Monday, February 24, 2014

36By24 #2: The Bridge of No Return

36By24 is a series featuring photos that, over time, have developed stories of their own. You can find more under the "36By24" tag in the menu bar above.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 50mm f/8, 1/640
The Bridge of No Return is a stone bridge that spans the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea. It is located within the Western boundary of the Joint Security Area (JSA) and, from the South Korean side, is surrounded on three sides by North Korea.

After the Korean War conflict (the two sides still technically remain at war), there were many prisoners that were still imprisoned by both sides. In a series of prisoner exchanges, over 100,000 soldiers were brought to this bridge to return home...if they chose to return in the first place.

When the 38th Parallel was established, it effectively sliced the country in half. Families were split and still remain divided today. The conflict ravaged both sides, and at the time it was unclear which direction the Koreas would go. There was no clear distinction like there is today. Before each exchange, many prisoners were given the choice of either returning home or staying with their captors. The conditions were that, once you've crossed that bridge, you cannot return to the other side. Ever.

The bridge as it is seen today is very easy to miss. There are no signs or memorials, as it is only accessible if you are in the military and very few Korean nationals have permission to go there. All tours there are not permitted to leave the bus, as just on the other side lies North Korea. There are no visible guards or defensive positions. No special lines or barriers. Just an old, abandoned bridge spanning one of the most heavily militarized borders in the world.

Monday, February 17, 2014

36By24 #1: A Kindling Path in the Shadow of Fujisan

36By24 is a series featuring photos that, over time, have developed stories of their own. You can find more under the "36By24" tag in the menu bar above.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 28mm f/22, 10"
The hike up Mount Fuji, although popular and completely doable, is not for the faint of heart. This sleeping stratovolcano stands at 12,389 feet, and from the beginning of the average hiker's journey (the 5th Station) Fujisan's summit towers nearly a mile above.

Most hikers start in the middle of the night and race the sunrise to the top. With nothing but the moonlight and a torch to guide you, the shadow of Fujisan swallows all that dare to challenge it. And, after hiking nearly vertical for hours, you can see how it would be easy to let the mountain win. Just to sit down, take a nap, and wait for the rising sun.

Fortunately the only choice we had was to look up. Our eyes adjusted to the darkness very quickly...mostly because we had no flashlights with us. During our breaks, we would watch the distant hikers as they made their ascent. They were more prepared than us. Nearly everyone had headlamps, and they would bob up and down as they made their way up the switchbacks. We could hear the faint conversations of the hikers resting at the stations above us. Our path up the spine of the mountain twinkled under the dim moonlight.

Every time we stopped to take a break, my friend and I would weigh out the benefits of turning around. She was hiking in a pair of Chucks; I was hauling a tripod and gear. We were not prepared. Each time would count the stations above us, glimmering like lighthouses in the sea of black. The line of hikers leading up to the next station steadily moved into the darkness, desperate to beat the sunrise. It was enough motivation to get us to the next one. And then the next one...and the next...and eventually, there was only the summit left to conquer.

That night was long, and even now I can feel the dread of every step up that dark, foreboding beast of a mountain. In our boldness, we were lucky. Our path was illuminated before us. We just needed to summon the strength to walk it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

AOTOS Reboot and Adventure Syndicate

If you're a regular reader, you've probably noticed that I haven't posted much since last September. Job searching and a lull in travel has severely cut my adventuring, and I haven't been that motivated to force myself to write or create anything. Think writer's block...just with everything even remotely artistic.

Fortunately, I'm stubborn enough to not let something like that last too long. My sweater might be in the closet collecting dust, but both of us know that we'll be moving on to the next big adventure soon. 

We're going to reboot this blog, and as part of the reboot of Adventures of the Orange Sweater, I'm pumped to be working with a new group: Adventure Syndicate
This is a social media group that, much like Adventures of the Orange Sweater, is dedicated to sharing all those bold experiences we have in life with the people that care the most. Right now, you can find content for Adventure Syndicate on Facebook and YouTube. 

If you go to those pages, you can see that as of right now it's a very young group. There's only a month's worth of content pushed out right now. I can assure you that there's plenty more on the way in the coming months ahead.

So what's new for Orange Sweater? Not alot, actually. You'll still find all my content here on Blogger, with it getting pushed to Adventure Syndicate as a contributor. There's going to be more videos, and you'll be able to find them at the AdvSyn YouTube channel as well as my own channel. You'll still have plenty of written content to read as well. Most of it will look familiar. I'll just be posting alot more short, content-focused posts and posting them more often. You know... like a normal blog.

Every Monday at 6AM EST starting next week I'll have something new for all of you to check out, along with the normal posts whenever I go on an adventure abroad. I've been digging in my hard drives, and there are A TON of stories I've yet to share with all of you. It'll be enough to satisfy my ancy legs while I get ready for whatever comes next. Plus, I've been looking for a way to stick it to Mondays. Monday gets a bad rep. This should help out a little bit. Be sure to subscribe to the Adventure Syndicate Facebook and YouTube as well as my channel if you want to keep updated on everything we do. 

And, like always, thanks for sticking with me through the years. This blog has always been home for me. I've treated it much like a scrapbook: taking the memories I've created along the way and stashing them somewhere to be cherished later. I've read through my blog many times over these last couple of trying months, and it has brought me the greatest of joys knowing that these experiences were shared with so many people. 

See ya next Monday, and for many Mondays to come!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Demo Reel 2014!!!!

With the help of some awesome friends and former colleagues, I finally have an updated demo reel! You can check it out here:
Or, alternatively (because embedding on Blogger is rather disappointing), you can view it via this link:

It's been a while since I've done anything remotely creative, and to be honest I feel a bit rusty and out of shape. I was talking with one of my good friends about how I've neglected my writing and videography, and how I can't bring myself to create anything anymore. His advice was simple: persist.

So, taking that advice to heart, I do have some good news for everyone reading Adventures of the Orange Sweater. We have some new and old things on the burners, and I'll be writing more about what is in the works this coming Monday. Don't worry, I'm not a man with a master plan. This blog was never intended for world domination. It'll still be the same stuff you've seen over the years, just more focused and with some new faces and places.

See you Monday!