In the name of love…

I heard a saying recently: “Days go by slow but weeks go by fast.” How true that’s been for me in the last 15 to 20 days. It seems like yesterday I was watching deer in a neighborhood yard…

…and that’s already been 4 weeks ago! Since then I’ve been around the southeast from Birmingham to Tallahassee, Memphis, Branson, Montgomery, Nashville, and lots of little towns in between.

In the name of love.

On the way to Missouri we stopped at the Civil Rights Museum, the site where MLK gave his life for freedom and love.

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My brother and two of his kids at the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee.

Then we went on to Missouri, where my brother and I could do our part to serve in the name of love.

In Branson (actually it was Lampe, Missouri), we volunteered at a camp where we worked when we were in college. I’m sure I’ll post more about our time there but for now I’ll say it was a really great, exhausting, learning, fun week with him. We did a lot of manual labor type work, lifted weights, ran a 5k every day for 5 days, played whiffle ball homerun derby, and lots more. We got there on a Saturday. When my body felt like it had done all it could do, and I was ready to pack up and head out, “It’s been a great week, y’all!” I came to realize it was still Saturday. Dang. Long days, for sure!

Straight after that week was Wilder beach week back in Florida, at a little beach just south of Tallahassee called St. Teresa. This is the week all the Wilders meet up for a week of fun with 8 kids, 8 adults, and 3 dogs. Lots of love in this family!

Exhausting was this week, too, but mostly because we’re all having fun on my dad’s boat (tubing, skiing, dolphin watching, etc), playing soccer on the beach, knockout on the basketball court, volleyball on the beach, and other random fun things that don’t include flying a kite. More on that later!

I returned to Nashville two weeks after leaving. It was nice to sleep in my own bed again, to watch Leverage on Netflix again, to play sand volleyball with my friends again. But this trip was so great.


-Out of the Wilderness

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Sand volleyball at camp

One thing I miss the most about Nashville as I’m on a sorta lengthy vacation is sand volleyball. My brother and I are in Missouri volunteering at a sports camp so you’d think there would be a chance to play some while we’re here…heck, there’s even a sand volleyball court! So I start the week with high hopes.
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But at the same time, around here sand vball seems to be treated more as a ladies sport, and because I’m a random old dude, I won’t play unless other guys do. Unfortunately, the bros here play basketball during their free time.

That is…..UNTIL YESTERDAY! I saw a co-ed vball game going on and ditched my brother to get some sand between my toes.
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Now you gotta know I’m not good at sand volleyball, maybe slightly above average. But my level of competitiveness and desire to win is entirely too high. I’ll kick a niece in the shin to get ahead.

What can I say, that “be like Mike” commercial went straight from TV to my eyes to my brain to my heart to my soul to my life to my evil determination to rule the world. Watch out LeBron! Watch out Kerri Walsh Jennings!

Wow, went off on a little tangent there.

OK, back to volleyball. I hopped on the court and played socially for the first few points. But there were good players on the court. I channeled my inner Brandon Sommers attempting an entertaining/encouraging play by play commentary as we hit back and forth. Brandon’s the master, but I tried. Meanwhile, I’m also determined not make a fool of myself by trying too hard amongst these middle/high school/counselor folk.

It was so fun! A great reminder of the fun I have in Nashville playing sand volleyball. Plus the net is low so I did take the opportunity to spike one on a high school guy. Call it a learning opportunity for him. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I bet karma will pay back once I’m back in Nashville. But for that one moment in time, I was April Ross. I was the wind beneath your wings. I was the future of American volleyball. I was the lion king.

Naaaaa sibenyaaaaaaaa!!

I was like Mike. Except in volleyball. But also not at all as good as Mike.

-Out of the Wilderness

5 reasons drivers can’t just chhiiiilllllllllllll

If you live in a big city (think Atlanta, NYC, Los Angeles, etc), you probably already know exactly how this blog is gonna go. Traffic is the worst, right? Afternoon rush hour has turned into afternoon rush afternoon here in Nashville. Especially if you throw rain into the mix, or, ya know, just the threat of gentle spring shower. FREAK OUT!
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And don’t try to pick up bread and milk at a grocery story, because the shelves will already be empty! But there’s more to the traffic problem and no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than just precipitation. Here in Nashville, we have the problems a lot of growing cities have: construction (some say the state bird is the crane), school zones, plus area population growing by more than 100 people per day.

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Cranes, cranes, and more cranes! (credit: Nathan Morgan – Nashville Business Journal)

My top 5 reasons traffic is the way it is…

Bumper to Bumper the avenue was packed.
-Vanilla Ice

1. Construction. If you visit downtown Nashville anytime between 8am and forever, you’re going to get stuck behind 30 cars, a dump truck, and a lane that’s closed off.

2. Population growth. As mentioned, the population is growing by over 100 a day. Most are folks moving here, so I guess some are babies being born. They don’t account for the bad traffic, but give it 16 years and watch out.

3. Weather. Lots of this makes lots of traffic.

4. Hello road rage. People are angry. When bottlenecks, slowdowns, and stupidity happen on the road, people get mad. Mad people make quick decisions. This often leads to mistakes. I give you, Exhibit A. Watch the dark sports car in the far left lane. This accident was caused by a dump truck abruptly slowing down for no apparent reason.
People making decisions out of sheer rage can often lead to even more traffic problems. This also leads directly into the next cause…

5. People think rules don’t apply to them.

These drivers might not directly cause bad traffic, but when their driving leads to wrecks, police involvement, or when they cut ahead of people, traffic is affected.

So here are the takeaways:
1. Everyone just needs to chhillllllllllll. It’s all gonna be OK.

2. Stop moving to Nashville. It’s not that great and the traffic is horrible. 😉

3. If you live in a city or town where traffic gets bad, leave earlier than you originally planned.

-Out of the Wilderness

Brief encounters

I’ve discovered that there are quite a few people you’ll come in contact with that you might only see once…ever. In fact, scenarios like that are so common even Craigslist has a part of their website dedicated to these casual encounters, as they call it. While I’d recommend scanning those for entertainment purposes only, there’s obviously a need they’re filling, or trying to fill.

Time has distanced me from the college years where I might’ve seen hundreds of people a day and a lot of times see those same hundreds and a hundred more all the time. And now, depending on your job, your weekly activities, you might see just a sliver of that amount on any given day.

I’ve never really been brave or outgoing when it comes to dating, even to this day, so I’ve realized these brief encounters with a woman I find interesting are, or could be, something to act on. Because it might be the only time I ever see this person.

There was that girl when I worked as a photographer’s assistant at a wedding.

 

Then there was Brooke from a local tattoo shop.

Once I talked with a girl at Kroger.

One and done, that’s what those were. Because I wasn’t really thinking past the moment. A buddy of mine had an experience like this recently. He was at Pinewood Social here in Nashville and was sitting in a sort of common area; a long couch, a table, basically a section you can chat with a friend or group of friends, and still order food and drinks. A pair of girls were sitting near him and because of where their computers where plugged in, he and at least one of the girls had to communicate. Afterwards he told me that he found one of them to be very attractive. The full story is that both were, but one had a ring on. 😉

So chance encounters like that do happen. But the older we get, they’re just not as frequent. If I’m being totally honest, most days I couldn’t care less about talking to anyone. Give me a chair in the backyard with my dogs and a cool breeze, I’m pretty much set! But every once in a while there will be tattoo shop Brooke. Or Kroger girl. Unfortunately for me I come up with great conversations I could’ve had about an hour or a week after. Lame-o!

So today I’m asking myself, “What am I doing about it now?” When the next Brooke comes along, or the next Pinewood Socialite sits down next to me or my friend, what shall be done about it?

-Out of the Wilderness

Jain in Nashville, Tennessee

This will most likely go down as my biggest regret of 2017… Jain played in Nashville last night and I wasn’t there! Very disappointed. I’ll admit I don’t know much about her as an artist/person yet but I really like her music, her stage presence, her charisma.

Instead of staring for an uncomfortable amount of time at Jain on stage, I was in my car delivering packages to my lovely neighbors in Nashville. That’s right, I drive for Amazon Prime Now. So as luck would have it, Lightning 100 broadcasted Jain’s concert live on-air. Major silver lining there. I listened to what I could of her set and it was awesome! I already knew I liked her song “Come,” but now I’ve found a list of others that I like. You need to delight yourself by taking 15 minutes to listen to and watch the following, in this order:

1. “Come”

2. “Makeba” (the editor in me thinks this video is incredible with the effects, timing, and choices of how they put it together. “Come” is a lot like this one, too.)

3. “Hope” (tops the list of my favorite songs at the moment, and in this video you’ll get to see her free and charismatic style.)

Regretful in Nashville,
Out of the Wilderness

It’s kinda been a crazy week

It’s kinda been a crazy week… and I’m not just talking about the weather! Although, the weather here in Nashville has been crazy. One day I’m in shorts, the next day I’m bundled up to my nose in winter clothes. Then they want us to hunker down in our tornado shelters. That same afternoon I could’ve got sunburned. Crazy stuff.

But what’s most exciting and well, pretty much has me speechless is seeing both of my books on store shelves as far south as Tallahassee, Florida and out west in Branson, Missouri. Click here for a post about that on my book website.

Today is Friday, March 3rd!

The agenda today includes more work on a documentary about a boy with a rare diagnosis who, to this day, is defying the odds. He’s surrounded by a great family that loves him so much, and perhaps that love has been the most effective thing for his disability.

I’ve also recently started on another video project about the military. It’s still in the early stages as far as my involvement goes, but I think it’ll turn out to be a great project.

Yesterday I delivered for Amazon Prime, a job which came into my life at the most divine time back in 2015. It popped up after I’d been laid off from my job of 10 years (click here for more about that!). The work allows, actually it requires, me to drive all over middle Tennessee so I’m able to listen to books on CD, music on Spotify/radio, talk radio like the great Phil Valentine Show, and of course, deliver goods to happy* neighbors all over the city.

*mostly happy.

Today I also start an 8-day hosting gig for a 17-year old blind dog named Sparky. He’s been a guest in my home before and I’m excited to have him here again. I love old dogs. And to be clear, I love puppies, too. But something about old dogs just makes my heart beat more definitely.

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

-Out of the Wilderness