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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Episode 20: Beyond limits while trailblazing the Wild with Adam Hill, Shaun Pope, Ryan James and Mark Looney


I didn’t know these fellas before our chat, but by the end it was clear we all come from the same tribe.  In the latest episode of the On Adventure Podcast, we dove into a wild group conversation that ventured beyond the beaten path. Joined by Adam Hill, Shaun Pope, Ryan James, and Mark Looney, the dialogue unfolded amidst the rustic charm of Black Mountain, North Carolina, a sanctuary for those who chase the thrill of outdoor adventures. 

This episode isn’t just about pushing limits; it’s a celebration of the spirit that drives us to explore the unknown, to embrace the rugged beauty of nature, and to confront the challenges that lie in the wild. It’s a narrative of friendship, endurance, and the unyielding quest for adventure that binds a community together.

Episode Highlights:

  • [00:01:15] Adam Hill: From Memphis to the mountains, Adam’s journey from an urban landscape to the vastness of nature where he discovered his passion for outdoor adventures.
  • [00:08:14] Shaun Pope: The transformation from a sports enthusiast to an ultramarathon runner, Shaun shares his evolution and the familial influence that propelled him into the world of trail running.
  • [00:14:29] Mark Looney: Reflecting on his youth in New York, Mark recounts how blizzards and Boy Scouts sparked his adventurous spirit, leading to cross-country cycling and a lifetime of exploration.
  • [00:22:10] Ryan James: A story of growth from the flat terrains of Savannah to the challenges of ultra running, Ryan speaks on the allure of the mountains and the transformative power of pushing beyond one’s limits.

Links & Resources:

Closing Thoughts:

As we wind down this episode, I’m sure you will carry the stories of Adam, Shaun, Ryan, and Mark with you as I have since this was recorded. Whether you’re an experienced adventurer or someone looking to step outside your comfort zone, remember, it’s not just about the distance covered or the mountains conquered; it’s about the journey, the camaraderie, and the endless pursuit of what lies beyond the horizon.

If this episode has ignited a spark within you, or if you’ve found solace in the shared experiences of our guests, consider supporting us. Rate, follow, share, and review On Adventure Podcast. Let’s keep the spirit of adventure alive together.

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Episode 19: Sketching Summits with Heidi Nisbett


In today’s episode of the On Adventure Podcast, we took a deep dive into the great outdoors with the remarkable Heidi Nisbet. Heidi is a friend of a friend, but by the end of the conversation, I felt like we had known each other forever.  We gravitate toward a similar tribe.  As someone who shares my passion for the Appalachian Trail, Heidi brought a fresh perspective on merging art, adventure, and personal growth through her experiences on and off the trail. From her transformative journey of self-discovery to integrating her love for nature with her artistic talent, this episode is packed with insights that outdoor enthusiasts and creatives alike won’t want to miss.  And by the way, you HAVE to check out her work…link is below!

Episode Highlights:

[00:01:00] – A Creative Soul Finds Her Trail: Discover how Heidi, originally not considering herself an outdoors person, embraced her creative spirit and love for the Appalachian Trail, transforming her life in unexpected ways.

[00:02:27] – The Art of Nature: Learn about Heidi’s unique approach to combining her artistic talent with her passion for hiking, leading to a fulfilling career that blurs the lines between work and play.

[00:10:00] – Art, Identity, and the Great Outdoors: Heidi shares her journey from childhood creativity through academic challenges to finding her identity on the trail and in her art, highlighting the intrinsic connection between nature and creativity.

[00:15:00] – Making Adventure Sustainable: Insights into how Heidi has crafted a life that allows her to pursue her passions while making a living, including guiding hikes and teaching art in the wilderness.

[00:20:00] – Favorite Trails and Future Plans: Heidi reveals her favorite sections of the Appalachian Trail and discusses future hiking and artistic projects, offering a glimpse into her adventurous and creative future.

[00:30:00] – The Transformational Power of Hiking: A reflection on how hiking the Appalachian Trail served as a catalyst for personal growth, challenging Heidi to rethink her capabilities and aspirations.

[00:45:00] – Blazing New Trails with Art: An exploration of Heidi’s upcoming projects, including a special hiking and painting collaboration that promises to bring her passions to new heights.

Links & Resources:

As we close today’s episode, I’m reminded of the limitless potential that lies in combining our passions with our professions. Heidi’s story is a testament to the power of following one’s heart and the beauty of the paths it can lead us down.

If you enjoyed this episode, please remember to rate, follow, share, and review the podcast. Your support helps us bring more inspiring stories like Heidi’s to you. See you on the next adventure!

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Episode 18: Into the Wild with Tim Matthews


In today’s episode, we embark on a deeply personal journey with Tim Matthews, a seasoned adventurer and outdoor enthusiast who just happens to be a retired Navy one-star Admiral. In this conversation, Tim shares his profound insights and experience, both personal and professional, offering a glimpse into the transformative power of outdoor pursuits in shaping his life. From heart-pounding rock climbing expeditions to soul-soothing solo backpacking trips, Tim reveals how each adventure has left an indelible mark on his spirit.  I find this incredibly inspiring.

As we navigate the conversation, you will hear how Tim has learned more about himself amidst the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. From the exhilaration of summiting towering peaks to the quiet contemplation of remote wilderness trails, Tim shares his lessons learned and the deep connections forged with the natural world.

Ultimately, through detailing his outdoor experiences, Tim uncovers the threads that weave together resilience, growth, and the unyielding spirit of adventure. I am certain that you will be encouraged to embrace your own call to the wild, which is an awesome call. 

Enjoy my conversation with Tim Matthews.

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From Istanbul to Ireland with Rick Steeves


I can’t say that I have spent enough time in a bike saddle to consider the merits of cycle touring.  In fact, until I met my next guest, I really didn’t understand cycle touring at all.  Rick Steeves has it down to a science, though.  What started as a time-filler during a gap year in college eventually turned in to a life long pursuit of adventure on two wheels.

Rick is a veteran of cycle touring, cycling through 35 countries on almost 18 different trips since 1989.  In fact, he retired from his IT job in 2015 to put wheels down on a 6000km journey from Istanbul to Ireland (and yes, there is a ferry involved).  We discuss many details of this epic trip, but also spend a lot of time talking about the dozens of other trips he has done around the world, mostly in Europe but also the US and New Zealand.  But he keeps being pulled back to Europe to fill in the gaps on his trekking map. 

Rick is a wealth of knowledge and experience, and gives freely of what he knows.  You can find him, his blog and his book at his website irelandbybicycle.com.  His website has a ton of information about how you can see the world from a different vantage point. Check it out!

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Paying twice with Thom Asta


It is a treat to be surprised to learn something amazing and interesting about someone you have known for a long time.  My hour or so conversation with Thom Asta fits this description perfectly.  I have known Thom for going on 20 years but the things we discussed blew me away and gave me a new level of respect for a man that I had a ton for already. 

This podcast is about how and why the Everyday Explorer continues to find, and then expand, his or her limits.  But it is not just about the adrenaline story.  I want to know what they learn through the challenge of adventure, and how it changes them moving forward.  Thom points out that sometimes this exploration is intentional, but sometimes it is not.  And these surprise challenges usually are the most difficult, most dangerous and full of ‘gold’ if one should make it through. 

Be sure to stick with this to the end as his story reaches a peak event that he never saw coming, and the gratitude and vibrancy for life that was the gift he received on the other side.  I was on the edge of my seat and left searching for words by the end.  I know you are going to love Thom Asta!

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