by Austin

January 17, 2011

January 15th, 2011

Total Distance for today: 28 miles
Total Distance for Tour: approx. 600 miles
LOCATION: Burlington, NC
STATUS: Couchsurfing, in route to Atlanta, GA


I discovered something interesting: When I’m skating, it is a bad idea to think about the 1000’s of miles between me and the coast in Santa Monica, CA. You know… I’ve discovered it’s even a bad idea to think about the 5-50 miles between me and my destination for the evening. I’ll take this one step further still: Sometimes, it’s even bad for me to think about getting to the top of the hill that I’m currently fighting. Instead, I like to play little games with myself. I’ll pick an arbitrary point, perhaps that mailbox just 1/2 way up the hill, and I’ll think, “Man I’m exhausted and this hurts, but I know I can get to that mailbox, if I really want to.”

You might think that doing this enough would become ineffective, because your brain will “catch on to your tricks,” but in reality, the effect is just the opposite. Reaching your arbitrary goal reinforces the truth: I could do it, and so I bet I can do even more. Over time, you learn to project just a little further, and your confidence, tenacity, and strength grow naturally.

Life is kind of like that too. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t plan or project where you’re headed. You have to have vision, or you’ll never accomplish anything of consequence; however, it’s best to keep your eye on the prize, while focusing on the challenges of the here and now. Don’t think about all the things that you can’t do or solve now. It will be too much for you. Ask yourself instead: “Can I handle this here and now? Regardless of how hard, painful, uncomfortable, uncertain, or scary it may be, can I deal?”

The Spoils of War

I had the opportunity to Couchsurf with Veronica and her family in Burlington, NC. It has been a wonderful experience. Their hospitality was top notch: shower, great dinner, a warm bed, and engaging conversation. More importantly though, I sensed a certain desire to be helpful in whatever way possible. For someone on the road as I am, that’s a really nice thing.

Veronica and her brother, Garret, took me out to a local bar/grill, and we were able to enjoy a live band and great conversation. One of Veronica’s especially witty friends, Mike Schietzelt (I think I got that right, Mike, as promised!), is one of those guys that you can’t help but have a great time with – simply hilarious. Anyway, I was telling Mike that I felt bad – almost like I was being spoiled by my Couchsurfing hosts. I will leave you with his response, which was simply… EPIC:

“No, no, Austin! You can’t feel guilty, because you’re not being spoiled… You’re simply enjoying the spoils of war after your great battle out on the road skating all day!”

- Priceless.


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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