Joy Trip Project Home Page

Banff, Diversity, Film Festival / 01.12.2019

Right up to the moment we were about to start I was convinced no one was going to show up. A chilly wet snow had begun to fall at the Banff Centre and I was certain that few would welcome the opportunity to gather outside for a fireside chat, even if there was free hot chocolate. When the folks at Mountain Equipment Co-Op asked me to moderate a panel discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion in the outdoors on the final day of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, of course I immediately said yes. But when the moment arrived I sincerely doubted that we would draw crowd willing to discuss these complicated issues while standing out in the cold. Turns out I was wrong. [dropcaps type='normal' font_size='72' color='#eb9007' background_color='' border_color='']T[/dropcaps]he flames of the propane fueled campfire offered up little light and even less warmth. But those that gathered for our conservation brought with them burning curiosity and a sincere desire to affect substantive change. My fellow panelist included Canadian rock climber Sabrina Chapman and Kieran Britton – founder of  The Lady Alliance, an organization dedicated to empowering women of color to become leaders in outdoor recreation. I also tapped my friend Faith Briggs, a Portland-based adventure athlete and film producer, to join in the conversation. For more than an hour we invited the assemblage of outdoor enthusiasts to share their personal stories of life in the natural world. Their narratives had in common the earliest memories of childhood and the influence of trusted mentors. They each acknowledged not only their obligation to protect and preserve the wild spaces we all love but to prepare a place for those on the margins of our global community who lack or have been deprived the means to get outside and enjoy nature. As the evening light slowly faded into darkness the campfire seemed to burn a bit brighter. The crowd dispersed but a few lingered to ask questions and share some parting thoughts. Though I cannot say that our little fireside chat provided any particularly rousing insights or solutions. But I came away from the experience with a growing sense of optimism. At least now we seem willing to talk about these topics that make us so uncomfortable. The only way we can expect to make any progress is understand that we’re all in this together. [caption id="attachment_2066348" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Photos courtesy of MEC[/caption](Authors note: It has been almost a month since this event occurred. Forty-Eight hours after this picture was taken I had to beat it to Albuquerque, New Mexico to begin the 2019 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour. Only now that I’m en route to the lighting ceremony in Washington D.C. after a very long road trip do I have time to play catch-up on my web site updates. Stay tuned...there’s more to come!)

Many thanks to the Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival for hosting our panel discussion and visit to Canada. Appreciation as well goes to Mountain Equipment Co-Op for organizing this fireside chat. And much gratitude to the continuing support of funding partners The National Forest Foundation, American Rivers and Patagonia.  

Interview, Outdoor Retailer, Podcast / 09.11.2019

Early in November Columbia Sportswear matriarch and outdoor industry icon Gert Boyle passed away. She was 95. Having fled Nazi Germany with her family in advance of World War II Gert’s father started the Portland, Oregon-based company that today is worth billions. Throughout her long career Gert cultivated an image as a fierce business woman, but that tough persona was belied by a delightful personality and a generous spirit. Way back in 2006 I had the great pleasure chatting Gert at the Outdoor Retailer Show in an interview for...

Banff, Climbing, Diversity, Film Festival, Influencers, ReThinkOutside / 31.10.2019

From the moment I first arrived I was made to feel welcome. I remember on that first day, years ago,  I was greeted so warmly by Jim Olver the director of customer service at the Banff Centre For Arts & Creativity.

You just showed up and glommed on to one of my tours,” he reminded me. “Now look at you. You’re back as a big-time speaker.”

For more than a decade I’ve enjoyed the privilege of attending the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Alberta, Canada. Like most aspiring adventurers I first became aware of Banff through the amazing films that tour the world every year and feature the best athletes in the sports of skiing, climbing, mountain biking and kayaking. I was also inspired by the remarkable stories of passionate people and communities that express their place in the world through an active relationship with nature. And despite marginal skills and few noteworthy accomplishments as an alpinist I managed to become part of this annual 9-day celebration of mountain culture. 

American Rivers, Environmental Justice, Essays, ThinkOutside / 20.10.2019

Over the last several weeks I’ve enjoyed many opportunities to reimagine the outdoors. I’m not suggesting that the natural world should be seen as landscapes with purple skies or orange grass populated by prancing unicorns ( as cool as that might be). But rather I envision an environment in nature where everyone is not only made to feel welcome, but encouraged to become active participants in its long-term preservation. I want to see everyone outside. Recent reporting projects included stops at the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia, the Willamette...

American Rivers, Diversity, Podcast, Public Land / 04.10.2019

Very early in my career, way back in the 90’s I received the gift of a book, South of Haunted Dreams by Eddy Harris. As a young Black man venture out into a professional environment that was mostly white I took great comfort in this remarkable story of a person with a background similar to my own who was successfully leading a life of travel and adventure. In his book, Harris recounts his experiences of making his way through the Southern United States on motorcycle while enjoying occasional...

American Rivers, Hiking, Interview, Kids in Nature, National Forests, Podcast / 27.09.2019

Wherever you are in the world I hope you had an amazing summer. I know I did. Over the last several months I’ve been on the road collecting stories for a broad new initiative to explore how people find their way into the outdoors. With grant funding from my partners at the nonprofits American Rivers and the National Forest Foundation along with Patagonia I made stops in the states of Georgia and Oregon to trace the routes of the great rivers that run through their biggest cities. From...

%d bloggers like this: