[Spanish here / leyelo en español]
Christmas season is coming up, which means it’s time to start thinking about the things we could get out loved ones to help them along their way, and brighten their days in the year ahead.
Since I often write about climbing on here, I thought I’d put together a brief list of gift ideas that could be good for an aspiring climber or a beginner climber.
Read on for my recommendations.
When I’m traveling and people find out I’m American, one of the first things they usually say is: “Oh, America: Black Friday!”
I’m not sure why this event has managed to attach itself to the American identity, but I’ve had enough foreigners ask me about it that it clearly has. The rest of the world sees us as capitalism-crazed lemmings; people who will jump out of bed at 5 a.m. for anything, as long as the discount’s high enough.
And maybe that’s true, for some segment of my countrymen. But that’s not MY America. The same way the extreme Islamic clerics don’t represent Nouman’s Morocco, the homophobes in the streets don’t represent Iuri’s Brazil, and the Brexiteers don’t represent Sean’s England. Black Friday shoppers don’t represent MY America.
You can’t (successfully) stereotype people of any country — but the US, even less so. As I tell people when they ask about my home: there are many Americas.
And in my America, we #OptOutside.
While everyone else got up at 5 a.m. to snag #dealz, we got up at 5 a.m. to go snag some early-season ice climbing at Hidden Falls, in Rocky Mountain National Park. Find a different side of America, below the jump.
“There’s no cell service at the Creek.”
Jake’s garbled voice came through Meg’s car speakers. We were testing the ranges of civilization, on I-70 out of Colorado. Red, scrubby desert stretched for miles all around us.
“The only way to communicate at the Creek is by posting a note on the message boards,” the voice on the phone said. “We’ll meet you there tomorrow. Good luck.”
As we cruised through Moab, headed South, I sent the last messages I would send for three days. They bounced up from the Utah desert, hit a satellite, and then redirected across the Atlantic Ocean, to Italy.
We’ll be out of touch for a few days, I said. Let’s use this time to think about things.
Please be careful and come back in one piece? The response came. Otherwise all this pondering will be pointless.
Sure, I said, and the car continued on.
Within seconds: no signal.
Tomorrow would be the first day in four months, or maybe more, that this woman I and would not talk.
We drove on, and for there first time in months, I put my phone aside, my mind at ease.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably realized I’ve been home for a bit. Home for me is Colorado, USA. Colorado’s one of the hottest states in the U.S. at the moment; one of the top places young people want to move. The migration is major, bringing both skilled and unskilled workers in large numbers to my home.
I can’t blame them; as I tell my friends and family when they ask about my travels, I’ve now seen a lot of places around the world. And the more places I see, the more convinced I am that Colorado is one of the better ones.
Here’s why I believe that:
My sister gave me “To Touch the Top of the World” as a gift, maybe ten, twelve years ago. “It’s about a blind guy that climbed Mount Everest,” she said. “Super inspiring.”
Cool, I replied, probably with a roll of my eyes, and set it aside. The book sat in my bookcase for the next decade, patiently waiting.
I picked it up the other day, in a moment of boredom, and found myself tearing through it. It is, as my sister said all those years ago, super inspiring.