I recently learned of an amazing human being and I feel it is only fair that I share his life story with the world. Let me first start by saying, I don't know the guy. I only know of him, and through another guy that I don't even really know. :)
Quick history of the "guy I don't even really know"... A little over a year ago I went surfing for the coolest blogs on the internet and just started searching for things that I like: I've always wanted to visit Maine, and (as you know) I love trail running. The only thing I can imagine is that I must have put all that together into a search and (low and behold) I found MaineRunner. I knew nothing about this blog, nor did I know anything about the guy who posts to this blog. Regardless, I subscribed to the feed and I've been following it ever since. Over the last year or so I've posted comments on Jamie's blog and he's posted comments back on my blog. I've never met the guy, but I feel as though I know him enough to call him a "friendly acquaintance". Blogging is amazing... isn't it? :)
Well, last week when I got back from Orlando I was catching up on my blog roll and read a post that really got me thinking. I read about a guy who lived to live. This guy was Jamie's friend and his name is Christopher Douglass.
Chris was about to embark on an epic journey by foot from Colorado to Maine. The night before he was to begin his journey he was hit head-on by a car and died; he was 29 years old. There is a lot more ugly drama that goes along with this accident about the driver of the other vehicle, and Chris' girlfriend's condition, but I don't want to digress too much. I'm not one to post sappy posts, and it's not my intention to make this a sappy post either. The reason for this post is that I was so impressed by Chris' life that I wanted to share his "big picture" with everyone.
Chris was all about living for each day. He created a website called SmallWorldTreks.net and it's main purpose was to prove to the world that the world is smaller than we think. Chris posted videos out there of some crazy adventures that he's taken over the years, and was intending to post even more adventures... For example, he took $400, a sleeping bag, and a video camera and drove his motorcycle from Maine to Arizona just "because". When he saw people along the way, they said they wish they could find the time to do something like that. His response was simply "do it". It took him 1 week (if I remember correctly), and he gained a lifetime of memories from it and turned around and shared it with the world. He admits that the happiest times of his life are those moments when he was scraping up loose change in his pocket to fill up his gas tank, or sleeping under the stars at some place he's never been before. His whole mission was just to prove to himself and everybody else how small the world really was. I read about him running a marathon without even training just to prove that he could. It really sealed the deal for me when I realized that he died so suddenly on the night before he was to begin epic hike from Colorado, through Canada, and into Maine. His crash proved to me just how short our time here is. This guy was 10 times more full of life than I am, and he left us in one quick second.
The night that I read about Chris' accident, I got so caught up in his story that I spent the rest of that night reading about his adventures and really got to know him (as much as I could over the internet anyway). I watched all of his video's and really saw how much he enjoyed living. He was just... happy. There was a link on his site that night for people to email his family, so I did and told them how his story had such an impact on me. That next day, I woke up and took my girls hiking through the woods and let them get muddy in a nasty creek bed. I just enjoyed (really enjoyed) my time with my family that next day, and plan to do more of that from now on. I told my wife about his story and now I'm telling the world. If you're reading this and are caught up in your daily routine of wake, eat, work, eat, tv, eat, sleep, repeat... call off work, take a $20 bill and just go do something outside for the day. What's stopping you!? If you choose NOT to go out and do something, please just read the few paragraphs on SmallWorldTreks.net home page. If that gets you thinking, then I encourage you to continue to read about Chris' adventures. It changed the way I think about my daily activities.
Jamie, I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend. However, you should feel very honored to have known him. He was an amazing human being, and his spirit will live on for a looooong time.
Luc, that was an incredibly nice tribute. Thanks. You hit the nail on the head... so many people live a mundane life when they simply don't have to. Chris' legacy of living life to the fullest will resonate forever in many of us... glad his story touched you as well.
Luc, It's so great to hear how someone who didn't know Chris, knew what he was about. My husband and I were fairly good friends with Chris, but I have learned more about him because of his blogs and reading what other stories friends have posted. I'm blown away with the impact he has had on people who never met him in person. For some one who can barely text or use a computer, I have a new appreciation for this technology that brings us all together. Good to hear you get Chris.--Tina
Thank you for the kind words about my younger brother Chris. If you haven't made it to Maine yet, a good excuse would be Chris' going away party on the 30th. We would love to have you and anybody else that shares the same spirit.
Your comments about Chris mean a lot to us and we really appreciate it.
This comment is in response to everybody that has contacted me who knew Chris: BeeLady, Glen, Dennis, Jamie, Tina, and everybody else.
Chris has already changed my life and I never knew him. I think of him often, and yet (again) I never knew him. You had (and still have) an amazing friend, brother, son, and [every other role that Chris played]. His passion for the outdoors is shared by me, and since reading his story, I'm focusing more on being outdoors and staying happy.
Thank you for reading my thoughts about him; I had no idea so many of you would read it. Chris' spirit is having a huge impact on a lot of lives. What an amazing person!
Please keep SmallWorldTreks.net going. And... I want to help!
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