Veital Designs 3x3 new year in kyoto, adventure, travel, japan

3X3: The New Year in Kyoto

Veital Designs 3x3 new year in kyoto, adventure, travel, japan

Our journey took us from our home at the time in Seoul, South Korea to Osaka, Japan and then by train to our final destination in Kyoto just outside of Fushimi Inari-Taisha during the last week of December, 2014.

Even 4 years out from that trip, it’s hard to put into words how amazing this adventure was and the impression that has stayed with us ever since. Most days were relatively warm for late December which made wandering all the more enjoyable. Each day we made our way from temple to temple, onto and off of trains, and through quiet narrow streets, taking in the architecture, culture, and harmony of the city.

Veital Designs New Year in Kyoto, Kyoto Wandering, Japan, Winter, Adventure, Adventure in Japan

Everyone we met were incredibly friendly and patient with our extremely limited Japanese vocabulary. We rang in the new year on a wooded hillside at Fushimi Inari-Taisha with mini beers and a ton of super friendly folks.

Veital Designs New Year in Kyoto, Japan, Kirin Beer, Fushimi Inari New Year

New Year’s Day, we visited Heinan Shrine and it’s gigantic Torii gate just as the snow began to fall, continuing our exploration and ringing in of 2015. As the afternoon turned to evening that day, we found ourselves twisting and turning our way down snow covered walks in search of a place to warm up and eat. While this was a bit of a challenge due to many shops being closed through the holidays, it only gave us more of an excuse to keep walking to see what was around the next corner. We eventually ended that New Year’s day at Bar Dylan II (A Bob Dylan themed bar), warming ourselves over whiskeys and watching the snowfall on the hills to the east. Four years out, we’re still twisting and turning, trying to find our way, and see what is around the next corner.

Veital Designs, New Year in Kyoto, Kyoto Japan, Heian Shrine, Japan, Adventure

Caught Off Guard:

The Kamo River. We did not get a chance to walk along it’s banks but another visit in spring would be a perfect time to walk amongst it’s flowering cherry blossoms.

 

Calories:

Kyoto Station has a ton of great restaurants so check out the lower level shops and restaurants. With that, the true MVP of this trip was Family Mart’s delicious premade sandwiches. Seriously, try the Egg Salad.

 

20:20 Hindsight:

More time to explore! We only had about 5 days all told to explore and a few things were closed through the holidays. More days on the ground another time of year might help us develop a deeper appreciation of all that Kyoto has to offer.

 

 

 


Veital Travels in Australia

Mo-Town In Australia

August 2017

I was terrified leading up to the trip where I would travel 9,000 miles across the world to spend 3 weeks with people I had never met before. Little did I know, I would experience some of the best days of my life in this short span of time.

Traveling to Australia, I found myself going through 2 different states (Queensland and New South Wales) 7 different cities (Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island, Magnetic Island, Townsville, Mission Beach, Cairns, and Sydney), while using 8 planes, 5 ferries, and lots of cars. Each place that I visited was completely different from the last, but altogether unlike anything I could have experience in the U.S.

Started my trip out in Brisbane, the city reminded me of a mix between London and Nashville, minus the British or country accents. It had old and historically crafted buildings spanning the area of 6,110 square miles, London came to mind, but I could not overlook how hipster and trendy everything had become, just like Nashville. The people there would flood the local markets or outdoor restaurants every day and night to look over the river or reside in the “quay.” Pronounced like “key,” the word “quay” was written on everything in Brisbane, meaning that it was a city along the river.

In North Stradbroke Island, I started to feel culture shock and really get immersed within the culture of Australia. Upon our arrival with 70-degree weather, considering it is winter down under, the first activity we participated in was surfing right in the ocean at Cylinder Beach. Surfing on the waves was something I will never forget, as well as all the peculiar animals which resided on the island. Considering I got bit by a leech and pooped on by a koala, I would say the kangaroos were probably my favorite (and don’t worry, I washed my Veital after sharing my water). “Straddie,” as the locals like to call the island, consisted of many incredible sights. Due to the absence of the big city lights or huge tourist attractions, the milky way was clearly visible at night and created a view unlike any other.

Even though I could have lived forever on Straddie, we moved for the third time to reach Magnetic Island. Our group had the pleasure to work with Reef Ecologic, a reef conservation company, where we got to swim in the Great Barrier Reef and take samples of seaweed right off the coral, where it would later be turned into fertilizer to promote an eco-friendly environment. By working with Dr. Adam Smith, I got to learn and hear all about the initiatives and strategies Australia takes in attempt to preserve the environment. It was incredibly inspiring and pushed me to reevaluate all the actions I take in my life to be more respectful of the world I live in.

Townsville, the next stop, was just as inspiring too. Since most of the staff were volunteers and due to the fact that it was a non-profit organization, each person at Reef HQ genuinely cared for their program and wanted to spread that care to everyone who visited.

 

Sleeping arrangements eventually became an exciting part to figure out, and the treehouse we stayed in at Mission Beach contributed to that excitement. While in Mission Beach we got to visit Mungulla Station, home of the Nywaigi Aboriginal people. Learning how to throw a boomerang and the culture of the people was life-changing. Those kinds of moments of pure joy did not stop there.

Next on the list of places was Cairns, which is where we would settle a bit for 3 days. Having a port in the city, there were many more people than the past few destinations. Cairns was the spot in which tourists came to see and experience the Great Barrier Reef. We took a two-hour boat ride with sickening waves and although I had to take multiple Dramamine and go through every phase of questioning whether I was going to be sick multiple times, it was worth it. All of the things that I saw, including a sea turtle, 3-foot long and bright blue fish which swam right in front of my face, countless species of colorful coral, and lots of ginormous sea cucumbers, account to the fact that I the Great Barrier Reef is definitely not dead. That day I had on July 25th, 2017, was one of the best days of my life and I loved every second of it.

Throughout rainforests, gorge walks, waterfalls, city streets and the thousands of steps I took, Australia was an incredible experience. The people, the food, the animals, and the sights were all mind-blowing. All I could say as we departed was, “I’ll be back for you Australia.”

 

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Morgan “Mo-town” Batson

VIVA Team Member


Veital Designs Replacement Water Bottle Lid Nalgene replacement lid Hydroflask replacement lid

Sawtooth Relay - Can Matt Run the Distance?

6/8/17-6/12/2017

The next adventure, ‘twas a great one. I got a text from my buddy a few weeks ago saying: “So where’s the adventure this weekend?” 1. I was flattered that he asked me that and 2. What a way to live life! Life is an adventure. It’s easier than people make it, just get off your butt and make some plans. Netflix can wait. So, Blane, if you ever read this, thanks for the inspiring text. It will keep me motivated to continuously find what’s next.

May 10th: A good friend asked if I wanted to come visit her in Idaho. I said sure. My reward miles were in abundance, and heck, an opportunity to get out West? Absolutely. I had to jump on it. As I was booking the tickets, she informed me of what we would be doing that weekend. Running a 60-mile relay race through the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Whoa, Matthew is not a runner, and a flat-lander. Queue a fast track training program to get ready.

Fast forward to June 9th, I was sitting at Flying M Coffee House in Boise, www.flyingmcoffee.com , wrapping up the week. The place was pretty hip. Like the hip kinda place where no two chairs are alike. I was a little out of my element, but pressed on. Our schedule for the weekend was set. Cruise up to Stanley, find a place to camp, and be at the starting line by 7am Saturday morning.

With a few hours to kill, I wanted to check out some local shops. I gravitated to the outdoor stores, and with that, landed on a gold mine. ‘Outfitters R US’ is a co-sign shop. For the flat-landers reading this, it’s a Goodwill for outdoor gear. The stop to peruse quickly turned into over an hour long shopping scavenger hunt. There was so much to investigate, what deals could be found? I ended up buying a pair of mountain biking shoes, 3 kits for riding, and a rock climbing helmet. Something I know couldn’t be done at any store in the Midwest. All things I needed, bought at a fraction of the cost. Stoked was a word that came to mind.

Now that my inner shop-a-haulic was quenched (jk I don’t shop), it was time to head to the mountains. I picked Bailey up and we were on our way north, in search of hot springs and a good campsite to break in her new engineering feat: The Tramper. We took highway 21 which followed the Payette river.

With spring conditions, most of the hot springs were washed out. We did find a spot that got the job done. It’s amazing sitting in a pool of hot water just feet away from a class 4 river. Humbling, to say the least. Many mental pictures were taken, but sadly, none of the digital variety.

Stanley, where our exploit began, is a little town of 63 nestled in the Sawtooth Mountain range. As we were almost in town, Bailey spotted a sign that said Lake Stanley, turn right. Both sharing a love for water, we had to check it out. Coincidently, some camping spots were available. It was a no brainer site to break in her new set-up

Dinner was delicious. Bailey @baileykrstic knocked it out of the park with beef stew, rice and beans. A perfect combination complex carbs to fuel is for tomorrows race.

You know how weathermen are always right? Well, let’s just say they were not calling for snow. This was our view at 5:30 am. Snow. I was set to start the 1st leg of the race at 7am. It was going to be an interesting morning. Did I mention it was June 10th?

Sidebar: Sawtooth Relay - The race is broken up into 10 legs all ranging from 5-6 miles per leg. The starting point was in Stanley, elevation 5,600 ft and ending in Ketchum, elevation 5,200. The race is relatively flat, with the exception of legs 5 and 6; a climb and downhill at the Galena summit. Up 1,500, down 1,500. Start times ranged from 2 am Saturday morning all the way to 10 am.

With snow falling, the starting bell rang as we started the race. I was nervous and excited. How was the Midwest boy going to handle a distance race, in the mountains? Thankfully, I ended up doing just fine. I think I owe a majority of that to my team: ‘The Team 4mally Known as Prince.’ A real rag-tag group of people thrown together at the last minute. It was awesome. We all came from different backgrounds and stepped up to race because the team needed people. As each runner set off on their leg, we used Bailey’s truck as the rally car. We’d drive by hooting and hollering, roll ahead to the next pull-off, get out of the car, and do it all again. It was an awesome way to pass the time, and fuel our runners!

In just under 8 hours, our team finished in Ketchum, Idaho. Ketchum is home to Sun Valley. It was great to see the town during the summer. Vastly different in the winter.  Greeted with food and beer tickets, it was a great way to end the day. The mountains are crazy. 7 am, 30 degrees and snowy to 65 degrees, sunny, and beautiful.

Sunday was a  rude awakening. My legs were quite sore and needed to get shaken out. We tried to find more hot springs, but were unsuccessful. To get the blood flowing, trying to break up some latic acid, we did a small hike in the foothills of Ketchum. Idaho is stunning.

Cheers to conquering another adventure with a great group, in a beautiful pocket of our country! Never stop pushing yourself to the limits, you might be surprised what you find when you get there.

"One extends one's limits only by exceeding them."

- M. Scott Peck, Author 'The Road Less Traveled'

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Matthew "Matty-K" Kownick

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.


Veital Designs, Veital, Hiking, Travel, Adventure, Argentina

The Ginger Goes to Agentina

The best part of traveling is being thrown into a totally new environment and feeling so uncomfortable those first couple hours you almost feel sick. Now that I think about it, that sickness feeling could have been from the 14 hours of traveling, three flights and less than stellar airplane food. Argentina was my destination for the next two weeks as I studied international entrepreneurship. More specifically, I was headed to the city of Mendoza which is on the eastern half of the country (very close to Santiago, Chile). Right away I had to get used to being stared at at almost every place I went. I can’t say I expected this, but being a 6’1 white ginger doesn’t exactly help you “fit in”.

 

 

As part of the class I was taking we had the opportunity to meet with many different types of local business owners in the city. Out of the six companies we met with, one called “Energe” really stood out to me. Energe is a solar energy provider that started in 2007 by three locals. One of the owners spoke to us about the challenges of starting a company saying, “When I was at my job in the oil industry, mentally I was constantly thinking about my startup”. Here at Veital, each of us understands that we might not be doing what we love at every second of everyday, but building this company little by little helps Adam, Matt and myself with the balance of work and play. The other comment he made during his presentation was about money saying, “You get so many unbelievable experiences and opportunities when it comes to starting a business. It’s not all about making money. Money is secondary”. Through the process of starting Veital Designs, the three of us learn more and more each day that your mindset can’t just be about trying to make a profit. It has to also be about building relationships and providing a product that will actually help people. Veital has been around for a little over a year now and in that short amount of time we have been able to build incredible relationships with many different companies and people. Like Matty-K has mentioned in previous blog posts, Veital is all about developing a community of rad people who love to be outside, but understand that to get outside you have to work your butt off during the week.

During the two weeks that I was in Argentina I had opportunities to see incredible views that come with being surrounded by the Andes mountains. One of those experiences came in the form of hot springs in the foothills. We drove from the city of Mendoza to a spa called “Termas Cacheuta”. Along with the springs sitting in the hills of the Andes, the Mendoza river ran right by the spa, which made for incredible views. The first thing the manager told us when we arrived at the spa was “Please do not go in the river”. But like the little rebel I am, I had to jump down and capture some shots.

 

 

On one of our last days in Mendoza we drove into the Andes to a lake called Potrerillos, which sits at around 1300 meters (4,265 feet) above sea level. Along with the crystal-clear water, the lake was surrounded by gorgeous views of the snowy mountains. While we were taking in the gorgeous views of our surroundings, some kite surfers showed up to shred this incredible lake.  This obviously wasn’t their first rodeo with some of the tricks they were doing. It was unreal to watch these guys surf with such an amazing backdrop. We sat around this lake the entire day, grilling burgers, drinking adult beverages and just enjoying each other's company. It was one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been to in my life. At the end of the day, I was extremely grateful to be able to witness a view as spectacular as that one.

 

 

Out of every experience I had during the trip, nothing compared to the lifelong friends I made. I can honestly say that I met some of the most genuine people while in Mendoza. This is why Matthew, Adam and myself enjoy traveling so much. We love to get out of our comfort zone, meet new people and explore the surroundings. The three of us at Veital Designs are  pumped for the future of the company. If you’re like us and love to travel consider signing up to be a Veital ambassador. We’re calling it Viva Veital. It’s simple: sign up, go through our grueling interview process (just kidding), and we will hook you up with some Veital Designs gear. From there, all we ask you to do is product test, and grab some still frames of rad trips across the world.  Who knows, maybe we’ll give you the reins on our Instagram stories from the official Veital Designs account! To sign up, go to our website under the “Team Viva” tab.

#embracethebalance #vivaveital

-Thomas “Tommy-T” Schreiber

Marketing Associate, Veital Designs, LLC.


Veital Designs, Veital, Hiking, Travel, Adventure, Embrace the Balance, Camp multitool, adventure gear, Indiana, Brown County State Park, Cycling, Bikes, Biking, Road Bikes

Man Powered Weekend- Road Vs Mountain

 

4/21/2017 - 4/23/2017

There was a time and a place when I used to blog, circa spring 2013 was my last composer to the world wide web. With the founding of Veital Designs,  Adam and I are looking to get in touch with our English side. This may be tough for two engineers. If anything, it will help us with future writings. We can only hope that in the current state, some type of entertainment comes from this post.

Sidebar: There are many different avenues in which we can steer this blog.  With so much going on it’s not fair to focus on one topic. So, as we get better at this, be on the lookout for different underlying topics. What’s new at Vetial?, Where have we been lately? Are there any insights to rad places we’ve been, that you may want to check out? And finally, a look inside Veital.

Adam and I decided that we need to have another workshop weekend. I have been looking to get into road biking. Lo and behold, Adam had a second rockship that fits me. It was an opportunity to add some more gear to my arsenal and work on the vision we want for Vetial.

 

Saturday morning, after nursing the after effects of adult sodas, we were in route to Brown County State Park, an absolutely beautiful park smack dab in the middle of the ever-flat Indiana. On today’s docket: ride to Bloomington to watch a few laps of the Little 500. While setting up camp, we both commented on the cool April spring weather, grateful that the rain had held off. Getting in the saddle for 4+ hours was not going to be fun whilst soaking wet-and cold.

With camp set up, we embarked on our journey East for my first time visit of Indiana University.  I was excited, and a little nervous for my first road ride. A road bike's frame has a different center of gravity when compared to my mountain bike. This led to a sink or swim attitude. Either get used to it, or get blown off the front by Adam, the seasoned cyclist. With the wind at our backs, we cruised into town. During our consistent cadence up and down the rolling hills we discussed what Veital means to us. A Ted talk recently resurfaced and resonated with me by Simon Sinek called: “Why great leaders inspire action.”  Upon first listening to it back in the days of coolege, I couldn’t gain an appreciation. Having listened to it a few weeks ago, that lack of appreciation about-faced. People buy because of why companies do what they do. This is exactly what we’re trying to do; be a company that’s on a mission and just so happens to sell some stuff. It’s this mindset that I believe will take us to great heights.

Based on this Ted talk, and communicating several iterations both on and off the bikes, we were able to come up with the following:

“Veital is creating a united community of rad people passionate about the outdoors. Midwest-founded, mountain-minded, we are making the most of our time outside work. To be Veital is to embrace the work-life balance: we’ve sore legs, dirty hands and sweat in our eyes. We invite you to join is.”

Simple enough? We sure hope so.

Bloomington was hopping. The rain in the forecast was false and sun peaked out as we pulled up to the race. Interestingly, IU doesn’t like you watching the race unless you pay to get in. We watched a few laps from afar and decided it was best to head out. But before we did, we wanted to stop by a local outdoor shop called JL Waters (http://www.jlwaters.com/). They have been in business since the 70s and are the epitome of an outdoor shop. We love going into stores like this because you know you’ll be getting direct knowledge from the guys and gals who have tested the products themselves. It’s an awesome opportunity for us to ask for feedback. With some good direction documented we got back in the saddle and departed for our campsite.

Ever eat a stromboli from Nick’s English Pub (https://www.nicksenglishhut.com/), sit around for a few hours, then try to bike 25 miles home? Yeah, that was me on the way back. The ride was gorgeous, only caveat was my body’s unwillingness to ride fast. Adam was a real trooper. 50+ miles for the first time on the road bike was tough for me. I did stick with it and never had to put a foot down, even as we climbed the final hills in Brown County State Park. Talk about a mental workout. Man, those hills were crushing.

With legs fried, we made dinner and discussed the agenda for tomorrow. Next on the docket: marketing material and mountain bikes. We put our best ‘Blue Steel’ faces on and took a series of awesome shots. All critical to our brand consistency. Marketing is such an interesting world. A world I never appreciated until we started Vietal Designs.

The trails at Brown County (http://www.browncountymountainbiking.com/index.html) are best in the state. It was fun and challenging ripping through the blues and blacks. Some stretches, however, proved to be right at our limits. Most of the trail called Bobcat was crazy technical switchbacks. We certainly learned by doing.

All in all it was a productive, healthy, weekend. What more could a guy like me ask for. We’re stoked for what’s next. Good things take time. Until then, we’ll keep chipping away.

We’d also like to shout out BGI (Bicycle Garage, Inc.) of Bloomington (http://bikegarage.com/) with hooking Adam up in a time of need. Right as we rolled into Bloomington, the spokes of his rear up pulled through. (not a good thing). Thankfully, the guys at BGI had a spare wheel that got us home, or we may have been stuck in a sticky situation.

PS if you’re ever in the town of Nashville, Indiana, and are looking for a cold drink and good food, check out Quaff ON Brewery (http://quaffon.com/).

PPS if you like to drink beer and consider yourself an athlete, you should check out Gelande Quaffing. No relation to the Quaff On Brewery, but man, would it be cool if they were.

https://gearjunkie.com/gelande-quaffing-championships-jackson

 

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

-Matt 'Matty K' Kownick

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.