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.