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The By Land Podcast

#135 - 60 Years of Backpacking with JR Harris

The By Land Podcast
The By Land Podcast

JR Harris has been backpacking for 60 years. It all started when his parents decided to send him to Boy Scout camp to avoid summers in NYC and though he may have gone against his own will that first time, it soon became something he missed when the summer came to a close.

JR is now in his mid 70’s and has seen adventures all around the world. He’s been to incredible places, diverse countries, and seen the wildest places, mostly on his own. In 1993 he was elected to the Explorers Club, which is a pretty prestigious honor. You can read all about his adventures in his book “Way Out There: Adventures of a Wilderness Trekker.”

It was an honor to speak with him that first time, and I was even more excited to learn he’d be willing to join me for an episode of the podcast. I wanted to learn from JR and hear what his life has been like, how it got started, and where he came from. What happens to a person after 60 years of backpacking? Does it still mean the same things as it once did? Is the fire still alive?

I had all the questions and JR answered them with grace. He is no doubt an inspiration to so many and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him to you through the podcast.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.


Show Notes and Links

  • Getting to know who JR is and his background
  • How and why JR’s parents sent JR to summer scout camps
  • What it was like returning to the city after a summer of Scouts
  • How summers with the Scouts impacted life in the city
  • JR’s thoughts on taking time to himself to re-energize
  • What JR gets out of living on the edge of discomfort
  • Thoughts on the life-changing trajectory JR’s parents put him on as a young man
  • On setting an example for younger generations
  • The power of being an example
  • JR’s book!
  • JR’s favorite backpacking trip
  • On having an adventure regardless of the outcome
  • https://www.jrinthewilderness.com/
  • JR’s Book - Way Out There: Adventures of a Wilderness Trekker
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