Pick up any publication pertaining to the sport of rock climbing, and chances are, you will see a smattering of descriptive chronicles highlighting the travels and adventures of the prolific scribe Abbey Smith. A climber and writer for over 10 years, Abbey travels extensively, financing her jet set lifestyle though her writing, allowing her more opportunities to pursue her love of adventure. Abbey has reported on a myriad of topics. From the exclusive hobby of vintage motor racing, to sassy, healthy-savvy posts on BeThree.com, to being on the editorial staff of the independent green publication elephant journal, a quarterly magazine devoted to living the "mindful life" through conscious consumerism, sustainability, eco-fashion and non new-aged spirituality.
Abbey's energy for writing is ravenous. When she speaks of it, her article ideas roll out of mouth in constant barrage without commas, periods, or other punctuation, but when placed in front of a computer, the word stream subsides into descriptive prose reminiscent of Joanne Harris. Dead Point Magazine is privileged to have her as a contributing blogger.
Ernest Hemingway once said, "Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." I never thought I'd live to understand that quote.
Growing up in Colorado's Front Range, it's impossible to ignore the alluring beauty of the Rocky Mountains spanning the western skyline. For some reason climbing made sense. It just clicked. Now 10 years, later I can't imagine stopping. And I've managed to align my passion for climbing, writing and traveling-and actually make a living doing it. In mid December I cut the rip cord and launched freelance after non-stop schooling and spending three years working for an independent green lifestyle magazine called Elephant Journal.
My freelance writer/photographer/artist friends had always told me you'll work harder than you ever have as a freelancer. Since then, my life has been an endless merry-go-round without concept of time. I've spent the last months finally enjoying the simplicity of just climbing and writing. I escaped to my home-away-from-home in Hueco Tanks, snowboarded in Jackson Hole during the Alpinist Film Festival, developed the granite bouldering in Catavina, Baja, explored the Henry Mountains in Utah, and enjoyed the pleasant conditions in Eldorado Springs and Colorado's high alpine bouldering. I felt like I was living the romance of life, but now eight months later, I finally understand the double-edged sword my friends warned me about.
I think there's a point in your life, when you finally grow into your skin and you begin realize where your tendencies come from. Just recently, I've come to understand that my independent, stubborn and bull-headed behavior can be attributed to my father, who is an ex-professional bull rider and self-made entrepreneur. Through his gripping stories, non-conventional lifestyle and rebellious attitude, I decided to take the ride myself.
When you open yourself to opportunity and the unknown, everything feels like it's about to spontaneously combust, and you never know what's around the next corner. Recently, after a casual late night conversation with my colleague Alex King, I was hired to recruit racecar drivers to join his indie high def documentary on vintage motor racing. We started with the crown jewel of all races-the Historique Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo...with just a week and a half notice. Now my world isn't just climbing talk, it's about engines and Formula One racing history (which I'm sure drives the people around me nuts). Now I'm on this exclusive, fast-paced, high profile thrill ride, jet setting from Monaco to the corn-fed, all-American track at Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin and to the glamorous Monterey Historic in Northern California. My mission: to document the current world of vintage racing through the vibrant personalities of the contemporary drivers and brilliant mechanics.
Throughout the last few months, the Ernest Hemingway quote has come to my mind quite often. I've realized these three sports do in fact have a lot in common. Within bull riding, motor sports, and rock climbing, you're constantly propelled by unexpected opportunities, and you risk everything on luck and skill. Like my father and the racers, we create our own rules and standards as unforeseen problems work themselves out, and our course is mapped. It's about being present and opening yourself to the experience, the adventure, the danger, and the unknown."
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