This is a quick episode to recap my recent hut trip experience with 7 other Front Row Dads. It gave me an opportunity to unplug, embrace nature, and connect with other fathers. This will be the first of many similar experiences!
Some of the trip highlights included:
- 3 mile snowshoe trek in Leadville, CO
- 24 hour stay at an off grid cabin
- 2 days of snowboarding in Breckenridge, CO
- Tons of human connection
I hope you enjoy the episode!
What is up my people? Ali here, back for another episode. I just returned from an amazing hut trip with seven other men from my Front Row Dads community. And I am in a euphoric state. I got to rest, relax, unplug, recharge, all the things. And there was so much value from this experience that I decided it's a perfect opportunity to record a podcast. So here we are.
To set the stage, I want to give you a quick overview of why we took this trip. So this trip was conceived by a couple of brothers in Front Row Dads who had the idea to get out and have an experience. And once the seed was planted another brother named Chris took the initiative to organize it and lead it.
And we spent a full day around Leadville, Colorado, where we hiked. We had a nice little Trek in snow shoes to a cabin, also known as a hut. So this was off-grid property where we got to spend time in connect. And then we also had a couple of days out in Breckenridge to ski and snowboard together and enjoy some time on the mountain.
And the overall goal here, the intent of this trip was to connect with nature and also connect as fathers. We have larger retreats in Front Row Dads. And this is an example of a smaller adventure type event that was not as large or even as organized as a typical Front Row Dads retreat.
So some quick props before I dig in to Chris Emick for leading this. He runs the awesome company with his wife called Go Bucket Yourself. Should go check that out at gobucketyourself.com. And then props to the other six front row dads who showed up and made the human side of this experience extraordinary.
Now, a few things. These are, these are essentially the key takeaways that I reflected on now that I'm back home from the experience. And the first thing relates to a sense of adventure and exploring new experiences. As I learned more about myself through coaching, introspection and just self discovery, I've uncovered that one of my primary archetypes is explorer.
I essentially crave new experiences and the value that they can create in my life. I continue to learn more about both my internal world and the external world through these new experiences. So they're a big part of my learning. They're also a big part of what sort of gives me energy to show up and be my best self.
And so this trip supported my adventure archetype and reminded me of the power that it can have when I exercise it. I also intend to bring more of this into my family life so that they can start to find their inner explorers. Not everybody is going to have this explorer archetype, but I think that most people can benefit and learn from these new experiences.
They take us out of our comfort zone. They help us to see life from a broader perspective. So I am a huge advocate of new experiences and adventure. I'm also partial to kind of think that if you haven't sought new experiences or you're not seeking them, on some level, then I'd encourage you to ask why and even challenge that. You might be too comfortable in your current environment or your routine. You might simply be scared of what something new could introduce in your life.
A common feeling when in barking on new experiences is to become nervous. And that's simply because you haven't done it before. This is also where the growth comes. Once you get out of your comfort zone again and start to embrace new things, people, relationships, activities, it innately helps you grow as a human.
So either way, I'm a huge advocate for new experiences and experimenting with ways to get uncomfortable. I think this leads to a lot of personal growth.
Next is simplification. So during the snowshoe Trek, we each shared one word to represent our focus for the year. Mine happened to be simplification.
This particular trip forced simplification right from the start. To give you some visual, we had to pack a bag with just enough clothing, food, and water for about 24 hours. We also had to pull a sleeping bag because this particular cabin did not have any forced heat.
We had a nice fireplace, which I'll discuss in a bit. You can imagine we had to put everything on our backs that we wanted to carry out to this cabin. It was a three mile trip and we had nothing more than snowshoes and some poles to get us there. So we had to simplify from the get-go as we made our way to this hut.
Once we got there, this hut in its beauty was simplified. There was no plumbing. There's no forced heating. There were solar panels to produce the minimal amount of electricity needed for just to turn on a few lights. So you can imagine that this was a more primitive way of living and it instantly brought us back to simplicity, right.
We had that immediate need to boil water, that we could use for both washing dishes and to consume, to say hydrated. We had to create a fire. They had an awesome fireplace downstairs, which helped heat the lower level and then part of the upper levels of the cabin.
We had to contain our waste and bring it back with us. There was an outhouse. So there was no modern toilet system.
You know, all of this wrapped up it's easy to think like, ah, this is going to be uncomfortable and maybe a pain in the ass right. Inconvenient. But for me, I totally absorbed and appreciated the simplicity in this. Not only did I appreciate having to do the things like boil the snow to create water or create the fire to stay warm, but it helped remind me of how much we take these things for granted. And how important they are, how essential they are to our lifestyles. And that if you actually immerse yourself in the simplified act of doing these things, it can be so beautiful.
And ultimately simplifying the way we live from transportation to food and shelter offers these native benefits that we tend to forget and take for granted. I think a lot of humans have become very inundated with technology, that we've simply lost touch with our true souls.
And so this whole process, this whole experience introduced simplification and just the reminder that we need to slow down and experience life in the moment without all of the distractions devices, et cetera. And that we often need to reset which leads to my next point.
So, I'm a firm believer that we all need a reset button or a means to unplug. And this is a by-product of all the modern day desires and responsibilities that basically keep us running nonstop. We're running from the next thing, the next person, the next project. We have very little time to truly rest and relax.
Similar to the computer, our minds and bodies I need a way to unplug and reset from time to time. You know, you will exhaust the computer's resources if it's constantly on and on and on and running at max capacity. So truly unplugging requires that you get off the devices, you shut down your work and you allow yourself to be fully present.
To be clear, this is not easy. Most of us struggle with this. It's challenging to do and it also yields benefit when you can truly commit and unplug and give your self the opportunity to reset.
When I unplug, I do truly commit and focused on removing anything that can be a distraction. This allows me to be fully present with both nature, in this situation, and other humans when I'm at events or places where the intent is to connect. And these are definitely some of the instances where I've had the best thoughts and realizations. Not only am able to recharge, but I'm able to just be fully present.
Even right now, I feel so at peace as I record this, because I had that opportunity to reset. And now I'm recharged. You can sense I've got energy to kind of share this experience. So this 24 hours at this hut from tracking there on snow shoes, to being at a more primitive cabin and just appreciating the beauty of the simplified things, and the removal of distractions was an excellent reset period for me.
You can sense it I'm slowing down and using my words wisely because I want this to come out and I want you to really understand that there is an intentional commitment here. Which is why I'm sort of reiterating that an environment, the people, everything, there's a design to resetting and unplugging and I've found that not just here, but at previous retreats I've been on.
So lastly, the point I wanted to tie together with all this as the human connection.
There was a human connection piece to this trip that felt amazing. No screens, no scrolling, right. None of the digital things. We had a TV at the condo the last couple of days that never got turned on once. Just about everybody was off their phones unless there was an emergency or they had something they needed to attend to. We committed to real in-person conversation and engagement. Everything from pure and organic discussions in the cabin to deep and meaningful conversations, all the way up to intense laughter.
When you participate in an event where there is a desire to connect and a mutual desire to stay unplugged from other things, it just yields this awesome energy, this awesome alignment, especially from our community in front of our dads, that is unparalleled to anything I've ever experienced.
So I want to emphasize that not only was there amazing human connection here, but this is what you get when you go into something with that intention. Not only do we have great conversation, but we spent time on the mountain skiing together.
This created comradery of participating in sport together. It was analogous to playing like children. Just truly playing and enjoying time, which is something I feel like adults rarely do. Yet, we can gain so much benefit from. I even made a comment in the cabin where I was like, I wonder what the eight of us guys would look like as seven year olds in this same situation.
And instantly one of the other brothers suggested why don't we figure out how to go sledding. And so outside there was a couple of slides. We grabbed them, we ran up the hill, we jumped into sleds. Thank goodness nobody hurt themselves. Cause I had a pretty speedy adventure down the hill, but it was so fun to just reset as if we were children and just play with some beautiful sledding in nature.
I'm becoming more and more of an advocate that we need to play. We need to relieve ourselves of being so serious all the time and being these high performance professionals or whatever label you want to take on it and just create space to play. Play with life, play with people, play with things. And nature offers a fantastic opportunity to do that, which is why our hut trip and the skiing and snowboarding was a really, really beautiful journey in to human connection.
This is also what fuels the soul in my opinion. I think the world that we live in, it's very easy to get quick dopamine hits from things on social media, things we watch, et cetera. But I also believe this type of dopamine is temporary and not that same type of dopamine that you can get from these in-person experiences, which yield true joy.
So, I shared a lot of that with these men through this time. And I will cherish these memories that we created. And that's not something you can attain without showing up and being fully present in person. So there is something to be said about connecting with people at the human level.
And I reemphasizing that because so much of our world, especially today during this pandemic, is digital connection and it is not the same.
So that's my recap. I hope there was something in here that was helpful in some way, or maybe spoke to you. I will continue to seek these types of experiences and share them as I learned from them via blogging or podcasting.
And one of the questions I asked myself, which I will pose here and then wrap things up is, how can I create more of these simplified experiences on a regular basis in my daily life, without going on a three-day retreat?
The root of that question is that I'm in such an awesome state of peace right now, I'm curious on how I can recreate these on a more regular interval without the full three-day retreat or the larger event where I have to leave my home and my family.
I'm pondering on, is there a way to attain some of this inner peace and through daily simplicity, daily resetting and unplugging, daily human connection, right. Daily adventure and what that might look like.
So I will leave you with that. I appreciate your attention as always, and until the next time.
Ali is a father, husband and serial entrepreneur with a deep drive to create. He writes, records, codes and builds things to inspire the artist in all of us.