What If I Went to My Grave?

As somebody increasingly drawn to living an epic story, I often catch myself living in the fantastical “what if.” What if I lived in Seattle? What if I did another, longer version of my #RunningTo road trip? What if I owned a rustic VW bus? What if I backpacked around Europe or South America or New Zealand? Can I go to my grave never having turned all these ambitious what-ifs into reality? It’s a haunting question. I don’t want to leave anything on […]

Nothing Can Get Me Here

Walking into base Friday morning, I was confused where I’d be spending this short half-shift. One board had me listed with the same group as last time, another board had me back with Matt and the recovering addicts, and yet another board had me with an entirely new group of teens altogether. Turns out I’d be spending my five days with a couple of those groups. I’d start with the same group from last shift, but within the same afternoon half the kids […]

I’m Worthless. I’m Pointless. I’m Hopeless. I’m Pathetic.

What a strange and comforting thing last week to find myself awakening in the same tufted mountains that changed my life three years ago. The differences between that Christian camp of yesteryear and my current youth wilderness therapy program are many, but the pristine setting was the same. We hiked the second tallest mountain in Georgia one sunrise, and I cried at the impossible beauty of it all. Stood and stared and sighed and shook my head at the three-year journey it’s taken to bring me back. […]

To Drown Myself and Be Weak

I’m tucked in my sleeping bag amid poison ivy and dirt. I’m sliding down uneven earth, and I readjust my sleeping bag atop my backpack to compensate. It’s pitch black. I have a headlamp, but I’m not allowed to use it. The students won’t have headlamps, so I can’t use mine. I can’t use my hammock either. Not yet. Not during this first phase. Drums are beating in the black beyond my slanted tarp. Earlier today a wild man invited us to join his drum […]

The Return of Wandering Wednesday: DuPont Forest

  IT’S BACK. After what feels like years away, the tradition of Wandering Wednesday returns. A chance for me to dip back into the blissful well of #RunningTo and, well, go wandering again. In this week’s wandering, I trek to DuPont State Forest in western North Carolina and explore the waterfalls running rampant there. I also check out another feature DuPont is known for, though you’ll have to watch to find out more about that. I also take this opportunity […]

How to Find Home

I wandered over to Chattanooga for Memorial Day weekend. I filmed some exploits at North Carolina’s DuPont State Forest en route to Tennessee. Be on the lookout for that fun video soon. Hiking the trails at DuPont and camping out that night gave me a real return to #RunningTo. It was a whimsical wandering among waterfalls that left me longing anew for my now deceased journey. My new home of Charlotte has often left me staggering like a drunken vagrant unsure of his left and right. It’s […]

I Don’t Entirely Know Who I Am Anymore

Last week was a great week. I reunited with my parents, brother, sister, and brother-to-be. Parties and meals and heart-to-heart conversations all affirming how blessed I am. On Valentine’s Day I spontaneously trekked to Signal Mountain in southern Tennessee with my brother and his roommate. The hilarity of three dudes doing dude-things in the mountains on a day devoted to romantic bliss combined with Mother Nature’s sweet allure made it a good day. A glad day. But my Valentine’s Day was a glad day that was also a sad […]

Basking in the Badlands for Billions of Years

The Lakota Indians called it mako sica. French trappers labeled the landscape les mauvaises terres à traverse. Deemed and doomed a literal “bad land,” this devastating terrain made farming and traversing — even existing — a difficult if not impossible feat. And so the Badlands were born; millenia later, the Badlands remain. Driving through the endless prairies of southwestern South Dakota, you wouldn’t see a place like the Badlands coming from ten yards away. But then you turn off the freeway and pay the entrance fee to this massive […]