Social Adventures – Whitewater
TP-FH Photographer: Tommy Penick Location: Little White Salmon, WA
Living on the road full time brings up grand visions in most people’s minds—open desert roads, unlimited free time, illuminated tent photos plastered with trending hashtags, and adventures on demand. I’d be amiss to say there haven’t been periods of all of that through my nomadic lifestyle, but the road life more commonly presents crunched timeframes with adventure buddies all over the world; a quick stop between photo shoots is the typical stage that my adventures are set upon. Contrary to the perception built by sponsored expeditions to countries nobody has heard of, its unexpected flexibility is where the outdoor lifestyle truly shines. At first glance, the outdoor life seems committing, time consuming, and unapproachable. Outdoor adventures don’t need to be multi-week long summit attempts, first descents of unnamed creeks, or a statewide mountain bike traverse. Instead, they can be 30-minute cruises on a mountain bike around urban trails, a quick trail run in the park, or a quick playboat session. There are zero rules stating adventures have to be time consuming. Cruising into town, calling an old friend and saying, “hey let’s grab coffee” is the standard, easy route of brief and rushed social interaction. Of course, it has its place with those who don’t recreate outside. But making meaningful connections in the outdoors always wins. I’ve had my share of memorable coffees with friends as I swing through a town, but they are far more forgotten than mini-adventures.  It’s no mistake that some of our best companions in life are folks we meet through our outdoor pursuits. The threads that create the mesh of relationships, outdoors or not, is built off the trials and tribulations, the successes and failures. So next time you only have an evening to catch up with a friend or a few hours, go hit up your local trails, rivers, or anything else you can get your hands on. - Tommy Penick is a commercial photographer and filmmaker who lives out of his van. For more of Tommy's work, check out
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