August 3, 2016

Quiet the Chaos with Adventure Videographer Nick Kalisz

Nick Kalisz on how we all get caught up and why it's about time we break away from the cubicle and find a different rhythm to dance to.

To put it bluntly, my life exists in extremes.

When I set out to become a filmmaker, I knew that I wanted to work with the outdoors as my backdrop. I’ve been lucky. The past five years working in the film industry has allowed me to travel the world.

From Japan to South Africa to Nepal, some adventures are one-day missions outside of the city. Some are month-long excursions where I trek across the land, learning from the locals and getting fully immersed in my surroundings. Sometimes, it can be hard to think about living in the chaos of a big city, but this is exactly why I recently chose to move to Utah.

hikers on top of mountain

In the past six months, Utah has given me the opportunity to dive into the city dwelling life. I’m still in the process of getting to know this beautiful state, but so far it’s been a fun adventure. Utah is a unique environment because it has a metropolitan area directly adjacent to world-class outdoors recreation.

In a way, it’s a metaphor for my lifestyle as a filmmaker. It’s all or nothing. Either I’m shackled to my desk editing 60 hours per week, or I’m on a sailboat in Iceland cut off from the world for weeks on end. Extremes.

One question I keep asking myself is, “How can I better balance my lifestyle?”

For example, a project is about to be finished, I’ve been putting in a 60-hour work bender and everything starts to feel as though it is falling apart.

This can’t be healthy, right?” “But I need to finish the project and if I waste any time doing anything else, well then, it just won’t be as good.”

Luckily, I have started to realize this isn’t the best way to go about finishing a project. The method of overworking really leads to me being too tired to make the right decision.

One solution is getting out for what I call “backyard sessions”. What I used to look at as distractions from work have become incredible creative fuel. These little bike rides, hikes, and adventures throughout my week have given new life to my work. This life is seen after the backyard sessions; when I sit back down at my desk, my energy is up and I can see the project in a new light. But this only happens when I create a balance.

Since I’m still fairly new to Utah, I’ve been lucky to meet some great locals to show me the ropes—namely, my buddy Alex, an avid climber, backcountry skier, and all-around outdoor aficionado.

Recently, Alex and I linked up with a few other friends after work for a backyard session, and I had my camera in tow to capture footage for #thebreatheproject from the GORE-TEX® brand.

We met at the trailhead, and Alex sprinted up the trail and out of sight. He’s one of those guys that has only one gear: sixth. I’ve seen him break trail in knee-deep powder faster than anyone can keep up.

We all started laughing and quickly realized someone better go catch him before he got to the destination. When we caught him, I re-explained my concept for the video. I told the group about my own experiences being a goal-oriented, all-or-nothing sort of person, and also my goal of creating more balance in my life through a slower pace and time spent in nature.

I watched as the group mentality shifted. It’s hard to explain how it happened, but somehow everyone adopted a slower pace. We all became more involvedor maybe the right word is connectedwith our surroundings. We definitely showed more excitement and enjoyment that went beyond the landscape. The tone shifted and we seemed to be enjoying each other’s company in a deeper, more meaningful way.  

father and child hiking

Don’t get me wrong, there are alway times to go fast and get to the top, but it’s also important to know when to take it easy and enjoy. The point of most missions isn’t the end destination, it’s the adventure before and after that you remember most. Getting to spend time with your friends, share ideas, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors is what it’s all about.

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