Evan Carlen breaks adventurous boundaries in Japan
STLCC – Meramec student Evan Carlen lives an adventurous life. By looking at him most could not guess he has played baseball in Japan, jumped out of an airplane and does backflips for fun. Many who meet him can agree he is not your average 20 year old.
“For me, it was just kind of the way I was raised,” Carlen said. He does not consider the life he lives as adventurous, he just considers it plain living.
“[Being adventurous] definitely had to come from my dad,” Carlen said. His love for living sparks from his father who is an avid bike rider.
“I just see how happy he is whenever he’s out there on the trails riding his bike, and I really take to it,” Carlen said. Whether it is going on a family camping trip, or to visit national parks, being raised in a home where adventure is around every corner helped shape him into who he is today.
When Carlen was 15-years-old he got the chance of a lifetime to play baseball in Japan.
“A buddy of mine I played on the [high school] baseball team with said he wanted to go out and be a pitcher for this team that was going to Japan. So, I talked to a couple of my other buddies, and we all went and tried out,” Carlen said. Little did he know just how much he would take away from the experience, besides playing baseball in a foreign country. “Whenever you are born and raised in the same house here in St. Louis, you don’t really get the taste of other ways of living,” said Carlen. He resided in a Japanese residence home with one of his teammates for the duration of the trip. Traveling somewhere new and getting to experience something such as playing baseball in Japan is exactly what he was all about.
“That was the first time I really stepped out of my bounds, here in St. Louis and here in the states, and I actually found out about a different culture and it was actually really refreshing,” Carlen said.
His love for adventure continued on a few years after he experienced Japan. When he was 19, he decided that it would be a great idea to go skydiving. Skydiving felt like Christmas to Carlen.
“Christmas morning. Whereas the build up is almost more special than the actual event itself,” Carlen said. The adventure of leaping from an aircraft was one for the books in his eyes.
“The initial falling out the airplane, that was the highlight of my life. I will never forget that,” Carlen said.
The thrill did not end there.
“Whenever the parachute opened, I didn’t want to stop free falling, you fall in love with that instantly. As soon as you hit terminal velocity, it’s almost like zero gravity; you’re floating. You’re just in your own world looking out,” Carlen said. He cannot wait to do it again.
Besides the flips Carlen encountered while free falling, he enjoys to do them practically whenever he gets an urge.
“Whenever something wells up in me and I want to do it, I do it. If somebody wants to judge me for that, if someone wants to make fun of me for that, so be it. But we need to empower each other,” Carlen said.
He positively wants to encourage people to go for what they want, to be adventurous.
“I could think of a lot worse way to die than by doing something you could potentially love, and could change your life for the better for the remainder of it,” Carlen said.
Being too afraid to live is out of the question for Carlen.
“My words of wisdom for someone that’s too afraid to live would be, ‘hey, come hang out with me we’ll see what living is all about,” Carlen said.
Another adventure led him to get a tattoo with a deep meaning. It is a semicolon on his right ribcage and is a reminder to stay adventurous. The semicolon represents a moment he could have wasted, but instead he seizes that moment. He loves to go out of his way to talk to new people and strangers.
“It [talking to new people] is an adventure. And it’s really fun to think in my head, ‘what would be a good ice breaker that would make them feel comfortable?’” Carlen said.
Keeping this mindset helps him be ready for whatever adventure is next. The way in which he lives his life displays he has no regrets.
“I could be in my deathbed, get leukemia and I wouldn’t lay there and say, ‘Wow, I’m really bummed that I didn’t get out there and live, I was going to, I promise, I was going to get out there, I was going to travel.’ If you have the opportunity, go for it, seize the day,” Carlen said. He knows that to be happy is to be adventurous.
“Every adventure has a destination,” Carlen said. He plans to keep his mindset and continue to spread good vibes. He also wants to continue to travel, and keep getting the most out of his life for as long as he can.
“My plan is to live. I don’t want to be stagnant, I don’t want to be algae on a pond; I want to keep riding the rapids,” Carlen said.