I won a grant to paddle in Patagonia, now here I am. But there's so much more to that.
I spent last week crying. Half-tempted to cancel it altogether. Granted, hormones are playing an unfortunate role in my crazy rationale, but I’m also aware that this is fear getting in my head.
Up until the plane landed in Chile, I thought it would be so much easier to stay home and not do this trip. The stresses of money, and jobs, and my car problems were building up and giving me plenty of reasons to feel guilty about going on this epic paddling trip. I actually feel like I don't deserve to travel like this. This is by far the most epic trip I have ever done.
I work my butt off to try and do what I love for a living. It's a challenge for sure. But I thrive from it.
I didn't realize how difficult it was to be candid online until I started a blog. I always edit so much of my writing out because it's actually pretty scary to open up online, but I need to be as genuine as I can. Here it goes..
I planned this trip to Patagonia two years ago. My friend, Jaz, and I worked our butts off to contact paddlers all throughout the area with the intention of a sponsored road trip through the area for two months in the fall of 2015. The sponsor fell pulled out last minute.
In January of 2016, I made it a goal to paddle in Patagonia regardless of whether or not I got sponsored support. I imagined that I would find a job for the winter and work there, while combining my previous plans of networking with paddlers in the area.
Then in June of 2016, I won the $500 Hobkey Grant for the purpose of going to Patagonia and helping to grow the sport of whitewater SUP (Thanks to everyone that voted for me :D!!).
After my my job as a SUP instructor ended September of 2016, I moved to my parent’s place in Utah to save money and worked on my laptop for about 6-8 hours a day. My ambitions got the best of me, and I decided that I wanted to try and make this Patagonia trip bigger.
I wanted to make Paddlegonia a mission. I had a vision of something more. I contacted several athletes in other mountain sports to see if they wanted to collaborate. It didn't work out. I contacted Red Bull to see if they would be interested in helping produce content about first SUP descents/river conservation in Futaleufu and got turned down.
I was told that I needed a stronger social media presence and that I needed to drink more Red Bull for them to consider it, and that SUP athletes were already sponsored by Red Bull.
I knew it was a long-shot, so I didn't let it dampen my vibe too much. I decided to come up with a strategy to work with a couple sponsors to do a campaign to gain followers, and it didn’t work out.
So I guess it's been a roller coaster of planning for this Patagonia trip. Maybe I failed at some of my ideas and hopes, but maybe that's just not what I'm meant to do at this point. I don't consider it failure until I give up. All I know is that this trip will be epic, and there will be more epic trips in the future.
I have a support network of three other Hala paddlers and one Badfish paddler all visiting and doing this same thing as me. Whitewater SUP. I have already chatted with tons of local Chile paddlers that have reached out to me and will show us their home-waters. Money stresses caused me to "only" stay for 20 days, and it is proving to be a very action-packed 20 days!
I only have a few hundred dollars to my name, but I’m here and I'm paddleboarding in Patagonia, dang it!
“Just do it. Train yourself to respond immediately when you feel you should do something. Stop questioning yourself. Don’t analyze it. Don’t question if it came from God or yourself. Just act.
You’ll figure out what to do after you’ve taken action. Until you take action, it will all be hypothetical. But once you act, it becomes practical.”
-30 Behaviors that will make you Unstoppable