I started the year in the wilderness with a friend I love like a brother. The best place to be for these axis moments… in our natural environment, surrounded by the pulse of life, and sharing that time with someone close. What an ideal place for gratitude and reflection.
Elbow injury. Learned that some kind of pain is good (see my article of trail runs for that) but sharp pain is STOP what you are doing NOW.
Filming an episode for a Food Relay in Cuba. What a remarkable place. What a great shoot with a fantastic performance from our host, top-notch camerawork, and a killer edit from my team.
I was betrayed a couple times at the beginning of 2019. The second one, by a long-time friend, fucked my head up for months. Betrayal sent shockwaves through my entire network of trust. I feared that someone else in my network might be engaged in a secret line of behavior... was another shoe going to drop?
The upside, though hard to reach, is that I came to value my inner circle friends even more. It's utterly important to have this tight orbit of friends who are concerned for my well-being and care for my feelings. They want to lower my anxiety. They want to see me happy. When they have to make a decision that might affect me, they will reach out to have a discussion first. Having this, I can open up and share all of myself. My friends can do the same with me. This is how we grow and rise together.
For most of the year I was committed to a romantic relationship. Although it was not easy, it was a beautiful project. We are no longer romantically entwined, but it was a success in many ways. I learned to push through difficulty and find more depth on the other side. I learned to set boundaries and hold them. I learned how to bravely end things when it no longer served either one of us.
What an honor it was to watch and assist this person in their growth over this time. What deep appreciation I have for the growth I experienced with their guidance. I feel so grateful that another human wanted to undertake this project with me.
Road Less Traveled on for a 5th season! So grateful to you my fans and viewers. Thank you so much for spending your precious time with me. Some of you have reached out to say that you enjoy traveling through me as if i am their avatar. I see you and i think about you on the road. I will do my best to be courageous, honest, curious, and mindful in my journeys.. Uncovering the good stuff and the real stuff for us all to share, enjoy, and contemplate.
There will be many things you do this week for the last time in the decade. The last time you see certain friends, the last time you eat a particular food, and the last time you visit a special place. What’s the big deal? You’ll do it all again in 2020..... Or will you?
As an experiment consider that these could be the very last times you do these things. Why would you entertain such morbid thoughts? Because one day it will be the last time, and most likely you won’t realize this as that moment passes. You will probably not give tit your full attention, lost partially in thought and preoccupied with the phone.
How would you treat 2019’s last scenes as if they were final? How would you say goodbye to the friend you’ll never see again? How would you savor that meal? How would you soak in the atmosphere of your favorite spot?
Let’s give ourselves the holiday gift of placing full attention, appreciation, and intention on the decade’s final moments.
There is a Road Less Traveled style adventure cutting right through the urban landscape of Yangon, Myanmar. With a decent sense of balance and comfort with risk, a unique walk leads from the center of the city to its edges. The entire sojourn occurs along a steel water pipe, commissioned by the colonial British, that runs over 50km to a reservoir. The location was shared with me by Blue Temple who are involved in inspiring community enhancement projects around the pipe. Check out what they've done.
A few things to keep in mind:
On the maps below you'll see where to start and an ideal place to end.
Enjoy this unique adventure away from the tourist hotspots and the cacophony of the city streets.
Psychedelics have been with humanity for a long, long time. A popular theory suggests they created the cognitive leap that gave us dominance over the rest of the animal kingdom. They may play a role in saving our planet. In an age of disinformation, nothing cuts through the veil like plant medicine.
At some point in history these natural substances were lost to popular culture, and then vilified when America began the War on Drugs. This policy effectively lumped psychedelics in this big category of "drugs", an umbrella word that also contains cocaine, caffeine, alcohol, and heroin.
However, the tide of public opinion is turning. New research is demonstrating the amazing efficacy of psychedelics to treat PTSD, help the dying come to terms with their mortality, and break addictions.
In the last decade I have brought the same attitude of courageous exploration to both adventure travel, and to exploring the deep terrain of the mind. Plant medicine has been a valuable resource in opening up my perspective. However, it does demand respect. There is something sacred in these depths. Just as the Ark of the Covenant melted the faces off the Nazis, there is danger for the poorly prepared. Doors will open that a person may have spent years keeping closed. But for the prepared and intrepid, something wondrous awaits.
I've come to believe a great day has these components in it:
2. Stretching (or yoga)
7. Connecting with the people you love
8. Moving your greater mission forward
Would you remove or add anything to this list?
If you don't have an intention one will be set for you.
Our parent's minds were largely black boxes. Ours are not. From the second you look at your phone in the morning, turn on media, or step out the door; your mind is being probed and manipulated. If your mind is a blank sheet of paper, something is going to write on it.
Enter both intention and a healthy sense of self. Having an intention for scenes of life, and your travels, will result in much richer, fulfilling encounters. What is it you really hope to accomplish in this brief, transitory moment in time?
Mainstream news gives us the idea that the world is full of conflict, violence, and disaster around every corner. It makes us fearful of each other. Is this a clear impression?
99.9% of the Time News investigates what is really occurring on our planet on any given day.
Follow these links to see our episodes in Georgia, Serbia, and Washington state.
#5 - Couldn't hit the damn ball!
The ancestor to baseball is in Romania. Wow. The oina federation was happy to have us. They gathered the whole national team, a huge crowd, and local press. I was first up to bat... all eyes on me.
I could not hit that damn ball. They literally threw it 15 times, the pitches got progressively slower and softer.... my confidence sagged and embarrassment soared.
What is the upside of public humiliation? It's twofold. A lot of travel shows are heavily "fixed". Road Less Traveled is not. When you see me fail to get on a snake boat after a big whoop-tee-do buildup (season 1), or continually whiff a softball pitch, it is clear that we are keeping it real.
Likewise, there is nothing like failing at a simple athletic task to keep the ego in check. We all have bad days. I'm a fallible human being. Experiences like this provide the opportunity to embrace vulnerability, which is essential to having a more intimate life. So a big thank you to my motor skills for making me look like a newb.
#4 - Visiting Goa during monsoon
We assumed India's coastal gem would provide an episode full of content. We got two minutes of footage. It just rained and rained. Everything was closed and shuttered.
So we rented a car and drove inland until the rain stopped falling. What unfolded was a fun road adventure and a completely serendipitous episode in Karnataka.
#3 - Screwed up the Vietnam visa
The dude responsible for arranging our travel saw Vietnam had a "visa on arrival" and read no further. It turns out you still have to fill out forms and pay money in advance. We got to our short stopover in Singapore and they wouldn't allow us on the connecting flight. Disaster!
So we sat in the airport cafe, opened up our laptops, and started digging for nearby content. After five hours I found something called "Shoe Dating" in Kuala Lumpur. With that lead we took a chance on Malaysia.
One of my shoe dates invited the crew to a party at her house. There I overheard a group talking in hushed tones about a situation in Sarawak, the Malaysian slice of Borneo island. This lead us to the meat of a completely unplanned and uniquely political episode. Bam!
#2 - Went to the wrong restaurant in Italy
Walking down the streets of Bolzano, a door opened beside me and the most delicious smells wafted out. Mmmmm! I turned to the crew and suggested we get lunch. The place was cafeteria style so we loaded up our trays with goodness and brought them to the register.
"Do you have a student card?" Asked the cashier.
"Uh... non habbiamo.. Is cash OK?" I responded.
No. Cash was not OK. We needed a debit card from the University. We'd have to leave the food. Shit.
"You can use my card and give me the cash," said the lady behind us. Lunch was saved!
We sat beside that lady. She was researching avalanche rescue techniques. I asked her if she knew the rescue crews working the Dolomites. She did. A couple days later we were in one of their helicopters running a rescue drill in the mountains. Boom!
#1 - Leaving all our camera gear 8 hours behind in Manila
It was lucky to roll into Manny Pacquiao's gym on the day he was there. We left all smiles and drove through the night to get to the Banaue rice terraces in central Luzon. As we unloaded the van it became clear we left all our filming gear behind. Caramba!
When we returned to Manila I asked for a day off to recuperate from all that driving. On the free day I decided to check out an allegedly miraculous Jesus statue. As an afterthought I asked the cameraman to come along and maybe get a couple shots. We were immediately busted by the church officials who sent us to the office to get filming permission. I almost didn't go.. it didn't seem that important.
Standing in line I noticed the office wall was covered with plaques like:
Department of Prayer - Room 201
Department of Choir - Room 423
Department of Worship - Room 315
Hmmm.... the little hamster wheel began to turn in my head. When I got to the counter I asked if there was a department of exorcism. This opened up an entirely new episode which included demon possession, the Filipino vampire, and a beauty pageant. Bonanza!
I'm Jonathan Legg
The road has been my greatest teacher.. challenging stagnant beliefs, disarming prejudices, and developing understanding of others. I hope the content on this blog will bring a sliver of that juju to you.