New Experiences

*Note: This will henceforth (probably) be the location of my blog. I decided I didn't need to use some fancy hosting plan because the free wordpress.com account works just great. Also, I'm a college student and hosting plans are expensive. New Experiences

Since deciding that I want to pursue a career in the outdoors post graduation, I've realized it's time for me to start pushing my comfort zone a little bit. So what have I been doing with my weekends lately? This:

For a guy who grew up terrified of water of just about any sort, this is almost as far out of my comfort zone as I can reasonably reach. Last year I had a not so great experience going down the Hiwassee river with UTC Outdoors on our staff training trip. The trip was more than a little scary since I'd never been on any sort of white water river excursion and I picked a boat which is for use only by experienced paddlers. Long story short, I spent a lot of time in the cold water, a little time paddling, and most of my time shaking. I didn't go back to any sort of river for the rest of the year. But if I intend to teach students how to push themselves, (within safe mediums) then I have to be willing to push myself right? Right.

So that's what inspired me to take up paddling this year, and I have to say it's been awesome so far! Three kayaking trips, one rafting trip down the Ocoee (Class 5 rapids), and lots of practice in the new ARC pool later, I think I'm doing pretty well. I've also kind of fallen in love with the sport. Being a die hard climber for so long, I've always kind of ignored paddling assuming it wasn't for me. I used to think there was nothing scarier than being eighty feet up on a route trying to clip a draw.

Man, was I wrong. The river is such a different world because unlike climbing, you're not the one in control. Rock climbing is all about pushing your physical limits on rock face in a very controlled way. Paddling, on the other hand is about  not drowning. And after you get that down, you get to move on to other things. It's a reactionary sport in which you respond to the way the currents move you (literally).

My friend Bonnie recently told me that I was a "yes" person. I think it's a new development because I used to say no to a lot of things. I really only got into climbing because I didn't want to look bad in front of the other ropes staff at summer camp. So what am I saying yes to now?

that's right, sky diving.

The other day my boss told me I was the staff member chosen to go on the sky diving trip for UTC Outdoors. Had I been able to pick my jaw up from the floor, I  might have told her that I spent most of my childhood so terrified of heights that I refused to look over the second floor banister at the mall. But I didn't. I guess sometimes not saying no is as good as saying yes.

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