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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Two Cowboys: Never Again with the Travelling Cowboys in Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Never Again

We were flying back from New Zealand in the worse airplane seats imaginable, courtesy of Air New Zealand. Unfortunately, there isn't much choice in airline between Canada and New Zealand, so we had to suck it up, tuck it in, and ride it out to the land of the long white cloud.

When you feel discomfort, distractions are welcome. Our Scotch quota was limited, so we were cut off early by gramps, our in-flight safety officer and server attendant, so the trip became an early sobering experience - a time to reflect. The entertainment system had Anthony Bourdain featuring chefs in Japan, and the program threw out fashionable Zen quotes between scene changes. Then, I found what I was looking for. A straightforward, yet profound Zen quote caught my attention.

We were winding down our year two of the Two Cowboys. It was one last trip Downunder and we were taking stock of what we've managed to achieve since launching the brand. It couldn't have come at a better time. 


Someone once said that his biggest fear was reaching the end of his life, and meeting the person he could've been. This struck a profound chord with me three years prior, while on the corporate consulting treadmill in downtown Calgary, Alberta. Two things became glaringly obvious. What I was doing with my days held little personal value for me, and the days were passing alarmingly faster the older I got. I realized that I wasn't going to be the person I wanted or could be. Time for it was running out.

It spurred me to action that ultimately culminated in the launch of the Two Cowboys. My brother from a different father, my best friend - Braam Compton - and I launched the concept of the Two Cowboys in January 2016. My son Henry, the camera, joined us a few months later. (Hence, our website name as the Two Cowboys & A Camera -

The Two Cowboys experience is a means for us, to some important ends. There are key philosophies behind what we do. Firstly, it is an opportunity, after two decades of consulting and salaried employment, to call our career values and perspectives in question. For example, we question our commitment to the expected way of living as employees on a never-ending treadmill of financial dependence. Secondly, the Two Cowboys is an attempt to craft a flexible and more preferential lifestyle that allows us to get more out of the art of living. More adventures. More of the people we like. Better quality food, friendships and learning. More of the world. Thirdly, it is a chance to consciously choose every moment and personally weigh the merits of every action, interaction and opportunity.

Lastly, the Two Cowboys is a chance for growth. After publishing over three-hundred videos and blog posts in twenty-four months and producing even more for the people and businesses that partnered with us, we've inevitably learned a lot. We've learned about beer, brewing, hats, boots, soap, cooking, travelling, malting, art, goldsmithing, barbequing, baking, engineering, food trucking, distilling, fishing, filming, and the list goes on. We've met amazing people in Alberta, BC, Hawaii, Mexico and New Zealand. More destinations are coming and more experiences waiting. Most importantly, we've learned a lot about people with the 1,800 interviews we've done.

The most significant lesson we learned is to invest our valuable time in the people that reciprocate. We learned to care about the people that care about us.

The Zen quote I discovered that day on the flight back from New Zealand said, "Once in a lifetime, never again."


It struck me.

Because, while we were trying to achieve, build or understand, the ever-fleeting moments were still passing us by. In all the frenzy of activity, the days are still ticking, and we cannot confidently say that we are becoming more of what we can be. Ultimately, our moments are now just different moments with different activities, focus or motivation.

That is why we will be taking it slower in 2018. The Two Cowboys & A Camera will be more deliberate and more intentional. Every relationship we choose to have will be more valuable to us. Everything we do, more purposeful.

Because, it all happens once in a lifetime, then never again.

Hendrik van Wyk
Never Again Cowboy

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