This blog post is brought to you by Hans Carlson, a tribe-less helluva guy that [sometimes quietly] spread his smile through the cities he visited. He showed up to one of the biggest days – biggest not in numbers, but in significance – for NP Amsterdam last October, and as the rain poured down in the darkness, he never lost his positive light. Thanks, Elliot, for tricking this guy into an NP #traverbal road trip and bringing him into our crazy cool family.
I went on a soul-searching journey to find inner peace and instructions for how to follow my heart. I found the November Project.
I’m a nomad. A tribe-less person. But I’m not alone.
This summer, I went soul-searching. I planned to join one of my dearest friends, Elliott, on a road trip around North America. So I flew to Los Angeles, and one morning he woke me up stupidly early to ride the Metro to my first November Project workout. It was July 1st, a Friday in China Town, and I was nervous. It’s worth mentioning, I have issues with social gatherings due to my lacking confidence.
I have spent years trying to battle a lack of self-confidence that grew into a mild eating disorder and mental issues that left me burnt me out in the past. I always feel like an outsider, that people dislike me. This was a major reason for my journey, to shake this and find some inner peace. These kind of mind-ghosts are hard to banish, it takes a lot of time and energy.
Entering that huge crowd with strangers that Friday morning was scary. It’s scary even if you don’t have mind-monsters like me. But I was welcomed with hugs and sincere smiles, full of warmth and heart. We ran, burpeed and planked. I was cheered by name and everyone gave me high fives. I felt so included and loved that I had a hard time understanding what was happening, or if I was just dreaming the whole thing. We later took breakfast together and I didn’t feel like an outsider or the new guy, I felt like one of the gang.
From this point mine and Elliott’s travel got a new level to it. We weren’t just going to travel to see the great North America, we were going to traverbal to cities with an NP tribe and join them for a workout and a “fuck yeah!”. To be fair I think that was Elliott’s plan all along… So we set off into the great wild of America’s highways, interstates and diners with breakfast, breakfast and some more breakfast on the menus. Seriously guys, what’s up with the obsession with breakfast all day?!
We went to San Diego and ran on the pier, we ran across the Golden Gate bridge and joined NPSF in the harbor. Crossed the border to Canada and got silly with NP Vancouver. Passed through the Rockies and challenged the mosquitos in Calgary. Did the Judd Nelson in Winnipeg (and left Elliott retching in the bushes). Together we drove a lot of kilometers, worked out as often we could and looked forward to the next tribe and their tag. But Elliott wanted to return home, so I continued my journey alone to one of the craziest weekends of my life with Chicago’s tribe. Onward to NP to challenge the Arctic air and earn the badge of “weather proof”. After flying to Spain and walking the Camino de Santiago, I took the long way home through London and Amsterdam because, after all, I had to get those fresh new tags too.
What I learned on my journey is the power of love, and the generosity behind it. It’s a powerful thing to start loving yourself, but equally powerful is the love and trust you accept and share with strangers. November Project played a huge part of this realization. I met strangers from all over the world that welcomed me into their homes and arms, showed me their towns, took me on adventures and inspired me sing karaoke. Strangers who have listened to me, who have seen me, who have hugged me and just showed me I’m loved. The strength behind that kindness, inclusiveness and love is far stronger than anything else I have ever experienced.
Every tribe is different with its leaders, personality, workout, location and breakfast mentality. But what every tribe has in common is the love, the hugs and the great spirit. To embrace other people and make them feel better about working out, better about mornings, and better about themselves.
Now I’m home and doing my best to remind myself of that amazing feeling and memories when I doubt myself. I wake up early and do NP inspired workouts by myself (for now), and continue the spirit of November Project by screaming “Good Morning” and “Fuck Yeah!” into the morning darkness to show the world I’m not alone.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you all I met during this adventure! And if you ever doubt yourself, know that all of you have inspired me and made me feel loved.