Salt Lake City International Airport, Gate A2— It’s out there, the wild. For a weekend, we danced together. The mountains, the salt flats, the vast expanses of primordial goo from the lake shore, caking to my shoes in a last gasp for another life.
It’s out there, the wild, just on the other side of the glass. And it’s good to see it again.
A year to the day that I spent my first night alone in a tent, battling buffalo, tarantulas and a failing tent under the South Dakota sky, I’m back in the wild. It’s something I couldn’t have predicted 12 months ago. I never knew that Souled Outside would stick. I left on a quest to find myself. But instead of curing an ailment, I unleashed an addiction.
I started traveling. Now, I can’t stop.
I won’t stop.
All I want to do is be out there.
As I wait at the gate in Salt Lake, I think back to that night 365 days ago, partly because I think of it often, partly because Facebook tried to prompt me to share the post again today. I won’t subject you to a rehashing of old memories, but I will submit a dose of new memories for you to share in— I submit Souled Out Europe, an entirely new adventure of even more epic proportions.
I’m going across the pond. And I’m going to bring you all along.
In a way, Souled Out Europe is a direct result of that lonely night in South Dakota. I could have given up then. Maybe I should have given up then. I remember the tent caving in, the wind whipping and roaring all around, the shock of stumbling onto a bed of baseball-sized spiders in a mad scramble to stake the tent down.
But I didn’t give up. I kept going. I kept going for 16,000 more miles, for two more months, and — in the process — my view of the world changed completely.
I don’t know what to expect. I don’t even have much of a game plan. A few key meetings aside, I’m going to throw myself at the universe and see what comes back. The U.K., France, and Sicily are all solidly on the list. With affordable flights throughout the continent, Spain, Switzerland, Malta, and Estonia are all on the radar.
These countries are well established, well trodden, and offer an entirely new challenge to Souled Outside. In a sea of humanity, stepped in thousands of years of civilization, what’s left to explore? Is there any wild left?
As an American with a single passport stamp under my belt, I’m going to find out.
Europe is going to be different. Here’s what I know so far:
A good will mission. In Vietnam, the Souled Out Crew caught some heat from Europeans on the state of America. Granted, it’s not their state, but I’ll be reaching out to show them what real Americans are like.
The Souled Out tent is being replaced by AirBnB. No more free camping. I’ll rely on Europe’s network of AirBnB’s and hostels to rest my head at night. (Sorry, Coleman.)
August 29- September 18. Those are the dates. I’ve only got three weeks to climb as many mountains, see as many wonders, and soak in as much civilization as possible. Thanks so some loophole in Icelandic airline regulations, I was able to catch a cheap flight over. The trade off? Reykjavik’s given me a short window to operate in.
Gear sponsors. Souled Out is still very much a losing financial endeavor. It will be even more so in Europe, but a few awesome gear sponsors are coming out of the woodwork to swap imagery for product tests, and even run giveaways for you guys!
You can help. If you’re a reader of this blog, you’re already helping. If you’d like to chip in, I’m offering Souled Out tee shirts for $40. Proceeds cover the cost of printing and chip in to the Euro fund. How do you order? Just visit the crowdsourcing page, make a $40 donation and leave your shirt size in the comments.
Giving back. 50% of excess proceeds from Souled Out Europe will be donated to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnershipand Wilderness.org to help preserve sportsmen’s access to public lands and fight against fossil fuels. The rest goes back to the Souled Out fund. #OurWild
You can send me where you want me. If you donate $500 to the Souled Out fund, I’ll hop a flight to a random European city of your choosing and document the entire experience with video and photography for you. Bonus: you’ll get a custom, Souled Out print of that city after the trip.
Doing my part. Photos, video, copy…it all gets better the farther out you go—the higher you climb, the longer you hike, the more you push yourself. August will be a month of ramping up for Europe, including some hardcore training for planned hikes in the mountains of the old world. Travel isn’t easy. Earning your help doesn’t come free. And I plan to make the most of it.
Until later, Get Lost, and stay #SouledOutside.