Over the weekend I watched an inspiring documentary film. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of an 85-year-old chef in Japan that arguably makes the best raw fish, seaweed and rice in the world. True aficionados of sushi know that it is far than the sum of its parts. The mastery of this popular cuisine is the direct result of painstaking dedication and discipline. But as an occupation in this film sushi is a wonderful illustration of the joy and satisfaction we can find in our jobs, the work we do every day. We can learn a great deal from Jiro’s philosophy of making sushi that can be applied to the passionate pursuit of those things we love, what we dream of.
“Once you decide on your occupation you must immerse yourself in your work,” Jiro says in the opening frames of the film. “You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That is the key to success and the key to being regarded honorably.”
Though in Japanese with English subtitles, very little is lost in translation. Through the creation of sushi Jiro elegantly expresses the idea that we can achieve a measure of happiness in our work by putting more of ourselves into it. I believe the film aims to encourage each of us to pursue our dreams through an occupation we love.
I dream of adventure. Through travel and new experiences encountering interesting people I explore the world beyond the edge of my imagination. In my occupation as a journalist I dedicate myself every day to mastering the skills of literature, the ability to engage, entertain, inform and persuade through writing. And at the Joy Trip Project it’s my job to share the stories of those who push the boundaries of possibility to achieve what most of us can only dream of, inspiring each of us to turn those dreams into reality.
This week I’m posting a variety of new stories in the world of adventure. Check out the piece posted yesterday that reviews Before They’re Gone, a book by Backpacker Magazine northwest editor Michael Lanza. “Not to be confused with a manual on better parenting through outdoor education, Before They’re Gone has much to teach anyone who aims to preserve the National Parks we had the good sense to set aside.”
In the feature Cool on Kickstarter I’ll post a short piece on the newly funded documentary film “Mile…Mile and Half“, produced by the Muir Project. This movie still in production offers an artist’s view from several perspectives of a hike along the John Trail. Also in films I’ll review the latest project from filmmaker Seth Warren called “Live The Dream”. And don’t miss the premier this week of Dominic Gill’s documentary for NBC Sports Take A Seat Egypt. In this new film series the UK adventurer peddles his tandem bicycle across the great deserts of North Africa to connect with ordinary people during the height of the Arab Spring revolution.
On Wednesday I head to Boulder for the 9th annual Adventure Film Festival. Founded by the late climber and artist Jonny Copp the program is expanded to include more than just movies. Now under the direction of Copp’s sister Aimee Adventure Film promises four days of workshops and exhibits to inspire anyone looking to blend their love of the outdoors with artistic expression through photography or filmmaking. Look for my interview with Aimee Copp this week on the National Geographic Adventure blog Beyond the Edge. You’ll find dispatches and photo albums posted to the Joy Trip Project Facebook page starting Thursday.
Finally this week look for my latest print story in issue #40 of Alpinist Magazine. In Exploring the Adventure Gap I take a look at the topic of diversity in mountaineering and why we don’t see very many people of color climbing the high peaks of the world.
Adventure truly is what you make of it. And whether you’re making documentary films or world-class sushi you’re only going to get out if what you’re prepared to put in. If you’re going to love what you do, do what you love. But be prepared to endure many long hours, a few sleepless nights and a lot of failure. When you’re dedicated to fulfilling a dream the effort is worth the agony. And in the end you’ll discover a life inspired by adventure on what I like to call the Joy Trip.
Have a great week!