I love exploring this world physically, mentally & spiritually. I most enjoy this exploration in the form of adventure travel. As an ‘adult’, I have been fortunate to spend significant time adventuring. Nicaragua, Indonesia, Galapagos, Easter Island, Tazmania. These are on the list of places I have been. Travel allows one to see their world from a new perspective. The world is diverse, geographically, politically,economically, religiously and culturally. This diversity enriches one as as they return home with new perspective.
As a result, when I was diagnosed with ALS, I made it a point to find a way to continue my adventures. Additionally, I thought sharing these adventures with other ALS patients and then documenting these adventures would help raise awareness on a Global scale. From this concept the Team Gleason Experiment was born.
Our hypothesis is as follows: By producing & documenting epic life adventures for ALS patients, we can positively impact patient families, raise awareness globally, and ultimately, be a catalyst for a cure.
My travel style has change dramatically. In 2000 my brother & I camped in Popollo, Nicaragua with some surfboards, one change of clothes, a tent, thermarests, bananas, bread, and three gallons of fresh water. I went to New zealand in 2004, by myself with a backpack. Today, we (Michel Rivers & I) arrived in Lima, Peru with two wheelchairs, a tank of oxygen, several breathing devices, a feed tube, a catheter bag, a neck brace, pill crushers, an ass pad, and 18 people, not including film crew.
In “the old days” I, more or less, picked a spot on the map, did a little research on the country, language, immunizations, weather, and packed a bag before my trips. I When Michel & were in Chile in 2005, we had no plan other than to meet up with her family friends (Doug Tompkins). We had a few ideas on where we wanted to go, but nothing set in stone. No reservations. No agenda. While in Chile, we made a last minute decision to hop on a plane to Easter Island. This is for another story, but it was the best decision we could have made.
For this Machu Picchu adventure, we have planned nearly everything. I feel like we are on an expedition to Everest. Guides. Oxygen. Evacuation insurance. Last week, I went to Duke University to use their hyperbaric chamber, to simulate altitude in Machu Picchu and Cuzco, its closest major city. We have been planning for months. Well, honestly, Michel & Clare (Team Gleason Co-Director) have been doing nearly all of the planning.
Kevin Swan & I met via twitter. He sent a tweet saying something about ‘kicking ALS ass’ and copied me on the tweet. I went to his website (alifestoryfoundation.org) which was surprisingly awesome. He had some crafty video clips that impressed me. Inspired me. Made me laugh. From that point, we started chatting a little and it was pretty clear that Kevin was determined not to let ALS define him. He is continuing to live his life and has started a foundation to help others do the same. The guy has some attitude. He is articulate. He is persistent. He seems like a good fit for the Team Gleason Experiment. Machu Picchu here we come…