Here I am, writing this on August 31st, pumpkin spice is already on the shelves, and we're heading into fall. Where did the summer go? I don't have any scientific proof but I think this was the fastest summer ever. It seems like just the other day we dropped our episode with Virginia from NJspots and then took a week long break for Memorial Day.
This summer saw our little Garden State fan club hit some great milestones in terms of total listens and followers. We had the opportunity to bring on three incredibly creative people to our team in Nicole, Tara, and Jules. We dropped some of our most popular episodes to date like Operation K9 Beethoven and Wild West City. We sat down with other amazing guests such as Miss NJ USA Alexandra Lakhman and former Olympian Priscilla Frederick-Loomis. We've made new friends, told great stories and have had so much fun along the way.
With all that we do here, we are constantly in "go" mode and it makes it difficult sometimes to take a minute and appreciate all the good things that have come from Greetings From the Garden State. We're coming up on episode 50 in a couple weeks and will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary on October 18th (with a party on October 20th so stay tuned!).
I didn't think it would ever happen because I truly love this show, but I started to feel a little burnout from this show and all that we do. For those that don't know, I work a full time job, run everything from scheduling, recording, editing, and marketing for the podcast, and am constantly creating content for our social channels. As crazy as it sounds, Tara and I even launched a brand new podcast called Mike & the Maven almost three weeks ago, because why not add more to my plate!
I have no problem discussing my history with mental health but that's for another blog. Needless to say, last week the burnout and the stress were starting to really get to me. So I did what any Jersey lover would do. I threw a beach chair in the truck and headed down the shore. Asbury Park has consistently been my go-to over the last year, particularly the last 5-6 months. There's just something about it that does it for me. I drove down, parked myself on the beach for about 5 hours, hit a couple favorite spots and a couple new ones, had dinner, checked out the Asbury Park Circuit Car Show, then drove home. It felt good to shake it up and remove myself from the computer screen and my apartment. I was a little sad to only do a day trip but I knew I would be back in a few days.
After a great weekend spent with friends and family, on Monday I headed down again. This time for the night because on Tuesday I would be interviewing Chef Dave Viana of Heirloom Kitchen at the St. Laurent in Asbury Park and Joe Castore of Amici Gelato Caffe. Spent more time on the beach on Monday before grabbing a drink, having dinner, and then MAYBE one more drink before heading back to the hotel. I couldn't sleep well so I got up early, walked the boardwalk around 6:45am, got a cup of coffee and hung out on a bench. It was so peaceful, sure there were the early AM runners and lot of seagulls, but I was able to find a moment of calm. I did even see some dolphins out in the ocean!
Then it was time to get to work, I gathered my stuff, checked out, and headed over to interview Dave. What took place after that was an entire day that reminded me why I do what I do. My interview with Dave was incredible. His story, his passion for what he does, and just the fact that he was so welcoming was awesome. We did get to have lunch at Heirloom Kitchen and all the food was incredible. After that, I grabbed another coffee, and headed downtown to interview Joe. Joe and I agreed to do this interview the night before. I had messaged him I was in town and Jules had introduced me to him, so I figured why not try to get two recorded while I'm down this way. When he started telling me his story I was blown away, one of the more inspiring stories we've had on the show so far (all from a guy who owns a gelato shop!). Both of these episodes will be dropping in October so I don't want to give anything away, just know these two are incredible.
To avoid sitting in traffic, I sat on the beach maybe for the last time this summer. I started reflecting on the day and just felt so good about it. We had put together two amazing episodes with two amazing people. I drove home with a clearer head yesterday and was ready to tackle the next challenge which happened to be this morning when I attended a workout with Karianne & Bill Anthes at BTWN the Ears in Far Hills. Me from last week would probably not have been able to make it through that whole workout, but the recharged me did it and then completed the "willingness" round at the end.
Even though you may not have even noticed I was "gone," Mike Ham is back and ready to keep bringing you the best of New Jersey every week as the days get colder. We have some incredible episodes already recorded and some others we are putting on the calendar as I type this.
Just remember, it's ok to take time for yourself to recharge and remember why you do what you do.
See you at our 1-year anniversary party on October 20th! (Details coming soon!)