Take A Chance Tuesday

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When I was considering accepting my current position as field editor of an agricultural newspaper, I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. I’m from a rural area in northern Indiana and am familiar with agriculture, but I have never been a farm kid.

Although corn and beans fields surrounded the house I grew up in, my family didn’t farm. I even considered joining 4-H when I was in school but when it came down to only having the time to do athletics or 4-H, I chose athletics. I also considered joining FFA but at the time the organization mostly consisted of farm kids and I didn’t feel like I would fit in.

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I wondered if I would be able to keep up writing about something that I wasn’t overly familiar with. I thought there is no way I’m going to be able to talk with farmers, political leaders as well as business professionals and educators who live and breathe agriculture.

After a few days trying to decide what to do, I decided I would take a leap of faith and accept the position. I realized that, yes, I was scared about asking a stupid question about the industry or writing in a way that showed I was learning, but more than that, I was scared of moving for a job and finding out I didn’t like it. And I didn’t want that to stop me.

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Fast forward five months and I can tell you everything has worked out. I am incredibly happy in my position and have been pleasantly surprised at how kind everyone in the industry is. I can ask questions and those farmers and political leaders I was nervous to talk to and they will not only answer them but they’ll go above and beyond to give me the background of the subject.

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Along with, the overwhelming kindness I have received from coworkers, interviewees and everyone in between, I am happy that I took a chance.

By taking the position I have been given opportunities that I never would have had if I said no. I’ve been able to travel around the state and meet different kinds of people including a Colts football player, a Nascar driver and a Nascar team owner. I’ve experienced a historic barn tour as well as a boat tour of the Ohio River. I’ve also attended a wine festival and a restaurant opening where I got to sample different food dishes and then write about them. These are just a few of the experiences I never would have had without taking this opportunity.

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I never would have been paid to do these things without saying yes to the position and I am beyond thankful I did. I hope that others considering taking a chance on something will do so!

Have you had a similar situation? If so, tell me about it!

To travel, or not to travel, that is NOT the question

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Our twenties are full of questions, challenges and tough decisions to be made. The entire decade is full of never-ending transitions that have no road map.

One thing that should never be on the list of questions, challenges or tough decisions is whether or not to travel, which does have a road map. If given the option to travel, the answer should always be yes.

Take vacations

I know vacation time at work can be sacred. Use the vacation time. You earned time off and deserve to spend it doing something you enjoy.

Travel to as many places as you can

Whether it’s a two-hour road-trip, a weekend trip in a big city, a beach vacation, a mountain getaway or a 15-hour flight to a different country, it is worth it.

Don’t let money stop you 

It’s okay to say yes. I know all about tight budgets. I know that it’s hard to spend money you worked hard for. I also know there are realistic travel options for twenty-somethings on a budget and then there are unrealistic travel options. Sure you may want to travel to New Zealand, but the several thousand dollar flight is going to potentially stop you from doing that. I get that. But, you CAN afford to take some kind of trip. There are plenty of affordable options to help make it happen.

Never stop wondering

Learn from other people when you travel. Learn from different cultures. Learn from different food. Learn everything you can about everything.

Never stop wandering

Visit family, travel with friends or take a solo vacation. Dream. Explore. Go somewhere new. Try something new.

Say yes to traveling

I double dog dare you.

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A conversation with CTM

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Have you ever wanted to take off work, travel and do something really fun but work, daily obligations got in the way? Well now you can; sort of.

Adam Hoffmeister and Madelyn Hille, two awesome twenty somethings, are quitting their jobs, and taking a 70+ day trip to canoe the entire Mississippi. Along the way, Madelyn will be documenting the trip by taking photographs, which will end up being published in a photographic journal depicting life along the Mississippi River. The photo book, titled Capturing the Mississippi (CTM) will allow others to see and experience the trip every step of the way.

On June 8, Hoffmeister and Hille will begin the 2,300-mile journey in their 18-foot Nova Craft Canoe. They will begin paddling in South Clearwater, Minn., at Lake Itasca and travel all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans, La.

Hille will choose a photograph at the end of each day that best sums up each day. It might be a group shot of people they meet along the way or a glimpse of a gorgeous sunset. The photographs will tell the complete story, quite literally, capturing the Mississippi.

“A year ago, I was going through a time when I was deciding what I wanted to do the rest of my life,” Hille said. “I’ve always loved photography, and Adam and I have both wanted to canoe the Mississippi. It’s an awesome opportunity.”

For Hoffmeister, the timing was right. Hoffmeister said they began talking about canoeing the Mississippi two years ago, but took a mission trip to Zimbabwe in 2011 instead.

“Mostly the timing is right and we’ve had this in the works for years,” Hoffmeister said. “Our lease is up in June, we don’t have plans for the summer, Madelyn just finished school and we both have jobs that are expendable. It’s all about the timing.”

Both Hille and Hoffmeister, who are in their 20s, are quitting their jobs to canoe the Mississippi. After the trip, they will be moving to Miami, Fla.

Hille said the 20-something concept is one of the reasons they decided to go through with the trip. She said she is obsessed with her generation because they are different.

“I’ve always been a little bit ashamed of our generation because we’ve been told we’re spoiled and our grandparents, parents worked harder than us,” Hille said. “But people our age are trying to go outside the conventional mold we used to fit into and try to do something unique, different to make ourselves happy.”

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What began as an idea to canoe the entire Mississippi became a decision to create the daily photo book and while they’re on the river, they will also be raising money for the Flat Rock River YMCA Camp, a summer camp in St Paul, Ind., which teaches outdoor education among other things.

“We would have gone on the trip regardless but now we’re able to raise money for a good cause,” Hoffmeister said.

On May 2, they began a Kickstarter, an online pledge system for funding creative projects. They have until June 2 to reach their goal of $3,000 and if they don’t reach the goal, they don’t receive any of the money.

They will take the trip whether or not they reach their goal. The funding raised will go toward producing the photo book and excess be used for food, toiletry costs and travel expenses.

People who want to donate can visit Kickstarter.com and type “Capturing the Mississippi” in the search bar. They can then click on the project, watch the video to learn more and donate. As people donate, they can receive really cool prizes based on money donated. Some of those prizes are post cards with a personal message, copies of photographs or a hardback copy of the photo book.

“Everyone has been amazingly generous,” Hille said. “Our canoe, paddles and life jackets were donated to us.”

Besides those items, they will be taking basic necessities like light-weight clothes, camping equipment and food, Hille said.

Both Hille and Hoffmeister have planned for risks they might face, such as weather. If there is a large rainstorm, they plan to seek shelter for those days then resume paddling.

“The main thing through this entire project is it is fun,” Hille said. “Adam and I are taking the opportunity we have now and trying to make our lives fun and adventurous. By producing the book and documenting the experience, we are bringing along others with us.”

Learn more and donate:
Facebook
Blog
Kickstarter

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Read other conversations from the series here.

Travel Tuesday: Wyoming

A few years ago my brother was living and working in Wyoming between Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. He absolutely loved it and I was lucky enough to be able to visit him twice.

I visited once in summer and once in winter. My parents and I went during the winter and it was incredible. The mountains, views were breathtaking. While we were there we went snowmobiling through Yellowstone (with my brother as our guide), saw Old Faithful, toured Jackson Hole and more.

When I went to see him in the summer it was after my senior year of high school. My brother worked as a guide on a ranch leading people on snowmobiles in the winter (like us), but in the summer he was a fly-fish guide and also took people on raft trips. In fact the first time I went fly fishing it was in Wyoming and my brother took me to his favorite spot – in the middle of nowhere – and when we were almost to the water he said we had to go all the way back to the car because he forgot the bear spray (Yes, we were fishing in an area that required bear spray). I also went hiking, rode horses, fished more and went to a bonfire by a lake.

In the past I had always headed south to Fla. on spring breaks and vacations but it was truly incredible to be able to visit Wyoming and I would suggest it for people looking for something different.

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Tetons

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Yellowstone

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winter

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My brother and I

Travel Tuesday

I have the desire to travel – a lot. I want to travel and witness as many places and cultures as humanly possible.

Given the fact I am a recent college graduate and don’t have the money to shell out thousands of dollars for flights all over the world, (student loans just kicked in…real world, you are cruel sometimes) it’s going to be awhile until I can accomplish that. So for now I’m going to share some inspiring travel photos this Tuesday evening.

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