Steve Priest is retired, but for him that only means more time to work as a motivational speaker and writer, and to do things outdoors- hike, bike, run, swim, canoe and bang up his nose riding rapids. And that's just in the summer. His latest winter adventure was sleeping in a snow hut (it was 10 degrees outside). Not always such an outdoorsman, the Bedford resident decided to get active when he gained weight after recovering from an injury. He also realized he never wanted to have to say, "I wish I had ..."
Do you mind my asking how old you are?
I'll only say I'm over 50. It doesn't make any difference what age you are - some people in their 20s are couch potatoes and some in the 60s are doing triathlons.
You say you were in bad shape when you started. What did you do to get started?
It's what I tell everyone to do. Get out and walk one telephone pole and go home. The next day walk two and so on. Just get out and start. Don't compete with anybody.
How would you motivate a couch potato?
There's a mantra I always use that comes from Thoreau, who said when he died he didn't want to say, 'I wish I had ...' I also try to get people excited about going out and seeing the wildlife, and to feel the sense of freedom and beauty that being outside gives you.
You once saw wildlife a bit closer than you would have liked ...
There was the time when I was out running and a moose chased me. She was protecting her calf and came after me. It scared the stuffing out of me.
What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you?
When I was whitewater rafting, I flipped over and went over the falls upside down. That was scary. I hit my nose and it took three months to recover, but I did it again. You have to get back on that horse.
You're schooled in wilderness survival. What would you tell people to take on a trek?
Good boots. Compass. Map. Water. Knife. And 30-gallon plastic bags. If you get stuck you can use them for emergency protection against the weather.
What motivates the motivator?
There are three types of people - those who watch things happen, those who make things happen and those who wonder what happened. I want to be a make-things-happen kind of person.
If you're interested in having Steve speak, you can call (603) 471-0605 or visit www.outdoorsteve.com.
This article appears in the October 2008 issue of New Hampshire Magazine