Feet Firmly Planted on Two Separate Paths

IMG_8316In 2013, I could see the fork approaching.  Some day soon, I will either become the mountaineering vagabond, or tech startup entrepreneur for social good.

The past year was somewhat limited in terms of mountain adventures. But I’m determined to continue to sit in the city planted before the computer, networking at elite rooftop parties and pitching investors while attending protests, organizing with hippies and meeting with politicians.  I’ll speak about activism and technology at high-price conferences in front of white men in business suits. And my website will get funding, and we’ll save the world, and make millions.

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Or… it will fail. And I will be a ski instructor in Chile and wait tables at a surf resort in Bali.

And now it’s 2014.  The fork in the road arrived, and I did not choose. Instead, I straddle two worlds.

I spent the past two weeks waiting tables at a ski resort on Mt. Hood, skiing after work, then heading back to the small efficiency above the taco shop in this tiny little mountain town, where I work on my startup for a few hours, then head down the street for a nightcap at the local pub surrounded by beautiful mountain people.  Tomorrow, I head back down to Portland where I finish moving out of my previous home into my new Portland digs: a humongous house in a glamorous neighborhood on the edge of Laurelhurst park. I’m ‘house-sitting’ for the couple that have become my ideal website mentors (outspoken anarchists, successful media-tech entrepreneurs, and employees #1 & #2 at the company that became Twitter) while they spend a year working in Buenos Aires & Uruguay.  I’m interviewing with a “socially conscious company accelerator” in Seattle, and visiting with an advisor up from L.A., chatting with a radio station about syndication of my website’s “Activist Event Update” radio minute, and having a Google hangout with my team, dispersed across multiple states.   Then I head back up to my magical little mountain town, where I will skin and ski for a few hours on Friday, continue my online coding classes, then stalk the super cute telemark guy I met on New Years Eve.  Saturday and Sunday I’ll wait tables for two 9-hour shifts, with a few ski runs before and after, spend Monday in a (hopefully) snow-drenched coffee shop on the computer, then head back to the city for some meetings, activism and river-front runs.

Firmly planted in two alternative universes.  Yum.

Where this road will lead in 2014!?

Community Leadership Summit

Lindsay   : )

Y2K Version .14

I just got back from my last trip of 2013 and my first trip of 2014. I didn’t actually realize that until a few moments ago. I also realized that I got to ride on the very last day of 2013 and the very first of 2014 (though the riding Jan 1st was a little more subdued due to the night before). I thought I’d have been more tired afterwards, but so far I’m doing pretty good. Sandra and I work up around 4am Thursday to get me to my shuttle and it is still completely black outside. I don’t think I fell asleep until after midnight.

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Ariel’s amazing Keurig Coffee maker. I don’t know how to pronounce it, but I want one of these things.

This whole Colorado New Year’s trip was super impromtu; one minute I was debating about driving to Steamboat Tuesday after work, the next I was buying a ticket out to Denver for Monday (don’t worry, I bought it almost two days ahead on Saturday). I’m going to blame this mostly on my friends Ariel, Sandra and Terri who talked me into it (it wasn’t that hard).

Monday night I crashed at Ariel’s and Tuesday Terri joined us to ride at Keystone. We lapped some park, found a 50ft pow run through some trees (that may or may not have technically been closed) and then went to the backside of the mountain to weave through some trees and take a couple awkward photos. The trees there are tight.

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We found some foreign guy to take our photo at the top of the lift and he asked for payment in Fireball. I said we’d get him back later.
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Hot Tub. New Year’s Eve. Enough said.

We made some champagne cocktails post-hot tub session while we got ready to head out and then took the free bus into town (New Year’s Eve is no time for anyone to be driving) and met up with Sandra and a few others at coffee shop’s private party. Then we moved on to a renovated (but still haunted) old hotel, (I sucked at pool), took 60+ photos (I didn’t include them all here) and finally finished up at a brewery where we celebrated the new year at midnight and I convinced two guys that they wanted to share nachos with me because the brewery had stopped selling food. Pretty soon we were all ready to get to bed and call it a night, so we trucked back over to Ariel’s where we made a huge pot of popcorn, (unknowingly) tossed it all over her floor, and promptly passed out.

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Our New Year’s toast! Cheers to 2013 and 2014!

New Year’s Day was a slow, lazy food-filled adventure. Ariel had to work, so Sandra and her friend Mikayla picked me up and we went out for a late breakfast (lunch?). When we finally finished that meal we went to Sandra’s and hiked out behind her house to a log jib the was set up back there and hit it a couple times. I tried to get a photo, but at that point it was dark and nothing came out. The snow was so deep though! Mikayla’s dog Nutmeg was dolphin-swimming her way running in the snow back and forth between three of us, and I got in a mini pow run back down to Sandra’s house; super fun.

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That popcorn may have been from the night before, but we ate it all the next morning. Also, Terri doesn’t want anyone to know what she looks like in the morning.

That night we made a fantastic meal of sauted pasta, fresh mozzarella, (shrimp for everyone else but me) and pear and cranberry salad. Not long after we were all ready for bed. As I lay on the couch trying to pass out, I started thinking the thoughts you get when another year goes by. Did I make a good purchase on my new car? Should I be living in Colorado instead of Utah? Can I make every trip happen this winter I’m trying to plan out? I slept for four hours and then jumped on a shuttle and the same thoughts were still stuck in my head. I thought I might have been able to sleep on my way to the airport, but instead I pulled out my laptop and started writing. I wrote down everything from the last year; all my doubts, everything that had been awesome, things I regretted and things that were still hard for me to cope with. It was still black out when I finished and I had about two full pages in front of me. I close my computer, set it away in my backpack, and stared out the window at the lightening dawn. Writing is theraputic for me. When I got back to Salt Lake and my roomate picked me up in my new Mazda I felt like everything fit together. I’ve got an amazing group of friends (everywhere) and I love what I get to do every day and each week. So far, I’ve got high hopes for 2014 (even if it does mean I’m going to be 25 this year…). I think it’s going to be another great one!

Happy New Year!

Greetings from the Great North

My name is Sarah Mastroyanis, I’m thrilled to be a part of the Gofer Collective project. Striving for a functional lifestyle alternate the norm that society expects of us has become a huge part of my life goals, and I thoroughly enjoy connecting with others who feel the same. I was born and raised in Alaska, which is also where I currently reside.  I spend as much time traveling and exploring this beautiful world we live in insofar as my bank account allows.

As Darwin put it best “To be a traveler is to see goodness everywhere.”

I am an optimist, a dreamer, and continually in search of new adventures.  I love long drives, deep powder, photography, scuba diving, painting, hot yoga, cozy cabins, big mountains, a good breakfast burrito, rusty vans and making new friends. The last year and a half was one of the most exciting years of my life, as I graduated from college, traveled to 8 countries, 9 states, two road trips, became Scuba certified, went heli-skiing, ice climbing and even got a cameo appearance in a Warren Miller film. Most importantly, I met some amazing people along the way who inspire me every day to continue living the dream. I’m not too good at making plans too far in advance because I’m an opportunist. Its important to leave room for life and the surprises it may present to you.  Looking forward to all of the unknowns in the New Year! Cheers to 2014!

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Ahead with Full Sails

So, I’m going to start this intro post by getting the whole nickname situation taken care of. Most of my good friends call me bebe [bay-bay]. That name is the product of my attempt to create nicknames for some of my housemates. Instead of using syllables, I thought that we could smoosh together the sounds made by the first two letters of first and last names. Mine was the only name that stuck. Although it’s not a particularly hard to predict outcome, I found it really surprising.

One of the things that I find most interesting about life is how odd and sometimes surprising the circumstances that we find ourselves in are. For instance, writing this blog post. I’m the black sheep of this blog. Out of the people that have posted so far (Jenna, Adam, Marinna) I’m the one most likely to be chained to a desk. At the moment I have job that involves staring at a computer screen for about 25 hours a week. Make no mistake; I’m not planning on becoming a member of the weekend warrior tribe, at least not for the long term. As a recent college graduate I’m dealing with the second set of growing pains for the standard white, middle-class US man. My long-term goals are to use my degrees in engineering and Spanish to travel and perform work that I feel is valuable while getting a chance to play outside. I believe that there are ways that I can make this happen. My current desk job is an internship at an international non-profit organization. It ends in a few months and I’m already excited for what might happen next. This summer I might be working for the same company with hopes of travelling for them later on, guiding rock climbing trips, or living in a village in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. It’s not so bad to have plenty of good options.

My two general approaches to life are to go with the flow and try to figure out how things work. I find that I have the most fun when I don’t try to force things to happen. The bus will come when it wants to and if I can’t climb because it rains then I get to play cards or read a book instead. What I mean by “figure out how things work” is that I grew up in a family that put a premium on the scientific method and science education. When I was 10 my grandpa dissected a cow skull in front my elementary school class. I would regularly mix chemicals together (under supervision) and went to weekend science camps. So, since I was pretty small I’ve looked at most things and tried to figure out how they work. I want to see all of the weird plants and animals, taste delicious foods that I can’t pronounce the names of, and play musical instruments that I didn’t know existed.

Now that you have a little context I guess I should talk about all of the things that I like to do:

-Climbing rocks (big ones, small ones, clipping bolts, placing trad gear, as long as there’s no ice or snow)
-Riding road bikes (to work, to lunch, to camp with lots of gear)
-Sailing boats (at this point just small ones, but dream of larger vessels)
-Travelling

-Bebe

PS It’s New Years Eve so here’s a link to the latest semi-rad blog post about resolutions. I think that it’s really rad!

The Good Life

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I guess I should start by saying how grateful I am. That’s the best way to describe how I feel everyday about where I am and what I’m doing in life. I’m from upstate New York, but have been living out west for the past 5 years.  I split most of my time between exploring Oregon and Idaho right now, but have no plans to settle down anywhere just yet. Besides having an awesome and supportive family, I feel like I owe a lot of my better attributes to living out here. It’s opened up so much to me; from the people I’ve been blessed to meet, to the outdoor lifestyle, snowboarding again, to my introduction to things like bike touring, rock climbing, sailing, kayaking, cliff jumping, hot springs, camper vans, meditation, yoga (the list goes on). All of these amazing introductions and additions to my life shape and expand the kind of art I make.

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Art to me doesn’t feel like a decision, “I’m a creative person, maybe I’ll try making some art.” It’s just something I’ve always done and will always do, whether everyone likes it or no one likes it, whether I make money with it or not, whether I make a career out of it or not. What I create is a part of me translated onto paper in a way that makes sense to me.  So that’s why when someone else actually likes something I make, it’s so personal. I make what I like to look at, and it’s like, wait,  “You like looking at this too!?” It’s a pretty cool feeling to relate to someone in that way, and to have people see that part of you.

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The past few winters I’ve been living in Driggs Idaho, making art in between snowboarding as much as possible and working part time as little as possible. A lot of fun art opportunities have been coming into my life, and a lot of it is thanks to friends and family doing the work of putting my name out there. (I’m not so solid on the marketing side of things). I did some ski graphics for WSD Custom Ski, which is fun to see something I painted riding around on the snow.

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I love diversity, trying new things, playing with new mediums, making art in different ways. I literally wake up amped to make/try something new, and I feel really lucky for that passion. I also just illustrated a kid’s book. My boyfriend and I lived out of our camper van this fall, and he would weld rails for the resort’s terrain park while I would bundle up and illustrate in the van. That was a great experience. Even if I didn’t get paid for it, it’s all about the experience. I would be happy just to have one copy in print to read when I have kids some day. It’s in that way that diversity in art is so exciting, how when you’re open to anything it can all just permeate your whole life. Nothing is separate; snowboarding is a part of art, is a part of meditation, is a part of working, is a part of playing, is a part of relationships, and so on.

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Recently I was given a tattoo gun from a friend. I have tattoos, but never thought I’d do my own. I did my first tattoo on my foot, and it’s always exciting to do something you never thought you’d do. So that’s my new exciting medium experience as of late. And I’m just open and excited for anything that’s up next, no hope or fear, just having fun with it all.

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Oh, Oh It’s Magic

M. Frank on Big Kahuna
Mayah Frank on Big Kahuna

My name is Adam Edwards. As part of the GOFER-Collective I am sharing a few of my adventures with you.I’m an avid student of psychology and neuroscience, a professional model and actor, and generally fun guy (except when hangry:hunger-anger; a debilitating disease). I’m also 26 year old kayaker, climber, amateur photographer, and all around adventurer in the Pacific Northwest . And these are some stories and photos from my life.
What drives us…gofers? Dirtbags? Individuals who go above and beyond to achieve their dreams.  Is it excitement?  Do we not just care?  We don’t want ‘easy’? Or do we want more? To many of us, that sport we partake in; the life we partake  in, those bonds we form with our groups, are a defining portion of our being. It’s not just getting away from everything, it’s not just a day of work. It is everything to us.  To gather an understanding of a true dirtbag think on the maxim,” some live to eat, some eat to live”

O. Adam on Prelude
O. Adam on Prelude Canyon Creek WA
P. Higgins in Boulder
P. Higgins in Boulder, Canyon Creek WA

The best firsts in life are of course our own because WE have never experienced them. And, not to sound extraordinarily selfish, but our own firsts, our experience, are preeminent in our thoughts regardless of who we are. This is how we evaluate the world.  How we assign value and eventually; desire, that thing that influences how we share and bring more to our community. These firsts let us rate and categorize our other experiences and values with the world.
So celebrate firsts! Celebrate the NEW and the BETTER. STRIVE for it. Use all CAPS. (only sparingly though and for a good point.)
Carpe Omnia Dare omnia; give it all take it all, because you don’t owe the world. The world doesn’t owe you either…. but its a mutually beneficial arrangement you see?

life. Don’t watch. Go out and do. There’s so much to BE.

O. Adam on Big Kahuna
O. Adam on Big Kahuna

photos courtesy of turnoffgetout.blogspot.com

[No Title]

Hey all you creative awesome people! I hope that you’ve been doing great; some of you I’ve talked to recently, some of you (sadly) I don’t know what’s new in your life. But, hopefully that will change soon!

The last couple of years I’ve been thinking about my life and how it compares to what the ‘norm’ is for someone my age in the US, and sometimes I get freaked out. What am I doing? Traveling? Snowboarding? Working minimum wage jobs and moving every six months? Barely making it paycheck to paycheck? Occasionally putting groceries on my credit card I still really really need to pay off fully?

And then I talk to people outside of my regular life, outside of my circle of friends, and when I tell them what I do they always say something along the lines of, “You are so lucky! Do that as long as you can.”

Ultimately I come back to this: How I’m living my life is not within the average, but it’s because I have that little bit of drive to live differently that I can love my life and make what I love work in my life.

Ok, so what’s the point of this? For a while, I’ve also been thinking about how lucky I am to know so many amazing people who also have decided to live in a way that trends away from the average. I’ve thought about how you all have awesome stories that you share with me, and how fantastic it would be to get them all together in one place to share with a bunch more people.

I’m not a blog genious (yet. Just like I’m not a helicopter pilot…yet.) so I’m currently working off of a wordpress template, but I did put something together using that and I’ve decided to call it ‘GOFER’.  Gophers are really cute, and when I googled ‘gopher’ I found this awesome Wikipedia entry-

“Gophers, because of their burrowing, can disrupt human plans like commercial agriculture, garden plots, some landscaping, and some underground cables.”

It then continued on to say this, which I just thought was funny (and educational!)-

“Gophers are generally timid but may attack if provoked. If deprived of their normal vegetarian food supply, gophers have been known to resort to cannibalism.”

Gophers disrupt what people are trying to do. Rad! They dig around and operate in communities. Also, they’re vegetarian! (The cannibalism part was something I couldn’t find a connection to…)

Anyway; here’s my point- I want to make this happen. The whole backbone of this ‘collective blog’ would be each of you; my friends who are going out and making things happen. Each person would post entries a time or two a week and together it would create this fascinating collage of people doing rad shit. It would give us all a connection of inspiration too (I hope). You don’t all do the same things (some of you are super driven about similar stuff) but it’s all a bit different and each person offers their own perspective on it all.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all stay tuned and follow the stories that come out of this collective.

Thompson Pass, AK March 2013
Thompson Pass, AK March 2013