The coolest job in the world

I had the chance this week to tag along with members of the Longest Walk 2 as they marched through Shelby County, trying to bring awareness to issues faced by Native Americans.

A couple of things occurred to me along the way.

First, I&8217;m really, really out of shape.

Second, I might have the coolest job in the world.

It could have been side effects from sunstroke, but when I got off the route, I thought, how many people will ever have an experience like that?

It isn&8217;t everyday that you get to hang out with dozens of Native Americans, some surfer dudes from California and a few Buddhist monks.

That was Friday &8212; the very next day, I got to do something else I&8217;ve always wanted to do &8212; ride a hot air balloon.

The people with RE/MAX were kind enough to let my girlfriend, Laura, and I catch a breathtaking view of Alabaster&8217;s CityFest from about 100 feet of the ground.

It was just after sunset and absolutely gorgeous. She thought it was romantic; I was trying not to show how scared I am of heights.

But it isn&8217;t just these last few days that make me realize what an awesome job I have.

I get to meet new people everyday, and then tell their stories; my adventures could fill a book, or at least a newspaper.

From ghost hunting with the Gulf State Paranormal Society last Halloween to dining with two dozen real bearded Santas last September, I&8217;ve had some pretty surreal moments.

I&8217;ve been a security guard for the day at the Shelby County Jail and a meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Calera.

I&8217;ve waded alongside water moccasins in Ebenezer Swamp and been right on the sidelines of some classic high school football games.

The great thing is I know there are still plenty of compelling stories yet to be told.

We here at the Reporter just won some pretty hefty hardware.

Two weeks ago, we were named the best weekly paper in Alabama for the second year in a row by the Alabama Press Association.

The recognition is nice, but we still have work to do.

We haven&8217;t even scratched the surface on telling about all the wonderful (and sometimes zany) things happening in Shelby County.

Drop me an email or call the office if you have something that would make a great story. I&8217;m always game.