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, 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.


Veital Designs, Veital, Adventure, Winter Park Colorado, Colorado, Skiiing, Mountains, My Tiny Atlas, Travel Young

Anvil does Winter Park, CO

3/16/2017 - 3/21/2017

Although we are only a few months in I have filled, for what in years past would be, an entire year's quota for travel. I wrapped up 2016, and subsequently brought in 2017, with a trip to Tazania to visit my sister, Madi (IG: @coolbeanmadi), who has been studying and working in East Africa for just under a year. A few weeks after getting home from that trip, I hopped on a plane for a quick three day trip to Naples, FL for some late Winter sunshine therapy. While there, we stayed with a friends grandma, and although we may have brought the average age down significantly - the old folks brought the party.

That leads me to the next trip which, was very shortly thereafter the trip to Florida. The plan was to regroup with seven of my college amigos for another long weekend of skiing, snowboarding and general mountain Tom-Foolery. Unfortunately, we were not able to reunite the entire band, but we were able to find a group of four to tackle the Rockies.

The crew was rendezvousing from all over the country. We had John (IG: @theronjoberts) coming from Houston, Andrew (IG: @aschuch6) lugging camera gear all the way from Pheonix, Nathan (IG: @n8_schwenk) flying in from Knoxville, and myself from Indianapolis. The four of us had met at Purdue, all graduating between 2014-2015, and were trying our best to make a habit of this yearly trip. We had a group of eight last year in Park City, and if this participation trend continues, losing half the team each year, this is going to be a short lived tradition. Despite the decline in numbers, there was absolutely no decline in stoke for the getaway.

After having grown my hair out quite nicely over the six to eight months prior to the trip, I wanted to make a little noise upon my arrival in CO. The plan: a mullet. Flying out on a Thursday around lunch, I worked the first part of the day from home. This led perfectly into me getting the cut just before heading out to the airport, which is exactly what I did. Desean, at my local Great Clips, cut the quaff to perfection (after I pulled up several pictures to illustrate what a mullet actually was), and I left the joint feeling unstoppable. I immediately maxed the speakers in the car playing the Top Gun soundtrack and jet off to the airport. I caught my Southwest flight (because who else lets you fly a snowboard bag for free), and was on my way to Denver.

I was set to arrive a few hours before the other guys, and had scheduled a van into the mountains. The host of the Airbnb, suggested Home James (www.homejamestransportation.com) for our transportation needs, which certainly did not let us down. I sat outside the terminal on the sidewalk waiting for my ride in 75 degree weather... This was certainly not what I expected for a ski trip.

I get to the Airbnb, which I did not realize until I arrived, was in the Founder's Pointe Resort. The accommodations were very nice, we had a hot tub (which is absolutely essential) and were a short walk to the lifts. After settling dropping my gear off in the room, a bit famished, I set off into town to find food and a cold one. I hopped on the resort shuttle that met just outside of the Mountain Lodge at Fraser's Point, aka right across the road.

The shuttle driver recommended The Peak, and really did not give me much choice as he dropped me off at the front door. Feeling a bit defiant, and adventurous, I did not head his recommendation and walked to the next closest place - Randi's Irish Pub (https://randiswinterpark.com/). I was greeted by a friendly bar tender as I bellied up to the bar solo, still waiting on the amigos to arrive. I got myself a green brew, this was the day before St. Patty's, and a stew. The beer, stew and company that I was in, were superb. As I was eating I started chatting with the absolutely RAD, Maria (IG:_mfgv). Home girl had just gotten off the Appalachian Trail and was gearing up for the PCT in a month. Keep up with her and her travels via Instagram. When the dudes finally arrived, an hour or so later, we greeted each other with the typical bro hugs and catch-up pleasantries. We caught a couple more brews and ventured back to the condo... we had a couple big days ahead of us.

As I mentioned before, the weather in Winter Park was especially warm. We were seeing 50+ on the mountain, which made for very comfortable temperatures, but relatively sticky snow. That being said, the first day on the mountain was the coldest and had the best snow. They had opened the bowl at the top of the Panoramic Express lift up for the first time in over a week so, per the advice of a local, that is where we headed. We were all knocking off the rust of not having ridden in a bit and took our time hitting things too hard, at least the other guys were. I on the other hand bombed a couple runs, sent it down Forget-Me-Not into the trees, overcooked a corner, and went down hard on my left wrist. Mind you, this was before lunch, on DAY 1, I am such an idiot. The rest of the day went on as planned, sort of. I spent lunch with ski patrol, who told me definitely don’t continue to snowboard, got a wire mesh brace from them, and immediately returned to do what they said not to.

That afternoon we took the same shuttle back into Fraser to the Safeway to get groceries for dinner. We whipped up an unbelievable amount of spaghetti, wolfed it down, and then, since it was St. Patty’s, returned to our local watering hole, Randi’s. We soaked in some live music, green beer and a bit of Jameson and ventured home exhausted from the day.

Day 2 was pretty well a repeat of day 1, minus anyone getting injured. Since we had groceries we were able to pack our lunch, and with the weather being as nice as it was - caught some sun as we ate outside at Lunch Rock, mid way up the mountain.

Day 3 was more of the same, with the introduction of a lot more drone flying from Schuch. The last few years the dude has slapped together awesome recap videos for us. I typically find myself binge watching the 3:30 minute video for a decent time after each trip. Link for this year’s video is below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ztLlzfe2Ec

Day 4 meant traveling back to real life. I caught lunch and a few beers at the airport before my flight left, direct to Indy (bless up). I strategically sat myself next to the cutest girl I saw with an open seat next to her, thanks Southwest, for the flight. Maddie, from IU, was heading home from Salt Lake after some absolutely bad assery of mountain biking and skiing. Biggest mistake of the trip - not getting her number. So if there is any chance she is reading this, or anyone knows who she is GIVE HER MY NUMBER (317) 997-5157.

Overall the trip was, of course, awesome. Stoked for next year!

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Adam "Anvil" Taylor

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.


yellowwood, Veital Designs, Veital, Adventure, hiking, travel, everyday carry, Step Outside, Wander, minimalist gear,

It's Pronounced Vital (/ˈvīdl/)

3/27/2017

Both fresh out of school, Matt and I were adjusting to the real world and the unfamiliarity that came with living in a new city. We hadn't know each other before moving to Milwaukee, where we hired onto the same development program. The whole process of how we came to live together felt very 'college.' HR sent a generic email introducing us and I immediately took to social media to find out about this guy. First impressions were good. He seemed active and appeared to be a good water skier. I dug deeper and found the proof that we'd work living together. There the dude was, probably shirtless, holding his jumpers in one hand and a can of Busch Light, 'Blue Smoothies' as I later learned them to be named, in the other. It takes a special individual to imbibe in such a beer, and I can get onboard with a dude like that.

After getting into the swing of things at our first ‘real-life’ jobs, we found that it was easy to let work begin to takeover our lives. Both Matt and I stressed very heavily the work-life balance, ensuring we kept time for ourselves and our countless hobbies. Whether Matt was fitting in a morning ski set before work, or I was fitting in a sunset-lit long ride after leaving, we did not restrict our hobbies to the weekend. To be clear, we worked very hard, and continue to, but we never let the work all-consume us. Not only did we milk our evenings during the week, we got the absolute most out of our weekends. By Monday at lunch, you could bet, we're already scheming about what lied ahead come Friday. As this trend continued, riding the weekend high as long as we could then to re-up on the good stuff come Friday, it began to wear on us. There had to be another way to for this real life stuff to work.

Taking matters into our own hands, Matt and I started Veital Designs late in 2016. Our goal: to facilitate the balance between work and play through our multi-functional products. We believe that gear should be just as at home in the office as in the forest. We understand that without the outdoors to escape to, we have no reason for business. Because of this, we are committed to ensuring our products are manufactured using sustainable practices. We source all our raw materials from the Midwest. This not only cuts down on the environmental impact of long transit, but it also helps to enrich our local communities.

The company name Veital Designs, comes from the lifestyle that Matt and I live. To be Veital is to be “full of life and vigor.”. We bring this vitality to everything we do, work, sport, our families. We are stoked at your interest in our mission, and invite you to join us. Viva Veital!

#embracethebalance | #vivaveital

Adam "Anvil" Taylor

Co-Founder, Veital Designs, LLC.