ALEX WOODARD | SINGER-SONGWRITER & AUTHOR
Nationally-acclaimed singer-songwriter Alex Woodard inspires others through his passion for veterans, music, and open spaces. His most recent project, a book/album package titled "For The Sender" (Hay House), features his story of release and redemption woven through songs written about real-life letters during the Vietnam War. In the interview below, Alex shares about equine therapy, surfing, and the adventure of the unknown.
What's your first memory of the outdoors?
My first memory of anything, let alone the outdoors, is from being in a stroller, trying to pick up Cheerios from the tray in front of me, but my fingers were too small. Here’s the serendipitous part… I was being pushed underneath the ‘Adventureland’ sign at Disneyland. I remember looking up at it, not knowing what it said since I couldn’t read yet, but loving the shapes. Then I went back to trying to pick up Cheerios.
Who has inspired you the most to live a life of adventure?
I’d have to say my dad, because he got me started early on. My first time surfing was with him, my first time on a horse was with him… and that kind of set the stage for the rest of my life.
What is it about adventure that opens up possibility for real connections with others?
Adventure tears down the walls we put up between us, because often we don’t have a choice: we need each other out there. Sometimes it’s a matter of survival (I guess it always is, isn’t it?), sometimes it’s the shared awe and appreciation of experiencing the incredible sides of life. Either way, the channel opens. The beautiful part is that it just happens when we’re actually doing something… we don’t have to sit in a room and talk about our feelings. It just happens out there.
I think that’s at play when I work with veterans and horses, too. Those connections are inevitable when those soldiers are stepping into the unknown with a thousand pound animal as a guide. Same when I’m doing surf camps with veterans; there’s a certain amount of letting go that has to happen, and on the other side of that adventure is often joy.
What’s one word you’d use to describe yourself? Why?
Authentic. You get what you get with me, which resonates with some people. And not with others. It’s kind of a quiet authenticity though… I’m not in anyone’s face, making them see me. But I’m confident about who I am and my place on the planet.
What’s your idea of the perfect day in the outdoors?
Wake up with the sun, surf, ride one of my horses, eat, repeat, until the sun goes down.
How does adventure play into your job?
My job is all about the unknown… stepping onto a stage, writing words and music where there were none before, helping facilitate soldiers’ journeys to a deeper healing through horses and waves. It’s all about creating experience from the unknown. And that’s what adventure is.
What’s one easy way that you spend time outside during the week?
I ride horses and waves almost every day.
Can you describe a specific way that living a life of adventure has changed you?
It’s given me an acceptance, and appreciation, of that unknown. Living a life of adventure forces me to let go and allow what will be to exist in its own time. And that’s one of life’s greatest lessons.
What’s the best lesson that you’ve learned through the outdoors?
In addition to the letting go, I’ve learned to really trust the process… nature has much better answers than we do, and watching her through the seasons reminds me to honor the seasons in my own life.
If you could go anywhere, with anyone, where would it be and who would you want to go with?
I’d probably take Springsteen and the horses out on the trails behind my house in Idaho (I split time between there and California). With my dad.
Alex Woodard has toured nationally behind five critically-acclaimed albums. His new book/album package "For The Sender" features his story of release and redemption woven through songs written about real-life letters. When he’s not surfing in his beach town north of San Diego, Alex lives with a big dog and bigger horse in the mountains of Idaho.
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