When an acquaintance asked me why I wanted to move to New York City I shrugged, responded "personal growth", and chuckled as if it were meaningless. "Personal growth? Well, that's as big of a reason as any."
It takes a lot of courage to break down the empire for the sake of growing. I've always admired people who have done it, even when they are madly in love with Portland. My friend Brian Benson once referred to Portland as 'the treadmill of awesome.' - Brian made the leap, dedicated himself to his writing, and is now going to be published!
Another friend, a country singer/songwriter decided he had to move to Nashville in order to make his dreams happen. Travis Dow was one of my favorite Portland friends, and while I was sorry to see him go, I knew he was talented enough to make it in Nashville.
Last November, Travis died after a short and intense battle with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. It was shocking, and one of the saddest things that I've ever personally experienced. To express anything further, I have to turn to the words of his wife, Katie Radebaugh Dow:
"It is no secret that he was a staggeringly courageous in his battle with cancer, but it is my hope that you will all know that he lived every day of his life with that admirable conviction and courage. He gave every ounce of himself to living, loving and creating with passion.
He said that his music was his greatest legacy, but I know that it is much more than that. In honor of him, I hope that we will all consider living each day more intentionally, with passion for our dreams and those we love. Don’t let the moments pass you by – embrace those you love fully, give love courageously, honor the gift of life and breathe beauty into each day. He did."
It's in Travis's honor that I go. It's in his honor that I dedicate myself to growing, to getting off the treadmill of awesome and pursuing what's next.
THANK YOU for your support and encouragement. If you're in Portland I'm going to miss the shit out of you, and if you're in New York I'll see you soon!!
PS - The title refers to a wonderful oil my friend Cheryl gave to me last summer. The letters stand for "Jump Off A Cliff While Being Encouraged And Safe Landing".
Al, Travis and Mattie - Epic Timberline Adventure - March 2010