Andrew Muse lives in Park City, Utah where he enjoys every type of adventure with his dog Kicker.
There’s not a lot Kicker Muse won’t try. As his dad’s full-time adventure buddy, Kicker has been kiteboarding, snowboarding, ice climbing, and, of course, camping. The best part? He’s a golden retriever who lives and breathes outdoor adventure.
Kicker’s human, Andrew Muse, captures their lives on his Instagram feed which is full of Kicker smelling flowers, romping through fresh powder, and enjoying life one breath of fresh Utah air at a time. Andrew documents their adventures through a YouTube series called Tiny Home Adventure.
It’s not always been easy. After the first season of Tiny Home Adventure, Andrew and his first dog Booter were in a horrific car accident, where Andrew lost his car, his home, and worst of all, Booter. In the first episode of the second season of Tiny Home Adventure, we catch a glimpse of Andrew’s heartbreak and the twisted metal that could have taken his life.
One of the firemen from that accident gifted Kicker to Andrew and his community of passionate adventurers encouraged him to continue on his journey. We caught up with Andrew to hear more about their epic adventures, what it’s like to live on the road, and some life advice on staying present and living with passion.
The Dyrt: In one of your captions, you talk about “capturing magic” through photography. With technology making it easier and easier for every hobbyist to take a pretty picture, what makes a photograph “magical” to you?
Andrew Muse: I think any art form, whether it’s music, photography, painting, etc., needs to have soul and invoke some kind of emotion. If you are able to move people in a meaningful way through their senses on an emotional level, it’s magical. Now, I’m not saying photos of Kicker are magic, but if they bring a smile to someone’s face, I call it a win.
What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned from your dog?
Almost too many, and I’m still learning everyday. One of the most profound lessons is learning to love something more than yourself. I grew up in a pretty rough situation and quickly learned to take care of myself before anyone else. My dogs have changed me by learning to to love beyond anything I knew before.
Your dog Kicker seems game for just about any adventure. (Even kiteboarding!) Is there anything Kicker is afraid of?
Kicker is pretty much down for anything. We built trust from day one. I introduced him to so many different sports and adventures, all while keeping him happy and safe along the way. Now he takes anything in stride and with confidence. I do occasionally get the “Really Dad?” look from him, though. Paragliding? No problem. The vacuum cleaner? HELL NO.
[bctt tweet=”Paragliding, no problem….the vacuum cleaner, HELL NO. — Andrew Muse”]
Sometimes pets and kids can be a hindrance to an adventurous lifestyle, but Kicker seems to have more stoke than most people! How has Kicker changed you as an adventurer? What do you have to consider when traveling with Kicker in tow?
Traveling and adventuring with a dog can be a challenge as dogs are not allowed in a lot of places. Honestly though, we like to get off the beaten path and have more obscure, true adventures. Although places like Zion and Yosemite are totally mind blowing, there are just too many people for us most of the time.
Kicker’s safety is my number one, of course. I need to make sure dogs are allowed and that whatever we are doing I am confident I can keep him safe and happy. Also, access to water and high temps are something I need to be aware of.
What’s Kicker’s favorite season?
I would have to say winter. Out of all the things we do, I think being in the snow makes him happiest. I would say I have verbal control over him 99% of the time but when someone drops in on skis or a board he just goes for it unless I’m holding him. We have that in common.
You talk a lot about being in the moment, living life to the fullest, and enjoying the breeze. What are some other small ways you and Kicker stay present?
These are things I really struggle with sometimes. I work my butt off to perpetuate this lifestyle Kicker and I are so privileged to lead. I find myself sometimes in a beautiful setting only focused on the content we are creating and not the moment. Then I’ll see Kicker close his eye and take a slow purposeful inhale to savor the moment. He is almost always present and reminds me to take a moment and smell the breeze myself.
My husband and I recently adopted our first pup, an adventurous Border Collie named Nala. I never understood what people meant when they talked about how much they love their dog until Nala came into our lives. What is that!? Can you give us some insight on your connection to Kicker?
First off, I LOVE the name Nala. If I ended up with a female, I would have most likely named her that.
I sometimes struggle in social situations. Like most people, I deal with some level of anxiety, depression, and self doubt. I know with full confidence that Kicker loves me for exactly who I am, and I love him for exactly who he is. Having that connection, and always being so happy to see one another (unless he just rolled in poop) is an amazing feeling.
[bctt tweet=”I would say I have verbal control over him 99% of the time, but when someone drops in on skis or a snowboard, he just goes for it unless I’m holding him back.” username=”Andrew Muse”]
Dogs are the best. Can you also talk about some of the struggles of being a dog dad? (If there are any)
Honestly, I am a dog person through and through. I think the number one biggest thing is that the pain of losing a dog is so intense that it is allllllmost not worth having a dog at all. Of course the joys of owning a dog are so incredible, but the pain of losing one is equally intense.
You’re open about stress, fear, and anxiety on your Instagram feed; emotions we all deal with. How do you process these emotions and still live an epic life?
This epic life is how I deal with those things. I am passionate about being outside, going to beautiful places, inspiring people to do good, and pushing myself to my limits. I’ve always been this way. I’m so lucky to have decided a LONG time ago that I would try to live a life of passion, even though there is no stability and honestly, it really doesn’t make much sense. I have been so lucky that this path unveiled itself the way it has. If I decided to work in an office, all of those emotions would be painfully amplified.
A lot of people in our generation want to be “Insta-famous.” Is it what you expected? How has it impacted your life?
When I committed to this lifestyle over 10 years ago, “Insta-famous” wasn’t really a thing. I just wanted to live a life that would make me happy. Initially, I wanted to be a pro-snowboarder. Coming from Massachusetts and moving west to Utah at 17, I quickly realized the [competitive] level was so high! I eventually bought a GoPro and created some content people noticed, and I started me on this path of being a full-time content creator.
My slogan is: if you are willing to work harder than everyone else you are bound to be successful. Being Insta-famous, if that’s what you want to call it, has been a gift for sure. I’ve been able to connect with so many people. I have people reach out and tell me how I have inspired positive changes in their life or helped them through a hard time. That makes it all worth it to me. Even the trolls…
[bctt tweet=”Always being so happy to see one another (unless he just rolled in poop) is an amazing feeling. -Andrew Muse”]
What would you say to someone who’s feeling stuck and passionless?
I would say I have been there! I’ve felt stuck, lost, alone, stagnant, uninspired, burnt out.. like things would never work out for me. I quit drinking, and that helped me. If you want to live an exceptional life, you have to make sacrifices and work hard. Hope and wishes and feeling like you are owed something get you nowhere.
It’s all hard work and sacrifice. I had no idea what I was doing when I started Season One of the Tiny Home Adventure, but it was something to work towards. I would literally ask myself “What the hell am I doing?” and say “Why am I working so hard towards something that doesn’t make sense? I’m never going to make money doing this.” Hard work and positive energy will inevitably come back to you… one way or another.
[bctt tweet=”I mean when I committed to this lifestyle over 10 years ago ‘Insta-famous’ wasn’t really a thing. I just wanted to live a life that would make me happy.-Andrew Muse”]
So many young adventurers are heading to Utah and not looking back. What is it about the state that’s so compelling?
Utah is freaking rad! I mentioned that I stopped drinking, and no it’s not because the Mormons “got me.” I have traveled all over the country, and have been based out of Park City, UT for almost 10 years now.
This place is so diverse if you like outdoor sports and adventures. I can drive two hours in any direction and be in five completely different ecosystems, and wildly beautiful places. The adventures in Utah alone would truly take more than a lifetime to tick off. But with all that being said, I hear Colorado is better… 😉