Lives of Adventure: Stories of those who choose to live a life less common
By Jeff Gardner
A show dedicated to telling the stories of those who choose to live adventurous lives. Lives where the outcome is uncertain but the rewards are enormous. Jeff Gardner interviews sailors, climbers, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists and more and helps you figure out how to add a little adventure to your life.
Lauren and Kirk, of Sailing Soulianis, have been chasing their 2 year cruising plan for the last 10 years. And we've all been lucky enough to have a front row seat via their YouTube channel. We've been with them as they left California, searched far and wide for a boat, and finally moved aboard their Tartan 37 on Lake Michigan, in the dead of winter. But, as with all things in life, there are trade offs and we chat about both the moments that made them chase the cruising dream in the first place as well as the down moments of fear and doubt. Nothing in life is free, but Lauren and Kirk are a testament to just how powerful patience, planning, and perseverance can be! I hope you enjoy our chat as much as I did.
Links from the show:
The beginning of their journey
Making money while sailing
Their sick spreadsheet skills! [Boat buying dashboard & Monthly cruising budget)
PERC – How to help the people of the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian (specifically the Abacos)
Hazel Findlay is a professional climber and performance coach. She was the first woman in the world to climb E9 and has since climbed a slew of hard (and often scary) routes including 3 free ascents of El Cap and, more recently, the first ascent of Tainted Love in Squamish.
We talk about Hazel's early climbing, how she managed to climb hard on a severely injured shoulder, her approach to coaching and mental training, travel, and much more.
I was so impressed with the understated way that Hazel talks about her own achievements and her lifelong dedication to learning and personal growth.
Several years ago, Dave Flanagan was laid off from his "boring computer job" (his words). But it's what happened next that is interesting. He took what should have been a setback and turned it into completely different career in a completely different field; writing guidebooks. Since then, Dave has authored or co-authored 5 guidebooks on climbing, cycling, and traveling in Ireland. Join me as I talk to Dave about how he made the transition, the ups and downs of writing for a living, and how he selects projects to work on. Note: this episode was recorded over a year ago (sorry!), so Dave's newest book on Cycling in Ireland is already out! Get it here!
Iain Miller is a marine engineer turned guide that lives in County Donegal, Ireland. Iain is responsible for establishing routes on nearly every sea stack in Donegal (and doing most of them free solo). Iain spends most of his days guiding clients in the hills, mountains, seas, and on the crags in and around Donegal, one of Ireland's most wild and remote counties. We chat about how he landed in Donegal as a Scotsman, how he got into climbing sea stacks, his views on soloing, and why he gets so much out of guiding.
Harald Zundel is a renowned adventure racer, ultra-runner, and all-around endurance junkie. Born in Germany, Harald came to the US for university and then joined the Navy. Early in his naval career he somewhat accidentally decided to become a navy seal. As if it’s easy, right? Harald did his first adventure race on a team with several other Navy Seals. They won that race and Harald was hooked on adventure racing. He became a professional adventure racer shortly after and spent nearly 8 years travelling and competing full-time before quitting the pro life and endurance sports altogether for a few years. But Harald is not one to take the relaxing path. More recently, he has gotten back into punishing, I mean, challenging himself by running extremely long distance races like the Barkley Marathons, the Bigfoot 200, and the Ultra trail du Mont Blanc.
Damian Browne spent 16 years as a professional rugby player. That's more than twice the length of the average professional rugby career. Based on that fact alone it should be clear that he has both physical and mental resiliency in spades. Since retiring from Rugby, Damian has poured his non-trivial amount of energy into traveling, photographing, and pushing himself–both physically and mentally–in far flung regions of the world. Everything from 6 day, 250km ultra marathons in the Sahara, climbing Kilimanjaro, trekking through Afghanistan, and riding iron ore through west Africa. We cover a lot of ground in this episode; talking about his rugby career and what traits enabled him to last (and enjoy it) for so long, talking about his new passion of photography, his love of travel, and what drives him to attempt his more audacious adventures.
Elaina Arenz is a professional climbing guide and is the owner or co-owner of several businesses including New River Mountain Guides and Chick with Picks. She’s spent most of her adult life living on the road, climbing nearly every day, and has been responsible for numerous first ascents all over the world, including being an early pioneer at El Potrero Chico in Mexico. It was great to catch up with Elaina. We talked about everything from getting to reinvent herself every few years as a kid, the first outdoor climbing she ever did (including her first lead, on her first day climbing outside), her eventful and course-altering road trip from Alaska to Mexico (and the characters she met along the way), and her more recent escapades as a guide, bringing people into the world of climbing.
Kevin Tobin is the Director of Passages Adventure camp in Richmond Virginia and over the last 25 years has introduced thousands of kids to adventure. He's an ultrarunner, adventure racer, and an all around hard core guy. In our wide-ranging discussion we talk about what motivates him to push his body and mind so hard, how he has the best day job in the world, and why a little fear is good for kids.
What is adventure to you? And how do you even recognize it when it comes your way? It goes back to what you want out of life and what your own values are. We take a few minutes in this mini-episode to talk about these questions and leave you with a challenge.
Joan Mulloy has spent most of her life on the water. From her first memory of sailing–which is absolutely hilarious–to her decision to give up a good job and a relationship to become a professional sailor, Joan's story is one of constantly taking the path less traveled. Joan is currently the fleet captain at The Offshore Academy in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and is preparing for a solo sailing campaign which she hopes leads her to sailing in the solo, nonstop, race around the world that is the Vendee Globe in 2020.
John Gardner, better known as Common Jack these days, is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor, composer, dancer, and all around nice guy. John graduated from Ithaca College and immediately landed a coveted spot on the Off Broadway production of Once and spent the next 2 years on the road across the US, Canada, and Japan. More recently John's sometimes solo sometimes band Common Jack has released two albums, Bowl, Holland and Strange New State. In this wide-ranging discussion we talk about everything from growing up under the same roof (he's my brother after all) to how to tip the odds in your favor for tough auditions.