A Childhood Reunion with Naked Snowshoeing in the Countryside

Feature Image for The Jade Zone Blog Post 'A Childhood Reunion with Naked Snowshoeing'

For those like me who live in the city it can be a total blessing to escape to the countryside every so often. Peaceful, cozy and with a breath of fresh air – there is simply no comparison to city life, which includes much noise and pollution.

Some of my good friends who’ve been in my life since elementary school have chosen rural life over urban life, while others like me have made the choice to live amidst the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Several weeks ago I received – along with another friend who lives in the city – an invitation to a childhood reunion in the countryside. We had never done anything of the sort and many of us had not seen each other in almost a decade. While it does feel like we’d all seen each other as recently as yesterday, as you know life goes by at an extremely fast pace and the ”just yesterday” soon turns into ”years ago”.

At first I was hesitant to confirm my presence. I asked myself what the heck I would do to keep occupied in the countryside? I felt like I would easily get bored.

Especially since at this time of the year there is a very special event happening in my city called Igloofest – which is an outdoor wintertime dance party with killer DJs and ”beatz” that takes place on a 50,000 square foot playground. It attracts thousands of partyers and includes a competition for who is wearing the best one-piece snowsuit. There are tons of ice sculptures, bars and castles, a mega slide, fire pits and many games. For example this year they are hosting the first ever Christmas tree throw, which is suppose to mimic the Scottish caber toss.

For more on the Igloofest please visit their website here: http://igloofest.ca/en/

The great thing about Igloofest is that it happens over four weekends. I had actually attended Igloofest the weekend prior, and I couldn’t wait to return after having a total blast. I felt like leaving the city for the countryside would be taking me away from this party. But since I had gone the weekend prior, and since I knew I would be able to attend again during the last two weekends of Igloofest, I was easily able to get on board for the trip out of town. In all, I would only be missing one weekend at Igloofest out of the four weekends. No big deal, right?

In fact, during my first visit to Igloofest on the first weekend I decided to livestream on Periscope. From this I was able to produce a full thirty minute YouTube video that can be watched here.

I still thought that I might get bored going to the countryside, but felt that it was worth it in order to reunite with old friends. In the end I proved myself wrong. There was nothing boring about the countryside. We ate well, we drank lots of great wine and we were more than merry to find ourselves once again reunited.

The scenery was beautiful and the air was fresh and clean. Those we crossed in the village were friendly and community oriented, which is something that I’m not necessarily use to seeing in the big city. There were no ambulance sirens or car horns in the background when it came time to get some shut-eye. And the house was heated by an old wood stove fireplace, which I find both rustic and romantic. It was simply a very pleasant and relaxing experience.

With that being said, I figure that I should elaborate on some of the highlights of my weekend. To begin with, I was dared to wear a Borat mankini and to run outside into the cold winter night. For those who do not know what a Borat mankini is, here is the photo of me wearing it:

Jade Sambrook wearing a Borat mankini outside in the middle of winter after being dared to do so by childhood friends
Jade Sambrook wearing a Borat mankini outside in the middle of winter after being dared to do so by childhood friends

Everybody knows that Jade Sambrook is a die hard nudist, and somebody thought it would be funny to dare me to wear such a garment. Particularly since it doesn’t cover much to say the least. Naturally I slipped it on without hesitation and promptly headed outside as requested. This provided great entertainment for everybody, including many laughs.

The next highlight of my weekend was a day of downhill sliding. The hill in question had a 20% slope and was over 2 kilometers long. It is by far the most extreme downhill slide I’ve ever done. It definitely brought the child out in me. Sliding downhill like this on a plastic sled was fast, fun and crazy!

Here is a quick video clip showing a short portion of the downhill slide:

The last highlight of my weekend involved typical winter sports that are not always practical to attempt in the city, such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Suffice it to say that I got a healthy dose of exercise and burned off all of the calories from the abundance of food that I consumed over the weekend.

Warning: if you scroll down you will see human buttocks. If you are offended by a simple naked bum, then please refrain from scrolling down, cover your eyes or immediately leave this blog! 

Even better was that I was able to try these sports wearing my Scottish kilt, simply because the weather was so great. It was only minus 5 degree Celcius, which as you may know is abnormally warm for this time of the year.

Jade Sambrook snowshoeing in the countryside wearing a Scottish kilt
Jade Sambrook snowshoeing in the countryside wearing a Scottish kilt

And even better than that was that my friends – who once again know just how much of a die hard nudist I am – dared me to take the kilt off and try snowshoeing in the buff. Of course I did it without hesitation and I can now say that I have a claim to fame. I don’t think that many folks have done this sort of thing before me and I highly doubt many folks will be jumping on the bandwagon after me.

For those who do not believe me, below is what I consider to be a classy picture of me in action – snowshoeing in my birthday suit.

Please be warned however, that if you scroll down you will see human buttocks. If you are offended by a simple naked bum, then please refrain from scrolling down, cover your eyes or immediately leave this blog!

Jade Sambrook snowshoeing in his birthday suit as an extreme sport
Jade Sambrook snowshoeing in his birthday suit as an extreme sport

Many folks may not know that the etymological meaning of the word gym is “naked” – originating from the Greek word ‘gymnos’. In fact, the Greek use to compete in sports wearing nothing but their birthday suit. Now, I’m certain that their sports did not involve winter snow, but I think we can agree that I gave new meaning to the term ‘extreme sport’ – insofar as snowshoeing is concerned.

In the end I’m very happy that I accepted the invitation for a weekend in the countryside. Again, I was able to eat, drink and be merry. I was able to try things that I’ve never tried before (a.k.a snowshoeing in a kilt). And more importantly, I was able to spend valuable time with lifetime childhood friends – some that I had not seen in ages.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit to the countryside. And in the meantime, I’ll be attending Igloofest this weekend and probably the weekend after that. Turns out that it’s a win-win for me afterall, since I got to visit the countryside and I still get to attend Igloofest.

The only question remaining is what I’ll be wearing to Igloofest? A Borat mankini, a kilt, a one-piece snowsuit or my birthday suit with snowshoes?

Held Hostage by Social Media Learning

Blog post feature image by Jade Sambrook for 'Held Hostage by Social Media Learning' on The Jade Zone Blog

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something to my blog. In fact it’s been a while since I’ve posted anywhere – including a video on my YouTube channel or a podcast on my website.

There is a reason for this however. I got side tracked learning about social media, content creation and content marketing. And I’ve discovered that Jade Sambrook is quite passionate about all three of these subjects.

It all began when I started researching how to grow my YouTube audience. Somebody in a YouTube video mentioned a social media management tool by the name of Hootsuite, where you can manage all of your social media profiles from one centralized location. I hurried to give it a try and I have since fallen in love with this tool, to the point that I simply cannot live without it.

Somebody else mentioned that Twitter was a good way to promote your blog posts – and so I started the process of growing my Twitter audience using a service called Social Quant. With their free 14-day trial I went from 572 Twitter followers to over 1100. And it’s still growing to this day!

If you want to generate traffic to your blog posts using Twitter, the more followers that you have the more successful you will be. Obviously promoting your blog posts to zero people is not going to do wonders for you. Simply put, the more Twitter followers that you have, the better.

Here is an example of a tweet promoting one of my blog post’s to my Twitter followers:

I learned of another tool named Commun.it that helps you engage with your Twitter audience. Having followers is one thing, but engaging with them is what will allow you to stand out amidst all of the clutter and noise that is on the Twitter platform. I absolutely love Commun.it and have in fact substantially increased engagement with my Twitter community. This includes getting folks to visit my blogs.

Here is an example of a tweet that I generated using Commun.it:

I also learned that Pinterest is a very powerful search engine and traffic generator for blog posts – if you set things up correctly that is. I therefore set out to improve my Pinterest profile, and more specifically, by using a great tool called Tailwind.

The list goes on and on. From automated tweets using the Buffer tool, to creating beautiful social media content with the Canva or Pikmonkey tools, I’ve learned a ton about social media, content creation and content marketing.

It can however get quite overwhelming at times. There are simply so many tools and services that it becomes difficult to choose which one to use. Of course they’re not all free, and if one were to use them all one might quickly go bankrupt.

I will definitely be writing an in-depth blog post on this subject in the near future. And I will list all of the tools that I’ve learned about including those that I’m simply unable to live without.

But for today, I just wanted to mention why I’ve not posted to my blog in a while. Lets just say that I was away learning how to become an expert with social media, content creation and content marketing. Indeed it can be said that I was attending Social Media University, or that social media was holding me hostage. Regardless, it was definitely for a good cause.

Now, I’m no expert yet – as like I had mentioned earlier –  it can be quite overwhelming at times. Actually overwhelming might be an understatement. Furthermore, social media is something that is always evolving to the point that you have to stay on your toes if you don’t want to be left behind and in the dark.

One thing I’ve learned is how important it is to be consistent when it comes to creating content. Whether it’s a vlog on YouTube, a podcast or a blog post, it’s very important to consistently be producing quality content that is of value to your audience. Clearly I have failed when it comes to consistency. It’s just a fact that I’ve always been sporadic with my podcasting, vlogging or posting to any of my blogs.

Jade Sambrook in his home social media studio
Jade Sambrook in his home “social media studio” where his blog posts, podcast episodes and YouTube vlogs are produced

I’ve also failed in terms of offering content of value. Now obviously personal lifestyle blogs like this one are quite a bit different compared to knowledge based, niche based or tutorial based blogs. With the latter you are blogging about a particular subject that is usually providing answers to people who need a problem solved. Whereas with a personal lifestyle blog you are most likely blogging about various “whatever” topics, and so it becomes more a question of entertainment as opposed to a question of value. This does not mean however that entertainment cannot be valuable – because it definitely is! Or else nobody would be following and reading personal lifestyle blogs. Personally though, I simply want to do my best to offer content that is valuable and that will keep my audience coming back for more.

For example, I have another blog that is about my nudist lifestyle called The Naked Jade. And although it is a personal lifestyle blog like this one, it is a little more niche based in that it deals with a very specific subject. In fact, I seem to have more success with that blog compared to this one. Maybe it’s because of the nudity, but I like to think that it’s because it deals with a specific subject that is somehow offering value to my audience.

In the end I guess it’s really a question of personal brand, although I must admit that I do not yet fully comprehend that concept. What does a personal brand mean exactly? Do you consider yourself to be a personal brand? If so, what key words would you say identify your personal brand? I’m really curious about this, so please feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Now like I was saying, I want to be more consistent. It’s actually one of my main resolutions for the new year. In other words I want to keep a schedule, like for example, posting to my blog every single Saturday. And yes there are tools to help stay disciplined towards such goals. I know, so many tools, right?

Considering what I’ve learned, and considering all of the social media tools at my disposal, there is simply no excuse for me not to be creating and posting content consistently. With that being said, it’s time for me to start working on my next blog post!