“Do you remember, the 21st night of September?” -Earth, Wind & Fire
September 21st: One year ago today I landed at the cobblestones below the St. Louis Arch after paddling 2400 miles. It’s been an interesting year. I spent the first few months editing together a documentary of the trip. I didn’t know what would come of it but it was part of the journey and I knew it needed to be the main focus of my time for a while or it would never get done. Initially I regretted spending so much time and money on it but as uncertainly of the future decreased I appreciated that I followed through with it. I just got word that it will be airing on a cable channel in Brazil so that’s pretty exciting. Deadlines for film festivals are approaching so hopefully it will get some screen time.
The rest of the year was a mix of freelance work and self-employment that worked out about as well as I could have hoped. However, this isn’t to say that it wasn’t stressful and very uncertain at times. I have to thank my girlfriend for being there to talk over all the decisions with. The flexibility allowed me to take whatever time off I wanted to travel around a bit. Opportunities stemming from the trip popped up, such as presenting at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin and writing a couple articles for publication. I was also able to create a web series for the state of Montana Film Office. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuXMz8qnloM
Having a reel of footage from the trip was also the only reason I got most of my videography freelance gigs.
In about a week I move to Denver. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. If the last year taught me anything, it’s that taking some chances is a good thing and excuses are just excuses. I have a job lined up that seems to be a great fit and has a lot of potential. I’m excited about the endless opportunities for weekend and after work adventures.
Just like a year ago, all my stuff is packed into boxes. After living out of a few bags for several months I would have thought I’d purge stuff but I’ve actually accumulated more overall. The whole simple living and anti “stuff” movement is great but I’m a believer that there is a correct tool for every job. A crescent wrench can’t do what a pipe wrench can, for example. There were a lot of varied experiences in the last year that required more “tools” if the job was to be done right.
People who have done a similar trip have told me or have written in their blogs that it would be life changing. It was hard to imagine to what extent. The change hasn’t been drastic but the trip is a constant reminder to the value of my own time and ability to just figure things out. It lasted less than four months but held the experiences of several “normal” years. Above all I’ll remember the amazing sights, extraordinary people along the way and support of family and friends. Below are my favorite scenes from the trip that I’ve looked at hundreds of times and imagined many more.