How Jealousy Plagues Your Hustle

Last week Sara Dietschy, one of my favorite YouTubers, tweeted out Don’t get when artists/entrepreneurs exhibit jealousy when ppl they know win. Guilty as charged! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times my jealousy has skyrocketed when I see a friend of mine “win.” I know I should be stoked for her/him, but I mean come on, why didn’t I get the opportunity?Justin Fricke sitting along the shore of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks in Michigan

Real talk: Columbia Sportswear started this program in the spring of 2012 called #OmniTen. They picked 10 social media influencers and took them on one heck of a trip to a press event in Sedona, then threw them at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and topped it all off with a backpacking trip to Havasu Falls. The whole concept was for these select social media influences that are rooted in the outdoors to test gear, build hype on social media, and inspire others to get out and go on adventures.

I started The Weekend Warrior in April of 2013, about the same time the spring 2013 team was gearing up for their epic adventure. That’s the same time I was getting on social media (hooray for free marketing!) and that’s when I found out about #OmniTen. By some miracle Columbia Sportswear contacted me around August or September of 2013 asking me some questions about myself and specifically, my knowledge in snow sports. I know more about snow sports than most Floridians, but nowhere near as much as someone from out west or up north. Shocking surprise, when I followed up they let me know they were pretty set and a couple months later I saw a lot of happy posts all over social media. I made it to their short list of influencers, but wasn’t picked. 10 new #OmniTen were sending out celebratory tweets and the veteran #OmniTen teams we congratulating them. And there I was in my cubicle on the third floor of an office building in downtown Orlando. I was mad I didn’t get picked. And I was jealous.

In 2013 I wanted nothing more than to be recognized for my blog that had no direction and wasn’t even a year old. I also wanted to impress a girl and try to find a way to get this blog to pay for itself. But I wasn’t ready and I’m a totally believe that when you’re ready, opportunities present themselves and it’s your job to take advantage of those opportunities.

Lack of patience is only half of this equation. Insecurities clout my mind on a daily basis. Maybe you feel the same way. When I see a photographer friend of mine post a photo from a photo shoot location I begin nitpicking her/his work to mine and trying to figure out what I have to do to get the coveted call from a producer/client to be the photographer on a photo shoot. I do the same thing when I see a friend of mine announce a new writing gig or take to social media, sourcing questions for an article they’re writing. As you might know, comparison sucks and leads to insecurities, but they’re a part of life and I think the best way to overcome them is to take pride in your work and that you’ll get your chance if you keep hustling (going back to that patience thing).

Three years later and I’m glad things didn’t go down the way I wanted them to go down. Unless you’re a big name like Jimmy Chin you usually get a big red “X” put on your forehead by companies when you’re an ambassador for or sponsored by one of their competitors (all assuming they look at your social media profiles). After the winter 2014 #OmniTen team went on their sweet adventure to Park City, UT Columbia did a couple more things with a select few of their #OmniTen ambassadors, but the program has dissolved for the most part.

In August 2015 I got a message from Merrell asking if I was open to partnership opportunities. One thing led to another and they’re now my main sponsor. I was stoked to be working with them and when I signed the contract to make it official, I took right to social media. I threw out my exciting news and it was met with loads of congratulations. I finally got the chance to feel the excitement that so many others had felt that I had been jealous of.

Jealousy plagues our minds because it’s easy to get mad and question others better judgement when it’s not our turn to win. It gets in the way of our own hustle. A little bit later I saw a follow up tweet from Sara.

RMBR: You win when your friends win. Surround urself w hustlers and take over the wrld together.

Shout Out to Those Who Want to Leave a Great Legacy

This picture might look like a standard fence post along some back roads highway between Calgary Alberta Canada and Montana. It is, but it also means something more to me. You see, it took me back to my past. A time in my life I hate with a passion.

High schoolFence post in Canada that reminds me of those who want to leave a great legacy

I was never the popular or cool kid in high school. I got picked on for having wavy hair that stretched past my shoulders and eight ear piercings. My clothes were baggy, I tried to blend in to the crowd, slide in and out of classes, and hoped teachers wouldn’t call on me in class. But there was one teacher who singled me out from the rest.

My junior year of high school I took Photography I. Mr. Kendall gave the class different photo assignments each week where we’d have to shoot a roll of black and white film, develop the roll of film, and process the images in the dark room. While other kids used the dark room to make out, text their boyfriend/girlfriend, or sleep, I enjoyed processing my photos. I finally found something I enjoyed and I think Mr. Kendall took note of that.

One assignment was to show that we understood the rule of thirds and depth of field. Other than that, it was up to us. I took my mom’s film camera to a strawberry patch in the next town over and snapped a picture of a fence post with rows of barbed wire strung between each. There were some other photos I took, but I liked this one the most. In the darkroom I made some adjustments using the old school dodge and burn techniques and pumped in a little contrast to help the image pop.

My matting skills were worse than my photography skills at that point, and probably still are. Where I should have matted the photo dead center and slightly higher than the mid point, I ended up placing it way off centered. By the time it was put in place for all of eternity, it was noticeable that I suck at math, geometry in particular.

I turned it in with hopes that I’d get a “B.” Mr. Kendall was sorting through the photos the next day. He picked mine up, saw my name on it, and a little “ah hell” ran through my head as I saw him walking towards me. I wasn’t blending in that day.

He sat next to me and asked me what was going through my head as I was shooting that day and why I did what I did as I developed the image. He just looked at me with a smile as I told him my thought process and what I wanted my image to look like. When I stopped talking Mr. Kendall told me I should never put down a camera and that I needed to be a yearbook photographer next year (he was also the yearbook supervisor), my senior year.

The next year he took me under his wing every 3rd period in yearbook. He critiqued my images and helped me get better at all styles of photography: portrait, journalistic, sports, nature, etc. Mr. Kendall gave me a safe haven for 45 minutes during my last year of high school. Yearbook turned into a place where I wanted to learn and take pride in my work. It’s also the first place where my photo work was published for all to see.

Last week I got to talk with a new friend in Wisconsin. She told me about how she’s working towards her Masters in Social Work. She has another year of schooling that’s going to add to her paying off more student debt when she graduates and a friend of hers got a Bachelor’s degree in engineering and is about to be making six figures just two years out of college.

Social work, much like teaching, is a very thankless profession and the salary proves that statement. But I think people choose these professions, among others, to do more than collect a crummy paycheck.

As we were leaving, my friend was talking about everything she’s aware of that’s to come: helping people who don’t want the help, trying to fix a failed system, seeing people at their worst, and watching issues just get pushed aside to never be addressed, among many others.

But I don’t think it’s about the money. I wonder what kind of legacy I’m going to leave. And I want to leave a great legacy that helps others when no one else would step up.

My baby cousins aren’t really babies anymore. One’s in 1st grade and the other is in 2nd grade; another’s in Pre School, and another will be in Pre School next year. I don’t get to talk to them as much as I’d like, but I when I do I always ask how school’s going. They almost always tell me about how awesome their teacher is and what he/she is teaching them in school at that point in time and how he/she takes the time to help them, and all the students in the class, understand what they’re learning.

As a teacher, social worker, or professional in a similar profession, you want to make a difference in our society, to leave a lasting legacy; I’m guessing. And I’m going to guess that there are lots of times where people in these professions wonder if what they’re doing is actually worth it. But a difference in one life is worth all the time away from family, the migraines, and possibly tears of defeat—hopefully seeing another’s dream come true, that they influenced, can help make those long hours, migraines, and the emotional stress a little easier to bare.

I’m fortunate to have never been through “the system,” but I have friends have who speak highly of the social workers that helped them and their family. I get to see the legacy of a couple social workers live on in a couple of my friends.

And thanks to Mr. Kendall, I’m doing what I love, I’m trying to take photos that I love, and I think other people love them too.

The Gateway to Freedom

7 months ago I stood next to a casino in New Orleans overlooking the Mississippi River. I anxiously stood there, I wondered to myself what I’d find out west. All I wanted was to just be out west. This was my first time seeing the Mississippi River in my life and the Mississippi symbolized, to me, the gateway to freedom.

Growing up in the east I heard all these stories about how the west is this magical place for anyone who loves the outdoors. It has big open spaces, dark night skies, colorful deserts, mountains that put the Appalachians to shame, interesting people, fast moving water, and freedom. Freedom to do whatever the hell you want as long as you’re not hurting yourself or other people. It was that freedom I’d been craving for so many years and I could finally see it waiting for me across the Mississippi River.The Gateway to Freedom

Now I’m standing on the shores of the Mississippi River beneath Gateway Arch in St. Louis. This time I’m looking east and my back is facing the freedom I found out west. I’m seeing where I was running from and now I’m running towards it.

These 7 months have been beautiful. I thought I’d hate the desert and I found new life in the desert. People looked at me like I was a rockstar when I told them I live in a van. The west is where I broke out of my comfort zone. It’s where I felt at home taking risks. It’s where I told a girl she was beautiful and where my hopes of starting a real relationship were shattered. The west is where I learned to love the terrible moments that get me down. It taught me how to keep fighting when odds were against me; that quitting isn’t an option. I felt the freedom to fail and embrace the failure. The west is where I went when I was lost; and was found.

This freedom I found is only a state of mind, I guess. But this place wasn’t just a state of mind. The west became my home and now I’m going into the unknown. I don’t know when I’ll be back and that scares me. The limited space in the east, big cities, and bright night skies scare me.

I know I’ll be back out west soon enough, but the west, and all its freedom, will always be in my heart. And I hope the west will always have a place for me in its great big heart. I’m slowly realizing that it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. And that to have lost a game doesn’t mean to have lost the match. But for now my compass needle is pointed east. I don’t know what’s there, but I want to find whatever there is for me to find.

Thanks for Sharing Your Unbiased Political Opinion!


I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your unbiased political opinion on social media. You not only affected my political views on this whole election, gun control, tax laws, etc. but you also affected the entire Internet’s opinions on this important subject matter with one status update/”tweet”/”snap”/share.Bison in the Badlands National Park sharing their unbiased political views

Had you not shared your unbiased opinion bashing that one candidate, I might have actually voted for him/ her. And boy what a mess that would’ve been if I actually voted for him/her. And I’m sure you changed the way most people are going to vote with that unbiased post you shared on social media.

I’m also really glad I was cyber bullied, indirectly, when I was indirectly called an idiot, among other words, when you made that post saying that anyone who is voting for/supporting the candidate you’re voting against is an idiot, among other words.

Your political opinion is highly valued and I think that’s what drives people like Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Evan Spiegel, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, and other people like these guys that create social media platforms. Now I’ve never created a social media platform, but I’ve been a dedicated user of several for the past decade and based on my experiences I can wholeheartedly say that these developers did NOT develop their platforms to be used to better connect with your friends, family, and Internet friends. They developed these platforms so people like you and me can share our unbiased political views and opinions with the entire Internet world.

The first Presidential Debate on September 26th was amazing and I actually got to watch it. The opinions rolling in virtually every second of the debate letting me know if Hillary or Trump was telling the truth and whether I should support him/her was unprecedented. It really helped me in knowing who to aim my popcorn at when I threw it at the TV in disgust of the opinion/remark that candidate just made.

Going forward there’s one Vice Presidential Debate and two more Presidential Debates. Since I live in a van, I might not be able watch any of these debates. So I need your help. I need you to tell me who to vote for. Please continue posting your unbiased political views all over social media. It really helps people like me know who I should vote for; based on your unbiased opinion.

Do You Have Obsessive Climbing Syndrome?

Do you walk by a doorframe and immediately feel the urge to hang from it? Do you feel the little yellow calluses on your fingers approximately 16.3 times per hour? Are you the guy/girl in your friend group that uses words like crux, beta, dyno, and stoke in everyday verbiage?Do You Have Obsessive Climbing Syndrome?

If you answered yes to any, or all, of these scenarios then you might have Obsessive Climbing Syndrome (OCS). Obsessive Climbing Syndrome is common in men and women ages 7 to 93. Although Obsessive Climbing Syndrome is a new, rare, disease it is easy to self-diagnose and is treatable if symptoms are noticed early on. Common symptoms, in addition to the ones listed above, include, but are not limited to:

  • Spending all your money on shiny karabiners, “nuts,” “cams,” and “draws” and calling it an investment
  • Freaking out over the new Reel Rock Film every autumn
  • Naming your pet after your favorite climbing crag or some climbing jargon
  • Moving to a new state just to be close to your favorite climbing crag
  • Washing yourself with biodegradable soap in a river and calling it the best shower you’ve had in a month
  • Have been mistaken to have an “illegal white powdery substance” all over your hands and face when it was climbing chalk
  • Plastering stickers of your favorite climbing cities, shops, and breweries all over your car
  • Getting your hair or beard caught in your belay device. (This is not a symptom. If this has happened to you, chances are it’s time for a haircut and/or beardcut)

Those living with Obsessive Climbing Disorder may not show symptoms until their teens, 20’s, or 30’s. Once symptoms show, consult a doctor right away. Most begin to show symptoms in their early 20’s when they’re on a date, or just hanging around someone of interest.

Talk to your doctor if you think you have Obsessive Climbing Syndrome. Since it effects both men and women from the time they’re little gym rat kids just getting into climbing, all the way up to the older generation that said you weren’t a real climber if you used chalk, you probably have Obsessive Climbing Syndrome to some degree if you enjoy climbing.

Many sufferers of Obsessive Climbing Syndrome have gone on to live healthy, fulfilling lives. Most will end up dedicating an entire room in their house to storing their gear. They call that room their “Gear Room.”

If you suspect your friend has Obsessive Climbing Disorder, confront him/her directly. Ask something like “Ted, why did you name your dog Dyno and your cat Moab?”

Ask your doctor what Obsessive Climbing Disorder medication is right for you. Quit worrying about grades, rock quality, who has the best beta, or how hard you climb and get back to climbing just for fun. If you see stars and/or are bleeding from the ears, chances are it’s not due to Obsessive Climbing Disorder. You probably took a big whipper and slammed your head against the side of the wall. In that case, you should’ve been wearing a helmet.

11 Books to Read that are Probably Better Than Textbooks

Justin Fricke reading the #askgaryvee book instead of text books

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World – Bob Goff

Love prevails over everything. Short sweet and to the point. Every chapter in this book is a story about how if we all fall back to loving one another, the world would be a better place. My friend also pointed out that this is a great book to have around a campfire for some good campfire conversation.

60 Meters to Anywhere – Brendan Leonard

Addiction and overcoming addiction is hard to talk about and isn’t talked about enough. Brendan brings to light how climbing effectively saved him from continuing down a path bathed in alcohol that was leading straight to the guarded gates of prison. We all have our own addictions and whether you’re a climber or a knitter, Brendan writes in a way that anyone can relate their story to his.

Quitter – Jon Acuff

“Quit your job and do what you love.” That’s what so many people told me to do when I said I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. That’s terrible advice. Quitter is about quitting your job to do what you love, but the first chapter is title Don’t Quit Your Day Job. And the book only builds from there.

The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason

Every summer my parents made my brother and I read a book. This was one of those books and it’s helped me handle my money more wisely than what I would have. The story takes place in Biblical times and while the references are a little outdated, the keys to personal wealth are so simple and easy to understand. I’m mad at myself that I didn’t read this book when I was 12.

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy – Donald Miller

Something that you may not know about me is that I have a lot of insecurities. There are things about me that I don’t like, try to change, or cover up. I was putting on an act of how I thought others wanted me to be. Scary Close helped me quit putting on an act and in turn has helped me form better relationships over time.

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rule, Life the Life You Want, and Change the World – Chris Guillebeau

Having just landed a desk job, I caught myself wondering how others I’ve seen online live an unconventional, fun filled, life. I “had” to read this book in a mentor group and I fell in love with it when Guillebeau laid it all out there how he travel hacks and has made it possible for himself to visit every country in the world AND make a living.

#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness – Gary Vaynerchuk

The drive to and from Alaska was a long one and while I didn’t read this book, I listened to Gary’s voice for over 10 hours as he recapped questions he’s received over the years from the Ask Gary Vee podcast he does. Overall, I think I got some interesting business ideas from him.

The Millionaire Next Door – Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D. & William D. Danko Ph.D.

When I was a little kid, and even into high school, I thought you had to be some famous singer or play a professional sport to be a millionaire. Little did I know that the steps to becoming wealthy and having over a million bucks is pretty simple. For the science people that love studies and statistics, the authors conducted a long study and came up with a lot of statistics that make it into this book. Oh and they disprove my theory that you have to be famous to be a millionaire and prove that anyone who handles their money wisely can be a millionaire.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman – Yvon Chouinard

My mom bought this book for me right after I graduated college. None of the typical business books interested me, but Yvon speaks my language.

Start Something that Matters – Blake

Being the reality TV fiend that I am, I originally saw Blake Mycoskie on Season 2 of The Amazing Race. He got really far, but ended up not winning the $500,000 grand prize. But while he was rushing through Argentina, he became inspired to create the shoe brand TOMS. I read this while I was an intern at a bank and wanted to do something that matters. I didn’t know what that was at the time, but this was a solid springboard to show me that I had all the tools and resources I needed to do something that matters.

The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business – Bob Burg

I think we’re always trying to find a way to stand out amongst the crowd. We all know what we want to get, but hardly do we ever shift our focus to giving. The Go-Giver shifts that focus and illustrates how putting others needs and adding value to their lives can ultimately lead to unexpected returns.

Put down those stupid textbooks and learn yourself something that’ll actually help you move your life forward!

*Stay in school kids

**There are affiliate links throughout this post. When you click on the link and make a purchase on Amazon, you help keep The Weekend Warrior alive and thriving.

When Leaving Sucks and It’s a Good Thing

When I left Florida 8 months ago I was a trainwreck. Tears fell from my eyes and I couldn’t call home for weeks because I’d start balling my eyes out again. During those first few weeks on the road I wondered if I had made the right decision. I was wondering if leaving my family, friends, the place I called home for 25 years, everything I knew for a year on the road was the right decision. I got to see my parents again for a quick ski trip in North Carolina a few weeks later and at the end of the trip the water works started again. Leaving sucked.Adam Fricke leaving and looking out the window on a JetBlue flight

Over the last 8 months I’ve had to do a lot of leaving and in some ways it’s gotten easier. I’ve grown accustomed to it and while my gut still churns when I leave certain places and people, I knew the ultimate test would be when I visited Florida again.

It was a quick visit because I was flying over the state from Puerto Rico back to Montana. So a visit made sense and my mom made sure I knew that. She can be very persuasive.

Catching up with family and seeing Max, my 14 year old dog, again was awesome. It was a reprieve from this yearlong journey, but I found my stomach in knots as I said my see ya laters* to my cousins, baby cousins, aunt, uncle, and friends I haven’t seen in what seemed like forever.

You’d think that after leaving so many places and so many people this year that I’d be a boss at leaving. But I’m not. I lose my shit 9 times out of 10 in some way shape or form when I have to leave. My stomach turns to knots, I go silent, and sometimes I even cry.

As I gave my dad one last hug for a while on his way out the door for work my eyes welled up with tears just as they had 8 months ago and the tears fell like rain drops as I hugged Max for what could be the last time. My mom couldn’t hold it together as she saw me breaking down and we cried together as we hugged it out before she drove Adam and me to the airport. As I was walking out the door my mom said this phrase for the third time this year.

Leaving wouldn’t hurt like this if we didn’t love each other so much. And it’s true. When it hurts to leave it means I’ve loved and enjoyed every minute of where I was and who I was with and I don’t want it to end. It means I even loved the difficult moments that we often wished had never happened. It means that place in time and who I was with will always have a place in my heart. It’s exactly where I was meant to be and with the people I was meant to be with.

Leaving is still hard and I think that’s a good thing. I’m grateful that I’ve learned how to process and channel my feelings when I’m leaving, but I’ve learned to become grateful that leaving hurts.

When my stomach turns into a big knot I remember that time I chased Max into the ocean, he stopped on a dime, and I had to swan dive over him into the ocean so I didn’t mow him down (I didn’t plan on swimming that day). Getting hailed on during a hike totally sucks, but I wouldn’t have wanted that hike to be any different in Glacier National Park. Those big smiles on my baby cousins faces when we played airplane will be engrained in my memory forever. I never wanted that drive home with the windows down after the Magic game listening to New Found Glory to end knowing my best friend would be boarding an airplane to his new home the next day and I always nurse that last bit of whiskey to keep talking with my dad on the patio.

If leaving were always easy we’d have no community in our lives. We wouldn’t feel known and we wouldn’t know what it’s like to enjoy life with others by our side.

Leaving probably won’t ever get easier. 8 months ago I naively hoped it would. And I’m glad it hasn’t. I’ll gladly take being a blubbery mess whether I show it or not over being glad to leave any day; leaving without a community or fond memories to look back on or look forward to making new memories with the people I enjoy spending time with.

And I hope you feel the same.

*I never say goodbye, only see ya later

6 Things I Learned Driving the Alaska Highway

In July and August I was fortunate enough to drive the Alaska Highway to and from Alaska. Road trips are something I love. There’s nothing like driving down the open road, dodging obstacles and seeing the scenery change over the course of 1,382 miles plus getting to the highway via Canada’s road systems. There’s a lot of time to contemplate different things between audiobooks: relationships, work, outlooks on life, et cetera.

Here are 6 things I learned on what seemed like an endless drive on the Alaska Highway:

Justin Fricke The Weekend Warrior driving the Alaska Highway

Embrace the Potholes and Rough Roads

The frigid winter takes its toll on the highway. As you drive further north you see the road take on various shapes. Potholes litter the road, ice heaves threaten to launch your car into the air as if you hit the wrong button in Inspector Gadget’s car, and the change between pavement and gravel will give your back an adjustment without a visit to the chiropractor. All that being said, it’s fun. The Alaska Highway wouldn’t be the Alaska Highway without all these challenges. It’d be just another highway.

There’s this quote from Stephen Colbert in a GQ interview that’s stuck with me the past couple of years.

“’What punishments of God are not gifts?’ So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”

All the rough spots in the road teach you to embrace and be grateful for them all. They’re a total inconvenience and make the ride a little rough, but it’s the rough ride that makes the smooth road up ahead that much more enjoyable.

Go at Your Own Speed

A lady at the Visit Center in Watson Lake in Canada’s Yukon Territory told me I was at least a 4 day’s drive from the nearest, legitimate, town in Alaska. I was only 3 days into the long drive and was ready to be in Alaska. It only took another 2 days.

Just because someone did something faster or slower makes you or them no less or more. We were all created differently and go at different speeds. It makes no sense to make comparisons with others, only yourself. Go at your own speed; and you get decide how heavy your foot weighs down on the gas pedal.

Enjoy the In-Between Moments

In his book The In-Between Jeff Goins breaks down that we define life by moments. Big moments are what we remember, but most of our life is made of little tiny moments. And when we get caught up waiting and looking ahead to the next big thing, we take for granted to little things that give life its flavor.

While Alaska or somewhere in Canada might be the end goal, there’s so much more to love and experience on the Alaska Highway. I don’t many places where you’ll willingly stop to get mediocre ice cream in a picturesque setting, skate on asphalt that’s covered by snow and ice most of the year, see 7 black bears along the highway within an hour, take pictures of 3 bison at sunset and then get surrounded by a herd of 50 bison 2 miles down the road, or take a swim in a turquoise lake to stretch out your legs.

Take Your Eyes Off the Road

Someone gave me a map of all the campsites along the Alaska Highway. They all looked great and well maintained, but that meant I had to pay to sleep in my van on a patch of dirt for the night.

A friend of mine told me to keep an eye out for free sites near bridges and river banks. Sure enough, some of my favorite spots to call home for the night have been on the Alaska Highway. They weren’t always easy to find, but they required me to look a little off to the side of the road to find these hidden gems. Opportunity won’t always present itself in the middle of the road. Sometimes you might find them hiding off the side of the road. Unless it’s a bison crossing the road.

Heed the Advice of Others that Have Gone Before You

The drive gets boring and I listened to the Ask Gary Vee audiobook. It’s an awesome listen and not just for entrepreneurs. But in the book, Gary was asked a question about who to listen to for business advice and if info programs that are sold are even worth buying. His response was incredible.

Listen to people who have done and been successful at what they’re talking about. Heeding the marketing advice of someone that’s never led a marketing campaign or the leadership advice of someone who’s never owned a business, let alone been in a leadership or even a managerial role, is good time wasted. So many people are willing to lend you their advice because they want to feel important. That advice is rubbish unless they’ve actually done it. Same goes for people telling you how rough and terrible the Alaska Highway is, only because that’s what their friends have said.

Enjoy the Ride

I can’t describe what makes 1,000 miles of driving over a highway that’s frozen most of the year so great. But if you love road trips like I do, this one that has to be on the top of your list. All the naysayers are going to say it sucks and that the road’s too rough and you need to carry extra fuel with you. Don’t listen to them. Use your common sense and enjoy the ride.

How to Get Companies to Pay You to Travel: My Story

A couple times a week I get a message on Facebook, Instagram, or through email from someone asking questions about how they can get their upcoming trip sponsored, like I have.

My friends/significant other and I have been planning this trip…love to travel…take pictures…have fun…inspire…video…et cetera–how do we get a company like Merrell or EnerPlex to sponsor us?

Sponsorships are kind of like mermaids. They’re never seen and often talked about. So let’s talk about sponsorship for a trip.How to Get Companies to Pay You to Travel: My Story

There are two types of sponsorship:

  • Product
  • Monetary

I’ve seen lots of people get sponsored on a product level. It’s awesome not having to pay for a product/service you need and you’re saving money. Getting sponsored on a monetary level is tough. Unless you have a big following, you have to prove yourself and stand out from the rest.

Companies need to see a return: Companies see this in 1 of 2 ways. They A.) expect you to leverage your massive following to show off their product/service. B.) They believe you have a special set of skills (photography, videography, writing, etc.) that will supplement their marketing/advertising efforts.

In order to qualify for Scenario A, your social media following usually has to be on par with, or larger than the company’s.

BIG travel is king: Everyone goes on weekend trips, sometimes weeklong trips, and occasionally trips that last a month or two. Hardly anyone dedicates their life to travel. If you’re willing to dedicate the next year or two of your life to traveling, your chances skyrocket. But you have to prove that you’re going to do what you say you’re going to do with or without the help of a company or two.

In order to prove to companies that you’re doing this trip with or without them, you need to self fund it first. It took Adam and I two years to save up what we thought we’d need to buy a van, build it out, money for the year, and a little extra on the side in case something happened. It wasn’t easy; we lived at home, worked our normal jobs while picking up freelance gigs, and every extra dollar we made we put into savings. When Merrell and EnerPlex came along, they just helped make our yearlong road trip even better and have in some ways certainly made our live easier than what they would have been.

You’re not getting paid to go on vacation: When you get your trip sponsored, it all of a sudden turns into a job and is no longer a vacation. Granted your job is way awesome to brag about, but you’re going to constantly be on the lookout for ways that you can fulfill the promises you made to your sponsors. You might even find yourself working while you’re traveling.

Don’t expect to get paid right away: Think of it as dating. Usually you want to get to know someone, go on a few dates, introduce them to your friends and family, and then maybe you make it Facebook Official. That’s usually how long-term relationships happen, at least in my case. Hardly ever do one-night stands turn into any long last relationship. Expect to actually get to know a company over time. Work with them on a product level for a while and interact with them on social media.

The industry’s small: Every industry is small. Do a stellar job and over deliver to your sponsor(s) and other companies may take notice.

You can just travel: Being sponsored and paid to travel’s great and all. But you can still travel because you love it and believe it’s what’s best for you and the best way to spend your time.

Getting sponsored to travel doesn’t happen overnight. It’s helpful if you’re already active within the industry and have made some connections in one way or another: social media, working with PR companies, working directly with brands, meeting others in the industry at trade shows/conferences, etc. Perhaps sharing my story could help shed some light on the topic.

Here we go:

I’ve always loved to travel. My parents showed me from an early age that it’s best to collect experiences rather than things. My dad went to a lot of conferences for work when I just started walking and my brother was a little baby. My dad got to bring my mom, my brother, and me along and to this day my mom tells people that I could basically find our seats on a plane by the time I could walk. It was fun, my mom made it a game, kind of like “Hide and Go Seek.” As Adam and I got older we’d take family road trips to visit extended family in North Carolina and snow ski, down to the Keys to snorkel and fish, and in 2010 my mom insisted the 3 of us guys start going on an all guys surf trip.

We listened to her.

One day my dad came home from work and told Adam and me that his book publisher somehow found a way to see a baseball game in every stadium with some friends one summer in college. Oh and they got sponsored to do it. About that time I had just started The Weekend Warrior and Adam was getting savvy with a camera. My dad threw out a challenge to us, get some companies to sponsor our annual all guys surf trip. That epically failed, Adam and I didn’t really make an effort, but if you’ve seen The Bro’d Trip website or watched any of our vlogs, you’ll see that we’re not doing this alone. We’re working with some companies on a BIG level and they’re helping make this yearlong road trip better than what we had originally imagined.

I’m sure every traveler has a timeline about how they got their career started and eventually got companies to sponsor their trips on a product AND monetary level. This is my timeline:

  • April 2012: Boss tells me I’m a terrible writer and shouldn’t focus my efforts on writing. I start The Weekend Warrior to practice my writing skills and give others some motivation to get out and enjoy their own hobbies outside of work, school, family life, etc.
  • Summer 2012 – Fall 2013: Continue working at a job I don’t like, have awesome adventures outside of work, and meet a whole new batch of online outdoor bloggers and freelance creatives.
  • October 2013: Go on a fun 9 day road trip with my girlfriend and climb with friends that are on the tail end of their yearlong road trip. Girlfriend is enamored with this life and begins pestering me about quitting my job when she graduates college in 2 years to take off on our own yearlong road trip.
  • December 2014: I succumb to her pestering. We begin saving.
  • March 2014: Girlfriend dumps me, for good reason, and I decide I still want to do this road trip. Talk my brother into doing this year on the road with me, after he graduates in December 2015. We’ll write about it and share photos while on the road and make a documentary about our year on the road when all’s said and done.
  • Summer 2014-Summer 2015: Continue working my desk job, pick up freelance writing gigs on the side, and lose out on a social life. Going out with friends becomes a luxury. My dating life becomes virtually nonexistent. Adam continues to go to school, wait tables, and work at a surf camp over the summer.
  • July & August 2015: Put together a proposal to send to companies that we think will take an interest in what we’re doing and align with our vision. Lose our sh!t in excitement when companies actually approach us and want to work with us.
  • September 2015: Quit my job. I give 6 weeks notice because they were nothing but stellar to me for the past 4 years. Everyone at the office is excited, jealous, and somewhat confused at what I’m doing.
  • October 2015: Buy a Sprinter Van from a nice retired couple in Rhode Island and begin building it out.
  • November 2015: Continue building out Sprinter Van and have my last day at work.
  • December 2015: Finish building out Sprinter Van, throw a going away party for all our friends and family, and move stuff into storage unit.
  • January 2016: Hit the road for a year!

I should make known that a life and career centered around travel isn’t always glamorous, at least it isn’t for me. One night I got chased out of a site I wanted to call home for the night and didn’t find another site until 10:30pm. As I sit here writing this, I smell terrible. I’ve lost track of how many days it’s been without a shower, have only worn deodorant on one of those days, and changed clothes yesterday for the first time in over a week. Today my diet has consisted of a couple granola bars, a banana, and a sandwich. But I did spend the better part of the day rock climbing with new friends, taking photos and video, and that’s pretty cool I get to call that work.

If you’re interested in reaching out to a company to help support your trip, here are a few tips that might help:

  • Stand out from the rest: See “BIG travel is king” above.
  • Solicit your skills: Are you a baller at editing, take stunning photos, have a way with words, or have some other marketable skill? Use that to your advantage!
  • Put together a proposal: Companies get pitched all the time (hundreds, if not thousands, of times a day). Make your proposal stand out from the rest; your proposal is the best way to show off your marketable skills.
  • Follow up: Be persistent without being annoying. Getting your foot in the door’s one of the toughest things to do and chances are that your proposal won’t do the trick. Follow up with the person (or info email account) you sent your proposal to let the gatekeeper know you’re serious and deserve to speak with the decision maker.

Parting thoughts

Do the work first, build an audience, hone your skills, show your value, and prove that you’re different from the tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands that have the same dream. Demonstrate that you can provide an ROI (return on investment) to the company. Do all that and then maybe a company will have the confidence to invest in you and give you the creative freedom you want that will ultimately benefit them and their bottom line.

Be great at all this and maybe you’ll have companies vying to work with you. I’ve only very recently realized this and am constantly learning more and more about this career every single day.

Go Explore – Because It’s F*@3!ng There

For quite a while now I’ve wanted to visit Jasper and Banff National Parks in Alberta Canada. It’s hard not to want to go to either of these places once you’ve seen the pristine aqua lakes on social media with no one around. Now that I’m here, I hate it. I’ve barely taken any photos and I want nothing to do with these parks. I just want to drive away as fast as possible; and that’s exactly what I did.

Truth be told, I knew it was going to be a junk show at the waterfalls and lakes I wanted to see. I’m willing to put money on it that everyone else there knew they wouldn’t be alone either. So why is it that even if we know a place is going to be overrun by fellow tourists we still go to these picturesque places? And I’m not just talking about Banff and Jasper National Parks. I’m talking about Horseshoe Bend, The Wave, Yosemite National Park, and too many other places to name.Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park taken by Justin Fricke The Weekend Warrior

How does the image that’s attached to this post make you feel? I hope it brings you calmness, maybe a little wanderlust, a sense of being there alone, and some need to explore all mixed in. If this photo made you feel any of those things “Perfect!” that’s exactly what I was going for when I took the photo.

What you’re not seeing or feeling from the photo is the family standing right next to me. The kids are being loud and obnoxious, yelling things back and forth to each other in a language I don’t understand while the parents are taking photos of each other to once again prove they were there. This photo, among so many others, has told you a lie. I wasn’t alone, it wasn’t quiet, calm, peaceful or any of those things you may have felt by looking at this photo. And that’s because I went to a place that was easily accessible. Behind me is a parking lot filled with cars and I took the stairs the park service built down to this spot.

When asked for the hundredth time why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, an annoyed Sir Edmund Hillary responded with “Because it’s f*@3!ng there!” We’ve been conditioned to believe that we have to have a reason to go out and experience nature, explore. It has to be to land a shot, get a story for a blog or news site, get in a work out, find some treasure, et cetera. But it’s never to explore because it’s f*@3!ng there.

When’s the last time you went on a hike that wasn’t listed as one of the most beautiful places in your area? Or took a different route on your drive home. Or surfed a new break? Or climbed a new route because it looked fun? Exploring isn’t all that hard, but we hardly fulfill our natural born instinct to explore. Instead we think there needs to be a reason or there has to be an accomplishment.

It’s been said that the right thing to do might not always be the popular thing to do and the easiest places to see might not always be the best places to see. With easily accessible sights, you’re going to find access issues in the form of crowded parking lots, trash all over, congested walking paths, selfie sticks getting the shot, and long lines to use the bathroom. There’s something to be said for going out to areas with less foot traffic. While you might want to get that feeling of calmness and being alone at that one beautiful lake you saw on the Internet, you won’t be alone. Everyone else has seen that same photo, wants to get that same photo, and wants to feel what that photo on the Internet made them feel but this time in real life.

Though the location may not be as iconic you’re going to get what you seek when you head out to explore more unknown areas. Crowds will virtually be nonexistent, it’ll be quiet, parking won’t be an issue, and there are plenty of trees to choose from when nature calls. Others might not understand why you’re not going to that picturesque place, but you’re just going to explore for you and it’s none of their damn business, and that’s all that matters.

There’s no real reason to explore, other than it’s fun. You should try it again sometime. Go explore – because it’s f*@3!ng there.