The No Barriers Podcast is an exploration of the gritty reality of the struggles we all face, with the detailed stories of those that have persevered to find amazing outcomes on the other side.
- The No Barriers Podcast is a production of No Barriers USA, a not-for profit corporation as designated under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax-deductible.
- No Barriers empowers people to break through barriers, find their inner purpose and contribute their best to the world. To learn more about No Barriers, visit nobarriersusa.org and find out how you can get involved in our programs.
- Podcast producer contact: email@example.com
Matt Lewis-Navy Seal and COO
The most recent census reported 7% of the US population are veterans. That’s about 18 million people who served in the active military, naval, or air service at some point and have since been discharged. “transitioning to civilian life” is a common topic for veterans when leaving the military. We get into that with our guest today, Matt Lewis. Matt is the chief operating officer of a spatial data company valued at almost a half a billion dollars. Matt is also a Navy Seal with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan under his belt.
Matt changed his entire mindset as part of his transition to civilian life. We’ll hear about this journey and the importance of seeking challenges in life; including some of his own. Along the way he’s discovered that happiness comes through experiencing discomfort; that juxtaposition is key he says. Matt’s a deep thinker and the insights he shared are applicable to not only veterans, but people from all walks of life.
Vertical Pursuits with Hans Florine
“We are on this planet to do, not to observe.” says Hans Florine; a longtime climbing partner of Erik’s When Erik wanted to climb Mt. Everest, kayak the Grand Canyon, paraglide or any of the other seemingly improbable challenges, there were believers and naysayers. Hans was a believer. When Erik wanted to be the first blind person to climb a 3000 foot vertical wall of granite he recalled Hans saying “This absolutely can be done, and I’m absolutely the guy who can help you do it."
Since that day in 1996, Erik and Hans have adventured and climbed all around the world, including places like Cartzenz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea, Mt. Kenya, and even went back that afore-mentioned 3000 foot wall of granite to set a record becoming the first blind person to climb El Cap in a day. In this conversation you’ll hear why that wall of granite (that’s Yosemite’s El Capitan) became an obsession for Hans (not just climbing it, but being the fastest in the world on it), how he dealt with setbacks like breaking both legs in a climbing accident, and other life lessons in his quest for speed.
Chasing Dreams with Diana Nyad
Diana Nyad is most well known because her pursuit of a singular athletic achievement called the Mt. Everest of swimming. She was the first to do it without the aid of shark cage. It's the 111 mile swim from from Cuba to Florida, over the course of 53 hours. And that might be the simple part. The confluence of problems to solve along the way from sharks and jellyfish swarms, to currents pushing her every way but forward, required the next level of team work.
Our host Erik Weihenmayer, is also most known for an impressive achievement; an ascent of Mt. Everest. However, for both Diana and Erik, there is so much more to them than a singular defining moment. You might be surprised to hear what they consider equal or greater accomplishments than what they are know for in the public eye. Their life experiences overlap in so many ways, that this conversation is truly unique and I know you will enjoy it. What you’ll hear over the next hour covers problem solving in the middle of an ocean, team work, near death by jelly fish, the feeling of swimming over the curvature of the earth, letting go (or not), the transition from chasing other peoples dreams to your own, and much more…
dZi Foundation with Jim Nowak
Our guest today is Jim Nowak; co-found of the dZi Foundation. The dZi Foundation works in partnership with remote communities in Nepal to improve quality of life through infrastructure and education projects. Since 1998 Nowak has taken the dZi Foundation from a grassroots organization — initially formed to fund a safehouse for girls in Kathmandu —- to one of the Himalayan region's most respected nonprofits serving over 44,000 individuals.
Our host Erik Weihenmayer has adventured around Nepal for the better part of 2-decades. It’s practically a second home for him and In 2018 he invited renowned singer/songwriter Mandy Harvey and a group of teenagers with varying abilities to join him on trekking expedition there. You might know Mandy from her ascension on America’s Got Talent, or by the fact she creates incredible melodies without the benefit of hearing. Yes, that’s right, she’s deaf. Today Mandy is co-hosting the podcast with Erik and they’re interviewing a founder of one of the most impactful non-profit organizations working in Nepal.
Sebastian Zuko Carrasco
Erik spent the last few weeks adventuring in South America with today’s guest, Sebastian Currasco. Together they took on Ecuador’s 2nd highest mountain, Cotopaxi. It was a return to trip for both of them to this snow covered volcano pushing through the clouds just over 19,000 feet. The 2nd for Erik and perhaps dozens for Zuko. However, this time was different in a big way.
When Sebastian's career as a professional mountain guide ended abruptly (you’ll hear why) his love for the mountains didn’t end with it, but his relationship to them, his family/friends, and ultimately himself went through a complete transformation. After losing the use of his legs in 2015, this former professional mountain climber shares with us how he overcame this tragedy and restarted his life.
Abby Holcombe, Team USA Freestyle Kayaker
During the recording of this episode the term McNasty was used. A quick search revealed some of its family members… the Sasquatch, lunar orbit, blunt, and a favorite… the tricki woo. These are all terms used to describe freestyle kayak tricks and is the world in which our guest, Abby Holcombe, operates. Abby is 3x Jr. National Champion and on the Team USA Freestyle Kayak squad. She’s 17, lives in a van with her parents, and is home-schooled… Correction, road-schooled and recently graduated high school. She’s a pro at living with uncertainty (some kids might move a few times in a year, she moves almost daily) and as she spends a bit of time underwater in fast moving rivers, has some ideas about managing fear. She’s certainly living an alternative lifestyle and one of which, by the looks of the images and videos that she shares on social media, invoke a degree of jealousy in any outdoor enthusiast.
Our regular host Erik Weihenmayer is back from his climbing expedition to Ecuador and is joined by guest-host Antoinette Lee Toscano. As you might know Erik kayaked all 277 miles of the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon. Antoinette is an all-around adventure sports woman who came to whitewater kayaking to recover from a TBI and spinal cord injury resulting from her military service.
Gritty, important and empowering
I love this podcast. It celebrates the journey while delving into the struggles and challenges along the way. It is empowering and applicable to anyone.
Inspirational and Practical!
I love how the stories on this podcast are so inspirational and practical. Amazing people doing amazing things just like it’s normal to do! Seizing the opportunities no matter what the odds are! So cool!
A reason to listen
We all know Erik’s adventures are brave and bold. But the story telling here takes life lessons and serves them up so we all can benefit.