One Step Beyond

Take a step outside your comfort zone

Hey you… Join author, runner, broadcaster, and traveler Tony Fletcher on this new show about positively engaging with the world outside our door.Whether it’s to hike a local trail or climb a distant mountain, travel to a

Ep. 15: Who was Diogenes and why should we care?

On this Episode, I go for a "bush wack'" hike up Rusk Mountain in the Catskills to disengage from the American elections. Guiding me on the climb through the snow is Ken Posner, whose minimalist approach to outdoor activities takes inspiration from the Greek vagabond-philosopher Diogenes. Ken frequently sets off on marathons, hikes, climbs and other adventures without food, water, navigational tools of any kind, and often – as on his 24-hour ‘Diogenes Challenge’ through nine Catskills peaks this last summer – without shoes. On our climb, Ken has me lead us up the trail-less, heavily wooded mountain to find the canister at its true summit, using only the knowledge I came with and my instincts. Along the way we discuss the drawbacks of relying on technology, the dangers of the modern athletic diet, the various ‘stressers’ we can healthily put ourselves under to improve our overall well-being, and such people as Wim Hof, John Muir, Henry Thoreau. And Ken enlightens me as to why Diogenes was the founder of both Cynicism and Stoicism. Ken has some major accomplishments to his own name. In 2013, he achieved what was then the Fastest Known Time (9 days) for Running The Long Path through New York, and wrote a book of that name about the experience. The following year, he set a still-standing FKT for the Badwater Double, a 146-mile, near 15,000-ft climb from the lowest point in the Continental US to the highest point, at the top of Mount Whitney – and back again, covering the 292 miles in under 4 days. This episode is intended to encourage all of us to leave not only our worries behind when we get outdoors, but to leave technology behind as far as possible, and return to our natural state - one that, as ever, is capable of much more than we typically credit. You can find Ken Posner at His blog post on Diogenes: His blog post on the Diogenes Challenge: His account of running the Badwater Double and lessons learned: One of his blog posts on barefoot running & hiking, with comments towards the end on "natural running" and the risks of overreliance on technology: His book Running The Long Path: Ken also recommends: Best book for beginners on barefoot running - Barefoot Running Step by Step by Ken Bob Saxton: by Tim Noakes -- great research on the myths of dehydration and the risk of overhydration: For questions or comments, or to subscribe to the newsletter, e-mail Join One Step Beyond on social media at:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcast Facebook is One Step Beyond with Tony Fletcher Twitter is OneStepBeyondP1 And your host can be found here:

Ep. 14: Walking the length of India

Ep. 14
"If you’re not interested in culture or community, then don’t walk through a country. And if you don’t want to fall in love with humanity, then don’t go to India." In 2017, the 70th Anniversary of India’s Independence from Great Britain, self-styled British expeditioner Olie Hunter Smart set off to walk, solo and unsupported, the entire length of India and to make a movie about his journey: The Road To Independence. During the course of his 2800 miles/4500km from the Himalaya Mountains of northern Ledakh to the southern sea tip of Kanyakamuri, Olie also re-traced the 240-mile journey of Mahatma Gandhi’s 1930 Salt March protest, and he ended his trip where Gandhi’s ashes were scattered in the ocean. Carrying his film equipment on his back, enduring physical and emotional hardships across the course of a seven and a half month expedition, Hunter Smart interviewed dozens of people along the way, from former Freedom Fighters who remember the battle for Independence, to Gandhi’s great grandson who reminds us that non-violence means to not violate.I talked with Olie about his amazing walk through incredible India, how he made a film without prior experience, and about how someone with a relatively normal background takes on expeditions like this – and his previous grand adventure, the Amazon River Run where he traced the Amazon 4500 miles from the Peruvian mountains to the Brazilian Atlantic Ocean.Includes clips from the movie, The Road To Independence.I also draw parallels between Olie’s journey south through India and Scott Jurek’s FKT running North on the Appalachian Trail.You can watch The Road To Independence on Vimeo, promo code OSB50 at checkout for a 50% discount.Read more about Olie Hunter Smart’s expeditions at his web site, oliehuntersmart.comYou can follow Olie at Instagram, Facebook and Twitter also at oliehuntersmart.comPodcasts mentioned in this episode:The Pursuit Zone - Adventure Travel Ep 204Call To Adventure Episode 7Unraveling Traveling Episode 8Plant Strong Episode 12Without Compromise Oct 23Also,The Pain Cave Ep 70 with Tony FletcherFor questions or comments, or to subscribe to the newsletter, e-mail Onestepbeyond@ijamming.netJoin One Step Beyond on social media at:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcastFacebook is One Step Beyond with Tony FletcherTwitter is OneStepBeyondP1And your host can be found All links can be found at

Ep 13: 'Still' Running

Ep. 13
Welcome to Episode 13 of One Step Beyond. This time around, we discuss ‘Still Running: The Art of Meditation in Motion,’ a new book by Vanessa Zuisei Goddard. I first met Zuisei in 2006, at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, in the Catskills, where I was taught how to sit zazen - the form of meditation practiced there - by Zuisei herself. But Zuisei is also a runner, and for all that she has spent much of her life sitting zazen, she has never stopped moving. I would often see her running on the local roads and knew that that she held ‘running retreats’ at ZMM - and yet we never talked in detail about our shared love of this physical exercise.In 2019, after two decades at ZMM, Zuisei resumed lay life, moving to New York City to become a writer and teacher. And when ‘Still Running’ was published this summer by Shambhala – with a front cover endorsement by ultra-marathon legend Scott Jurek - I knew instinctively that I had to read it and bring her on this show.Zuisei’s wonderful little book is extra helpful because while it discusses Buddhism, each chapter ends with a physical practice that applies to anyone and everyone, of any domination and for almost any physical endeavor.For One Step Beyond, we spoke by phone, discussing life in a Buddhist monastery and beyond, and more specifically, the practices she describes in her book. You will hear me undertake and report back on some of these practices.We also discuss the tradition of extreme running within Buddhism, as evidenced in the isolated Gompa Monks of Tibet, and the Marathon Monks of Japan. This gives me a reason to dig out an LP of Tibetan Ritual Music that I had owned for 30 years and somehow never opened; perhaps it was just waiting for the perfect moment.You can find Still Running at all good book shops or through the publisher, Shambhala. If you order online, please consider supporting your local independent store in the process; you can do so in the US by using Bookshop.orgZuisei can be found at, and on Instagram and Facebook as zuiseigoddardThe Zen Mountain Monastery, which has been offering online programs in 2020 during the pandemic, is at incidental music in this episode is:‘Offering to the Savior Gompo’ and ‘Invocation of Gompo from the LP Tibetan Ritual Music by Lamas and Monks, recorded in Sikkim in 1961 for the Lyrichord label.The 'Easy, Light, Smooth, Fast' mantra I cite is from Barefoot Ted as referenced in Born To Run. Barefoot Ted went on to make the Luna Sandals that we featured in Episode 11: Take a Step Outside Your... Shoes?For questions or comments, or to subscribe to the newsletter, e-mail Onestepbeyond@ijamming.netJoin One Step Beyond on social media at:Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcastFacebook is One Step Beyond with Tony FletcherTwitter is OneStepBeyondP1And your host can be found here:tonyfletcher.netAll links can be found at

Ep. 12: Letting Go and Hitting the Road

Ep. 12
Hey you… Welcome to Episode 12 of One Step Beyond, a fortnightly show about positively engaging with the world outside our door, with host Tony Fletcher.In 2016, Jess Gumkowski and her husband BJ – the ‘YogiTriathletes’ – sold or gave away almost everything they owned, and packed what was left (primarily their triathlon gear and their dog) into a Honda Fit with no fixed destination. 2016 was also the year that I hit the road, with my then wife and then 11-year old younger son, embarking on 10 and a half months of backpacking around the world, freed from the constraints of possessions and expectations, and living very much in the moment.In a wide-ranging interview, Jess and I talk about selling everything off, and then giving away what’s left – from photographs to jewelry to treasured race medals. We acknowledge the very real hurdles that may prevent others from feeling they have the power to make similarly transformative decisions with their lives, to which end Jess discusses the importance of meditation and a positive mindset. We both marvel at the kindness of strangers you meet on the road, and how some of the most minimal and uncomfortable moments are also some of the most rewarding. Jess also explains how she and ‘Beej’ are able to survive living, working and traveling together as both a personal and professional couple, and offers three take-aways for anyone who might be considering a similar adventure. You can find Jess and BJ at, where you can follow links to their two podcasts, Awake Athlete and Yogitriathlete, their blog, their coaching activities, and Jess’s two vegan cookbooks: High Vibe Recipes for Athlete Appetite, and Pizza Night Done Right. The video in which Jess & BJ wave goodbye to their medals is here.Separately, I offer an update on the podcasts that keep me going through my mountain runs, and ponder at the news that my home area is currently the hottest real estate market in the country, the result of moneyed New Yorkers fleeing post-covid New York City.Other podcasts referenced in this episode:Barefoot Backpacker: Beer Around the WorldBig and White: How Covid Life Is Like Culture ShockAll The Shit I've Learned AbroadThe Traveler's Blueprint: Animals Using DrugsWashington Post article: Welcome to Woodstock 2020: Peace, love . . . and urban exiles fighting over real estateThe Cat's Tail Trail MarathonRadio KingstonA few corrections to my narration in this episode:Nepal did in fact open back up just as I was finishing this episode, with international flights resuming after six months. Also, the Cat's Tail Trail Marathon takes place on Saturday October 2, not Saturday October 3. And Still Running is published by Shambhala Books, not, as I pronounced it, Shabala. For questions or comments, or to subscribe to the newsletter, e-mail Onestepbeyond@ijamming.netJoin One Step Beyond on social media:InstagramFacebookTwitterAnd your host can be found

Ep. 11: Take a Step Outside Your... Shoes?

Ep. 11
Welcome to Episode 11 of One Step Beyond, a show that encourages you to take a step outside your comfort zone and enrich your life.Ten years ago, Bill Hoffman was just another busy, middle aged, married 40-something father carrying an extra 40lbs of weight around his midriff. He hadn’t run since high school, and had barely engaged in any other athletic activity during those 25 years either. Then he read Born To Run, the best-selling book by Christopher McDougall, and took more than a step outside of his comfort zone. He took a step outside his shoes as well. Inspired by the notion of minimalist footwear as practiced by the Tarahumara Indians of the Copper Canyons, the featured 'Hidden Tribe' of Born To Run, Bill bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers, and started running again, a mile or so at a time, alternating with his bare feet, and before he knew it, he had qualified for the Boston Marathon.Bill has now run over 40 marathons and ultra-marathons, including Boston five times, and the feared and revered Leadville 100 twice. Not once has he competed in "normal" shoes. He does all his running now in the open Luna Sandals, the Tarahumaras' huaraches as made by another star of Born To Run, Barefoot Ted. On the last Friday of August, I drove to meet Bill at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and try the sandals myself. While we ran together, Bill explained why shoes are not good for you and how anyone can follow in his own footsteps to athletic success - unshod, that is. We also talked the importance and influence of Born To Run, the madness that is the Leadville 100... and Barefoot Ted himself.Resources for this episode:(All links can be found at Hoffman's TED Talk, From Couch to Ultra Marathon Bill's article on the Luna Sandals blog. Running the Leadville 100 in Lunas,Bill's article on Running (and swimming) the Lake George 12str in Adirondack Sports (Page 10.)Mountain Dog Running on FacebookLuis Escobar Road Dog podcast Episode 105: Finding the Flow with Barefoot Ted McDonald.For questions or comments about One Step Beyond, or to subscribe to the newsletter, e-mail Onestepbeyond@ijamming.netJoin One Step Beyond on social media:InstagramFacebookTwitterAnd your host can be found

Ep. 10: If Not Now, When?

Ep. 10
Welcome to Episode 10 of One Step Beyond, a show that encourages you to take a step outside your comfort zone and enrich your life.This episode: IF NOT NOW, WHEN?The title of a Primo Levi novel served as motivation for British sculptor Peter Naylor to attempt the 153-mile, 2-day run taken by Pheidippides from Athens to Sparta in the year 490BC. (Pheidippides was sent by the outnumbered Athenian army to recruit the Spartans in their impending battle against the invading Persians. He promptly ran back again!)The course has been commemorated in an annual Spartathlon run since 1983, but Naylor is no elite ultra runner. Rather, describing himself as someone who “doesn’t really like running,” he details how at the age of 66, propelled by little more than his love of Greek history and a belief that all things are possible, he wrote his will, jumped on a plane to Greece, and tackled the course unsupported.He promptly returned the next year to do it all over again – and vows to do so once more as a septuagenarian.In a conversation full of self-deprecation and humor, Naylor talks about going off course for over twenty miles, sleeping by the side of the road, and drinking from water bottles left in the gutter by Spartathlon runners. He also explains how the endeavor was a “life-changer,” and why we are all capable of so much more than we may think.Additionally, we discuss whether the legend that has Pheidippides then running the 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver news of Athenian victory – for which the modern-day marathon race was named – rings true, or whether most of us long-distance road runners are celebrating a myth.Separately, I connect the dots to my own recent unsupported run of the Escarpment Trail in the Catskills and a recent visit to the outdoor playground that is the White Mountains of New Hampshire.Resources for this episode:(Links can additionally be found at Naylor can be found at the Harriet Quimby statue referred to in this episode has not yet been commissioned.)More information on the Spartathlon is at https://www.spartathlon.grThere are multiple online history sites that detail the legend of Pheidippides' run to Sparta and back, and the potential myth of the original Marathon run. The Wikipedia page for Pheidippides credits many sources, allowing readers to conduct further research.For questions or comments about One Step Beyond, or to subscribe to the newsletter, e-mail Onestepbeyond@ijamming.netJoin One Step Beyond on social media:InstagramFacebookTwitterAnd your host can be found