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Cruising on Slovakia’s pedestrian super-highway... Made it to 99th country (Slovakia)...

Harvey Lewis - Ultra Runner, le texte de sa publication du 25-06-2019 15:36:20 :
Cruising on Slovakia’s pedestrian super-highway...

Made it to 99th country (Slovakia) on all 7 continents, bringing me to over half of the world’s current ~ 196 countries.

(Apologize- long post 😊 but have had some years to think about it.)

Flew from Belgrade, Serbia to Budapest, Hungary on Belarus Air yesterday morning (45 minute flight, although amazingly there are only 2 direct flights a week), took the city bus to Hungary’s long distance bus station at Nepliget, caught long-distance bus to Slovakia’s capital (2 hours and 40 minutes) about the time it takes me to run a marathon. The bus was super clean, comfortable and only about 10 euros.

Really came up with the dream to visit all the countries in the world back when I first visited Belize on my own after high school graduation in 1994. I fell in love with “backpacking” and would set out on odysseys every year to somewhere, staying often in hostels or traveling on a shoe-string budget. I’ve met a handful of others with the same ambition, I’ve read about a couple who have zipped through all the countries in a year or two largely visiting only the capital city or hotels outside of airports, but usually my rules for myself are; 1) It doesn’t count if I just land in an airport. 2) I like to do at least one event, adventure or see something special that is unique to the country; often history or arts related since I teach social studies in a public arts school. 3) As a runner, I have to run something. It doesn’t have to be a formal race but I want to do a run of some kind, no specific distance per se. I’ve run races like the Athen’s Marathon and Spartathlon in Greece, Gobi Trail 400km ultra in China, but also just personal runs like following Gandhi’s 241 mile Salt March in India, running on Roman pathways in the mountains of Geres-Penada National Park with our guests with RunQuest Travel in Portugal, and this mornings personal half-marathon from Slovakia to a really neat isolated fort on a hill in Austria, and back to Slovakia. I usually try to see at least one new country a year. Some years I visit more; I once visited 17 countries across Latin America in 2 months but last year for example with my focus on chasing the FKT on the Appalachian Trail I visited just one - St. Lucia.

Some might ask why I’ve had this ambition? Really I love to travel and learn about other places in the world. In college my first ambition was to be a geography or International Studies major but I was dissuaded to pursue a more practical degree. When I’m traveling it’s like my friend Greg Armstrong calls concentrated living. There are so many memorable experiences in each day and I love learning. Like running, it’s one of those experiences, when I feel most alive.

One of my dreams in college was to be an ambassador. I don’t think I’ll likely ever be appointed an ambassador (they are often political appointments to large contributors) but I’ve enjoyed the informal opportunities representing the USA in the 24 Hour World Championship as well as small really meaningful moments, like this past week in Serbia when I picked up some trash along the Danube and an old woman came up to me and looked deeply in my eyes and passionately said “I wish you all the best, from heart”. Those 8 worlds were priceless. I try to represent America but I’ve also learned through my travels that no matter what country you live on the planet, God you pray, race/enthicity or social-economic status we are all human and we have far more in common than we realize. There have been some sketchy places I’ve visited no doubt but generally people have sought to welcome me no matter the geopolitics or the area.

After 25 years, finally half way there 😊. I’ve committed myself to reaching 100 countries by the end of this year. To be honest, I’m really not sure yet which country that will be and it may not happen until December. I have a couple ideas but I have to see how my schedule looks with family, teaching and consider if I want to do a formal race or just a personal quest. Open to ideas!!!😊

Your guess may be as good as mine as to how long it takes me to reach all 196 countries; or depending on how long that is there may be a couple more countries by that point. It’s a race with myself. It may take me another 25 years but as long as I’m breathing, I’ll be striving to get there. 🌎

Thanks for following the journey! I appreciate all the amazing support and encouragements I’ve received over the years. I hope it’s been insightful to some degree and inspired your curiosity of all the amazing places, people and nature in the world.

20 Days to Badwater! I really liked today’s workout! 1 mile warm up, then tempo run; run 1 mile at 90% effort, 1 mile calm and relaxed (repeat 3 times), ran about 10 minutes up a mountain not too hard of a pace and back included in about 2 calm miles than, .5 mile at 90% effort (repeat 2 times having a calm mile in between), run .25 mile at 90% (repeat 2 times, calm mile in between) cool down with the remainder of mileage. Honestly I didn’t have this plan when I started the run. I have no coach. I’m very disciplined and but my training is off of intuition. I base more than half of my days off of how I feel and schedule or what feels right. I have an overall idea of what I want to hit for the week but I adjust each day based on life and what my body tells me.
#DreamBig #wheresharvey #Badwater135 #journeyto100 #Travel #Backpacking #AllPlantBased #Slovakia Runquest Travel Newton Running ROAD iD U.S. National 24 Hour Running Team Cincinnati Public Schools Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts 2XU Swiftwick Socks Harris Media Co Like Harvey Like Son Simple Hydration CLIF Bar Brand Evolution Structural Elements PeakPerformance Runner's World #Ultrarunning 🌎

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