It was April 12th 2015, I was randomly exploring Instagram pictures when I came across a picture of a guy that just went through a Puja ceremony in Nepal. Naturally I was intrigued in this picture and decided to view more pictures from this profile. Now it’s worth noting that over the past couple months I had been planning a trip to Nepal and neighbouring regions. My first thought was “This guy was doing the Everest climb! Who’s this Dan Fredinburg dude?”.
I started scrolling through all his pictures and I was just captivated. Everest 2014, Everest 2015, playing with his husky, yoga flows in the Maldives, spearfishing in La Jolla etc. This guy has been living my dream life. So I googled Dan Fredinburg and his twitter caption stated “Adventurer, Inventor, and Energetic Engineer @ Google”. This was when things were getting really exciting for me. My first thought was “wait…so you can actually have desk job AND have this double life of adventure??” All this time I’ve been thinking that I would have to abandon my current job and become a mountaineer or a travel guide to live such an amazing life but clearly not!
The following Wednesday I was sitting next to my coworker and I lean over and say “I found the man of my dreams, the man who’s living the life I’ve been aspiring to live this whole time”. We start looking him up together and everything we uncover about him kept getting better – earned advanced degrees from Stanford and Berkeley, dated a famous actress, was a creative engineer at Google, has travelled to some of the most beautiful parts of the world – Simply put, he was a total stud.
I started following his Everest adventures on Instagram – checking his daily posts and rooting for him in my mind:
“2015 Everest Expedition fully underway. Gear is ready. I am ready. Now spending some time thinking about how this year’s climb can be as impactful as possible! #Everest”
“Day 9: Push up into the valley. On our way to visit Lama Geshe to get blessed for our journey. #Everest”
“Day 15: Temp in tent is -12C tonight. Temp in tent during day spiked to +46C! This is really confusing… #Everest2015”
Following his progress intensified the urge to pursue adventures of my own over there – The following week I was doing research on mountaineering expeditions, notable hikes and places to see in Nepal and started laying out my plans…and then the morning arrived. Nepal was hit with a catastrophic earthquake, which killed 8,000 people and injured nearly twice as many.
Moments after hearing the news I checked my Instagram feed and found the following:
Dan Fredinburg, at the age of 33, had passed away.
That was the end of it…just like that. The one individual on this planet that I had grown to get so attached to without even actually knowing in person had passed. The whole week prior I was telling myself that I would reach out and meet with him in San Francisco to interview him – get a better understanding of how he had successfully managed to live such a balanced and thrilling life. To get inspired. To get to know him in person. But that was no longer an option.
I messaged my coworker and broke the news to her and right away she realized that this got to me. I have never been one to care for any celebrity’s personal life. I have enjoyed and respected their art and work but have never been affected by them on a personal or emotional level; this was different. This guy I can actually relate to, his lifestyle wasn’t so distantly unattainable.
What made this loss so impactful though was what he represented – To live a life that was worth living every moment of his existence, a life of adventure. He demonstrated that you could succeed academically, score an awesome career that allows you to grow and develop your creativity, and take risks in your life doing the things you love while exploring different corners of the earth. My favorite quote resonates in this situation “We avoid risks in life…so we can make it safely to death” – would you rather take the risk of living a short but ever-fulfilling life or would you rather play it safe and wither away over time?
It was a devastating disaster that occurred in Nepal. Many have passed, got injured, or got their homes ruined; but regardless of the catastrophe, it is always heart-breaking to encounter an individual that strove to make the most of the days they had on this planet, that was brimming with life and working for a good cause, only to have his own life taken away knowing that he had many years left to potentially accomplish great things.
This is a reminder to us all that life is short. Whether we live 30, 60, or hundreds of years, we are merely blips in history. Make the best of the time you have in this lifetime. Hug the ones you love, make peace with the ones you don’t, and grab that bucket list and start checking items off.
Stay wild and free my friends.
In honor of Dan Fredinburg @ www.livedan.com
Support his causes @ www.savetheice.org and
Help the people of Nepal @ www.dzi.org