Book Review by
Have you ever had a God-inspired dream you abandoned along the journey of life? Perhaps you chose the “safe zone” and let the dream die and now it seems like life is just passing by.
In his book “Surf the Woods: The Ordinary Man’s Trail Map to the Extraordinary Life,” Arkansas native Holt Condren leads readers on a journey of renewed hope that the dreams they once aspired to can be a reality. “Surf the Woods” is the first book from Condren, who is a successful entrepreneur, men’s ministry leader, avid wilderness explorer and lead mountaineer on a team of scientists and archaeologists who are exploring Mount Ararat in search of the remains of Noah’s Ark.
Through personal stories and a series of principles, Condren’s main goal is to help readers move past the monotony of life and start living the fulfilling lives to which God has called them. The author leads readers through what he calls the “Four Dreamer’s Principles,” which are to “plan ambitiously,” “prepare persistently,” “persevere courageously” and “accelerate toward fear.”
Condren shared the inspiration behind the title of his book. In his early 40s, Condren decided to put his wilderness skills to the test and go on a four-week journey of solitude into the largest contiguous wilderness area in the south central United States. While on the trip, he experienced difficult terrain and had to constantly look at his GPS as he cut new trails with a machete in order to reach his destination. After spending several exhausting hours going just a few feet, Condren decided to try a new strategy. He took one look at the general direction he needed to go on his GPS and exchanged the machete for trek poles and pushed the heavy brush to the side. This allowed him to keep his head up and take a better look at the landscape and helped him better plan his route. Once he had the right tools and had his eyes focused on the goal of finding the best route, he was able to accomplish the goal. He nicknamed this method of wilderness travel “surfing the woods.”
“It is an easy thing to be a dreamer; it is far more difficult to walk effectively in your dreams,” Condren writes. In light of this, he developed what he calls the “Dreamer’s Creed,” which is meant to help people overcome fear and pursue their dreams. The creed states: “I’ll go where I’m scared to go, I’ll face what I’m scared to face, I’ll say what I’m scared to say, to live the dream God has for me.”
The author sums up his book, saying, “If you apply the principles in this book, no longer will you sit back watching a select few live their inspiring dreams. You will start feeling the joy and contentment that goes along with living abundantly. You will be surfing the woods!”
Matt Ramsey is a member of The Summit Church, North Little Rock, and a member of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention staff.