“You gotta brace yourself for a fall,” Nathan Fluellen, my mountain biking guide, said as we drove along a winding two-lane highway just outside of Atlanta. We were on our way to a trail at the upper part of the Chattahoochee river. Nathan was chasing the perfect mountain biking experience. I was just chasing a fun adventure.
“Brace yourself and be careful,” he said. It’s the kind of thing that could have been a throwaway line, but in hindsight feels prophetic and ominous. Hours later — as I was thrown head first off of my bike while flying down a hill — I’d remember that moment.
I’d been to Atlanta before and know it as a beautiful, thriving, multi-cultural place — but until this trip, the rest of Georgia was a bit of a mystery to me. I wasn’t so sure what I’d find outside of the city center, but I expected to be impressed. After spending most of November and December traveling the country looking for adventures, I’ve discovered that our great nation has a whole lot of beauty to offer.
Heading a few hours outside of the ATL — to where city fades and deep, country woods take over — definitely felt out of my comfort zone. Hopping on a bike and tearing down a trail certainly sounds fun, but it’s not something I spend much time doing at home in Los Angeles. Luckily, I knew I was in good hands. My aforementioned guide, Nathan Fluellen, has been all over the globe and he’s always got a mountain bike with him. In fact, “Wordwide Nate” just recently finished filming a travel show in Africa and sure enough, he found a way to get some pedaling in during the shoot.
As we readied our bikes, Nate explained that he’s constantly seeking what he calls a “back pocket adventure.” That’s the kind of adventure where you don’t need to get on a plane or take a week off of work. It’s an adventure that’s right nearby where you live, one that you keep in your back pocket to do when you have a few spare hours and need to reconnect with nature. Something that’s near your city but feels a world away from your personal set of experiences.
According to Nate, it’s these adventures that “give you a zest for life.”