Sealed bearings rolling around an aluminum axle, spinning inside urethane skateboard wheels hum in a soft, low, and distinctive way. That sound saturates my memory of the “Gleaming the Cube” movie trailer which I used to wait through hours of TV to see when the movie debuted in 1989. I was 14 years old and skateboarding was just about the coolest thing there was in my early teen world, or maybe raddest as we used to say back then, and oddly enough now say again. I was so excited by skateboarding and the ideas of actually seeing it on TV, that I sat through the shows uninterested while I waited for the commercial breaks in a strange reversal. I used to get every “Thrasher Magazine” issue, and an occasional Transworld Skate magazine for some variety. I owned one Skating VHS tape and eagerly went over to friends houses to view whichever movie they had spent their allowance or paper route money on. In some ways I feel sorry for today’s kids who will never experience that level of excitement over a tv show or magazine subscription. The anticipation would build as the delivery date or show time slot approaches and it was just magical when that day finally arrived. Today, for every existing niche sport or interest there are probably hundreds of videos, websites, or even live streams some other enthusiast has uploaded just a click away. Forget picking up a laptop, that takes way too much effort. Just watch it on the iphone.
In other ways we live in a golden age, where small communities from across the world can unite across the internet to reap the benefits of scale previously only realized by mainstream pastimes. If the Yang of this phenomenon is that bad guys get a platform to do bad things, new media options that connect healthy and fun pursuits like you can find, for instance, on Youtube, are among the Yin. What started out as something reminding me of the movie “Idiocracy’s” dull minded future population’s favorite and sole tv show “Ow My Balls” , actually churned out some amazingly creative content like that from Casey Neistat. And while I can’t think of any other mainstream stand outs, I’ve become enthralled by the content constantly popping into my Youtube subscription feed which mostly consists of mountain bike related channel’s like Seth’s Bikes Hacks, BKXC, and the Singletrack Sampler. These guys have escaped the 9-5 cubicle dungeons to find creative ways to realize an exciting and fun lifestyle. The idea of quitting my job to pursue a life as an adventure junkie Youtuber seems like a dream. My mind’s eye looks out on a straight narrow road approaching a large mountain range while I’m chatting away to my millions of subscribers who quickly whisk away their laptop right before their drool hits the keyboard. It is nice to dream.
In reality, by contrast, I actually kind of like my job. I do work for a very large corporation and sometimes I wear a suit. Honestly, though, It’s not so much of a grind. It’s got its flaws, but generally it’s pretty fulfilling in many ways, not least of which being paying my bills and helping me provide for my awesome son. I’m also not much of a Youtuber. I really suck at it in fact. I know we’re supposed to follow our dreams. But, just as Derek Jeter was probably better as the Yankees Short Stop than I ever would have been, I think there are better Youtubers than I also, for now anyway. I’ll keep working on it though. I like the editing and using it as a creative outlet.
I don’t think I’m completely disqualified yet, though. I really love the spirit of the lone wolf outdoor athlete who evades the corporate death trap to pursue their fantasies about that bucket list trail or zone, capturing it on media to share with the rest of us sorry working stiffs. I do really get motivation and inspiration from these people. So, that’s one reason I’m starting this blog. I want to have more outdoor missions and share them with others.
I have objectives in mind. One is to hold myself accountable, and motivate myself to use limited spare time and explore and adventure as much as possible. I have a lot of dreams and ideas but I’m not great at seeing them through. I tend to mull things over ad nauseum in my head instead of buckling down and getting things done.
Take mountain biking for example. I rode for years by myself, always thinking about going out to an event or festival or group ride, but always finding an excuse to never do it. I just kept on doing the same comfortable thing for years and years. Two years ago, I finally went out and started riding with my local Mountain Bike club, NEMBA. Last year I rode with them most of the Thursday nights that they convened, and my skill and speed improved exponentially. Now I wish I started doing it a long time ago.
Anyway, I’m not going to claim this blog in going to be in any way concise, but if you bear with me I might make a point. Here the point is that I’ve had this idea of a blog or web series or something that I make about me being a corporate stiff/dad/not so young/gray haired man who cuts loose after work and on weekends to explore cool trails and scenic locales via foot, bike or whatever means. Maybe I should throw some hash tags in there too. Kind of like Ski the East’s web series “Working for the weekend”. I’m certainly not the caliber of skier Ben Leoni and his crew are and my southern New England home does not offer the proximity to the bigger more dramatic backdrops. I, however, in my role as an outside salesperson, regularly finish my work day in different part of the state, depending on my schedule, which does allow me to cover ground a lot of ground . My blog will be characterized by intermediate level, average skill and very unique but accessible locations, and, clearly, will be a blog and not a web series. Sounds a little lame, but let’s see how this shakes out.
I’m hoping this blog helps me stay focused so I actually make something out of what’s in my head. I want to force myself to plan, organize, and execute these trips on a regular basis and I hope someone out there gets a kick out of it or better yet gets their own idea as a result of being inspired by me; and does something even cooler. I’m also trying to write more. I’ve decided I want to be a writer when I grow up. Well, maybe it would be more apt to say I want to be a writer next. I’m still not sold on the whole growing up thing. I think it was a Transition brand bike commercial that said, “Growing old is mandatory, Growing up in optional.” In later blogs, maybe I’ll get into my thoughts on the internet and technology’s role in a new renaissance for forward thinking and creative expression that I envision, but let’s not go there yet. Maybe there won’t be any more blogs. Maybe I finish this one and never get around to writing the next one. Maybe I’ll get really famous and turn into a total dick. We’ll see.
So let’s set a few goals and get this party started: 1)Write at least one blog every week, somewhere in the 750-1500 word range to start, continuing with the “business in the front, party in the back”, or “mullet format” and alternate work and play topics. 2)Plan, organize and execute at least 2 after work missions each month. Let’s start with that for now and maybe add more later. Long term, my vision for this project is to create resources that are inspirational, informational, and entertaining to other people who want that dream outdoor adventure lifestyle while still keeping their 9-5. Let’s see what happens.