This is my talk from last night give or take a few grammar issues … audio with slides coming soon!
Ahoy! My name is Geeg Wiles and I am here to talk about him. This is Captain Ahab. He is a 3 foot tall, 40 pound, bright yellow wooden fisherman /aspiring wannabe pirate captain … and this is the story of how he went from common lawn gnome to a motivational traveler.
My friends and I love having conversations with strangers. (20sec) I am not talking about when we were 5, everyone knows the rules about creepy vans and strangers. I mean sometime during our high school career we realized that every friend we ever made was a stranger to us at some point in our lives.
That being said, one hot summer day after completing our first year of college, my friends and I were at a fourth of July cookout (40sec) and met a man that told us a story. A story about a group of guys in the Air Force that on the night before they left port, commandeered a lawn ornament. While they were out on their lengthy tour they took pictures, wrote letters, and plaster it with cargo stickers from their travels. (60sec)When their tour was over they returned the lawn ornament to its home with a huge scrapbook of its world travels. They watched from the bushes to see the smiles from ear to ear as the parents of the lawn ornament realized what had taken place.
So naturally, being college aged kids with a knack for trouble, we were instantly motivated by this story and sought out to commandeer (80secs) a lawn ornament of our ownto take back to college and return it with a scrapbook. We searched and searched for weeks with no luck and just when we were on the brink of giving up on finding the perfect lawn ornament we went flying by the once nameless lawn gnome we have now come to call Captain Ahab.
The Fall came (100sec) and we were back at the Univ. of New England with our new lawn gnome doorstop that had a camera tied around his neck. Anytime people asked what the story was we had them take a picture and we hung it on our wall. As the years past he became more of a social mascot for the school. He was at every event and social gathering (120sec) you could think of and before we knew it, it was the end of our college career, but there was a problem. None of us graduated. I still can’t figure out why…
To celebrate prolonging our time with Captain Ahab we went on a cruise to the Caribbean, because that is what you do when you want to celebrate such a momentous stepping stone in your life, like not graduating from college. (140sec) At this point our love of talking to strangers was becoming fine tuned. We started to realize a byproduct of carrying Captain Ahab around was that he amplifies the characteristics of the people around him. He was the perfect ice breaker for people; they would let down their guard just (160sec) enough to let curiosity get the better of them. This was a key momentin the evolution of Ahab. Instead of us talking to strangers, strangers were now talking to us. Another stepping stone happened on this trip. It was a conversation with a man that went something like this:
Him: So what do you do with these pictures?
Me: Hang them on the wall in my house. (180sec)
Him: So how do I see them?
Me: Umm… you are welcome to visit???
Him: You guys should have a website
Me: You are the smartest man I have ever met!
We built AhabAdventures.com as soon as we got home. From this single adventure we gained two key pieces to any successful idea. (200sec)We had something people were interested in and we had a way to share it. The problem now was that we lost our first piece, our goal. Our goal of Ahab graduating college had failed leaving us with two options; bring him back with one partially finish adventure or give him a new purpose.
(220sec)As you can see we chose the latter of the two and started traveling. He was my excuse to get out and see our country and made it much easier to get friends to come along. Instead of hearing the classic excuses like not having the time, money, or their girlfriend wouldn’t let them. They wanted to take Ahab somewhere. (240sec) That’s what I told myself anyways, do you honestly think if I said, “hey guys do you want to drive 25 hours just to take a picture of me next to this?” they would have said yes, but somehow getting Ahab to have that experience made them forget their excuses.
Ahab transformed from a (260sec) small joke between friends into making friends in every corner for the country. He was a logo you could wear when checking accomplishments off your to do list. Miniatures were created so people could take them on adventures of their own, and we even started collaborating with businesses to come up with unique ways to give back to our fans. (280sec)
The bottom line is that Captain Ahab is an example of why you need to Commandeer Life TM. If a 3 foot tall, 40 pound, bright yellow wooden fisherman /aspiring wannabe pirate captain can do all these things you have no excuse not to. We use him to seize every opportunity we can and make sure each (300sec) experience is worth sharing. USE our experiences to motivate yourself, to research places you may want to go, or if you truly are unable, we invite you to live vicariously through Ahab and his travels.
It doesn’t matter if you are eight or eighty, Find Your Excuse to do the things you want to do. You don’t need to change your whole (320sec) life around to complete goals you have had for a long time. You also don’t need someone like me, or him, to tell you this either, or maybe you do.
Looking back one would not have believed Ahab’s Adventures was laying the foundations for something bigger. From the cross country trips to jumping (340sec) out of planes, from national parks to nights out on the town, from tales around the campfire to talks like this one. Everyone connected to Ahab as a fan, friend, or business fuels Ahab’s Adventures to grow. They become a part of this unique ongoing story.
(360sec) And honestly that is my favorite part. We never know when we’ll meet the next person that helps Ahab’s Adventures evolve, but I look forward to every stranger that becomes MY friend and a fan of Captain Ahab because it was a story from a stranger that started this journey so why not let our story be the start of yours. (380sec)
(TAKE A PICTURE!)