Hitchhiking Alligator Alley – Tom Rademacher

May 19, 2017

“We need to belong to something greater than ourselves, and I think there’s adventure there.”

Tom Rademacher discusses his career as a columnist, windsurfing, the wrong sleeping bags for high altitude, and hitchhiking “Alligator Alley”.

3:30 – “I feel sometimes like a bit of a fraud when I put myself out as a professional writer…”

With life as a factory worker looming over him, Tom talks about his “inauspicious start” as a writer and columnist for the Grand Rapids Press.

9:30 – “I went out to find a story that could impact the community…”

Tom talks about his first story with the GR Press, and how it brought the community together in a small way.

13:22 – “I had no intentions of marrying.”

Tom shares the story of how he met his wife Holly, their love for the water, and raising a family on Lake Michigan. Tom and Drew spend a little time talking about how special lake Michigan is. If you’ve never been to lake Michigan, check out the #TakeYourMedicine video of Drew at PJ Hoffmaster State Park.

19:40 – “I would not recommend hitch hiking today at all. Not to mention across alligator alley.”

Prior to getting married to Holly, Tom hitch hikes down to the Florida coast and then out west. He comes back to Michigan with a few stories to tell and lessons learned, one of which is to always have a good sleeping bag.

26:50 – “I think I made the most impact… with stories about people who overcame odds and probably shouldn’t have.”

What impact do stories have on us and why are they important? Why does spending time outdoors frequently coincide with a good story? Tom thinks back on his most successful stories and ponders why they resonated with the community.


tom rademacher adventure deficitTom Rademacher is currently an Innovation Fellow for the Encore program with the Grand Rapids Community foundation. Encore seeks to inspire individuals in their 50s and beyond to engage in meaningful work and service that makes a difference. for more info, visit www.grfoundation.org/encore.


One comment

  1. Drew De Vries says:

    Glad you listened. Hope all is well.


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