A couple of years ago, a landman buddy threw a question at me that caught me off guard: “What’s your plan with LandmanLife?” I found myself at a loss for words. Initially, I thought of the site as just a fun side project. But, to be completely honest, it was more than that. In the early days, when I was still somewhat anonymous, I used it as a platform to air out my frustrations about the idiotic tendencies of our industry. Other times it was just me, having a bit of fun sharing some wild stories from the Roadtrip to Nowhere.
The Roadtrip to Nowhere
This brings me to my professional journey, which I humorously refer to as the Roadtrip to Nowhere. It started working on a team setting with other landmen, initially in DuBois, Pennsylvania and then the Eagle Ford in South Texas. But as time went on, I branched off into the realm of small brokerage. This new venture was filled with excitement and new opportunities, but it lacked the camaraderie of those early days. Those times, being the only landman in a county and staying week after week in the same modest hotels, were challenging. LandmanLife was my sanctuary during those times.
My career path was not the standard route. I didn’t settle into a routine with a big brokerage or confine myself to one county. Instead, I embraced every opportunity that came my way, keen on learning all the facets of being a landman. I’m candid enough to admit that I didn’t learn it all, but I certainly tried to grasp as much as I could.
On and Off Again
My engagement with LandmanLife has been a journey of its own. There were moments of intense creative inspiration, interspersed with periods where my motivation to post seemed to vanish. Even when I did write, I often second-guessed whether my material was ready for the world. Reflecting on my early posts, they were quite unpolished, typically penned after unwinding with a few beers in some nondescript hotel room. As I moved through different stages of my career, my writing style evolved, mirroring my personal and professional growth. Writing became more thoughtful, though not necessarily easier.
I have always had a passion for writing, even when I hesitated to share my work. The entire process, from formulating ideas to selecting the right images, was something I cherished. Dropping the anonymity and revealing my identity on the site felt like a natural progression. Over time, I’ve become more independent and less concerned about potential backlash for my online expressions. My partner at MYR Land Services shares my perspective that if a potential client is deterred by what I express online, they probably aren’t the right fit for us.
The Spirit of the Roadtrip to Nowhere
The true essence of the Roadtrip to Nowhere lies in the people I met and the unique character of each place I visited. Discovering those out-of-the-way spots, engaging with locals, and understanding the dynamics of different communities were invaluable experiences. These encounters provided a deeper insight into places that many might dismiss as mundane. It was a refreshing change of pace from my fast-paced life back home. I could spend 4 hours driving to a new world where life moved slower…but that didn’t ever stop things from moving at their same pace back home.
The LandmanLife store came to life in 2016, initially offering simple items like koozies and stickers. For a long time, it was mostly friends from the road who supported it. But something shifted in 2020 – a burst of creativity led to a flurry of new designs and merchandise. This creative period temporarily overshadowed my writing as I immersed myself in design work. Then, with the arrival of our first child, my focus shifted again. Time became a scarce commodity, so I concentrated on promoting existing designs. It was during this phase that I realized my creative energies were evolving, now finding an outlet in photography.
Life in the Rearview
Reflecting on the Roadtrip to Nowhere, it’s clear that its significance and the lessons learned are best understood in retrospect. It’s been an extraordinary journey that has shaped my identity as a landman and significantly influenced my adult life. It led to lasting friendships, fostered my independence, and equipped me with the confidence and connections to thrive as an independent landman. And now, as we prepare for the 4th Annual NAPE Kickoff Happy Hour, I look forward to reconnecting and sharing more tales from this incredible journey.