Lessons from Extreme Adventures with Jerry Holl, Julie Hotz and Ryan Higginbotham


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These three adventurers cycled, hiked and paddled the west coast. Here's what they learned.


Jerry Holl, Julie Hotz and Ryan Higginbotham are three ordinary people who decided to drop everything and pursue extraordinary adventures. Each of them wanted to shake themselves free from their routines, push themselves to extremes and become the best versions of themselves. Setting off on bike, foot and on paddleboard to travel the length of the west coast of the U.S., these three proved that there is so much we can learn from doing something that pushes our limits.

At 57 years old, Jerry Holl left his corporate job to ride a bike from Alaska to Mexico. The journey took him 51 days and 3,364 miles and became the premise for his book “Downhills Don’t Come Free.” He blogged about his trip and discovered that he was influencing readers to pursue greater adventures themselves.

Julie Hotz is a filmmaker and photographer who decided to join friends hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The trip ended up spanning years and ultimately became the best and most difficult undertaking of her life. We talked about what Julie learned from her time on the trail, about being present and how failure can be a blessing.

Twin brothers Ryan and Casey Higginbotham decided they wanted to go on an adventure that would take them further out of their comfort zone than they had ever been. While they were already good athletes and seasoned beach lifeguards, what they ended up doing was a first — paddling for seven months on paddleboards from Alaska to Mexico. The brothers are in the midst of making a film called “By Hand” about their voyage. Ryan and I talked about some of the most memorable and frightening highlights of the trip, and what it was like to take an extreme adventure with his twin brother.

The three guests today discuss why pushing our comfort zone can be such a rich experience, and why being in nature not only can test us in ways we will never imagine until it happens, but can restore us to our best selves.

Listen to this episode if:

  • You want to go on a big adventure.
  • You’ve ever wondered how far you could go in an extreme situation.
  • You love to cycle, hike, or paddleboard.
  • You want to drop everything and go do something extreme.

Key takeaways:

  • 2:30 – Why Jerry Holl biked from Alaska to Mexico.
  • 6:00 – The time Jerry was rescued by a familiar face.
  • 8:55 – What Jerry learned about support.
  • 12:50 – Jerry’s advice on going on your own adventure.
  • 15:15 – How Julie Hotz decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • 20:50 – How Julie had to find her own pace.
  • 27:20 – How Julie’s life was changed.
  • 35:55 – The origin of Ryan and Casey Higginbotham’s adventure.
  • 40:30 – How the twins planned the logistics of this seven month journey.
  • 45:00 – Ryan’s top three scary moments.
  • 55:55 – The most memorable moments from Ryan’s trip.


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