Adventures at AvidMax: One Woman’s Journey from Suburbia to the World of Fly Fishing and Beyond

Entry the First

In the fall of 2014 I was desperate for a new job. I’d been working part time at a children’s clothing store was in dire need of stable, steady, full time work. Around my sixth month of an in-the-red bank account, a dear friend of mine announced she would be moving to Ecuador at the end of the season and insisted I apply for her position at her place of employment. She worked at what I then assumed was a just little outdoorsman’s online outfitter called AvidMax, about 25 minutes from my home. Although I am the least “outdoorsy” person I know, I went ahead and applied. A month later, I came in for an interview and, after feeling like the least qualified person to work for a company specializing in fly fishing and outdoor camera accessories, was offered the position that same day. I would be working shipping and receiving in the warehouse and spending every moment moving and on my feet. I was extremely impressed with the atmosphere and attitude being offered at AvidMax, and, eventually, I decided to give it a go.

Now, a year and a half later, I am sitting at a desk up front, in a cubicle, staring at spreadsheets and what feels like a zillion browser tabs every weekday, occasionally answering the extra phone call and chatting away with customers on our website chat. I have learned that we aren’t merely a “little” online outfitter, and have watched in amazement at our growth, even just in the short time I’ve been here. This place is different.

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“Cubicle, sweet cubicle.”

I always swore I’d never work in a cubicle. I was convinced I would hate it, or be unfocused, or fall asleep. While I indeed occasionally set my iPhone timer for ten minutes and let myself doze off, I can honestly say I was entirely wrong in my self-expectations. I adore this little cubicle, and I have never enjoyed a job more in my life. I take in more information than I ever knew my brain could absorb, and then organize it and give it a new, AvidMax feel and set it lose. It’s oddly exhilarating.

And I’m never leaving.

Which lead me, earlier this year, to the conclusion that I should probably walk the AvidMax talk. Ironically, and sadly, I have never participated in a single activity that we sell any of our product for.

Seriously.

Not a single thing.

First of all, and most concerning, I am a Colorado native who has never once been camping. (Unless you count that one time my uncle set up a 10-person tent in my grandma’s backyard for an adventurous cousin sleepover when I was 10, but I digress.)

I have never been fly fishing, either, and the last time I went spin fishing I was using a yellow Snoopy fishing pole and watching with mixed concern and grotesque fascination as my aunts gutted the pretty fishies.

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“Me and my trusty Snoopy fishing pole”

Okay, I suppose I can say I’ve been to the slopes, once, three years ago, and my poor boyfriend had filmed the whole pathetic, one-time (excruciatingly) slow decent down the easiest run at A-Basin. Don’t get me started on how long it took me to get back up every time I fell down—apparently it takes a ridiculous amount of muscle-use I didn’t know I even had to stand up on a snowboard.

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“Strapping myself into knee braces after a few bouts of falling.”

Lastly, I have never been much of a photographer. I own a 1968 Richoflex Twin Lens Camera that I occasionally spend the extra penny on a special order 120 film to use. I have never considered venturing into the wilderness with the dinosaur.

I wonder on a daily basis why on earth I work here and why on earth I am so happy here. Never have I ever taken advantage of my free weekends and gone camping with one of the four tents I now own (hand-me-downs from that same friend, who is now back from Ecuador and back to work in our warehouse), or the free hammock I received last month. The fly tying kit I purchased in January is still sitting on my desk unused.

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“My (severely neglected) fly tying kit”

How is it possible that I know so much about the products I never use, most of which I don’t own, and why do I get so excited about it? I’ll tell you.

Passion.

Not my own, but the passion of the people who live for the outdoors. The excitement and energy fisherman speak with and campers travel with. I thoroughly enjoy the stories swapped here over lunch about camping or skiing trips with the spouse and kids, specs compared within different brands and products, and detailed advice on how best to catch a fish or when to drive to Copper.

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“Just look at these AvidMax guys! They have all the fun!”

I’m thrilled when our reps and vendors come in and give us the rundown on their product, their faces all lit-up about fishing, and add their stories to the others’. It’s all so very compelling and intriguing, and I want so much to participate and add my own stories to the tales that spin around the office every week. The more I see, the more I wish I was doing it all, too.

A couple of weeks ago, a few of the office guys went outside and played with some new rods and lines. They were trying different techniques and exchanging tips and offered to teach me to cast.

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“Maybe Brady and Cory should start a synchronized casting league…”

It was WAY harder than I expected, but so much fun. It made me want more than ever to learn and to have outdoor-adventures of my own. I’m determined!

So, here I am, and here I go. I’m making myself finally DO IT. I’m going to use this fly tying kit, and I’m going to use those tents, and I’m going to buy a rod outfit and dog-gonnit I am going to learn how to fish! And I am going to tell you all about it.

That’s right. You’ll get an update from little ol’ me on the regular as I trudge through the unknown and (hopefully) arrive at my desired destinations—be it a finished fly or a caught fish.

I hope that the narratives of my quest for experience will be as educational as they may be entertaining. I know the folks here at AvidMax will be getting a good laugh, at least.

Look out, outdoor-world! Here I come!!

Adventure is out there! – Pixar’s Up

Read part 2 of this series here!

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