Running on my mind …

It was summer 2002 and I was concluding a semester of law school abroad in a small town outside of Madrid, Spain called El Escorial.  It was one of the highlights of my academic and personal life to be sure.  In my book “Jiu Jitsu Jurisprudence” I actually discuss the experience as it pertained to my excitement in preparation for a career in law.  At the conclusion of the semester one of my closest friends who attended with me and I headed out to explore the rest of Europe.  The first place we stopped was Seville, Spain and from there we went to Pamplona where we ran with the bulls.  I should clarify what I mean when I say ‘ran WITH the bulls’.  It was more like I ran and hid from the bulls, sliding under a make shift fence as they came lumbering by me out of fear, anxiety and stress. I climbed the fence I slid under, watched as the trailing bulls passed by taking pics as though I was convincing myself I actually ran with the bulls. Which I did not.  To take it a step further, I then slid back under the fence back onto the cobblestone street and attempted to make my way into the stadium (the ultimate goal of every runner).  By time I arrived the doors had been shut (when the last bull arrives the doors are closed and those in the stadium are free to interact and engage the bulls while those who do not make it in must enter the stadiums stands and watch free from harms way).

We departed that next morning (before the start of that days run) and so my “Running with the Bulls” experience was both fleeting, unsuccessful (based on not reaching the stadium plus chickening out and jumping off the course) and left me with this sentiment: If I ever get the chance to do this again, I will. And I will not let rationale get in the way of doing what my primal self was meant to do, run with bulls with horns.

In one week I will be stationed somewhere on the 1/4 mile course, probably closer to the stadium doors. I will be documenting the before, during and after for Exploration Travel Magazine as part 1 of a four-part article on my experience in Europe.

In the event things go horribly wrong, I’d like this to be the record of my last words.

“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence.   Oh, and please buy my book.  Elton needs to eat.

 

Ever Dream of Being a Travel Writer?

So crazy how the universe aligns, yes?

One year ago I had just returned from a whirlwind trip around the world, taking me to 9 countries in 21 days.  Upon return I was all set to step back into my normal day to day life (work, jiu jitsu, beach time with Elton, Crossfit and little excursions here and there around southern California and Lake Tahoe).  But as the Amazing Race began airing and the millions of viewers started identifying with various people on the cast, I got a call (actually an email) from a reputable book publisher in Chicago.  That dialogue led to my first book deal and fast forward nearly 9 months from those initial conversations and Jiu Jitsu Jurisprudence is in its second round of edits with a release date of October 7, 2013.

Good enough for me.  Until yesterday happened.

In the span of 24 hours, I have tweeted that I was looking forward to an upcoming trip (traveling internationally for the better part of a month to Italy and Spain) been contacted by an acclaimed online digital magazine and now finalized structure and economic terms on a four-part article series that will capture various parts of my approaching journey.

Today, I get to add ‘travel writer’ to my resume.  And so the answer to the question in my title is ‘hell yes I want to be a travel writer’.

We have decided that the structure of the writings will be a minimum of (4) separate, 1000 word essays (including pictures), first person accounts, of the following events:

1) Running of the Bulls (Pamplona, Spain); July 10th, 11th, 12th.

2) Train travel through Europe (this will entail me training across the continent and noting the characters, scenery, and life of a train traveler along the way).

3) Hiking Cinque Terra (the five villages in the Italian Riviera starting from Levanto (outside the northernmost village to Portovenara outside the southern most village) – a total of 40miles along steep and precarious cliffside terrain.

4) Life as a local in Marina di Pisa (I will be living day to day life in this Italian coastal village ..)

Sec 3.5  Additional Articles. Based on the success and response to the four articles (“the articles”), both writer and editor shall have the right to determine additional subject matter and terms for new articles.  So far discussions have included racing a supercar in Nurburgring, Germany, chasing the sun (sunrise to sundown) in the Greek Islands and canyon and cliff top adventuring in Interlakken, Switzerland.

 

I’m not sure that I ever envisioned I would be a professional writer, or a writer any sort at any point in my life.  But here I am, many years removed from college (where I wrote my last reviewed paper and for a grade that I’m sure neither had a A or B circled in red at the top upon return) embarking on the second most exciting writing opportunity I could imagine.

This newest opportunity (travel writing) absolutely would not have happened had I not had Jiu Jitsu Jurisprudence in pre-production, to rely on as part of my CV/resume.  Also, having previously blogged about travel (http://ryandanz.com/dhaka-bangladesh/http://ryandanz.com/surabaya-indonesia/) showed similar writing styles to what this magazine and its editor in chief was envisioning.

All in all, this non-stop journey that I seem to have been on since that fateful day in my life when I went from a 9-5 employee with a wife and not much else in the way of happiness, excitement or adventure to published non-fiction author, entrepreneur, gallivanting explorer and a host of other titles feels like the movie of someone else’s life. But I’ll gladly take it.

Please follow me right here on this blog as this next chapter unfolds and I promise to keep you laughing, enlightened, and in tune with the latest adventures and writings in the coming month(s).

 

Finally, a new friend passed this along to me which I would like to share with you. It captures me and the last couple of most wonderful years in my new life.

“Why tell your grandkids you worked 9-5, five days a week for 40 years and quietly sat in traffic jams while people went to war, suffered disease and shot their own classmates? Tell them you refused to live in fear. Tell them you crossed the Amazon, saw the Lost Cities of Gold and met your soul mate in Casablanca. Travel to the ends of the earth. Go now and live adventures that will make your grandkids proud.”

Thank you and good traveling.