Friends and family, adventure buddies and social media strangers — wipe your feet on the welcome mat and come on in. Welcome to More Nights Outside.
If you’re reading this, chances are you know me — at least a little bit. But maybe you don’t. Either way, the last few months have been a whirlwind, and I think it makes sense to update you on my past and present before we dive into the future. So, here’s the highlight reel:
- Mid-march, I quit my job in order to pursue my dreams as a freelance writer. Hell yes.
- Went to Utah. Spent two weeks testing camping and backpacking gear for Active Junky. Double hell yes.
- Tested snowboards for Backcountry Magazine and Outside Magazine in Crested Butte, and for Transworld Snowboarding in Aspen. Good people, great times. Thanks Adam, you’re the man.
- Broke my lease, threw away/donated/sold accumulated crap, tossed a bunch of gear in storage, left Denver in the dust. Adios, big city life.
- Spent a few weeks road trippin’ from Denver to the Pacific Northwest with my enchanting girlfriend, Maia. Backpacked, camped. Drove. Far, if not fast. 7 states in total. Listened to podcasts. Biked, hiked. Slept in a roof tent. Fly fished wild rivers, swam in turquoise pools, paddled in misty Pacific lagoons. Ate the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had. Drank beer. Lived life the way we always talked about.
May’s winding down. I’m in Port Angeles, Washington, tapping away at the keys in the public library among the AARP card-wielding patrons you’ll find here on a Friday afternoon. Finishing up a few freelance projects. The calm between storms. On June 3rd, I head out on a trip of a lifetime: a six-week adventure to Spain and Morocco, a mission to chase surf, singletrack, and stories with my brother. Life, as they say, is good.
Rereading those bullet points, each worthy of its own blog post(s), I can’t help but shake my head—in awe, disbelief, gratitude. This road has not been without its ups and downs; its potholes, loose nails, and roadblocks; its hitchhikers; its pit stops, emergency coffee breaks, and drive-thru depressions; its speeding tickets and parking tickets; its middle-of-nowhere roadside breakdowns. A few months ago, as the Notorious B.I.G. put it, “It was all a dream. Now, I write for Outside Magazine.” He was a big backpacker, I believe. Maybe I’m paraphrasing.
B.I.G. puns aside (okay, I lied), I’m grateful that today, dreams aren’t faraway, nor foreign. If not already realized, they’re materializing. Cogs cranking, wheels in motion, other relevant clichés. The planes are on the runway, the trains are on the tracks, the automobiles are on the damn freeway!
With a bit of luck and incalculable support from my friends and family, I bought the ticket. Time to take the ride.
So welcome, and thank you. I couldn’t be happier to introduce my new site: More Nights Outside. It’s a work in progress. Don’t be surprised if you get a 404 error or come upon a wonky aspect of the website. A little secret: I have no idea what I’m doing. After three years of working for a tech startup, I still have the technological aptitude of a tequila-drunk donkey. Yee-haw.
More Nights Outside will be many things: an adventure journal, a platitude platform, an outdoor blog, a photo gallery. My plan is to publish a new blog post every week. Here’s a little cheesy poem to explain what you’ll read about in the future:
places been // people met
sunsets seen // trails trekked
beers drank // gear tested
adventures taken // food digested
Truthfully, I have no idea where this adventure will take me. In the words of esteemed outdoorsman Kanye West, “Start there—and put some dope shit with it.”
My name is Drew Zieff. I’m a wayward wordsmith who recently adopted a simple motto:
— More days on the road. More Nights Outside.
Thanks for reading. And stay tuned.