Over the past 6 years, I have written a book, run dozens of races, given talks all over the planet, including NATO headquarters in Belgium, gotten married, moved a couple of times and worked hard at planning 5.8, my next big adventure. Apparently, it’s been so exhausting that I neglected to start writing the blog I’ve been meaning to write. This blog! . . . In truth, it’s not the writing that has been the problem, it’s the starting to write that gets in the way. I think that most people can relate to this, that somehow starting something also means continuing that same something. Somehow that creates a pressure, a commitment, an obligation even, to keep doing that thing. The easiest thing is simply not to start. It’s also the least constructive path. All that said, here I am, starting to write, writing, and happy for it.
My next adventure is called the 5.8 Global Adventure Series. This journey will take me from the lowest place on each continent to the highest point on every continent, all human powered of course. This series will culminate in a nearly 5,000 mile expedition starting with a free dive in the Dead Sea, a run across the Arabian Desert, a paddle over the Indian Ocean, a bike through India and a climb up Mount Everest. There will be adventure for sure, but more importantly, there will be exploration, interaction, laughter and a deep dive into every culture I pass through. Adventure is the through line, but storytelling is what will keep me going and hopefully keep you following.
First up is Africa, beginning on August 28. Starting at Lake Assal in Djibouti on the remote coast of East Africa, I will free dive to the lowest place I can reach (I’m not really a free diver so this is a questionable decision, and likely not the last one I will make) Once I come back to the surface (hopefully), I’ll swim to shore and start running towards the Great Rift Valley. I will run and bike and navigate my way through forests, deserts, elephant herds, impalas and people, moving through Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, reaching the base of Kilimanjaro, where I will climb to the top of Africa.
In conjunction with this adventure series, I have just launched GREEN.org, my newest nonprofit venture, aimed at partnering with and empowering local nonprofits in the countries that I will run through. Just as I helped launch H2O Africa (now WATER.org) during my run across the Sahara, I have created GREEN.org to help put more purpose behind the 5.8 series. For those who don’t know what 5.8 is, it’s pretty simple. While it’s about 4500 miles from the Dead Sea to Mount Everest, it’s only 5.8 vertical miles separating these ends of the earth, from the lowest place to the highest point. Everyone reading this, every person on the planet in fact, lives within this tiny 5.8 mile sliver of atmosphere. We are all in this together, literally.
GREEN.org will focus on solving environmental issues through advanced technology, while never losing sight of the fact that it’s really about how the environment affects people. We can’t save the planet while sacrificing the people. We have to find solutions that are sustainable and can be replicated if we hope to stop the rampant destruction of our Earth. Finally, we have to raise our voices, speak our hearts, take action to make a difference. It doesn’t matter if you lead or follow, but being an observer is no longer an option. All I ask is that you share this with others, get involved with my cause or pick one that matters more to you. If you want to sponsor a segment of my journey or come along for part of it, just write to me and tell me what you have in mind.
As always, I will take my sobriety along with me on this journey. It’s not my role to tell anyone else how to live a clean and sober life, but rather I just try to share how I’ve done it. I do think that the main principles of recovery (taking one step at a time, focusing on right now) can work for anyone in any aspect of daily life.
By the way, anyone receiving this blast probably signed up for it so try not to forget that you asked for this. Since you signed up, I am assuming that you either read my book, or maybe heard me on a podcast or met me on some trail or an airplane. I freely admit that I have added many of you to this mailing list without asking you. If I did that, then I consider you to be a friend. I won’t hold it against you if you opt out. Well….I might. Regardless of how you got here, I’m grateful for your support and I’ll do my best to keep it interesting and funny. It won’t be boring, at least not for me.
On August 26, I will get on a plane, headed for Africa. I’ve attempted many expeditions, some successfully, some not so much. I try never to gloss over the hard parts because that’s where the good stuff is. My goal is to take you with me. I promise to be open and honest, but mostly I promise to share the struggle, because we all struggle. In truth, it’s the struggle that illuminates life, makes it all worth it.
See you down the trail,
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