“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller
There aren’t very many people in this world who do things worth talking about.
Watching the telly on a Sunday night? Not so interesting. Gossiping, checking email, doing the same old thing? Not big news. Media coverage trends towards the negative, the unexpected, the dangerous. We have a dearth of good news, because the happy news is swamped by the bad news.
Sometimes people do things worth talking about.
And this is one of my favorites: I am so impressed, inspired, and motivated by Nate Damm, who walked across America and finished his journey here in San Francisco, in the Pacific Ocean, down by ocean beach. I was lucky enough to join in for the final few miles with Joel Runyan and Bekka Scott, among others — but most of the journey he did solo, on his own, wandering 20-40 miles a day along highways, single-lane roads, in small towns, and through big cities.
Check out Nate’s site for a recap (soon) and to watch the videos he takes along the way. Seven and a half months and 3400 miles later, and he made it across the entire country. Could you do it? Could you walk every day for 220 days and find your way across the states? Here are some of the photographs – and a brilliant video by Bekka Scott, at the end.
View towards San Francisco, from north in Sausalito. October 15th, 2011, 10 AM.
Bekka Scott, Joel Runyan, and Nate Damm – just past the golden gate bridge.
The beautiful, often stunning, landscapes of northern california.
Something worth doing.
This journey reminds me of Kevin Kelly’s writing in the recent book, End Malaria. Kelly is the founder of Wired Magazine. In work and life, he says that we have to do work that no one else can do. We have to do things that only we can do: Work at its smartest means doing work that no one else can do. He continues:
“It will take all of your life to find it. All, as in all your days. And all, as in all your ceaseless effort. Your greatest job is shedding what you don’t have to do.”
A lot of people talk about doing things. There are plenty of quotes about action versus inaction, about achievement and success. At the end of the day, what really matters is getting out there and doing it. Putting one foot in front of the other. Making progress each day. Not worrying too much about what the sum of the parts or being overly focused on the goal. Simple, additive, progressive, cumulative action.
The finale video, taken by Bekka Scott, shows Nate walking into the Pacific Ocean after a long journey of traveling. “I’m tired of walking,” he mentioned, briefly.
“And you know what?” he mentioned in one of the many miles he walked, “I didn’t know if I liked American before this trip.” He paused, then continued:
“I freaking love America.”