My 12 Hour Walk | #203
November 5th, 2022: Greetings from Austin! Hope everyone is having a fantastic week.
#1 Taking A 12-Hour Walk
Last Friday I woke up and packed a bag with extra socks, an umbrella, and an extra shirt. It looked like it was about to downpour but I decided to go anyway. I opened my door, opened the app, and hit “start walk.”
I was embarking on a “12-hour walk.” This was something I decided to do while seeing Colin O’Brady speak about it at a conference I attended in June. His 12-hour walk was inspired by a world-record attempt across Antarctica. He trained to walk across the continent 10 hours a day but was competing against someone from Britain, Captain Lewis Rudd, that was going a bit harder. In the first week, he saw that Rudd was going beyond 10 hours. O’Brady decided to push himself further and go 11 hours at first, and then 12. In the final few days, he was completely alone, competing against himself and not distracting himself with music, podcasts, or anything like that. He drifted in and out of what he described as “meditative flow states.”
He finished and set the world record.
During the pandemic, he was feeling trapped. He decided to get up and walk. He wanted to recapture that peace and contentedness he had in Antarctica.
He set out and wandered for 12 hours without a phone.
That day, the 12-hour walk was born.
A Portal To A Different State
I interviewed Alastair Humphreys a couple of years ago on my podcast. He’s an adventurer who’s done things like bike 46,000 miles around the world. He invented something called a “micro-adventure.” This is something you can do in 24 hours that puts you out of your comfort zone and lets you sample the life of an adventurer.
So many people who push the edges of what’s possible seem desperate to share what they find with people and make it more accessible for people like me.
I sense this is because there is a massive disconnect between their experience of something and others’ perceptions of it. They not only accomplish the feat but found that the process was way more enjoyable and satisfying than they expected.
I haven’t crossed Antarctica but by becoming self-employed I’m existing in a state that many people write off as extremely risky, even dangerous. Earlier this week I was describing how my experience of this life is that it feels way less risky and has way more upsides than my previous path.
When you experience this disconnect you want to evangelize.
I’ve done this in my book of course, but it seems that you can’t quite get a taste of shifting your state by trying on new ideas in your head.
This is why experiments like a micro-adventure or a 12-hour walk are so powerful.
In 2015, I took my first solo trip. I rented a car in San Diego and drove north. I knew I would spend the following weekend in San Francisco but didn’t have a plan. Each day I would wake up, go to the best-rated coffee shop on google maps and sit and write. I would let the day take its course. At the time I felt like I was rebelling against something. It was the first time I aimed at being present in the moment without a plan. It was the first time I sensed and felt the world pushing back, telling me to do stuff, do stuff.
At the coffee shop, I would talk to whoever was around and ask, “what do you like to do here?”. These recommendations sent me to Hearst castle, a beautiful sunset in a random town on the coast, and a park in Los Angeles. It was a beautiful week, and despite not leaving my job for another year and a half, that week seems like an important turning point in my life.
Wandering in this way, without a plan, can be a radical act. In our lifetime things like Mapquest and Google maps have nearly eliminated the chances that we ever become really lost. Most people over the age of 40 have a story of getting lost but few young people do.
My counterintuitive advice to people who want to improve their relationship with work is often to go out for a short walk without a destination.
It doesn’t have to be 12 hours. Block off a few hours one afternoon and wander.
That’s it. Don’t tell anyone, and don’t pick a destination. Only turn when it feels right. Try to get in touch with your intuition. It’s there, trust me.
Move the body to move the mind not the other way around.
People think improving your relationship to work is about finding the right job, side hustle, better pay, and things like that.
I sense the real challenge is learning how to feel comfortable being lost.
We live in a time where we grow up with stories that tell us life can be mapped onto a linear path. Reality is much more confusing and certainly non-linear.
Gratitude and Contentedness
It was with all this perspective that I set out for 12 hours last Friday. O’Brady’s instructions for the walk are simple:
My experience was amazing.
It was a way to remind myself of the non-doing states that I’ve experienced over the past seven years - the ones that crept more and more into my day-to-day experience after that trip up the coast of California.
The last six hours were hard physically but not mentally. I dropped into a flow state and kept walking despite my legs saying “sir, please stop!”
I saw a beautiful sunset on the greenbelt trail, got scared as it got dark and something ruffled in the bushes beside me, and then was overflowing with gratitude as I walked into an empty Zilker park overlooking Austin.
I laughed quite loudly and spun a couple of times in the field. I was filled with joy.
I cheated and took this picture:
For 12 hours last Friday, I just wandered.
A radical act in today’s world.
But one where you can remember what it’s all about.
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#2 Jonny Miller and The Pathless Path
I released a two-hour podcast episode with my friend Jonny Miller last week. Some people are saying it is their favorite episode yet.
Since meeting four years ago, we’ve lived together in Bali and Mexico, traveled in Japan and the US, and both met and married our wives. We’ve seen each other grow and evolve over, touching base probably every week or so. Having seen each other “behind the scenes,” we’ve also gotten to see each other while struggling, thriving, and everything in between.
It’s such a pleasure to be able to interview a friend like this. We went deep into Jonny’s story and I was able to ask him questions I’ve always wanted to ask but don’t quite make sense in a normal conversation.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
#3 Why I Quit Consulting & What I Liked About It
I’ve had fun creating YouTube videos after finding some great editors. I’ve decided it might be worth putting energy into my consulting skills channel which already has 16k subscribers. I’ve sort of just let it run for the past few years making a few videos a year but a few other people in the space started putting more videos out there and I thought “I can do better than this!”
Here is a short video about why I left consulting and what I loved about it (until I didn’t):
ICYMI - last week, various links and other fun stuff
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