from a simple family.  My mom grew up in Soda Springs, Idaho, a small town in the south east corner of the state.  Her father worked at the local mine all his life, and her mother stayed at home with the family.  My dad was raised in Bountiful, Utah, where I currently live.  His father was a banker, and his mother an elementary school teacher. 

My parents met at work, dated, were married, and a few short years later I showed up.  I was followed by two younger brothers.  My parents purchased their first home when I was 2 and have lived their ever since.

Neither of my parents came from incredibly wealthy families.  They lived simply, grew up in small homes, and family vacations consisted of camping trips to the mountains of Utah and Idaho.  

And... Old habits die hard! 

We went to Disneyland once when I was growing up and visited family in Washington state on two different occasions.  Those trips aside, our summers consisted of football practice, an annual camping trip to Gravel Creek Campground in the Caribou National Forest, and a myriad of Boy Scout camps and backpacking trips. 

Not much has changed in the past 25 years.  We head out tomorrow for another adventure into the mysterious mountains of Wayan, ID.  I'll be sure to share some photos.

In all the years that I spent without a vacation to the beach or the big city, I can't remember ever feeling like I was missing out. I looked forward with crazy anticipation to our summer camping trips every year. It never got old. The mountains gave me something that I didn't have at home. Part of me always felt like I belonged there. We could never spend enough time in the mountains.

High school changed things some. I got busy with football, soccer, choir and other high schoolish things. We had to skip a couple of summer camping trips, and then, after high school, I spent 2 years in Philadelphia as a missionary for the LDS church (which was an incredible adventure of its own). I came home, started college, and got married shortly after that. My tradition of being in the outdoors had faded.

Two years ago, I bought a mountain bike, and it brought me back to the mountains. It reminded me of what I was missing. As time went on, I bought a camera, a road bike, we got a dog, and I found myself constantly trying to get outside, whether it be to hike or bike a local trail with my pup, take my road bike up one of Salt Lake City's iconic canyons, or road trip somewhere, anywhere, to capture nature with my camera.

IMG_5578.jpg

For our anniversary last year, I planned a trip to the Pacific Northwest. We spent a week exploring Seattle and Portland, taking in the Oregon Coast, and even managed to squeeze in a hike to Lake Serene in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. I felt it. I was invigorated. I was hooked.

My passion is adventure, being in the outdoors, experiencing new things, meeting new people, and inspiring others to do the same. I can't get enough of it. I'm excited to go back to my roots and share my love for the adventure and the outdoors. I'm pursuing my passion. I can't wait to see where it takes me, and I hope I can help you to find your own adventure along the way.

Cheers!