John Beede is a worldwide adventurer who has travelled to 67 countries, written three books, and the newest is called The Warrior Challenge: 8 Quests for Boys to Grow Up with Kindness, Courage, and Grit.
He has also climbed to the top of the tallest mountain on every continent, including Mount Everest. And for context, more people have orbited in space than have climbed the tallest mountain on every continent. During his nine years of adventures, he has survived avalanches, pulmonary edema, tribal warfare, and lived on a whole lot of Clif bars.
John joins me today to discuss his adventures and much more.
TOPICS THAT I DISCUSS WITH JOHN:
· Climbing Mount Everest
· Living with PTSD
· Embracing and re-framing vulnerability
· Boundaries and kindness
· Re-framing what it means to be manly
LIST OF RESOURCES AND CONTACT DETAILS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
The Warrior Challenge: 8 Quests for Boys to Grow Up with Kindness, Courage, and Grit by John Beede available on Amazon and all major book stores.
To learn more about John Beede and to connect with him, visit https://www.johnbeede.com
I'm Claire Rogers, and you're listening to Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul, the podcast that gives you an inner workout. Before we get started, remember, just like in a gym where you may not be able to use all the equipment, pick up what you can in this episode and leave behind what you can't.
Your inner workout starts now.
My guest today is John Beede, a worldwide adventurer who has travelled to 67 countries, written three books and given live presentations to nearly 1 million live audience members. John has climbed to the top of the tallest mountain on every continent, including Mount Everest, and for context, more people have orbited in space than have climbed the tallest mountain on every continent. During his nine years of adventures, he has survived avalanches, pulmonary edema, tribal warfare and lived on a whole lot of Clif Bars. He's also the author of three books. The newest is called 'The Warrior Challenge: 8 Quests for Boys to Grow with Kindness, Courage, and Grit'.
So, without further ado, welcome, John, and thank you for joining Boot Camp for the Mind & Soul.
Claire, thank you so much. I'm thrilled to be here with you.
So, let's just dive straight in. Reading your introduction, it's obvious that you are an adventure junkie. So, what drew you to these adventures?
That's an awesome question and the answer is, yes, I am an adventure junkie. What drew me to these was I had a friend pass away when I was 15 years old and that made me think life is short. It put it in my mind early and I wanted to get the most out of my life. I kind of wanted to live a great life in his honor as well. So, there was this real early mindset shift of life matters, it's important and we have to make the most of it. For me that was going out on these adventures.
So, before you turned 15, were you an adventurous kid? Or did you literally change your mindset when you lost your friend?
It was a pretty sharp mindset shift. My parents took me on some camp outs and the Volkswagen bus that we had an I have gone camping, I was in Boy Scouts, I was an Eagle Scout. So, I had done some adventures, but it really took a sharp turn towards the "let's get out, let’s really push the envelope, push the limit, go rock climbing, start climbing big mountains, get in the white-water"... all that happened after the age of 15.
Amazing. I was reading your website, and now I'm really intrigued. What happened on Everest that was not the experience that you had expected, and can you tell me that story?
Yeah, we're diving right in then. I wouldn't expect it any other way. I thought it would be this huge adventure where we get to the summit and conquer this mountain and destroy, you know, like these crushing languages that we have, as climbers, "Like stomp that thing, destroy it, it's gonna be epic", and like, be this hero on top of Everest. Instead, on the way up, there was a man who was on his last breath, who I came across, and he was left behind by his team, frozen into the ice. I stopped in the middle of my own climb in order to try and help him. He was beyond help, so I had about three or four minutes with him where he was on his last breaths. That completely shifted my sense of purpose and why I was there. It came across this question, you asked before this, "Why these big adventures?" And it made me wonder, "Is this worth it? Is this really, like, risking my own life...Is it worth doing these things? Or is there a different purpose to it? And I'm in this sense of self-doubt, and wondering, and having been across this man who just passed away, resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder. So that was two years of decompressing and re-wiring my brain and the childhood messages that I had for myself, since I was a kid about like, "Why need it? Why need to push through the pain so much? And that's ultimately what has led to this conversation, of this book that I wrote, that this is a toxic message for young people to have.
Before you saw that happen to that gentleman, what did you get from climbing mountains? Was it a feeling or a sense of achievement?
Yeah, there's a sense of achievement. There's also a sense of pride, like, "Hey, look what I did, look how high I climbed today." Or, "Look at this picture that I've posted on Facebook or on Instagram." That was a feeling that...sure it makes you feel proud, but it also is ego. It's a sense of ego. So, to be able to slowly learn to let go of that; which I'd started to do; but then be slammed with this trauma was a real point of growth for myself.
I think that's really interesting point. How did you recognize that it was an ego trip doing these adventures?
You have a lot of time when you're mountaineering to think about what's going on in your mind and to reflect. Climbing Everest takes two months. When I was in Indonesia, that took us 13-14 days. Antarctica, that trip was 12 days. So, you have a lot of time to reflect and you start wondering when you're alone in a tent, and it's like one o'clock in the morning and you're waking up, you used to ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" That was when I started realizing I kind of want the pride and the ego. Then it shifted towards, "I want to see what I'm made of. I want to see what capabilities I have and what...can I do this for myself?" Then finally, it shifted to where it is now; is mountaineering and climbing is like my church. Those mountains are my cathedrals. That's where I go for spiritual connection. Connection to other mountaineers and other climbers and that is my current state. That's what it shifted towards, is, "Yeah, I'm going to go climb so that I can be connected in a really big way to some wonderful people and wonderful scenery."
So, it shifted from being an ego trip to now a sense of community and oneness with nature. Is that right?
How did you recognize that you had P