Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

The van pulled over and we climbed out of the vehicle into a sea of friendly merchants. With tourists stopping by all day, the vendors set up and greet you with ‘buen precio and muy barato” (good prices and very cheap).

the diver poses for a photo...

And only after you navigate through the wood carvings, silver souvenirs, and the other assorted common Mexican trinkets (many of which I own), can you make your way to meet the “manager.” Well, I gave him that title, I am not sure what he calls himself, but he produces the show. Most tourists in Mazatlán stop by to pay him a visit to see a cliff dive.

Just on the other side of the Malecón from Zona Dorada, on the way to Old Town, a platform among the cliffs exists where a few brave souls plunge into a shallow sea. This is not Acapulco; there is no show time (during the day, not sure about the evening). The event occurs when people arrive and offer tips. How much might it take for a diver to risk his life?

Eventually, a deal was made, and we were all prepared to give 20-50 pesos (~11.5 pesos to the USD). The diver essentially risks it all for the equivalent of $15-$20 USD. Sometimes he’ll make more, other times, he might jump for less. For them, this is their livelihood, their day job.(I gave 50 pesos)

As he climbed up to the top, we all prepared. We walked down to obtain the best view, and pointed our cameras in anticipation. At the summit, he paused, prayed and then slowly walked to the edge. An eternity passed (the minute seemed long) as we all waited. At low tide he needed to be even more careful.

he leaped off the cliff...

Suddenly, he dove. A beautiful arch and full extension delighted the crowd. A perfect 10.

Stay adventurous, Craig


Read Full Post »

This year I will miss an annual tradition. This weekend I will not be there to support the thousands who lace up and run the NYC marathon from the sidelines. But even from a distance (I am in Mexico) I will take a moment on Sunday to cheer.

And to mark the occasion, I decided to republish a post I wrote last year for the Gainville blog. I hope you enjoy it. And I trust you will now understand why I do love the New York City Marathon.

Good Luck to all the runners as 26.2 miles is quite adventurous in my book.

my mom cheers on my dad at mile 8

Weekends in New York always make a great story. This past weekend was no different.

The village’s flamboyant Halloween parade, countless city establishments packed with Yankee fans rooting for their team in the World Series (remember this is last year) , not to mention standard Friday night fine dining, Sunday brunches, Broadway Shows, and much more. Eventful indeed.

Yet, to many who love the city, this weekend was not about any of that – it was simply marathon weekend.

The race begins on Sunday morning in Staten Island where 40,000 runners from all ove the world start their 26.2-mile journey. Through five boroughs they run bringing together a community, and a city. Considered one of New York’s most cherished traditions and one of the world’s most popular marathons, I discovered that the race brings out the best in us. (even as spectators)

I never truly appreciated the event until my Dad entered. He always wanted to run the race, and three years (now 4) ago in his 60s, he competed and completed the milestone. But what I discovered on that autumn day remains with me today. I didn’t just cheer for my father, but I cheered for all the runners.

As a spectator you can’t help yourself, you cheer. You cheer for your friends and complete strangers. You cheer for countries, causes, and even costumes. Whatever a runner wears on their T-shirt, duck-tapes on their shorts, or writes on their legs – you cheer for it. You let them know you are pulling for them to finish.

my dad in manhattan at mile 17Plus, they hear you and acknowledge your support. They say thank you with a smile or a thumbs up and some even pick up their pace. You give them the fuel they need to continue. It’s not New York’s famous water credited for its pizza and bagel making magic that replenishes the runners, but the course’s cheerleaders.

So this year again I returned to Central Park in the late afternoon, six hours after the race began. There on the course’s final mile, I cheered loudly for people I never met. I encouraged runners to finish the race, to complete their NYC marathon. I let them all know, by any means possible that I appreciate and applaud their tremendous effort.

the leaves were starting to fall....


After nearly an hour of support, with the sun starting to set I walked home. Through the park I admired the fall foliage and the leaves as they gracefully let go allowing the wind to carry them off. Then I realized during the race we all let go too. We let go of any prejudices and root for everyone. The fans of New York pull for all the runners, all shapes and sizes, all colors and creeds. The city roots for human accomplishment. To me, that represents the very core of the Big Apple and one of the reasons I continue to call it home.

So congratulations to all who ran the race this year. And for those running next year, I’ll be back in the park cheering for you too. And hopefully I’ll see a few more of my readers by my side.

Stay adventurous, Craig

Read Full Post »

We drove from Memphis through Oxford and continued our search for the Hayward farm. Six guys excited for the weekend all using googlemaps off their iPhone. Each shouting directions and advice. Chaos in a car. But once we turned down the dirt road, I sensed an excitement. A calm. We found our home base and the weekend was about to begin. A weekend that started with smoked ribs (on the grill since  before my flight left from New York) and an ice chest full of beer. Twenty-one in total showed up last year and we crashed Ole Miss.

10 years strong - it's hardly a bad time.

My friend attempted to recruit me years ago. I never listened, well, until last year. I attended the trip to the Grove and essentially crashed the campus. The planning, the mayhem, the experience – true college football. Even Eli Manning attended the game. (the Giants had an off week)

And at the time, I knew I just found a new annual tradition. In 2010, I signed up for my sophomore season.

The voting occurs in June and all college games are possible. The voting process gives one vote to every person wanting to attend and an extra vote for each year you attended the event. So this season I had two votes. Next year I’ll have three.

When the election results were tallied, Columbia topped the list. We were to crash the University of South Carolina. And we did just that on October 9th. They played Alabama.

Yes, we watched the Game Cocks roll the Tide and defeat the unbeaten number #1 Alabama (at the time). Arguably, the best win in the school history. An incredible atmosphere. But the weekend is more than a game. Well it’s more than college football.

the flip cup challenge...

It all starts Friday night in town. This year, thirty-five guys (record attendance) either reacquainted with old friends or made new ones. In the process everyone made many memories. And for some, what happens on college campuses – well it stays on college campuses.

To me, the party really started when we hijacked a musician’s stage, his instruments, and sang the songs we wanted to hear (the ones we knew). With 35 guys, we are bound to have musicians. Afterwards, some of us left the “alumni filled” Vista area of Columbia and headed to Five Points, the University bar scene. I joined them.

There, us crashers blended in the best we could. We wanted to truly see, feel, and enjoy the college scene. And they do it well in Columbia from what I remember. Real well. Plus, with college prices on pictures of beer, that’s just part of the formula for trouble. Fuel to the fire.

All hungover the next morning, sharing stories, and very thankful for the 330pm start, we waited for transportation. With the city quiet, we sat in the downtown Marriott concerned. Taxi drivers were either not up or not coming? Forty-minutes passed. Long minutes. Then one taxi arrived and I squeezed in. Although a loving group, sometimes it’s every man for himself.

she rolls for campus crasher merchandise

That ride, led us down dirt paths as a shortcut to avoid traffic. We crossed train tracks and wondered if we were suddenly on the wrong side? Columbia was a capital city and where were we going was only two miles away?  I still wonder about the route we took that morning. But a smile from the driver made us trust the moment. It was an adventure, part of the reason why we all come.

We arrived and that, “we are so late” feeling disappeared with the first beer.  Almost five hours existed prior to kickoff.

The tailgate consisted of playing a thirty on thirty games of flip cup, showcasing talent on a portable dance floor, and some serious dice rolling where lady gamecock fans could win campus crasher memorbilia.The time flew. Four plus hours of SEC tailgating heaven. Next up, the game.

this years 'staged' arrest is nothing like Tennessee

All South Carolina. Domination. The Gamecocks defeated than number 1 Alabama. A great college atmosphere.

We all returned, energized for the night with the home team victory. The crashers have few rules I noticed, but one is to all route for  home team because it sets up for a better evening.

We continued to tailgate till the end when we were essentially kicked out of the lot by it’s owners. Our next stop didn’t last long either. We stopped by a local house party and were asked to leave a when one crasher reached in the fridge for a beer. Not proper etiquette. At college, he might as well attempted to steal gold.

the celebration continues with the W.

From there we seemed to split up in a frenzy, but wherever you went the people, fans, friends and even foes (Alabama fans) seemed to all appreciate the mission of the campus crasher.  Our T-Shirts connected us and actually became desirable artifacts. Lady fans of the Carolina Gamecock would ask, “I want your T-shirt,” and well many gave them up. For what, well that remains as secret as the freemason ceremony.

In summary, a fantastic second installment. And although we left someone behind at the hotel who needed a ride to Charlotte, North Carolina no one was “technically” arrested. So in all a good year.

What four guys from Boston College started ten years ago, has created true legends of the fall. Thank you to the founding fathers and the first followers.

After this past year, with sponsorships and ESPN coverage very likely in the near future, I know all crashers plan to keep to the core mission – have a blast and crash a campus. It’s genius.

We always pose for our fans....

stay advenutorus, Craig

To meet the campus crashers, check out the campus crasher who we are page, and if interested in attending, definitely sign in on the Campus Crasher guest book.

Read Full Post »

She walked over and asked me, “What type of planning did you do to come back? So, how did you get a job when you returned?”

Wow, great question I thought. This was just Meet, Plan, Go (not return). And to be honest, I never really thought about returning. But hey, I did return. And I even returned to corporate.  I had an answer.  And so did many of the veteran career breakers.

potential career breakers listen to the panel...

I fielded the question during the “Meet, Plan, Go” event in New York City this past September 14th & 15th. The sponsored gathering led by Briefcase to Backpack, held across 13 American cities (yes, Canada too) aimed to encourage us hard-working Americans to take a ‘career break.’

A panel of  ‘career breakers’ all with different stories from serial career breakers to one-timers discussed personal experiences, provided answers to questions and concerns and  spread inspiration. For me, I was a volunteer. I worked logistics to assist. I fielded questions afterwards during the networking section as the group mingled.

the panel of 'career breakers'

As for my return, I’d lie to say it wasn’t a struggle at first. It was.  But it’s because I realized how amazing the world can be. It’s an incredible place.

After a internal struggle, I actually used the language skills I learned on my first stop of my journey (“Becoming Pura Vida in Costa Rica”) to obtain my best project. Sixteen sweet months in Mexico. Yes, my career break helped my career. Surprised? Don’t be, it seemed to help everyone I met who took one.

Confident, I was now finally ready for to answer her question. I smiled and said, “Congratulations.”

She seemed puzzled. I told her, “Congratulations on making the decision to take a career break, it will change your life for the better. Now all you just need some advice on how to get back”

She smiled. Ice broken. Fear vanished and excitement entered the conversation. And then I told her my story and advice on how to return.  Maybe she left a step close to taking a career break. Actually with the 1400 people signed up across the continent I trust more than a few left a step closer to taking a break.

the boot camp is next...

I’ll continue to help push the idea of a career break into the American Psyche. I’ll tell my story. I’ll share my memories and continue to live life under my mantra – Stay Adventurous.  Plus, I’ll encourage people to reach out to Briefcase to Backpack for the support they may need. And hopefully with events such as this one, and the stories of success from those who returned and changed, the idea of the ‘career break’ will reach the tipping point here in America. I already believe it’s on its way.

Stay adventurous, Craig

The photos are from Briefcase to Backpack; they obtained a quality volunteer photographer to take them.

Read Full Post »