Patria y Placemaking

85for85 Thumbnail - Art by Tyana Arviso

Patria

​​A Story of Heritage, Climbing, and Finding Self

“Bumping!!” I sang, cheerfully, as my left fist locked off, my right hand pulling the trigger to release the piece. The echo rang out from the walls surrounding us. The variability of leaning, jagged, straight, and detached rock did not belie the perfection in symmetry, illustrating the divine geometry that we, the worshippers, came to celebrate.

Here we had solitude. The black streaks in the sandstone didn’t betray us with the sun’s glare; we’d remain hidden in her shadows, scampering around and up and over the blocks around us. Impossibly, we were the only party at this wall today, but that wasn’t a total accident: we’d selected the routes for their shade, their inaccessibility, their remoteness. We liked it like that. The shade protected us as we skipped between climbs, lost children enjoying the abandoned playground.

Here we had camaraderie, but also found our own individual rhythm. Each one, on lead, breathing, plugging gear, pulling rope, swaying into the cadence our chosen climb gifted.

The chalk was pointless, the sandstone offering purchase with her granularity, the countless specs of ancient silica welded together to present this surface here, to me, now. The sweat, in its infinitesimal multitude, was thirsty, chupando with its beads any chance of help it would have given me. Fine, no magnesio. No different than normal.

Who was holding the rope that day — Mader? Johnny? I asked, quietly, facing all of them: “Please, give me the space, the support to go up — but no spray. No beta. I can do this.” They solemnly nodded, totems of the energies I’d harness on the ascent.

One piece in, then two. A few more, and I was on the shelf, splitter now above me, beckoning with open, perfect hands. I visualized the chain of gold I’d weave as I snaked up the corner. Pounding heart was no longer an issue. The beat had fallen away, back where it belonged as the silent bass in the music of my mind.

....That beat was as steady, wild, and varied as the striations of cacao, rust, ochre, and brick that streaked the same rock into which I was folding myself.

Months later, living in the land of my ancestors, I’d recognize that beat. The backbone of son Istmeño, of cumbia, of the drumbeat of the Colorado Plateau, of the plains of Spain, that beat was as steady, wild, and varied as the striations of cacao, rust, ochre, and brick that streaked the same rock into which I was folding myself.

Here I had a home. The chaos of color, the wildness of place, the sanctuary of solitude — it was made for me. This patria respires with the breath of my people past, present, and future. Our joint wildness — of human and of place — had been woven together over time so intrinsically that without the other, each would suffer.

Here, I found myself. At the chains, overwhelmed with gratitude, euphoria, and adrenaline, I heard the howl emerge from my chapped lips before I could stop it. Head thrown back, I called out. My fellow creatures below answered, a chorus of yips, barks, and bellows.

This is our patria. This is our homeland.

In this use, "patria" recognizes the space as familiar, or "known" through ancestral knowledge passed through my paternal lineage. This exploration of identity (through an im/migrant lens) speaks to a metaphorical placemaking rather than a temporal or spatial ownership, and a search for belonging and home in a physical space.

Backstory

Dani Reyes-Acosta, Author

This story was originally published for the limited edition 85 for 85 art activism project raising funds for the Wilderness Society’s lawsuit to defend Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is also the story of my first lead climb — an empowering moment wherein I began to truly own my journey as a climber. This is also a story that touches upon my multiracial heritage, a topic I’ll be exploring in the coming months.

85 for 85, The Project

85for85 is an art activism project whose stories of ancestry, adventure, and conservation share raw experiences of the lands of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Representing writers, photographers, illustrators, and designers scattered around the United States, 85for85 unites creatives who care deeply about the protection of public lands together to make something for good. The book of over 85 collected appreciations, centered on the gems of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, is available for a limited time through November 11, 2018. In its first limited edition run, 85for85 raised (and donated) over $4500 to the Wilderness Society’s efforts to maintain the original Monuments’ 2016 designation boundary.

How I Got Here

How-I-Got-Here-Dani-Reyes-Acosta-Outdoor-Retailer-Magazine-2019-Summer-Featured-Image.jpg

Higher Power

A life of adventure and moments of introspection atop a volcano lay the groundwork for firm that fosters meaningful consumer connections.

"How I Got Here"

¿Subes el volcán sola?!” (“You’re climbing the volcano alone?!”), the Chilean Guardaparques (park rangers) asked me with incredulity as I registered for the climb. “Yes,” I chuckled to myself. “Correct.”

I began the ascent on a perfect bluebird morning. At the summit, though, grey nimbus clouds swirled across a moody sky. A storm was coming. I searched for a sheltered place to get ready for the snowboard descent, red volcanic tuff crunching beneath my boots.

On this day, and on every summit since, I was overcome with a mezcla of gratitude and accomplishment. As I usually do at the top of each peak, I recorded a video for my mother, thanking her for teaching me tenacity and joy in the face of challenge and dedicating my summit to her own struggles and triumphs. 

Reaching the top of this volcano represented a turning point for me. It was the culmination of the past four months of adventure travel through Chile—alone. It also began a new chapter in my life, one grounded in intention and self-determination. x

 Three years prior, I’d relocated from San Diego to Portland for a Nike change marketing gig that would forever inform my work. Ten years ago, in Spain, I began a journey of ancestral travel meant to understand my multiracial heritage. And 20 years back, I moved from Playa del Rey to Fresno, California, beginning the uncomfortable journey of adolescence in a world that seemed to tell me how I should be, what I should do, and where I belonged

I’d navigated myself to the top of this big volcanic cono with chutzpah, my snowboard, and maps from Chilean friends—but I’m not sure I was truly “alone.” My father’s spirit, my mother’s wisdom, and guidance from friends and mentors kept pushing me. The divine hilarity of the Araucaria (monkey puzzle) trees teased me; what else would I find if I kept going up?

On that summit in late 2014, I uncovered aspects of my true self. I realized that my values—family, community, lifelong learning, and the preservation of outdoor places—drove my approach to not just life, but also work. Whether I was adventuring with my nomadic band of climber and skier friends in the Sierra or the Andes, studying sociopolitical movements in Colorado or California, or rekindling the same sense of exploration that spurred my ancestors to travel from Mexico, Spain, and the Philippines to the United States, I found that community always created a container for belonging, purpose, and identity. 

...community always created a container for belonging, purpose, and identity.

Shortly after that climb, I took the leap and founded my own brand strategy consulting firm, Nomad Creativa, to help brands grow, connect, and evolve with initiatives that make a difference in the world. Since graduating from corporate life, I’ve poured my heart and soul into advocating for a new generation of consumers, centering my work on the customer’s perspective to help teams challenge convention and create connection. I’ve used my skills as a strategist, marketer, and connector to rally purpose-driven creatives around getting more people outside for a dose of NatureRx. Most importantly, I’ve realized that my training, hustle, and willingness to venture into the unknown means as much in the backcountry as it does in a brand program’s vision. 

My relationship with the outdoors spans continents and mountain ranges, but one thing will always ring true: Each day I’m outside, my intersectional identity as a multiracial, multilingual, college-educated adventure dirtbag expands. If my role as a brand strategist is to take concept into reality—to create a path forward building on existing content, ideas, and perspectives to make the future we envision concrete—then let’s envision a world in which we want to live, together. Starting here at the Show, let’s figure out how to make that happen.

My relationship with the outdoors spans continents and mountain ranges, but one thing will always ring true: each day I’m outside, my intersectional identity as a multiracial, multilingual, college-educated adventure dirtbag expands."

This article originally appeared in Outdoor Retailer Magazine's Pre-Show Daily for Summer 2019, under "The Pulse: Marketing" column.

Article Backstory

Dani Reyes-Acosta, Author

This 650ish word article was tough to write! I'd been talking about intersectionality in my work (and definitely in my journal), but this was a first for sharing my story in such a public forum. A little meditation, a few hot laps in the backcountry, and some great proofing from a friend helped tremendously.

Jill Sanford, Content Editor

Jill, a dear friend but also a talented journalist, content editor, and copywriter, helped me clean up this piece before submission to The Daily team.
She helped me own my narrative with grammatical devices, skilled proofreading, and a tough but compassionate eye towards excellence.

Splitboarding Mt. Lassen con Encuentro Pieles

Climbing Mt. Lassen with view of Mt. Shasta April 2019 Photo by Dani Reyes-Acosta Thumbnail
EncuentroPieles-Logo-freeride-sudamerica-chile

Subimos el Volcán

Solo Splitboarding Mt. Lassen on a Perfect Spring Day

Recap:

Share

Dani had never before created a narrated outdoor experience 100% in Spanish, her second language—but it came naturally, and allowed her to connect with her South American backcountry ladies' ski community as well as with a notable segment of her bilingual or Spanish-only Instagram following.

Explore

Splitboarding is about community but it's also about knowing one's individual limits—and everything that happens from the minute you hit the trail to the moment you arrive back at home.

Join along for the adventure Dani never expected: a day of learning to own her truth.

Create

This story, while fully narrated and created for a South American audience, also took on an American twist with subtitles and additional commentary on Dani's account. Both stories have their own unique, Geography-specific flair; give them a look and let her know what you think!

People Talk

Hold on, chillax! We’re not trying to sell you on watching Dani’s video. Instead, these quotes from the Encuentro Pieles Instagram page might just convince you to do it anyway.

Grande @notlostjustdiscovering 🙌😘🎉 máxima​
Se ve brutal el volcán. Ese se me quedó pendiente...espero volver y poder subirlo. Gracias por compartirlo!
Me encantó! Gracias @notlostjustdiscovering por compartir!

More About Your Gals

Encuentro Pieles

Encuentros femeninos de splitboard y skitouring de Los Andes ✨Women's backcountry splitboard and ski touring gatherings in the Andes

Dani Reyes-Acosta

Splitboarder, Linguist, Traveler, Community Builder

Two Chicks Travel | Hauling is Our Calling

Dani Reyes-Acosta and Kaya Lindsey Sunset Topout Castleton Tower

Hauling is our Calling

Two Chicks Travel | Climbing Castleton Tower

The Things We Do Best

A few aspects of our experience

Share

Even though they had never climbed together before, Kaya and my diversity of experiences created a fun, irreverant, safe space for them to both be unapologetic climbing dorks—just the way they like it.

Explore

"We go up:" misadventures aside, there is only one outcome when your partner brings fun to the table, no matter what.

Watch as these we navigate gear, guano, and gashes to come out on top after 18 hours of nonsensery.

Create

Kaya and I both love to create. We do it in different ways, but our common love of climbing and adventure let them find common grounds to create a beautiful experience.

People Talk

Hold on, chillax! We’re not trying to sell you on watching Kaya’s video. Instead, here are just a few funny quotes from Kaya’s YouTube channel. that might just convince you to do it anyway.

The ending killed me, I'm crying, I'm gonna use this sentence on all adventures since now 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
Szymon Pomorski
YouTuber
You two chicks are so awesome I can’t stand it. Dani seems super cool and I hope she’s in more of your videos in the future. Congrats on the success of such an awesome adventure ✌🏽😃
@NoProGoPronto
NoProGoPronto
YouTuber
Progress capture pulley... I need one of those for life in general. I need progress.
@CincyPlasmaTech
CincyPlasmaTech
YouTuber

All this awesomeness could be yours to experience if you set up some time to work out a project with Dani (and Kaya?!).

More About Your Gals

Kaya Lindsay

Producer, Director, Project Lead, BAAF, Draw Acquisitions

Dani Reyes-Acosta

Comedian, Snack Aficionado, Builder of this Page (and the rest of this site)