Let’s Publish a Children’s Alphabet Book!

It’s a little out of the blue, but in the past couple of months I have started writing content for a children’s alphabet book that I plan to self-publish. Eventually, I want to throw it up on Kickstarter for direct funding, but, for now, I’m just trying to gain a little momentum and visibility to help launch the project.

A little bit about the book: A mother/daughter duo go on a camping trip. Throughout their journey they learn, discover, and find fun in different elements of the trip. Thus, each letter of the alphabet would be represented by different objects/elements from the trip:

A is for Adventure

LoLo and Rain are going on an Adventure!

To discover the world and make memories together.©

Fortunately, Fatherly, in association with the United Nations Foundation, has selected my book project as a finalist for their Fatherly Fund! This means that if my project receives the most votes by 2/15 (by the way, voting is very easy), I will be awarded a $1000 grant to go towards my project.

Here’s how you can help! (steps below)

  1. Visit https://www.fatherly.com/jeremy-chan-1578384635.html
  2. Sign up for Fatherly or sign in with Facebook or Twitter (don’t worry, there’s no spam)
  3. Click to vote for my project
  4. SHARE SHARE SHARE <—- this is the real money maker and how my project will get major visibility

I’m pretty excited about this for a couple of reasons. The first being that this idea, which practically began with me trying to come up with words that rhyme with “adventure,” was even considered and evaluated by a popular network like Fatherly (they’ve got like, 168k followers on Facebook). Second, regardless of whether or not I receive the grant, I’m going forward with the book! I’d love to create something tangible that my daughter can hold in a few months and would be ecstatic to see her face when I tell her that she was my main inspiration for this book.

So, please take a quick minute (literally) to vote for my project and another minute (also, literally) to share with your network and let’s publish this book together!

Let’s Publish a Children’s Alphabet Book!

Why I’ll Never Stop Exploring with The North Face

As I was packing up to leave work Friday afternoon, I grabbed my North Face Recon backpack from the corner and threw in my personal belongings – reading glasses, portfolio, Hydro Flask – along with my work laptop. Suddenly an overwhelming sense of excitement welled up inside me. Maybe it was the anticipation that Friday afternoon brings or maybe because I was watching “Congo” when I wrote this or perhaps The North Face does that good of a job with storytelling, but I felt like I was preparing to head back into the field on some important mission, grabbing nothing but the essentials and hurriedly stuffing them away. When I finished zoning out, backpack zippers in hand, it occurred to me that I’ve now owned this pack for over ten years. Queue the nostalgia…

When I graduated high school, my dad thought it was also time for me to upgrade my backpack. The old, trustworthy JanSport still had some juice left, but my dad and I both felt like it was time for me to adopt a newer, mature companion for my next journey to adulthood. So, we took a trip to REI to purchase my first North Face backpack (and first TNF item for that matter). Combing through the aisles of myriad product and eyeing every hang tag, I couldn’t believe packs could cost that much; this was no longer a $30 trip to Target! Though I was but a naive teenager at the time, I now realize that it was a lesson in investing. Not only did this pack take me through college, it carried me through graduate school, a two year stint in Mammoth Lakes, numerous road trips and day trips, and 10 countries not counting the re-visits (that’s more than one country per year that I’ve owned the pack!) During the summer months, when it wasn’t serving as my book bag or carry-on, it sufficed as a beach bag. For the short getaways, my overnighter. Now, as a responsible adult and family man, it’s my office bag (but still a trustworthy carry-on). And to think, I considered getting something else for work. For shame…

Earlier I said this was my first TNF backpack, but it was also my last. In actuality, I haven’t needed another one. Sure, I’ve purchased a couple of different packs here and there, but they haven’t lasted nor lived up to my expectations set by TNF. However, a couple of years ago I purchased my second TNF pack – the Base Camp duffel. To a good extent, and sometimes to my wife’s discontent, I can be a brand-snob; I really care to buy products from specific companies. Maybe it’s my consumerist habits or that I worked for a company who taught me about proper brand management. In most instances, I simply appreciate quality – and the companies that “get it” and do things right, those that respect and help to progress the industries of which they’re a part. That said, I was very particular and intentional when purchasing this bag, so much so that I had to sell a heap of belongings, including an Ikea futon, at a local swap meet just to make enough money to purchase this specific duffel. And just like my Recon backpack, this bag has carried its weight (pun intended). It’s my go-to when traveling  – locally or internationally, overnight or week-long. Keeping with tradition, it now serves as the family beach bag in-between camping trips. I even convinced my brother to purchase his own, and I’m pretty sure his has been promoted from daily gym bag to Ragnar relay supplies carrier.

I hoped to write this letter in another decade, when 20 years seems more significant than ten, but I felt compelled to share my story and express my affinity for The North Face. I can’t say for certain that I’ll still own these packs by then, though with their track record I wouldn’t be surprised. Besides, all that’s been damaged to my backpack so far are the zipper tabs for the main compartment and the elastic draw chord for the beverage holders. No other rips, holes, or tears.

So, for the loyalty that my backpack (and, as an extension, The North Face) has shown me, I am grateful and hope to return the favor. In 17 or18 years, when my daughter graduates high school (and God willing any other kids we have), I hope to take her to REI to purchase her own TNF backpack. Maybe we’ll do it sooner, maybe not. Either way, I’d like to think that this little trip will act as a rite of passage where I, too, can teach my kids about investment, value, and quality – and to never stop exploring.

Why I’ll Never Stop Exploring with The North Face


“…all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road

She’s sitting by my side, my beautiful sweetheart, her feet propped up on the dash. There’s no need for the air conditioner; with the windows down, a warm breeze is flowing through the cabin, tangling her hair and whisping mine around. A peace fills the car. My left arm is out the window, poised like a spade. As I watch my hand cut through the world as it passes by I imagine this is what flying must feel like, the surroundings becoming more and more blurred as the speedometer creeps up. Suddenly, the light catches my eye, and we turn our attention towards the sun setting along the Pacific – a golden rim of yellows, oranges, and reds. We can taste the glory and smell the light. Salty, but familiar.

The dashboard is covered with maps, notes, and captured memories all of which comprise the inspiration and aspirations for this trip. Routes are marked, destinations are scribbled down, but we’ve no end in site. Our only direction and guide, is North, past the shores of San Diego, beyond the great redwoods of the Sequoia National Forest, and onto the ferry landing of Victoria where we’ll make way towards British Columbia. I hear of a great taco stand in Tofino that is just as good as the surf in the upper Pacific. We make camp beachside, brewing some tea and cooking the steaks that have been marinating since the day before. As the garlic-y herbs fill the air, we relish on the things we’ve seen and the people we’ve met up until that eve; the stories that all those eyes can tell…

The sun sets, and diamonds litter the sky. Our breath is taken away as we gaze upon the vastness of the world beyond us. For a moment, we faint into awe and gratitude, identifying with the smallest of creatures that roam the Earth. Realizing that our adventure has not yet come to a close, even though a destination has been reached, we retire to the camper and prepare for tomorrow, grateful for being alive to have seen all that has and all that will unfold before us.