It all started with a Birthday
Mark is in shape. He’s a fit man who just turned 34. So hiking is, for him, completely expected and normal, and will not leave him huffing on the ground like a sweaty upturned hippo. I am not saying that is what happened to me, but what I am saying is that is what happened to me.
Gabe is…I do not know how old Gabe is. I do not need to know. All I know is Gabe walked with his hands in his pockets the entire time, indicating that he did not need to use them at all due to possessing perfect balance over rocky and uneven forest terrain. I suspect this is also what enables him to levitate over paths like a will-o’-the-wisp.
Aric is a 47-year-old man. Like me. Unlike me, Aric is HWP, has a military background and is trained to withstand a blowtorch firing one inch away from his eyeballs while his flesh melts away from his skull, and you will not hear a peep. I do not think pain is actually allowed to exist in his world.
Joshua Alexander is also a 47-year-old man. He faintly resembles the lumbering woolly mammoths of old. His size is only further augmented by the giant hiker’s pack he mistakenly over-bought, which was slung over his back and over-packed with food, more food, and other things like food, water, and food.
This is a story of how these three men fared on a recent hiking trip, and how it relates to voiceovers. I say three, because one of them died. I won’t say which one because I do not wish to spoil the tale, but it’s the giant mammoth who, though dead, continues to make breathing noises similar to a beluga whale being squeezed through a winepress.
Read on for the grisly account.
I Think I Can I Think I Can I Think I Can What The &#@$ Was I Thinking?!?!
When one hikes, one should plan accordingly. Aside from needing to bring the necessary weapons to fend off wild bears – I am talking about toothpicks and Off! Spray – one should also dress accordingly. One’s boots must fit one’s feet snugly, and provide ample cushion so as to not only provide good traction and comfort whilst trudging through the forest, but also to stomp on the necks of the wild bears that one conquers. One’s coat must be light enough to provide sufficient respiration as one ventures off into the wild, but must also be thick enough to shield one’s precious extremities from the meaty paw swipes of wild bears. And one must never, never forget to wear Spandex around one’s waist, which prevents chafing: a phenomenon which sees the repeated shredding of the inside of one’s nether regions, which produces tasty fleshy aromas that attract wild bears, which one must proceed to stab with toothpicks and stomp on with comfortable boots.
I have learned my lesson and decided that prior to the next hiking trip:
- I will make sure that my feet are properly lubricated. The bottoms of my feet were dry and cracked beforehand, apparently because my feet are transplants from a lizard-snake.
- I will bring sufficient weaponry. This includes a bazooka and a healthy-sized portion of plutonium.
- I will also wear better boots that do not cause my feet to generate blisters the size of Oregon
- I will wear a different coat that will not motivate every single sweat gland on me to produce enough liquids as if to suggest that tomorrow may never come, and
- I will stop talking like a Brit. One must learn one’s lesson, after all. FIDDLESTICKS! There I go again.
At the beginning of the hike, I felt great! I did not feel like I was 47! I in fact felt decades younger, as if I was only 45. My legs worked, my arms worked, I wasn’t sweaty, and I could navigate the Capital State Forest and Mima Falls Loop like a champ. I was keeping up with the 34-year-old birthday boy who wanted nothing more than to hike with some of his friends for his birthday. And given that I was 27,962 years older than him, I patted myself on the back for being able to keep pace, and even sometimes, be in the lead, which I would immediately assume when I was confident that a bear was sneaking up on all of us.
But after a while, I began to chafe. My feet began to cry out in pain. My hair was rain soaked. Perhaps worst of all, I had absolutely zero WIFI. I do not know what T-Mobile thinks they are doing by not conveniently placing cell towers every five feet throughout a forest.
It was grueling and punishing work on the last third of the hike, which was 3-point-something miles. I was hurting badly. I am not kidding, and it is not funny. The only thing more painful was that one time I was forced to listen to Michael Bolton while having my femur bone sawn in two. But I'm sure you feel the same.
I remember being at what I was told was the end of the trail, and the parking lot was “right around the corner, don’t you remember, Josh?”
Yet we did not arrive back to the parking lot until President Biden’s term was up, which has not happened yet. It never…freaking….came. I had more “Oh you gotta be kidding me” moments on that last mile than you could shake a stick at, although that would be highly bizarre behavior given that one does not shake sticks at one's moments, only angry bears and Americans who keep talking like Brits.
A 10-Mile Voiceover Journey
For some of us, hiking in extreme pain and wet rain can seem like our voiceover career. We are tired. We are wet. We are miles from food and heat, and just when it feels like we’ve gone too far, we have to go still further. We are in pain and want to get there. We want to arrive at being cast.
All we can do is stare down at the ground as we feel our upper inner legs rub painfully together, and we have to start waddling like penguins, lest we anger the Chafing Gods with our destructive and sustained rubbing. *pause* I am not entirely sure that voiceovers produce chafing, so please chime in if you've experienced such a phenomenon.
But my feet were in excruciating pain. The dry cracks had by now turned into giant fissures, with tiny little civilizations of demons taking up residence and hurling large amounts of scorching salt everywhere. They would each grab an end of a crack in my foot, and pull in opposite directions with my every step, ripping my flesh away further. At least that’s what it felt like.
As I slowly fell further and further behind, the guys would repeatedly stop, look back and say “Ya ok, Josh?” And I would have to wave them off and assure them that I was fine, and that if they didn’t stop with these “pity pauses” then I would most assuredly bore my toothpick into their temples.
I have been there. I’ve been on that trail where the only thing you can do is:
I’ve been on it where I thought, “Hmm, this might be a nice cozy place to lay down and die.” To give up hope and just find a comfortable bear's den to crawl into.
There are times I've had zero choice but to plod on., though I truly wanted to give up.
But, as you can see from my photos, I did continue. I did make it. I did press on. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, they say, and I believe it. I actually went 25,934 steps, thankyouverymuch, so your math is a little off, O People Who Say Things. I burnt 2,556 calories heaving my vast bulk through that forest, over mountaintops and down through valleys, perfecting the art of sweating so efficiently that you could watch me take one sip of water and see it immediately exit one of my pores, like one of those magic circus scarves.
A week later, and I STILL hurt.
In voiceovers, we market. We network. We audition. We try. We try again. Then we try again. Then we market some more. Then we audition some more. Again.
It never ends, this stubborn VO journey of persistence. We stop, grab some trail mix and water along the way, whether that looks like networking, marketing, reading inspirational materials, connecting with colleagues, or looking back at our previous accomplishments. And then we press on again. Because if we don't, we'll die inside.
I do know this, though: when we finally get cast, we can go 25,934 steps all over again.
Why? Because we did it once, and now we know that we can do it again. We’ve developed endurance, thick skin, stick-to-it-ive-ness, and the willingness to chafe and sweat and bleed.
Stay on that trail. Keep going.
When your feet are bleeding and your groin is chafing enough to feel like you could light a campfire just by sitting on it, keep going. You can make it all the way.
Don't just stare down at your feet as you plod through. Look around you. Take in the beauty of everything growing around you: your progress, the beauty, the connections, the learning, the evolution.
This 10-mile Voiceover Hike is worth it.
Or, ya know, you can do what I did and collapse literally right before I reached my van. You will of course need to purchase a van if you do not have one yet. I humbly suggest a Honda Odyssey: a sturdy vehicle which comes preloaded with the ability to transport large, dead mammoths with cracked feet and chafed thighs.
NOTE: This blog is purely for commentary / educational / entertainment purposes. I make no money from these blogs; though I do not refuse large cash gifts if it means I can pretend I'm a church.
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