June 26, 2014

Run Free - The Movie

 It was early, one of the first mornings after my arrival in Urique. My trip was already turning into a great adventure; not 5 minutes upon arriving to Bahuichivo’s train station, three days prior, I’d stumbled on Caballo Blanco and arranged to meet him again down canyon for some running. He’d showed up in his pick-up truck with a new friend he met in Creel, Olaf Sorensen, and us three had been running, cooking and hanging out ever since.

That special morning would turn out to be the starting point of an incredible adventure, filled with excitement, discovery, friendship, loss and elation. But I didn’t know any of that when, while cooking pinole for breakfast, Micah casually mentioned he would be meeting a film crew the next day to shoot a documentary. And that he wanted Olaf and I to join them.

I really, really didn’t want to do it. What was I to do in any of this anyway? This had nothing to do with me, and the mere thought of being in the back scenes made me feel like a wannabe. So I told Olaf I wouldn’t be going. I said I would just stay at Entre Amigos and do some running on my own, and hang out when they would come back from the shoots.
“Don’t you want to be part of this?”, Olaf asked. “Don’t you want to explore the Canyons, meet the People, spread the message? Would you rather have someone else do this, someone who doesn’t get it? Who’s there just for show?”

With Micah and Sterling Noren, filming
That left me thinking. For about five minutes. Micah showed up at that point and just added “I’d like to have you guys around, you know, for the running and all.” So we agreed we would be his crew, make sure he’d get stuff to eat and a couple extra helping hands for anything he’d need to get done. And off we went.

That was the beginning of an epic adventure, a chain of events that changed my life forever. Because of this, I got to spend five wonderful weeks with Micah, travel all over the Barrancas and develop a meaningful friendship I was convinced would last a lifetime. I got to experience the wild roller coaster of movie making, with its hilarious, infuriating and boring moments. I got to listen in while Micah was telling the real story of Caballo Blanco and Born to Run. I got to be profoundly touched and influenced by a man’s humble dream, message and vision.

This has been my personal journey ever since. Now, more than three years later, everyone is about to share a part of that privileged time. Everyone will get to meet a wonderful, soft spoken, but also hard-headed man who never made any compromise to ensure his actions would make a true difference. Everyone will share intimate, personal conversations with a genuine person who only half-willingly became famous through a strange twist of fate, and decided to, as he said himself, “use the voice he was given”.

Olaf Sorensen, Micah True and myself
Micah True died less than 3 weeks after we finished shooting the scenes of Run Free. The images of this movie turned out to be his last message, his legacy to those others who would listen and care.

You, my friend, are one of these people. If you hang out in FlintLand, you share some values, interests and dreams with me. Today, you get to share much more. Today, you get to make Run Free a reality. You get to help making sure Micah True’s message remains forever.

Please purchase your advance copy of the movie, and help spread the message.

Thank you, and Kuira Ba.


For the whole duration of the campaign, I will proudly display this reminder on the top left of FlintLand. Whenever you can, please share this and spread the message as much as you want. And if you care about this, please consider supporting our campaign financially.

Run Free, c'est plus qu'un film, plus que le récit intime d'une aventure extraordinaire et trop courte que j'ai vécue avec Caballo Blanco. C'est un message important, positif et vital, que vous pouvez aider à propager. Aidez-nous dans notre campagne Kickstarter en achetant d'avance votre copie du film ou en contribuant financièrement. Aidez-nous à garder le message de Micah True bien vivant.

June 10, 2014

My 100-Mile Week Challenge

The Pandora 24, Quebec's first 24-hour trail ultra, is getting closer every day. I'll be running it with fellow Mas Locos and good running friends, pipe dreaming of maybe pulling a 100 miles. But that, I now know, usually goes better with at least some training.

I took a longer commute yesterday, running to work from my Belle's. It's roughly 3 times farther than my place, at about 15K each way. So it's a pretty good running day, a 30k "twofer".

Silly little maths started playing out in my head, and I realized that if I run commute every single day this week, it amounts to 150K. Add a little 10K thrown in somewhere and you hit the 100-mile mark.

See where this is going?


And I *might* have a little suprise for the "little 10K"...

Si je veux faire une belle course à la Pandora, j'aurais avantage à m'entraîner un peu... Après quelques calculs, j'ai réalisé que si je cours au travail de chez ma Belle chaque jour cette semaine, et que j'ajoute un petit 10km pour compléter, ça fera 100 milles en 5 jours...

June 9, 2014

What Would You Do, If Money Was No Object?

Personally? I'd ride my own kitten-loaded unicorn, bare chested with my rock-hard abs showing suggestively in the glare of a double rainbow over the mirror-calm lakes of Northern Scotland.

But I digress.


My friend Shacky posted an inspirational video, today, on his Facebook wall. In a nutshell, the video asks “What would you do if money was no object?” and goes on to tell you to live your life to the fullest, to pursue your wildest dreams, regardless of whether you can earn a living out of it.


Now don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate the beautiful images and the question itself, as it makes you reflect on what your own life is, on the level of satisfaction you actually get from it. But telling people to aim their whole life at a single dream goal, without any care for the unavoidable material issues, is preposterous. Unless, of course, you’re Steve Jobs, Prince Harry or that rich dotcom kid who posted misogynistic frat emails.

So instead of a video filled with sunsets, beauty shots of skyscrapers and deep-sea reef diving, which really are someone else’s idea of a dream life anyway, let me offer a couple pointers on my own process of reflection, introspection and my humble little quest for happiness. It is devoid of rainbows and unicorns, but I hope it's worth the 5 minutes you'll spend reading it.

Let me start with a couple down-to-earth, albeit disappointing facts of life.

You need money.
No matter how good you are at living a low-expense life, you still need money. Unless you take off to live a traditional life in a remote indigenous area with the help of a local tribe (in which case you still need to afford the trip(s) to get there), money is unavoidable. Deal with it. What you can do about this, however, is ask yourself what your relationship to money should be. Do you want to be its slave, chasing away every opportunity you have to make a buck, or can you determine a satisfactory level of earning and then plan what your real life should be like?

You are in The Machine.
There is a whole world out there made to make you conform. From the school system to our notion of “work” to our governments to our social pressure system, everything is built, thought and organized to create artificial material needs to solve all your worries and show you how to fulfill them through the marvelous slavery system that is credit. You can’t avoid The Machine; however, you can invest time to become a better thinker and set your own goals, your own values and your own dreams, realistically and according to what you truly aspire to. Then, you can find real ways to fulfill them. For real. As in setting foot atop the Kilimanjaro or taking off in your sailboat. Of course, this is much more work than watching a cool video of a dude surfing a huge tropical wave.

Take anything you love and turn it into a job; you’ll hate it.
Ask adventure tour guides, professional actors, top models. Are they living their dream, through their work? No matter what line of work you choose (aside very few, self-employed, client-less situations, I guess), you’ll have to deal with dimwits, self-righteous zealots, lazy poseurs or any other form of party-pooper. You’ll have people to answer to, whether superiors or clients. You'll be pulled back into The Machine in no time flat; your job title will just sound cooler.

Now with that said, I do have very, very good news, too.

Your life is a triangle
Surprise!! Your life is NOT your work. Your life functions basically like a triangle, between work/material, yes, but also love and leisure. No matter how well one of these aspects goes individually, if the two others suck, you won’t be happy. So instead of trying to skydive for a job (not that there’s anything wrong with that, though), realize that you need to aim for satisfaction in all three planes of your life. And while you’re at it, take a shortcut and realize it is almost impossible to have all three planes smooth sailing on a tranquil sea of happiness. Work on all three truthfully, however, and you’ll see more stability, more discovery, more quality time and… yes! More happiness!

Don’t know where to start? How about “What else than television / video games / internet would make me fulfilled?”, or “What kind of person(s) do I want to share my personal life with?”. And, of course, “What do I need in a job to be happy and satisfied in conjunction with the two other planes of my life?”.

Life is not a straight line.
We have a saying, in ultra running. “This, too, shall pass.” That means if you feel great right now, eventually, it will go away and you will suffer. But it also means if you suffer, it, too, will sooner or later recede and make way to feeling better again. This is true with your life, too. Our journeys are not straight patterns through existence. We make some of our own happiness and unhappiness, but we also fall victims of fate, abrupt twists and flukes. It is what we make of the situations we experience that matters, in the bigger scheme of things. And how we decide to react is based on our opinions, our values and the solidity of our various relationships. Do you start to see a pattern, here?

Life is NOT your job.
I work 9-to-5, in a gray cubicle, doing the most unimportant thing you could ever imagine. And you know what? I have some great colleagues who lead interesting lives to share great conversations with. I also benefit from an excellent salary, which provides more than enough money and free time to travel the world, enjoy many adventures and practice my favorite sport. I work 37 ½ hour weeks. Hell, I just spent almost a year travelling, paid, thanks to that job. Is this really all that bad? (Hint: it is also OK to answer yes to that question).

It is all up to you
Although in the good news department, this also means you have to tackle one of your life’s biggest challenges; becoming the artisan of your own happiness. You need to figure yourself out. You need to take a stand, and live by values that are important to you. You need to make choices, some of which won’t be easy. You’ll probably need to keep going when (most) everyone tells you you’re dumb, straying off, or plain wrong. You'll have to face doubts, maybe change your mind.

I am NO better than you.
Neither is Mrs Zen or Mister Positive, from the inspirational videos. We are one. We are all in this together. We struggle, we doubt and we face challenges all the same. Those images of perfect people living perfect lives? They don’t exist. Be yourself. Be honest. Be truthful. Extend a hand to others. Work on your your triangle. Reflect on what you want for real. Find your values. Think. There IS a recipe to happiness; it's the one YOU make.

That’s all I got, really.

Now if anyone’s looking for me, I’ll be running my second distance of the day, on my way to my Belle’s place from my work, where I decided to benefit from the gym lockers and showers they installed about two years ago. Reminiscing about past trips and epic runs with my friends. Dreaming of Italy, where I’m flying next July. Trying to smell flowers instead of exhaust fumes. Maybe catching a stranger's eye on the way and exchange smiles.

All that with a pretty decent smile on my face :)

Ça m'énerve, des fois, les pseudo-vidéos de motivation qui te promettent le bonheur absolu si tu fais la chose que tu aimes le plus au monde comme boulot, sans égard au salaire que tu peux en tirer. En plus d'être étroit et faux, ce raisonnement mène à la même place que toutes les autres "recettes" de bonheur; la déception. Le vrai bonheur, c'est à toi de le faire!