Scott Heller Interview

What do you like about GayOutdoors?

For me, GO serves as a positive catalyst to connect like-minded guys through sports. Though hardly a jock when growing up, I’ve been involved in the gay sports scene for many years and have been active with Front Runners, several gay skiing, gay masters swimming and gay cycling clubs in NYC, LA and the UK and have competed in swimming, cycling and triathlons at Gay Games II and III. Pre-internet era gay sports clubs like Sundance, Diff’rent Spokes and IGLOO, though now gone, all paved the way for Gay Outdoors!

Some of my best friendships have been made while training for or competing in an event and GO serves as a platform for creating that kind of camaraderie among men. I think it is healthy and important for guys to be able to create and nurture relationships with each other that are not primarily focused on sex. Sports in general is a great way to connect with guys and learn a lot about yourself & others, stretch one’s abilities and surpass self-imposed limitations by setting goals. And of course, it is much more fun to hang out with active, sweaty guys than with couch potatoes!

The gay sports community has been very good to me – I met my Husband of 24 years while training for a Triathlon in Vermont and I’m a big believer in Karma – so in many ways my involvement with GO is about participating in and paying back to a community that has provided me with a wealth of positive friendships and experiences!

Over the years I have come to understand that the ability to create and sustain joy for myself through physical movement (whether it be sports, yoga, dance or otherwise) and to be able to share that joy with others is a central part of my being. It gets me out of my head and into my body - and into the present moment. In a very big way, this is what “recreation” is all about…to have the opportunity to re-create ourselves, to discover what makes us happy inside and to intentionally nurture that which is our essence. It is a direct result of this insight that the Men’s Massage, Yoga, Tantra and other Workshops we coordinate at Frog Meadow (the Men’s B&B and Retreat Center that I run with my Husband Dave) incorporate a daily “morning movement” ritual to get guys out of their heads and into a joyful, open mindset as part of their retreat experience. You should never underestimate the power of joy and pleasure to create the optimal environment to open your mind for new experiences in particular - and learning in general.

 What is your favorite place that you have been to on the planet?

The Puna Coast of Hawaii because of the laid back atmosphere, the endless activity options (and the great local fruit and seafood)...excellent oceanside hiking along lava flows, superb road biking along the old "Red Road", snorkeling with the sea turtles and spinner dolphins at black sand beaches and mountain hiking at Volcanoes Park at 6,000 feet to name a few.

You're most likely to plan an outdoor excursion around what type of activity?

Getting together around a handful of other buds to have some fun doing an activity we enjoy together, usually an impromptu road or mountain bike, XC ski, hike or open water swim. Making new friends in the process becomes the icing on the cake!

Do you shoot pictures with a digital or film camera?

Digital only, usually "point-and-shoot". In the process of selling off many film-based SLR cameras to fund the purchase of an SLR digital.

When you have a long weekend where would you typically go?

Truro (Cape Cod) Massachusetts where my husband Dave and I renovated a 185-year old farmhouse that backs on the Pamet River, is walking distance to the ocean and an excellent nude beach. It is our instant escape and we jokingly refer to it as “Frog Meadow del Mar”! We try to get there every couple of months to decompress, hike, kayak, and ride our bikes and of course eat many lobsters, clams and oysters. 

Do you prefer to save up for one big yearly trip, or take multiple shorter trips?

Too limiting a question! We take multiple short trips AND usually a big trip to somplace special eacy year, like Hawaii.

What's your dream destination?

Toughie that one! Vermont in the summer without work responsibilities would be the ultimate fantasy, just too darn far from the ocean to fulfill the ultimate dream/fantasy. Perhaps if New Hampshire were to cleave itself off from North America, the Connecticut River Valley would be oceanfront. Now THAT, Vermont-by-the-sea, would be my dream destination!

When travelling, do you choose your destination more for cultural discovery or to enjoy your favorite outdoor pursuit?

I always have at least one or two outdoor activities planned that drive my travel plans. Gotta stay active!

Where do you plan to travel next year?

A cycling trip in Napa, CA and certainly a few trips to Cape Cod are in the offing. Road biking through the Eastern Townships of Quebec Province is something we’ve wanted to do for several years, a relatively short drive for me, and you feel – between the topography, culture, food and language - as if you have been transported to France!

What is your favorite type of lodging?

We almost always rent a house with an outdoor shower and a yard that allows us to run around naked. Also it is a priority for us to have a good kitchen to work in when we travel as we mostly eat in, since Husband Dave – in addition to being a massage therapist and an ex- personal trainer, and ex pro-mountain biker - is an ex-chef.

When making travel decisions, how important are environmental concerns? If very important, what are your standards?

It is very important. We live our whole life trying to be as low impact as possible and travel is no different!

What do you do to enhance your outdoor fitness?

I'm kinda routine-driven (typical Taurus!) when it comes to working out, it helps me stick to it. I do a 60-75 minute core workout with a stretching ball most mornings that includes elements of pilates, gymnastics and yoga for strength, acuity, flexibility and balance. This time of year I’ve been swimming in our pond approximately 2,000-2,500 yards 3 days out of 4 and supplementing it with cycling as time permits. Comes winter, Dave & I get in as much X-C skiing as possible, even if it only for an hour or so.

Eating right (moderate carb, low fat, high protein) whenever reasonably possible and being sure to schedule a rest/recovery day into my week are the pieces of the puzzle I try to adhere to that benefit my overall fitness.

What is the most significant gear invention?

Granny gear of course! Seriously, it would be the Camelback-style hydration packs.

Your indispensable travel tip is...

ALWAYS get sufficient rest and ALWAYS have a "Plan B' ~ - and ALWAYS have fun!

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Hiking, backpacking, camping or vacation adventures, GayOutdoors [GO] has been the LGBTQ outdoorzy community leader for the last 22 years. We are an informal group of diverse hiking enthusiasts in the United States with a shared love of the mountains who prefer hiking with friends. We invite you to join us on our hikes, to post hikes for other members to join you and to share your hiking photos, stories and advice.

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