30 Years to Finland

30 Years to Finland

by ERIK ORTON

It’s been 30 years since I’ve been to Finland.  My mother is Finnish.  She moved to NYC at age seventeen to be a nanny.  A few years later she met my dad and they got married.  I’m half Finnish.  I used to spend summers in Finland as a kid.  My last summer there I was fourteen.  My mom worried I would be bored spending all day in my grandmothers two-bedroom/one bath apartment, so she signed me up for a cycling race.  I was big into cycling at the time.

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Meet Our Mentors

Meet Our Mentors

by EMILY ORTON

A few weeks ago I wrote about drinking the Kool-Aid and how we can leverage our natural inclination to conform by deliberately choosing who we want to follow and then giving them lots of space in our brains. That’s what we did with Totem.
 
In early 2014 our family of seven moved out of our small Manhattan apartment into an even smaller boat where we lived for most of that year.  We did lots of two-steps forward one-step back preparations.  We’ll tell more in our upcoming memoir available March 2019. Nothing beats just starting, but one of the most important steps for facing our fears was finding mentors.

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Wendy and the Surface

Wendy and the Surface

by ERIK ORTON

My favorite part of the class was to lay on the ocean floor and stare up at the surface.  The light shimmered across it, the same way the water sparkled from above, but with a muted, quiet kind of beauty.  I was taking a scuba certification class and I was swimming along thirty feet below the ocean’s surface for the first time in my life.  My body drifted with the surge in unison with the school of yellow fish.  I looked a sea turtle in the eye as it swam toward me.  We stayed below for the better part of an hour.  I was in another world.

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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots

by ERIK ORTON

El Capitan is 3,000 feet tall, the largest single monolith of granite on the planet.  Climbers come from around the world to attempt an ascent.  It rises straight up from the Yosemite Valley Floor and dominates everything else.  The most prominent line runs straight up what’s called The Nose, the corner where the East and West walls meet.  This is what I wanted to climb. 

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Why Do We Wait to Do the Things We Say Matter the Most?

Why Do We Wait to Do the Things We Say Matter the Most?

I’m trying to figure that out.  I’m sitting in the lodge at Half Dome Village.  I’ve dreamed of coming to Yosemite Valley since I was a teenager.  I came close once in high school.  I actually flew out to Utah, met up with some buddies and we drove through Nevada and up to California.  I was the second youngest climber in the bunch, a junior in high school, so I wasn’t planning the trip.  Turned out we ended up climbing in the highlands of the park (Tuolumne Meadows), where it was cooler and less crowded.  We didn’t go down into the Valley, the land of the big walls.  Even so, it was the best rock climbing of my life, and I promised myself I’d come back and climb in the Valley.   Twenty five years later I’m here.  Why did it take so long?  Again, I’m trying to figure that out.

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Are You Getting In Your Own Way?

Are You Getting In Your Own Way?

Sometimes we get in our own way.  I know I do.

With my eyes closed, my weary head on the pillow, and a fluffy duvet beginning to warm me, Erik asked, “What are you interested in these days?”   What a thoughtful sweet man trying to connect with me at the end of the day.  I rallied.   My brain flipped through the mental files of my day.  I told him about a podcast on philsophy in the secular age, a Google search on fascial tissue (our bodies are held together with snot!), a news article on teens growing up in New York City (we have some of those), a new geography resource book, and how bacon isn’t actually that bad for you.  My enthusiasm grew.  Eyes open.  I was sitting up now.  I told him about DIY word books for Lily, and this terrific ebook series on copywriting...  ZZZZzzzzzzzzz.  Erik? Before I got halfway through my list, he was asleep.

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