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Exploring New Paths

By Campbell

The past month I have taken a lot of time to explore the state of North Carolina. I have spent lots of time here but mostly at Wrightsville Beach. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have been tying many trout flies, and I decided I wanted to put them to use. For the past month or two, I have looked at the weather in the mountains every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday hoping for the ideal fishing weather on my days off. Finally, the days and weather lined up, and I packed my car with food, camping supplies, fly rods, and my handmade flies. I drove out of Wrightsville Beach at 3:00 am and began my journey. I planned to take one stop, but this didn’t work as expected. I was supposed to arrive in Cherokee at 10:00 am, but unfortunately, after three stops, I arrived at 11:30 am. I drove to a small fly shop and purchased my Cherokee tribal fishing license, which is required for the waters on the reservation. I had never been to the mountains of North Carolina before, but a coworker of mine at the tackle shop in Wilmington gave me some advice on where to go.

I decided to stay in the mountains only for Wednesday and Thursday and drive back Thursday night. My first day of fishing was honestly a sharp learning curve. I hadn’t fished for trout in about ten months and had to take some time to get in the groove of things. After an hour of messing around, honing in my casts, and trying different flies, I caught my first fish. Catching a fish anytime is always rewarding, but this was an incredible feeling. I was in a new place alone and caught a fish on a fly I tied with my own two hands. This made the 7 hours of driving that morning well worth it and energized me. After a few hours of fishing, I caught three more trout and called it a day. I drove for about 30 minutes and found a gorgeous campsite where I spent the night. I quickly fell asleep and woke up early to fish a stream until noon, when I wanted to drive back home. On my second day of fishing, I was making great casts and feeling much more connected to nature. I caught five fish before noon, all on my own flies, and hiked back to the car energized and happy. I drove back to Wrightsville that night and already have plans to explore a different set of mountains this week! Before this year, I never had done much traveling or exploring on my own. This year has been an amazing time for me to grow and become very independent.

A Time for Creative Growth

By Campbell

Here is a picture of my camera setup for surf videography.

The past month has been an excellent time for my creative growth! I have been able to pursue my passions like cinematography and fly tying in between working full time. As I have previously discussed, I have spent a lot of time filming surfing, leading to other opportunities, even shooting videos for brands! I have made many trips to the Outer Banks, South Carolina, and my local beaches when filming. In North Carolina, most of our big swells come with high winds and rain. Being a filmmaker, it’s quite the experience to be standing for hours filming in heavy rain and 30 mph winds in the pursuit of a shot. I keep doing this, though, because I love to have a piece of media that makes me proud and that the surfer will value and cherish. Editing with surfers has helped me with my communication skills a lot. Many are relatively far from me, so we cannot sit down and edit together. Instead, I have to do this over the phone, which can be challenging. I’ve been able to get a good workflow, though, where I can communicate with people all around the world and collaborate on work efficiently and effectively. This is a skill I know I will carry on to whatever job I will have after college, and I am grateful for this.

The second skill I have been honing in has been my fly tying. I have always loved fly fishing because it is a way to connect to nature like nothing else. It is a sport that makes you a part of an ecosystem and requires you to study it and have a deep understanding of everything around you. For example, if you are fishing a piece of water, you have to know how to read the water, where to cast, what to throw, and how to present the fly, and this is all before you even have hooked the fish. Those who want to take things deeper can decide to tie their own flies. I have learned the life cycles and species of many insects in the United States located on trout streams and work to craft patterns just like them. It really is an art form that is hard to master, but I am trying very hard and also touching up on my entomology. Below I attached a picture of one of my favorite flies I have tied. It is called a “Purple Haze” and is a variation of a “Parachute Adams” fly pattern. This is meant to imitate a Mayfly in the Dun stage. This is essentially the young adult stage in terms of its life cycle. I cannot wait to spend some time up in the mountains when the mayflies start hatching, putting these flies to work!

This is the Purple Haze fly I discussed tying above.

Lessons from a Tackle Shop

By Campbell

Since June, I have worked at a tackle shop in Wilmington, North Carolina. I have been working 3540 hours a week since I started in the summer. We have about ten employees at the store, and all get along very well. Coming into a tightknit group is always hard, but I learned to put myself out there and be confident and comfortable early on. This helped me become close with my coworkers, and I use the same attitude to make customers feel satisfied and appreciated. Some frustrating situations with customers are bound to occur in the retail business. I have learned how to be very respectful even when I don’t agree with a situation or if the customer is not giving me the same respect. Customer service translates very well into all aspects of life that involve human interaction. Since I’ve worked there, I have become more aware of the effects I have on people at other stores when I shop. Being a good employee has made me a better shopper and citizen in my community. At some point, everyone should have some retail and customer service experience because it totally changes one’s outlook on the world and situations.

While working at the shop, I have learned a lot about running a small business. My managers have been very helpful in teaching me and explaining different topics to me. They always answer my questions about running the business, and I appreciate it. I don’t plan on having my own small business anytime soon, but understanding the dynamics has helped me have a more profound knowledge of financial and economic topics.

My favorite thing to do at work is to work at the register. I love interacting with so many new people and catching up with good customers. I have met friends, mentors, and everything in between at the register, and I am very grateful for it. I cannot wait to continue working here and meeting new people!

Adopting a New Lens of The World

By Campbell

Over the past few months, I have been working full-time and living in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Before this year, I had never held a full-time job or even a job for more than 10 hours a week. During the end of my senior year at high school, I saw my favorite tackle shop in North Carolina was looking for employees following the retirement of one of their own. At this time, I was still living in California but immediately reached out eagerly, asking for more details. I waited for a few days for a response and finally got one telling me to send my resume to an email address. Having just finished college applications, I already had my resume in pretty good shape and quickly sent it out along with a two-page cover letter. The letter told of my passion and eagerness to learn new things, especially in the fishing world. A few days later, I got a call from one of the managers. We proceeded to do two interviews over the phone, and both went well. As soon as school ended, I flew to North Carolina to do my final interview at the shop and was lucky enough to be hired. Since early June, I have been working at Intracoastal Angler. I have learned more than I ever could imagine about fishing and even more so about the “real world.” Before this year, I lived in Woodside, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Growing up there was very different from most places in the United States, and quite frankly is relatively sheltered. I wanted a challenge and an opportunity to grow as an individual in ways I couldn’t before.

Having been in school since I can remember, I have never had the freedom to venture into the real world by myself. This is why a gap year is a great idea. I get to learn many lessons before going to college and thus will make the most of my time there. The biggest difference I’ve noticed has been my mindset and the way I look at the world. I have been lucky enough to see and interact with all sorts of people through my job. In addition, I have the opportunity to explore my passions, such as fishing, and discover new ones, like photography and videography. I’ve recently begun working on creating a film with local surfers, and I will continue to be posting progress about it here! I’ve been working very hard on my photography skills and have included some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken so far! I have a lot to learn and am very excited to continue to hone my craft.