Episode 27: Using adventure for self-discovery and feeling fully alive with Scott MacKillop

Welcome back to the On Adventure Podcast! I’m your host, Josh Self, and today I had the pleasure of speaking with Scott MacKillop, a seasoned financial professional and avid outdoorsman. Despite our shared background in finance, our conversation veered away from the boardroom and delved into the thrilling world of outdoor adventures. Scott shared how his passion for the outdoors was self-developed rather than instilled by his parents, and how fear serves as a clarifying force for him, whether on the mountain or in the boardroom.

Throughout our discussion, Scott talked about his extensive career, innovative achievements, and the invaluable lessons he has learned from pushing his limits in nature. From climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to the peaks of Colorado, Scott’s adventures have given him a profound sense of being fully alive, experiencing all emotions and embracing the challenges that come with pushing oneself to the edge. We also explored the significance of self-discovery and the joy of living, which Scott finds in every adventure he undertakes. This episode is packed with inspiration and insights into the intertwining of adventure and personal growth.

Timeline Summary:

  • [00:00] – Introduction to Scott MacKillop and his background in finance and outdoor adventures.
  • [01:00] – Scott’s unique perspective on fear and clarity.
  • [03:00] – Early life and the development of Scott’s love for the outdoors.
  • [06:00] – Memorable outdoor experiences and the influence of his childhood.
  • [14:00] – Transition from DC to Colorado and the role of running in Scott’s life.
  • [20:00] – Facing and overcoming physical and mental challenges in adventure.
  • [27:00] – Scott’s near-death experience during a solo hike in Colorado.
  • [35:00] – The mental aspect of pushing limits and setting goals.
  • [45:00] – Reflecting on past adventures and the continuous pursuit of new challenges.
  • [50:00] – Upcoming adventures and the importance of staying active.

Links & Resources:


Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the On Adventure Podcast. If you enjoyed this conversation, please rate, follow, share, and review the podcast. Your support helps us bring more inspiring stories to you. Until next time, keep pushing your limits and pursuing your own great adventures!

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Q3 Letter To Clients

Do you ever stop to smell the roses, literally?  As we transition from the vibrant days of spring into the warmth of summer, it’s a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the beauty that surrounds us. Whether it’s the blooming gardens, the long sunny days, or the simple pleasure of an evening walk, I encourage you to take a moment to appreciate the small joys of the season.  These have a way of putting the world’s crazy into perspective, which is necessary if we are going to stay happy, healthy individuals for all our days.

Market Overview

So let’s talk a little ‘crazy’…As we enter the third quarter of 2024, we find ourselves in a financial environment marked by both challenges and opportunities. Year to date, it seems that diversification is missing out on huge gains coming from just a few stocks. Not only have many broad markets delivered gains from acceptable to amazing, but there has also been the usual assortment of sizzling stocks like NVIDIA (NVDA), and tantalizing new products like crypto ETFs to distract us with their dazzle.

Strong market performance is welcome news. But at least in the wider investment world, we’re likely to see a different kind of response that isn’t as welcoming: Instead of fleeing the downturns, restless market players may be tempted to chase after speculative trends, no matter how closely they resemble past Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) frenzies.  There’s almost always something alluring and allegedly unprecedented to fuel our FOMO. But before you go all-in on the most recent high-flyers, remember:

The latest innovations are often very real, remarkable, and potentially game-changing forces in our lives. But the manner in which capital markets absorb these forces and convert them into long-term returns is far more constant.

Which reinforces why our own refrain remains the same whether markets are up or down:

Neither hot nor cold streaks among stocks, sectors, or markets give us good reason to abandon an otherwise well-built portfolio.

Staying the Course

It’s natural to feel anxious during periods of uncertainty, but it’s crucial to remember that our financial plan is designed to withstand these fluctuations. History has shown that markets tend to recover and grow over time, despite periodic downturns. Our diversified approach to investing is intended to mitigate risk and provide a stable foundation for your financial future.

This is why we still advise building and maintaining a low-cost, globally diversified investment portfolio aimed at your personal long-term goals. This, despite the cognitive traps laid by the most recent rounds of FOMO. As Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman reportedly observed quite bluntly:

“If you think you’re an expert on picking stocks, then you should be fabulously rich. If you’re not, you’re probably not.” — Daniel Kahneman

Controlling What You Can

Now on to the ‘happy and healthy’ part…While we cannot control the markets or political developments, we can control how we respond to them. It’s essential to focus on the aspects of life that are within our power to manage. One such area is aligning our lives with our values and priorities. Living according to what truly matters to you can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment that transcends financial concerns.

One way to foster this alignment is by integrating movement and adventure into your daily routine. Research has consistently shown the profound benefits of physical activity on both physical and mental health. It has become very clear that regular physical activity and engaging in adventurous activities can significantly enhance one’s healthspan—the period of life spent in good health, free from chronic diseases and disabilities.

The Value of Movement and Adventure

Engaging in physical activities, whether it’s trail running, hiking, or simply taking a walk in the park, can have a transformative impact on your overall well-being. Movement not only improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and boosts energy levels but also reduces stress and enhances mental clarity. Adventure, on the other hand, introduces an element of excitement and novelty that can invigorate the spirit and foster a sense of achievement.

Incorporating movement and adventure into your life doesn’t have to be a grand endeavor. It can be as simple as exploring a new hiking trail, trying a new sport, or setting aside time each day for a brisk walk. The key is to make it a regular part of your routine, allowing it to become a habit that supports your health and happiness.

Embracing Life’s Adventure

Beyond the physical benefits, adventure can also serve as a metaphor for how we approach life’s challenges and opportunities. Embracing adventure means being open to new experiences, taking calculated risks, and stepping out of our comfort zones. It’s about seeing life as a journey filled with possibilities, rather than a series of obstacles to overcome.

As you navigate the complexities of the financial markets and the uncertainties of the world, we encourage you to adopt an adventurous mindset. Approach each day with curiosity and a willingness to explore. Trust in the financial plan we have crafted together, knowing that it is designed to support your long-term goals. And most importantly, prioritize your well-being by staying active and embracing the adventures that life has to offer.

In closing, we want to express our gratitude for your continued trust and partnership.  Let’s make this quarter a time of growth, both financially and personally. Embrace the beauty of the season, stay active, and approach each day with a sense of adventure. By focusing on the aspects of life we can control and maintaining a sense of adventure, we can navigate the uncertainties of the financial world with confidence and resilience. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your journey.

Episode 26: Life is an Adventure, Plan for It with Terry Foxworth

Get ready for an exhilarating ride in this episode of the On Adventure Podcast, where I chat with Terry Foxworth. Terry’s journey is a testament to persistence, an unquenchable thirst for adventure, and a masterful balance between a professional career and an adventurous lifestyle. From the picturesque landscapes of South Carolina to the roaring rapids of whitewater kayaking, grueling ultramarathons, and the pristine slopes of skiing, Terry’s tales will ignite your adventurous spirit. We also dive into his epic cross-country bicycle journey with his daughter, filled with highs, lows, and unforgettable memories. Tune in and let Terry’s stories inspire your next adventure!

Timeline Summary:

  • [00:04:18] Terry returns to Asheville and recounts the challenge of navigating a massive snowstorm.
  • [00:05:20] Unpacking connections with Brew Davis, a mutual friend from university days, and how these relationships fuel adventure.
  • [00:09:00] Terry’s educational journey and the pivotal experiences that shaped his career and love for the outdoors.
  • [00:27:01] Growing up in South Carolina: How a small-town boy developed a passion for adventure.
  • [00:36:00] The life-changing backpacking trip in the Smokies that sparked Terry’s lifelong love for the great outdoors.
  • [00:42:00] Diving into Terry’s whitewater kayaking adventures and his transformative move to Greenville.
  • [00:56:00] Josh shares a thrilling tale of a backpacking trip with his son, filled with unexpected lessons.
  • [01:12:00] The epic story of Terry’s cross-country bike trip with his daughter: Planning, perseverance, and priceless memories.

Links & Resources:

Closing Remark:

If you enjoyed this episode, please rate, follow, and review the On
Adventure Podcast. Share it with friends and family who might find Terry’s
story as inspiring as we did. Join us next time for more incredible
journeys and motivational tales!


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Top Outdoor Gear List for the Everyday Explorer

Episode 25: From the Shadows to the Spotlight with Joe Gray

In this episode of the On Adventure Podcast, I sit down with Joe Gray, an exceptional athlete who turned challenges into triumphs. Joe shares his journey from growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, and attending the Tennessee School for the Blind to becoming a world-class athlete. With the support of dedicated mentors and his unwavering determination, Joe excelled in wrestling and track and field, eventually competing at the Paralympics. His story is a powerful testament to resilience, mentorship, and the pursuit of dreams.

Timeline Summary:

  • [00:00] – Introduction to Joe Gray and his inspiring journey.
  • [00:01] – Joe’s early life in Nashville and attending the Tennessee School for the Blind.
  • [00:04] – Coping with visual impairment and developing an adventurous spirit.
  • [00:10] – Transition to high school sports and excelling in wrestling and track.
  • [00:16] – Competing in the Youth World Championships and facing international competition.
  • [00:25] – Setting a world record in the 4x100m relay and the realization of his potential.
  • [00:32] – Challenges of training and maintaining top performance while seeking sponsorships.
  • [00:39] – Transitioning from athlete to coach and starting Sight School with Lex Gillette.
  • [00:52] – Organizing ski trips for visually impaired students and the impact on their lives.

Links & Resources:

Closing Remark:

If you enjoyed this episode, please rate, follow, and review the On Adventure Podcast. Share it with friends and family who might find Joe’s story as inspiring as we did. Join us next time for more incredible journeys and motivational tales!

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Episode 24: Stories Rather Than Regrets with Pete Ripmaster

Welcome back to the On Adventure podcast! In today’s episode, we have an inspiring and candid conversation with Pete Ripmaster. Pete, now a seasoned ultra-endurance athlete, shares his journey from the highs and lows of his athletic pursuits to his personal battles and triumphs. In fact, it all started with a Couch-to-Marathon run, and he kept going from there!  We delve into his history, including the incredible feat of winning the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational on foot (in February!), his adventures in Alaska, and the lessons learned from pushing beyond the limits. Pete’s story is a testament to resilience, passion, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams.

Pete’s philosophy of “stories rather than regrets” is evident in his approach to ultra-running. Whether he’s tackling organized races or his unique “homemade 100’s,” Pete’s willingness to suffer and push through mental and physical barriers is key to his success. His adventures showcase the power of perseverance and the rewards of stepping outside your comfort zone.

Join us as we explore:

  • Pete’s early life and the pivotal moments that shaped his path
  • The transition from the couch to a marathoner to an ultra-endurance runner
  • The mental and physical challenges of running the Iditarod Trail Invitational
  • Pete’s “homemade 100’s” and what drives him to create his own ultra-endurance challenges
  • Insights into the world of ultra-running and the community around it
  • Pete’s future aspirations and what drives him to keep pushing forward

This episode is packed with raw and heartfelt reflections that will leave you inspired to tackle your own adventures. Don’t miss out on this incredible journey with Pete Ripmaster!

Episode Highlights:

[00:00] Introduction to Pete Ripmaster and the essence of today’s episode

[02:28] Pete’s background and his self-identity as a runner, husband, and father

[10:00] Reflections on Pete’s childhood and the significant impact of his family

[18:00] The pivotal moment and the transition from a wild lifestyle to purposeful living

[24:05] Pete’s first impromptu marathon and the beginning of his running journey

[32:00] The decision to run 50 marathons in 50 states and raise funds for breast cancer research

[38:00] Delving into ultra-running: from 50K to 1,000 miles

[46:00] The challenges and triumphs of the Iditarod Trail Invitational

[53:00] Pete’s “homemade 100’s” and his drive to create unique endurance challenges

[57:00] The mental game in ultra-endurance sports and pushing through limits

[01:03:00] What’s next for Pete after ultra-running

Links & Resources:

Thank you for tuning into this episode with Pete Ripmaster! If you enjoyed our conversation, please rate, follow, share, and review the podcast. Your support helps us bring more inspiring stories to light. Keep pursuing your great adventures, and we’ll catch you in the next episode!

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Episode 23: Endurance Unleashed: From UltraMan to Personal Revelations with Van Fletcher

Welcome back to another episode of the On Adventure Podcast, where I dive deep into the extraordinary tales of endurance and personal growth, probing why everyday explorers continue to push their own limits. In this episode, I reconnect with Van Fletcher, a dad, a real estate professional, and, oh yeah, a world class triathlete AND an ultraman competitor.

Van’s story isn’t just about physical endurance; it’s a profound journey of resilience, community, and self-discovery.  This episode is a testament to the human spirit’s capacity to endure and thrive, no matter the challenge. Van Fletcher’s journey is sure to inspire not just athletes but anyone looking to overcome their personal barriers.

Episode Highlights:

  • [00:00] Welcome: I introduce Van Fletcher, my first repeat guest, discussing his recent adventures and astounding achievements in the Ultraman Florida—a race that pushes human limits with its extreme distances.
  • [10:12] Trials and Triumphs: Van shares his rigorous experiences and the emotional rollercoaster of participating in high-endurance races, including Ironman events and the mental strategies needed to overcome unexpected obstacles.
  • [22:00] Community and Support: The critical role of community in endurance sports. Van emphasizes how his crew’s support and camaraderie were pivotal in his successes and overcoming the daunting challenges of Ultraman.
  • [35:00] Physical and Mental Resilience: Insights into Van’s training regimen and how overcoming injuries and personal setbacks have shaped his approach to racing and life.
  • [45:00] Beyond the Finish Line: Van discusses the broader impact of his racing career on personal growth and his future aspirations in the world of endurance sports.

Links & Resources:

Closing Thoughts: If today’s journey through extreme endurance and personal triumphs inspired you, remember to rate, follow, and share the podcast. Your support helps us bring more such inspiring stories. Until next time, keep pushing your limits and exploring your own great adventure!


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The Value of Pursuit: Adventure as a Catalyst for Mental, Spiritual, and Relational Growth

In the modern world, where routines dominate our lives and the digital screen often becomes our window to the outside, the pursuit of adventure might seem like a luxury. However, venturing into the unknown, or simply stepping out of our comfort zones, can serve as a powerful catalyst for mental health, spiritual growth, and interpersonal connections. If you have listened to my podcast with Robbie Lenfestey, you will know that I am referring to moving out of your ‘Comfort Zone’ and in to your ‘Growth Zone’.   Like a well-thought-out financial plan, an adventurous spirit not only prepares us for the uncertainties of life but also enriches our existence in profound ways.

But how do you do this in a healthy, thoughtful pursuit?  And what is there really to gain?

Adventure and Mental Health: The Return on Investment

The relationship between adventure and mental health can be likened to the principle of ‘risk and return’ in financial planning. Just as investors accept a certain level of risk to achieve potential gains, individuals can embrace adventure to reap significant psychological rewards. Engaging in new and challenging activities triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters. This biochemical uptick can combat stress which leads to many more good things down stream.

Moreover, adventure acts as a form of behavioral activation. By pushing ourselves to engage in physical activities, whether it’s hiking up a mountain or kayaking down a river, we may break the cycle of inactivity that often accompanies certain mental health struggles. While there is no silver bullet, the effort invested in such activities can provide a valuable return in the form of improved mental resilience and a more vibrant sense of well-being.

Spiritual Growth: Compounding Interest in Our Inner Lives

You may be asking, ‘What does spiritual growth have to do with Adventure?’  Well, I’m glad you asked!  Spiritual growth through adventure can be viewed through the lens of ‘compounding interest’—a fundamental concept in financial growth. Just as small, regular investments grow over time through the power of compound interest, regular engagement with adventurous activities can lead to profound accumulations in spiritual wisdom and personal insight.

Adventures often place us in situations where we are dwarfed by the vastness of nature or the complexity of different cultures. I love this part!  These experiences can shift our perspective, making us more aware of the larger forces at play in our lives and the universe. And this can, and often does, mean something different to each of us.  Each adventure acts as a deposit into our spiritual bank, where over time, the layers of insight, humility, and connectivity accrue, enhancing our understanding of ourselves and our place in the world.

Building Interpersonal Connections: The Currency of Shared Experiences

This is the part of adventure I really like, even as a committed introvert!  The value of adventure in building and deepening relationships is immense. Shared experiences, especially those that involve overcoming challenges together, can act as a strong social currency. When we venture out with others, be they friends, family, or even strangers, the trials and triumphs experienced together are stored as shared capital. This capital, much like financial savings, can be drawn upon in times of need, providing a relational safety net when necessary.

Interpersonal relationships forged in the heat of shared adventures often exhibit a depth and resilience. They can be robust and capable of withstanding the ups and downs of life. I think this has been 100% for the most meaningful relationships in my life.  Moreover, the memories created become shared assets, cherished, and valued, strengthening bonds, and fostering a sense of community and belonging.

Implementing Adventure in Your Life: Starting Small

Incorporating adventure into one’s life does not necessarily mean scaling Everest (although, for my podcast guest, Kenton Cool, it does mean this!) or sailing solo across the Atlantic. It begins with small steps outside one’s Comfort Zone and into the Growth Zone. This could be as simple as trying a new hobby, traveling to a different part of town, or engaging in a local cultural event.

The pursuit of adventure is more than just an escape from the mundane; it is a strategic investment in our mental, spiritual, and interpersonal health. Each adventure, whether big or small, acts as a deposit in our holistic well-being, yielding returns that enrich our lives immeasurably. Just as wise financial planning ensures economic security and growth, a life planned with regular doses of adventure can move one toward a rich, vibrant, and profound human experience. Embrace the unknown and pursue your great life now!

Episode 22: Beyond the Summit: Exploring the Depths with Kenton Cool

*Credit Elia Saikaly – Kenton on the Everest summit

In this episode of the On Adventure Podcast, I sit down with Kenton Cool, a legendary high-altitude climber with an incredible record of Everest ascents and a storied career in mountain exploration. Dive into a conversation that explores not only the physical heights of the world’s most formidable peaks but also the profound depths of personal ambition, resilience, and self-discovery.

Episode Highlights:

  • [00:02:22] – Kenton recounts the challenges and thrills of achieving the Everest Triple Crown, offering a vivid glimpse into the life of a high-altitude climber.
  • [00:13:00] – Discover Kenton’s unique approach to leadership and team-building in extreme conditions, drawing from his extensive experience as a guide and speaker.
  • [00:22:13] – Delve into the ethos behind Kenton’s climbing philosophy—how passion, mindset, and the power of setting goals propel him forward.
  • [00:35:45] – A reflective moment as Kenton shares how his personal life, particularly fatherhood, reshapes his perspectives on adventure and the sacrifices it entails.
  • [00:47:28] – Hear about Kenton’s transformative experiences with local cultures and communities, enriching his journeys and broadening his world view.

Links & Resources:

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider rating and reviewing our show on your favorite podcast platform. Share with friends and fellow enthusiasts who might enjoy diving into the world of all-things adventure! Your support helps us bring more inspiring and enlightening content. Thank you for joining us, and keep seeking your adventures!

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Episode 21: No way out but through with Robbie Lenfestey

Episode Summary

In this captivating episode of the On Adventure podcast, host Josh Self interviews Robbie Lenfestey at his remarkable retreat, Mandala Springs, located in the scenic mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina. Robbie, a man of profound wisdom and thrilling life experiences, shares his extraordinary adventures that have taken him from being kidnapped in Argentina to climbing the towering peaks of Aconcagua and encountering the renowned breath expert, Wim Hof.

The conversation opens with Robbie recounting his unexpected yet transformative journey through Argentina, where a planned permaculture internship turned into a gripping survival scenario involving a 10-day cattle drive gone awry. Robbie’s vivid storytelling transports listeners to the rugged wilderness of Patagonia, where he faced extreme weather, navigated cultural challenges, and ultimately had to escape from a dangerous situation instigated by an eccentric and irresponsible billionaire. This adventure culminated in Robbie, driven by necessity and fueled by his indomitable spirit, becoming one of the youngest people to solo climb Aconcagua, facing not only physical extremes but also profound personal realizations about his limits and capabilities.

The episode peels back the layers of Robbie’s adventurous spirit, exploring how his early life challenges and unconventional childhood experiences primed him for a life filled with exploration and self-discovery. From tales of his harrowing experiences in the wild to his philosophical insights on overcoming personal traumas and societal expectations, Robbie offers an introspective look into how embracing the unknown has profoundly shaped his understanding of himself and his approach to life.

Listeners are treated to a journey that is as introspective as it is exhilarating, making this episode a must-listen for anyone interested in how extreme experiences can lead to profound wisdom and personal growth.

Episode Timeline

  • [00:01:00] – Robbie’s gripping journey from kidnappings in Argentina to climbing Aconcagua and meeting Wim Hof.
  • [00:15:00] – Delving into Robbie’s childhood, exploring the formative experiences that shaped his adventurous spirit.
  • [00:30:00] – Robbie reflects on his emotional and spiritual growth, triggered by his battles with illness and societal expectations.
  • [00:45:00] – Insights into Robbie’s perspective on personal growth through extreme challenges.
  • [01:05:00] – A detailed recount of Robbie’s near-death experiences and their transformative impacts on his life philosophy.
  • [01:25:00] – Robbie discusses the profound lessons learned from living closely with nature and the importance of ecological awareness.

Links & Resources

  • Mandala Springs: Discover more about the magical retreat discussed in this episode. Mandala Springs Website
  • Aconcagua Adventures: Learn more about the mountain that marked a pivotal moment in Robbie’s life. Aconcagua Official Site
  • Wim Hof Method: Explore the breathing techniques and philosophy taught by Wim Hof that Robbie encountered. Wim Hof Method Official Site

Closing Remarks

If you found today’s episode enlightening, don’t forget to rate, follow, and share On Adventure to help us bring more thrilling tales and profound insights to you. And if Robbie’s story inspired you, consider leaving a review to help others discover the podcast. Happy adventuring!

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