Unplug and Reconnect with Nature

It’s the 21st century and everything we do is tied to electronics in some form. Whether it is for work or home, from communication to paying bills, we can do all of it on the various gadgets now available to us. For some, it’s a little difficult to unplug from the constant electronic connection. It doesn’t help if we don’t make an attempt to escape out of our electric environment. So a few weeks ago Pedram invited Michael Yang, Abel James, Alyson Bridge, Alan Christianson, and Alan’s son Ryan out to go hiking at Malibu Creek State Park in California. I tagged along as a cameraman to document the trip.


The wonderful thing that happens when all the electronics are put away is that we actually connect with the people that are actually in front of us. Many times I’ve been at a restaurant having dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in a few weeks wanting to catch up on the going-ons in their life only to see the backside of a phone as they send text messages else. I would gently suggest the phone be put away only to hear it justified that they felt it rude to ignore the incoming text messages. The text messages weren’t an emergency. I mean, it’d be a call if it was an emergency, right? Yet it was more rude to let the text messages sit on the phone to be responded to later than it was to ignore the flesh-and-blood person sitting in front of them. Read more

Needs vs. Wants with Guest Cliff Hodges

Some of us think we need that cup of coffee in the morning or the newest gadget, but is that really a need? This week Pedram Shojai and Sara Gottfried welcome Cliff Hodges of Adventure Out to The Health Bridge. Cliff runs a survival training program that aims to re-acclimate the 21st century human back to our primal instincts.

When we’re worried about actual survival, how does the list of needs vs. wants shift? Is that coffee still a need to stay awake? Or does it become a need to sustain ourselves. Is the smartphone still important? Or should we worry more about staying warm after the sun sets? What can spending time disconnected from the 21st century out in the woods do for our perspective of the world?


The Hike to Chino Canyon, Palm Springs


Our journey began on an arid Tuesday in Palm Springs. Most of us (Pedram, Summer Bock, Tom O’Bryan, Dave Asprey, Abel James and Alyson Bridge) had been stuck at this golf resort for over four days and we were looking for a sweet escape. We were sane enough to feel the insanity creeping up and we had to do something about it. So we decided to take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to the top of Chino Canyon at Mt. San Jacinto State Park and unplug for the day.

We thrive in the presence of nature and suffer in its absence. Only when we reached the top of Chino Canyon and looked down at the miles and miles of endless forest did we realize that we had deprived ourselves of real nature. Yes, the golf course at the resort was nicely designed and maintained, but we weren’t hungry for that. We needed something wild… something worth exploring.

The trip to Chino Canyon really did feed us – emotionally, mentally, and physically. We hiked a good six miles. Stopped at a peaceful meadow to enjoy our lunches. We packed lots of organic blueberries, bananas, cucumbers, carrots, wild salmon, and almonds. We shared everything. And it was awesome! We kicked off our shoes and soaked in the sunshine. There was no cellphone reception… and I was so grateful for that. It was so refreshing to be “off the grid”, even if it was only for eight hours.

I wanted to share some photos of our hike with you in the hopes that this will inspire you to go out and have a journey of your own.

Read more

Value of Nature and Feeling Human In The Modern World

In an age of Iphones, Facebook and YouTube, people have lost touch with Mother Nature. It’s time we migrate back to the outdoors and feel human again.

Last summer a handful of us took a Wilderness Survival Course with Cliff Hodges. He’s the founder of Adventure Out which is an amazing company that teaches people how to connect with nature. Whether it is actual survival skills, primitive tracking, bow making, rock climbing, or even surfing, these guys train city folks how to get out and feel comfortable in the woods. Why? Because there’s something missing for most of us- the dreary daily commute to work, spreadsheets, meetings, meetings about those meetings, back home, and some stupid TV…yawn.
Read more

Hiking the John Muir Trail with the Pacific Crest Trail Association- Backpacking as a way of life

This summer we spent two weeks hiking the John Muir Trail from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney along the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It was part of a film shoot for an ongoing story line in the movie “Origins” which we look to release in Feb 2013. Backpacking is an amazing way of seeing the world as you carry your home on your back and each night is a new abode. Averaging about 16 miles per day, it was a bitter-sweet adventure as we constantly encountered some of the most beautiful landscapes we’d ever seen but we didn’t have enough time to stop, chill out, and enjoy it. Altogether, it was challenging and amazing. Hiking that hard at high altitude really cranks the body on and makes for good clean, healthy living. Carrying all of your food in your backpack teaches you to ration and really get to understand your “needs” vs. your “wants”.

We met a number of Pacific Crest Trail “through” hikers along the way. What an amazing bunch. The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2650 mile trail from Mexico to Canada through the Western United States. It usually takes over 5 months to hike it and many people fail. It is absolutely amazing and some of the best-kept natural heritage we have.

We had a chance to circle in with Liz Bergeron who is the Executive Director of the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) before the hike and discussed what it is they do. Last year, they had over 1400 volunteers put in 115,000 hours of work out there in the back country keeping the trail maintained. We had a chance to witness this throughout our hike as a storm last year had blown over thousands of trees which we had to navigate around. Boy were we happy to see those crews. The amazing part is that in many parts of the forest there is a no “wheels” and no “engines” policy so much of the work they were doing was with hand tools.

Enjoy this webisode and we highly recommend you get involved with the PCTA. Whether you are hiking the John Muir Trail or the full Pacific Crest Trail, these guys are in your corner and are helping to preserve, protect, and promote that wilderness every year.

You can check them out at: http://www.pcta.org/