So much of the essence of the outdoors community is about possibility.
Even if it can be obscured at times because 'the outdoors' is well-marketed and extensively Instagrammed, the spirit that makes the community tick is the same one that drove, for instance, Polynesian sailors to set off from their small islands into the uncertainty of the Pacific, and John Muir to strike out into the Sierra to "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings". Even if the globe's been Google-mapped, and most explorations are recreational nowadays, adventure is done in the interest of figuring out what life, and the natural world, might have to offer that we haven't yet discovered, either individually or collectively.
That sense of possibility is, we hope, what Boldly Went is cultivating and sharing with you all, because it's definitely what you are sharing with us.
The spirit of individual and human possibility is right at the heart of our original outdoor love - trail and ultra running - but since starting this project we keep hearing about it from different angles. This week's podcast, recorded in Calgary, features Michelle Landry, who as a young single woman set out into the Himalaya on a trek that went sideways, but ultimately morphed into an incredible experience of parts of the world she didn't anticipate visiting. And Felipe Civita, who biked the entire Baja Peninsula in search of someone he never found. We hope their experiences will give someone out there a nudge towards doing something they didn't realize was possible.
I have to admit that this idea of possibilities - and the idea that Boldly Went wants to cultivate the explorer's spirit in all of us - is personal. While our hearts have traditionally been in the mountains, since starting this project a couple of months ago Angel and I seem to keep coming across people whose passions are on the water. It started at our first event, where the winner of our first useless, meaningless prize for best story was a sailor, has continued through multiple great connections in the SUP boarding community, and hit a high point at our most recent event in Tacoma, where one of the crowd-favorite storytellers was Ken Campbell, author of Around the Rock - A Newfoundland Sea Kayak Journey , and director of The Ikkatsu Project. Ken's an inspiring guy, and also the subject of an award winning film called Message in a Plastic Bottle, about the time in 2014 when he built a kayak out of discarded plastic bottles and paddled it from Olympia to Bellingham, WA to raise awareness about the importance and fragility of Puget Sound. Sounds crazy, but that's possible. You'll hear his story in a couple of weeks.
A few months ago all these water people got us thinking about our own possibilities, and loose existing plans for an East Coast trip morphed into an idea for what will be, for a couple of novice kayakers, an epic river journey. So in a couple of weeks we're going to pack up the folding Oru Kayaks we invested in recently, hop on a plane and spend a couple weeks paddling the Lower Hudson from Albany to NYC. Along the way we're hoping to connect with folks, collect some local stories, and stoke the spirit of exploration in an area of the country we've never visited before, doing an activity that is relatively new to us. For us, it's a direct impact of the Boldly Went community that we're giving this thing a shot, and it's just the kind of inspiration for adventure that we hope develops for other people through this project as well.
In the meantime - there are more great things happening soon:
Our second Seattle storytelling event is next week, on Tuesday, May 2 at Naked City Brewery. Prep your stories and buy tickets here!
And we're excited to announce that tickets will be on sale soon for our first Portland event on Monday, June 12th, and our second Bend event on Thursday, June 15th!
We have also reached a point of being able to soft-open our Adventurer Next Door network - we already have some opportunities posted for folks in or visiting the Seattle area to sign up for local adventures with us, and we're inviting you to send us your CV (or, you know, just send us an email) if you or someone you know are interested in making money by taking like-minded people on some of your own favorite adventures in your area!