This is the first Diabetes Awareness month (since I realized that such a thing existed) in which I haven’t been going out of my mind with worrying about keeping up with fundraising and awareness projects which kind dominate the airwaves. It may sound odd, but I feel like November is a great month to let my advocacy efforts “breathe”. Now don’t get me wrong–I’m not knocking the idea of awareness nor the opportunity for fundraising–I just don’t really see myself in that picture. I love documentaries for example, including the one I made in 2013, but I won’t be shooting another one any time soon, you know? At times in the past I’ve felt like I must be doing something wrong when November rolls around and I just don’t feel like playing. Now, I figure that I’ve got 11 other months out of the year to shake things up and so I am taking time to dig into my creative roots and gather vision and inspiration for the project ahead. Preparation for 2016 let’s call it. As my late uncle always told me, “measure twice, cut once”.

I’ve got bigger things in my life than diabetes currently–which is something I am really stoked about honestly. It’s the key to not letting diabetes encroach on your enjoyment of life. I’ve been focusing more on my family. On days when I am doing solo parenting I have just stepped away from the phone and computer to focus on Lilo. It’s such a privilege to have that time with her–and it’s something I don’t want to miss out on. Time with Lilo was a catalyst that forced me to reassess how much time I was spending at work, which of course led to the whole ‘Hey let’s move into a trailer! It will be healthier for us all and we can call it AdventureRx!’ thing. Taking the first step towards adventure is just that. One step. Without follow through that step becomes another time-suck.

I have also been taking more time to spend with my siblings. Last weekend we went to the beach together–a location where I typically wouldn’t elect to spend time as I’m not big on beach culture and it always seems crowded to me. I almost didn’t go because I felt like I should be blogging or posting photos–but then I realized that I’d be better off practicing what I preach (getting out of my comfort zone, traveling etc.) and taking advantage of the opportunity to see family before we transition to life on the road. All that analysis aside, it was wonderfully well-worth it–more so because I was so close to missing out.

One of the dangers of having a platform to create content for the world is that it’s all too easy to adopt an image of yourself and prop your feet up on it. You can get lost in the process of sharing and suddenly find that there is nothing to share. I know going to the beach seems like a vacation–but to me, it’s more daunting than a week of climbing rocks. I know, I’m an oddball. Nevertheless, I gained a lot by just saying ‘yes’ to something that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself.

I hate waiting for things. The time of departure from the east coast is coming quickly and there is a ton that I have to do in order to make that transition bearable. It’s not going to be smooth. The three of us crammed into a 13 foot fiberglass pod will be nothing short of traumatic–but I want that disruption to be such that we can adapt to it and grow out of it. As I think about the nuts and bolts of that process, I want to shoot and edit, create, share–all that good stuff. On the other hand, there’s not going to be a story to tell if I can’t get a LOT of stuff sold on electronic-bay–to make room and money. That’s what I’ve been doing for the most part since we got back from the beach–just downsizing and preparing.

I am going to write some blogs in the future dedicated to what I am “keeping” once the material reduction has been completed. I’m finding that clothing has accumulated more than anything else–I always wear the same few things anyhow so it’s only an emotional attachment to “more stuff” that is at risk. I am also using this time to take a hard look at the camera gear that will be most useful for this next part of the LivingVertical saga. Having less physical space definitely will necessitate fewer “bells and whistles” and it’s overwhelming trying to compare all the reviews and opinions out there on media capture gear. I suspect that less may be more.

Here are the categories that I am distilling my possessions into:

  • clothes (I have way more than I can use. Currently reducing this category.)
  • camera-photo and video (I have enough, but swapping out for better optimized models as my ability to use both has increased–and if I can have fewer pieces of kit that do more while breaking even financially, that’s a huge win.)
  • audio (all set here–although it is going to be interesting/challenging to record in such a small space as the trailer. Will the cardboard box studio make the cut?)
  • computer/media storage (a powerful laptop that can handle the edits and travel well–but media storage–it’s impossible to have too much of that!)
  • climbing gear (plenty)
  • diabetes supplies (this is a tricky topic because it’s a very personal choice of how light I typically go. I’ll be juggling between stockpiles of old/expired meds while I negotiate insurance minefields. Also I’ll be spending a good chunk of time in Canada where out of pocket insulin costs as much as my co-pay with insurance here did.)

To close, here are a few photos I made–I really think that having a camera with me at all times makes it easier to enjoy traveling. It’s also gotten me thinking about the ways in which I am going to be taking my photography and videos to the next level. These were all taken with my Fuji x100t which will likely be making way for something with better low light photography performance and faster focusing…but that’s for another blog!

Support LivingVertical by purchasing one of my photographs:


Love this? Hate it? Let me know in the comments or via email! (steve@livingvertical.org)

LivingVertical thrives because of YOU. I (Steve) personally appreciate the fact that you are part of our growing community of active and adventurous people with diabetes.