Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mindfulness and Outdoor Retailer

The stars aligned, and for the first time I attended the Outdoor Retailer convention in Salt Lake City.  I first learned of this of this massive meeting of the minds nearly 5 years ago, and for years I  fantasized about walking through those doors and having access to all of the latest and greatest innovations in the outdoor gear world.  It ended up being quite the shock to my senses, and honestly I feel rather fulfilled in only two days of attending.  

Huge brands are here, showing off the latest collections they are presenting; new fabrics, designs, concepts.  And dozens and dozens of the highest quality athletes are here, representing these same companies, and learning about the advances in the industry.  It is honestly an overwhelming experience of colors, textiles and conversations.  The first day I walked the floor, I ended up with a splitting headache and ended up disappearing for a nap after a few hours of wandering.  As an introvert, this whole event is extremely draining, and I struggled with the constant bombarding of the senses.  I want to run away to the mountains, the desert, the ocean.  Anywhere I can calm myself and relax my brain. 

After my first day spent at the convention, I struggled with the idea of going back for a second day, but I decided to challenge myself with walking through the whole event, and to make it a positive experience.  And so I did, and I smiled the whole time.  I wandered around the massive convention with a silly smile on my face, making eye contact and greeting those people willing to return a smile.  I found it shocking how many people avoided eye contact and seemed generally uncomfortable with the friendly gesture.  Yet, among all those lost connections, I made some incredible ones.  I saw people that were stoked to see a smiling face, and strike up a conversation, and it made my entire experience a positive one.  I walked up to companies I like and respect, and told them I appreciated them and what they do, and said thank you, and never had any expectations to receive anything from them. It felt amazing.  I met some wonderful people, eager to share their passion for what they do, and equally willing to talk to someone about their interests.  I connected with people. Amazing, wonderful, kind, creative people.  I didn't want anything, and didn't have anything other than a smile to offer, and yet that was all that was needed to foster a positive experience.  

I walked away from my second day with a much better feeling.  I was mindful of how I felt through the day, and wanted to spread positive vibes, and while walking around with a silly smile on my face might have confused some people, I felt that it helped make my day better, and hopeful others as well.  I've decided to make this a very active goal, that I want to do what I can to spread happiness, whether through a simple smile, a genuine complement, or a simple, yet meaningful conversation. In the theme of this blog, I want to try my hardest to give 5 more complements or positive experiences daily to those around me.  You never know what circumstances a person has gone through before crossing paths with you, and the best you can do is make the experience they have with you a positive one.  Surround yourself with happiness and love, and share it freely with those around you, life is far too short for anything less.  

And in the latest adventure news, I'm headed to Lake Tahoe tomorrow to meet up with the wonderful and amazing Sara while she swims, self supported around the entire perimeter of the lake.  In roughly one week, she will swim approximately 72 miles around Lake Tahoe, and I will join her on a standup paddleboard.  In a quirky twist of fate, I ran into a friend, Abe, working for a SUP company out of Telluride, CO, SOL Paddle Boards, that I met on a Wilderness First Responder course nearly 3 years ago in Oregon.   Continuing to spread the good vibes, he is hooking me up with a board to borrow to paddle along with Sara to encourage her and play lifeguard.  Sara is the most amazing ray of sunshine, and I can't want to spend more time with her.  She suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury as a teenager while playing water polo and has fought for every minute of her wild and adventure filled life since, and I'm beyond excited to spend this trip with her.  You can check out her story at and believe me, she's even more fun in person.  This girl knows what living is all about.

I might have been out of my element for the last few days, but I'm getting back into the Subaru and pointing myself towards adventure again, and I'm so very appreciative of the life I live.  You are responsible for your own happiness, and always choose happiness.  :)

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