⛰️AIP 86 Reflections On My Adventures In British Columbia

⛰️AIP 86 Reflections On My Adventures In British Columbia

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These last two weeks in British Columbia have been some of the most meaningful of my life.

I spent three days with my dad venturing into Garibaldi National Park, two with my dad and best friend John Maverick doing day hikes, and finally a week and a half with John vibing in Vancouver.

It was meaningful for several reasons. It was my first time alone with my dad in a national park for more than a couple of days. It was my first time seeing John physically after 1.5 years of calling through video twice a week. Aside from my brother, he's grown to be my best friend.

And I had several key realizations I want to share with you from the trip I'm trying to take back as I return to the U.S.

The first thing I realized is a new definition of productivity.

When I first started self-improvement four years ago, I saw productivity as a visible output over time. I believed doing more equals doing better, which led to me doing an insane amount of stuff.

At one point during my sophomore year of college I was:

  • Part of three clubs
  • Creating a YT video, newsletter, and two podcasts every week
  • A full-time student
  • Consistently going to the gym
  • Socializing
  • In a romantic relationship

I tried to squeeze every ounce of time out of every day like they were wet towels. I felt anxious and restless, all the time.

As I've grown in body and mind, I've realized this definition of productivity isn't sustainable. Instead, I now see productivity as the extent to which a person's actions add value to their work, social, or personal goals while balancing efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability.

Nowhere was this more apparent than during my two-week trip. I played board games for 13 hours over two days with John--we beat the hardest scenario in Mansions of Madness no flex.

Cthulu's body dead on the ground after we won

While hiking, I often sat and watched nature for hours.

I got almost no writing or business work done, instead spending most of my reading time on The Wheel Of Time series by Robert Jordan.

I orchestrated a symphony of flavors in the kitchen both in nature and back in Vancouver with John--we made things like Japanese Curry, Buttermilk Chicken, and Pancit.

John Mavrick and I vibing after making Pancit

Compared to my old self's definition of productivity, I was less productive than a sloth without its morning coffee. But according to my new definition, my actions strengthened relationships that could last a lifetime and grew me in so many ways.

I was more productive than ever.

The second thing I realized is human connection can happen by doing nothing at all.

I used to think the main way to have a human connection was through a deep conversation.

I saw small talk as aversive as doing taxes. I wanted to skip right to the juice, the meat, the mullah. Who cares about what the weather is like outside? What's your purpose on this planet?!

Unfortunately, it was on this path to connect with everyone deeply that I stopped connecting as much.

My dad described that period of being around me as "excruciating." My mom described it as "exhausting." In her words, not everyone wants to have a deep conversation, every conversation. It's tiring. My mom doesn't want to come home from teaching teenagers in high school and immediately be asked, "So, what's the meaning of life for you?"

Thankfully, this trip taught me how many other ways there are to connect with people than through deep conversation. You can connect through nature, the beauty of silence, and a shared rare experience.

I felt deeply connected to my dad while sitting watching the mountaintops on Panorama Ridge, coming upon Garibaldi Lake, and overlooking Joffrey Lake.

My dad and I in front of Joffrey lake.

Seeing John in person after 1.5 years made me realize the unique human connection you can have in person as well. On our video calls, there was rarely silence—it's kind of awkward through video. But in person, there were many times when we simply enjoyed each other's presence, feeling no need to fill the gap with conversation.

I also connected deeply with my dad and John by doing shrooms together. I wrote a full reflection on the experience and how it changed me here. I decided against posting it in the newsletter as a full article because of the stigma surrounding psychedelics—a stigma which I hope will one day go away.

In the future, I intend to connect more with people in these ways. Not solely through deep conversation but through shared experience and silence.

The third thing I realized from the trip is how nature can uniquely create vulnerability.

In our world of constant digital connection, it's easy to forget what it's like to be completely unplugged. As a content creator, I'm online most of the day. Only in nature do I experience what it's like to disconnect for extended periods.

There's a special vulnerability you tap into when you're unplugged. Your mind clears up, and amidst Mother Nature's embrace, you feel safe to share things you wouldn't usually.

One of these vulnerable sharings came from my dad. I was sitting with him, eating breakfast the morning of our three-day adventure into Garibaldi National Park. He told me as he got older, it was becoming harder to feel excitement for the everyday.

The days felt flat.

When he was younger, finding excitement for life wasn't a problem. In his 20s and 30s, he had an unquenchable thirst for adventure. He traveled everywhere and engaged in dangerous activities like ice climbing.

One of the things he was realizing in older age was that trips like these—novel experiences with socializing—helped him feel the energy of his youth.

It was a beautiful moment. As we went into Garibaldi, I thought about how our adventure was helping my dad feel the excitement he used to feel as a youth. He definitely had it when we first came onto Garibaldi Lake, the best view of the entire trip.

In another moment, while on Panorama Ridge, he told me I was one of his best friends in life. Imagine that! A 20-year-old great friend with a 61-year-old. I almost cried.

As I return to the U.S., I think about how I can integrate these insights into my everyday life. One thing I can say for certain is I want to create space for more adventures like this. It's too easy to get trapped in the comfort of routine.

Every once in a while, stepping off the path gives us a better view of where it leads. As one of my favorite authors--J R.R. Tolkien--once said, "not all those who wander are lost."

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