My son is almost 3 years old now, and although I teach him new things each day, it seems that he too, is teaching me about who I am and what I have forgotten as I’ve grown. Here are 5 reminders of mindsets we once had, but have somehow lost focus of as the years have passed.
1. Everybody has the potential to be your new best friend.
As my son plays on any playground, he gladly greets his new friends. It’s not just a playground these kids have come to play at, no, it’s a ship, or it’s a castle, or possibly a jungle with lava all around. He, along with these other little hobbits running around, have entered into a mythical world and within that world lies adventure. When you’re on an adventure, everybody is your friend, we don’t have time for enemies or mutinies, no, we need our friends to help us along in our adventure.
As an adult, we hand pick our friends, avoid conversations with strangers and often make small talk because we are “too busy” for one more friend. If life is an adventure, then we shouldn’t hesitate to find more people to join in the fun!
2. It’s ok to wave, say hello, and “see you later” to whomever you meet.
We have become obsessed with “stranger danger” and rightfully so. We live in a crazy world with crazy people. My son doesn’t hesitate to say “hello” to anybody. Not once has he said “hello” or given a friendly wave and not received a smile. More commonly, he gets a wave back, or a “hi, how are you?” He doesn’t hesitate to engage and interact with people.
As an adult, we far too frequently avoid this interaction with a stranger. We may freely give out the awkward half smile, or the slight head nod to acknowledge that “yes, I made eye contact with you, but I’m not wiling to say hello right now because I don’t know you and I need to get to where I’m going!” Maybe it’s time we greet people again, not just our friends, or the people we know only slightly, but to say “hello!” with honest excitement to whomever we come across. You might even brighten somebody’s life in a powerful way.
3. Life was a grand adventure and anything was possible!
Mud was meant to be stomped in, not avoided. Leaves were meant to be jumped in and tossed in the air, not raked into organized piles. A stick had a million uses. Rocks were created to make large splashes. Flying was almost possible. There was no rush, no worry, just a world in which anything could easily turn into a playground.
While on a hike recently, I noticed that somebody was not keeping up and being way too quiet. I turned around to find a boy elbows deep in mud and a bull dozer that was once yellow, now turned into a thick mocha colored mess. An older couple came across him, and he said “hi” without hesitation. They had strong british accents and encouraged him to keep on playing in the mud, because “from here on out, life is just muck and bullets!”
I had never heard this phrase before, but with an accent like that, it sounded like some sort of profound wisdom this kind man was bestowing upon my son. After a quick moment with google, I learned that this phrase was a WW1 phrase about life in the trenches… it was a life full of “muck and bullets”.
We go from a life where anything is possible, to a life of a mortgage and student loans. We enter a life where we begin to avoid the puddles in fear that we might get our vehicle too dirty… Our days are spent trying to understand our retirement plans or health care packages… Can you remember days in which anything was possible?
I think it’s possible to return to those days. We don’t have to wake up day after day living in the trenches covered in muck and hiding from the bullets. We can live free from that! I’m working on it, and it will be a lengthy process, but I believe we can all return to our carefree days if we begin to reset our priorities and remember that this life is truly a grand adventure.
4. Who cares what you look like!
I don’t know what it’s like to have a 3 year old daughter, just a son. I have never once seen my boy look in the mirror and worry about his hair. He just doesn’t care. He also doesn’t care about the oatmeal on his shirt. He doesn’t care what brand his jacket is, or if it’s “in style” or any of that. Clothes only serve two purposes for a toddler. 1) Keep you warm. 2) Something to get dirty.
We accumulate years standing in front of a mirror. We spend absurd amounts of money on hair products to impress people. We buy these clothes with logos all over them to help show our status or say “I’m outdoorsy… sorta.” Let’s spend less time worrying about how we look, and worry more about how much we love.
5. You begin to understand the importance of sharing
This one might be a bit of a stretch, because lets face it, we are born selfish. We find a toy, and it’s suddenly “ours.” Have you ever been around a two-year-old? They call it the “terrible twos” for a reason. As a parent, I have to constantly teach the importance of sharing. If you have ever worked with kids, you know how awfully challenging it can be to teach a child to share. But slowly, they begin to get it. They don’t like it at first, but they understand that they are supposed to share.
We are quick to teach this ability, but as adults, we have forgotten the importance of sharing. We own so much stuff these days, because we do not like to share, and we are too prideful to ask “can I borrow that?” so we buy more and more stuff.
Some of us do share, somewhat. But, do we share with people we’ve never met? If I’ve got endless amounts of clean drinking water, why am I not sharing that with somebody across the globe? If I have access to a great education, shouldn’t I want that same education for somebody else? If I have shoes on my feet and clothes on my body and a closet full of unused items… shouldn’t I share what I’m not using? What about food? I’ve seen my son share his snacks with total strangers without thinking twice about it (do toddlers ever think twice?), but as an adult, with endless supplies of food at the grocery store, what is stopping us from sharing our food with somebody who will be going hungry tonight.
If the world was ran by three-year-olds, there would be more sharing, less worrying about fashion and status, more playgrounds, more fist bumps, and we would all have more friends. Sure we would still have our meltdowns from time to time and we might need a few more naps, but wouldn’t life be more enjoyable if we worried a bit less and got a bit dirtier and shared a lot more?
There is a story about two trains heading down the track. One train is headed right at your car. Inside your car sits everything that you love. Your smartphone… your laptop… your friends… your family… your retirement plan… everything you’ve worked hard for in life is in that car. You see the train coming. What do you do? (If you’re a fast reader, stop for a second, visualize this in your mind, and actually contemplate this scenario.)
You would probably move the car, right? You don’t want to lose everything you love and everything that gives you “meaning” in life… I know that if it were my family in the car, I would do whatever it takes to get this vehicle off of the tracks in order to keep the train from killing my family. I’m sure you would do the same.
No there is another set of tracks nearby… the tracks stretch for miles and miles. In fact, the tracks are so incredibly long, that you lose sight of them as they disappear into the horizon line. There is no telling of where that train is heading, the tracks are too long.
Somewhere on those tracks there is a family just like yours. They are good people who are trying to survive. They walk several miles to get clean drinking water. They attend school in a schoolhouse made of mud and sticks. They recently lost a daughter to sex trafficking… and they are struggling to continue on with life. (Again, take a moment to visualize this family, what do they look like, what are their names… see the anguish in the fathers face knowing his beloved daughter was taken away.)
You can’t see them and you’ve never met them… but this train is heading towards them. What do you do?
Do you warn them about the train? Do you try to help them? Or is it somebody else’s problem? They are so far away, you cannot see them, so why should it even matter to you?
We live these lives of excess and surplus. We go to the mall and buy all sorts of stuff that eventually finds its way into a second hand store, and from there, a landfill. Without hesitation, we purchase overpriced coffee on a daily basis. We sit on wifi texting chatting with friends and enjoy all of the wonderful things we have. Yet, across the globe, there are those who are hurting and living a real life nightmare.
We don’t seem to worry or care though, because it’s not our problem, it’s somebody else’s.
I view it as my problem. Many of my friends also view it in the same light. This is why everbound got started. We asked ourselves, what if there was a clothing line that helped those who have less. I know Patagonia helps preserve land, and through that, they are helping a people. But as far as I know, there is no clothing line dedicated to helping improve living conditions.
As everbound begins to build a steady income form clothing / product sales, we want to give money back to organizations who are already changing lives, like Restore International for example.
The next sip of your overpriced pumpkin spice latte, consider the fact that many people can’t find clean drinking water. Purchasing an everbound product is going to help people find clean drinking water, receive a quality education, and enjoy new playgrounds.
This post is in now way meant to make you feel guilty about the blessings we have in the United States, but it is meant to help you consider the global reality around you before your next big purchase.
Partner with us as we begin to impact the world in small ways.
Below is a link to a Five Iron Frenzy song: Someone Else’s Problem
..::Reese hopes you hate it::..
..::Buy it on iTunes by clicking here::..
Usually when we are seeking out an adventure of some sort, it is because we are searching for something. Maybe we are searching for rest or relaxation. Or perhaps we are trying to escape something from back home. Whatever it may be, if you have not been changed in the process of your adventure, you have missed the point entirely.
I still remember the look of complete confusion on my wife’s face when I shouted “Hey! Let’s go to Utah!”. You see, it was supposed to be “spring” in northern Minnesota, but the snow was still falling, and I was sick of it. My friend Travis, (who is an amazing photographer, and you should check out his work by clicking here) had just returned from Escalante, Utah with some beautiful shots. Utah looked stunning, and more importantly, it looked warm!
It took some convincing, but in a few days time we loaded the truck, said “see you later snow!” and took off for Utah.
I can’t recall who said it, but I remember once reading a quote stating that “sometimes we need to travel one thousand miles away from home in order to begin thinking clearly.” I think this is true. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was hoping to get out of this trip, but I knew I had to get away from it all and experience something different and hopefully clear my mind a bit too.
As we drove to Utah, it seemed like nothing was going as planned… After crossing through the mountains, we ended up spending the night in Grand Junction, Colorado because the rear brakes on the truck had gone out. After the truck was repaired, I awoke the next morning with a sickness and a sinking feeling in my chest. I have known this feeling all too well… strep throat.
We arrived in Moab later that day, and I was sick, on antibiotics, and we were unable to find a place to camp. Things were not going the same way in which I had seen them play out in my head… We went from the snowy Lake Superior shores of Northern Minnesota to record setting heat in Moab. I was indeed seeking a warmer climate on this trip, but 102 degree heat was not exactly the “warmer climate” I had imagined or hoped for.
(More things continued to go wrong, but that is not the point of this story and I will spare you any further details.)
I was devastated… All of this planning, preparing, time on the road, money spent on gas… and nothing seemed to be going as I had planned.
A few days into the trip, the strep throat diminished greatly. We eventually found a camping spot right along the Colorado River too. Things were beginning to improve.
I wanted rest. I wanted relaxation. I wanted to leave Utah inspired and full of life. I began to develop a very bitter attitude towards the circumstances of this adventure. On our final night in Utah I found myself alone by the fire ring. Staring up at the stars in awe and bewilderment. The heat had broken early that morning, and the warmth of the fire was perfect. The moon began to rise over the cayenne colored cliffs giving everything an erie and mysterious red glow. Between the quiet crackling of the campfire and the steady sloshing of waves along the banks of the river, I began to accidentally eves drop on the two nearby campsites.
I was completely caught up in the beauty of everything around me, yet my attention deficit disorder caused me to listen in (not intentionally) on the two nearby campsites.
Here is what I heard:
At the campsite to my right sat a group of friends, from Nebraska I think, who were discussing all of life’s problems back home. The conversation organically evolved from topic to topic. They began their evening talking about how they would like to earn more money at their different jobs, and if they earned more money they would drive a better car or upgrade to a better apartment. Soon, they were discussing co-workers and friends… all in a very negative manner. They were spewing out all of the things they didn’t like about certain people back home. From my spot under the stars, I could feel the angst they had in life, the severe discontentment.
While this conversation was taking place to my right, a drastically different conversation was taking place to my left. There was a group of friends who had spent the day mountain biking some phenomenal trail systems. They spent their evening talking about the day they had just wrapped up. I remember hearing all sorts of encouragement and laughter. They spent most of their time replaying the days events, the incredible downhills, the challenging vertical climbs, and inevitable crashes… Then slowly, the conversation began to focus on tomorrows adventure. “What trail should we hit tomorrow?” was asked in a whisper of excitement, and the group began to pull out maps under their headlamps and plan for the next days adventure.
It was somewhere between these two conversations that I found extreme peace. It was for this very moment, that I needed to “get away from it all” and learn from these two campfire dialogues that took place. It seems as though there are two types of people in this world. Two conversations are always taking place… there is the gossip crowd, filled with bitterness and frustration at life’s circumstances. Then, there is the living life crowd. The people who take life a day at a time and embrace the adventure. These people didn’t speak poorly of people back home, they didn’t gossip, they were excited to be alive.
As the two groups called it a night and vanished into their tents. I sat there, still staring at the stars, the fire dwindling, and the river still splashing the shores. I really had to ask myself… “Which of these two groups am I most like? Which of these two groups would I most like to be with?”
I have to admit, far too often I can become the complainer… (Example A: The first few paragraphs of this blog!) I can often find myself acting as though I’m sitting at the campfire to my right. But honestly, I’d rather be at the campfire to my left. I want to surround myself with people who embrace the adventure that life truly is, and not give into the counterfeit drama and chaos that this world has to offer.
The reason I write this blog today is to ask you this question: Which of the two campfires do you often find yourself sitting around? More importantly, which of these two campfires would you rather be sitting around?
It’s something to think about. Please sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear your stories. We want to be people that live adventurously and focus on the joy that life can bring.
Watching Derek standup out of the wreckage of the glider that only moments ago was slammed into the ground, was the best sigh of relief that I have exhaled in a very, very long time. That moment you exhale and realize
“wow, that could have been worse.”
As a kid, I didn’t always make the best decisions. In my head, what seemed like a great idea didn’t always pan out. I remember this one time, when I was about 10 years old, I thought I had engineered a way to get my remote control car battery to charge faster. I loved zipping this super fast car around my parents back yard, yet there was a serious flaw in the cars battery. It took nearly six hours of charging this yellow brick of a battery and in return, I got almost 25 minutes of cruising time. There had to be a better way, a faster way, to get my car charged and ready to conquer massive piles of leaves or go nose diving off of a jump and into our sandbox.
I had this idea that if I took apart the battery, and connected the positive and negative wires directly into an outlet that I would be able to put more power into battery much faster. I quickly learned how circuit breakers work, and needless to say, I’m thankful for their existence.
As an adult now, I make fewer choices that involve poorly thought through shortcuts. (Notice, I said fewer, not zero.) A few weeks ago my longtime friend Derek acquired a hang glider. He spent several days pretending to live as though he was the long lost relative of Orville and Wilbur. Derek took the glider down several hills and received some glide, but never enough lift to gain any actual flight time. He also jumped off of several large gravel piles, in which he learned that knee pads would be beneficial if he planned on continuing his conquest of flight.
After several failed attempts, the idea arose “what if we got a start by towing the glider behind a truck with some favorable wind conditions?” This seemed like a relatively thought out plan. I mean, it made perfect sense in my head, which was enough to convince me to join in and help the glider and it’s pilot take flight.
Early one Friday morning, we setup shop at an abandoned airfield. From the back of the truck, I was tied down with some rope and a belay device. From my harness, I was tied to Derek, who was getting ready to take flight. It seemed as though the wind was working with us perfectly.
With the excitement brewing, much like life back in my 10 year old mind, I was stoked to see my friend take flight and soar.
Our first attempt was promising, but our release mechanism broke from too much pressure.
We made a few minor adjustments, prepared for act two, and began slowly driving the truck down the runway. As tension grew on the the rope, it seemed plausible that this was going to work. Derek was hovering, for but a second, at about ten feet off of the ground. Suddenly a 30mph gust of wind slammed into the glider. In a fraction of a second, our tow line snapped free, and I sat jaw dropped in the bed of the truck, as my friend was lifted 40 or more feet off of the ground and blown 100 feet backwards. Watching in disbelief, as the glider became inverted and crashed to the ground.
It suddenly occurred to me that it was possible that we didn’t think this through all of the way.
From the upside down wreckage that once was the hang glider, amongst the flapping of nylon and mangled pieces of framing, we saw a thumbs up, and we were suddenly assured that Derek was alive and mostly well.
As it turns out, (hint of sarcasm here) the proper way to get a hang glider to fly is to take it down a gradually sloping hill… that is, after you have received proper training. (A truck and tow line is not advised and is apparently frowned upon in the hang gliding community.)
The moment the tow line snapped and the glider took off violently stirred up some emotions within me strikingly similar to my 10 year old moment with the remote control car. As the spark came shooting out of the wall and the circuit breaker popped… A sudden sinking feeling of “what did I just do!” came upon me all over again.
I am certain that those of us that were at the old airfield that morning could list a dozen life lessons we learned at Derek’s expense. But I think one of the biggest lessons learned was a lesson in patience. When an opportunity of fun and excitement presents itself, sometimes, we need to be reminded to wait. Whether you’re 10 years old and you can’t wait to get your remote control car back in the race, or you’re in your late 20’s and you want to take flight. You can’t rush good things. The battery on my race car never worked after that day, and sadly, the hang glider will never fly again after the crash that it took. When we rush life, bad things tend to happen. Life has proven to be like this over and over. Don’t rush. Without proper planning, forethought, and execution, we naturally tend to run into things, and one day, we awake in the wreckage of our life, and ask ourselves “what happened?” Maybe you’re seeking a new job, or trying to pick the right college, or you’ve given into the lie that you need a boyfriend or girlfriend to make your life complete. No matter the scenario, we can’t rush into life.
An unknown author wrote “Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off.” I like this idea. Before you leap into your next big adventure, have you taken the time to countdown and consider the situation at hand? Again, we jump into jobs, relationships, colleges, adventures and rarely, do we look at what we are about to do from different angles and perspectives.
Todays lesson. Don’t rush life. Live adventurously, yet intentionally. Countdown before you blast off. Remember, it’s ok if you have to wait before the fun begins. Practice patience, and you will grow immensely in all areas of your life. Enjoy the GoPro footage of the crash.
Also, join the conversation. What was your best adventure story that could have used some counting down before blasting off? Share below in the comment section. We’d love to hear your everbound story.
Note: The following day after the glider crash, Derek ran an astonishing 52.1 miles on the superior hiking trail for the Superior Endurance Runs. The day after, he played with two bands at the Radio Waves Music Festival. Derek is one of these guys who is truly incredible. He is what being “everbound” is all about. Thank you Derek for the inspiration you bring to the world. You can check out his band Whurl on iTunes by clicking here.
Although it’s illegal and unsafe… I have to admit that I enjoy picking up hitchhikers. Why? Because they usually have the best stories.
I have yet to pick up a hitchhiker that I have felt unsafe with. I have met some that are certainly a few shots short of a cappuccino (if you know what I mean) but most of the time, I meet some very intriguing people who are on a very awesome journey.
This morning as I was driving along the shore of Lake Superior I met a young man and his dog. They were heading south and I decide to pick them up. This young man looked very “portland”. His ears were gauged well over an inch and his septum had a large ring through it as well. He didn’t carry the aroma that most hitch hikers acquire… no, instead he just smelled of dirt. Like a guy who had been sleeping on the ground for a few days.
Sure enough, he had some cool stories for me on our 30 minute ride together. After growing up in Bakersfield, California he moved to Texas for a short stint, and one day he woke up and decided he wanted to begin traveling. From hitchhiking to train hopping, he began seeing the United States and Canada. He didn’t worry about places to stay or food to eat, he took life a day at a time and was caught up in the adventure of it all.
As we approached the parking lot where we would head our separate ways, he informed me that he really wants to settle down and do what normal people do, but every time he tries to fabricate a “normal” life, he gets anxious and wants to get out on the road again.
My friend Bob Goff recently said “Don’t let not knowing how it’ll end keep you from beginning.” I am always inspired by a good story. I enjoyed that my portland looking friend didn’t care about where he was headed nearly as much as enjoying the journey.
This statement though that Bob made rings incredibly true for many of us. We want to do big things with our lives, we want to live incredible stories, we want to change the world… but as we begin to put our plans into motion, we don’t know how it will end… so we never gain the traction to actually begin.
If you’ve been following everbound for a while now, you may know that we desire to be a non-profit who uses funds generated for global change. People have been asking us “what is your first project?” We honestly really wish we could give an answer. The idea for everbound has evolved several times, and while at an orphanage in Tijuana, we realized we wanted to create a company that can bring joy to the lives of those who have less.
So, here is our first project: Get financially stable!
A lot of money goes into starting up any company, and we are feeling the financial strain of getting grounded and established. As we begin to generate sales that pay off our initial investment, we will begin updating our blog readers, twitter followers and Facebook “likers” with our global initiatives. So please stay tuned. Keep following us on twitter and keep checking the blog for updates and stories.
Much like the hitchhiker I met, we [everbound] want to keep moving forward and enjoy the journey and obstacles as they arrive. We have never started a company before, so we are learning as we go, gaining new friends to help us along the way, all with big hopes and big dreams that someday we will be selling fashionable clothing that changes the lives of others thousands of miles away.
Too many people have great ideas for global change, but they never bring it to completion because they don’t know if it will work out in the end… The fear of not knowing how it will all come together keeps them paralyzed and they never even get started. We would love for you to check out our store, buy a shirt, and help us get financially stable as a company, but at the same time, we want to take a moment to give a shout out to those “other guys” who didn’t let fear stop them from getting off the ground. Go check these folks out!
These are just a few groups that didn’t worry about “will this idea even work?” and kept pursuing their dream of creating a better life for others.
You begin to realize that you are living life to the fullest when you are no longer living for yourself.
I don’t know where my hitchhiker friend is headed, but he keeps moving forward regardless of obstacles and embraces the journey. I knew when he jumped in my car that I would find some inspiration from his travels, and he inspired me to ignore obstacles, embrace the challenges, and to create and live an awesome story.
Thank you for reading our ramblings.
Thank you for checking out everbound.org. Don’t let the .org fool you though, we are not an organization. In order to be an organization, I’m pretty sure you need to be organized. We are far from organized. Let’s be honest, we have no idea what we are doing! Here is what we do know: There are people in the world who are suffering from illness, homelessness, poverty, lack of clean drinking water and much more. And we want to be a conduit for change. We are taking this process one step at a time and learning as we go.
The sales of our clothing go towards global projects that will help improve the lives of many.
Thank you for checking us out. We hope to have an online store active very soon!
Keep moving, stay everbound.