Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Starting Off: The Mother's Viewpoint

Starting point of the trip. Santa Rosa, California 

They are off!  I think the weight of the backpacks was a big surprise to both Mason and Kenton.  However, they shouldered their packs and took off down the road.  I had mixed emotions watching them ride off.  I felt joy that they are men of action and found a way to help educate the children in Romania.  They did not just talk about this adventure, they are actually taking a month out of their lives to try to make a difference and help others clear across the world. 

I felt excitement for their adventure and the experiences they will have and the people the will meet along the way.  I know they will have great stories from each day of those that they meet and the ways people will help in this cause. 

I love the idea of so many of us joining together to help children we have never met and will never meet.  The impact of a tutor for these children may be life changing for them and provide educational opportunities they would never have otherwise.  So I am looking forward to hearing the stories of the many of you who will choose to be a part of this project in some way.

Then my mother’s heart felt worry and yes, those are little tears escaping down my cheeks.  All I could do is pray and know that these two young men are now in God’s hands and trust them to you.  I also felt I need to trust in humankind and in goodness that many will reach out and help in some small way.  Truly by small and simple means are great things brought to pass.  So I entrust my son and my nephew to God and to the people who will cross the paths of these young men along the way.  That hearts will be touched and help will be offered, drivers will be safe, cheers will be heard as they pass by, water bottles given, a apple or orange shared, and most of all that donations will be made to bless the lives of the orphan children in Romania.

Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Monday, April 29, 2013

It All Begins With Four Dollars

Leaving from Utah not so early this
Well...here we are. In Santa Rosa California. We are actually here. We left this morning at about 9:30 (instead of the planned 8:00) and drove until we arrived at 9:15 pm at the Vagabond Inn. What a long day of driving. Kenton and I are so antsy to get out and ride tomorrow  Also a little nervous. Looking at the highways around here it is a little scary. One other problem we had was with the map. I was going over it this morning, looking at each days directions and I realized....it was backwards. Each day gives directions from south to north instead of north to south. Soooooo...... tomorrow we are going to try to follow it in reverse and see how well that goes. Luckily mom is staying with us one more day to see what hiccups we may run into.

Kenton and I sitting and eating. See our beautiful
faces on our backs!
We had a lot of blessings today. One was that we have some good prospects for news coverage. Another was at some random gas station in the middle of Nevada. Kenton and I were wearing our shirts, bright yellow ones, and we heard some people calling to us. These two ladies asked what the shirts were for and we explained our project. On the spot they pulled out four dollars and handed it to us, telling us what a wonderful thing we are doing. We were very excited with our first donation of the actual trip, as well as very touched by the candid kindness of these ladies. Every bit helps, no matter how large or small it is.

In the car I wondered if the children of Romania know, or even think about, the people helping them over here. That two random kind women gave to help. That some guy in Switzerland(my dad on a business trip) gave up some sleep to send out an email for us. That two crazy kids are riding their boards trying to get them help. Through the generosity of many their lives are being changed for the better and they probably don't even know.

We went to In and Out burger once we arrived in Santa Rosa.
Here we are stuffing our faces. Looking as bright as can be,
especially in comparison to the really depressed looking
girl behind Kenton.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Home is Behind The World Ahead, and There are Many Paths to Tread

My birthday cake party. Happy Early Birthday to me! 
This night was a crazy one. Kenton arrived in Utah after a 20 hour bus ride! That sounds ridiculously long. We quickly coordinated and got our things packed and ready to go. Mom, Jamie and Sydney were busy making shirts for the trip. Ironing on our logo to the back and they look awesome! I got some last minute flyers to carry with me from Bridge of Love. And I finished unpacking from college. It was busy busy busy, and we were running around like crazy. Along with it all we ate a little cake to celebrate my birthday, which is really on May 13 but I will be on the road that day.

My wonderful tired mother making the shirts. Her and
Jamie did such a great job. Thanks Aunt Kathy for
getting them
Today, April 29th (its just past midnight right now) the trip is underway!!! We leave at eight in the morning to drive out to Santa Rosa. Hopefully we will be able to get in some miles before the end of the day. My mom, with her great labor of love, is going to stay with us for a day and then head back to Utah leaving Kenton and I with just our boards, our backpacks, and the road.

I want to say thank you for everyone's support and help. Donations can still be made by using the link on the right or going to the Bridge of Love website here. Feel free to follow the trip and events as they unfold over the next month. We will be posting as often as we have an internet connection and battery power.

Jamie, Kenton, and me packing all the stuff for the trip.
You can see one of the shirts Mom made on the left right there.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Seven More Days: Merit Academy

Beautiful morning for a race.
This past Friday I had the wonderful chance to share a bit about Bridge of Love and what I'm doing soon. I really enjoy doing this kind of thing and helping out. It reminded me of the time I got to help out at the 5K race, Dracula's Dash for Hope, this past October. It was a cold but beautiful morning and lots of people showed up for the race in their costumes.

Helping out with the booth at Dracula's Dash for Hope
I've got my hippie costume on.
Merit Academy, a school in Springville, had a school fair.They called it Around the World With Dr. Who. There were special dishes made, and activities like Fat Suit Sumo Wresting. Each room had something fun going on. The room I was in was Mrs. Moody's. She had three booths going on. One was helping schools in Africa by making lightsabers out of pool noodles. Another booth was making bracelets. The money for the bracelets went to helping the activities at Merit. Then there was the Bridge of Love booth. I was there with my all my gear talking to people about all the good Bridge of Love is doing. We were playing off of the Dracula/Transylvania idea by selling little candy necklaces with vampire teeth. We had the slogan "Let's take a bite out of poverty!"

I had a lot of fun talking to people about the trip and Bridge of Love. I had a lot of fun finding fellow longboarders and talking to them about boarding.  It was also funny to see people's reactions to the trip. Shocked, excited, dubious, worried, and some who thought it sounded awesome. After a while the room got pretty busy and so I was "domesticated" or taught how to make the bracelets and I helped out with those as well. Jamie now has a nice braided bracelet, my practice one. It was  pretty hard to do, but they look nice.

It was a great opportunity and I had a lot of fun. Merit seems like a great school to have these fun activities.

The bracelet making station. You just know that
she is telling a good teenage girl story.
Me learning how to make the bracelets

The booth. There is my vampire teeth candy necklace. We had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

12 More Days!!!

Longboard USA
Well the time is winding down and final preparations are being made. We only have 12 days until we leave! I've been checking my equipment, packing up my backpack to go, and going on practice rides around town. I want to say a big thank you to Bridge of Love and all the help they are. To my parents for the immense help they bring. To my fantastic fiancee Jamie. Everyone who follows the blog. And also to others who have done similar trips who have helped me know what to expect. I wanted to share their trips and sites on the blog.

One of the biggest help in preparing for the trip has been Longboarding USA. Two brothers who did a whole trip across the United States of America. I emailed them with questions and Caleb Childs has been great about communicating helps with me. Questions about where to stay, shoes to wear, how many bearings I will go through, how to stay safe. I've pretty much bombarded them with every question. They've been great and I want to say thank you. Check out their trip here.

Adam Colton

Another great help has been THE Adam Colton. Who is Adam Colton you may ask? Well you can check out his website here, but I will tell you a bit about him myself. Adam is a legend of longboarding.   Ever since my brother and I were younger we loved to watch his longboarding videos. His skills at dancing on the board are amazing. He  as performed many a long distance trek. Across Morocco, Bolivia, Peru, China. You can watch the trips videos here. They are really good videos. I've never contacted Adam because I'm a little intimidated to contact my longboarding hero of many years. Whenever people ask me what longboarding is like I direct them to this video Adam did years ago. It reminds me of boarding in Provo Canyon. Adam's stuff is great.

Rob Thompson

Finally a thank you to the world record holder for longest distance ride ever. Rob Thompson went on a solo, unassisted trip all the way across China. He is an avid biker and boarder. Check out his stuff here. His ideas on what to pack, instructional videos, and helps are invaluable. This guy is an inspiration to me and I love what he does with pushing the limits of boarding and changing the way its done. Like the trailer board he made with Longboard Larry.

I'm super stoked for my own trip. It would have been really hard to figure this out without the advice of others who have done this before me.  I also want to say thanks again to everyone for all the support.

12 more days!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Five Broken Cameras

Jamie and I were hanging out last night and we found ourselves with a few hours to spare. We decided to watch a movie we haven't yet had time to see. My vote was Gandhi, her's was a documentary called Five Broken Cameras. My movie was three hours long, her's was an hour and a half. We watched her movie.

Now, I don't pretend to understand anything about the Middle East and what is going on over there. I only know bits about what Jamie shares when she lived over there in the summer. Anyway, Five Broken Cameras is a documentary filmed by a Palestinian man about his town and how it is being encroached upon by others. Through the course of his filming he breaks five cameras whilst documenting the violence.

I didn't understand the complex situation and politics about what was going on and so I'm not trying to give an opinion on the situation  I'm just trying to say what I saw in the movie, and what I saw was a little town, filled with people who lived in a situation much different than my own. Their situation was dangerous, unknown, and somewhat helpless. I felt fear for them as their land was taken, soldiers threw tear gas at the residents, the town residents threw rocks back, and people were killed. Through all of this the man filming keeps showing his little boy and family. I looked over at Jamie, and I thought about the future we are about to begin together. About how uncertain I sometimes feel, and how fearful I am. I wrote a poem about it the other day, in order to get my thoughts out on paper.

O whither leads the path I take?
On which my entire life 's at stake
Is power of direction mine,
or led by something more divine?

O wherefore don't I know,
O, whither I shall go?
My blind step seems so slow,
but...is that truly so?

For whither leads the path I take?
So shaky are the plans I make.
I do not know what I will be
o whither does this path take me?

Despite this uncertainty I realized how lucky I still am. I am lucky to live in the land I do. I'm not stuck in some situation where men with guns take my land, my livelihood, arrest my children, shoot my friends, and the laws which should protect me are ignored. I live in such security. I have such opportunity  I was a little ashamed of my fears, when Jamie and I are so lucky and have so little to actually fear.

I thought of how many other places there are in the world where people don't have the chances I do. I felt a strong responsibility to help. I have a favorite hymn with words that say, "Because I have been given much I too must give." I feel so blessed and therefore must seek to help and give. Now...I don't mean this as a type of "white mans burden". I don't see myself as any better than any other human beings. These people in the movie were people just like me. They just live somewhere else, have some different customs, language, but they are people like me. Somehow, in the organization of the universe, I was deemed to live in the place I do now. I'm lucky, and I've been given much, so I feel that I too must give.

This kind of thinking was the impetus of my trip, this Longboard for Love endeavor  A way I saw that I too can give, especially to the Romanian people I love. A teacher for these abandoned kids can turn a hopeless situation into a wonderful thriving life. I wanted to help, but I also have a hope that my effort can inspire someone else to see that they too have something special and unique to give to the world. Something that the rest of us need. That we can demonstrate some active integrity, mixed in with love, and help one another. Life is too hard to do it alone, and too challenging to make it more difficult for each other.

I feel that as human beings we must help our fellow man. What could the world do if there was a little more love for one another? In Five Broken Cameras the protesters often pleaded to the humanity of the soldiers  Asking if they had family, homes, pity. I wonder what was going on in the minds of the soldiers as they tried to remain stone faced to the terror.

What would the world be like with a little more LOVE?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I ordered my S-One helmet the other day. I've been a little worried about buying the right one because...well, I have a gargantuan head. I need to get a helmet that fits. When I was little and in school or church we made little hat things, the teacher always had to make them a little bit bigger for me than the other kids. My siblings and I always felt like the kid with a large head in So I Married An Axe Murderer

I tried to go to a local skate shop to try on some helmets and see what size fits best. They were sold out of S-One and so one of the employees handed me another helmet to try out. He said it was a great helmet, one of his favorite to wear. I looked at it and became livid inside. He had handed me a non-certified helmet. It was basically a plastic shell with some foam pads (really cheap foam pads) inside. I thanked him, handed it back, and left the store before I could get on my helmet rant and start shouting helmet safety like a Southern preacher. 

This experience, along with the fact that nobody has made the promise to always wear a helmet (nobody, shame on you. Yes shame on you all), prompted me to ascend my soapbox of safety and talk about helmets again. 

I start by showing you this really cool video. This kid backflips off his skateboard, down a set of stairs, and lands on anther board. An absolutely awesome feat!

I was impressed. After I saw the video I saw a link to another video of him practicing the trick. Check it out.

This kid...might be a good boarder, but he is really really really stupid. Not only does he put himself through this punishment but...he has no helmet! If he over-rotates on one of those flips he could smash the back of his head right on the concrete and BAM. Bad news. There are a million things that could go wrong. Like this kid who had a much more severe fall. Stupid....stupid, stupid, stupid. 

Below is another video of a guy who took a little fall. Its not that large but he hits the back of his head and suffers memory damage. He forgets where he his and what happened. For the next six hours he cannot consolidate new memory and has to be told over and over again what happened. Its pretty crazy.

I don't mean to hate on anyone or be rude, just to illustrate a point. The moral of this story....please, wear a helmet. You might think it looks silly, or it ruins your hair or whatever. But you only have one brain, and it is easy to damage. Take care of it, don't sell out to look cool. It is cool to wear a helmet. Anyway, in you sport of choice you should not care what others think, but find enough validation in yourself, along with enough love and care for yourself to wear a helmet. 

For more information about longboard safety check out what this group of people are doing at The Longboard Coalition

Also I apologize if there was any language in the videos. I tried to preview them beforehand and I didn't catch anything. If there is please let me know and I can fix it. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Podul Dragostei: Education

How does Bridge of Love actually help the children of Romania if the organization is based in Utah? Well, the answer is Podul Dragostei. Podul Dragostei is the "sister" organization for Bridge of Love. As I understand it they are the "base" for Bridge of Love in Romania. Podul Dragostei actually means "Bridge of Love, in Romanian. They have their own website you can check out here. The site is in Romanian but you can GoogleTranslate it. Romanian is such a beautiful language anyway so by virtue of that face alone you should check it out.

Podul Dragostei releases a newsletter every month or so and in February's newsletter they featured an interview with a young man named Adrian P. He is one of the abandoned children. Adrian just graduated college and was giving some advice to the other children in the foundation. I wanted to share it with you. Be kind, because someone else translated it from Romanian and I tried to better translate parts of it myself.

The reason I wanted to share this interview is because Adrian has just graduated college. He is looking forward to his profession of a teacher. I love his enthusiasm and positive hope. He really treasures his education, and see's the benefit it will be in his life and the lives of others. I'm very happy for him, and I like this because it is what Longboard For Love is trying to help with. Many of these abandoned children are behind in life and therefore struggle with school. Without education, as Adrian says in the interview, they have little hope for a better life than the streets. That is why Longboard For Love is trying to get a teacher for these kids. We're trying to raise just $6,000 which is a years salary for a teacher or tutor in Romania. This will start the teaching program and we can continue on for further years. Thank you for your help, which allows kids like Adrian to succeed in life.


Q: When did you find out about the foundation and how?

AP: I got to know the foundation through Danut B, a friend of mine who was already a part of the foundation then. In fact, Irina who was working for the foundation helped me sign up.This was between 2007 or 2008.

Q: Tell me a bit about how the foundation has helped you in your life?

AP: Well, I have no words for it. It helped me emotionally, physically, and even financially, and it helped especially when I was going through rough times in my life. We all go through rough times, and it is good to be able to help each other.
Q: Who is your Social Worker?

AP: Andreea.

Q: Has Andreea been a help for you, has she been there when you needed her?

AP: Of course, very much!

Q: Tell me a little about your life, what did you wanted to be when you were little, and what are you now that you have a diploma in your hands.

AP: Well ever since I was a little child I wanted to be an educator. I wanted to go to Negresti because lots of my classmates and friends had moved there or been transferred there, and the idea was to go there and to be an educator of children. But instead I become a professor. (He says this with a big smile on his face.)

Q: What kind of professor are you?

AP: Religion professor, and I can also teach history.

Q: Recently you finished work for your diploma, isn't that so?

AP: Yes, in middle of February I had my big exam, and finished my thesis.

Q: And what was your thesis about?

AP: It was an interdisciplinary work. Lots of domains entered in. Science. Biology. Religion, because this was the first choice, that was the base, religion.

Q: And what grade did you get on your thesis and your test?

AP: 10 (equivalent of an A in the US)

Q: And how do you think you succeeded ? Why did you want a diploma?

AP: Well it is obvious, without a diploma I would be a nobody. In my life usually the negative things helped me be motivated, not really positive things but negative things.

Q: What do you mean, can you tell me an example?

AP: The lack of a family.

Q: How did not having a family help you?

AP: Well my family lives in very poor conditions, and I promised myself that I wouldn't end up like them. I want to progress, I want to get somewhere in my life. I don't want to end up like them on the street or in any other circumstances.

Q: Do you think the future depends on you, or on the fact that you are abandoned and bad things happened in your life?

AP: No, no, no! The future depends only on you and nothing else, you and God. There is a saying I often use, "you make the bed you lay in." So if you can graduate from college it is obvious that you will have a good future.

Q: Do you have any advice for our children at the foundation who don't want to study, or who are sad because they feel abandoned?

AP: Yes! Don't give up. Don't let yourself down, don't feel sorry for yourselves and victimize yourself. Embrace what you have and remember that you have the capacity overcome difficult things. We all do! And second, be more open with your families, your friends, and anyone around you, because if you close up you won't succeed at anything. People are here to help. And never ever ever ever give up!!


We've been trying to get a logo for the trip going for a few months now. A couple of people have been nice enough to help out. Here are some of the things we got.

I asked my friend Rachel what she could do. She's really good at logos and things like this really cool one she did for a book club. I don't know if you can see but that little dot above the "I" is a brain with light bulbs surrounding it. Very clever.

She was nice enough to come up with something for us and made this one below. It was super nice of her and I think it looks good. We've been able to use it for a few things.

We talked to my cousin Dave Bowman and asked him what he could do. Dave is an artist and author, you can check out some of his work here. He drew us a fun little caricature for the trip. Its been super useful for things like posters.

We're handsome even as cartoon characters

We've finally been able to pin down our final logo. Rachel taught me a bit about Photoshop and it has taken me a while to work it out but we got this one and we like it. Now, revel in the glory....