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Catskill Mountain Mancation

This mancation story was submitted to us by Tim Woods, a Man Tripping reader who wanted to share with us a story about his annual mancation taking place in the Catskill Mountains of New York.


It began as my bachelor party. That was the pilot to the ManWeekend weekend. A time where my friends, a hodgepodge of new and old, could get away from our jobs, retire to the shadows of the Catskill Mountains, and celebrate my forthcoming nuptials. The mountain was a perfect setting, it allowed for minimal consequences from the copious amounts of food and drink, and it was the appropriate place for the raging fire, our Olympic flame, that was lit once we arrived, and extinguished only just before our departure. Afterward, there was a flurry of emails about how great it was, and why can’t we do it again. It seemed reasonable, so a couple of years later, under the guise of another bachelor party weekend, ManWeekend was truly born. The idea was simple enough. Get together once a year. Pick the date, set it in stone.

Now, we are past the five-year mark and the mountain still provides. So far, people are still interested. We’ve had no rain any of any consequence. There have been some evolutions. Golf has given way to airsoft rifles and skeet shooting. Beer bottles have been abandoned for sixtels of microbrew drunk with reusable metal cups (though to be transparent, we still haven’t found a more efficient way to drink George Dickel Whiskey, other than from the bottle). And, everything we eat

goes between hamburger buns or a tortilla. Plates were just too much of a hassle. After every weekend, I am amazed at my own clarity of my mind. Maybe there is some instinctual component of the male psyche that is comforted by the journey into the woods with his comrades. It soothes the mind and provides a sharpness hard to find when dealing with day to day living. I believe a relaxed state of mind lets everyone do his job better. I think this is particularly true when it comes to being a creative field. (I am Senior Creative Director of The Halo Group in Manhattan.) In my own experience, creativity seems to flow over the fire, after a few drinks and a full belly of meat. There may be truth in the idea that not thinking about something is the very best way to come up with a creative idea. I read about how insights are created, and often the brilliant, most groundbreaking ideas are born from not thinking about them at all.

There is the true story of a firefighter, running for his life from wild fire. Knowing that the fire would catch him, he had the astonishing idea of setting fire to an area of grass in front of him. He lay on the ground, breathing the oxygen on the ground, as the wild fire engulfed everything else around him. And he survived. He didn’t know where the idea came from. It struck him. He just was in the moment, reacting to what was going on around him. However it happened, unlocking the logical for the fantastical or disregarding the analytical for the absurd is the genesis of creativity. And it must be fed at least once every year, on the first weekend of May. Tim Woods Mantripper Extraordinaire