Every once in a while, I get this overwhelming feeling to disappear.

To disappear from everything and everyone and to venture off completely on my own – diving into the silence that we can all find if we make the time for it.

For most of my life, that’s been a dream. A dream to head straight into the unknown without any idea of what’s going to happen or what may be around the bend…and to experience that for what it is. That’s been something that’s always been out of my reach. Every summer when I was young I would dive into my books, spending night after night in my treehouse and visualize worlds that appeared as I turned the pages.

I would see myself floating down rivers, climbing mountains, and discovering new paths that were never taken. In fact, the handful of times I did go vacationing with my parents and we went hiking I would always hike far far ahead of everyone else…competitive to the point that I earned the nickname “scout.”

I couldn’t stand walking behind people. Apparently I couldn’t stand skiing behind the other kids in ski school. I would ski on the back of their skis and piss everyone off.

That’s the type of spirit I have.

First into the trees.

I think as time went on and I went through the thick of it, I lost contact with those pieces of myself. I have always been incredibly excited about life, but I can tell you for a fact that there were a few moments where my intensity for living was dulled. I have fiercely lived throughout most of my life, but as I mentioned before, it was the comments of others calling me “too intense” that caused me to pull back from myself.

I was too young to realize it at the time, but this intensity is the exact thing that needed gasoline poured on it, not to be toned down by the negative comments of others.

It was this same intensity that I would later realize needed to be reborn in me. I had lost my bite. I had lost my touch with my dark side. I spent so much time pushing for positivity that I lost contact with an undeniable part of me that drove me through anything – the darkness.

This intensity wasn’t ever rooted in motivation or internal drive – it was something far deeper and more complex. You can never really put a word on it, but imagine a shark smelling blood in the water. That’s the way I was on the mound pitching…that’s something I’ve been learning how to get back in my life every single day.

Fiercely competitive. No apologies. No excuses. Just going after it every single day.

What I didn’t realize over the past few years, was that I was literally making a dream that seemed so far out of reach come true. It’s been a few years since I’ve graduated from college and I spent a lot of time getting thrown in a few different directions. I would say, more than anything, that these have been stormy times.

But peaceful tides never made a skilled sailor.

So as I was getting broken down, tested, humiliated, and feeling like I was being fractured into many different pieces by life, I ended up realizing that I was having all of the parts of me that “needed to go” taken care of in order to start finding out who I truly was. The pieces of me that had to go fell into the background and the other parts that were begging to come out finally were allowed to shine.

Patience came out. Intuition came out. And that intensity – coupled with the willingness to take huge risks – conquered the fear that always paralyzed me from moving forward.

And with that, gone boy came to life.

The same boy who would hike out of sight in front of his parents seeking what he didn’t know.

The bite came back. The fire came back. A flame was ignited that was just burning steadily over the past few years.

As I sit here 2 weeks out of starting the adventure of a lifetime, I am getting more and more excited about what is to come. For the first time in my life, I will be completely on my own. There’s no turning back. There’s no safety net. There’s just me and what I can do. There’s just a dream that I need to step into and as soon as I step onto that plane to travel the world and see everything I could possibly see, I will change. I will change in ways that I can’t even predict.

The shackles of a story that held me down for 27 years will be broken…and I will start something that’s never been written before.

July 7. The second chapter of The Better Man Project. 

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project