Albert - Hyde Park - London JH

Arriving in London

It’s been a week or two since I recently traveled to London,England. It was probably one of the best things I’ve done for myself. During the trip, I wrote. Here is a slice of the first day:

I landed in Heathrow airport early Wednesday morning. It was my fifth time at the airport but the first time to leave it.

Landing in London - Travel Adventures

Hello London. It’s so nice to finally meet you.

There is a certain thrill that comes with visiting another country. It’s difficult to capture, communicate or recreate in any other activity. Exploring is something that has been instilled in me since I was small. After organizing my excitement, I grabbed my bag off the carousel and went to look for my ride into town. Most of the time—when I travel in America— I prefer to be spontaneous and plan my transportation as a I go. But when traveling outside the U.S., I’ve quickly learned that I need to have all ducks in a row with backup ducks ready to go.

I pre-scheduled a ride from the airport to my hotel. I actually had one of those suited gentlemen waiting for me with my name on a sign—always wanted to be one of those people. He was from Kosovo, very professional and insisted upon snatching my bags from upon figuring out I was his fare. I felt official.

Car Ride - London

Mr. Driver led me to the car and opened the door for me on the left side of the vehicle. I thought it was odd that he wanted me to sit behind the drivers seat … wait, the wheel is on the right side of the vehicle … oh yeah, I am in the UK. For some reason, I only thought that was a thing in Australia. In school, geography and history were the subjects I paid the most attention to—but apparently not enough attention. Simple things, that I should know as an adult, continue to escape slash baffle and thrill me on my adventures.

Arrived at my hotel in Hyde Park

London Hotel 3 - Johnathan Haynes

I was immediately captivated by the architecture and atmosphere. It’s engrained into the identity of this country. Being in a new place heightens my curiosity . Everything become more noticeable and worth a closer look. Often times, I find myself looking at things I would normally cruise by and finding those things were worth the trouble.

The hotel room was simple, a place to keep my stuff. I settled my bags and rushed to get back outside and explore. Hyde Park was my first target. Normally I have pretty solid bearings and can navigate well, but it took me a minute to find my way around. Signs and just about everything else is slightly different in London, not difficult, just different. I got lost and ended up walking down a road with the Russian and Israeli embassies on it. Seeing guards with semi-automatic weapons is not a norm for me. I wanted to stare, but how long can you stare at someone whose holding a gun? No plans to find out.

Kensington Palace London 1

Hyde Park is huge! Everything about it was breathtaking. It took me a while to make way through the park grounds because I was too fully engaged in kid mode—trying to looking at  and capture everything. Even the squirrels look slightly different—in fact all of the animals, birds, dogs and everything in between looked familiar with a touch of foreign to me. The park was well manicured and vast. Sidebar: Actually, everything in the city—that I saw—was well taken care of … So many street sweepers, everywhere.  . I came across a house with a large gate with bronze finishings and a statue of William III. Immediately I searched for sign to read and find that this is the Kensington Palace. Official home of the Royal family. Cool.

Queen Vicotoria - London small

I kept walking and found Queen Vicotoria’s statute. At that point, it officially felt like I was walking through a history book at this time and I love that. I went by The Round Pond (which is more squarish than round) and head to the other end of the park. Walking up on the photo that’s featured on this blog was surreal. Subtly stunned. A massive monument in honor of Albert—Queen Victoria’s main man obviously.

The affect of 9+ hours of flying started to sink in and it was time for ime to trek back to food and the hotel. But my appetite to explore had only begun. I immediately planned to make Thursday the day I took the city. No true plans, maps or guides; just pack a bag and go. I had only been in London one day and the trip was already worth it.

Birds - London - Hyde Park JH

Enjoy the adventure.

 

Thanks for reading, if you enjoy my stories leave a thought, comment or continue to follow along. Subscribing to my blog on the right-hand side gets you my stories (and only my stories) as soon as they publish. 

Ricky Redus

Saturday Work

I woke up and had a normal Saturday morning debate—with myself—on whether or not I was going to workout. I’ve found that if I just start getting ready and put on clothes, I end up at the gym (CrossFit Jääkarhu). When I arrived, team training was getting started. Team training is an opportunity for athletes from multiple gyms to come together to compete and push each other. It’s a pretty cool environment to observe, but I was there to work, so I hoped on the erg. Without thinking, I set the meter count to 10,000 and began a long journey. It was a really good 45-minute experience for me. There is a lot to think about, observe and learn from throughout the course of a row that long. Afterwards, I felt pretty accomplished. It was my first 10k row, ever. My splits are below.

 

 

Johnathan Haynes 10k Row

 

After this little stroll, I took some shots of some of the action taking place in the gym.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ricky Redus today and watch him (easily) walk through a 10-bar snatch ladder.

Ricky Redus

 Megan of CrossFit Woodward playing on the rope.

Megan Carter

Ingrid and Brittany during a partner workout.

Ingrid Kantola and Brittany Fergueson - CrossFit Jääkarhu

 

To sum it up, it was a solid day all around with a bunch of talented folks. Until next time.

Team Training at CrossFit Jääkarhu

 

Moments Kelsey

An Unpaved Road

Today I slipped into a thoughtful space here is a glimpse:

Success: It is not a paved road with well-lit signs and directions. Deciding to go after what you want often begins the most challenging times of your life. Struggle and frustration move in as your new neighbors and the mailman seems to bring you envelopes full of stress, daily. There are moments where you look around and feel like nothing is perfect and it all was a big mistake … but something you can’t explain nudges you forward, so you continue. In good faith, you plant seeds of confidence and trust along the way—a sign of belief that you can make it. …

Read the rest.

My Favorite CrossFit Games photo - never posted

Favorite Photo – I Never Posted

This is my favorite of the photos I never posted. I remember it clearly: I was eating when asked to take a photo for media … I totally botched it (haha) and we ended up using a video instead. Throughout the years, I’ve covered the folks in this picture numerous times. But this time, I remember looking through my iPhone screen and realizing who was looking back at me …. Nearly a decade of Championships and excellence at one table. I had a serious “woah” moment. I’ll never forget that. Cheers to an unforgettable 2014. Thanks for following along. I so looking forward to the upcoming CrossFit Games Season.

See you next year.

Enjoy the Adventure

Madeon - Don't call it a remix

Finish

I had just moved to Austin, Texas (2011) and made friends with a couple of my co-workers. We shared a love for music, creativity and having fun. One day at work, my friend Ben showed me this really cool pop culture video on YouTube.

Super awesome right?

After seeing this, we decided we wanted to remake the video. We picked a day and spent most of it shooting. My video editing skills were (and still are) very amateur back then. I spent hours figuring out how to work editing software to produce some cool effects. I got close to completion but ran into a road block involving a couple tricks and missing clips. I let that detail hold up the project.

 

Cut to: last night

 

I am a firm believer that “done is better than perfect.” Perfection is a process,  if you wait for everything to be just right, you can miss out on the very lessons needed to inch towards that perfection. So I finished it. We can’t call it a remix, but it’s ours.

“We Can’t Call it a Remix,” starring Ben Flores, Jessica Estrada and me (for a minute).

Johnathan Haynes — Brian Sullivan Photo

Identity

Picking up from my last blog:

I landed safely in San Jose, gathered my things and took a very thought-provoking Uber ride to the hotel. “Thought-provoking ride” is not an option on the Uber app (although it should be).

 

After normal introductions and questions, the driver began immediately break life down to me. I don’t know what provoked this micro-inquisition and subsequent imparting of wisdom, but I went with it. He really liked that I had been exploring a lot this year, saying it was “good for my mental health.” The conversation contained a lot of insights and cool exchanges. While this was taking place, a thought struck me.

There is power in explaining who you are and what you do. It is an excellent opportunity to check your work.

 

Inside the conversation both me and the driver where proud of who we were and excited at what is to come. That is probably what enhanced the conversation. But there have been so many times in that past that I have run in to someone who is stuck, frustrated with there current state and been that way for a long time. Having to explain that you are miserable to everyone (or most people) that you encounter is demoralizing. It’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows, but if you find yourself in a stagnant miserable situation, don’t stay there. When explaining yourself to people, don’t let your story suck forever. Keep moving. Progress. Find the smallest of victories to celebrate and build from there. Let that become your introduction. Put yourself in a position that when someone asks who you are, you begin with a smile.

 

I set out to write a blog on a different topic but this came out instead.

Photo by Brian Sullivan 

Stolen

Stolen

I woke up like dih!

I woke up last Thursday in a hurry to begin my day. There was a full schedule ahead of me and I knew I had to be on point in order to get everything done. I quickly got ready and jumped into my roommates car—to head to my first meeting. Backing out of the driveway I noticed that my trunk was slightly open … “that’s weird.” I hopped out of the car and shut it, then I noticed my driver’s side door was open …” Odd.” I closed that too and rushed back to the car to knock out the day. It was a productive and successful day. I came home feeling accomplished and ready for the weekend. As I started to wind down and decompress everything, I walked outside to grab a bag out of my trunk.

 

As I approached my car I thought, “why was my trunk open?” I advanced towards my car—still analyzing the morning. OH SHIT! In a split second it all hit me. Someone had broken into my car. I’ve had things stolen from me before and it is a feeling I don’t enjoy. It’s a rotten and helplessly violating feeling. There was nothing I could do but call the police and let it all sink in for a moment.

 

My car was loaded for a day of media work and old clothes destined for Goodwill. I opened my trunk to see the remains of my belongings. More than $2k in belongs are gone. My media equipment was disappointing to lose but the source of distraught was centered around my gym bag. This thief took my gym bag! That must be some form of blasphemy … Ugh (Imagine a wonderful medley of curse words).

I spent a solid moment being bummed about it.

 

Having things taken from you is not a fun experience, but what can I do? I rarely leave things in my car but for some reason I got comfortable and just a little lax. It came back to sting me. There is no fault to place, but there is a lesson to be learned. Everything lost will be replaced and there is now room for newness—in both possessions and knowledge.

 

It’s not all roses, but I am learning to enjoy it all.

Coach Kines - Johnathan Haynes - Sudden Change

Sudden Change

How do you prepare for things you can not foresee? That seems like a silly question, but it something that I ask myself the most. Throughout life there will be unexpected turnovers—occurrences that immediately changes your circumstances. In the past, these situations have derailed me for days or weeks at a time. It’s a design flaw I’ve been working on for years.

Getting Caught Out of Position

In college, the majority of my studies took place in film rooms at the Bright Football Complex at Texas A&M. Coach Kines, my position coach, was old school and full of one-liners that would occupy your mind indefinitely. I learned to question and examine everything — establishing the importance of well-executed details. The lessons I learned from him have stuck with me beyond my football career and continue to lead my life. One of the most important concepts Coach Kines verbally hammered into my head was to slow down before speeding up or “Read slow. React Fast.” When adversity comes it is common to immediately react. Most of these moves are normally irrational or at least not optimal choices for the given circumstance. In many cases it has landed me in even stickier situations.

When the ball is snapped on a football field small misinterpretations can cost you points. The offense has the advantage of having the ball and knowing where it is going, but they are also burdened with having to act first. The defense can study tendencies and select plays that put them in the best position to stop the offense, but they cannot be 100% certain of the offense’s play. As a rookie, I would take a step as soon as the ball was hiked. This was silly, unecessary and almost immediately took me out of position to to make the play. It took time but I finally began to realize that I had time to understand the play before moving. I began to freeze upon the snap of the ball and assess what my eyes were telling me. After referencing the opposing team’s tendencies — that I had studied in the film room — I would react. As soon as I understood what was happening, think time was over and I took off at full speed to make a tackle. The difference in making a play and being caught out of position was found in a split-second pause that impacted everything. This idea transfers well to many areas in life, especially change.

Read slow. React Fast.

When the unexpected occurs, slow down, listen and understand. Failing to listen and gain a clear understanding of a situation can lead to unnecessary action. Allow time to gather information to select the best option and swiftly act. Speed is so important, but so is taking off in the right direction. Don’t expend double the energy retracing steps in order to get back on the right path. I love to move on things quickly and have been impatient with this tactic in the past. The more I practice it, the more I find it only takes a few extra moments to clear your perspective and correctly address sudden change.

Checkout at the Last Bookstore

Downtown LA

A few weeks ago, one of my childhood friends got married in a beautiful Catholic Cathedral in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, California.  I have been traveling for the good majority of this year and it has been full of fantastic and special experiences. Coming home to witness someone I’ve known for so long take that next big step in life was a treasure that I hope to never forget. The concentration of joy, laughter and fun was perfect.

Exploring

As a result of bouncing around this year I have picked up a habit of looking for new experiences in common places. After the wedding I returned to downtown LA to visit a friend and see how the heart of the city has changed—since I was a child. There are a lot of perceptions about the area, some true and some exaggerated. For the most part it is a city that leads a double life. On one hand you have the hustle and glam that drives surface expectations of the City of Angels. The other hand is hard at work to renew the culture and vibe of the inner city. In any either case—if you look close of enough—there is something really neat brewing in the heart of the city.

Creating the Most

I Uber’d my  way downtown to visit the friend I mentioned earlier. We have been close for quite some time and I was excited to see what she has created with her given space. She is overwhelmingly talented and a wonderful artistic mind. I can try and describe . I walked into her apartment and experienced this:

 

Downtown Los Angelos Loft

You’re looking  at a living space with work spaces on the bottom and sleeping quarters on the top. My friend and her two roommates  thought-up, created and assembled it from scratch.  One of the cooler adult space usages I’ve seen. Here is a closer look at her work space:

Downtown Los Angelos Workspace

 

I absolutely love it. It opened my mind to different ways that I could create the most with what I have available to me.

Keeper of Stories

After checking out the apartment we decided to stroll the veins of the city at night. We ended up at the Last Bookstore. Upon walking in, this place became an instant favorite .  I grew up in Pasadena, California and spent a good amount of time at the library (nerd alert). I love the smell and experiences that are associated with a room full history, sayings, tales and thoughts. This place took me back to special moments in my childhood.

The Last Bookstore

This place was very unique to say the least. Let me just show you.

The Last Bookstore DTLA

Clever book arrangements are kind of their thing.

Last Bookstore -DTLAThey also had interesting artwork .

Interesting Paper illustration - last book store

There was also this thing created by an artist who labeled himself a “thing maker.”  Fitting.

Thing Makers Art The last bookstore

I don’t know what this was all about but I kind of liked the dinosaur and music combo

The last bookstore Art

As you can see, the place has a lot of character. Seeing these sights was a good expansion of my perspective of the city. There is so much to see, if you are willing to look and pay attention to the details. I had a limited amount of time to observe all of the aspects of what was going on, but what I did see encouraged me.  A new wave of artists and innovators are slowly putting their touches on the city. I am curious to see how DTLA continues to evolve.

The photo below is one of my favorites of the night

Checkout at the Last Bookstore

Enjoy the Adventure.

 

Human Pyramid

X Games Austin Scavenger Hunt

Last Wednesday I received an email calling for sign-ups to participate in the X Games Austin scavenger hunt. Without even thinking about it, I hit the sign up button and begin to register three of my friends and myself (I text them afterwards to inquire what they were doing on Sunday.) It’s funny because none of us really knew what to expect, we just decided to show up ready to have a good time.

Around 1:45 p.m. Team Bow Jacked arrived at Mohawk ready to play.

XGames Austin Scavenger Hunt - Chelsea Mckinney - Jeff Mckinney - Alyson Boyd - Mohawk Austin

 

We (Chelsea, Jeff and Alyson—from right to left) received a task list with 98 objectives to complete in about two and a half hours. The four of us pilled into the car and headed towards our tasks. It all began at the State Capitol. (Task numbers are in reference to where they were on the list)

Task 30:  Take a picture in front of the Captiol building with our clothes on backwards.

Johnathan Haynes XGames Scavenger Hunt - Chelsea - Alyson - Jeff

Easy points for team Bow Jacked

Task 33: Tell a stranger about XGames Austin

 Task 64: Take a photo in front of a Ford vehicle

XGames Austin Ford Vehicle - Team Bow Jacked

 

Task 63: Form a human pyramid (Oh we did, and in style) Photo cred to the silver fox in the next task

Task: Slow dance with a senior citizen (this one was hard, Chelsea got turned down two or three times before this guy.)

Task 53: Create your own trick … Naturally, the ladies crushed this

Task 66: Jump into the air holding hands with strangers … The ladies rocked this one too.  (Thanks to the randoms for being so cool) XGames Scavenger Hunt - Jump with randoms

Task 24: Order a coffee/tea under the name Kanye West @joscoffee. I’ve got this

XGames Scavenger hunt Order like Kanye West

Task 55: Chicken Dance in a crosswalk (Big thanks to the one car for entertaining our little “show”) 

 

Task 68: team members wearing Oakleys … we kicked it up a notch

XGames Scavenger hunt

Task 95: Do Parkour on something random … Let’s Go

Task 13: #Selfie with a stranger

Selfie with a Stranger

Task 67: Daily Juice employee doing a cartwheel #KeepAustinWeird

Task 41: everyone sipping a Dr. Pepper

Everyon Sipping a Dr Pepper

 Task 88: rotating X  (for XGames) cartwheel

Task 7, 78 and 79: Jeff Mckinney kicked it into overdrive for this one. Shoutout to Ken Block

Task 45: Walk a Strangers Dog

Walk a strangers dog

Task 97: Create an XGames themed post card and give it to a stranger

XGames Post Card to a stranger

 

Tasks 81: Tricks over traffic cones. Cue Jeff Mckinney

 Task 48: Team Photo on a reflective surface … Check

XGames Austin

Task 58: Pedicab ride … Easy Money

XGames Austin Scavenger Hunt PediCab

Task 79: Take a picture with a statue … Of course we had to find Willie

XGames Austin Scavenger Hunt

Task 11: Take a picture in the bathroom of the opposite sex … thanks for taking one for team ladies. The Ladies room is way to scary.

Xgames Austin Scavenger hunt bathroom

 

Haha and Finally Task 71: Do your best Ken Block Gymkhana impersonation. On the way back to the start/finish, Jeff took the wheel on this one. You have to watch a Ken Block video to get it. Here is our rendition

 

Haha, that about sums up our little adventure. My Instagram account has most of the tasks we completed on Sunday, sorry if I blew up your news feed—it was for a fun cause.

In the end we came up about 150 points shy of winning tickets to this year’s X Games Austin,  but we all had a great time (a couple teams got X Games tattoos in order to win tickets … That’s true dedication.) It’s been a while since I did a scavenger hunt and it was a fun and exciting way to enjoy our Sunday. Special thanks to everyone who had a hand in getting us all outside of our comfort zone and creating a fun afternoon.

Enjoy the Adventure.


“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt