It’s a matter of nerves.
As many of us are fast approaching graduation and the real world, we find ourselves increasingly overwhelmed by nerves. Whether we’re dreading what comes next or anxiously waiting for it, it’s a safe bet we’re all pretty nervous. But rather than waste our time worrying, maybe we should just take the plunge and let whatever happens, happen.
A chemical engineering major at the University of California, Santa Barbara, JJ Yosh had no way of knowing he’d find himself where he is now. Currently the host of the Web series “Flat Broke and Green,” the founder of Juntovision and the soon-to-be climber of Bolivia’s highest peak, Yosh is a far cry from the engineer he wanted to be at 18. Yes, he always wanted to help the environment, but the path to that goal has twisted drastically from the original route. Listening, graduates?
I could go on and on about his achievements as an undergrad and post-college in the world of “going green,” but perhaps the most intriguing notion is his future travels to Bolivia. In college, Yosh started the Excursion Club, a “hiking club for people who didn’t like to hike,” as Yosh remarks.
Fast forward to climbing the Illimani, a 21,000 feet five peak traverse between the border of Bolivia and Peru. This hike has only been done by three other groups ever, and Yosh will be among the only American group to set out on this challenge. Facing blistering cold, ferocious winds and intense ice cracks, this hike is dangerous, to say the very least.
But the hike isn’t just for enjoyment. The entire trek will be filmed for a TV documentary series raising awareness for going green.
“I’d like to sum it up as taking green to the extreme,” Yosh states.
He notes that most people associate green with cheap or low quality, and thus this documentary will present green options for both those who are broke, as well as top of the line, expensive green gear. Everything they will be using, from the clothing they wear to the techniques they use for survival, will all be green.
The documentary will also contrast the bustling cities in the United States with the small villages hidden in the Andes mountains and teach us a thing or two about being green no matter where we reside, and how to be green while traveling to every spot in between.
So how did a guy who headed up a group for non-hikers get the nerve to climb a 21,000-foot peak in brutal, life threatening conditions? It starts with baby steps.
As part of the Excursion Club, he taught people that hiking and the outdoors don’t have to be intimidating, and that one small, easy hike leads to another hike, which leads to another hike, which leads to … well, you get the point. So after completing successful hikes throughout the United States, Nick Rice, an avid climber and a survivor of the K2 2008 tragedy, approached Yosh and offered him the chance to climb volcanoes in Ecuador.
This soon transformed into the current adventure in Bolivia, and before Yosh could back out, he was already roped in. Within a few months, he’ll be experiencing those brutal conditions first hand.
So back to the original idea in question. Is he nervous?
“I’m not nervous because I’m not exactly sure what I’m getting myself into, but that’s kind of how I take my life for the most part. I just go with what I feel and jump into it. I might think, ‘Oh my God, what did I get myself into?’ But it’s already too late.”
Now those are words we should try to live by, no matter how terrifying it might feel mid-plunge.
For more information, visit jjyosh.com.
JJ Yosh: Taking Green to the Extreme
It’s a matter of nerves.