An Adventurous Life

The other week I was traveling with some friends and they were using the word adventure a lot: “We need to go adventuring again sometime”, “My adventuring partner” it goes on so I will spare you the details.  So it got me thinking were the activities they were doing actually an adventure, and what constitutes something to be an adventure.  I don’t know about you but for me when I hear the word adventure things that come to mind are movies like, Indiana Jones, and the Eiger Sanction, and I know my real experience  do not come close to those movies.  Real life experience and the movies are completely different so while I will never throw nazi’s off of a zeppelin I would still like to live a more adventurous life.

So to start looking into how to live an adventurous life I asked around to some friends on what they thought adventure was.  There were a number of reoccurring themes that came out in the answers people gave: perceived risk, uncertain outcome, something that take you out of your comfort zone, and something out of the ordinary.  However I was unsatisfied with these answers and this view of adventure, giving a speech to a large crowd for some has an uncertain outcome, perceived risks by people and takes them out of their comfort zone, but I would not call that an adventure.  I take nothing away from what people think but for what I want out of an adventure and a life of adventure I want something a bit more.

Taking parts of what people gave me as their thoughts, and mixing in my own desire for adventure I’ve developed five elements I think make something an Adventure, an Inspired Objective, Risk, Requires you to be better than you are at the start, and Unpredictability.

Adventures start with a grand objective, or purpose, Indiana Jones has to find the Arc, Frodo has to destroy the ring, the adventure has a purpose, or goal.  A movie about someone traveling about aimlessly may be an interesting character piece but I do not think most of us would clarify it as an adventure.  An objective drives us forward to push through the hard times that will come, to test are limits, and overcome and persevere.  It cannot be any objective though.  My friend as part of his idea of adventure is he has to be inspired to action for him to start moving towards his goal.

The objective must be inspired by a deep internal desire.  We all have those large dreams we want to pursue, that we know will take a massive commitment.   Those thoughts that get you excited just thinking about them, those are the beginning of a true adventure. They draw you in and act as an inciting incident to action, to start a true adventure.

Not all inspired Objective will make for a great adventure, there must be some risk involved.  A lot of responses to what makes an adventure included perceived risk, but I think there has to be some element of real risk.  Real risk is required for an adventure.  When there is risk we are far more committed, focused, and thus fully invested in the experience.  Risk can be physical but it could also be financial, personal, social,  something needs to be on the line, in a true adventure.  You will have to leave the safe and comfortable life behind if you want to live an adventurous life.

An adventure is also going to require you to be better than you are at the outset.  An adventure will push you past your limits.  What got you here will not get you there.  An adventure will require you to learn new skills push yourself, work harder, ultimately get better, and grow as an individual.

Even with all of that you may still not have a great adventure.  There must be uncertainty, and unpredictability in an adventure.  If all of your plans go perfectly it is not an adventure.  Its those times where things go wrong, you have to adapt, make the tough decisions, and push through that you enter into the realm of adventure.  Its those moments that will require more of you to push through the risk, towards that objective.

Now will all of this being said I’ve done a lot of trips, but I think most of them are not adventures.  What I do know is that if you want to have more adventures, you need to look for those inspired objects that may be a bit too big for you to accomplish, that might be a risk, and find ways to step into that unpredictable world and make things happen.

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Thanks

I once heard a quote: “There are no self made millionaires, but some of them forget that along the way”.  I think this quote rings true about all aspects not just personal wealth.  No one becomes a success in a vacuum, we all have coaches, mentors, and partners who help us, challenges us, and encourage us to do better.  Every piece of advice, word or encouragement,  it adds up and makes us who we are.  So while I am not at where I want to be as an ending I do want to thank those who have got me to where I am today.

First I want to thank my Dad.  There has not a been a more influential and encouraging person in my life.  He has provided me countless resources, endless advice, and is always there to support whatever I am doing.  He is always there when I need him.  Also to date he did belay me for my hardest trad onsight (pictured above), on the day I taught him to lead belay, so he has that going for him too.

I’ve had a lot of climbing mentors over the years.  First Jack Harris, my college professor he taught me how to make top ropes how to trad, and was my intro into technical Skills,  Joe Orn got me further into climbing an trying hard was a great partner to climb with who helped get me to the next level.  Bill Boyd was a huge mentor for me, helping me with a few tips and tricks as well as, helping my footwork and technique to develop.  Most recently my friend Landon is the primary driver of my improvement getting me to focus on a training plan and helping to craft that plan and follow through.

I have not have as many disc golf mentors but just being around good players has helped me focus in and dial up my game to perform.  But I do want to give a shout out to my friend Tyler for getting me deeper into the sport and focusing on development for competitive pursuits.

Just putting this out here as a thank you for everyone who has helped me along the way.  I hope you take some time to thank those who have helped you grow and develop into who you are today.

On Failing

In the past week I’ve failed a lot.  First off I failed to get a blog out last week as I was out in Bishop did not have access to a computer, and I know I could have scheduled one to post the week before but I failed to do that.  I was out bouldering in Bishop and I fell a lot more than I sent.  I played in a tournament this weekend took the first round lead and let it slip away,  Threw my best round in League to date this week and still wasn’t good enough to win.  So I’ve fallen short a lot lately.

That is not a bad thing though it just is.  Failure is going to happen.  While out bouldering last week I was happy that I got to send some routes and a few on-sights, but looking back on the week what I am most proud of are the hard routes I tried and threw myself at falling time and time again.  Some of those routes I overcame and got the problem, but others I fell and fell but never got it, and I’m proud of that.  Getting the problem and getting through is fun, but finding my limits pushing myself.  More I am proud that I fell going for it.

Often I find myself backing off and falling out of being tired, being scared of committing to the move, or feeling uncomfortable and backing off.  This trip though I found myself more often than not failing while trying to move forward and stay on.  So long as I fail giving my best effort I am OK with it for now.  I know I’m not the best, so giving my full effort might not always be enough, but when I finish I want to know I left it all out there.

In the tournament I let get away from me sunday I know there were a few shots I did not put my full effort into shots.  A few shots near the end I had a lapse in focus did not set up right and fulling commit to the shot.  That is what bothers me the most, it is not that I did not win but that I did not commit fully, and left effort out there.  If I put my full effort into the event and came out satisfied with the effort I would feel better about the outcome.

Now, I don’t mean to see you should run every death putt, and throw dynos at the top of highball boulder problems.   If you know you are in a good spot climbing, or you know you want you have a safe throw commit to it.  If you decision is to back off of a climb, or lay up a shot commit fully.  It is when you give partial effort that even that lay-up hits an early tree, or leaves you short,  the big move you half commit to you never stick it.  Make your decision commit fully to it, and so long as you have your full effort, and focus, failure is ok, it is a chance to learn.  So even though I fail, and I fail a lot, so long as the effort was there I’m ok with that, at least for now

 

The Best of Brews

Whether disc golfing or climbing beer seems to be a common staple of both communities. The Disc Golf Podcast does a weekly disc and beer (or Deer) review, The Enormocast has regularly chimed in on the the subject as well, and even world champion disc golfers are opening their own brewery. It’s a subject that draws a lot of water, and hops from the climbing and disc golf media scene so I figured it was time to throw my thoughts into this discussion.

Before we begin I begin a bit of a disclaimer, everyone has different tastes and opinions on beer, so take my opinions with a grain of salt or a full salt rim if that’s your thing.

5. Post Climbing Training Beers:

Most of us climb in a gym for our training, and that means pulling on a lot of plastic, and my gym is fairly new and uses almost all predominantly rock candy holds, which have incredible friction. However with that benefit comes the downside of rubbing your hands raw. A nice cold one placed firmly between two sore hands helps to ease the pain. It may undo some of the progress gained in the gym but the relief is well worth it.

4. Parking lot Beers after a day in the backcountry climbing:

Cans and bottles unfortunately add some extra weight, and if you have a bit of hike out to your location that can be a burden to carry that’s not worth it, especially if you route does not allow you for a place to stash your gear, so you have to climb and rappel with the extra weight. However the long day, and the wait is always worth it. Getting back to the car tired and thirsty makes everything taste that much sweeter.

3. Beers Shared Among Friends:

Beer as always best when shared, whether someone is sharing theirs with you or you sharing yours with others. The simple exchange helps to build the bonds between each other grows friendships, adds to the experience and make the beer that much better. Whether it is splitting a six pack around a campfire, or on the disc golf course. Sharing is caring and it adds.

2. Post Tournament Beers:

Whether it is to help celebrate a good finish to your final round, or to help distract you from the mistakes you let pile up on the course the post tournament beer is a great way to close out a tournament. Swapping stories with other players catching up on the action of the day, the hero shots that went in the bad breaks. Swapping stories and capping off the tournament right puts this one in second place.

1. Post Send Beer:

After all of your hard work on you project you finally got the route you’ve been working for a while now. If you planned ahead you knew this day was coming and you might have stashed a few in a nearby stream. These are the best you’re out at the crag in the wilderness, you’re with good friends, hopefully, and you finally got your goal, all of these combine to make the best beer you could have, even a pabst taste great here.

Honorable Mentions

-Shower beer

-Free beer

-Anything around a campfire

It’s Dangerous To Go Alone

This weekend after not playing ping-pong in about 7 years my friend convinced me to come play with him.  As you would guess it having not played in seven years my skills were not the sharpest.  However I came close in a few games and after I while using about all of the ping-pong skill I had, (which is miniscule at best) I was finally able to beat him in one game, and I was pretty stoked to keep playing.  My friends excitement for the game was contagious, and had caught his pysch to start and keep playing that night.

Similarly if you want to keep going and growing you are going to need someone to help keep yourself stoked, and working towards a goal.  Self motivation is always going to be needed but it is also always going to be a struggle sometimes the couch and nachos seem like better option.  Having a good partner to train, motivate and compete with, will help you stay focused and work to better yourself.

A good training partner a great tool to help with your own development.  Just last night I was in the climbing gym and my friend who is rarely there was so excited about his work out plan he was doing through the Anderson Brothers books, and asked if I wanted to join.  To be honest I did not really want to but again the contagious energy of someone else motivated me to follow through with it.  A good partner helps to get you on the right path and stay on it.   And later through the process of the climbing training he was able to see and correct my form that I was oblivious too.  A good partner will help correct the mistakes you cannot see.

So I have been lucky to have friends who have helped me stay on the path and help develop, if you do not have one yet here are some traits to look for.

-More Skilled or More Experienced: Having someone who is further along the path than you will help give you tips and knowledge they have had to learn the hard way, and may help short cut some of the process.  As well as trying to keep up with someone better helps keep you motivated

-Similar Goals:  Try to find someone who trying to grow and develop in the same areas you are.  Having the same project, or a similar project will help you and your partner train in more similar ways,  it’s hard to work with someone wanting to get train for strength when you working endurance, its hard to make both work together.

-Reliability:  Having someone that you know you can count on is huge.  Nothing ruins your motivation to practice, or train as having people bail on you.  Rob Piszm on the Enormocast describes his partners as you’re on the list til you are off it, show up late without calling you’re off.

It’s not always easy to find people who fit all of these categories and are looking to be on the same path but when you find them be thankful they will help make each other better.

Secrets to sending and shaving strokes

The other week I was disc golfing out at a local course, and just completely fell apart on the last three holes.  The week before in the second round of a tournament, I shot 5 over in the last 3 holes.  In both situations I had felt good and then just suddenly lost all touch and control, I was devastated to have such a major collapse. Mentally, I had maintained my focus but just couldn’t keep it together.  It wasn’t until I sat down and let myself rest a minute I realized what was the issue.  I was really hungry.

Snacks,  as simple as it seems having mid round, or mid climbing sessions snacks are a key to maintaining performance.  I have learned over the years that when I’m out following my passions my body will shift into task mode and I will feel the sense of hunger come over me, and because of that I can spend a whole day climbing carrying only a small Larabar for my food for the day, having only eaten a small breakfast.

While I know I can comfortably get away with that I have learned it will lead to diminished performance.  When I look back on the tournaments and rounds I shot really well at, I had stopped an snacked.  The days i climbed by best, you guessed it, snacks were involved.   My body need continuous fuel to maintain performance.  So knowing that I try and choose simple foods that are good quick sugar to help generate the fuel I need.

Lately I have been choosing to have Chili Dried Mangos.  Its fruit so it’s kinda healthy but it is really just a good simple sugar your body can convert to quick energy, and they taste great. Honey stingers chews, and chocolate covered espresso beans are also a consistent part of my snack regime.

Some ideas to consider for your own snack options

-Simple Sugars to convert for quick energy

-Light you are going to be carrying this around with you all day don’t want too much extra weight

-Can your stomach handle it, you know your body the best choose something that is not going to upset your stomach

-Choose something that is not going to get mess up your hands, making them slippery or sticky.

The discgolfanswerman blog featured and article that also emphasised the importance of snacks
http://discgolfanswerman.com/blog/top-10-things-overlooked-when-preparing-for-a-disc-golf-tournament/

Progress…

We all want to grow and develop, we develop training plans, practice routines fitness regiments.   Sometimes we follow these plans sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes they help us and sometimes they don’t.  We create these plans with the hope of progress, but there is a big problem with progress it’s hard.

Progress comes to us slowly.  Sometimes it seems like you are grinding and working for a long time and you see no improvement.  I’ve gone through whole training cycles and while I felt accomplished with completing it I was not able to complete my project.  How long do you have to practice your putting before you ever see any progress.

This slow progress often leads us to frustration.  it can make people feel like they cannot get any better, and quit working on their training.

Progress requires perspective.  If you take a longer term view from where you started you can see more of your progress.  In the moment we cannot see the progress we make, but as the time stacks up we can gain perspective based off of where we began the journey.  It is easy to get caught up looking at how far from the goal we are,  the horizon never gets any closer,   so we need to make sure we measure progress on how far we have come not on how far we have to go.