“Staffers” aka Crazy People

This summer I once again have the privilege of serving at a Boy Scout Camp here in the midwest. Of course, as the staff gathers we only have a vague idea of what the summer holds for us. And yet we cast ourselves headlong knowing that in less than two weeks our camp will be fully alive with activity.

We’re staff. We’ve given up our summers, time with our friends, and good paying jobs. We’ll push ourselves to the breaking point and then carry each other over the edge. We do it all for the camp we love. And facilitating a great program is never easy; we’ll be working in less than ideal conditions, and by the end the stress will break each of us in some way. But when we fall we always catch each other. Because as staffers, we’re so much more than coworkers, we’re family. And that’s why I know it’s going to be a great summer.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

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embracing uncertainty

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news flash. I don’t know what comes next. I know what I’d like to happen, and I know what direction I’m heading. But I really couldn’t tell you where I’ll end up. I am a dreamer lost in my mind. I’m a traveler on foot, I’ll get there even if it takes me awhile. Where I go from here is enticingly undecided. And if I’m being honest, I’m absolutely okay with that. my goal is to simply keep going. I will live adventurously embracing the uncertainty that is thrown my way.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Personality and Shoes

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As Forrest Gump said, “you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes.” Well these are my shoes, and they sure don’t hide much. I got these as something to wear instead of my hiking shoes. Though the other night during my commute I pulled into this local Conservation area to check out the river. Of course now they’re dirty. I guess as much as I try to fill the role of a typical university student, I can’t hide that I’m really an outdoors junky at heart. That I belong somewhere else. And I suppose I’m okay with that.
Peace, Love, and Happiness…
–Joe

Living in the moment

I woke up this morning trying to finish up a post for today. Then decided against it. Instead I type this on the mobile app as I get ready to head to the woods. You see today is my only free day during my spring break, and I’ve decided to make the most of it.

I’ll leave you with this list from the book How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith

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Anywho, enjoy your day. And don’t forget to be adventurous, even within your routine.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…
–Joe

Speak now

I’m trapped within my own humanity. Therefore every experience is personal. It’s true. Though we all try to distance ourselves from our surroundings the thought comes lingering back. I’m here, I exist, I must engage. Far too often we remain silent, a fly on the wall simply watching. What if everyone of us chose to take the next step? Let’s learn to communicate just a little bit more. Share the joy of the good times, and embrace the support through the rough times. We are social creatures, we need this. I tell myself that maybe if I learn to do this someone will see a light. They might just see a way to rise out of the muck of this life. Maybe they’ll see that I’m just like them. That I have joys and sorrows, passions and struggles. That I most always have butterflies in my stomach and that I still find courage to say what I do. If I can inspire but one person and show them why they are meaningful, it will all have been worth it. We are capable of doing so much with our short lives. So I encourage you, Be more.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

free writing for better writing pt2

author’s note: this continues the series where I take a free writing prompt and present it to you in it’s rough form. this is all in the effort to create characters for my fiction work.

A Perfect Day

deep breath. Smell that? it’s a warm spring morning and there was a thunderstorm last nite. I see the leaves dripping, the winding dirt path is slightly muddy, all around there is a surreal glow as the may sun hits the foliage, and crashing though my thoughts is the sound of countless song birds beckoning to each other. As I shoulder my pack I smile at my friend. Let’s do this.

we begin down the trail turning the bend and losing sight of the car. Our goal today is to reach the overlook, to see for miles. But that doesn’t really matter, does it? What I’m doing, where I’m at, and the time of the year are all second rate to who I’m with. What makes it a perfect day is spending time with a friend. It’s about catching up, laughter, discussing life, and meaningless shit. That’s what brings me to life more than anything else.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

free writing for better writing pt 1

Authors note: this is the first part of a series of free writing pieces I’ve been working on to improve my articulation and hopefully be able to create fictional characters infused with my personality. All of these posts will be typed using first draft, including possible poor punctuation and random capitalization. It’s a process.

I dream of being a senior park ranger at a remote national park outpost. To get there I need a bachelor’s degree, Federal agent training, and an EMT license. And above all, experience. I strive to build a resume that will stand out above the rest. Everything comes at a cost though. First of all it costs home I will not find my dream job here in missouri. And pursuing my dream will most likely require moving regularly. It will also cost time. no one attains my dream position straight out of college, it often takes 8-10 yrs to be hired as a senior ranger. It costs money and energy. I have to earn my degree while simultaneously attaining several certificates and balancing a part-time job and volunteer work (again resume building). This all takes energy that I cant use for leisure, friends family. I will lose contact with some of those friends, through my neglect. The lack of Leisure time may very well cost my sanity. These costs must be weighed to determine the appropriateness of my ambitions. and these ambitions may change I’m young and this life is an adventure im taking. It’ll be fun

I am Bernard

This All Saints day I’d like to take a moment and give you a view of my patron, Saint Bernard

My name is Bernard. I am a gentleman. I am an adventurer. I am a scholar. I will always be a friend of the traveler and of the lost. I love the outdoors. And I pursue mountains, both real and metaphorical. I am a saint. I am a sinner. I am Bernard.

You should go listen to this like a good person… “Litany” –Matt Maher

Who is your patron saint? Is their someone living who you model your life after? I strongly encourage you to find a saint and a mentor. One to pray for you, the other to call you to the carpet every once and awhile…

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

Backpacking Equipment

enjoying the view of the St Francois mountains

Enjoying the view of the St Francois mountains.

As promised, I will also be including bits of my outdoor adventures here. This is my current summer backpacking gear list. Very similar to what I packed earlier this summer when I went hiking on the Ozark Trail in southern Missouri (I’ll tell that story at some point).


3-Day Summer Backpacking List

  • Shelter and sleeping          =4lbs2.15oz
  • +Hammock                             =13.5oz
    +Rain fly                                 =13.75oz
    +4 Stakes                               =2.9oz
    +30*F Sleeping bag               =2lb 4oz
  • Water and food gear           =1lb 6.65oz
    +20oz Water bottle (empty)    =.85oz
    +2L Water bladder (empty)    =6.7oz
    +Cook kit (3cup pot, bandana, stove, lighter, stuff sack) =10.65oz
    +16oz Fuel bottle (empty)      =.35oz
    +Sawyer squeeze water filter =3.15oz
    +Medium dry-sack                  =.95oz
  • Clothing (packed)           =1lb 14.05oz
    +T-shirt                              =8oz
    +2pair Poly ankle socks    =2.7oz
    +Bandana                          =.95oz
    +Gym shorts                      =8.45oz
    +2pairs Compression shorts =8oz
    +Knee Brace                      =.85oz
    +Large dry-sack                 =1.1oz
  • Other gear                        =3lbs 10.25oz
    +Penlight                            =2.1oz
    +Map                                  =.75oz
    +Notepad & Pencil              =2.55oz
    +Compass                          =1.65oz
    +Carabiner                         =1.6oz
    +First aid/repair kit              =3.8oz
    +Rain jacket w/stuff sack    =6.6oz
    +20ft Paracord                    =1.3oz
    +REI Flash 45 Backpack     =2lbs 4oz
    +Sunglasses                       =.75oz
    +Penknife                            =1.15oz

Total base weight =11lbs 1.1oz

  • Clothing (worn) =4lbs 1.2oz
    +Zip-off Hiking Pants =14.15oz
    +T-shirt =8oz
    +Compression shorts =4oz
    +Poly Ankle socks =1.35oz
    +Adidas Trail Runners =2lbs 5.7oz
  • Consumables
    +2.5L Water (on average) =5lbs 8oz
    +Food (1lb/day) =3lbs
    +Fuel (usually) =1lb

Summary
Base weight =11lbs 1.1oz
Consumables =9lbs 8oz
Pack weight =20lbs 9.1oz
Clothing worn =4lbs 1.2oz


So yeah, very happy with what my kit has evolved into; with a base weight under 12 pounds it is unarguably a lightweight load out. This allows for the potential of me cranking out major miles (though not necessarily). As in all things, there are many equally important factors to backpacking, the gear is just one small part. Nothing can replace being adequately prepared.

Peace, Love, and Happiness…

–Joe

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