PSA: Spike in Shirtless Hiking Selfies Imminent

This is a public service announcement. Analysts warn that a spike in the number of shirtless hiking selfies posted to my Facebook profile is imminent.

This month, one of my clients hired an in-house marketing professional – and fired me.

Don’t worry! These things happen. I work with startups and startups grow. Eventually, I get replaced. This is a good thing as it means my work for the company has helped them (in at least a small way) to achieve their goals.

Besides, I was busier than I wanted to be anyway. As I wined in October while pondering so many friends’ rush to marriage and marriage-type things, I prefer to set aside Fridays as work optional. Alas, it was Sunday that was work optional through most of 2015. Not anymore.

Flat Iron

Not quite shirtless, but close.

Now, I’ll have more time on my hands to play. But there must be more to life than just play. It can’t be all shirtless hiking selfies.

I’m taking advantage of the loose schedule to formalize a balance about which I first journaled in Yosemite National Park in the first few days of last summer’s Meander.

Four days of work. One day of service. Two days of play.

Four Days of Work

I used to think that hoping to be passionate about one’s work was unrealistic. When people said they didn’t believe in their company’s mission, I thought, Why would you? It’s just a job. The best you can hope for is to be on a great team with a great boss. It doesn’t matter what you build.

Eventually, I realized that I was wrong. There are definitely people out there who are passionate about what they’re building.

I’m passionate about helping others build what they’re passionate about building. I’m passionate about entrepreneurs. (I recently wrote in more depth about this topic for the Phoenix Startup Week blog.)

I love facilitating entrepreneurs’ success in my own small way. I don’t want to start anything. I want to help them start. I don’t care about the product. I care about the people.

One Day of Service

Service has been a big part of my life for years. I’ve been involved in Tempe Leadership since 2012 and with Phoenix Startup Week and the #yesphx movement since last fall. Both these organizations align with my passion – helping others achieve theirs.

I’m not terribly passionate about community gardens or bicycle advocacy or even underprivileged kids. But, in my work with Tempe Leadership, I can help people who are passionate about those causes make a difference.

And Phoenix Startup Week keeps me engaged with the entrepreneurs with whom I most enjoy working.

Aside from adopting my Meandering lifestyle, Tempe Leadership and Phoenix Startup Week are the biggest things to happen to me over the last few years.

That said, in the words of my late-blooming friend Michelle, it’s time to Level Up. That’s why I’ve started down the path of becoming an official advocate of the Humane Society. I’ll focus on agriculture issues, because, ya know, I love animals so much that I don’t eat them.

Few work-life balances allow the flexibility of contributing a full day to service. Instead, folks give financially. I’m grateful to be in position to give time and fill my cup in person.

Two Days of Play

If there’s one thing I’ve mastered in the last three years, it’s play. Over the last three summers, I’ve spent 290 of Arizona’s hottest days playing on the road between Tempe and Seattle. And I’ve sneaked in smaller trips during the cooler months as well.

So many have served me in my Meanders. Opening their homes. Putting me on their rafts. Challenging my stubborn ways.

I do my best to pay it forward by opening my own home to meanderers, hippies, and nomads passing through the desert.

Of course, play isn’t all about giving back. It’s selfish. It’s about getting out into the community, putting in some desert trail miles, and making my first descent into the Grand Canyon later this month.

It’s time to work less and serve and play more! People of Facebook beware. The shirtless hiking selfies are coming.

Superstition Wilderness


  1. Glenna Goldman says

    Are you doing Rim to Rim?

    • Matt Meanders says

      No rim to rim. These old bones are too old and boney for that. We’re just heading down to camp at Bright Angel for New Years Eve.

  2. I’m late to the party as usual. I just saw this. 😉

    Go you! Merry 2016 and all that jazz! I LOVE your new schedule.

    See you on the other side,


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