It seems just weeks ago that i completed running the length of the Atacama Desert from the Peruvian border to Copiapo. It took me 20 days averaging 60 kms per day in sometimes wicked terrain to do it. And temperatures....I have to be honest- the contrast shocked me. During the day it would get up to the 40's and at night drop down to near freezing. Thankfully, Canada Goose designer extraordinaire Spencer Orr had once again made magic happen. He made a totally packable lightweight down jacket (i carried around 20 pounds of emergency supplies including warm clothing and another 10 pounds of Gatorade on my back) that kept me warm enough to get decent sleep while in the desert night. Actually, last year when i crossed Lake Baikal in winter unsupported, Spencer worked his magic to create a pair of super warm super lightweight down pants. Now i had their "sister" with me to keep me warm at night in Atacama...a bright red 900 fill down jacket.
But its not just about keeping warm. Its putting in the miles that will get you there!!! As difficult as this project was, the day to day communication with students inspired me to keep going. And talk about inspiration...well, as i write this i am in the airport heading to Bolivia, where 5 Youth Ambassadors selected through my organization impossible2Possible will run 250 km across the Salara de Uyuni in Bolivia. I will be there to follow them, and watch as they share a comprehensive experiential learning program with students all over the world. Of course there will be live video conferencing, a live website and an awesome science based curriculum. But at the foundation of the project are five incredible young people demonstrating that we are all capable of the extraordinary.
Since running across the Sahara in 2006, and then other projects including an unsupported trek to the South Pole, i have learned and am convinced we all can do the "amazing" in our lives. Many people do not know that i began my athletic career in my thirties, and that i was once a pack a day smoker! This week i will once again be reminded that us...ALL of us can do unbelievable things in our lives. And seeing young people achieve that makes the rewards that much sweeter.