Archives: Podcast

Episode 35 Live from Kentucky: our first type1 meetup (and why we need more!)

I am back in the Northeast after getting a wonderful group together in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky for a free type1 meetup in the great outdoors! One of the best and worst things about this area of Kentucky is the lack of cell service–it was a great chance to just focus on the people and the climbing–but it also allowed me to do a bit of recording, both audio and video. I decided that with the impending transition of my family onto the road in 2016, this would be a great time to get our YouTube channel up and cranking because there is a decidedly visual  element to what we are doing and it will be a great addition to this podcast!
Read more


Episode 34 How climbing saved my life: an interview with Antonio Cardona

Last week I shared a conversation that Stefanie and I had about diversity in the outdoors–here is the interview with Antonio that I mentioned in episode 33 which sparked so much discussion. While this interview is an incredibly powerful account of strength in the face of adversity–it deals with some sobering topics and there is a bit of colorful language. It’s a gritty view of what it means to improve your life, your diabetes diagnosis and your relationships–through adventure. You can also read about this climbing trip to upstate New York in the LivingVertical Blog. This interview is the perfect encapsulation of what Adventure Rx means to me, and I hope that you are moved by the raw honesty that Antonio shares as much as I have been.

Antonio grew up on the streets of Brooklyn and has had an incredible journey that brought him from the military, to gang life, to a diagnosis with type 1 diabetes and most recently to the Gunks where Stefanie and I met him, out climbing with his partner Bruno. We all climbed together and the following day before he headed back down to New York City, we stopped at a local Starbucks for a bit of coffee and a chat in their outdoor seating area–which you will hear in the ambient audio in the interview!

It’s easy to discount the hugeness of the impact that climbing can have in people’s lives. Many perceive it as something which falls between playtime and a death-wish. Antonio’s story is a really powerful example of the ways that lives change as a result of pursuing a closer relationship with the natural world. Certainly I have my own life story, but that is hard to see as significant from a first-person perspective.

A few additional points :

Music for the Adventure Rx podcast was graciously provided by our friends Pattern–I can’t recommend their albums highly enough! If you would like to download their albums and thank them for their contribution to our work click here >> Support Pattern because their music is AMAZING!<<

Support LivingVertical by purchasing one of my photographs:


Love this? Hate it? Let me know in the comments or via email! (steve@livingvertical.org)

LivingVertical thrives because of YOU. I (Steve) personally appreciate the fact that you are part of our growing community of active and adventurous people with diabetes.


Episode 33 Climbing, culture and community: diversity in the outdoors

How important is diversity in the outdoors? Is it more than an “interesting conversation–or is it vital to the future of environmental conservation? Can it change the lives of real people in measurable ways? In early October, Stefanie and I took a trip to climb in the Gunks in upstate New York. It was supposed to be a chance to get away from “work” and just have some fun in outdoors. As you will hear in this episode, we wound up coming across a significant issue that forced me to break out the audio recorder!

I had planned to meet a fellow type 1 climber from New York City named Antonio. We were going to climb together and I had suggested that maybe he and I could shoot an interview. That was the plan going into the weekend. Now, I’ll ruin the surprise and tell you that I did interview Antonio and you’ll get to take in that episode right here–next week–and it’s one you do not want to miss. But here’s where things went off-script…

Stefanie had a really strong reaction to seeing me climbing with two other people who looked like her. Both Antonio and his climbing partner, Bruno, are Latino and for her to feel cultural commonalities in a climbing scenario was both strange and empowering for her. For me, it was empowering because I had the commonality of climbing and diabetes with both of the guys.

Sometimes I think that my ideas of the importance of seeing ourselves represented in the outdoors (as diabetics) is just me being silly. When I saw the impact it had on Stefanie to experience this same concept on a cultural plane, it really reinforced the importance of how we see ourselves and how that shapes the things we do.

In this episode we discuss Stefanie’s reaction as well as her stories of growing up in a Hispanic family and always feeling like adventure and being outdoors was something that “white families did”. I realize that discussing issues of ethnicity and cultural norms can be uncomfortable–but this is an honest conversation that I am glad we had–and are sharing. It’s really easy to overlook the importance of including everyone in the natural world when we assume that access to adventure is as simple as getting in a car and “going for it”.

I’m not sure what the “answer” is here, other than an opportunity to see a different perspective. More people outdoors, invested in the value of the natural world is inevitably better–not just for the individuals who get a better experience of life but for the future of environmental conservation. If people don’t feel connected to the natural world they won’t have a reason to protect and maintain it.

A few additional points :

Music for the Adventure Rx podcast was graciously provided by our friends Pattern–I can’t recommend their albums highly enough! If you would like to download their albums and thank them for their contribution to our work click here >> Support Pattern because their music is AMAZING!<<

Support LivingVertical by purchasing one of my photographs:


Love this? Hate it? Let me know in the comments or via email! (steve@livingvertical.org)

LivingVertical thrives because of YOU. I (Steve) personally appreciate the fact that you are part of our growing community of active and adventurous people with diabetes.


Episode 32 Freediving, dirtbagging and international travel with type 1 diabetes: an interview with Carter Clark

What’s it like being stranded at 13,000 feet with a severe hypoglycemic episode but unable to stop and rest because it’s too cold to sit still without freezing? How about dealing with impassable jungle rivers in Panama or free diving in the Red Sea in Egypt? Ever wondered how easy it is to get insulin and syringes through Indonesian customs? It’s hard enough to travel in the US, to say nothing of international travel with type 1 diabetes!

Ok, many of you probably haven’t had ALL of these questions. But now that you know our guest for episode 32 can speak to all of these issues and much more, don’t you want to take a listen? Carter is one of the most stoked people I have ever spoken to and after finishing this interview I asked her if she’d be willing to be a member of our team here at LivingVertical because…she is everywhere and is always going for it. This conversation continues to inspire me and I hope it will do the same for you.

In this episode we discuss the following:

  • Life in the jungles of Panama with diabetes
  • Long term back country risk management
  • Learning to find your own limits and ask for help
  • What happens when your partners don’t understand how serious your diabetes is
  • What happens when your partners are willing to be vulnerable and take emotional risks
  • A hospital visit in Egypt that gets…exciting.
  • Which country is the “best” in terms of diabetes affordability (hint: it’s not what you’d expect!)

A few additional points :

Music for the Adventure Rx podcast was graciously provided by our friends Pattern–I can’t recommend their albums highly enough! If you would like to download their albums and thank them for their contribution to our work click here >> Support Pattern because their music is AMAZING!<<

Support LivingVertical by purchasing one of my photographs:


Love this? Hate it? Let me know in the comments or via email! (steve@livingvertical.org)

LivingVertical thrives because of YOU. I (Steve) personally appreciate the fact that you are part of our growing community of active and adventurous people with diabetes.


Episode 31 The one where he's finally left his job: and has a (mild) panic attack

In the Episode 30 you heard a frank discussion of finances when the security of employment was almost gone. Now, that bridge has been crossed and on the other side comes a feeling of exposure–questioning the decisions that led us here. Was this a good idea–or the opposite of that? Thankfully, I got some input from someone who’s been there before; Carter Clark (that’s one of her photos above)–and this episode is part one of two. She put my mind at–not ease exactly, but something more tolerable than the panic attack I had been experiencing before we discussed how she has managed to visit more than 23 countries in the last year, enjoying climbing, backpacking and living on a shoestring. Did I mention that she’s had type 1 diabetes since the 90’s and totally could relate to my situation?

I need all the inspiration I can get right now and this conversation hit the nail on the head. It’s so easy to accept the limitations of diabetes–not just the high and low blood sugars–but the knowledge that we are dependent from a social and medical standpoint. It’s a very human need to feel free and when your physiology prevents that you must go to great lengths to regain that feeling.  I am realizing through these conversations that it’s always a struggle to stay moving and to stay present in the moment–not slowing down to let fear overtake the decision making process.

A few of the points that I found to be the most compelling in this discussion:

  • The impact that family and friends support makes on decisions to live adventurously.
  • Taking jobs you may not love to earn freedom down the road.
  • Being scrappy and using techniques like rationing and stockpiling insulin and supplies.
  • Bending the fabric of time through frequent relocation (slightly deep philosophical tangent!)
  • Sacrifices of living “on the go”
  • Establishing an “independent contractor” or entrepreneurial mindset

A few additional points :

Music for the Adventure Rx podcast was graciously provided by our friends Pattern–I can’t recommend their albums highly enough! If you would like to download their albums and thank them for their contribution to our work click here >> Support Pattern because their music is AMAZING!<<

Support LivingVertical by purchasing one of my photographs:


Love this? Hate it? Let me know in the comments or via email! (steve@livingvertical.org)

LivingVertical thrives because of YOU. I (Steve) personally appreciate the fact that you are part of our growing community of active and adventurous people with diabetes. I will be offering diabetes coaching services beginning October 1st–for people who are looking to improve their lifestyle, diabetes control, goal setting and adapt their management to unique, active pursuits. Email me for more info steve@livingvertical.org!


Episode 30 Counting the cost: the dollars and cents of our adventure preparation

You don’t have to look far to discover the romance of adventure. It’s in television commercials, media, social media, food and clothing. Being perfectly honest, it’s part of what has made LivingVertical a success and I am wearing a flannel shirt as I write and record this episode. What’s less available are frank discussions of what is required to go beyond the “flannel” and flim-flam. What sort of preparation and negotiations are required for normal people to create a sustainable adventure-based life on the road? What is the balance between free time and work? Are sponsors the answer? How much do you have to have figured out to make the decision to just go for it?

These are all questions that we discuss in this episode. I am looking forward to sharing the snapshot moments we will experience as we journey–the sunsets, milky way night skies, mountain-scapes, alpenglow and wilderness vistas–but I also want to share the process it takes to get there ahead of time. Part of the value of those “postcard moments” are the sacrifices and choices that are required to get you there. I also want to speak to a comment that I heard so often during Project365 and one I anticipate as this venture progresses: “You are so lucky! I wish I could do that!”

Here’s the thing. I won’t pretend that this comment has no merit. I am lucky. Or fortunate. Privileged. Blessed. Call it what you want–I am constantly thankful for that. On the other hand I also know that the opportunity to take on adventure is meaningless without the will to sacrifice comfort in order to take hold of it. Many people who ‘wish‘ they could live an adventure-based life actually mean that they wish that there was a lower barrier to entry. Others may not have any idea what the barrier to entry is in the first place and assume that they couldn’t make it work. I think that the obstacles are going to be different for each person and each situation–but seeing the problem-solving process at work can begin to break down barriers.

In this episode my wife (Stefanie) and I start discussing some of the tough choices we are making with relationship to finances and family as we take on the transition to life on the road. This is less of a how-to episode, although there will be several of those in the near future, because I hope to be able to expand your view of your possibilities as well as sharing my own story as it unfolds. Adventure preparation is where the next chapter of that story begins.

I mentioned the Red River Gorge Halloween meetup in this episode–which is gathering steam and if you’re able to attend that would be awesome! We have about 15 people right now who are planning on attending and there is room for you too!

If you get value from this podcast, please subscribe and share it with a friend! If you’ve done all that and you’d like to contribute financially, hit our new Support Page!

Music for the Adventure Rx podcast was graciously provided by our friends Pattern–I can’t recommend their albums highly enough! If you would like to download their albums and thank them for their contribution to our work click here >> Support Pattern because their music is AMAZING!<<

Support LivingVertical by purchasing one of my photographs:


Love this? Hate it? Let me know in the comments or via email! (steve@livingvertical.org)

LivingVertical thrives because of YOU. I (Steve) personally appreciate the fact that you are part of our growing community of active and adventurous people with diabetes. I will be offering diabetes coaching services beginning October 1st–for people who are looking to improve their lifestyle, diabetes control, goal setting and adapt their management to unique, active pursuits. Email me for more info steve@livingvertical.org!


Episode 29 Diet, dogma and type 1 diabetes: finding the right approach for YOU

In the last several months I have written a lot about diet and nutrition on the blog. Click here to read about my recent experimentation and discussions. I have always felt like diet is a powerful tool that can give us the upper hand in our battle with diabetes–and honestly I feel the same is true for those who don’t live with it–and there is a lot of conflicting information out there and as a result we are taught to live in fear of our food or completely ignore it. In this episode I share the balance that I’ve found through applying risk management to this conundrum. It “saves my bacon” in the mountains and it keeps me on top of my diabetes when I’m in the frontcountry. Diabetes is risk management; applying a moderate and thoughtful approach gives YOU the tools to manage your risk rather than placing that responsibility on someone else.

Read more


Episode 28 The Adventure Manifesto: examining priorities (especially) when it's uncomfortable

Have you ever thought about what the most important thing is in your life? Is that line of questioning reserved for somber, existential moments that follow some kind of loss or trauma? In this episode I take a moment to reflect on how I developed my value system and why it matters to know what is our priority. Simply put, letting our preferences and our sense of comfort guide us is likely to lead us into half measures and compromise rather than honing our focus so that we can achieve our goals.

Read more


Episode 27 Addressing Medicaid stigma head on: broke, not lazy

This week I wrote this blog in response to this photo.

Rather than repost the entire blog linked above, I’ll just invite you to click it and read.

In this episode:

  • New music for Adventure RX! Support Pattern because their music is AMAZING!
  • A recent hubbub online about medicaid: does broke mean lazy? (hint: it does not)
  • My story: Growing up and learning about how lucky I was when I needed Medicaid as an adult
  • Trying out a shorter, more narrative podcast format (to change things up at times)

Read more