An Ultrarunning Blog

The Art of Loneliness and Long Distances.

“The truth is that it is natural, as well as necessary, for every man to be a vagabond occasionally.” 

Sometimes in order to be lifted up, you must first be brought down. I have now been experiencing the vagabond dirtbag runner life for two months. While it is as awesome as I had dreamt it to be, it is not without challenges or for the weak-spirited, but adventure is always worthwhile.

Two months ago, it all began with solemn excitement, hopeful anticipation, and what I thought were the necessities. After just one week I realized that my 3 carry-on sized luggages of clothes was way more than enough. They were filtered and condensed into one. Seeking minimalism is required in this lifestyle, excess will just weigh you down. Minimalist living is not for everyone and I have yet to decide if it is still even for me. I have been able to distill my belongings which are in arms reach but my storage unit tells a different story. My hope is over time I will realize how frivolous all ‘things’ are as my mind begins to forget what I have stored.

Baggage

One personality trait I have been able to develop further is my self-motivation/sufficiency. I am so glad I already had this engrained in me, otherwise I think the vagabond life would eat my soul. Some days I get that longing feeling of needing something to do, anything. Remember that from your childhood? How long has it been since you’ve felt that? It had been years, maybe decades, for me.

Other days I am overwhelmed with possibilities. I recently viewed the film 180 degrees South. Jeff leaves California via boat for an incredibly long journey towards Patagonia to climb. The film documents his adventures and stoked in me the flames of long distance travel. The next day I began researching ways to become a deckhand and make way to South America. One of my best friends has connections and has offered to help me flesh out this extreme dream. While this particular scenario might not happen (for now), I feel something in the same vein is bound to soon.

I am in the midst of training for the H.U.R.T. 100 mile race which is in Hawaii in less than 2 months. Like a good crew, my friends have helped me beyond measures unthinkable or repayable. Those days filled with doubt and loneliness are matched with days of hurting cheeks from laughing too long and tired legs from the days mountainous excursion. It is reminiscent of running an ultra with long stretches of not seeing a soul or sometimes a marker to ensure you’re on the right path. Then suddenly you happen upon an aid station and the energy is palpable. At the end, I am left with gratitude and a desire to give back.

“The life you’ve led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.”

Now that job offers are all but on the table, I am restless. I do not want to slip back into the rhythm and routine which was stirring my heart to seek something more. I fear I will miss the opportunities and freedom too much, leaving me unfulfilled with no time to pursue my true desires. That said, there is something to feeling tired at the end of a day of hard work. Returning to the depths of scientific research and development does not have to be a return to the life I had. I will be able to carry with  me the vagabond spirit and find even more ways to pursue further the dream life this season awakened. I am willing to go the distance both in life and on the trails, empowered by the sense of life one gains as a vagabond and the arms of my friends around me. Thank you will never be enough.

Illuminate

Keep the dream alive.

Josh.

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