How Do You Show Gratitude When You Have Nothing?

I pull up to the house of yet another Internet friend, whom I’ve never met in real life. It’s dark, cold, I haven’t showered in days, and I’m welcomed inside and offered a beer. A towel was already set out for me and I insisted I’d use the one I have in the van. I used the one that was set out for me. Wearing fresh new clothes I head down to the basement to get a load of my smelly clothes going before we head out for the night.Tanner Olson hiking in Acadia National Park

This isn’t the first time this has happened and I’m sure it’s not the last. My charm, kind smile, and long hair have nothing to do with receiving acts of kindness like this. I’m only describing one recent moment of hospitality and kindness that I’ve been shown scores of times this past year. Staying with someone, most of the time it’s someone I’ve only met online (Sorry Mom!), has been new for me. In the past I’d opt to meet someone for food or a beer and get a hotel room for the night if I was in the area or passing through. Those were also the days when I was bringing home the salary of someone in the banking industry. It’s not that I wasn’t grateful or didn’t want to socialize, I just felt uncomfortable. It felt like I was imposing or something of the sort.

Traveling on a shoestring budget has forced me to do something I haven’t been great at doing and that’s accepting others’ kindness. Within a month of living vanlife full time I was “forced” to break out of my comfort zone and accept the help of friends, and sometimes strangers. Over time I became more and more accustomed to accepting help from others in the form of giving me a place to grab a shower, sleep for the night, and sometimes even a meal. But then something began to weigh heavy on my heart.


How the hell do I show the amount of gratitude I’m feeling to someone who’s opened the doors to their home and lent me a helping hand, when I have nothing more than a sincere “Thank you?” The thought of gratitude and how to show it, aside from sincerely saying “thank you” more times than I can count has weighed heavy on me most of the year.

An overarching theme I’ve noticed as I’ve met so many people that have lent a helping hand has been that they’ve been shown some sort of kindness and hospitality during their travels. Complete strangers, friends, and family have shown them the same kindness when they were hiking the Appalachian Trail, on an extended road trip, or on a cycling trip, to name a few. Their stories resonated with others they met on their travels and were shown some sort of kindness. Lending me a helping hand is their best way of returning the favor and showing gratitude to others that have helped them.

Say you’re like me and don’t really have any way to show the gratitude you’re feeling at the moment. You may not have a way to repay someone at this point in time. But I’m willing to bet that at some point in the future you’ll have the ability to repay the favor in the form of lending a helping a hand to someone else. Some would call it paying it forward.

I look forward to being able to lend a helping hand to someone I don’t know. Until then, I’ll work on sincerely saying “Thank you.”

The Best of the Best

The waves looked small at Sunset Beach, but the HIC Pro was in full swing. Sunset Beach is a break on the North Shore of Hawaii that’s notorious for big surf. The North Shore is called “The Proving Grounds” for a reason. It’s where the best of the best surfers flock to every winter to try and score big waves in hopes of putting themselves on the radar of potential sponsors. But from the beach the waves looked small as contestants paddled out.The Best of the Best competing at the HIC Pro

These guys are some of the best in the world, but according to the rankings they’re in the top 250 or so. They’re not the best in the world that are on the World Surf League’s tour. In order to qualify for that you have to be ranked in the top 32 and these guys are far from that.

It wasn’t until a set came through and one of the competitors dropped into a wave that I realized how big these waves were. They were well overhead and all these guys were surfing as if they’re the best of the best. Making every turn and barrell look flawless. As I sat there taking photos underneath the shade of a tree I couldn’t help but think that I could be out there doing the same thing. Deep down I knew I couldn’t and the waves would demolish me, but these guys made it look so effortless that I thought I could be out there surfing with them. I thought they were the best surfers in the world.

The announcer took over the mic and let the crowd know that surfing’s knewly crowned world champion, John John Florence, was heading towards Sunset Beach on his homecoming parade. The crowd, myself included, quickly gathered along the road to get a glimpse of John John Florence as he drove by.John John Florence at his homecoming parade

John John had just won the world title a week prior in portugal. He’s been chasing that world title for decades, since he was a little grom that charged Pipeline every winter with guys twice his size and three times his age. He came by in the back of a black pickup truck that his mom drove holding the Hawaiian flag high above his head.

He has this way of surfing that makes you think you can go Backdoor at Pipeline, get pitted so deep in the barrel, and get spit out to win the Volcom Pipe Pro in 2012. But chances are that if you or I or most anyone else on this planet tried to do that, we’d eat it hard and surface with the gnarliest reef rash ever seen. The again we probably wouldn’t be invited to compete in the first place.

Last weekend I got to camp in Connecticut with my friends Megan and Michael. They run this camp cooking blog called Fresh off the Grid. Take a look at their website and read over some their recipes. I’ll be the first to admit that they make it look easy. I can do some cooking, but I can never get my food to come out looking like theirs. These two are the best at what they do. Take a look behind the scenes and it’s not as easy as it looks.Fresh off the Grid shooting one of their recipes

Not only do they have to cook their food, but they also have to photograph the entire thing to make it look visually appealing and give us, the readers, an idea of what it should look like. I’ve been behind the scenes on some of their shoots and it’s insane to watch them in their element. But what I haven’t even seen is the recipe development.

Before they shoot a recipe that they’re going to feature on their blog, they make it themselves multiple times. If you’ve ever experimented with cooking you know that it’s trial and error. And for a couple that’s lived Sedan Life for the past 18, or so, months, that also means eating their mistakes.

As I was in the background photographing them at work, I felt like I was watching poetry in motion. They have everything figured out, knowing who’s doing what, and having the whole recipe memorized. They know exactly what shots they need to get and even know when the light is going to be best for the best looking photos.

Whether you want to believe it or not, all food bloggers have these pristine studios where they shoot. The lighting is always perfect and they always know where every piece of gear and all their utensils are sitting. Fresh off the Grid is a camp cooking blog and every shoot is different. They’re at the risk of the elements and if they’re on a deadline to shoot a recipe and it’s scheduled to snow, that means they might have to shoot the recipe with snow on the ground and the frigid air blowing and messing up their whole system.

Fresh off the Grid and all those guys competing at the HIC Pro are the best of the best in their own respects. We’ve come to believe that your stats have to be the best, you have to have the most (or least) amount of points to win, or make the most money to be considered the best. I don’t believe that. Whatever your craft is, make it look so easy that others think they can do it because you make it look so effortless.

Sorry Mom!

Sorry mom! I’ve been saying that a lot this year. More than I’ve ever said it, I think. Some family friends in Florida have even noticed that and they think it’s funny. I think it is too, hence why I say it so much. Everytime I do something or put myself in a situation where I can get a photo like this, that thought runs through my head.Taking photos from Banshee in Muir Valley at the Red River Gorge

Sending a chill up my parents spine’s is never something I aim to do. In fact I do my best to do the opposite. They’re my biggest fans and cheerleaders (right behind myself, but that’s another story for a different day) and inevitably see every single thing I share on social media. Aside from the beautiful views I get to see, they also get (have) to see the “thrilling” photos and videos I capture and share. Being the selfish millennial that I am, that does what he wants, I don’t know what it’s like to have a kid puts himself/herself out there like I do. So I can’t even begin to imagine how scary it might be even though I assure my mom and dad that I’m comfortable with the situations I put myself in, am always in control, and love what I’m doing.

My mom and I had a conversation earlier this year and I told her about my day. It consisted of a lot of hiking and ended with me looking over the edge of a cliff. Had this been a decade or two earlier, her or my dad would have had a tight grip on my arm, making sure I didn’t get any closer than they’d like. I don’t blame them and I know them well enough to believe that they’d still want to do the same thing today. I see parents doing that all the time wherever I go, protecting their kid(s), and I’d like to think that I’d do the same if I ever become a parent one day. At the end of my adventure update I told her that it was probably best her and dad weren’t there. She agreed with me.

My mom went on to tell me that she loves living my adventures through my eyes. And that it’s also great I’m out there doing the things I love without her. The things I do may scare her, but she also said it’s what she wants to see me do. My parents both know that when they see those “scary” photos, they see me living my passion and dream, making a concerted effort to chase a dream I want so badly.

A couple years ago I posted a photo to that was of me hanging one handed from a tree branch above a murky river in Florida. I don’t remember my caption, but my mom shared it on Facebook and said something like Hope he never loses his love for adventure. I look back on that and think that it’s quite impossible for me to lose any sort of adventure in my life. I mean, my mom and dad stressed the importance of going outside to explore the woods behind our house until it got dark, that I put down the video games to go surfing, and build ramps in the driveway to jump off with my blades.

Doing anything short of experiencing new things would be a disservice to my parents work in raising me. At least that’s how I see it. While the word sorry implicates that I’ll never do something again, I’m also telling a bold faced lie because I’m not going to quit sending chills up my parents spine’s at times. When chills run up their spine’s they’re also seeing me live my passion, making a concerted effort to chase a dream I want so badly.. And that’s all they’ve ever wanted for me.

I’m never going to quit saying sorry mom! And I hope you say that often and never stop saying that.

Unconventional Ways to Conquer Jet Lag That Aren’t Scientifically Proven

Your plane ticket is booked and you’re ready for your grand adventure. Only problem is that your schedule is packed from the moment you get there to the moment you’re boarding the plane back home. You don’t have time to deal with jet lag. You need to feel 100% from the get-go and the suggestions on those travel blogs usually require you to lose out on a day or more of activities so you can recuperate and allow your body’s internal clock to reset to the local time. Here are some non scientifically proven ways for you to conquer jet lag.Marina in Waikiki Hawaii where Gilligan's Island was filmed

  • Listen to heavy metal music. Metal is loud. Metal doesn’t care about how you look or feel. And metal sure as heck doesn’t care that you want to sleep.
  • Eat lots of carbs because a full stomach will keep you going no matter the scenario.
  • Watch every single movie on the airplane. Doing so should keep you awake and ready to tackle your big adventures.
  • *Drink lots of booze. Think of it as tailgating for the big game.
  • Stay up all night the night before you leave. You do want to reset your internal clock, right?
  • Tape your eyelids open so you can’t close your eyes and succomb to sleeping. You know you wished you had tape to tape your cheeks into a smiling position at your: graduation, wedding, bartmitzvah, etc. Same concept.
  • Carry around Scream in a Box.
  • Dump cold water over your head. It works in movies. Unless you’re going to a freezing cold place. Don’t dump water over your head if you’re going to a cold place, or else you might get hypothermia.
  • Connect yourself to an IV drip of caffeine. Burnt coffee from a chain coffee shop or Red Bull are the two preferred methods of staying caffeinated via IV drip.

*Always drink responsibly

Remember the scene about the 3 hour tour in Gilligan’s Island? The marina in this photo is where that scene was shot.

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

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