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    STOKE

    To War and Back With a Chalk Bag, Skis and a New Mission!

    To War and Back With a Chalk Bag, Skis and a New Mission!

    "A National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, US Army Veteran, and former Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, Stacy has been leading transformational expeditions in the outdoors since 2010.
     ​It was rock climbing, two years after his exit from the United States Army and a year in Baghdad that helped Stacy move through his own multi-year struggle with suicidal ideation and substance abuse. This put him on a path to connect first more veterans, and then all people, to the outdoors as a means to engage and resolve trauma.
    Through the outdoors he found himself, his passion, and a renewed excitement for life." (Excerpt from Stacy's website Happy Grizzly Adventures).
    We asked Stacy a few questions to get to know what drives him, makes him stoked and what he's up to! here we go...
    What was your military time like?

     Somedays my time in service feels like last week and sometimes it feels like it was someone else’s life that has been grafted on to what I am doing now. The memories include someone who looks like me, but is it me?

     I got commissioned out of the University of Mississippi in 2000, was stationed in Germany as an Intel Officer and deployed to Bosnia in 03/04 as the head of the counter terrorism team at the National Intelligence Center. I got out of the Army, headed off to do humanitarian land mine clearance in Angola and later Abkhazia in the Republic of Georgia before getting recalled out of the Individual Ready Reserve to do a tour in Baghdad 06-07 as a civil affairs officer.

     We were there before and during the surge. I’d guess I was somewhere at about 50% for how rough or violent my tour was. I both really loved and hated my time in the US Army. It is hard to imagine a life without the friends, experiences, and lessons learned-but also damn man, why did some of that shit have to go down the way it did?

     Life lessons from your time on active duty?

     That there’s always a way through any hard time. 99.9% of the time, the way through will require team work and use of resources you don’t have sole access to, as well as people and advice that you may disagree with in other areas of life and war to get the job done.

     You cannot win a war, or build a lasting peace or understanding, without boots on the ground outside of the wire. Face to face communication is always the best. As a force, we spent too much time behind walls from our senior leadership on down to the newest enlisted troop. I got home to a world in 07 that was retreating into screens, I’ve been guilty of the same, if we want a country worth living in we need to get out from behind our walls and screens to engage with one another in conversation, not always in trying to prove the other person wrong or with a specific outcome in mind.

     What was your high point while serving?

     The people. I met some of the bravest, brightest men and women of the United States, immigrants who came to the United States to serve our country, as well as people in Iraq and Bosnia who cared so deeply about their homes and worked, or are still working so hard to rebuild their nations. I take a lot of daily inspiration and hope from all the people I met in and outside of the uniform.

     Low point?

     The leadership. There were a lot of great leaders I had the good fortune to spend time with and learn from during my time in service. I got to work with a lot of different branches and nationalities as well and still count a handful of those leaders as mentors and coaches today. But something happens along the way where leaders seem to stop worrying about accountability, owning and learning from their own mistakes, and instead focusing on ego and evaluation bullets. As we moved from finding weapons of mass destruction to winning the global war on terrorism to building peace and democracy in Iraq in the year I was there, I felt like our higher levels of leadership beyond the Brigade was not seeing the same thing we were on the ground and were more interested in what they could say they did during the war vs. what actually happened.

     What are some projects you are working on now?

     A couple of years after I came back, a friend I deployed with introduced me to rock climbing and that changed my life. It gave me something to live for vs. live against. It was a means to joy vs. anger and ultimately a path to meet a ton of people who had very different life experiences than me. It helped me realize it wasn’t just veterans who had hard times and helped me find a place back home other than always crowing about who I was-it gave me a path to become.

     I worked with other veterans in the outdoors for a long time and started to wonder if I could change the conversation and add to my own narrative of the places I had been to fight, if I went back to ski or climb-so that launched Adventure Not War. So far I’ve climbed in Angola, skied in Iraq and Afghanistan, and am planning a fly fishing trip to Bosnia this fall or in 2023, and want to also go back to ski in Abkhazia.

     At the end of our trip in Afghanistan, some Afghan skiers asked how we could help skiing in the region, so I partnered up with Doug Bernard and two crazy Dutch guys, Olaf and Peter, to support a bunch of Kyrgyz skiers in launching a free ride ski event for Central Asia. Folks can check out that film here: https://www.rei.com/blog/snowsports/adventure-not-war

     I also took what I learned from supporting veterans outdoors, partnered up with a mental health professional Koorosh Rassekh, and launched Happy Grizzly Adventures to support people in Intentional Adventure where they have the best chance at a transformational experience in the outdoors.

     How can people support your efforts?

     #1 is to go out and talk to, get to know, someone who has a different belief system than you do. Find out why they believe what they do and see where there might be things that connect us vs. drive us apart.

     #2, folks can donate to Silk Road Freeride and if individuals or companies are really stoked on what we have going on, get in touch and we can try and tailor something specific to your philanthropic needs and wants.

     What’s your favorite type/types of music?

    I grew up with guys like Tennessee Ernie Ford, so after a youth spent in hardcore and heavy metal, Danzig is still in heavy rotation, I listen to a lot of Blue Grass and Americana these days.

     Favorite ski?

    I rode Factions for a lot of years and they were a great partner in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lately though, I’ve teamed up with G3 and there’s nothing more fun than the Slay’r on even the smallest, let alone the deepest, powder day. Light, super responsive ski that makes all your dreams come true and is easy on my 43 year old knees! Also-always wear a helmet, and Pret feels as different on your head as a baseball cap.

     Favorite comedian?

    I miss Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor. I generally spend my lunch hour cruising standup comedy on line. I saw a bit from Margaret Cho that had me rolling pretty hard a week or two ago.

    How can people find you?

     Stacyabare or happygrizzlyadventures on Instagram is the easiest way. Or check out www.happygrizzlyadventures.com or www.silkroadfreeride.com

    www.adventurenotwar.com is the repository for the different films and articles we’ve made so far.

    Alcohol, Creativity and the Shady Secret of 30SECOUT

    Alcohol, Creativity and the Shady Secret of 30SECOUT

    Most of the designs we sell were conceptualized while buzzed on alcohol. I usually prefer red wine or vodka soda to be specific. 1-3 drinks, to be specific-er. 4+ drinks kick me out of the creative flow state most of the time, so there's a sweet spot. There’s also less editing to do the next day when writing in the 1-3 drink window, in my experience. Being very drunk doesn't work for me.


    Most designs we launch are successful, but some flops have been created while on the devil's juice, and while sober to be honest. What I have found is that ideas flow freely with a buzz on. Freely, as in no constraints and of varying quality. That's expected when brainstorming, and at that moment, most of them seem fantastic. That's why we need to write them down and look over them carefully the next day, sober. The problem is, sometimes we feel so convinced that the idea is impressive that we make an irreversible decision while buzzed. I don't recommend this. It's almost always better to sleep on it and exercise some discipline and patience. I've made some dumb business decisions while drinking over the years: nothing catastrophic, but things like over-promising something in the moment that stresses me out the next day. I've also ordered way too many T-shirts to sell on an unproven design, so they sit on the shelves, not making revenue. I've also agreed to do projects I don't want to or have the time to tackle. You know the routine.


    Can alcohol improve your mental processing and lead to better business ideas? Yes. It also depends on the type of task we ask our brains to do.

    You may have heard the quote, "Write drunk, edit sober." People often think Hemingway said it, but he didn't. The writer Peter De Vries did, and it makes total sense because we can see snippets of our past played out in this context.

     

    The publication Science and Cognition has a nice writeup on several studies examining the effects of mild alcohol intoxication on creativity. The studies found that mild intoxication improved creative problem solving but did not affect divergent thinking and reduced executive control, go figure.

     

    In a nutshell, alcohol improves creativity by suppressing our working memory. It reduces our inhibitions, allowing us more space to work creatively with less speed bumps getting in the way worrying about “what others might think.” It also decreases our analytical ability. Think less left brain and more right brain. You can geek out on the terminology and details HERE.

     

    "Research has shown that the more working memory people have at their disposal, the better they perform on all sorts of analytical tasks that pop up at school and work. But, interestingly, wielding more working memory may hinder performance whenever thinking creatively or 'outside the box is necessary." - Psychology Today

     

    So armed with this knowledge, can it be used to accomplish key tasks and responsibilities? I think so. Here's what I have done.

    Disclaimer: First, you need to be of legal drinking age. What I'm sharing here is not advice, so don't do this. I'm simply telling you what I do at times. 

     

    If I need to create a new design and I'm really struggling, I set that task aside and get back on it with 1-3 glasses of wine, no more. I work on the big picture of the design, usually in Adobe illustrator, but sometimes I simply rough sketch the idea on paper or whiteboard until my mind starts to get lazy and I feel a noticeable drop in creative energy. At this point, I save the work for later. The nice thing is if the idea the next day still seems fantastic, I can work on it without the alcohol, which is nice because I hate hangovers, even mild ones. I also do not commit to the design by ordering a bunch of products while buzzed. That is risky. I only do that after sober reflection, and if it's a new design or concept that you're not sure folks will like, go lighter on the order/commitment.

     

    Write your ideas down, especially when buzzed. You'll likely find that there are some hilariously stupid ideas there, but also some serious winners. I use the notes app on my iPhone because I am terrible at notebooks and remembering where I put them. Better yet, get some cool points and use a bar napkin to write your idea down. Just remember to fold it up and put it in your pocket. The next day you might pull out a life-changing concept. 

    Cheers!

    Evan

    Founder, Thirty Seconds Out

    The Road To Formula 1 - Hunter Yeany

    The Road To Formula 1 - Hunter Yeany

    We're stoked to be a part of Hunter Yeany's race journey. He started racing carts years ago and has been unstoppable. Last year he became the F4 US National Champ! This year he's moved up to F3 and is racing in Europe as well as the US, against some very talented drivers. 
    The Yeany family are some off the best people you could ever meet. They instill solid values and work ethic in their kids, and it shows. I asked Hunter a few questions to learn more about him and his journey to F1. The last time an American won a Formula 1 race was Mario Andretti, in 1978. 
    We think the time is coming for an American to break out and start winning F1 races again! Here's a snapshot of what it's like being an American driver making your way up through the ranks in hyper competitive Formula racing! Read on!

    What got you interested in racing cars?

    For as long as I can remember I’ve loved everything about cars. I played with matchbox cars. Watched TV shows and movies about cars, and liked everything about racing in general. My favorite movie for a very long time when I was a kid was the movie Cars. I remember I used to watch it every night consecutively with my grandparents.

    Why Formula Cars?

    The reason I chose to go the path of Formula racing is because as I got older I realized there were no Americans in F1 and I wanted to fix that. So I decided I wanted my dream to be the 3rd ever American F1 champion. 

    What’s the difference between F1, F2 and F3?

    So in F3 and F2 you get to travel with F1 to show your talent on the biggest stage. In F3 and F2 there are also more cars than in the F1 field. F1 has 20 cars (2 cars per team) and in F3 and F2 you can have up to 3 cars in a team. The F2 and F3 cars also don’t have power steering to make the steering wheel light for you so you have to be really strong in your upper body.

    What a day of training for me looks like.

    A day of training for me usually starts with waking up around 7-8 in the morning and going for a 3/5 mile run. After that I’ll get my homework done for the day then it’s off to the simulator. On the sim I usually practice in cars similar or identical to what I’d be driving in real life on the  tracks that I’ll race on in the season. Then once that is over usually I’ll go outside and do some sort of fun hobby I like to do like Fishing, Biking, Surfing, Swimming, or Skating.

    What is a race day like?

    My race day routine starts with getting up around 6am and getting a shower to wake myself up. Then afterwards I’ll go and get something to eat usually on the way to the track. The team will have a schedule already set up for when they want you to arrive to the track. Once I get to the track I always say good morning to everyone on the team to show my appreciation for them working so hard. Then I go say good morning to my engineer and go over the race run plan. After that I have about an hour break till I start getting warmed up. For my warm up I jump rope, do push ups, and lunge and at the same time the mechanics are warming up the car to the right temperature. Then I get in the car, get strapped in, do radio and brake bias checks with my engineer and drive to the grid to start the race. After the race I go back to the engineer office and tell him how the car setup felt. We talk about that for a while then look at data to see where I’m good on track and where I can improve. I then get changed, say bye to the team and leave to go eat dinner. I usually go to bed around 9-9:30.

    What resources do you have in the car?

    We can’t eat or drink in the car I drive but in some cars like F1, Indy car, and WEC they have a drink system. Sometimes you need to go to the bathroom in the car but you really only feel like you have to go when you’re not driving the car. What I mean by that is when you’re sitting on the pregrid your anxious and feel like you need to go but when you’re driving you’re too focused to even notice.

    Do you have comms while driving?

    The whole team has a radio system so they can hear each other over the cars because in the pit lane the cars are really loud. But your engineer is the only one who talks to you while driving. What they usually say on the radio is your lap time, tire state, and if you have damage because F3s races aren’t long enough to have a pit stop.

    Pulse rate while racing?

    I don’t where a heart monitor while driving but I’ve checked it right after I’ve gotten out of the car before and it ranged around 140-160 bpm so pretty high!

    Favorite music?

    I like a lot of different varieties of music but my 2 favorite genres are classic rock and pop just because they both give off the best vibes in my opinion. If I’m training I really like a lot of old school hip hop and alternative rock. For hip hop I like Eminem, The Notorious BIG, Dr Dre, and 50 cent. For Alternative rock I like Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chilly Peppers, Metallica, Nirvana, Linkin Park, and Green Day.

    Favorite pre race meal?

    This might sound a bit funny it’s not really a meal but I usually eat a few jelly beans before I go get in the car to get a sugar high when I go out to get a burst of energy.

    Favorite current F1 driver?

    My favorite current driver racing in F1 is George Russel because even though he may not be in the best car he always makes the most of it always out qualifying his teammate.

    How I handle school?

    I do an online school program called Ontrack School. They are really flexible with when you turn in your work whether it’s early or late and you can do it on your phone or laptop.

    What’s it like racing against Americans vs Europeans?

    Racing against Americans and Europeans aren’t particularly different. It’s just the rules of how you’re allowed to race. In America you have to be careful when racing other cars because you have to race how the series wants you to. In Europe the driver gets to do more of what he or she wants to do and not have to worry as much about getting a penalty.

    Where do I see myself in 5 years?

    In 5 years I see myself in an F1 car racing around the world seeing new sights and meeting new people. I’m not sure which team it would be with but I wouldn’t turn the offer down!  My goal is  to prove that I’m good enough and to do that you have to be driving an F1. 

    What do I attribute to the growing popularity of Formula racing in the US?

    America has a long history of racing in Formula 1 that’s been forgotten. People forget that In the late 70’s and early 80’s open wheel racing like F1 and Indy car were extremely popular. Both series raced in the US and were attended by large crowds weekly. At one point another series called champ cars came in the picture and diluted all the series. At that same time a Motorsport called NASCAR had a growing popularity among average blue collar Americans. It was a series that people at the local tracks around America still believed they could reach. All of that has changed now. But each of these series realize that they have to reach the current audience. An audience that doesn’t have a link to our past Motorsport history but still believes in the United States being the best and pushing our limits. Liberty Media out of Denver, Colorado understands that they have to bridge that gap between our past history and our current Motorsport audience here in America. Netflix shows like Drive to survive bring you backstage and let you see behind the curtain of F1. The biggest reason it’s growing here in the US is because that’s where there is growth for the sport. That’s also why over the next few years you will see not only a race at Circuit of America’s in Austin, Texas, but in Miami, possibly Las Vegas and maybe even at Indianapolis. 

    What is the most challenging part of Formula racing for me?

    The most challenging aspect of racing for me would probably be mental side because sometimes you tend to beat up on yourself quite a bit if you don’t do well or get homesick. But you’ve just got to fight it and keep going!

    What’s my favorite part of racing?

    My favorite part of racing is driving fast but also the different cultures and sights I get to see along with people.

    Why do you think you will be successful in a cutthroat sport like racing?

    I think I will be successful because I refuse to give up no matter how bad or good the session is and you just have to keep pushing.  I’m also different from other drivers because I’ve figured out how to be dedicated on and off the track towards racing, but still have my own life and enjoy my family, friends and hobbies. It sounds simple, but that balance is extremely hard. 

    How can people find me.

    Insta: Hunteryeany

    FB: Hunter Yeany

    Twitter: Hunteryeany

    TikTok: hunteryeanyofficial

    Www.hunteryeany.com. (New site coming soon)

    What’s It Like To Shoot With Clint Eastwood?

    What’s It Like To Shoot With Clint Eastwood?

    I got a text from a friend a while back asking if I wanted to go to the shooting range. I was busy working on a project and said I couldn’t make it. My friend was adamant I show up, ensuring me it would be worth it. Clint Eastwood was coming to shoot that day, but my buddy wasn’t sharing that info over text. He was doing a good job of keeping Clint under the radar and respecting his privacy as well. Since he was insistent, I decided to grab my guns and head over.

    I arrived at the range, grabbed my gear, and was trying to figure out what the big deal was that day. He informed me Clint Eastwood was on his way over to do some shooting. “Yeah right,” I said. He just gave me a look, letting me know he wasn’t joking around. Sure enough, Clint rolls up 5 minutes later. 

    Clint was cool. No oversized ego to navigate and no annoying celebrity qualities that are all too common, like neediness, complaints, and cringe-worthy snobbery. None of that. He came across as more of a blue-collar guy, right up my alley. 

    We started out shooting pistols. Clint was a good shot, and yes, he shot one-handed a lot of the time. The only point of improvement I offered him was to get his shoulders more forward like he was about to throw or receive a punch. Other than that, he was solid with his weapons handling. I wasn’t surprised as he has gotten a lot of training over the years preparing for films.

    Here’s the awesome part. The moment the range went cold for the last time, Clint removes his hat, takes a knee, and starts picking up brass! My buddy and I told him he didn’t have to do that, but he said, “It’s no problem. I shot it and need to help clean up.” So, we all picked up our brass together, then we all went and had a few Coronas at a buddy's house with Clint.

    Clint Eastwood picks up his own brass, and he didn’t make a big deal about it! Be like Clint.

    --Evan

    New Tee Supporting Public Lands

    New Tee Supporting Public Lands

    We are proud to be donating a portion of proceeds from our new Dr. Doom t-shirt to the Hayden Fund, a public lands defense fund created to protect our wild places.

    Inspired by Mark Twight, the incredible Alpinist.

    "BURN THE BRIDGE. NUKE THE FOUNDATION. BACK YOURSELF UP AGAINST A WALL. HAVE AN OPINION ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, GET OFF THE FENCE AND RIP IT UP. CUT YOURSELF OFF SO THERE IS NO GOING BACK. ONCE YOU'RE COMMITTED THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT."

    Cover tee photo by Paul Tilden. T-shirt art by Mike Tea.