New York City? Really?

Guests hardly ever believe me when I tell them I lived in New York City for two years. How could a raft guide live there? There’s no rafting there.

As I look back on it, on our time chasing dreams in the magazine industry, I too find it hard to believe how far we’ve come from those fresh-faced degree-wielding days in the city that never sleeps.

Clean shaven, short hair, and a lot of collars, I thought the world was at my feet. From PR agencies to publishing houses, this was the big chance to find success.

But how much do you really know at 22?

Looking back, I’m thankful for the opportunities I had. Tracking investments, conducting interviews, Third Wave Fashion opened the door for me to be a writer, a published writer at that. Living in Manhattan provided lessons I never anticipated, from city slush in January to heat-rashed ice baths in July because air conditioning didn’t exist in our East Harlem apartment.

Yet, despite so many memories, so many people met, it’s hard to believe we lived there.

In my third year as a raft guide, I’ve been told by friends and family that this job makes total sense. I’m outside, I’m “in my element” and loving every moment chasing new dreams.

But these same people never saw me in New York. They never saw the late-night bus rides after fashion-tech meetups, or the furiously scribbled notes from interviews that still hide in the shelves of our office.

Our life in New York taught me to work faster, to expect more out of those around me, and to make hard decisions. In that past life I was a writer, I followed stories and helped guide opinions through a still-young industry.

Now, fashion is a new PFD. Everyday-tech consists of little more than a simple watch to keep trips running on time.

It’s hard sometimes to accept that we lived in New York City, but it shaped who I became. Who I am. To draw correlations between life in Manhattan and life running rivers is difficult, but I know it’s this combination that will guide me into the future.

And that’s what it’s all about.

Not where you’ve been, but where you will go because of it.

The Eddy Folk

What happened to the Freelance Rider?

Life..?

For those of you that have wondered, or been wondering, what happened to the daily posts, why it’s been an eternity since my last post, here it is:

The Eddy Folk

Photo via Paige Hogan | @paigewilhog
Photo via Paige Hogan | @paigewilhog

Together, Paige and I have been chasing dreams of backcountry adventure, mixed with the art of slow living and garnished with a few of the finer things in life. Which doesn’t sound much like raft guide life, but guiding is actually what has launched the pursuit.

So what does that mean for this site?

Two things:

  1. I have a ton of opportunity to draw inspiration from everything that happens in this new outlook on life, AND,

  2.  There are two places to find out what life has in store for us as we make our way through this adventure writing, rafting and photographing every step along the way.

As a part of my resolutions for 2017, I told myself I would turn attention back to my writing, discover the voice that’s been developing in this time off, and bring more to each of you.

If you’ve been with me from the beginning, I thank you. If you’re just discovering the Freelance Rider as we enter this new chapter, welcome, and don’t forget that the adventure continues together over on The Eddy Folk!

Want to see the adventure as it happens? Instagram has everything from recaps real-time Stories available!

Turning 25: Am I Ready?

I just turned 25. I raft guide at the US National Whitewater Center and I freelance write, but with another year down, I’m asking myself: where am I?

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Guiding pays, it’s fun and fulfilling, but it certainly isn’t enough to truly prepare for the future. On the other side, as anyone that freelances will tell you, when the money’s good it’s great, but when it’s slow, things dry up pretty quick.

Which is what brought me to where I am today. Twenty-Five and considering what the hell I’m doing to prepare for retirement.

That may sound like a tremendous jump, you know, something that is meant to be far off, in the distance, and virtually forgotten until it’s right around the corner, but seriously; what am I doing.

Considering seasonal employment, I love it, but there’s no financial security in the form of insurance, retirement plans or paid sick days. On the freelance side, even less. So as i stare down what my wife calls the “quarter-life crisis” I’ve decided that 25 is all about the prep.

Not a five year plan, not even ten; where will we be when it’s time to retire? Will we be ready? Sure we tried to save, but did we do everything we could?

That last one is a question that seems to plague me; like in “The Devil Wears Prada,” when Andy is confronted with the smack of truth that she isn’t really trying all that hard to be the best at her job as Miranda’s assistant. I feel that I do everything I can, but there are still days off, slow days and in a 12-month span I’m still not making close to an entry-level income. So am I really trying, or like Andy am I traipsing around with the facade of a hard-working 20-something that’s actually reluctant to move totally beyond his comfort zone to realize the fullest potential literally right in front of him?

For now, we’ll say the jury is out, but what I can do is begin preparing, with whatever I have at my disposal.

I’ve looked up IRAs, Solo 401(k)s and suggestions on investing as a freelancer. I’ve come back to writing. I had been on hiatus from working on my book, but I’ve picked up the research again.

There are no guarantees in life, that I’m confident in, but there are steps that each of us can take to at least guide our lives in the right direction. Much like whitewater rafting occasionally you’re going to hit some rocks, maybe even flip your boat, but don’t be afraid to call a couple backstrokes and point your boat in a new direction. We all end up making it downstream, how we do it is up to us.

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A Friday Wrap

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It’s Friday, the week has been busy, but it’s great to be alive.

After pulling my first all-nighter since college, which I finished a year ago this weekend, I realized that something has to give when it comes to my daily schedule. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have, to work from home as I study for my personal training certification, but working from home forces you to actually develop a schedule that needs to be maintained and improved upon daily.

Since it’s Friday, I won’t bore you with how to create a schedule for yourself, or even how to help jumpstart your motivation to get everything done, but what I will give you is this:

You always have more time than you think you do, you just have to find it.

I look for blog topics every morning, since October I’ve been contributing to the Third Wave Fashion Blog and monthly Fashion Tech Report, Paige and I average six runs a week, and I have to study to get certified. Without some type of order, like I lost this week, you’ll end up with the dreaded all-nighter, which shouldn’t happen once you’ve graduated.

You can make it through this Friday, use the weekend to get that big breath of fresh air you need, and don’t worry about anything until Monday. Like the photo below, it doesn’t matter how you have fun, but make sure you do!

7fd2d5e65aa211e382810ee93d32a936_8Courtesy: Paige

Chris Powell: My Training Inspiration

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Chris Powell is known around the world as a weight loss guru, transforming not only body image, but the way people feel about themselves as well. Every summer, ABC’s hit show Extreme Weight Loss comes back, and I find myself inspired, not that I could lose more weight or eat healthier, but that I could help others, and even if I was half as good as Powell, lives would be changed for the better.

I’ve talked about my inspiration before, needing to get fit for races, preparation for miles that I haven’t even thought of in six or seven months, but when it comes to Chris Powell, the inspiration comes from a different place.

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I know that the picture is blurry, but that is an 11 or 12 year old version of me, at a solid 150 lbs, give or take. At my heaviest I weighed in right around the 180-190 range, and stood a whopping 5’2″, and that is why I find comfort in watching Chris Powell, knowing that he is able to help those people that continually live in the discomfort and agony that I at one time knew.

In relation to the show, I’d sit, summer after summer, telling my family that I could do that if I just had the education for it, but Public Relations isn’t a job at a gym. After putting in so much time to get an education that you think you need, or want, it’s easy to trap yourself into the mentality of searching for the perfect job at the perfect startup or firm, but every time you see your source of inspiration, you think about how you could be doing that if you hadn’t invested so much into your formal education.

But that’s when Paige came through for me again, deciding to invest in me and pushing me to further myself.

One day on a Randall’s Island run, what we consider our long runs mainly because they’re outside, she turned to me and told me to take some of our leftover wedding money, find the right certification process and get personal trainer certified.

Because of how fast I can write, she wasn’t concerned about me picking up freelance writing jobs, but knows that I exceed when it comes to working hands-on and with other people; for me to work at a desk all day would wear on me, and she recognizes that. Instead of letting another year go by, full of me saying what I could probably do, she’s called me on it, telling me to go for it, and instead of talking about it, to prove that I can make it happen.

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So that’s what I’m doing. Thanks to Chris Powell’s inspiration, and a firm push from Paige, I am now plowing through functional anatomy and biomechanics in pursuit of becoming a certified personal trainer.

Using Equinox as my gauge, I came across the National Council on Strength & Fitness, NCSF, and ordered my study materials to knock it out.

As I said at the beginning, Chris Powell is an inspiration to people around the globe to pursue a healthier version of themselves, and maybe it’s the combination of Paige’s encouragement and my inner fat kid, but I’m taking his attitude to heart and making this happen.

Whether it’s “thinspiration” or “body confidence” there’s no excuse to not be healthy, and there’s no excuse to not be better. For that, I’ll thank Chris Powell for encouraging so many to be better versions of themselves.

Professional: A Lost Standard?

Doping in cycling, hazing in the NFL… It sounds to me like some of the people identified as “professionals” are actually the exact opposite.

After I wrote about bullying, I was pointed to the current story about the issue surrounding the Miami Dolphins.

In case you haven’t heard, the NFL is investigating the Miami Dolphins football team after bullying allegations came out about offensive lineman Richie Incognito.

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CBS

I don’t agree that this is necessarily bullying, I think that bullying has become a buzzword and so the public is accepting it; what I do think this is though is juvenile hazing.

In the CBS story linked, rookie hazing in the NFL is brought up like it’s nothing, as if duct taping a person to a goal post is normal and ok. The problem with that mentality though is how the NCAA would come sweeping in if that were to be brought up from a college campus, but is seen as perfectly decent in the professional level of athletics.

If it isn’t ok for a 20-year-old on a college team, fraternity, or marching band then why should it be ok for a grown man to do the same thing?

Incognito was reprimanded by coaches and no longer has a job with the Dolphins, but the rest isn’t acceptable either.

This brings me to my point: None of it is professional, so why do we call these people pros?

The most appropriate definition I found was from Merriam-Webster:

(1) characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession
(2) exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

So with a certain standard of professionalism that everyone else is expected to uphold, why are athletes skating by?

I mentioned doping in cycling earlier because a great movie about Lance Armstrong comes out Friday.

Velo News, in addition to the Armstrong movie coming out, put out a great piece on the issues that come with admitting that the standard has been dropped. The outstanding story being the catch that Ryder Hesjedal has found himself in now that he has admitted to doping, despite a seemingly ungrateful governing body that is as much to blame for the level of doping as the riders.

So with double standards pervading athletics at every level, a “professional” atmosphere that seems to catch athletes in a “damned if you do damned if you don’t” mentality, I ask: What do we want, and how will we get it?

I don’t support hazing, having experience in marching bands and a collegiate fraternity, but when it comes to doping in sports, it’s hard to blame athletes that do it if doping has become a part of the culture.

Ethically, it all seems wrong, but the consequences have to be real if we want a real level of professionals.