His motto for this trip seemed to be further, faster, and lighter. He planned his trip thoroughly – his route, maps, food and equipment. Because of his previous trips, he was able to be sponsored by National Geographic. I would characterize his adventures as filled with
persistence, planning, and passion
He showed beautiful photos but he talked mostly about his experience and himself. He asks the basic questions:
What kind of life do I want?
Why am I doing this?
These are the questions 29-year olds should ask but really we should all ask at any age. The audience acted differently than most audiences at these talks by ultra-adventurers.
No one said the usual, “Well, he’s young.” They knew that they couldn’t have done the same when they were his age. Or could they?
The most important aspect to Skurka is that he knows that this is his job, this is his career, not a vacation and not something to do before he figures out what he wants to do. He has figured it out.
When you’re in your late 20s, you should have a direction in life, even if you change it throughout your life. Yet, he’s not the usual motivational speaker where he tries to draw parallels between his adventures and the problems of middle-aged business people.
To have a base from which to keep adventuring, he’s formed a guiding company. He has a staff of guides, all male of varying ages that will take you on beginning and intermediate backpacking trips. And he’s written a book.
He says that some feel that “you’re only as good as your last trip.” That raises the ante for each adventure. For now, he’s on a speaking tour and doesn’t know what his next trip is going to be.
I know how he feels.