Author: Ryland Hormel

Even when I am standing in the middle of the city, surrounded by endless opportunity and possibility, I sometimes get the feeling of being trapped.

I had that feeling last week, but knew exactly what I had to do.  I loaded up my truck, grabbed my 15-week old Malamute puppy and headed out to camp in the snow for a couple of nights. Just me, my puppy, and my camera.

I needed a system reboot. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city - the pace, stress, people, and pressure can be overwhelming at times. My cure is diving face first into my passions like a birthday cake.  I am the type of person that feels at home on the road and comfort in the unexpected.  I love my city life, but I require a balance within it to be able to appreciate all of the amazing people, places and experiences around me.

My “reset” button lies inside my adventure truck, “The Moose Mobile,” with a long open road ahead, some reggae music on the radio, and the excitement for what I will discover.  My passion for photography came from a synergy of beautiful images and my love of nature. It allows me to tap into my creative self and forces me to find new perspectives.  When I am behind a camera I am almost guaranteed to enter a flow state (the present moment).  In this flow state, only capturing the present moment matters to me, unloading constant and unnecessary stress may be carrying around. Chasing experiences like these help produce more confidence, gratitude and awareness.  

I encourage you to find your reset button.  My guess is that it lies within your passions. Need help finding your passion? Follow your curiosity. It is your road map.  

With stress-free living on my mind, I drove three hours northwest of Chicago to Devil's Lake State Park.  I found myself a nice campsite where I could sleep in my truck. I was shocked to discover three other campsites taken as it was absolutely freezing outside! I met two guys named Sam and Travis who had taken residence in hammocks for the night. Savages.

I shared a beer with them by the fire, and they told me how doing things like hammock camping in the freezing cold makes them feel alive. I could not agree more. Moose, however, was already curled up into a ball in the truck, signaling bed time for the two of us.  We snuggled up in the truck, under the stars and blanket of wilderness. We awoke the next morning to what looked like the inside of a freezer - everything was iced over, all the water bottles in the car were completely frozen, and the windows frosted over. Due to proper preparation, both Moose and I slept warmly through the night.

Moose and I went on a hike around the lake to start the morning, and then returned to camp for the rest of the day to relax in the solitude of the forest.  It was Super Bowl Sunday, so I was of course the only person at the campsite. Come nightfall, I sat by a raging fire, just looking at the stars, feeling absolutely stoked on life.  And that was it - I was back to ground zero. That was the reboot moment I was looking for and needed.  I slept through the night once again, adventure on my mind, and returned back to Chicago the next day, excited and appreciative to be back for city adventures.

If I found any lesson from this trip, it’s that sometimes a quick pause on the stress of “daily” life, taking a step outside the box (and into the wild), can be just what you need. And if you need help finding a direction to take, follow your passions. It only takes a quick moment of clarity to know exactly what you need to do. Relax, reset, go HAM.

Move Mountains,

Ryland Hormel