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!
Last year I began this small youtube series to counterbalance the message of corporate news. If you watch or read "the news" you'll quickly get the impression that our world is a hostile place where violence perpetually occurs. Is that true?
From my experience as a world traveler, what is happening in the world is usually the sublime hum of humanity puttering along: Friends chatting at cafes, drivers stressing on their way to work, people falling in our out of love, children being raised, projects and work underway, etc. This series is designed to subtly call attention to the tactics of big news and adjust our focus.
This episode is a bit of a departure. It capitalizes on the general American ignorance of world geography. Enjoy and if you have more curiosity about the series look here.
Everything in life has a beginning, middle, and end. This transitory nature of existence applies to the hard physical world where atoms are constantly spinning and shifting, and it also speaks to the nature of your conscious awareness.
Your awareness is, in fact, the only world you'll ever know. The landscape that appears within is different than what's in mine, even if we were sitting at the same restaurant, eating the same dish, and enjoying the same view.
You are the Hindu godhead of this conscious world: creating, maintaining, and destroying its constructs. One event that reliably generates this process of change is travel.
Travel is one of Shiva's world destroying dances and it's also the lotus bloom opening of Brahma's creation. When you have unique, intimate experiences with people who appear different than you, something shifts. An outdated, oversimplified, and often fearful impression is destroyed, so that a newer, fresher, more nuanced one can come to life.
Once upon a time I took a beautiful woman to a remote spot deep in the Mojave Desert. We woke up the next morning in serene isolation and realized we had a code-red critical problem: Both of us forgot to pack coffee.
I went to the nearby visitor's center and knocked on the doors of a few RVs. Did they have any coffee to spare? I'd gladly buy some for a generous price. Suspicious looks ensued. I went to the defunct restaurant inside the visitor's center and asked if there was any old supply in storage. No luck. Finally we drove 50 miles back to civilization to buy weak black drip from a Greek restaurant.
Why the desperation? We were both addicted to caffeine, and if you've ever cold-turkey quit coffee the withdrawal is a long, grumpy affair. Our romantic getaway would have had a dark cloud looming over it.
Now I would not have that problem. A 30 day no-caffeine challenge has changed my relationship to the substance. In the same way these challenges have introduced more discipline in my connection to sugar, alcohol, tobacco, social media, gratitude, and meditation.
Would you like to do a little more or a little less of something? Help yourself out by adding this effective tool to your will power. Doing it with a friend adds solidarity to the mix and strengthens resolve. When you finish your 30 days formally re-assess your relationship to that thing and how you'd like to proceed.
The one question I get asked the most about Road Less Traveled is "Where can I see the episodes?" Being on several networks around the globe is fantastic, but when someone tunes-in determines which episode they get to see. They could also miss the airings entirely.
Now I can tell everyone where to find us, because Road Less Traveled full episodes are available online on Yatra World. For the price of a fancy coffee (or a happy hour beer) you can binge adventure, food, and lifestyle all night long.
Get your wanderlust fired up with a tall stack of Road Less Traveled on Yatra!
Our culture is obsessed with comfort. Collectively we have been coddled by modernity. We want more legroom, softer mattresses, and any vehicle that will save us from physically moving our bodies. Get in a time machine and travel to any generation before us and you'll be the softest, most sensitive soul around. Our hunter/gatherer ancestors, whose genes we still carry, would be stunned. Perhaps they are stunned inside of us at this very moment.
Suffering, inconvenience, and exertion are part of life. Just like one must experience heartbreak to get love, and betrayal to grasp trust; we must truly learn how to hold suffering to appreciate its absence: the sweet state of being at ease.
There is also a life principle at work. Accomplishing the best stuff involves pushing past challenges and imagined limitations. To become a better person one must take the Hero's Journey, walk into the dark cave, and face some tough things. If we don't learn how to frame hardship properly on the front side of life, it will find us truly unprepared on the backside.
The easiest realm in which to learn the virtue of suffering is in the physical. For that reason I organize Tuesday Trail Runs. Once a week we interval run up a small mountain in about 7 stages. The idea is to complete each segment with almost nothing in the tank and RPMs hovering at the edge of the red zone. Often I'll cry out in relief at the breaks as the powerful sensation of exertion giving way to rest floods my body. The more tension I hold on the segment, the more powerful the wave of glorious release.
On the trail the mechanisms of the self defeating mind get real clear. The first ascent triggers a cacophony of arguments to quit or walk. I treat this first chunk as chance to watch the modern mind's resistance to exertion. It's a phenomenal exposé of excuses.
On the second segment I cycle through empowering narratives to replace the weak ones.
For all other segments I settle on the technique that works best: Mindfulness and presence.
Hardship is a fascinating state that most of us work so hard to avoid. I encourage you to start a practice where you can hold and examine it. You'll find that what you were afraid of isn't so bad. It isn't bad at all. There is a side of you to explore there.
If you find yourself in LA, join me on my trail runs
In the fall of 2016 Maximilian Sperber and I decided to take vacations to a couple countries off the tourist highway. We filmed the experience of arriving fresh, with no planning. Then we cut a short video of the first destination, Kiev, thinking the series might have a market. After some strong bites from Tastemade and Fullscreen we got distracted with other projects and the weeds grew on D.U.
I am of the belief that good material should be seen. I create content, including these blogposts, not to make money but rather to put ideas out into the world. Sometimes the money follows and sometimes it doesn't; but I'm compelled to move forward either way. Each one of us was designed by nature to do something. We all have our talents and our truth to share. If we share that truth honestly we can help each other connect to the essence of this brief, wondrous life.
There are two more episodes worth of D.U. content "in the can" that one day we may edit and release them if a budget manifests. For now, I hope you enjoy Destination Unusual: Kiev, and I hope the video inspires you to seek out unusual destinations for your travels.
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.