My name is Dion McGill and I am the host off Off The Beaten Podcast, or OTBP. OTBP grew out of my love for 2 things: history and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I am a social scientist by education (with a BA in Social Sciences/Secondary Education from Saint Xavier University to prove it), as well as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner (for 10 years as of July 2019).
Initially, the pod was going to be an oral history of Chicago Jiu Jitsu (which I feel like is always overlooked in the grand scheme of things), and all of the characters in that history. However, there is one thing I love just as much, if not more, than Brazilian Jiu Jitsu...and that is Chicago!
I've had the pleasure to live in Germany, Alaska, spend some time in Afghanistan, and Kuwait, but no place comes close to what Chicago offers. A city deep in it's own history..and the food, and the sports, and the architecture (did you know the Chicago River Architecture Cruise is voted one of the best in the world?)
But the best part of Chicago, are the people! Characters man, a cast of characters! (Do you have any idea how many cast members Chicago has provided to SNL??? But Chicago people are amazing, from our street saviness, to our midwest nice, Chicago people are so diverse, and eclectic, and as a function of both my professional and personal life, I meet a lot of them.
So many so, that I eventually decided I would do my best to capture snapshots of as many of the amazing personalities of Chicago as I could...thus "Off The Beaten Podcast" is born. It's a pun of "Off The Beaten Path" of course, which I feel is the subtitle of my life. Throughout all my adventures, I've always been fortunate, or unfortunate, to find myself off the beaten path...and so it only seemed fitting.
I hope you'll join us as we explore the lives of this amazing place. While doing so, I'm also helping to create new narratives about this great city. We are way more than gun violence, or our sometimes bad politics. Hell, those are some of the things that make Chicagoans so damn tough.
Make sure your seatbelt is fastened properly. It's bound to be a wild ride.
Host, Off The Beaten Podcast