Never Stop: Journey In Potential

Well here goes…

I leave for the Appalachian Trail on January 28th, 2018 and I have no idea what I’m getting myself into…

In 2015 I stumbled on a video by National Geographic photographer Jimmy Chin titled “Never Stop” where he talks about his biggest regret being never seeing what he was truly capable of.  In it he says “I’ve always been driven to see what happens if I really throw myself at something. I learned early on that unless you really do that you’ll never find out, and I would be really sad if I never found what my potential was. In a way I guess that’s almost the meaning of life, finding a purpose and pushing yourself in that space whatever that is. The two great risks I believe are, risking too much, but the one that I am really scared of is risking too little, because you have this opportunity and you should make the most of it.”

Jimmy’s words have stuck with me ever since. In my own life I had found plenty of things that I was passionate about, but like many people in their late 20’s I hadn’t yet figured out how to use those passions to get to know myself better. Granted Jimmy Chin is an incredibly talented climber and adventure photographer for National Geographic—his job and his lifestyle are easy to envy—but  his words apply to anyone looking to explore their limits and shake up their life. I started hearing Jimmy’s words in my head, and applying them in my own life.

In 2016 I got hooked on a series of videos from a guy called John Zahorian (shoutout Jawnzee) about his experiences with thru hiking. I started watching videos and reading articles about this amazing community of people who were finding ways to test themselves both mentally and physically in nature via thru-hiking.

That brings me to today, and to the very long and difficult trip I’m about to take. As a preamble, i’m person who has always lived my life in extremes. I’m the guy who trains relentlessly for six months to pull off a half ironman, and I’m also the guy who drinks 18 beers and rolls the dice to see who has to eat a handful of dirt. If you ask my friends and family they’ll describe my personal life in similar terms. When I set my mind to a goal I want to achieve, I can be incredibly driven, and I often tend to bite off more than I can chew. So naturally it wasn’t enough to walk one trail, or even two. Instead I gravitated to the most extreme version or thru hiking I can think of..The Calendar Triple Crown.

Through my research I was introduced to people like Brian Robinson: 1st person to complete the Calendar Triple Crown, Andrew Skurka: 1st person to complete The Great Western Loop and Cam Honan: completed the 12 long walks with a Calendar Triple Crown tossed in for good measure. I was astonished at both the physical accomplishment and the mental fortitude that these guys must possess to have have achieved these incredible accomplishments.

Eventually, with Jimmy’s words buzzing in the back of my head, the inevitable happened: I looked myself in the mirror asked what was stopping me from doing these things?

After that getting up to go to work every day became onerous. I would sit at my desk  daydreaming about taking off—experiencing some of the most beautiful places  in the world in one of the only pure ways left that I can see to do so.

Plans were put in motion…. I quit my job. Gave up my apartment. Planned my route and foods drops down to the last mile. This is happening…

I have no idea what this year is going to hold for me. I’m beyond excited to throw myself into this experience, push my limits, and explore my potential. Hopefully you guys will follow along – I’d love to share the journey with anyone who wants to hear about it.

See you on the trail!



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Comments 1

  • Joseph John McCole : Apr 22nd

    Hi Mike, good on you. Please keep me posted. I’m jealous.
    Joe , Toronto


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