Rediscovering Balance & Growth Through Adventure
I love nothing more than a good adventure. You know, the kind where you run out of pesos in Argentina, scrounge to make ends meet for a hostel and an empanada, randomly meet some hilarious Scottish lads, and spend the evening slugging back caipirinhas with new friends in new sights in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Or in my friend Steve Dubbeldam’s case, the kind where you motorbike through pouring rain, snow sleet and hail for 500 miles to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and have to warm your hands by holding your muffler.
It goes without saying, when I learned Steve was launching a periodical all about legendary adventures you spend your entire life reminiscing about, I had to get the full scoop on his inspiration and storytelling process – oh, and how to snag a spot on his next trip to the Sequoias.
SH: Why did you start Wilderness Collective?
SD: I started Wilderness to be a voice in media and culture that would inspire people to realize that building regular habits of getting outside of your office, the city, and your comfort zone are all powerful ways to grow and challenge yourself.
SH: Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Why?
SD: I’d say a mix of my grandfather and my dad. My grandfather was a dreamer, inventor and serious adventurer (example: he hand-built a sailboat from scrap metal and sailed from New York to Florida with his wife and 6 kids); my dad’s character, reputation and business leadership is a huge inspiration to me.
SH: Someone once said, “Live a great story!” What does this mean to you?
SD: To me, I’d say “live a story worth telling.” I think that adding “worth” as a qualifier means your story has impacted other people, it has moved the needle in their lives or in culture as a whole. I believe we all have a sphere of influence and there’s a shared responsibility within humanity to make your circle a little brighter and better than when you left it.
SH: If you could share a campfire with 3 people from any time in history who would it be and why?
SD: Adam, Wilberforce and Da Vinci. I love origins stories; people who have tirelessly fought for the rights of others and innovators.
SH: Motor bike, catamaran, or snowmobile? Explain?
SD: Tough question. For adventure purposes, I’d say motorcycle, hands down, as they’re the best way to access the most adventure. For post-apocalyptic purposes, I’d vote for a sailboat and for someone wanting to have an incredible time and/or is new to power sports I’d say snowmobile, the learning curve is very easy to get the basics down.
SH: What is the design inspiration behind Wilderness Collective? Do you have a process for determining the content of each issue?
SD: The design inspiration comes from thinking deeply about readability, utility and a no-BS, timeless approach. We don’t want the magazine to look dated in a few years, so we have worked hard to make it feel standard and utilitarian instead of “cool.” If you look at military design, they do an incredible job of this. The themes are determined by my core team, and we try and pick from topics that will be interesting to explore from a literal and metaphorical perspective.
SH: Do you have any daily rituals?
SD: Coffee made with an Aeropress right now, and then about 30 minutes of reading and writing in my yard to clear my mind. When I’m in town and not traveling, I try and climb at a local gym after work as it’s the only sustained gym habit I’ve ever been able to keep.
SH: What would you say are the key ingredients to a good story?
SD: Disconnection from the environment of your regular life or the people in your regular life, challenge or hardship, adrenaline and risk.
SH: What is your favorite quote? Why?
SD: Two here, for design and creativity:
1) “The last thing anyone wants to see is what they just saw.” –Anonymous
I love that quote because it encourages me to create new things that the world has never seen before instead of just following.
2) “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.”–Yvonne Chouinard
I’ve quoted this in almost every Wilderness expedition we take. It reminds people that you never tell a story about the trip where everything worked great or the weather was gorgeous. But you do tell stories about when you rode your motorcycle through rain, snow sleet and hail 500 miles to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and it was so cold you had to warm your hands by holding the muffler with your gloves on.
SH: “Long before history began we men have got together apart from the women and done things. We had time.” —C.S. Lewis. Does this ring true? What happened?
SD: Absolutely, I think that as men we gained a lot of strength from our community of friends, doing things shoulder-to-shoulder in our teens and into our twenties… then mysteriously we forgot and abandoned those rhythms, which gave us the energy and inspiration to get us to where we are. Yet we keep pushing forward thinking we can get “there” on the fumes of our youth.
SH: A common thread in all of your projects (Wilderness Collective, Darling Magazine, etc.) is that they all have a strong appeal to the heart. Why is this so important to you and what is the impact on your readers?
SD: I love leveraging creativity to produce good in the world. All the things I create will always involve having a conversation with culture about how we can all be better, kinder, and more fully alive –– because, ultimately, that keeps me kind and alive too.
To learn more about Steve Dubbeldam and order your own copy of Wilderness Collective, click here. The passage issue is our favorite one yet.