Angel here. I'm pretty excited to be putting final touches on our 2019 Winter Spring Show Tour line up RIGHT NOW! I was just tapping out an email to our show hosts in towns all over the place, and realized that I had a lot of feelings that I wanted to share with them, but with you too. So rather than burdening our hosts with all of these feelings in a lengthy email, I thought it would be better to jot out those thoughts here. Then I can do the next most annoying thing to sending a really long touchy-feely email and provide them with a link to this blog post in the shorter email I send to them instead....that most of them will probably never click. Let's face it, they're small business owners too, busy beyond belief, and clicking another link in an email is probably not at the top of their "Should Have Gotten Done Yesterday But I Didn't So Now It's On Today's List." That's precisely why I didn't end up sending all of these thoughts in that email. What do you think? Good or bad decision?
I started writing this email because I wanted to share with them how important I view their roles as show hosts. Not only because they are giving us the opportunity to hear, record, and distribute stories by local adventurers from their communities that leave us flat out awe-struck, but because of the additional, non-tangible benefits they are providing to our communities, and by extension, the world.
When our hosts bring us to their towns, they are doing so much more than giving us the opportunity to listen to some cool stories. The true magic of what show hosts bring to their town when hosting Boldly Went is the creation of an inclusive space that provides equal access to adventurers of all kinds so that we can share intriguing, inspiring and impactful adventure stories together. They are giving voice and value to the stories that aren't traditionally heard. They are providing space for us to go, and to be open, and to be exposed to those stories that maybe we would never encounter otherwise.
This is why we love creating Boldly Went, because we are essentially directing the focus away from our differences and towards our audience's common connection point, outdoor adventure. When we see a person who is sharing a story that we previously perceived as different from us, connecting to the same world we do, we are suddenly opened up to see them as friends. When we do that, a tiny pathway in our brain might be prepared to learn things about the world that we didn't know or understand before and, most importantly, that we didn't even know we didn't know or understand before.
This has been hugely encouraging for me lately. Maybe because I live in a country that is increasingly divisive... (Hi Canada! I see you up there on our show tour schedule! I know these aren't your problems. I hope maybe you can see me and understand me as I write this? The government down here is shut down. I can't visit my National Parks. Public toilets on National Forest Land are untended. Park rangers, their families, and thousands of federal workers are soon to be forced to miss their paychecks because their livelihood has suddenly been pulled out from beneath them by this shut down. For...what...a border wall?)
Seriously, a border wall. Every time I think about a border wall, I remember the time I stood next to it when I started my northbound journey on the Pacific Crest Trail. It looked ridiculous; a giant ugly eyesore that blocked me from seeing the sweeping landscape as it was meant to be seen. It stopped poor animals from following their normal foraging and migration patterns. I realized then that a border wall is as much a conservation issue as any other.
I remember trying to take pictures so that the wall wouldn't ruin my memories of that day when I started such a monumental journey. And I see that border wall, that taupe colored metal monstrosity with barbed wire all over the top of it so even a tired and innocent bird would not be able take rest on it, seared into my memory as I stood with Tim, my mother and father-in-law who drove us to the southern terminus. I resent that border wall as being part of a memory that, unknowingly at the time, would be the 2nd to last time I would ever see my father-in-law walk unassisted. He died of brain cancer just a couple months later.
So yeah, I don't have a strong affection for the border wall for that reason but also for another reason. This reason has to do with how that border wall made me see at least a glimpse of what it means to be a person of color hiking in the outdoors. I remember hiking and leapfrogging along with another thru-hiker who also happened to be brown. I didn't think much about it until we ran into some police on the trail. Sometimes the trail crosses roads, and this was one of those instances, the police had barricaded the road and the trail because they were looking for people who had crossed the border illegally. I was hiking. Tim was hiking. All thru-hikers were hiking. That's what they do. We walked right by, as most everyone did. But guess who didn't walk right by? If you guessed the brown thru-hiker, you are right. He was the only one of us who was stopped for questioning. His story to me is one that made me understand the world a little more that day.
What we're creating here at Boldly Went isn't just a fun story time. I mean, it is that. It definitely is that! But it is also actively and intentionally creating spaces where we can hear all stories. This is a story that I don't usually think about, but with the border wall dilemma, I remember it. These are stories that would not be considered important enough to share with an audience. I mean, what would the draw be? But these kinds of stories are important and they are the heart of Boldly Went.
When our show hosts partner with Boldly Went and bring us to their towns so that we can work with them to create a way for people to tell their meaningful outdoor adventure stories, no matter if they are professional athletes or weekend warriors, what they're really creating is an opportunity to share important stories in the context of outdoor adventure which allows us to gain deeper understanding of who we share this big world with and how we can be better stewards of it.
That's what Boldly Went is trying to accomplish, and we think our hosts share these values and we couldn't be happier to have them on board for the 2019 Winter Spring Tour.
Don't see a show in your town and want to? Consider hosting one. It's fun! We work with you to make it easy. And your community will love you for it!
Tim and Angel
The goat in the picture lives in Silverton, CO, and tried to kill us. We survived to bring you this dirtbag wisdom for the ages.