Hey friends, family, neighbors, friends of friends, and people I've never met but have stumbled into this post out of curiosity! How many of you read the title in Marvin Gaye's voice? Only me?
Okay... Well regardless I'm happy you're here and I'm grateful you've given a few minutes of your day to read the ramblings of a dirtbag. Back to the question at hand: What's going on? Well, I'm currently writing to you from the great state of Montana. I spent the last 5 years working at Wildman Adventure Resort in northeastern Wisconsin as an outdoor guide, adventure consultant, and eventually a manager. In a nutshell, it was the greatest experience of my life. When I was finished playing college football, I wondered if I'd ever find a team experience that powerful again. I'd spent well over half of my life playing football, and I had a lot of success with it! I felt my identity was wrapped up in "Dan Camp the Football Player."
Who was I without the sport?
Safe to say, working with some of the greatest people on Earth in the magical summer wonderland that is northern Wisconsin didn't let me down. I fell in love with everything: the people, the landscapes, the crashing waves of spring high water, the culture of the outdoor industry. Everything was like magic every single day during the infamous "Wildman Summers". Even now, I find myself nostalgic and wondering how I'll cope with the crushing doom of FOMO (fear of missing out) as I daydream of piloting a raft through torrents of water while working on my PFD tan lines.
Along with these magical summers in Wisconsin, I worked a winter season in the Florida Everglades as a kayak guide for Shurr Adventures and took a few months off in 2018 to travel across the United States with a couple of pals. We lived out of a well-loved pop-up camper and my 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee. (More on these adventures at later dates, I'm sure)
I also spent several winters working at the resort. I lived alone along the frozen Peshtigo River, the sole inhabitant in a resort that echos with the laughter and campfires of 150 people all summer. It was in the darkness of these moments where I learned most about myself. The catalyst in my pursuit of introspection and self-growth was a final break-up with someone I loved. This was my college relationship, one marked by a lot of great moments and plenty of others that were... well... not so great. We learned a lot from one another though, and I learned a few of my greatest life lessons from her when our relationship ended. Here they are in a nutshell:
It's okay and (quite honestly) pretty cool to admit when you're wrong.
You have to learn to love yourself deeply to be able to love someone else.
Sometimes, things just don't work out as you imagined. And that's okay.
That was several years ago. Since those realizations, I've lived more intentionally and developed a sense of self that today I'm very proud of. I've also decided to start again on my walk with Christ, thanks to the help of some amazing friends.
These last few years haven't been without fault, of course. I've brought hurt into both my life and the lives of others through self-serving decisions, thoughtless actions, and the desire for instant gratification. I want to be as transparent as possible when I say that I've dropped the ball more times than I can count. In the wake of these moments, you are forced to face yourself in the mirror and make one of two decisions:
Drag around your guilt like an anchor or realize you made a mistake, apologize as necessary, and create principles in your life that hold you accountable to yourself.
Now, this isn't turning into a sob story for Dano. On the contrary, I'd love to tell you about what I'll be creating for all of you beautiful people in the coming months!
To start, I'll be writing to you all more often, I'm talking on a weekly basis. I've struggled to be consistent in blogging, even though writing is one of my greatest joys. I sat down to think about what stops me from writing more, and honestly, the only answer I could come up with was me! I've always been one to want to impress and I'll tie up my progress with the excuse of, "I just want this to be perfect!". Perfection can only be found in the process of refining what you do over time.
Now, for part two. I'm so eager to share the stories of the incredible adventures I've experienced and to share the stories of others who are out here impacting the world. That's why I'll be launching a Podcast in the next few months to further elaborate on these ideas. I want to acknowledge people and ideas that have the power to change the world. I'll also be exploring the world of leadership and personal development. My goal is to invite a myriad of guests to join me and tell their own stories! Wisdom is best gleaned from multiple sources and several perspectives.
Finally, here is the best part. I want every single one of you to be involved in this! My goal in creating this kind of content is to build a community of people who look to bring the joy, grow in themselves and their relationships, and are eager to shape and share their own adventure! If I've learned anything, its that life is truly about the relationships you make. My high school football coach, Derek Leonard (the G.O.A.T.), teaches everyone who comes through the program that you are who you hang around. It's not always easy to find a group of like-minded people or a place where you can share your story without being judged. I want to create a space where people feel free to be vulnerable, share what makes them tick, and to inspire others who feel the same way but haven't been able to express it.
So I ask you now to join me! Invite others and share anything that resonates with you! Listen, I understand that a 26-year-old kid who's lived a very fortunate life might not have the answers to everything. That's honestly the point I've been trying to get across since you started reading. Let's explore ideas together, piecing together the important parts as we go. I'm inspired by seeing what lights a fire in your heart!
Stay tuned for a blog post every week and a Podcast in the upcoming months! Let's do this thing!
Adventure comes to those who GO!