Bad For Running, Worst For Fighting

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Back in 2014, while attending the Northwest Overland Rally, I stumbled across a guy displaying flip-flops. In search of some equipment that I was going to take with me to Europe, one thing I wanted was a good pair flip flops. I knew that a lot of the countries that I was going to would be quite warm. I was also looking for something that would hold the weight of the backpack and the long walks. So on that Saturday, I start talking to a guy named Griff and he gave me the lowdown of his business. He was a retired Army Ranger that got out of the service and wanted to create a business that he could make a living off of and help the people that were affected and some of the worst war-torn countries. I wasn’t really in the mindset of buying anything, but I was more curious of why there was a flip-flop company at an Overland meet? It just didn’t mix in my head, but I think curiosity got the best of me and after about an hour or so of talking about everything from my goal of traveling the world to his time in the service. The conversation gradually sway towards Combat Flip Flops.

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Las Vegas
He offered to give me flip flops and a day bag as long as I write a good review on his products. One bad thing about that was that I didn’t have a website at the time, so in some ways I credit him for starting this site!

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Once it was time for my trip, the flip flops was big part of my carry on because I wanted to be comfortable on the plane and if they lost my bag, I could live in them until I got my bag back. Out of the airplane in Amsterdam, I was in and out of my flip-flops until I got into Italy. When it started getting warm enough to keep them on all day long and I didn’t see my shoes for two weeks. At first the weight of the backpack was giving me blisters on the bottom of my feet because (truth be told) these flip-flops are really not for long distance backpacking trips, But once they got broken in, they could take the abuse. I managed to walk least 200 miles in the flip-flops.

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Amsterdam

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Poland

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Venice

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Barcelona

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Rome

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Mediterranean Sea
The last portion of my trip of Europe was a bit colder and the flip-flops didn’t get much action. On my way home I managed to hit New York and Washington D.C. By this point it was about 90° average in both cities, so the flip-flops came back out and I managed to walk a long ways for both those cities and even managed to make it home all while wearing my “AK-47” flip flops.

 

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Brooklyn Bridge

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Washington DC

I wouldn’t say these are the best flip-flops in the world, but they never let me down and to this day they haven’t let me down. I can probably do the same trip again without any problem with these flip-flops. They are well-designed and the quality is top notch. As for the Claymore day bag that I brought with me was with me for almost every day. Especially in places that I couldn’t leave my valuables in the places that didn’t have safes or lockers and it never was uncomfortable, no matter how much weight was put in. Most of the time I just carried my iPad, the GoPro and a water bottle in the bag. It definitely came in handy when I was going from airport to airport. There’s not even an ounce of damage or wear on this bag, even though it made it through 19 different country’s.

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While planning my next trip around the world, I am sticking with the Combat Flip Flops Company for the same product as I used for my Europe trip. I already purchased a couple new flip-flops one of which I’m going to bring with me and I have plans of bringing the same bag. 

 I expect nothing less but the best out of these products going all around the world once again I am grateful that I know Griff and his wonderful brand. I hope all the best for him. But I have a feeling the future is going to be nothing, but up. Especially after being featured in the Shark Tank, where they had huge success and got three sharks to invest in the product! I wish nothing but the best to CFF family and happy to be a small part of it!
 

The Stranger I once knew

We met in kindergarten 

You were instantly popular

 I was barely remembered

You are always the best in everything in school 

I struggled in it

You were the star in football 

I was stuck riding with my dad every weekend 

You bullied me because I was different 

I tried to fit in, but couldn’t 

You turned my only friends against me 

I spent most of my time alone 

We grew up and went to separate high schools

You got introduced to parties, alcohol and drugs

I kept my promise to stayed away from it 

You spent most of your time with a bad crowd

I developed a brotherhood of friends

The parties and drugs consumed you even after school

Work and racing consumes my life

You live like there’s no tomorrow

I planned for tomorrow

You refuse to help and destroyed your friendships 

I made my mistakes and learn from them

you’re in and out of rehab

I have traveled the world

You took advantage of the system and found the easy way out 

I took my expenses and tried to inspire other people to do the same

You wander the streets on a drug bench 

I wander the streets seeing the world 

You saw me at the store and automatically judged and insulted who I’ve become

I saw you and felt sorrow of what you’ve become

It’s funny how the privileged can end up taking the easy path to destruction

It can be so easy to take the easy path through life and take advantage of what can kill you, but not many can look at the path going up the mountain and strive to make it on top

What really separates us is that I hope you find a way out and hope for some success in your life

Back Into Routine

It’s been about 6 months since I’ve seen the inside of airplane or carried a 40lb backpack through a city and it’s been a wild ride on getting back into the normal routine of life. After surprising everybody by coming back home early, I decided to rest for a few weeks and take my time on getting back to everything. Which turned into a pretty good idea because the jetlag hit me hard and not only that,  I managed to get a severe ear infection that resulted in a temporary hearing loss in my right ear and with no insurance, I just had to deal with it and eventually it went away.

     One day on my days of rest, My good friend Eric stopped by to enjoy a cigar on the lake and caught up on all the events of the past 3 months. he asked what I was doing for work being that I quit my job to do this trip and he mentioned that his company was hiring. At that time I was in the mindset of finding a dead end job to have temporarily until the next trip. After some time of thinking of what he told me about this job opportunity that he presented to me, I set up an interview a couple days later. Before I knew it, I was working for one of best companies I’ve ever worked for. The people there are extremely pleasant and very supportive and my boss is one the most down to earth guys I’ve ever met. He too, has a certain love of traveling and understands my dream of seeing the world. With that said, he supported the idea of me continuing my travels and he’s granting me time off to do so. 

   Other than working all the time, I found time to go out and take mini expeditions with the Short Bus. Over the summer My best friend and I finally achieved our goal of driving the 101 loop around Washington state’s Olympic mountains. 

    
   
 Unfortunately we managed to do it in a day, but in the end, we had tons of fun. I’ve also got to take some camping trips with some good friends in the rain and in the sunshine. 

   
Life can easily get consumed by work or school, family and friends. Life can also slowly past you by if you don’t stop for a second, look around and enjoy the little moments as if they were the big moments. As for me… well I’m going to take full advantage of this knowledge and I’m not going to waste these opportunities that I have in front of me. I’m still young and debt-free (for the most part) I have the chance to take time off a great job to go pursue another incredible adventure. So as I write this to you all, I’m planning another big adventure for next summer and who knows, maybe I will discover more of life’s secrets along the way… wherever that’ll be? 

 ….but I have a pretty good idea where 😉

   

Review: AK-47 Flip Flops

I was first introduced to Combat Flip Flops at the 2014 NW Overland Rally. A flip flop company in a sea of overlanding gear that stuck out like a sore thumb, which got my attention and for good reason. When I’m home, I practically live in my flip flops and was in the market for good pair, being that the ones I usually have were cheap plastic and always falling apart. I also was in the mindset of a good pair to bring with me to Europe for the hostels and long train or plane rides. Other than my hiking boots, the only other footwear I would be bring with me would be my handy dandy flip flops.
After a good conversion with Griff, the CEO of CFF. I quickly realized that this was not just a some normal footwear company with a fancy name. Griff was a former Army Ranger that wanted to give back to the people that were impacted the most in the Middle East. I told him about my trip to Europe and my other journeys in the future. He gave me some very helpful pointers on some of the countries that I will be traveling through. He also hooked me up with my purchases of my flip flops and a bag, as long as I blog about them and get the word out about CFF!! So with that said, here is my review.

AK-47 Flip Flops

Within moments of purchasing the AK-47 flip flops, I kicked off my shoes and slip them on. I spent the rest of the weekend in them, never to wear shoes again until I got home. At first, the flip flops were a little tight and the sand colored leather was a little slippery, but within an hour or so, my feet slowly formed itself into the leather and it started to fit perfectly. Every step in the AK-47 were getting better and better, even in the grassy field that we were camping in for that weekend.

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After the 3 months of the getting the AK-47’s, I rarely go a day without slipping them on. They are made very well with durable leather, footing and strap decorated with bullet shells. The seals show very little wear with many miles walked in them. The only downside that I have encountered is the the big toe area and heel are starting to discolor a little. Other than that minor detail, there is no other problems to report.

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Pros:

•Durable
•Good-looking design
•Breaks in easy
•Good quality leather

Cons:

•Starts to discolor after a while
•A little pricey
•Hard to wear when wet

Overall:

If your a world traveler and you’re looking for a cheap pair of flip-flops to go through the hostel showers or on the train rides, I wouldn’t recommend them to you. If you’re a person that lives in your flip-flops day in and day out, I would definitely recommend taking a look at Combat Flip Flops. If you do a lot of overlanding or just camping, these are definitely durable enough to take the abuse. I will be taking them on my journeys through Europe to put them to the true test to as they hold up.

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For more details on the AK-47’s or any of the Combat Flip Flop products, visit Combatflipflops.com

#Homebase

Even the most hardcore of travelers has a place they can rest there head and call home, but they rarely ever talk about it. Being that I basically dedicated most of the house as a planning center and do most of my work on the website there, I figure it would be appropriate to say a little something about it.

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Not only is it my home, it’s also my mini escape from the world. It sits along side a beautiful lake in Western Washington. Most of the summer, my office is a lawn chair at the lake shore. Which is very good for me to concentrate on the stuff I’m working on, being that I get distracted very easily. I don’t think I would ever get website done without it.

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My living room also acts as my route planning area with a big map of Europe on the wall and my bedroom also is the storage for all my traveling equipment. There is a garage that is also my workshop, where most of the overlanding modifications are done.
All in all, I can’t think of a better place to call home!

Project: Short Bus

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It was early 2010, driving down a dark freeway with a big smile and a empty wallet. Drove into the carport and stared at it for about an hour, trying to put together what I did. I just made the biggest investment ever and it was all mine. A 2001 Nissan Xterra. What I didn’t know was that that investment would would change my life.

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I could of bought anything, but in the end, it was the right price and had everything I needed. About 6 mouth after I bought the Xterra, I helped start the Northwest Xterra Club. Thats where I met a lot of dear friends of mine. Some of which would be joining me in my journeys.
I got the Xterra in thoughts of using it for a camping rig and Road triping machine. That thought slowly faded for the first couple year of owning it, being that the lifestyle was getting harder and harder to fund. It started to change into a gas guzzling commuter car.

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Now that I’ve been bit by the travel bug, I started going back to the original thoughts of making the Xterra into the expedition rig I have always wanted. With that, I started planning a trip to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Inspired by the Expeditoin Overland crew and the fact that I always wanted to see Alaska and what better way then seeing it through the windshield of the X.

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This part of “Out of Routine” will be dedicated on the ongoing process of getting the Xterra ready for my overlanding travels. There will be a lot of upgrades and modifications that I’ll post on here in hopes of helping other fellow explorers that need some ideas for their overland vehicle.