Do Extreme Things Daily

After reading different books and watching different shows, there is one commonality amongst the people that interest me most.  They push harder and further in an often unestablished direction that has never been done quite the same before.  Wim Hof, for instance, climbs snow and ice covered mountains in shorts by controlling his adrenal system with very specific breathing patterns.  He, then, teaches people how to climb snow and ice covered mountains in shorts doing the same.  That is a pretty extreme way to earn a living, or a reputation, but it’s awesome.  Hamilton Morris flies around the world learning about drug culture and the effects of psychedelics.  Leonardo da Vinci juggled painting, science, inventing, and engineering… he could also play instruments and write poetry.  Joe Rogan is arguably the best interviewer of our time, he’s also a stand-up comedian, practices MMA fighting, hosts the UFC, has an acting career, and a grab bag of other miscellaneous talents.  Bill Gates created Microsoft, but, arguably, more importantly, established philanthropic channels to solve some of the biggest problems facing our world.  There are plenty of impressive people we could list, and Walter Isaacson will likely write a number one best-selling book about them like he has on the aforementioned Leonardo da Vinci, as well as, Steve Jobs and Einstein.  My point is, people who do extreme things find extreme success, or, at the very least, fulfillment.  Don’t believe me?  Check in with your buddy from high school who peaced out to some ski village or gave up the corporate life to drive around in a van and surf the world’s biggest waves.  It doesn’t have to be monetarily based, but often that’s a byproduct.

The people listed above were probably, or are probably, odd.  That’s a good thing.  Odd people do not follow social norms or let trivial obstacles stop them from accomplishing some big hairy audacious goal.  It’s not part of our current discussion?  Elon Musk gives zero fucks.  Maybe these people don’t even have a big hairy audacious goal, and are just following their internal compass (Oh yeah, that’s a call back, baby: A Journal Entry Concerning Time; Finding Your Internal Compass).  There’s a lot to be learned here, but as I was sitting at my table considering the best way to market my real estate business to gain some new clients, I came across this video of Wim Hof and through today’s numbing and annoying brain fog, I saw something clear.  Nothing, except myself, is preventing me from jumping in ice water at this very moment.  And, when the opportunity arrises to jump into ice water, instead of taking the comfortable route and remaining warm and clothed, the alternative would be to jump in headfirst until the cold no longer stings.

On a recent trip to the North Cascades, Adam and I did just that (Quest Update: As Summer Adventures Come to a Close).  On our drive home, we spontaneously came to the agreement that we were going to follow an impulse, pull off to the side of Highway 20, strip down and into our swimsuits, and jump into a turquoise blue, glacier fed, alpine lake, known as Lake Diablo.  After an incredible couple days of hiking along the PCT, on the eastern side of the National Park, this quick dip was still ranked up there as one of the perks of our trip.

So, you haven’t gone for a run in a long time; lace up those shoes and knock out eight miles today.  Go lift the most weight you’ve ever lifted or go swim the furthest you’ve ever swam.  Meditate ten minutes longer than your longest session.  Prospect 100 more people this week.  There is no failing, only doing.  Honestly, seven years ago I could hardly call myself a skier.  After my girlfriend Brandi and I agreed to go on our first official date at Stevens Pass, I decided that skiing was something I was going to do from that day on.  I, also, suppose, perhaps unknowingly, that I decided I was going to do more than ski; I was going to ski well.  After that initial day on the slopes, I bought some gear and skied every chance the snow would allow.  If the opportunity arose, I would pack my skis with me on work trips in an effort to get turns in on the hills of Montana and Idaho.  I would isolate myself in a hotel room for multiple weeks to visit clients, but more importantly, so that I could ski more.  I pushed myself down runs that were hard until they became easy.  After my first season back on skis (I skied semi-regularly as a youth until I was about twelve years old), I was skiing double black runs by the end of it (not very well, but I never got injured 🙃).  Now, however, I can ski just about anything you throw at me in almost any conditions, although I’m not Candide, so don’t expect me to ski dirt, even if it were possible, I like my skis too much.

Skiing is an easy thing to love, it’s a quick-paced, adrenaline-filled sport that puts you deep into the moment, removing thoughts about work obligations, bills coming due, begrudged politics, etc.  Jumping into an ice cold lake doesn’t seem quite the same, but it is on a smaller and more basic level.  What you’re doing when you take that plunge is taking the now into your own hands, continuing your narrative on your terms and shifting the monotony of daily life into one of spontaneity and excitement.

In closing, there’s plenty to be excited about and a world of opportunity to explore.  Do something extreme and scratch the itch you didn’t realize needed to be scratched.  Take whatever it is you desire to do to the furthest place you can take it.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

A Journal Entry Concerning Time; Finding Your Internal Compass

Time is probably the most precious commodity that we, as humans, have.  As it passes by, our lives go with it, leaving only memories and wisdom behind.  It’s interesting to watch how many people fill their days with activities they otherwise hate, and their minds with worries of the future or empty entertainment that keeps them distracted from the present.  People that I know and love spend much of their lives worried about how they’ll retire, and often, they skip past the part of their life where they are the most capable and able-bodied.  Others don’t take any time to do this, live only in the moment, and are miserable because they have yet to find how to properly fit into this world.  I watch as people circumvent their own dreams and aspirations for the realities of others.  They do this by using their time to watch television, scrolling Facebook or Instagram feeds, or gluing themselves to the always BREAKING cable news programs designed to breed anxiety and further division.  I still fall into these time-sucks, but I am now cognizant of what they’re accomplishing and how their accomplishments change me for the worse.

Other ways this can be emulated is in the working of a nine-to-five for a company that often does not align with one’s own ideals.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with watching your favorite show on television, and we all need to put food on the table, but the truth is, most of the time we spend in front of digital media is 100% useless and is just a method of escapism that keeps us from fulfilling what is authentic to us as individuals.  The goal here being: to create a reality that is preferable to the one we are told, by society, to follow.

Preparation, however, should not be skirted, and it is important to take steps to create a stable future.  Dwelling on it as life’s main objective, however, seems to lead to missed opportunities, as well as a somewhat bland, and perhaps, meaningless life.  Often, with people who follow this course, once in retirement, purpose is still missing.  Family seems to make up for some of this, as well, a family lends itself to a larger purported purpose, however, with one’s individuality unfulfilled, even the most accomplished businessman, might feel unaccomplished if their true desires and potentials were never fully met.  If they never tried to write that book or taste the snow on top of that one mountain.

As I close out my first “Quest” —the year of self-improvement that I started following my brother’s wedding on October 3, 2017; a day that began with a hangover as I moved to cease my consumption of alcohol and focused to redirect bad habits into good ones— this has been one of the take-away lessons that I have learned.  Last night, as I was journaling, I wrote about it.  Below is that entry.   img_4436

With little more than a week left in my Quest, I will be sharing the changes that have occurred in myself, and the lessons that I have learned along my path.

For me, finding my internal compass has been one of those lessons.  A lesson that can only be learned void of distractions; when one clears their mind and turns off the outside voices.  There are so many profound and exciting revelations that have come from this year’s experience, and I cannot wait to share with you what those have been and how I plan on continuing my growth in my upcoming Quest Part Two.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

Quest Update: As Summer Adventures Come to a Close

I haven’t been blogging or vlogging in quite a while.  I put a pause on this while my friend was supposed to update my website, but since my website still hasn’t been updated, and while my Quest inches closer to completion, it is time to bring you a compelling story of… well, okay, it’s just an update on things that I’ve been up to.  Super provocative stuff here, guys!

Prelude

I am down to the last couple weeks of alcohol-free living.  I feel fantastic overall, and had an incredible summer full of camping, hiking, peak scrambling, biking, backpacking, a wedding, but mainly, working.  Much of my time in the last few months has been dedicated to growing my real estate business, maintaining my fitness, staying consistent with my Quest objectives, and some hiking/adventures when they could be squeezed in.

The Last Little Bit

So, let’s rewind a month when I was in the Enchantments for five days and then came home, grabbed my pre-packed bag of wedding garments and jumped on a plane to Cincinnati to celebrate my friends, Zach and Meghan, tying a knot.  I stood beside Zach as his (co-) best man and had a wonderful time meeting his friends and family.  Also that week, I saw my friend, Steve, who I had not seen in years.  It’s odd how with certain people it doesn’t matter the duration of time that passes between visits, when you get back together with those people, it’s as if nothing has changed.  Zach and Steve are two people in my life that that applies to.

Going back about nine years to when I met them, I was not too keen on Mister Zach.  I determined he was a pompous know-it-all ass before I properly got to know him.  I figured out, however, that he was just socially inept and had a pretty tough initial guard up.  However, once I broke through that guard we became great friends.  We even ended up all living in the same apartment building.  During that period I was their “Kramer,” not because I used the n-word on stage like some raving lunatic, but because on a daily basis I would just open their door and walk into their abode without so much as a door knock.  Much has changed in our lives since I had last saw them… especially with Steve who now has a toddler.  Together, in a group again, it was as if it no time had passed at all… with the exception of Zach’s ability to grow a beard, my inability to retain my hair, and Steve getting … errr… a little rounder.  Ha.

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Zach on his big day biting my girlfriend’s arm

After Zach’s beautiful vows, and my appropriately hilarious and oh-so touching speech that shattered the expectations of everyone involved, but most importantly, the bride and groom 🧐, Steven and I woke up the next morning and drove my bishhh to the airport.  We proceeded to kick her wiggity-wack ass out the car and then drove to Cincinnati’s very own King’s Island.  King’s Island is a theme park.  I’m 34.  Steve is like 38 or some shit?… Basically, two full grown adult males had a date going on all the rollercoasters and rides that a midwestern theme park had to offer, and it was the best day ever!

But let’s not so quickly leap over the Enchantments, as it was an incredible trip through a beautiful, albeit smokey, region of the Cascades.  During our stay we visited all the different alpine lakes, swam in a few of them, climbed Little Annapurna, night hiked up Prusik Pass to watch a very unimpressive meteor shower, slept next to mountain goats  with their rambunctious kids in my hammock, and did some other miscellaneous scrambles.  We were very lucky to get permits, and although the smoke was a hinderance, it could have been much worse.

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Brandi’s signature hiking pose.
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My towel and his vistors

 

Full Enchantments Post coming soon with video footage.

So, that was a month back.  This past week Brandi and I attended a double header baby shower (one after the other) for two of my dudes.  I, then, packed up and went camping near Winthrop, WA, on Monday with my good friend, Adam.  We hadn’t spent any time together this summer so we had planned a couple days in the North Cascades.  The weather decided to be a cranky biotch, so we shifted our trip to the eastern side of the park where it is not quite as rain prone.  We hiked along the PCT and spent a couple days eating, as Adam likes to say, some “good food” in the woods along a creek.  With the weather starting to change, it’s probably the last multi-night camping trip for a while, but I was able to not miss much work at all.  It’s somewhat convenient taking most of your days off in the middle of the week.

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During one of those weekends in there we went camping with our friends Jon and Bre.  On this camping trip we found an amazing riverside camp spot that was completely isolated from other passer-byers.  Jon was generous enough to bring along some delicious stogies he had picked up in the Dominican Republic.  Unfortunately, I had Open Houses to attend on both Saturday and Sunday that weekend so I had to drive back into civilization both mornings and didn’t get to disconnect on this particular trip like I normally would.  It was a very long and deliberate route that I wish had been avoidable on Saturday morning… but, hey, when duty calls.  Clearly getting outside hasn’t been much of an issue for me lately, so no harm no foul.

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My dooooood Jon and I thumbin’ up & hangin’ loose

Beyond that… work + gym + plus a random weekday outing here and there is what my life currently consists of, and I a pretty okay with that.

The Quest

As for the Quest… As I had stated earlier, and as of today, I am two weeks out from completion.  That’s a huge benchmark and I am getting pretty excited to, again, be able to drink a cold and delicious beer.  Although, I am admittedly still wrestling with the idea of continuing with the absence of alcohol, that is seemingly a wrestling match I will lose.  Not because of some innate need to drink, but instead, because I do like having beer and a certain amount of alcohol is probably beneficial to things like my career and social life.

What has changed? 

There is more that has changed than that I recognize, but, simultaneously, not enough has changed for me to give up and go back to my post-Quest life.  Many of my new habits will stay with my for the remainder of years I have left.  Especially meditation, journaling, consistent exercise, hot and cold therapy, writing, and reading.  In fact, a couple weeks ago I realized that I am a completely different person than when I started this a year ago.  I, also, found out what doesn’t work and what I was just doing to say I did it.  Having some crazy journaling schedule… yeah, that did not come close to sticking.  Reading a ton of books a month became more of a chore and hindered performance in other areas.  Not watching TV sounds fun until you get bored out of your mind.

I am, however, in drastically better shape, I feel smarter, better read, more consistent with my mood, less anxious, less depression, I have started a completely new career where I work for my self, and I am better fit to deal with adversities that I face.

I do have a few new Quest concepts that I will further define and start once this one comes to fruition.  My next quest will focus on my shortcomings and areas of my life I wish to further improve.  Unfortunately, my current quest will not be 100% completed quite yet, as I still have some saving to do until I will be able to afford to make it to Patagonia.  That is still going to happen, however, and hopefully at some point in 2019 I’ll make it a reality.  Of course, it has to work out seasonally as well.  Stay tuned.

Summer is out, Fall is in

The seasons changed rather quickly this year, going from incredibly hot to rather cold overnight.  Summer is officially over this coming Saturday, and I am stoked to see some yellow and orange leaves and have some cooler weather to go hike in.  I used to call the fall shoulder season, now I just look at it as the cooler time of year to go hiking.

Lastly, congrats to my sister and her boyfriend on their engagement.  Ditto to my friends Jake and Jen!

IT’S ALMOST SKI SEASON!!!!

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

VLOG #13: Melakwa Lake & Kaleetan Peak

Last week my adventure buddy Austin and I did what we love to do and found a fun hike and scramble off the i90 corridor to complete.  We headed out the night before, slept in hammocks near the trailhead, and then proceeded to burn the ever-loving piss out of my shoulders and back in the shape of the pack I was carrying.  There were fun times.  Great views.  Some route finding and steep rock faces.  We slipped at one point, that’s not on the video.  And, we jumped in the lake.

Sooo… Enjoy the vid!  No tunes added on this one, so it’s just the incredibly enjoyable sounds of nature… rather the commentary of two adventure dudes yukkin’ it up on the trail.  #CaptivatingAF

This weekend marked ten months of a booze free life; two more to go and I am officially done.  Who knows what will come then, but the initial quest is getting close to complete!

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

 

VLOG 12.1 – Day One: the Spider Gap

Starting our trip at approximately 9 AM on the 4th of July, our first day consisted of hiking from the trailhead to Lower Lyman Lake.  A pretty ambitious, however unintentional goal that was the result of finding unsuitable camping conditions at Lower Lyman Lake’s higher brother, Upper Lyman Lake.

The hike started out like most other’s do here in the Northwest, meandering through forested slopes as we gained elevation, finally reaching the Spider Meadows.  From their we climbed up to the Spider Gap glacier, then down to Upper Lyman Lake, followed by Lower Lyman.  Here is a video account of Day One of our trip.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

VLOG #11: Bikin’ til the Legs Cramp!

West Seattle to Vashon Island and back with my Uncle

On Thursday my Uncle Paul and I took off on an epic bike ride, throwing fifty miles onto the pedals and converting my legs from solid transport vessels to Bill Cosby’s favorite dessert… waiiiiit a sec… I meant, JELL-O!  Sorry for the confusion.  Anyways… watch this fun vid!

For my last Quest Update, Click Here!

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

VLOG #10: Bro’in’ It Up in the Olympics

Here’s the promised footage of my brother and I camping and hiking out in the Olympics last week.  What a pretty and fun day hike.  It was super easy, but definitely had us sweating a bit due to the heat.

 

Click Here for my most recent Quest Update!

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane