This year I’m teaming up with Canadian Badlands Tourism and Travel Alberta on a campaign photo-documenting Tom Jackson’s Spirit of the Badlands event series throughout Summer 2016. I’ll be updating this post as event details are rolled out.
Hosted by popular Alberta musician, actor and philanthropist Tom Jackson, the “Spirit of the Canadian Badlands Journey,” kicks off on May 14th in Medicine Hat with a concert 3-4pm at the Medicine Hat Lodge. “The Canadian Badlands is a place that makes you feel free to explore without any limits,” says Jackson. “No matter where you go, the people embrace you with steadfast spirit,” he added. Tickets for the Medicine Hat event can be ordered online at www.SpiritOfTheBadlandsTour.com. ALL proceeds from this concert event will go to support the Medicine Hat Food Bank and the Fort McMurray relief efforts. Minimum donation for a ticket is ten dollars (plus fees). We will be collecting additional donation at the door for those wanting to help!
The next concert will be in Brooks on May 29th and other places on the journey include; Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Stettler, Drumheller, Three Hills and Lethbridge. For updates and announcements of venues, please visit www.CanadianBadlands.com. Admission to the events will be by a minimum donation of $10. All proceeds will be donated to local food banks and Fort McMurray Fire relief efforts.
Influential adventurer, photographer and social media blogger Dax Justin will join Jackson on the road, documenting their Badlands experiences and stories on social media.
Today (May 5th) marks twelve months since the last time I drank alcohol.
I want to keep this one to the point. So many aspects of my life have changed over the last year and it’s not easy to communicate the positive impact that has been happening. It’s overwhelming sometimes. Here are a few things that I have noticed in the last year:
1. NO F*CKING HANGOVERS.
I don’t hate much in life. In fact, I really only hate two things: mosquitoes, and hangovers. The best hangover cure is to eliminate it all together.
2. Being Present & Aware.
I found one thing to greatly overwhelm most others after a year of not drinking, and that is a heightened sense of awareness. Feeling feelings is a wonderful thing.
3. True Relationships. (with humans and nature)
I found that you can connect deeper with people when you are both sharp and maintained. I know so many people who have had relationships over the years and sometimes were completely based around drinking. I have heard this line a million times, “Yeah, all of the problems that we’ve had have involved drinking.” I want a deeper connection with humans that being half-numbed all the time. Furthermore the connection I have with nature and everything alive feels stronger. More synergistic. I think once you begin to remove toxins from your body your mind starts to sing with the energies surrounding it.
4. Increased Health & Focus.
I’m not a doctor, and I’m not even a fake doctor, but I KNOW that my internal organs are thanking me.
5. Less Toxic Vibrations.
You always hear about people eliminating clutter in their lives, throwing away things they do not need, and that is all great. The fact is that most people invite negativity into their lives by how they choose to surround themselves with. Since not drinking or being in bars, I have found a sense of calmness in my life and my friendships.
6. No Losing Consciousness.
Remember back in your teenager years or (now) when you get absolutely intoxicated, then hear all about your night the next morning? Yeah, I had totally had enough of that. Consciousness is King.
7. No Taxis.
Since I haven’t had a drink I haven’t needed to take a taxi anywhere. You know how it feels? Damn good. I’m not sure if you’ve heard or not but the taxi system in Calgary, AB is ridiculous and I’d literally do anything to avoid taking a taxi. Unless money isn’t an object. Then I’ll take a taxi. Two of them.
7. No Longer Needing To Displace Reality.
Alcohol robs you. It robs you of your wallet, your senses, your relationships, your health, your mind and your soul. [tweet this] I no longer need to displace reality and now that just being alive is the natural high, I find myself falling in love with more things (like kayaking) that I find so meditative and serene. I love feeling at peace.
Overall, I see these being the elements of being a better person. And remember, too much of anything will make you an addict.
Have you ever tried to stop drinking for a long period of time? Did you find it extremely difficult? I’m curious to hear your story, please feel free to comment below!
I see quotes and sayings daily about comfort zones and how you should get out of your comfort zone in an effort to grow and progress as people. Having been on a path of discovering myself over the last few years I’ve learned about comfort zones and I’m going to get deep on you.
Now here’s the thing; when you let yourself slide into comfort and convenience to the point where you don’t feel feelings anymore, you gradually forget the essence & vitality of life.
I’ve discovered that in order to implement tangible positive change in your life you must first change the framework in your mind about how you perceive life and create new mental/neural thought pathways and patterns, then take action physically.
Today I was thinking about purpose and what the hell we are doing here on planet Earth. I began by thinking about Life and what the goal of life is. Which turned out to be pretty easy to figure out: The goal of life is to stay alive. Fact.
Deeper than that, what is the purpose of life? Some would say…. Find love, have children, find compassion, find yourself, learn about your soul, achieve awakening or enlightenment, etc. And that’s great. It could be anything, but let’s fast forward and pretend you’ve lived out your life and you are at peace. You’ve laughed, cried, fallen in love, learned about past lives – So what. What’s the purpose? What’s the big idea behind any of it?
It all comes down to two things: the moment, and your surroundings. The only thing that truly matters is being present in the moment and in the flow of life with your surroundings. [tweet this]
The ONLY thing you need to do right now and ever is: Fully invest and immerse yourself in what you’re doing in this moment. You never know when they end and the accumulation of those moments are your life.
You need to slay your comfort zone to bring back the essence & vitality of life – YOUR moment. Live it as if it were your last. [tweet this]
Most of my close friends and family who have been on expeditions with me think I’m crazy. For several reasons, I suppose, but one thing that always comes up is how I’m audaciously trying to push expedition storytelling. To bring you closer to the action I have begun using Snapchat.
On August 4, 2014 I embarked on my first expedition, which was positioned to be around 7 days. People always ask how I began going on expeditions so I wanted to write about my first one. Turns out the S14 Expedition lasted around 20 days… This is the story of how it all happened.
I was on Twitter one day and for the hell of it I tweeted @LincolnMotorCo and said “I want to go on a 7-day expedition across Alberta in one of your vehicles and document the journey across Instagram. Who can I talk to?” It was all super random and I just had the idea and acted on it. Turns out, a couple days later I woke up to an email from Ford Canada saying they wanted to partner on my expedition and collaborate. I then talked with Travel Alberta and they offered expedition support. Once I began aligning the expedition branding and started broadcasting that this was happening things started to move very quickly and I had a flood of emails from various adventure companies and ski resorts across Alberta. The entire thing was put together in a couple weeks and the backbone of the expedition was trying new things in the outdoors.
I mentioned that the root of this expedition was trying new things in the outdoors. Here are the adventure activities that were new to me:
On November 8, 2015 I had all my photography equipment and a bunch of my exploring gear stolen from my truck at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Banff National Park, AB. Turns out, that day was a blessing in disguise. The following is the story of what happened and what I learned from being robbed.
MY FACEBOOK POST JUST HOURS AFTER THE THEFT:
So just to update everyone – the gear has still not been recovered. I kept an eye on Kijiji and the Banff Center security was notified and I had the RCMP involved. That being said, the thieves could have taken the camera equipment anywhere to sell it, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about how an act of robbery could actually turn out being a blessing in disguise. First of all, I’ve had many people ask me about some of the action associated with my social media postings after the theft. They are as follows:
Over 200+ Re-tweets on Twitter (by far the most re-tweets I have ever received. Up to that point, the most re-tweets I had on a single tweet was 52)
The most replies on Twitter I have ever had on a single tweet (so many that I had trouble replying to every one of them)
168 Shares on Facebook (also by far the most shares I have ever received on a post)
The most comments on Facebook I have ever had on a single post (96+)
660NEWS Radio Calgary interviewed me about the theft incident to raise awareness over radio (article link below)
Postmedia Network interviewed me about the incident (article link below)
I hear people say that negative news travels further than positive news. Which may be true in some cases, but compassion can TRANSCEND further into the feelings of people, and that can be way more powerful than a negative story. This is also a two-way street; people had compassion for me and my daughter because our stuff was stolen, but what about the thief? Honestly, after a day or two I gained compassion for whoever broke into my truck and stole everything. Why? Because he or she is in a worse place than I am. Who thinks robbery is cool? People who are desperate, or dumb people. Either way – they cannot bounce back harder or stronger from this… I can.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of your network.
You know, I’ve been on Twitter since 2009, Instagram since 2014, and have been on Facebook forever (but have only taken it seriously since 2014) and I always knew I had an awesome tribe. I love my friends, I love people who comment and interact with my feeds and social media has forever played a HUGE role in my career and personal life. BUT my mind was blown that day and the PURE LOVE I felt from everyone melted my heart – even people I rarely interact with or who I just met shared and offered all kinds of help. Some friends even set up a GoFundMe page and others just reached out and offered me money to help me get some new equipment. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I felt from my friends, followers, and the community for the coming weeks. I love you all, you have no idea.
3. Things get way, way better.
Seriously, they do. After I posted my outreach post across my social media networks, the love and support from people was overwhelming enough – that night the kind folks at GoPro reached out to me and offered to send me all new GoPro equipment. (photo below) LIKE, WHAT! I also posted the image below on my Facebook which got more ‘Likes” than any other photo I have ever posted. (500+ Likes)
Then the VERY NEXT DAY Instagram made me a Suggested User, becoming a top-choice account as chosen by Instagram, drastically increasing my following on Instagram. Then the next day Canadian Geographic magazine reached out to me to publish one of my photos in their JAN/FEB issue. Then a friend of mine on Twitter who I’ve tweeted back and forth with named Joey Bergeron (@joeybergeron) sent me a note and said that he was willing to send me his Canon 30D DSLR camera plus a couple lenses and everything I’d need to get back on my feet. Like, wow. I got emotional like a roller coaster for all of those days but Joey, my man, you really struck a chord with me. I love you. Furthermore someone at Canon Canada saw my post and I’m now in touch with them. (more to come on that hopefully)
4. You have a choice when you get robbed: You can pout, or forge forward.
Unfortunately, robbery happens. Sometimes we can avoid it, and sometimes we can’t. I say that this theft was a blessing because at the moment after getting into my truck with my daughter and realizing we had been robbed, I got upset. However, I knew that being robbed was something I could not control. This instance, was out of my control. So I did not allow myself to become clouded with negativity. That day my daughter and I planned on going indoor rock climbing (her first time climbing indoors) after the film festival, and I looked into the back seat and said to her, “Sweetheart, it’s lame that we got robbed. But there is nothing we can do about it right now other than report it. You know, Christmas is coming up and I’m sure if you ask Santa nicely he will bring you a new LeapPad, but this theft is not going to ruin our day or our spirits – we ARE going back inside and we are going rock climbing.” And we did. And it was amazing. So amazing that for those moments while we climbed, we both forgot about the robbery incident. Forge forward, and come back stronger.
5. Life is about being alive, not things.
It always sucks having your stuff stolen, but at the end of the day – it’s just stuff. Stuff that I LOVED DEEPLY, but I am thankful the robbery didn’t happen while my daughter and I were in the car, and that nobody got hurt. It could have been a lot worse in more than one way. I mean, if I would have witnessed the robbery I’d be in jail right now for like, murder. Or like however many broken legs.
6. Don’t underestimate the other guys greed.
Frank Lopez said it best in Scarface…
6. Never leave items of deep value alone. (obviously)
Even if your vehicle is locked, even if you have a security system – if you want to keep it, always have it on you, in a locker, or within sight.
Have you ever been robbed before or been the victim of a theft? How did you bounce back?