A Solo Nomad No More!

Last fall I met someone who I knew would change my life forever, she was sweet, kind, and we shared all the same interests. Over the next several months she would visit me in Death Valley and Zion. Finally in April she left her job as a Certified Vet Tech to join me on the road, and begin our life together. 

 
 

Let me introduce to you my partner, Jennifer Renwick. She is a talented nature photographer with a passion for wildlife, you can see her work at Above The Timberline Photography. She is also joining me to teach workshops for Exploring Exposure, we have already done two workshops together and she has been a great addition. Her patience and ability to teach others is a great asset to clients. Jenn will also be a major contributor to this blog now, helping to document our travels, so you won't have to wait three months between posts for me to update...

 

Our trailer is less than 140 square feet, I'm sure many of you are wondering how we don't drive each other mad. You would be surprised with how well we do in this small space. We are so similar and compatible that it is extremely rare that we get on each others nerves. It takes patience and compromise at times, but after 3 months of being together nearly 24/7 I am confident that we will have no major problems going forward. We know when to give each other space, and when to give each other support. 

On another note, it has also come time to retire my trusty van Bertha, she has served me well, but it was time for something with more power to efficiently pull the trailer. We were exceptionally fortunate to get a 2009 Chevy Silverado with a Duramax, we now have a reliable tow vehicle that barely knows the trailer is back there. We will also be adding a 4runner so we can continue to transport clients on workshops. 

We are currently chasing wildflowers in Colorado, but will soon be moving to Glacier National Park to spend approximately a month, unless wildfires force us to move on.

A Year in Review

Reflecting back on the past year I could not name this post how I changed my life as in years past. My life has changed of course and I have evolved as I will always continue to do, but I did not have any major revelations that I felt warranted a dramatic post title. I have settled nicely into my nomadic lifestyle, to the point where it is simply my normal everyday life that I do not even think about. It is still exciting, and I enjoy every day, but it feels so normal to me that I have stopped writing and sharing about it. I know there is still a lot of interest in this lifestyle and I will be writing more this year.

Health

This summer I started working with a new Naturopath to work through my lingering health issues. My adrenal fatigue continues to be a problem years later, but I have finally found a solution using the T3 Circadian Method (Read the CT3M Handbook and/or Recovering with T3). In short, I am taking the thyroid hormone T3 early in the morning to induce my body into producing more cortisol naturally, thus healing the adrenal glands. I feel light years better on this protocol and see a light at the end of the tunnel. My testosterone was also very low so I am now on replacement therapy which has helped with energy immensely.

Diet

Being on the road poses many challenges for eating healthy, I do my best and still avoid most wheat, sugar, corn, soy, and processed foods. Corn has been hard to avoid because it is so easy to get lured into a Mexican restaurant for a quick bite to eat, and I have noticed it in form of fat around the belly. I have found that I can tolerate good quality bread, something like a good sprouted sourdough will not bother my stomach, so it has been nice to have a sandwich every once in awhile.

Business

Because of my health issues I decided to put an end to my night photography workshops, financially this was a very hard decision to make as it was my primary source of income. Physically and mentally it was an easy choice, I was burnt out and on a path to becoming very unhealthy. I am transitioning into landscape photography workshops, which is a hard field to break into. Despite the challenges I am finding success and will continue to find my niche market with clients that want a different experience.

Exploring

One of my goals in the past year was to go on many backpacking trips, and I am fairly pleased with my results, I backpacked into the Wind River Range, Mt Sneffels Wilderness, Weminuche Wilderness, Raggeds Wilderness, Rawah Wilderness, and the Holy Cross Wilderness. I was disappointed to not go backpacking in the desert this year, there is so much I want to see in Zion and Escalante, but timing, weather, and lack of motivation continued to interfere. For 2016 I have high hopes of getting deeper into the backcountry and exploring new areas in Colorado and Canada.

This winter I was fortunate to visit Iceland with my friend Jason Hatfield and see the aurora borealis in person. This was a life changing experience that I wish everyone could see once in their lives. Photographs and descriptions do no justice to seeing such an amazing phenomenon in person. The rest of my year was spent exploring the west in a slower fashion, I spent more time at each location to appreciate it more in depth. I have seen less, yet experienced so much more. Late this summer and into the fall I plan on spending over a month driving to the Yukon and following the fall colors down, until I am back in my favorite place, Colorado.

Relationships

This summer I traveled with Jessie in her Airstream, being in such a small space 24/7 is a good way to find out quickly if your relationship will work. While Jessie is an amazing person, I decided that it was not meant to be, we are just different people. It was in no way a dramatic separation, and we are great friends now. I have learned a great deal from her, she has challenged me to grow in ways that scare the hell out of me. I still have much work to do and will continue my growth thanks to her.

New adventures lie ahead this summer, but you will have to stay tuned on the blog for more on that...

Spirituality (or whatever you want to call it)

Over the past few years I have dabbled in different religions to learn what they are all about. I was very interested in Christianity, but ultimately decided it was not for me. Through all this exploration I realized how incredibly similar most religions are, I think very few Americans realize how similar Muslims are to Christians in their beliefs. There are no good or bad religions, only good and bad people. The vast majority of humans want the same thing, safety and prosperity for themselves and their family. It is the minority that are spreading hatred, it is in these times where must give love to all fellow humans that want to live their lives peacefully. If you are scared of other nationalities and religions, go travel this world. I have never met a traveled person that has any hatred or fear towards a generalized portion of the population. The world is filled with good people that have the same hopes that we do. It makes me sad to think that my Muslim friends would be labelled as terrorists for following nearly the exact same principles as a Christian, it is pure ignorance that needs to be stopped.

Ultimately I decided religion was not for me, this includes Atheism. I do believe in something greater than ourselves, but not a singular God. What really turned me off about religion was the idea that you had to believe in that religions God, if you do not then you will go to hell. It is ludicrous to think that most of the world's population has chosen the wrong God and will go to hell because of this, despite them being good people. I intend to look into Buddhism more this year, which is not a religion but more of a belief system of how to be a good human being, without the fire and brimstone. I do not intend to insult anyone's religion, most people only take the good from their religion and apply it to their lives, I love you all! I only dislike religion because it pulls us apart as a whole on this earth, it brings groups together that end up fighting each other over their differing (yet very similar) beliefs. We need a paradigm before we all destroy each other.

Photography

My photography has grown by leaps an bounds this past year. I am finding my voice and I attribute this to a lot of hard work, studying, and my 365 project which has kept me focused on continually evolving and putting out new content. I am enjoying teaching even more now that I am focused on landscape photography. Less time can be spent on the technical aspects of how to achieve a particular image, and more on the why. Helping others to see their artistic vision is extremely rewarding.

2016

Is shaping up to be an exciting year, it is full of hope and exciting new adventures. Feel free to call me out if I do not write more this year. Happy New Year to you all!

David

How to keep clean as a nomad

This is one of those taboo subjects that nobody likes to talk about, but it is one of the harsh realities of living on the road, where you do not have access to a shower every day. Before figuring out these little tricks, I could only go a few days without shower before I became quite disgusting, now I can go for a week without a shower and still be fairly fresh!

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Best Long Term Boondocking Sites in the West

For the past year and a half I have been exploring the American West living out of a tent or a van living as cheaply as possible. I have spent nearly all of this time boondocking (dry camping) at free or very cheap locations, I have seen the good, bad, and ugly in this time. I wanted to share my favorite locations that you can easily live at for extended periods.

My requirements:

  •     It must be a photographically interesting location (this excludes popular locations like Yuma, AZ)
  •     Free areas to boondock (all the locations have no facilities, that means no restrooms or even a picnic table)
  •     A good library (fast wifi and tables with power)
  •     Decent grocery store (preferably a natural foods store)
  •     A decent cell signal is preferred
  •     Temperatures between 60-80 F
  •     Laundromat and showers nearby

Tip: The locations have a link to gps coordinates created in Gaia GPS, if you have Gaia you can simply save the locations and they will show up in Gaia on your phone.

Jackson Hole, WY

Hanging out in this area is incredibly easy and beautiful in the summer. You have the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone right at your doorstep. If you are looking for even more adventures the Wind River Range and Beartooth Mountains are relatively close as well if you need to get your fix of epic backpacking.
Boondocking - Free campsites are available at Shadow Mountain on National Forest land, which is a 20 minute drive from Jackson, WY and minutes away from Grand Teton National Park. There are sites at the base of the mountain and more if you venture further up the road, all are set in the aspen trees and have magnificent views of the Tetons. The road becomes very muddy and slick after a rain.
Restrooms - The nearest restroom to Shadow Mountain is a pit toilet about 5 minutes away at the Kelly Warm Springs , or you can go to the Grand Teton visitor center in Moose. There is also a public restroom in Jackson at the parking garage.
Library - The library in Jackson is fantastic, very clean and modern with plenty of tables with power to get your work done. The wifi is usually fast unless there are a large amount people there (this is where I am writing this from).
When to stay - June through September are the best months to stay here. It can get hot, but in general the temperatures are moderate.
Grocery Stores - Jackson Whole Grocers is one of the best natural food stores, period. It is a bit on the pricey side, but this is to be expected in Jackson.
Shower - There are only a few expensive options in the area. The recreation center is your only option in Jackson, which is $7 for a day pass. The hostel in Teton Village has showers for $5 and Colter Bay which is in between the Tetons and Yellowstone, I believe was $5.
Cell Signal - This is the only down side of this spot, Verizon is spotty at best, you may get a moment of 3G and then it will go away. AT&T isn't much better, I do get 4G but it is extremely slow. If you camp at the top of Shadow Mountain you will get a very good LTE signal though.
Laundry - There are 2 good laundromats in Jackson

Moab, UT

Another fantastic location to spend extended periods. There is so much to see and do around Moab, you have Arches and Canyonlands National Parks along with a million other things around the area. If you are into photography, mountain biking, ATV's, Jeeping, it is all here for you.
Boondocking - Free camping is becoming harder and harder to find around Moab, but it is out there if you know where to look. I am not going to give a specific location because there is so many out there. You will need to do some exploring to find an open site. There is tons of BLM land North of Moab, go down any of the side roads after the turn to Canyonlands and you will find places to stay.
Restrooms - There are not many restrooms to be found in this area, so if you are lacking a restroom in your RV/Van you might consider staying at the Sand Flats Recreation Area instead, it is only $10/night, the toilets are open air with only a wood fence around them, but it's better than nothing! The closest pit toilet I have found is at the Horsethief Campground which is just before the turnoff to Dead Horse Point.
Library - Moab has a very modern library with work stations and power in plenty. The wifi is fast and reliable.
When to stay - March through May, September, October, and some of November. The summers are brutally hot and the winters are very cold.
Grocery Stores - The Moonflower COOP is small but has a good selection. You will want to supplement with the City Market for all your needs.
Shower - There are plenty of options in Moab, see this link for all your options http://www.discovermoab.com/shower.htm
Cell Signal - Some of the sites have LTE, while others have no signal whatsoever. You may need to be patient to snag the spot you really want.
Laundry - 3 laundromats to pick from

Anza Borrego/Borrego Springs, CA

Anza Borrego State Park is such an incredible area that will keep you entertained for a long time! There are badlands, a dry lake bed, incredible hikes, a slot canyon, and incredible displays of wildflowers at certain times.
Boondocking - There is an area near the Clark Dry Lake where droves of people boondock every winter. Although there are lots of people in this area, it is so massive that you do not feel close to your neighbours. It is the desert so there are no trees, or much of anything to speak of. Anza Borrego SP is an interesting place because you can actually camp anywhere you want for free, so if you are in a van and want to explore the remote areas of the park it is extremely easy.
Restrooms - There are no restrooms near the lake bed, so if you don't have a toilet you will need to drive into Borrego Springs to do your business, which is a 10 minute drive.
Library - A very small and not modern library. There are a number of places to sit at a bar that have power, but get there early as this place fills up quick. The wifi is decent. They have very strange hours and are closed on Monday and Sunday.
When to stay - The latter part of November through March will get you temperatures in the 70-80 range and blazing hot in the summer.
Grocery Stores - The options are lacking in Borrego Springs, but you can get by at the Center Market.
Shower - Options are limited, the only showers I know of are at the campground just west of town. To use the showers and not pay for a campsite you will need to go to the visitors center and walk over to the campground (1/4 mile) and buy tokens at the entrance station, it will only cost you a dollar or two.
Cell Signal - If you camp near the highway you can pick up LTE, although it is not terribly fast. As you get closer to Clark Dry Lake Bed you will lose all signal very quickly.
Laundry - There is a small laundromat at the Palm Canyon RV Resort, you do not need to be staying there to use it.

Ridgway, CO

From Ridgway you have access to the incredible San Juan mountains. If you have never been I would highly recommend it, this is one of my favorite areas on the planet. Dramatic peaks abound, abudant fields of wildflowers in the spring and the most beautiful display of fall colors you may ever see.
Boondocking - It is a bit hard to find around here and a decent amount of driving is required, but well worth the effort. There is camping available west of Ridgway up the County Roads 7 and 9. CR7 is the easiest to access and has the most spots available. You have to drive a ways to cross Ralph Lauren's property before arriving in the National Forest. There are also plenty of sites near Silver Jack Reservoir east of Ridgway.
Restrooms - There is a pit toilet at the end of CR7 which is the Blue Lakes Trailhead, other than this you will only find a restroom in Ridgway at the city park. There are pit toilets around Silver Jack Reservoir as well.
Library - A fairly new and clean library, it is small with very limited seating and power, but it is usually not busy. Wifi is fast, there is also wifi in the city park, but it is not terribly reliable.
When to stay - May through October. On the edges of the season you will likely not be able to access the boondocking sites because of snow, in these times it would be better to stay at Ridgway State Park. It can get very hot in July, but is very easy to escape to the cool mountains.
Grocery Stores - The Ridgway Mountain market is not great but will get you by. I like to travel into Montrose to stock up on what I need from Natural Grocers.
Shower - The Ouray Hot Springs is a great option to get rejuvenated, it is $12 for a day pass or $2 for just a shower.
Cell Signal - At the boondocking sites there is no signal on Verizon. I have not been back since I got my AT&T hotspot so I can not speak on that. If you must stay connected this is probably not your best option.
Laundry - Last Dollar Laundromat in Ridgway

Sedona, AZ

The area around Sedona is some of the finest country you will find. Beautiful desert landscapes abound. The city of Sedona is not friendly to 'drifters' and have done everything they can to drive us away, but staying out here is still possible!
Boondocking - The Coconino National Forest is likely your best bet, which is just west of town.
Restrooms - Nearest pit toilet is at the Doe Mountain Trailhead
Library - A bit dated but decent. There are only a handful of places to sit and have power, but they are usually not all occupied. Closed on the weekend.
When to stay - April and May, October through mid November
Grocery Stores - There is a Natural Grocers in Sedona.
Shower - The city of Sedona banned any company from selling showers, so you will have to go into Cottonwood, AZ for your showering needs. I go to the Rio Verde RV Park.
Cell Signal - Varied, but generally I was able get LTE at the sites in Coconino.
Laundry - The Laundry Basket in Sedona

Valley of Fire/Overton, NV

This is a decent area to explore for extended periods, Valley of Fire State Park is a fantastic place with lots to explore, somewhat nearby is Little Finland and Whitney Pockets.
Boondocking - Poverty flats is an open area of BLM land south of Overton, there is not much here except lots of boondockers! Once again, it's such a large area that you do not feel close to your neighbors.
Restrooms - Not many options here, either go into Valley of Fire where there is a pit toilet at the east entrance. Otherwise you will have to go to the McDonald's in Overton.
Library - The library in Overton is tiny, there are only a few places to sit with power, but it's never busy. The people that work there are very chatty and frankly noisy, so bring your headphones! Wifi is decent.
When to stay - February through April, and latter half of October into November. December and January are cold, but it generally does not stay below freezing.
Grocery Stores - This is the major downfall, there is only one grocery store and it's your typical small town store that serves up the generic Western Family brand of garbage, yuck. A trip to Mesquite may be required to stock up.
Shower - The main campground in Valley of Fire has showers that are decent, there does not seem to be a way to buy just a shower though, so you may have to pay for a campsite. Another option is to drive into Mesquite, NV, the community center has showers for $2.
Cell Signal - LTE at poverty flats.
Laundry - The only laundromat in Overton seems to be closed for good, so Mesquite is your best bet.

Hope this helps all you dirtbag photographers out there (or just dirtbags)! What is your favorite location to boondock?

Learning to be alone

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
— Carl Gustav Jung
Glacier.jpg

We have all experienced it at one point, that uncomfortable feeling of being alone with only your thoughts. It is haunting facing what races through your mind, your fears, of the future, regrets from the past. All you can think about is what was or what will be, you are everything but present in the current moment, not living life. The horror of this makes us quickly look for a distraction, turn on the TV, look on facebook, call a friend, have a drink, smoke a joint, anything but be alone with our terrifying mind.

For the past year I have been vastly alone for the majority of the time, but out of that time how much of it was spent truly alone, with only my thoughts? Not much. I am constantly reading, learning, or practicing guitar, all good things, but also a distraction from my thoughts. It was around this time last year that I began meditating, it was an incredible experience, and quite the challenge at one of the lowest points of my life. It brought healing and insight to my life, but I did not continue once I hit the road. There is no good reason why I stopped, they would all just be lame excuses. It was simply easier to stop than continue.

After a year of being alone and having no earth shattering insights I have realized that I was never truly alone, and it is time to fix that. I am recommitting to meditate and wrestle the never ending stream of thoughts down to silence, to find clarity.

You do not have to run away and live in a van to be alone, set aside 10 minutes in your day to be alone, some place where no one can bother you. No electronics, no sounds, just you and your thoughts. Close your eyes or lightly close them and focus on an object, now try to let your thoughts go. They will come on fiercely, when you have a thought come in, accept it and do not become discouraged, just let it go, recognizing the thoughts is the hardest part. Start doing this for as little as a minute, and work your way up each day. At one of my lowest points I meditated for an hour, I saw visions and found clarity to the most vexing questions, I felt alive afterwards. I want this back. Who will be alone with me?

West Fork Oak Creek

Probably the most popular hike in the Sedona area, although when you start the hike at 6:30 in the morning you have the canyon to yourself under the best light for hours. The official trail goes in 3 miles where the vast majority of folks turn around, at this point there is a large water crossing where you have to wade in 3-4' deep water. I brought along my neoprene socks to keep my feet relatively warm, and was very glad I did when set foot in the water, it was fridgid! This year the water was filled with mud from the floods in which you sank 2-3', a bit unsettling especially when you leg slides between branches and becomes slightly pinned! I ended up hiking about 11 miles in total. It was a beautiful hike, but I was feeling exceptionally uncreative today. I'm going to call it 'photographer's block', no matter where I pointed my camera I felt like I was creating contrived, uninteresting crap. The feeling began to overwhelm me so much so that I wasn't even enjoying the experience of the hike. Eventually I gave in and realized it wasn't going to get better, my creative tank was empty. I put the camera away and focused on my stride and my surroundings, I got into my groove but was quickly overrun with hikers coming up the canyon now, many slow hikers disrupting my pace and not being considerate of a faster hiker behind them. I tried to maintain my zen like state, but it was a fierce challenge. I did manage to maintain my sanity and made it back to the trailhead 5 hours after I started. The 11 miles left me in zen afterwards, a good long hike will always do this, I'm left with no worries and happy that I made the effort today despite my dip in creativity.

All images taken with the Fuji XT-1, unedited jpeg's straight out of the camera

 

Nomad questions answered

In a previous post 6 months living in a tent I received quite the response, mostly very positive and excited for me, many shared their experience of doing something similar and encouraged me to keep it up. While other comments were bitter towards me, suggesting that I'm somehow financially independent, suggesting that I'm a trust-funder living off of someone elses money, so this post is to clear that up and answer other questions.

Q. How do you afford this lifestyle?
A. Let me first clear the air, I am not financially independent, not a trust-funder, etc. I started this adventure with next to no money, and I still have very little. Nearly every expense I have is a business expense; the trips, the gas, camera gear, I can write off most of it (yet I still had to pay a ton of taxes!) I pay myself just a touch over minimum wage which I only buy groceries and other necessities with. My income comes from teaching photography workshops and tours primarily and the eBook I wrote on night photography was a large part this year. This allowed me to purchase my van, which I did finance and is my only debt now, I decided to do this because with zero debt my credit score was dropping quickly (what an awful system we have that requires you to stay in it or suffer the consequences). I was very fortunate to have my flight to New Zealand paid for, I won't go into details, but I am fortunate, not wealthy. I have sacrificed having a safe haven to afford this lifestyle as well, I have no home to go back to if I'm tired or burnt out, I just have to keep living.

Q. How can we follow where you are?
A. I regularly update my instagram, facebook and facebook fan page. I have also added my current location to the sidebar in the blog, I will try to remember to update this regularly! If I'm in your area and want to meet up let me know, I will try to make it work!

Q. What are your average costs per week?
A. Campgrounds - $0 to $100 worst case, this would go up dramatically if staying in RV parks. Gas costs vary widely but is my biggest expense as I'm always on the move, I probably average $100-200 but I'm just guessing as I don't have time to dive into the data right now. My other big expense is groceries, it's one area that I refuse to cut corners on, I believe eating good quality food is the most important thing we can do for our overall health. I buy mostly organic vegetables, grass fed beef, buffalo, pastured chicken, etc. My grocery bill is $100-200. There are many other expenses related to my business but I won't get into that.

Q. How do you go about registering vehicle, billing address, etc...
A. There are 3 states that are friendly to nomads (South Dakota, Texas, and Florida) in these states you can become a resident simply using a mail forwarding service, plus these states have no state income tax. I became a resident of South Dakota because my parents happen to live there and they help me sort through the mail. You can read a lot more about this on Technomadia, an extremely good resource for the nomad.

Q. Are you planning for retirement?
A. I'll just be honest, no. I have zero faith in the 401k system/stock market in general. I hate the entire system and feel it is slowly eroding this country. The housing bubble is going to burst a second time because the same things that got us into the first bubble are happening all over again. The other reason, is I choose to enjoy life while I'm in my prime and healthy. I see most people spend their healthy years working themselves to death in a job they hate, saving their money for retirement, when someday they believe they can live out their dreams of traveling. This does work for some, but the vast majority end up getting sick instead, cancer or heart disease strikes and because the medical system in the US is so horribly broken all of their money is gone in an instant from the insane cost of medical treatment. What are you left with? A life you devoted to work to enjoy life someday, now instead you are sick and have no money to travel, and full of regret, would'ves, could'ves and should'ves. Wishing you would have done what you wanted when you were younger. I"m sorry if this is your story, I don't mean to offend. I only want to inspire those that still have a chance to to jump out of the system and enjoy life. Don't fear the future, do what you love and the universe will provide for you.

Q. How do you find a campsite every night?
A. There are several resources I use, primarily iPhone apps. The first is The Ultimate Campground Project which shows all the forest service, blm and state park campgrounds in the country, I would be lost without this app! (he has an android version coming soon) Allstays is a very similar app but more targeted to RV campers, it also shows commercial RV parks which can be useful at times of desperation. I try to stick to free campsites which is referred to as 'Boondocking', these are simple dispersed camping sites that have no ammenties, usually just a campfire ring at most, occasionally you may find a picnic table. For this I use the Boondocking app or freecampsites.net, each has their own unique sites listed with some overlap. Finding a good campsite is the most challenging part of visiting a new location, mainly because I try to keep my expenses as low as possible by finding the free or low cost sites.

Q. How do you charge your camera batteries, etc.?
A. I have a 1000w inverter that I charge my batteries, laptop, etc. while driving. I do enough driving on a regular basis that this works for me, I generally don't go of the grid for long periods of time. If I did, a good solar system would be in order, but I don't have the need at this point.

Q. Do you have kids? A wife/girlfriend?
A. No. Living the lifestyle that I currently do would take a very unique woman, I haven't found her yet, but I'm on the lookout ;) I often get the comment 'I wish I could travel but I have children' Traveling with children is not impossible! Take a look at this post from Technomadia in which they provide links to many travelers that are doing it with children.

So there it is...I'm sure you have more questions, put them in the comments and I'll do another round!

 

Secret Canyon in Sedona, AZ

This is a fantastic hike to do in the fall (late October) and is very close to Sedona. The road to the actual trailhead is very much a 4wd road, I got hung up a few times due to the long wheelbase of the van, but any SUV with a decent amount of clearance will make it here no problem. For everyone else you must park down at the lower trailhead which mean an extremely long hike. From the real trailhead it is a 12 mile round trip hike, I'm not sure what it would be from the lower trailhead... You can find more information from the Forest Service. To see the very minimum of this canyon I recommend going in at least 3 miles. The next 3 miles after this are spectacular though.

All photos taken with the Fuji XT-1 and are straight out of the camera

You start the hike in the arid desert which is a mix of being in the trees and sun. The first section was quite hot even in the early morning.

You start the hike in the arid desert which is a mix of being in the trees and sun. The first section was quite hot even in the early morning.

As you continue you enter the canyon where the temperature becomes quite pleasant and the colors start to explode.

As you continue you enter the canyon where the temperature becomes quite pleasant and the colors start to explode.

Along the trail I came across this giant pile of bear scat but saw no other signs of activity

Along the trail I came across this giant pile of bear scat but saw no other signs of activity

This is your typical view from the trail....not bad

This is your typical view from the trail....not bad

At 3 miles I choose to enter the canyon and explore rather than following the trail, this proved to be quite fruitful

At 3 miles I choose to enter the canyon and explore rather than following the trail, this proved to be quite fruitful

I'm fairly certain this was poison oak in the canyon, watch where you step! I hope my legs don't explode in nastiness next week....

I'm fairly certain this was poison oak in the canyon, watch where you step! I hope my legs don't explode in nastiness next week....

My New Favorite Writing Tool

For the past 4 months I have done little writing, even though I desired to. I never learned to write by hand properly, my handwriting is ineligible and I'm slow. Carrying around a moleskin was not working for me, my generation is probably the first to experience a lack of need to write by hand because of the computer. It's sad and I've tried to make it better, but the truth is I wasn't motivated enough to change.

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Review of "A Beautiful Anarchy" by David duChemin

Every once in awhile a book comes along that shakes you to the core and makes you reevaluate everything. David has written one of those life altering books in A Beautiful Anarchy. David has experienced much in his life, good, bad and ugly. He's been through bankruptcy, divorce and shattering every bone in his legs. His wisdom in this book comes from real experiences.

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How I changed my Life - 6 months later

This is a follow up to my previous post How I completely Changed My Life in 1 Year. The response to this post was overwhelming, I was blown away by the amount of people that were inspired to change their life for the better. I never imagined the impact it would have.

Recently one of my workshop participants inspired me to follow up on this post. A PhD. with an incredibly satisfying, interesting job actually came to me to find their path in life. When he shared this with me I was shocked and slightly terrified! How could I possibly help this incredibly smart, well traveled gentleman with much more life experience than me figure out what to do with his life? I was just trying to figure out my own! 

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