This week if you’re subscribed to the Adventure Rx podcast you will be hearing an incredible story about my friend Antonio–a fellow type 1 and a climber. We met through instagram and after listening to the podcast he decided to reach out to me to discuss the ups and downs of his life. I don’t mean just blood sugar fluctuations but more specifically his time in the military, experience with gang life and growing up in Brooklyn in the hardcore music scene. I read his first email at 1 AM a few months back and I became emotional reading his story. It wasn’t the type of story I’d ever seen anywhere else. It was gritty. Raw. Honest. Not the kind of story that would appear in a sanitized publication. It was a powerful reminder of why we started this project and I think it will move you too if you listen.

My point in writing this isn’t to tell Antonio’s story–he does that on the podcast much better than I could. I actually wanted to share the photos of our day out climbing with his partner Bruno who is married to a type 1 making him a “type 3”. It was just really refreshing and fun to enjoy sun, stone and wind together. I feel like I’m supposed to say more than that about our meeting, but sometimes less is more.

We each have stories that, if told in great depth, have great significance. There are times and places for that. I’m proud of being able to share those stories here–but part of the reason I love photographs is because they cut through the “significance” and just let the moments we experience “breathe”. I get that it’s diabetes awareness month and in the past I’ve always tried to connect the dots for the people who read this blog and raise awareness and…then sometimes I just want to dangle my feet off a belay ledge and feel the sun and breeze on my face because that’s real.

When we tie in together and leave the ground, we also leave those qualifying titles behind and become normal people–just climbers. We dissolve into the experience with all of it’s focus, fears and joys. We relinquish the significance of being people with diabetes or people who have faced challenging circumstances in our lives–and even though that’s what I’m usually focused on in my work, I keep coming back to the real reason that we bother with any of this adventure stuff.

We climb because it’s how we simplify life and feel normal again.