A few months ago, I saw a wonderful movie called The Way starring Martin Sheen, in which “a father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the ‘El camino de Santiago,’ and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.” While I am neither a hiker nor much of an athlete beyond swimming in the pool, journeys like this intrigue me --- both for the physical endurance of them and the way people can open their minds when they are away from the everyday world.
Thus I picked up TO THE LAST BREATH: A Memoir of Going to Extremes, which I found wonderful in the way that I loved THE WAVE, CRAZY FOR THE STORM, SHADOW DIVERS and THE LAST DIVE. Francis Slakey is a physics professor at Georgetown who one day found he was going through the motions of life, not really connecting with people the way he wanted. His lectures were such that at the end of the day, he would realize that he had written long theorems, but not really spoken to students. Relationships were not working out. So he decided to take on a new challenge --- to climb the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean.
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