Friend of Nuun, Carson, is currently living life off-belay. What’s life off-belay, you ask? Read more below to find out!
Tell us a bit about your mission, living life Off-Belay.
Comparisons are often drawn between climbing and the journey we all embark on in life. There are peaks, valleys, treacherous crevasses and points at which the hand holds just seem to run out. A rope and harness are essential pieces of equipment for any climber on a belay team. They offer assurance and security while crossing glaciers or when scaling a sheer face. One day we asked ourselves if this life journey we are on is at its fullest when navigated “on-belay.” Over the past two years we’ve had the ability to see one side of the equation. We enjoyed established corporate careers where we were comfortable, insured and safe. This journey allows us to give the debate a fair shake and dive head first into the flip side of the conversation. We decided to take our rope team off-belay to embrace a life of adventure and meaningful relationships following the Pan-American Highway from Seattle to Patagonia (offbelay-americas.com).
How long have you been on the road now?
Just over six months.
Have you had any close calls?
Driving in Mexico kept us on our toes, especially at night. To improve our odds we charted a route that took us through Mexican states that weren’t notorious for documented violence. Sadly, while we were in the country another American overland traveler on a motorcycle disappeared in a Mexican state that we opted not to travel through. Near the city of Guadalajara there was one incident that shook us involving automatic weapons, scores of Mexican Federale Police, trucks and spotlights but once they realized they had the wrong guys we emerged unscathed.
How has Nuun helped?
When traveling through developing countries as we have with a strong interest in trying almost every type of new food it is only a matter of time before one gets sick. It is just a reality of the road we are on. Once stomach sickness sets in dehydration quickly follows through one of its various forms. During these times Nuun tablets have been crucial in getting us back on the road to recovery. Easy to drink and full of electrolytes, Nuun allows us to recoup much of what is lost through the suffering while we contemplate whether our dietary choices were worth it.
What are your favorite Nuun flavors?
My favorite Nuun flavor has to be Lemon Lime. Up in the mountains we like to go light and fast which means we only carry around two liters of water per person at any given time. Using Iodine to purify our water saves weight, but also leaves a chemical taste that grows old after a couple of days. Nuun tablets are the easiest solution for this problem in the mountains and give us the added benefits of recharging us with electrolytes at the same time.
Have you shared Nuun with anyone you’ve met on your journey? Any good stories there?
While navigating on a single dirt track through the mountains of Guatemala we suddenly came upon road construction that wouldn’t permit us to pass until the next morning. Making due with the situation we found a rural single pump gas station that seemed secure and agreed to let us camp out for the night. Being the only gringos for miles in any direction always attracts a certain degree of attention, especially from kids. While we cooked our dinner on the tailgate of the Land Cruiser a number of kids came by with curious eyes. Not wanting to disappoint their intrigue we pulled out two tubes of Nuun tablets and let them first try them as candy and then in water. The look of shock on their faces when the tablet sizzled in their mouths was hilarious but they enjoyed the flavors regardless. As we sat down to enjoy our dinner they walked away with a tube a piece and a story to share with their friends about the crazy gringos they met.
What has life Off Belay taught you so far, and how do you think our readers can apply these lessons to their 9-5 lives?
Life Off-Belay has taught us heaps of lessons that remain worthy for across different types of lives. Three specific lessons come to mind. The first is that every single person knows something interesting that you don’t. We have met hundreds of new people from hosts of different countries along the way and I can guarantee this fact is indeed true. The second lesson is to take the trials and tribulations that life throws us with a problem solving mentality. Never accept defeat instead take the time to pull back, brainstorm and move forward with inspired creativity. The final lesson learned is to critically think about what balance looks like in your life. Each person was created unique and thrives on a different combination of work, hobbies, fulfillment and relaxation. Finding one’s special blend takes time, thought and maybe even trial and error but the effort applied is absolutely worth it.
Where to next?
We’ve been climbing for the past month in the Cordillera Blanca Range of the Andes just outside of Huaraz, Peru. In a week we will drive south to Lima to pick up a friend from University who recently quit his job at a think tank in Washington DC and is coming to join us Off-Belay.