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Joe

Breaking Out of the Cycle of Rinse and Repeat

What is our purpose? Why do we seek new adventure? When is it ok to accept our current situation? The world is a funny place. We’re surrounded by people who confirm that what we’re doing is “right.” How can we know that were on the right path?

Society can trick us into a degree of comfort. We wake up one day and realize that silently the years have passed and we’ve accomplished none of our goals. Our dreams to become “something” that felt so real when we were a child have fallen by the wayside. Yet, we have everything we need. Our basic needs are fulfilled, yet were still unhappy. Where did we go wrong? How did we fall into the cycle of rinse and repeat?

Comfort is relative. Pain is temporary.

The decision to change is painful. Our dreams inspire us, but when put into action they scare us. The first roadblock is the best excuse to give up. How many times have you started something and given up because it got “hard?” How many times have you heard about a friend who started a fad diet only to fail? What are we doing wrong?

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The truth is we aren’t doing anything wrong. We’re doing what we were programmed to do. We seek safety and comfort. From the days our ancestors ran from large animals, our brain has been programmed to seek security. When things get hard, we’ve been taught to revert back to our old ways. New is scary.

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Our brain has been programmed to think this way, but deep down we know the hardest things give us the most satisfaction. How many times have we avoided doing something thinking it was too hard, only to realize that it isn’t that bad? Think of that guy or girl we were afraid to ask out. Every time it felt better to ask them out regardless of the outcome. The juice is always worth the squeeze. Comfort is relative. Pain is temporary.

When Life Becomes a Cycle of Rinse and Repeat

We grew up thinking one thing. We have to work until were 65 and retire to a suburban life. Joy does not come from work it comes from the one vacation a year or a long weekend trip. We come home tired and can barely find the time to make dinner. We ignore our loved ones because we’re so caught up with “work.” The little things are no longer important. Life becomes a cycle. It becomes a rinse and repeat.

Why do we ignore that little voice that’s pulling us to do something different? How can we learn to listen and ignore society’s expectations?

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The first step is realizing there are other options. You don’t have to live an unfulfilled life. The path less traveled will be harder, but the fulfillment is worth the effort. The best rewards are at the end of a hard day’s work. Do you feel fulfilled after binge-watching House of Cards? Probably not. When and where have you felt fulfilled? I bet it’s when you truly work for something. That dream job you’ve been chasing, yet seems out of reach is closer than you think. Sometimes the difference between reaching your goals and failing is one day of effort. One phone call. One text. What is the one thing holding you back? Identify it and crush your goals.

When did Rinse and Repeat Become the Norm?

The people around you may not understand you. They support you, but secretly you know that they think you’re crazy. We’ve been taught that breaking the norm is dangerous. Since you’ve decided to break the norm, you’re dangerous. Rinse and repeat is the norm. Why change? Why be different? You’re comfortable now.

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Discomfort is far more rewarding. What are your best memories? I bet they’re times when you did something new. A trip or an uncomfortable work project. A new and unexpected relationship. These are the things we want, yet we refuse to seek them. Become “a seeker.” Never be afraid to fight for what you believe in. When you fight for what you want, you won’t take no for an answer. You seek out people like you. People that are willing to fight. Your limits are in your imagination.

It Won’t be Easy

You won’t always feel in charge. You’re going to want to go back to comfort. Surround yourself with a community that understands why you are fighting. You won’t feel alone in the world anymore. Nobody ever did something great alone. The greatest thinkers have the greatest support networks. Find people that are willing to fight as hard as you are. Stop dealing with people that are satisfied with rinse and repeat.

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The world is a big place. Our corner is small, but we can make a difference. By fighting for what we believe, we can change the world. The actualization that we can be different will change your life. Fight. Never be satisfied with rinse and repeat.

What have you done to break out of the cycle of rinse and repeat? Where are you on your journey? What lessons have you learned about finding your true passions? Let me know in the comments.

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Join the Fitness Crusaders to FIGHT the Battle for Passion

Do you need support in your journey to break out of the cycle of rinse and repeat? Join the FREE Fitness Crusaders FB group for support and challenges to get you out of your comfort zone. Eat healthier, train smarter, and FIGHT the demons of complacency! Join the community that will support YOU in your fight for passion. Pick up your lance and mount your bike to conquer the battlefields of life!

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Joe

How a Through Hike Can Change Your Life

My body was tired. 40 miles in and everything hurt. Each step pounded my already sore feet. My legs propelled me into an open meadow surrounded by 3 mountains. The soreness subsided and my body did what it knew best: it kept walking. I became engrossed in beauty as I passed waterfalls, roaring rivers, and flowing springs. As mile 50 approached the sun began to set. I moved up the last climb almost autonomously. The sun crested the sky as I reached the top of the climb. Tears welled up in my eyes at the sheer beauty. The sun set over the mountains as I reached camp. I finally lay down to sleep with the pure sense of accomplishment at having hiked over 50 miles.

Before I started my through hike I never realized how hard I could push my body. I had biked across the country but I was unprepared for the pounding my body would take on a through hike. Walking 20 plus miles a day takes an incredible toll on the body. In the beginning, I never wanted to quit anything more. 20 miles felt like a chore. By the end of my through hike 35 plus miles felt incredible.

There’s something intoxicating about walking through the woods. Your mind is free to wander wherever it wants to go. The world feels open to you. A through hike looks impossible, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulty. I hope I can inspire you to get out and hike. It doesn’t have to be 2,600 miles on the PCT. Even a weekend backpacking trip can deliver incredible benefits.

You get your Own Space

It’s a misnomer to think that’ll you’ll “find yourself” on a through hike. If you’re searching for a revelation a through hike likely won’t give that to you. However, a through hike does give you the space to think. Most of your thoughts are inconsequential. I found myself singing random songs in my head or zoning out a lot of the time. Sometimes my thoughts went to interesting places. I had my own space to think about what I wanted. The distractions of modern life were gone. It was me and the woods. No traffic, no deadlines, and no technology. My objectives were simple: walk, eat, drink, and sleep. Through hiking gives you the space to be your true self.

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A quiet morning in the woods is worth a thousand quiet drives to work. The peace and serenity are intoxicating. Every passing tree is a new sight. Each bend brings a new sight. Your world is opened which opens your mind. Small changes are more noticeable. The passing bird, the blooming flower, or the scurrying chipmunk all play a part in your day. The little things become beautiful. With all the distractions gone, you can focus on being there. It’s an intoxicating feeling.

A Through Hike Simplifies Things

Through hiking makes life simple. You have one goal every day: walk some miles and find a nice place to sleep. Your body dictates how much you want to walk every day. Feeling tired? Walk less. When you feel good you can walk more. Life is pretty simple. All your worries are gone. You’re disconnected from the world out of cell phone range and away from daily problems. On a through hike simplicity is bliss. How many times in your regular life have you been able to disconnect? There is always something that demands your attention. On a through hike, nothing demands your attention.

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With simplicity comes clarity. You realize that you don’t need to overcomplicate things. This translates directly to your life. Complex things become simple. That nagging work assignment becomes much easier. That dreaded phone call to an insurance company is nothing. You become more at peace with getting things done because you’ve realized how easy it can be. Just like hiking completing complex tasks is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Once you get going your momentum carries you through.

When you Walk 1,000 miles Everything Seems Easier

Walking every day is hard. The body takes a pounding. Muscles get sore that you didn’t even know you had. When you walk this far on a through hike daily tasks seem so much easier. It doesn’t seem so hard to make that sale pitch or create that product. You’ve pushed your body so far that doing new things is no longer uncomfortable. You’ve grown comfortable with the uncomfortable. You’re ready for hard things because you’ve already done an incredibly hard thing.

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When you’ve done something this incredibly hard, hard things seem mundane. Doing hard things is what allows you to grow. When you’re growing every day you can only become more successful. Learning to grow every day will revolutionize the way you live your life. A through hike will help you grow every day.

You Need Less After A Through Hike

When you live with only a backpack you realize that you don’t need much in your everyday life. During a through hike, you only need a few clothes, a mat, a tent, and a sleeping bag. Ever day luxuries are unnecessary. In town, a carpeted floor is a luxury. Your diet is simple and food is fuel. Things no longer make you happy. Experiences are what fuel you.

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It’s incredible how being in the woods changes your perspective. You need less and this translates directly to regular life. At home, you want fewer things and you value experiences so much more. People take on a whole new meaning. A good conversation is so much more valuable than an hour in front of the tv. It takes far less to make you happy.

Hike Your Hike

You learn quickly on a through hike that you can’t try to keep up with people. There are going to be people faster than you and slower than you. If you pay attention to how other people do it, you’ll lose track of yourself. This is how people get hurt. They push too hard to try to keep up with people faster than them. Some people have more gear and some have less. Some prefer tents while others prefer bivvys. There is no right or wrong way to do it. The best advice someone can give you on the trail is to hike your own hike. Walk the pace you enjoy and bring what you need.

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This is incredibly valuable advice for real life as well. We try to emulate others far too often instead of doing what makes us happy. Do what makes you happy. Just like it may take someone longer to finish a through hike, it may take you longer to reach your goals. Follow your own path and don’t worry about what others are doing. Concentrating on others is a distraction and will slow you down from doing what you need to do. Hike your own hike and you’ll be so much happier.

People Become so Much More Important

On a through hike, it’s incredible the amount of human generosity you experience. People go out of their way to help you. People gave me food, housing, and most importantly incredible conversation. The woods can be a place of solitude, so any conversation feels so much more meaningful. You learn that people care about each other. When they see someone in need they are willing to drop everything to help them. People drive out to remote places for days to feed hikers. They offer up their homes, their food, and their time.

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The people I met on the trail quickly became one of the highlights. When you’re with someone 24 hours a day and seven days a week you learn a lot about them. Conversation is no longer surface level. You learn who a person is truly. I’ve had some of my best conversations on trail as the conversation becomes the singular focus. There are no distractions. This helps you understand people at home. You learn to trust people and open yourself up. You create deep meaningful relationships that last a lifetime.

A Through Hike Will Change Your Life

A through hike is not the answer to all your problems, but it can change your life. I went looking for solitude trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. I found some, but what stood out was the relationships I formed. Today backpacking has become so much more popular. You can’t expect to be the only one in the woods, but you can expect to find like-minded people who will do anything for you. You will find a sense of joy you can’t find anywhere else. Your life will be simplified in a way you can apply at home. The benefits of through-hiking are many, but you don’t need to hike 2,600 miles to realize them. A weekend backpacking trip can do wonders. Go find your local state forest and walk 10 miles into it and sleep. It’s that simple.

Through hiking is not for everyone. It’s tough on the body and the mind. The mental toughness you create by walking every day is hard to get anywhere else. A through hike makes you a stronger person on so many levels. A short backpacking trip can do a lot of the same. I hope I can inspire you to get out there even if it’s only for 10 miles.

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What have you found to be the biggest benefits of hiking? Have you done any long-distance backpacking trips? What inspires you in nature? Let me know in the comments.

Join the Fitness Crusaders to FIGHT the battle for fitness

Want more travel tips? Join the FREE Fitness Crusaders FB group for support and challenges to live healthier. Eat healthier, train smarter, and FIGHT the demons of bad health! Join the community that will support YOU in your fight for fitness. Pick up your lance and mount your bike to conquer the battlefields of fitness!

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Joe

Circumnavigating the US by Bike: 28 – SD to Pasadena

August 2017 I set out on an open-ended bicycle tour circumnavigating the US. This video blog highlights the twenty-eight and final leg of my journey from San Diego to Pasadena, CA.

This final victory lap took me up the coast in beautiful fashion. I rode up and down hills with the ocean always in sight. I enjoyed the incredible waves, sun, and palm trees. The riding felt incredibly relaxed as I soaked it all in. The emotions coursed through me as I neared the end of my tour. The route opened up beyond San Diego as civilization dropped off and beach dominated. The open cliffs and scenery were like nothing I’ve ever seen. Outside of LA, the route rejoined civilization as I rode on beautiful bike paths along more incredible coastline. Finally, I turned inward and rode a beautiful bike path up the San Gabriel river before reaching Pasadena. It was fitting to end the tour at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains: my next adventure. Join me as I finish the tour in an epic fashion.

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Join the Fitness Crusaders to Follow my Tour

Want more on my tour? Join the FREE Fitness Crusaders FB group for LIVE daily video and pictures. Follow me as I circumnavigate the US on my bicycle. Get the inspiration you need to start your fitness routine. Find the group that will support your battle for fitness!

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Joe

Circumnavigating the US by Bike: 27 – Ocotillo to San Diego

In August 2017 I set out on an open-ended bicycle tour circumnavigating the US. This video blog highlights the twenty-seventh leg of my journey from Ocotillo to San Diego, CA.

This leg of the tour was an incredible culmination of 5,000 miles of human-powered effort. I rode up 4,000 feet to climb over the Sierra Nevada mountains. I saw my first green in months making the climb worth it. The ride through the mountains rolled past trees and lush plant life. Every corner brought an incredible vista. I rode along the border and began to head down the mountain to San Diego. The weather began to heat up as I rode through the desert until I approached the coast. The emotions coursed through me as I approached the Pacific Ocean. I had ridden 5,000 miles across desolate terrain and I had met incredible people. I’d gone through multiple tubes, a new bike frame, and a rebuilt wheel. Touching my wheel in the ocean could not have felt better. Check out the video for the full experience!

Join the Fitness Crusaders to Follow my Tour

Want more on my tour? Join the FREE Fitness Crusaders FB group for LIVE daily video and pictures. Follow me as I circumnavigate the US on my bicycle. Get the inspiration you need to start your fitness routine. Find the group that will support your battle for fitness!

Fitness_Crusaders Blog

Joe

How Bike Touring Can Change your Life

Suddenly, I felt a cool breeze. The heat quickly subsided as my bike coasted downhill. My body no longer felt fatigue, but my mind was more active than ever. Emotions coursed through me as tears welled up in my eyes. The miles ticked down and my tears ran as I approached the Pacific Ocean. The ocean came into view and I knew that I had made it. 5,000 miles and seven months seemed like a passing fantasy. It was all I could do to pedal the last few miles to the ocean. As I dipped my wheel in the ocean, months of effort spilled out all at once. I sat and enjoyed a moment like I’ve never felt before.

I never imagined what this bike tour would be like or how I would feel after. Reaching the coast brought my emotions out all at once. I felt the incredible sense of accomplishment, yet at the same time, I felt upset it was over. My mind was a confluence of emotion. It was only over time while sitting with these emotions that I was able to comprehend them. The adventure and challenge were what attracted me to bike touring, but the love I was shown on the road was what kept me pedaling. I experienced life in a new, more beautiful way.

Bike Touring Can Change Your Life

It’s true. Bike touring can change your life. I knew when I left my front door that I would change in some way, but I never imagined the scale. I’m a fundamentally different person for a variety of reasons, and it all began with that first pedal stroke out of my driveway. I look back at the person I was and I’m still amazed at how much I’ve changed. What is it about bike touring that is so transformative? Why did I follow through with something that most people think is impossible?

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Bike touring is incredible because it changes the way you look at yourself and the place you live or visit. There is no better method of local travel. Inch by inch you absorb everything around you. You’re in it. You interact with people you would never have met. You see things you never dreamed of seeing. There is so much beauty in all of it. The beauty in sight, sound, and people keep you pedaling. The experience is immersive and addictive. There will always be bad days, but the good days far outweigh them. I even look back at bad days with fondness at having gotten through them. Bike touring changes your perspective on the simplest things.

Your definition of comfort and need changes

It’s incredible how the little things mean so much more when you’re bike touring. A couch can mean the world when you’ve been sleeping on the ground for weeks. A hot meal tastes incredible after hours in the saddle. Conversation with a stranger brings incredible happiness after days of solitude. Little things mean so much more and you need so much less. You make do with what you can carry and you’re happy. You don’t need all the stuff you had at home. You’re happier than ever despite having nothing.

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Little things bring you happiness. An incredible view or a sunset take on a new meaning. You find happiness in making it to your destination without problems. At the same time, you deal with issues that would break any normal person. I shrugged off broken spokes, a broken frame, and countless flats. I knew someway or somehow, I’d make it. Problems mean less because you’ve really been through it. You’re pushed outside your comfort zone every day. Everything is new. The mundane gets easy. You need less and little things are incredibly satisfying. I never appreciated these little moments of happiness at home. It took getting out the door to appreciate them.

You Learn to Appreciate People

People are amazing. When you grow up in one place or stay close to home, you can grow jaded when it comes to the kindness of strangers. The news portrays strangers as dangerous and untrustworthy. I found the opposite. 99% of people are good. I had people give me food, money, a place to stay, or words of encouragement. Everyone I met was so giving. They saw my vulnerability and were willing to help me in any way they could. People were never selfish. They were so different than the perception.

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This doesn’t mean I have an inherent trust in everyone. There are still people out there trying to take advantage of others, but the majority of people want to help. They want you to feel welcome in their town. They want you to understand them and their roots on a deep level. When you stop and listen, people have incredible stories to tell. Everyone is different, but everyone has an incredible story. Their stories can help you live better. You learn from people from different backgrounds which makes you more well-rounded. Strangers have a lot to teach.

Your Mind Learns Your Body Can Do Anything

5,000 miles looks daunting if not impossible. Just thinking about it brought me fear and trepidation. I succeeded by taking my tour mile by mile. In tough times I told myself I only had to make it the next ten miles. Ten miles later I pushed myself another ten miles. The mind is incredible when you push your body. You learn you can go beyond your limits and do things you never thought you could. Bike touring teaches the mind that your body can do anything. I’ve gotten through some incredibly difficult rides because I willed myself to do it. I rode over mountains, through 30 mph headwinds, and 175 miles in a day. It was only through small wins that I worked up to conquer these challenges.

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Bike touring is a slow building process where your mind realizes it can do more and more every day. You can start by riding 20 miles a day which may be more than you’ve ever done. It won’t be long before 80 miles feels like nothing. It’s incredible how the mind and body adapt to new challenges. Bike touring pushes your mind and body outside your comfort zone, so you can reach places you never imagined.

You Gain a New Appreciation for Nature

There is something incredible about being outside every day. It feels like something you were meant to do. You become absorbed in the warmth of the sun or a blooming flower. You take on a new appreciation for nature. On a bike, you’re surrounded by nature. My tour took me past oceans, lakes, mountains, streams, forests, and desert. I saw the US from a unique perspective. I saw scenery change as I moved from the deciduous forest to the pine forests of the south to the swamp. Across the country, the terrain flattened out with incredible coastal views followed by desert. Scenery and landscapes change before your eyes. You appreciate the beauty.

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Nature doesn’t feel like something foreign or forbidding. It feels welcoming and new. I gained a new appreciation for all of it. A quiet bridge over a stream took on a new meaning just as much as a grand vista on a mountain. You begin to notice things you didn’t before. The hummingbird landing on the flower or the circling hawk appear even though they were there the whole time. Bike touring can change your life because nature becomes visceral. It encourages a happiness I’ve never felt before.

Bike Touring is Transformative

Bike touring changed the way I live my life. It helped me realize who I am while helping me gain a better appreciation for the US and its people. I learned to love nature and strangers. I never imagined what my body could do and how hard I could push myself. My definition of comfort became all about the little things. I appreciated everything so much more. I’ve been changed fundamentally and I have my bike tour to thank. I knew the tour would be transformative, but I never imagined how different I would be. I’m still going through my emotions at having finished this epic adventure, but I know that the lessons will last a lifetime.

You don’t have to travel 5,000 miles on a bike to gain some of the lessons I did. A weekend tour to the next town can do just as much. Don’t overcomplicate it. Grab your bike and bike as far as you can. You don’t even need camping gear. Use www.warmshowers.org or stay at a motel. Your mind and body will thank you. Get out there and explore. Let bike touring change your life. You won’t regret it.

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Have you done any large bike tours? What do you think about bike touring or travel and how it can change you? Have you had any experiences which fundamentally changed the way you think about the world? Let me know in the comments.

Join the Fitness Crusaders to FIGHT the battle for fitness

Want more lifestyle tips? Join the FREE Fitness Crusaders FB group for support and challenges to live healthier. Eat healthier, train smarter, and FIGHT the demons of bad health! Join the community that will support YOU in your fight for fitness. Pick up your lance and mount your bike to conquer the battlefields of fitness!

Fitness_Crusaders Blog