By Lori Kimbel
Twenty six year old Andrew Muse is living a life full of adventure and excitement. A life many would love to have just a taste of. Traveling the country with his golden lab, canine companion, Kicker, Muse is seen grinning from ear to ear with each new-found, adrenaline-charged quest and Kicker is right alongside him in almost every video or photo posted to Instagram @andrew_muse.
Muse is famous…Instagram famous. With 30.1 thousand followers, Muse and Kicker always have a great photo, or video to share with their adoring fans. Traveling around in their 4 x 4 adventure van, jumping out from time to time to go snowboarding, kiteboarding, rock climbing, or hiking, these two constant companions are anything but boring. Their adventures will soon be released by GoPro with Season two of Tiny Home Adventure, which is set to be release by Fall 2016.
But wait! This story doesn’t start here. Yes, it’s still in the beginning stages, after all Muse is just 26 and has a lifetime of adventures waiting for him, but this is more like Chapter 2, or maybe even Chapter 3. Chapter 1 was spent growing up in Massachusetts with his mom and sister where Muse would spend hours in the woods building forts and exploring.
“I wanted to get further west and ride bigger mountains with more snow than what I was used to on the east coast,” said Muse. “I’d never been further west than New York, so I started traveling just after high school. My dream was to be a ski guide, so I moved out west and started taking avalanche courses and this and that. I bought a GoPro about five years ago and started creating edits. I learned how to take videos, edit them and turn them into something that people would want to watch, and then I got hooked up with Rosignal as a snowboard athlete, and I also got sponsored for kiting.”
Chapter 2 began when Muse1 purchased a $500 truck camper and began remodeling it. Kicker of course was not even a thought in his mind; Booter was his sidekick back then. Like Kicker, Booter was a golden lab and he too was more like a best friend than a pet. While remodeling the camper Muse decided to film the entire process. Tiny Home Adventure Season One was born.
“Every two weeks I’d release an edit,” said Muse. “I did all the editing and all the filming.” I’m sure Booter helped keep him on track and entertained while Muse worked away on his computer.
When Muse was not remodeling his camper, he was finding ways to boost the adrenaline that coursed through his veins. Rappelling off of a bridge, long boarding for miles, snowboarding, and white water rafting were just a few of the activities that kept his body in a naturally induced state of euphoria. Of course Booter fed off of Muse’s excitement and was a willing participant in almost every activity.
It’s hard to put into words what this young man and his friend Booter are all about. So please stop reading this, pull out your smart phone and check out some of these links to get a feel of what a typical day in the life of @andrew_muse is all about. Like the old 60’s song, Andrew Muse was ‘born to be wild’ with his dog Booter at his side of course.
“My real dream was to become a professional athlete,” said Muse, “but I just didn’t really have the foundation and the skill set to get there, so content creation kind of became the way for that to work. Assuming that it would have some value with brands I could live the kind of lifestyle that I always wanted, but never really thought possible. This is really working toward something that I didn’t think was realistic. I’ve gotten little nuggets and rewards along the way that made me think maybe this will work, so I decided to really push for this athlete, content, creative thing and I just buckled down and started focusing on it.”
And focus on it he has.
“The first Tiny Home Adventure project and the whole remodel process really showed me how hard I could work,” said Muse. “I would wake up at about six in the morning without an alarm and I’d work until about 12 o’clock at night. That was a pretty big eye-opening experience. If I’m passionate about something, and I have a vision, I can work super hard and it doesn’t feel like work at all.”
Season one of Tiny Home Adventure can be seen on YouTube as well as Vimeo. Amazing footage is captured by Muse. You won’t be disappointed if you check it out.
“I filmed season one in six months with 12 episodes; it was the wildest and craziest adventure ever.”
Of course with every great story comes great tragedy. After filming the final episode of Tiny Home Adventure, Muse and Booter headed toward home. Two hours before reaching their destination, at 60 mph, Muse slams into the back of a semi that was going just 40 mph. His truck and tiny home were destroyed. Everything he owned lay scattered along I-15 in Utah. Digging through the rubble he found Booter, he was severely injured and died in Andrew’s arms.
“At the scene of the accident I literally lost everything I owned that was in the truck camper. It destroyed my truck, my camper, I had no money and I lost Booter. I would have done anything if I could have kept Booter around.”
Life at that moment and for the days and weeks to follow felt like it was beyond repair for Muse. His best friend, his constant companion, was gone. His career, which relied heavily on the comradery of the two together, seemed to be over.
“The paramedics who were on the scene of the wreck were trying to make small talk about climbing and this and that and I was just sobbing and I didn’t want to talk to anybody. One of the firefighters came over and put his arm around my shoulders and said, ‘Dude I get it man, I’ve lost dogs and it’s like the worst thing.’ He had compassion to the situation. You could tell he was the only person that really got it. I really connected with this firefighter and he knew nothing about me and I knew nothing about him, so I asked for his contact information so I could show him what Booter and I were doing. I told him we had a really special bond and we had this series we were filming together. So we kept in touch for a few weeks and then he called me up randomly about two months later and said I have an interesting opportunity for you. I lost a dog tragically when I was your age and I ended up with a new dog and it really helped me through the situation. We breed dogs, we breed golden labs and labradoodles and if you want a dog you are welcome to the pick of the litter. That’s how Kicker came into my life. It was a small world experience with a firefighter and a family who are the kindest people.”
Chapter 3, life was beginning to feel more like an adventure again.
“Kicker’s been great,” said Muse. “He’s been super healthy and I put him in a lot of interesting situations whether it’s in snow or water. He just goes everywhere with me. He’s been snowboarding, kiteboarding. He just kind of lives the same life I do and seems to enjoy it.”
Muse is back in the thick of adventure seeking.
Recently Muse participated in the Kiteboarding4Cancer event in Hood River. One project he took on was to paint a kiteboard that would later be auctioned off to raise money for the event.
“This was my first year participating in Kiteboarding4Cancer and being active in it. I just saw last year what a fun positive event it was, so I decided to paint a board and try and contribute as much as I could.”
Once again life dealt Muse a blow.
“The second day I was painting my board I got a phone call from my mom saying she had just been diagnosed with cervical cancer,” said Muse. “So it become something that at first it was like, ‘okay I’ll do this because it’s nice and I want to be part of this cool event and help raise money’, to like, something that was a lot more serious to me. It made things feel like a lot more close to home. Thankfully the situation with my mom had about as good a prognosis as possible. She had surgery and they were able to remove everything and there is just a small chance that it could return. So that was nice. During the Kiteboarding 4 Cancer event everything was still in the air and we weren’t sure how bad it was and so it was pretty scary. It’s terrifying when it happens to you and it’s super sad and scary.”
The Kiteboarding 4 Cancer event raised $194,000 in a single weekend. “It’s insane how much money they were able to raise and how many good people they bring together,” he said.
So what does the rest of the book…er…video of @Andrew_Muse look like? Only time will tell, but so far things are looking pretty good.
Once Muse arrived home after his car accident he was trying to figure out what he was going to do with his life. He had gotten a job offer to be the video coordinator for the US Ski Team, but he had planned on coming home and figuring out how to make season two of Tiny Home Adventure sustainable if possible. He was totally broke, his equipment was gone and he’d lost his business partner. It was beginning to look like he would have to take the position with the US Ski Team simply because it seemed like his only option.
But then he opened up his email and saw that GoPro had sent him something.
“GoPro reached out to me and asked if they could pick up season two,” said Muse.
They wanted to know how much Muse would charge.
“So I gave them a number that was close to what I would be making with the US Ski Team and they accepted it. Is was a pretty crazy email to have GoPro hit you up and say, ‘hey, there are so many opportunities for us to work together our head is spinning’…I was like, ‘is this real?’”.
Muse has sent more than 50 hours of footage to GoPro and season two of Tiny Home Adventure should be available online by this fall.
“I would like to do Season three,” said Muse. “There is talk of either going to New Zealand, South America or Europe, or a sailboat trip in the Caribbean. Who knows we are just trying to get the season two off the ground and hopefully get a good response from people and if it does well than hopefully we will continue to travel the world and see a bunch of cool stuff and inspire some people to really do some cool stuff as well.”
Of course Kicker will be right by his side.
“My goals for the future are to continue this lifestyle of doing what I love and inspiring people to do the same. That’s kind of my big thing. I really like to inspire people and tell them you can do what you love, and make a career out of it if you are really willing to work hard enough and make sacrifices, like superficial sacrifices. I feel that for an exceptional life you have to be willing to go down a road that most people haven’t gone down and take the risk to get there. I think inevitable you can be successful if you are willing to work hard enough and be willing to put enough of positive energy into it,” said Muse.