Packed with purpose

Madison, WI 5:30 CST

Dane County Regional Airport, Gate 12

En route to Banff, Alberta Canada by way of Chicago, Seattle, Calgary

I love to travel. I’m heading west today to cover the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Five days of adventure movies, literature and lectures in the Canadian Rockies. Who could ask for more?

The bustle of airports and long car rides suit me like a second skin. Aside from paying $15 for a checked bag that used to be free and the preflight strip search, the only thing that inevitably gets me a bit crazed is the anxiety I feel when I’m packing. I’m always afraid that I’ve forgotten something, a mission critical document, piece of clothing or equipment whose absence will spoil the flavor of my Joy Trip.

I have a list. I try to follow my own best recommendations, but I usually get so wigged out over the pending journey that I can’t seem to bother with a detailed inventory of all I’ll need to take with me. But as time spent is time saved I check off each item.

Packed_001Cameras, check…digital recorder, check…laptop computer, check! Obvious stuff like these I’ll probably never leave behind. It’s the little things I forget. Power cords, check…extra memory cards, check…battery chargers, check. Sense of purpose. Sense of purpose? Ok, that seems to be missing.

I’m pretty sure it’s here somewhere. I pat the pockets of my heart and mind searching for it. Plane tickets, ground transportation, hotel reservations, press credentials, I’ve laid down all the work. I’m ready in principle to experience and write about Banff. The question is, why? My sense of purpose must come from a conviction to do the job I set out for myself as a freelance journalist. Without an assignment, few scheduled interviews and no clear idea of what I hope to accomplish this Joy Trip could be little more than a fishing expedition with no guarantee of catching anything, not even a break.

When I established the Joy Trip Project back in January it was my intention to create an ongoing sense of purpose. The luxury of social media affords me the opportunity to share my work with an audience of my own making and assign myself jobs that interest me, that arouse my curiosity and inspire my passions. Hopefully, while at the Banff Mountain Film Festival I can make something worthwhile of what I find there.

I’ve already seen one of the films featured this week. The Edge of Never, written and directed by Bill Kerig showed in Madison as part of a national road tour. Kerig is up for a journalism prize for both his film and his book of the same title. I had the opportunity to interview him on tape for a future edition of the JTP podcast.

Another film I’m excited to see is Signatures. Set in Hokkaido, Japan, this movie promises to show an artist’s view of winter sports through custom made wooden skis and snowboards.

I look forward to reconnecting with professional BASE jumper and extreme skier Karina Hollekim. Hers is an amazing story of perseverance in the face of tragedy. Three years ago Hollekim suffered a 60KPH fall in a skydiving accident when her chute failed to deploy. She’s walking now and hopes to ski out of bounds again. You can look forward to a podcast interview with her as well in the coming weeks.

In the morning I have an interview set with my buddy and Boulder crazy man Timmy O’Neill. He has a new web-TV show premiering November 10th on It looks a typical Timmy production blending daredevil mountain hijinks with his own brand of adventure comedy.

As I make my way north I’m very excited for the prospects of coming back with these and other terrific stories. Long ago I reconciled the fact that I’ll never extreme ski or BASE jump the Alps of Chamonix. But that won’t stop me from writing about it. There’re few things I love more than stories about our modern era of adventure. As a journalist it’s my pleasure to report on the active lifestyle and hopefully demonstrate that these are experiences that you can enjoy as well. Through the films and books of people out in the world following their dreams I believe we can all be inspired to find adventure and excitement of our own.

So I’m packing with me to Banff a few other things to make this a successful Joy Trip: An innate sense of curiosity, check…a willingness to ask the hard questions, check…a knack for being in the right place at the right time, check, a well-defined sense of purpose, Check!


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I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

2 Responses to “Packed with purpose”

  1. November 28, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Hola, mi nombre es Sabrina y estube buscando por internet, fue entonces que encontre tu blog, el cual me gusto mucho, el cual es bastante agradable para leer. Regreso la proxima semana para leerte de nuevo. Saludos Sabrina

  2. November 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    Hola, mi nombre es Sabrina y estube buscando por internet, fue entonces que encontre tu blog, el cual me gusto mucho, el cual es bastante agradable para leer. Regreso la proxima semana para leerte de nuevo. Saludos Sabrina

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