What You Discover When You Leave What You Know Behind

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Snap Out of It

Snap Out of It

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In the spring of 1999, Norm Schriever leaves his old life behind and backpacks around the world for a year, not returning to the US until the spring of 2000. Throughout his journeys he touches down in more than 20 countries in 6 continents, spanning 70,000 miles total, or the equivalent of almost three times around the equator.

Hear the author of Pushups in the Prayer Room: Reflections from a year backpacking around the world talk about what you discover when you leave what you know behind .  You’ve thought of it. You know you have. We all have. What would it be like to walk away from it all? Not one piece at a time, but all of it. To change it all. To take the neatly shuffled 52 cards in the deck and throw them all into the air, all at once. That is what Norm and I decided to do: drop out, leave everything behind, and travel around the world for a year.


It started over drinks after playing basketball. Maybe it was the type of drunkenness you can only get after physical exertion, maybe it was the buzz of being in your mid 20s in San Francisco, or maybe it was that  the conversation turned to shared heroes like Hemingway and Cassidy and Kerouac; likely it was a combination of all those things. But somewhere between the drinking, the daydreaming, and the dusk, it was planned. On the back of a bar napkin we sketched it out. Just walk away.

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