Harbor Fish Market Video – Portland Travel Videos – Tripfilms

Harbor Fish Market Video – Portland Travel Videos – Tripfilms.

I kneel down in the middle of a floor soaked in icy water, feeling the wetness seep into the fabric of my pants. The scent of fish hangs thick in the air. People around me make an effort not to pay attention to what I’m doing. I hit “record” and pan across the scene, following a woman named Patty as she packages lobsters up in brown paper bags. I stop recording and let the euphoric “I got the shot” feeling spread through me. It’s tempered by the fact that I don’t have time to replay the footage to be sure–and, of course, Patty has moved on to her other duties. I move into my next position to catch the next quick clip.  The location is Harbor Fish Market on Custom House Wharf in Portland, Maine, and this is my latest freelance gig: hometown video correspondent for tripfilms.com. For them, I’ll be shooting 10 1-minute films about Portland. I’m very excited to be working with these guys, since, in a very practical way, they put me on the path to living one of my long-forgotten dreams: Travel Show Host.
Not long ago, you had to be very cool, charismatic, and–most important–backed by a network to be a travel show host. For a while during the mid-90’s I would rush home to find out where Lonely Planet’s “Globe Trekkers” Ian and Justine were headed to next. I wanted to be one of these guys, jet-setting to exotic locals, meeting interesting people and eating cringe-worthy local delicacies.  Eventually, my interests moved on to things that don’t require a production crew and I lost touch with my yearning to take people out into the world from their livingrooms. Last winter, the bike/ski shop I work at opened a new location at a XC ski center. Embedded in the center’s web-page was an amateur video made by a film student about the trails. This use of video on a webpage reminded me of a statement I heard several times while attending the SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) Travel Writing/Photography Institute: because high bandwidth is becoming more common, video is THE THING to get into. I typed “travel, video” into a search engine and was deposited into TripFilms.com. I saw a bunch of people traveling, and creating travel videos. Though most didn’t have the polished feel of a “Travel Channel” production, they had every bit as much heart, were every bit as deep in the culture and appeared to have just as much fun. Plus, these filmmakers were fully independent! A few more clicks of the mouse led me to an extraordinary revelation. HD camcorders capable of creating decent quality video were less than a $1000! In less than 15 years, technology has completely altered the landscape. Since scraping together the money to buy my camera and software, I have signed on as an intern for Matador TV. Looking for “the best travel content on the web” led me to an overwhelming amount of awesome filmmakers from solo travelers looking into a camera at arm’s length to full-scale productions. I also found Web Series like “In Transit” and “Brainrotting” and “The Season.” These series showed me that a person can actually produce a TV show with multiple episodes themselves. People like David Adams and Peter Bragiel are stars. Now I’m a star, too–well, not yet. But I am living my travel host dream.

Farewell, Mountain: A riding Retrospective on Monture Trail, Montana [Mountain Bike Tales]

Here’s the link to my most recent story appearing in Mountain Bike Tales:

Farewell, Mountain: A riding Retrospective on Monture Trail, Montana

The story has roots in a ride I took with friends Aaron Teasdale and Rod Kramer a few years back on one of the trails most in danger of closure in the United States. With the current situation of Montana (and the greater US) trails getting more perilous, I wove it together with the recent Federal Court ruling closing trails in a WSA near Bozeman that threatens access everywhere. The story is an adventure of hope.

On The Other Side of the World Someone Awaits You [Matador Network]

This is a very personal story that appeared in Matador Network.

On The Other Side of the World Someone Awaits You

A few minutes earlier I had let her cut in front of me at the ticket counter because I felt uncomfortable with her standing so close. In Chile you have to stand on top of the person in front of you or others think you’re not really standing in line, just sort of checking it out.

My body felt weak and unstable teetering under the weight of my backpack. I was recovering from carbon-monoxide poisoning in Castro. (read more here)

Transitions make the Heart Grow Fonder

I’ve been taking a lot of time off from writing on my blog.  A lot of time off from writing on my novel project.  A lot of time off from fiction in general.  I haven’t been taking a lot of time off.  While on a short leave from fiction, I’ve been writing articles for the Matador Network, working with New England Mountain Bike Association and most importantly, in a transitionary sense, shooting some video.

What’s a novelist with no kids doing shooting video?  Funny you should ask.  It brings me to an admission.  I don’t know what to do with my life.  Just when I think I have myself nailed down, I do something that defies my conventions.  I’ve done this plenty of times in the past, moving from fiction to travel writing (or photography) and back.  I’m convinced I like adventure and the grass always looks greener on the other side.  Well, I’ve strayed way to the other side this time.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a fan of documentaries.  You get to watch a true story unfold in front of you.  That love only compounded with the invention of The Travel Channel.  I would search the cable listings to find shows like The Lonely Planet series with Ian and Justine or The World’s Most Dangerous Places with Robert Young Pelton.  For an hour each afternoon I would be swept away to another world.  I was addicted to travel and Ian and Justine were my dealers.  (Pelton’s the kind of dealer that pushes you past the gateway drug into the more dangerous stuff…)  But what these guys were peddling was the free sample.  And for most viewers, that’s all they needed.  I, however, need the real stuff.  The stuff of adventure.

Enter my new HD camcorder.  Armed with a new way to see and show the world around me, I’m hoping it will be the catalyst of a more significant change in my life.  A change that will take me out into the world, rather than just watching it from the sidelines.  I already have a few projects in mind and you can read about them here:  Life’s Fast

I’ll still be writing fiction, but my tiny amount of free-time will be divided between passions (as it always has been.)  In the end, I hope that this transition makes me a better, more dynamic writer of fiction with a fresh passion that only a little distance can provide.

5 Best Places to Keep Your Adventure Sports Alive During Winter [Matador Network]

New travel article for Matador Network about the 5 best places to keep your adventure sports alive during winter. It features five incredible indoor adventure parks around the world.


How to Become a Hut Master [Matador Network]

My latest article for the Matador Travel Network is up and can be seen here:


It’s a short article about how to land the dream-job of being a backcountry “hut-master.”  Check it out.  Also, spend some time looking over some of the other content on the network.  These guys do a great job (and make my life as a writer easy in the process.)  They, and I assume a majority of their readers, live for travel and it shows.  Don’t be surprised if you look up at the clock and see that a couple of hours has passed while you’ve been surfing their sites.

The Art of Achieving Childhood Dreams

Here is another TED talk.  Think a man who has spent his life trying to build virtual worlds can’t teach us something about living better in the real world?  Think again.  Randy Pausch, one of the pioneers of 3-D virtual reality talks about making childhood dreams come true.  Then, he takes it a step further and tells us how we can do it, too.  It’s a bit longer than most TED talks at a little over an hour.  Set aside a little time.  You’ll be glad you did.


Project Tandem

I had a couple of friends visit me yesterday at the bike shop.  I hadn’t seen Alan Winslow or Morrigan McCarthy since they left on their year-long bicycle tour to document, through photography and audio, rural Americans’ often overlooked efforts at sustainability, and the environment.  Doing the 11,000 mile trip by bicycle broke down the social barriers people often have talking to strangers.  Their subjects open up in a way that most journalists only dream of.  I haven’t heard/seen most of their footage, yet, but I’m expecting it will add much texture to the public discourse on Americans’ views on the environment.

Check out their work at:


These guys are the real deal: artists and adventurers.

Talk by neuro-scientist on how we read people’s brains

Ever wonder what makes people tick?  Sure, most of us do.  As a writer, I feel it’s my job to distill the things I observe in others into words on the page.  This link to a short video clip reveals how our brains read other brains and make moral judgments.  A must-see for writers trying to capture the essence of “why characters do what they do” on more than a purely intuitive level.  The clip also addresses, to a lesser degree, the “hard problem of consciousness.”


Democracy’s End…?

The recent decision by the Supreme Court to allow corporations the ability to openly fund political candidates seems to usher in what Alexander Tytler described as the final stages of the fall of Democracy.  Tytler, a Scottish history professor living between 1747 and 1813, wrote a paper titled, “Downfall of Democracies” siting his research of democracies from Athens and Rome through his time.  Quotes paraphrasing his work have popped up all over the internet for the last decade bestowing the fall of our democracy due to everything from our lack of spirituality, to the “liberal” expansion of government.  The unverified quote often attributed to Tytler is this: “A democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority will always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”  Up until the Supreme Court gave free-reign to corporations to openly finance political campaigns, I believed we had something that other failed democracies didn’t have, namely the historical research of people like Tytler telling us what we need to watch out for.

Not everyone learns from history, it seems.  Modern corporations take voting themselves “generous gifts” several steps further, not only bleeding the treasury dry, but all of the nation’s resources, natural and human, plus seeking the unfettered right to pollute in single-minded search for profits (which they, through no fault of their own, are designed to do).  These actions not only put our democracy in jeopardy, but all of humanity in danger.  Corporations are not people.  They do not have the ability to fairly judge their needs within a community of others.