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

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Estes Park, the Wedding & One Year, No Beer

What a trip that was.  An absolutely beautiful wedding nestled on the edge of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding foothills in Estes Park.  Family and friends of the bride and, my brother, the groom, also, of course, being my family, filled the seats and the reception.  Elk roamed the streets.  I walked away from my five-night stay there with new friends and an urge to go back and explore a new National Park that filled me with intrigue and excitement.

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(Yes, I’m aware that I look like my father)

The air was thin and we did nothing short of drink our silly faces to death.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to hike.  Mary’s Lake Lodge, where we stayed, had an elevation near 8000′ before even entering the much higher Rocky Mountain National Park, and I’m unsure how great of a hike it would have been considering the short period of time we had to acclimate.  We did, however, drive into the park and up to nearly 12,000′ before deciding to turn around due to my sister, Cassie, feeling quite ill from the elevation.  In substitution of a hike, I scrambled my way up a large boulder in an attempt to get as scenic of a view as I could.  My Under Armor shoes really weren’t meant for this type of climbing and I got a little nervous of slipping out of a foothole so I turned back before reaching a true summit point.  It was still fun, though, and gave me a small amount of adventure beyond a drive fueled by petro.

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I did make a speech both the night of the rehearsal and the wedding night as well.  It was not the practice to do the latter, but Jake’s friends had pre-planned to do a hilarious collage of movie quotes to intro my speech, so I prepared a short and sweet homage to my little brother and his beautiful wife.  Then we danced like we lost all lucidity until they pushed us into the lodge’s bar, and then, after the bar closed, an after-hours house party at my brother’s college friends’ rental.  Sunday was rough.

Monday we traveled back to Denver and after sharing my last beer with my brother at Lefthand Brewery and saying our fair wells, we met up with my little sister, Cassie, and her boyfriend, Zach.  She looked at me with a huge smile as I walked in the door and yelled, “IT’S YOUR LAST DAY DRINKING, WE’RE GETTING YOU SOOO FUCKED UP!”

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She succeeded.  Thanks, Cass (She’s the blond one below).

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Once the beers started flowing, we named the night: ONE YEAR, NO BEER… Or, more so, I named it such as I screamed at my Snapchat friends and continually got drunker and drunker with every snap.  My sister’s Snapchat storyline is even better than mine.

The night started at an upscale restaurant in Denver where my brother and his friends work, we were quite underdressed.  From there, the night moved to the RiNo neighborhood of Denver; a very cool part of town with buildings covered in beautiful murals by artists with a graffiti-type art style (Some of the pieces can be seen in my Snapchat video).  Super dope.  Jake’s friends Josh, John James and Alex all made the night exceptional by showcasing the highlights of their city and entertaining excellent conversation.  They took us to have a nibble on the “Best Burger in Denver,” to their humble abode, to an art-walk, to a punk-rock bar called Matchbox.  We closed that fucker out with Brandi, my girlfriend, somehow convincing the entire bar to take a picture together.

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Then we took a Lyft back to my brother’s apartment where we finished the night by offering a homeless man named Terry a granola bar (he didn’t accept it) and then flipping everything in my brother’s house upside down.  I thought this was funnier than it probably was and I woke up the next morning hating my life before Brandi got me out of bed.  (Video Below is of us flipping everything in my brother’s house upside down, be warned… this is my last night drinking at probably about 3/4 AM and it is explicit.)

The next morning marked the start of sobriety.  After a hellishly painful first day, I have finally made it to Day 3 of 365 without a drop of booze.  So far I have also not smoked any ganja, though that may change at some point.

Thanks to everyone who made this trip incredible!  I’ll post more pictures once I receive them from my brother and other family members.  I am sure there are some gems.

Cheers!  (Or, maybe, not so many cheers!)

~Dane

 

The Week Before: My Brother’s Wedding & Prepping for a Change

My younger brother, Jake, gets married on Saturday.  I am his best man and am absolutely stoked for the upcoming adventure out to Estes Park in Colorado.  The daunting task of writing a loving and crowd-pleasing speech is still weighing on my shoulders as I have procrastinated my way through week after week of the now-gone summer.  It’s all good, I’ll get it done.

This is my first blog post.  I am going to be doing this blog now for the foreseeable future as I delve back into writing consistently and a quest (of sorts) that I have decided to take on.  That quest is to stop drinking for an entire year starting after my brother’s wedding. This is not because I feel like I am an alcoholic, although tendencies have been established, but instead because I am in need of some focus and think that removing this distraction is going to get me closer to my goals in life.

To make this experience more engaging for myself, I have borrowed from others and used their positivity and lessons to create my own structured plan.  One of those people I am learning from is Tim Ferris and the many astounding people in his book, Tool of Titans, which has had a profound impact on me in the last couple months as I have moved from gainfully employed to home business owner.

Here’s my current thoughts on how I will structure my plan of execution to become sober and more focused in the coming 12 months:

1.  There will be four different aspects I am categorizing everything I do in my life into during this challenge.  Mental Health; Physical Health; Creativity; Financial/Career.  Everything I do is going to be to improve myself within those categories.  I will journal about this daily and post a blog on my progress as I go.  (I am going to go into deeper detail on this in another post)

2.  Removing negativity and growth hinderance.  I also am going to look through those four columns stated above and work to remove the things that are hindering the growth of that particular category. For instance, what keeps me from being creative?  Television & video games are two things that come to mind.  So, those are going to be either removed entirely from my daily routine or rationed out based on performance in other areas.

3.  At the end of my year I am going to have a large reward.  Right now I am leaning towards a trip to Patagonia.  But that is not quite good enough.  I need to further define what is going to happen on that trip and build upon it to create an ultimate goal.  Something like, backpack 150 miles through the Gloopedy Dupedy peaks (Don’t know the name of the peaks in Patagonia) and summit so-and-so mountain.  That’s more what I am looking for and what I am currently researching

4.   I am going to use whatever reward I have chosen as the thing I train for during this time of sobriety.

Now, back to my little brother.  I couldn’t be more proud of him.  And, being his bigger brother is a reward in and of itself.  My entire family will be present and I can’t wait to have a last hoorah as we celebrate him tying the knot with an awesome gal.  I plan on getting white girl wasted.  It’s my last go anyway!

Cheers to Sober October!

~Dane