The Highs and Lows of Life on the Road

Are you a cosmopolite?

A cosmopolite is someone who is at home at any place in the world.  It’s the feeling that I aspire to in my travels.  And now that we spend half of our year on the road  filming new episodes, it’s essential we learn to adapt.  To land in each new place with a sense of connection.  Although we’ve only been on the road a couple months on this Summer’s road trip, we’ve grown through so much.  From ecstatic peak experiences, to the loss of a loved one.  Along the way, we’ve crossed paths with bears on 4 different occasions, in 4 different states!  Therefore, we are proclaiming this to be THE SUMMER OF THE BEAR!

The first lesson I learned so far this Summer: how powerful you become through the challenge of a climb.  As we navigate the highs and lows of life on the road, it’s the stories of struggle that make us stronger.  Our dear friend Nature Williams took us out for our first rock climbing adventure at Rumney in New Hampshire.  I thought I would easily ascend and find my way, but quickly learned that my upper body strength didn’t necessarily mean I would be able to muscle my way up.  On the contrary, I was too conservative in choosing my grips and barely made it a few feet on my first all-out effort.  Meanwhile, my wife Kelly was a natural!  She gracefully found her footing and used her flexibility to her advantage—making it all the way to the top of her first climb in no time!

roadI learned to be more adventurous on my second climb route.  An Aussie climber labeled it “totally jug-tastic” referring to the plentiful natural grips or “jugs” available on the ascent.  I balanced my body weight closer to the wall, and relied more on my legs.  The feeling of accomplishment when I made it 90% of the way was well worth the fear and exhaustion.  When we return home in the Fall, we hope to frequent a rock wall located only 5 minutes from our house in Austin!  As if we didn’t have enough hobbies already…

RoadWe’re lucky to land with good friends along the road.  Although finding a parking spot is sometimes nearly impossible (especially in Los Angeles), navigating the country in our family’s camper van has been a huge blessing.  We can camp out at remote hot springs, store all our equipment for video productions, and cart around a van full of friends for a shoot.

Campervan FullThe biggest unforeseen obstacle has been getting over the sudden passing of my dear grandmother Dorothy Rulapaugh.  Her friends knew her as “Dot”, and she was a powerhouse of a personality in the lives of so many.  We had just celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary with my Grandfather—what an achievement!  I’m so glad we made it out to Virginia to honor them, but I never expected to return within the month to attend her funeral.  She was the glue that kept our family together.  And now I feel a heightened sense of responsibility to keep in touch more, and let those closest to me know how much I love them.

roadI was buoyed up by the love and support I received from my extended family, including our traveling family that works with us as part of the Wanderlust tour.

This road trip has also been full of adventure.  Some of my favorite moments have been spent filming athletes that have become new friends.  Most notably, we have been filming with high-liners.  What’s that?  Quite simply, slacklining between two cliffs.  If you’ve ever seen the documentary Man on Wire, it’s pretty similar, but in some of the most exquisite natural environments.  We’ve been inspired by the courage and lifestyle of these guys and gals.  We’ll be integrating footage into a film for Wanderlust as well as our epic book trailer for entrepreneur Lewis Howes.  More on that soon!


RoadOverall, we’ve learned that there’s virtue in experiencing the highs and lows of life on the road.  The challenge of a climb only adds character.  After seeing so many bears this Summer, I thought it might be a good idea to investigate the deeper meaning.  The Bear Totem is apparently all about strength through hard times, confidence, and leadership.  So fitting, as we are seeking to embody these values with integrity moving forward.

When I used to jump in my Grandparent’s camper van as a child, we’d always race to say “On the Road Again!” saluting Willie Nelson’s classic song, and signifying a new departure.  Now that we are traversing the country in a similar camper van, I can hear my Grandma Dot’s cheerful voice as I step behind the wheel, On the Road Again…


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