by Austin

January 14, 2011

January 13th, 2011

Total Distance for today: 19 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 572 miles
LOCATION: Carrboro, NC (Just west of Chapel Hill, NC)
STATUS: Just began 400+ mile Couchsurfing extravaganza to Atlanta – sans RV!

”My legs feel like rocks, and those rocks are frozen!” I distinctly remember thinking that several times toward the end of today’s 19 mile skate from Raleigh, NC to Carrboro, NC. It was the first skate since I arrived in Raleigh in early December, and the tour is now officially back under way. I can tell that I don’t have anywhere near the depth in my legs or body in general that I had when I left off, but that will return quickly. One thing I’ve learned about fitness is that it is usually much easier to get back to a former level of conditioning than it is to push the envelope for the first time.

I am now “couchsurfing” all the way to Atlanta, without the motor home for support, which means I have to bring my whole life with me! Despite my best efforts to downsize and eliminate gear (downsizing to this netbook being one of them), I still ended up with a backpack that weighed in the neighborhood of 15-20 lbs (about 7-9 kilos for my non-American readers ;-)).

The pack wouldn’t be too bad for walking or for a short skate, but take that bad boy for a 19 mile rollathon after about a 1.5 month hiatus, throw in some cold weather and some nasty hills for good measure, and you’ve got a recipe for some pain. I wasn’t doing too bad until about 12 miles in, when my legs starting cramping up so badly that I was having a hard time moving them! Oops! Should have kept skating consistently during the break. No worries, I’ll get through. I actually eliminated some more only partially necessary gear tonight. I might have dropped a pound or two, but I’m also planning on only filling the hydration bladder to one liter, rather than two. Quick math says that should save me about another 1.5 pounds.


My host in Carrboro (basically, Chapel Hill, NC), Rodney, has been both gracious and great for conversation! The man has had some pretty incredible experiences. He was actually the first Film Archiver and later served as the General Manager of a post-production studio in LA for close to 40 years. While in Hollywood, he worked closely with people like Steven Spielberg and various other household names. More recently, he’s spent 2-3 years living the “light” lifestyle and travelling almost constantly. He’s spent a lot of time in Paris and has a serious passion for it. Rodney has both surfed and hosted countless times using the Couchsurfing network.

The thing that really struck me about our conversation was the reminder that we truly can achieve just about anything, but we have to have the guts and the passion to say, “That is what I want to do, and I absolutely will do it.” Rodney did pretty well for himself out in LA, but despite his financial success, he was never able to fulfill his dream of visiting Paris or actually directing a film. It wasn’t until he finally got fed-up with not living his dreams that he finally traded in his fairly pampered (but rather miserable) life in LA for the adventure and risk of going after what he truly wanted.

Rodney will be the first to say that it has not been easy since then, and he’s had to give up a lot; however, he found the things he gave up were actually just weighing him down and preventing him from truly being happy. He’s traveled the world, met awesome people, had amazing experiences, and now, he’s well along his way to achieving his dream of becoming a successful Hollywood director. That’s something he never achieved while being “responsible” and doing “what he was supposed to do.” He’ll be releasing a short film this year, which stands a very good chance of receiving an Oscar nomination. Here’s to the path less travelled!

In the end, the lesson is the same as always: Do what makes you fulfilled and happy and have the courage to follow your passion. For most of us, the greatest risk truly is the one not taken at all.


About the author 


From a 3412 mile inline skate across America for Freedom to a pilgrimage halfway around the world, speaker and life coach, Austin Szelkowski has lived an intrepid spiritual journey. Over the last 11 years, he has skated across a continent, built 3 successful businesses, been enlightened by a mind-bending spiritual awakening, and endured a terrifying dark night of the soul journey in 2017. His story brings courage in the darkest places – providing a sense of spiritual adventure and hope.

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