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How Backpacking Saved Me, Again.

Anyone who has followed my personal journey knows that the non-profit Frontline Freedom was started out of need. I needed to escape. I needed to escape my own thoughts, struggles, emotions. I needed to escape and stay healthy.


I could have chosen to hit the bottle. That wasn’t for me. In fact, the best advice I ever received was more of a reminder. Alcohol was for celebrations. Not for sadness. Never drink when you’re sad, lonely, or depressed. Only drink to celebrate. Only drink to toast others for their accomplishments.


Enter the inner outdoorsman.


When I was a kid, I had an obsession with camping gear. I loved tents, cooking sets, and building fires from nothing. As I got older, my obsessions stayed with me. I bought all of the backpacking gear I could afford. Only, I didn’t backpack. I put all of my gear in a motorcycle and would take weekend trips, camping wherever I could find somewhere open for the night.


As life hit and I felt alone, I ran into Josh. We started taking backpacking trips and developed what would become Frontline Freedom. Things were going great. I was happy, healthy, and helping others in the process.


Then life hit me again. As it tends to do so unexpectedly.


I received a frantic phone call from my aunt. I could hear my dad screaming in the background. My heart sank.
My aunt said, “David, your brother is dead. He killed himself. He’s gone.”


It was December 1. Just a few days after thanksgiving. I never got to say goodbye. In the ensuing chaos that consumed my family, I did what I always do. I hid my emotions and tried to stay strong for everyone else. I offered encouragement and tried to help people understand that they would never fully understand. We cried, we laughed at old stories, and we wondered why.


Fast forward to four months later.


My mom called me. She was crying on the other end of the phone. “It’s bad, Dave. I need you.” Once again, the surge of adrenaline through my veins made me feel numb as I prepared for her following words. “Michael is dead.”


Michael was my step-brother. We came of age together and became adults at the same time. He was a good man who always provided for his family. Years prior, he became a victim of prescription pills, which turned to heroin use. He fought his demons in and out of rehab. Addiction is an odd thing. He never wanted to be addicted, but the disease overcame him.
He died of an overdose before leaving for work.


Once again, the family was in a state of mourning.


My younger brother, Ryan, was struggling with all of it. I was too. Yet, I again hid my emotions and tried to be the comforter to everyone else.


Luckily, Frontline Freedom had a trip planned between Michael’s death and his funeral. I told my brother, Ryan, that he needed to be on that trip with me. As we tend to do so, we went to Grayson Highlands and backpacked.


I remember looking over a ridge and wondering how to make sense of everything. Here was all the beauty of nature, and I couldn’t help but think that my two brothers would never see sunset again. They would never feel the rush of cool air on their faces again. I looked at Ryan as he watched the sunset over the ridge, and I could see the same look in him.


While I may have been in a sad place, the woods did something for me. It did the same thing it had done when I was a kid and again as an adult just four years prior. They gave me perspective. They gave me a chance to talk to the people on the trip. They allowed me to feel.


Sometimes, we lose feeling. Sometimes, that numbness we feel when we brace for bad news never goes away. Backpacking amid all that turmoil gave me back what I had lost. It gave me feelings, emotions, and, most importantly, safety.


I’ll admit it. I tend not to be a vulnerable man. I fall victim to some sort of never-showing ‘weakness’ mentality. That’s wrong. Weakness is not allowing yourself to heal. Weakness is not showing others that you’re a human.


Backpacking gave me the ability to share. Sharing brings vulnerability yet, courage. Strength comes from sharing. Power comes from admitting that sometimes the people who are always there for other people do, in fact, need people for themselves as well.


That trip was the perfect trip at the ideal time.


I am stronger for going and continue to be stronger today from the lessons I learned while on a trail.

**The above photos is of me and my brother, Ryan, on the Grayson Highlands trip**

Four Reasons Why You Should Start a Podcast For Your Business

Podcasting is a great way to share your message with the world. It can help you reach a new audience, and it’s a great way to connect with your followers. Many people are unaware of its benefits, but there are many perks to starting your podcast for your business. To name just four, podcasts can help you reach new audiences, grow your followers and help connect with them on a deeper level, all while boosting your brand! This article will explore these benefits in more detail.

A Podcast can help you reach new audiences.

Podcasting can be highly beneficial for your business. First and foremost, podcasts are a great way to help you reach new audiences. Podcast listeners are interested in the content, so they tend to be the most loyal of all listeners. You can use your podcast as a way to communicate directly with your customers. Podcasts also help you reach thousands of people at one time instead of just one or two individuals. You can share information that will be helpful for others within your niche. The first step to take if you want to start a podcast is to decide your goal and who it will target. Your podcast must appeal to a specific audience, so having a plan in place will ensure that you reach this exact demographic.

A Podcast can help you grow your followers and your brand.

Podcasts are a great way to grow your followers. Podcasts work on two levels. First, they can be a great source of information for your followers and fans. Second, they can be a great way to establish yourself as an expert.

You need to do several things if you want your podcast to be successful. First of all, produce content that is useful and educational. Second, use the right tools for creating and distributing your podcasts. Third, promote your podcast on social media and company web pages.

A Podcast can help you connect with your audience.

Podcasts are a great way to connect with your current customers and build loyalty. We started one for our non-profit, Frontline Freedom. The messages we share are directly tied to self-improvement and mental health geared towards first responders. The podcast has been a great vehicle to get our content and news out. As most first responders are driving around in a car all day, listening to our podcast was a great way to help spread our brand. Additionally, podcasts can help you improve your brand awareness and credibility.

A Podcast can boost your brand.

Podcasting can help boost your brand by increasing awareness. An effective podcast marketing campaign requires personality, consistency, and good planning.

To ensure you get the maximum benefit for your time invested in this medium, here are some things to keep in mind when launching your podcast promotion plan.

There are numerous examples of businesses that have been successful with podcasts. One, in particular, is an American company called MailChimp, which offers email marketing services.

Their weekly podcast has amassed over 1,500,000 listeners (and growing), and their blog has received 78 million views in 2013 alone. Their client list includes prominent companies like Airbnb and National Geographic, but most of their customers are small businesses. Launching their podcast offering has been a great success for their business, as it’s had a positive impact on their brand. The podcast has allowed them to expand the reach of MailChimp and create an emotional connection between the brand and its customers.

How to Start a Podcast

Starting a podcast is quite simple. There are several platforms and small pieces of equipment that you need. The first thing you need is a microphone. It can be cheap, such as a USB microphone or something more professional like a Shure SM7B. Secondly, you need a recording device. This could be a laptop, a digital audio recorder, or a smartphone. Recording software is also required (Garage Band is the most basic) and finally editing software (Logic Pro).

Next, you will need somewhere to host your podcast. At Frontline Freedom, we use PodBean. They offer a complimentary service which is excellent for testing the waters. You could also use Libsyn, one of the top podcast hosting companies.

Once you have recorded your first episode, the next step is to get people listening! The most successful way to market any podcast is through social media. Twitter and Facebook are great ways of getting the word out there about your show.

Conclusion

If you want to brand your company, expand the reach of your product or service, and make emotional connections with potential customers, starting a podcast might be just what you need. However, how best to do this–whether it’s creating a weekly show that will attract new listeners each week or building up an archive of episodes for people searching through iTunes podcasts on their own–may depend mainly on your business niche. With these four reasons in mind, though, we hope you feel ready to start making plans for launching a successful podcast marketing plan!