“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.” —George Eliot
Frederick Castleberry is a Refined Man.
He is an editorial photographer, designer, and curator of the acclaimed blog Unabashedly Prep. His impeccable style and attention to detail in his work sets him apart from his cohorts.
Much to my surprise when I moved to Brooklyn we ended up being neighbors, and let me tell you one thing about this guy: I have never seen him quite come alive the way he does when he is about to take a risk, an adventure, or journey into the unknown.
Fred has become a dear friend and mentor, and I am so excited to have him contribute to The Refined Man.
Boys are wild.
More creature than child, boys are untamed.
Every man was once a boy. To carry this adventurous spirit into manhood is of utmost importance. Sadly, today, that insatiable longing to explore is largely but a relic of childhood for many men. The adventurer is the child who survived. He is unapologetically wild at heart. He seeks adventure. Takes risks. Embraces spontaneity. In his book Wild at Heart, John Eldredge shrewdly notes, “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”
How a man seeks his adventure is how he lives his purpose.
How he lives his purpose is how he pursues his woman
How he pursues his woman is how he loves his children.
How he loves his children is how he loves his neighbor.
How he loves his neighbor is how he loves his God.
There are two types of men in this world: those who love what they do and those who don’t. Those who have found something to fight for and those who haven’t. The former are men who go on to great achievements, lead extraordinary lives, and love deeply. They have explored the depths of their hearts, discovered their (present) purpose in this world, and pursue it with reckless abandon.
The latter are confused, timid, drifting aimlessly. They are lost boys—succumbing to a culture that would prefer we be docile, well behaved…good boys. How do we as men reconnect with that wildness? We must look within. What did you love to do as a child? What would you do right now even if you weren’t paid? What turns you on inside? Fight for that.
The refined man not only needs adventure, he seeks it. When was the last time you climbed a frozen waterfall? Slept under the stars? Or crossed an ocean? The passion for adventure is at the core of a man’s spirit. That feeling you get after watching Gladiator (probably my favorite movie of all time)—that’s your wild heart yearning for danger, risk, adventure. Get out there. There is no more dire place in our society today to parade this wild heart than in the pursuit of a woman. Women are designed to be pursued, wooed, to be caught up. No woman wakes up saying, “God, I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today!” They long to be swept up into an adventure. And you get one chance to make a first impression—and I’ve witnessed it squandered so often over a cup of coffee…or a drink.
Plan something outrageous and memorable, or fun, or active. Anything but a meeting that resembles a job interview. I like to know right out of the gate if I can laugh with a woman. Remember, if this girl is as amazing as you hope she is, she’s been on more first dates than Drew Barrymore—make this memorable for her (hint: women love surprises). Lead with a gripping opening to your story with her!
The refined woman creates the space for the wild at heart…spontaneity…and the unknown to invade. It is incredible what transpires within relationships when a man is given the freedom to be a man. To be unapologetically wild. What results is a beautiful encounter between the masculine and feminine.
Every man is an adventurer inside. But the choice to live one is his own.
Photos by me: Kat Harris