A Misfit Thanksgiving – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #39

by placers on November 22, 2023 in Outside Insights


We’re officially kicking off the 2023 holiday season this week! With that in mind, I wanted to bring you some fun, lighter content to be consumed while recovering from too much tryptophan and your leftover turkey.


Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings and to recognize our abundance and it is my hope that you spend this long weekend with your loved ones, friends and family and with your community. Thanks for being a part of my community, whether that’s through Placers, Outside Insights, Opposite the Crowd or wherever our journeys may have crossed.


This episode of Outside Insights is endearingly named the “Misfit Thanksgiving Special” and features my backpacking group and some of my longest friendships.


What is a Misfit, you might ask? If you ask old Merriram Webster, a misfit is a person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in a conspicuous way, IE) “A motley collection of social misfits”.


My personal group of Misfits has bonded over all things backpacking over the years and, as we get older, are still endeavoring to live life enjoying the outdoors. We tell bad jokes, often, are regular raconteurs on the trail, discussing our successes and setbacks. We even remember to take a selfie or two for our folks back at home.


When dubbing our group the Misfits, little did I know that there is also a common thing called a Misfit Thanksgiving. Started by Nashville musicians who could not travel home for the holidays, Misfits got together with friends in the area, or frankly anyone else who did not have a place to go for the holidays. If you ask me, this concept perfectly lives up to the spirit of Thanksgiving: Spending time appreciating our bounty, breaking bread and being with your community – whoever that community may be.


A Misfit Thanksgiving is inspired by the fact that family can be found anywhere and often has little to do with blood.


My Misfits have regular meetings, training schedules, group by-law and even t-shirts. But at the core, we’re really just a group of men from all walks of life finding common purpose out on the trail – and prioritizing our mental and physical health while we’re out there. Our group mantra has informally become a quote by John Muir, included below. We say it often and we mean it.


“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir


I’m so excited for you to learn more about the Misfits during this episode of Outside Insights – I think everyone can take value away from our discussion. Maybe you’ll even see a little of yourself in one of their stories. During the podcast, I’ll guide the discussion as you hear from Mark, the founder of the Misfits, Jack the retired photographer and resident botanist who can outhike all of us, Chris (the other Chris), our master chef and resident gearhead, and Ray, the guy who never sits down and guarantees us a campfire most of the time.


Some fast facts about the Misfits:


  1. We have 30 plus trips accomplished since 2007 including the White Mountains, John Muir Trail, Mount Rainier, and every backpacking loop you can think of from Georgia to New Hampshire,
  2. We are section hiking the Appalachian Trail although we need to pick up our pace.
  3. We all have a love for gear and it keeps getting lighter. My pack went from 50 pounds to 32 over 30 years!
  4. We met over service, three of us were Rotarians and love the outdoors.
  5. Bourbon is the Misfit Celebration beverage of choice!


And, I’ll leave you with a couple other quotes from John Muir. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one.


Happy Thanksgiving friends, thank you again for being part of my community.


“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” – John Muir


“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”- John Muir



If you enjoyed this, I recommend listening to these past Outside Insights Podcast episodes:

Helping Our Communities Thrive: Zip Code Wilmington. A Sit Down With Desa Burton – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #38

Prioritize Your Passions: Tech Leader to Creative Visionary. A Sit Down With Nick Wilkinson – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #37

A Mission for Money Education. A Sit Down With Mark Olazagasti – Outside Insights Podcast Episode #36.

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