A little more about me ......
Hi, I'm Darren and I live at the Central New Jersey Shore in Ocean County. When I'm not working, I'm usually out kayaking on some local waterway such as the Metedeconk River or the Barnegat Bay. Some of my favorite places to paddle are in the ocean at Bay Head or Mantoloking, the Great Bay at Tuckerton or the Mullica River. Once a year, I usually escape NJ and paddle the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I can typically paddle all day and love taking friends out on paddling excursions. Although I love my local waterways, I've also paddled some exotic and tropical waterways such as those around the islands of the Eastern and Western Caribbean, Hawaii. and the Bahamas.
I also enjoy whitewater rafting and in the Eastern United States have rafted the Cheat, Upper and Lower Yough, Lehigh, Big Sandy, and the Upper Hudson. In 1995 I headed out West and rafted Hell's Canyon of the Snake River in Idaho on a 3 day expedition. This was a true expedition of SynchronicitY.
I really can't imagine living more than a few miles from the sea. I love Nature, but especially water (Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, Streams and Ponds...you get the picture). Just sitting in my kayak and looking out at the vast blue ocean calms me after a stressful day. Soaking up the rays of the sun and the ocean breeze, absorbing the sound of the surf and the smell of the salt air add to the feeling of tranquility. Life seems so simple when you are staring out at the Great Atlantic, or better yet, floating out in the middle of it in your kayak. More on my passion for paddling can be found on my Tao of Paddling page. Aside from paddling, I stay physically active and keep my body healthy by lifting weights, rollerblading and biking.
I don't consider myself religious, but I do make time to nurture my spirituality and try to Live Mindfully. I believe we're all connected to a spiritual source. Call the source whatever you like but it doesn't need to be seen, proved or debated. I believe there are many spiritual paths to the same destination. Just choose a path, follow it diligently and hold steadfast in your faith. We are all spirits, finding our way in a material world. Whenever someone asks me where I go to church, I tell them the ocean, bays and rivers are my church. I believe fellowship is important. It's always nice to be around like minded people, so I practice and share my spirituality in the great outdoors when I paddle with people who appreciate nature and those who have a zest and passion for living life to the fullest.
I believe we should treat all people with respect and try to understand those who are different than ourselves. Understanding breeds compassion and peace. I am a proponent of peace. We need more of it in this world .... and it begins in our heart. I believe those who are fortunate in this life should assist those who aren't in whatever ways they can.
I respect the earth and life. The Earth is Mother Nature's playground. We play in it and live on it, so we all share the responsibility of taking care of it as best we can. It's a pretty simple concept. I think it's important to be aware that many of our actions can sometimes affect others. Our actions also can sometimes have societal and global consequences, so we need to be responsible. Give a hoot .... don't pollute. Conserving natural resources, recycling and not littering are great ways to start giving back to the Earth for all it has given us.
My cerebral interests include reading and writing and I have an intense passion for music. My musical tastes are diverse as my CD collection consists of an eclectic collection of classic and progressive rock & roll, blues, R&B, jazz, classical, new age, world music and even some gospel. Lately, I'm even acquiring a taste for some country music. I like watching good movies but try not to watch too much television as it's mostly toxic mind pollution (with the exception of Discovery Channel, PBS and of course, South Park).
I respect anything creative and the creative process. What I listen to, what I read, what I watch or what activities I take part in, obviously are very mood dependent. I also feel it's important to regulate with great discretion what we entertain and indulge our senses in. What we absorb through our senses can be a medicine or a toxin to our mind, body and spirit so we should be aware of what our own personal inspirations and toxins are. It's like the old saying goes, "Garbage In=Garbage Out". To share my inspirations and some disappointments, I've written a number of book, music and movie reviews for Amazon.com.
Beyond my homeland by the sea, I like to escape and venture into the cities. I live relatively close to New York City, Philadelphia and Atlantic City and also love traveling to new cities. I enjoy the culture of the city but it's always nice to return to the solitude of the shore. I also escape regularly to my retreat on the Gulf coast of Florida.
Atlantic City is my favorite playground lately. On any given weekend, it's not hard to find good music there. AC hosts major headlining acts every weekend in addition to great local music. Some venues are small and intimate while others are much larger. I've caught some great shows there such as Rolling Stones, Sting, Ray Charles, BB King, Keb Mo, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy and Marc Broussard. Laughter is good medicine for the soul and Atlantic City also has some great comedy clubs. I work too hard to throw my money away gambling, but sometimes, when I'm feeling lucky, I like to shoot craps. Walking on the world famous boardwalk on a hot summer night, downing some Guinness at the Irish Pub or a pitcher of frozen margaritas at Los Amigo's are typically on my AC agenda.
A very important aspect of my life is balance. Life is full of paradox , duality and polarity. The key to experiencing the richness of life involves being fully aware and accepting of this full range of human experience. Balancing these is also the key to optimum health and longevity. Although I'm a bit of a thrill seeker who enjoys the excitement of adrenaline pumping activities, I also appreciate the tranquility, simplicity and serenity that life offers.
"Life is a River and wisdom is knowing when to paddle and when to float" from Darren's Tao of Paddling