One Step Beyond
Ep. 12: Letting Go and Hitting the Road
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 yogitriathlete.com, 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 World
Big and White: How Covid Life Is Like Culture Shock
The Traveler's Blueprint: Animals Using Drugs
Washington Post article: Welcome to Woodstock 2020: Peace, love . . . and urban exiles fighting over real estate
A 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.
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