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.

Travel Writing: Finding My Voice

What’s the key to travel writing? How do you break into an industry that so many people want to be a part of? More importantly, how do you separate yourself from the hoard?

Travel Writing

Having written for the Fashion Tech industry, had a story about life as a raft guide published, and traveled around the world, it can’t be that difficult… Right?

It’s here, at this awkward intersection that I find myself and my writing. Blogging fell out of my routine when we moved away from New York; outside of the UNDO story, writing in general has been almost nonexistent since I started guiding. So what then is my angle? Where is my voice as I approach my third year on the water, just returned from Iceland and finding myself deeply motivated to share my experiences with others beyond my closest friends and family?

The key, so I’ve read, is in separating yourself from the common traveler, that there is an emotional difference in travelers able to share their experiences with the world. I can do that. So why haven’t I?

As I watch the Intagram and Twitter feeds of my favorite travel magazines, the inundation of photos, reviews and mediocre concepts, I realize that the key to travel writing is to separate yourself from those standards. To write in the same vain as a travel publication is one thing, but you can see for yourself among the poorly-lit hotel rooms and over-edited selfies that even getting recognized by these brands is about who you know. And that’s not me. Would it be cool to say you know someone at the top travel mags? Absolutely! But at what cost? In a 30 under 30 story about outdoor photographers, I cringed as children were featured, not because of their prodigal ability to find beautiful light and inspiring dimension, but because their parent(s) were well-known, published, photographers. To me, it isn’t cute.

Photo via Paige Hogan | @PaigeWilhog
Photo via Paige Hogan | @PaigeWilhog

I learned quickly in New York that getting ahead in certain industries was all based on who you knew, and it’s part of the reason why I didn’t pursue a career in PR. Of all the lessons though, New York also taught me if you’re true to yourself and you believe in what you’re doing, it will be hard to stop you.

So that’s what I’m doing.

Between this blog and The Eddy Folk, my goal is to share stories with you that aren’t like all the other travel blogs. Yes, there will be reviews, I’ll tell what gear Paige and I like, and there will be a ton of photos, but the voice will be different. These stories won’t be series-upon-series of listicles made famous in the Buzzfeed generation, and they won’t be full of drone footage shot in some remote corner of the country. These blogs, these stories, they’ll be told from the ground-level. Looking you right in the eye and reaching for your heart, the purpose of the Freelance Rider and The Eddy Folk isn’t to soar above you as you sit behind your screen, rather to invite you on our journey, to encourage you, and share all the Earth has to offer as we explore it together.

If you want to be a travel writer, go write. Don’t set your sights on writing the same garbage everyone else is, just be you. If the magazines like it, they’ll find you… Because you’re that good.

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For more adventures in tapping the travel industry, follow The Eddy Folk on Bloglovin’ and don’t forget to find me on Twitter!

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!

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

Writing: Killing Creativity

c715335c16fc11e39d5d22000a1fbb3c_7Image: Paige Hogan

Journalists and PR pros alike have one problem that they all have to deal with.

AP-style. The written laws passed down from the journalistic gods of yesteryear. A style taught and mandated to ensure that editing would be easier for publishers, to streamline the news and breaking stories.

The problem with AP-style, and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way, is that it kills creativity.

As I attempt to write my first feature story, I’m struggling to come up with just that… The story. After two years of being beat over the head and spoon fed AP-style, it’s difficult to find the creativity necessary to develop a story worth reading.

The beauty of the feature, for the Third Wave Fashion October report, is that I have the freedom to have fun, but I’ve been so focused on facts that I’ve allowed creative writing to dissipate as one of my skills. The voice of the story is meant to carry one of old time horror films, a Twilight Zone science fiction feel that plays on the mild fears that every person carries, but would never admit.

So as I search for facts to back up the terrifying reality that is the unknown world of tech, I implore you to go find the creativity that thrived deep inside you when you were in elementary school. The same creativity that was limited in middle school and weeded out of you in high school.

There’s nothing better than feeling fulfilled by the work you do, and writing is something that everyone is capable of. Go have fun, and let writing be more than dry facts and boring words.

Non-Profit: Not Just My Wallet

photoPhoto: Paige Hogan

I had never considered non-profits in terms of where my future might take me. In fact, I really thought it was just a cruel reference to the ongoing state of my wallet.

But, as I find myself jobless, a month before getting married, non-profits may actually be the answer to my prayers.

While talking to a close family friend, and conveniently enough the officiant of our wedding, I explained that I was in search of a job and that writing may be one of my top skills. With that, the flood gates of information had been opened.

I had never considered how much non-profits drive the economy, how crucial the organizations are on a larger scale than just the immediate benefactors of the service or assistance.

So, with eyes wide open and a plethora of new information to dive into, non-profits are now looking like a shining beacons of hope through the fog of joblessness and student loan debt.

Because of discretion, I won’t mention his name, but I would like to thank our close friend for opening my eyes to these hidden opportunities.

You never know when the voice will speak, but I’m pretty sure they’re right when they say it will be still and small.

Do you know a non-profit or organization that could benefit from a larger voice? Get in touch with me, and we’ll see what I can do to help!