Extreme Cammock King: Man Takes Hammocks and Camping to the Extreme

Extreme Cammock King: Man Takes Hammocks and Camping to the Extreme

There’s camping, there’s hammocking, and then there’s cammocking—that is, opting for a hammock while camping. Then, of course, there’s extreme cammocking: suspending a 2,000 square foot hammock of weaved rope over a 400-foot canyon. These woven hammock-like nets are also known as space nets. To Andy Lewis, they’re called thug mansions because, like a 2Pac song, “that’s the only place where thugs get free and you gotta be a G at thug mansion.” And Lewis has every right to call these cammocks “thug mansions”—after all, he invented them. Lewis, known as both “Sketchy Andy” and “Mr. Slackline,” started the unique fringe activity known as “netting.” The “mansions” originally began smaller, starting as backyard hammocks and nets in trees. Lewis describes his invention as a “mix between a treehouse and a spiderweb.” He began with one tree, then two, and has made his way up to weaving nets that span as many as 20 trees. Perfecting this new and unique craft took Lewis about seven years. Since then Lewis has traveled across the world, taking his “thug mansion” to places like Spain, Portugal, and Canada. At one point Lewis took his invention to the Borneo rainforest in Southeast Asia, where he weaved giant rope nets in the trees. “We basically set up the nets like the monkeys set up their nests,” Lewis said. But Lewis didn’t stop with trees; his favorite place to set up the nets, to hang out on “thug mansion,” is Moab, Utah. There, “thug mansion” spans across canyons. Lewis said it’s hard to pinpoint where such a wacky and epic idea came from. He said his...
Travel In the Moment

Travel In the Moment

“Life is about the journey; not the destination.” “If you didn’t post a picture, did it really happen?” These two sayings come into direct conflict with each other. One is a way we try to live our lives, and the other a way that we often find ourselves living. Some people do a very good job of enjoying the journey of life. Celebrity Shia LaBeouf used the social media campaign #TAKEMEANYWHERE to live in the journey and travel the United States with his friends Luke Turner and Nastja Rönkkö as well as any fans dedicated enough to find him. From May 23, 2016 to June 23, 2016, LaBeouf and his colleagues tweeted out their location and invited fans to track them down and take them anywhere. They called this month of hitchhiking the ultimate collaboration. “It’s about trust, and also a journey. I’m more interested in the in-between state than arriving at a destination,” said Rönkkö about the campaign. LaBeouf lived by his hashtag and really let his fans take him anywhere. He started his journey in Boulder, Colorado and spent the month traveling to places all over the country, from Alaska to Pennsylvania. He didn’t care about where he was going, he only cared about the adventures he would have. He ate at famous local restaurants, went go-carting, and made new friends all along the way. “But hey, it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey, that’s Shia’s words, not ours,” said Hank Hansen, a Brigham Young University student who picked up the group in Omaha, Nebraska. But enjoying the journey and living in the moment can...
#Wanderlust

#Wanderlust

After a much-needed nap, I woke up to my husband’s voice saying, “You’re going to wanna see this.” And with heavy eyes, I begrudgingly peeked out my window. To my surprise, outside were vibrant, blissful, cotton-candy skies as the sun rose over Tokyo. As I watched the sun slowly and gracefully illuminate the city, I thought, “This is exactly where I need to be.” I’ve always loved to travel and have always longed to be somewhere I’ve never been before. But, as I braved adulthood, that feeling slowly wilted away. Finally, after seeing countless travel photos on my Pinterest feed, I had an epiphany. Why not travel? After all, nothing can substitute for experience. At first, the sole purpose of my travels was to make memories.   But little did I know, I was going to gain much more than that. Through travel I’ve learned three valuable lessons—the art of letting go, the beauty of simplicity, and most of all, the power of contentment. The art of letting go is a lesson I’ve already learned, but also keep relearning each time I leave the comforts of my apartment in Salt Lake City. And the learning starts as soon as I lock the door. Travel teaches us how to let go by forcing us to leave most of our possessions behind. But I’ve learned not only to let go of possessions but also to let go of pain, worries, and other distractions so that I can fully enjoy each and every moment. One particular memory that has come to mind was when my family and I were in the southern Philippines. I...

The Expanding World of Languages in Slovakia

“I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions,” said Vaclav Havel, a Czech playwright and human rights advocate who became president of Czechoslovakia, replacing the communist government. Despite the power of words in their country, Slovaks were not always able to learn many other languages. As of 25 years ago, they are allowed to learn languages besides their native tongues and Russian. Language learning has soared since 1989, and now children can begin language learning in school as six-year-olds. Andrea Palenikova, a Slovak native, explains the change since the fall of communism. “The transition is always hard. My parents . . . were growing up in communism, and then it just collapsed and they had to really . . . change basically their whole mindset and everything. So, because of that, it is sometimes hard for us younger generations to understand that.” She muses, “I can’t . . . imagine not to be able to have this opportunity, you know, to learn, because I just love it so much.” Palenikova’s enthusiasm for learning other languages started young. At home, she grew up speaking mainly Slovak. However, her paternal grandmother only spoke Hungarian, thus Palenikova was exposed to another language. Listening to accents of family members from near the Polish border and watching a German TV show at a friend’s house further sparked her curiosity with foreign tongues. Palenikova began learning English early, but as she says, “[Slovak children] can even take other languages really early right now, like when they’re...

War No More: Peace Camp in Korea

At this moment another day of shining’s coming to here, it makes me brand-new more and more. At first, I was embarrassed to sing these lyrics; after all, many of the lyrics didn’t make much sense since the song was written by someone whose primary language was Korean, not English. Having the peace for everyone, breaking the wall from old cold war, this is the voice from the peace in my heart. Then, after singing it about twenty times in the span of two days, it actually became fun to increase my enthusiasm and even add dance moves as we sang together and performed for each other during waiting periods or on bus rides. Let’s stop all the fight, let’s stop all the war, for the beautiful world. But that last time we sang it, all holding hands and dancing in a single giant circle, it finally meant something to me. When my cousin Kristalyn proposed that we apply to the Peace Camp—a program offered to descendants of Korean War veterans—I readily agreed. If accepted, participants had the opportunity to go to Korea for a week filled with food, culture, and activities—all funded by the Korean government, save the small price of half a plane ticket. Naturally, we were thrilled when we were both accepted; it was the perfect adventure to follow our freshman year of college. Though both of my grandfathers served in the Korean War, I knew very little about it. I was quite surprised to find about twenty countries represented at the Peace Camp; people from all over the world aided the South Koreans in the war!...

Tales from the Trip: Winter 2015

Rejuvenation “You don’t have to do it!” my mother yelled to me. I stared down at the blue water tugging my ankles toward the cliff, which at that point became a stunning thirty-foot waterfall. A chill vibrated through my entire body, but it wasn’t caused by the cold water. We had hiked ten miles through a red canyon in Arizona to Havasupai , a Native American preserve. We camped under brilliant stars at night and visited astonishing waterfalls during the day. Unsatisfied by those experiences, I still had the urgent desire to jump off this cliff, just as I had seen others do when we first entered the preserve. This desire drove me to this moment, following the cautious steps of my father on the rocky footholds and ignoring my mother’s comment. I did have to do this. The closeness of the edge unsettled me as the water’s roar grew in volume. The sound reminded me of a different cliff jump I had attempted but didn’t accomplish. The wrenching fear in my gut gave way to my resolve. This exhilarating opportunity had to be seized. “Make sure you jump here,” my father reminded me, and a moment later he bounded through the air. I watched frightfully as he plunged into the water and popped back up a few seconds later. Ominous clouds blanketed the sky above, as though gathering to see if I would really do it. Taking a steadying breath and looking straight forward, I realized that if I did not jump now it might not happen. The butterflies in my stomach were becoming too intense, nearly paralyzing...