Thursday, September 6, 2018

It Has Been a Busy (and hot) Summer in Indiana!

It has been a busy summer of new home ownership! If you read this blog in May of this year, you learned that I purchased a new home in Indiana and was spending the summer doing some home improvement -- which included painting the entire interior. Juggling the home projects, my work at the law firm, and wedding preparations has kept summer's pace quite brisk! However, all of it has been a blessing beyond measure!

The greatest blessing is Kelley, and finding this home with her... and marrying her... are gifts that I will treasure every day of my life. She did a wonderful job at choosing new interior colors for our home and definitely has a better eye for that than I do. Sure, there is more yet to do, but I'm pleased to say that the summer home projects that I wanted to get accomplished have indeed been checked off of my list.

It has certainly been a hot summer, and as I write this during the first week of September the thermometer is reading 92 degrees! We've been hot in Indiana since May. The National Weather Service reported that May 2018 was the hottest May on record in Indiana. That's pretty impressive when considering that the weather records go all the way back to 1871.

One winter project will be a home office renovation, which I will tackle after the new year is underway. I also have a few outdoor projects in mind for next summer, but all of that will be off my radar as we go through holidays. I'm truly looking forward to our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in the new house... as a married couple.

Between us, Kelley and I have eight children -- six of whom are adults. Kelley's two youngest daughters are ages 10 and 13. Both of them love the new house and their bedrooms, which have been put together just the way they wanted. We're looking forward to building many wonderful family memories in our home.

The house is actually the kind of home I've always wanted. It's a four-bedroom, two and a half bath home with hardwood floors, formal dining room, fireplace, and more. I love the mature trees, the large lot size, and the well-manicured lawns in the neighborhood. There is minimal residential traffic and the neighborhood is perfect for taking evening strolls. The home is also in easy driving distance to the offices where Kelley and I work, and the girls' schools.

Yes, life in Indiana is wonderful and I thank God daily for all that He has done to uplift and bless me on life's path.



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Monday, July 30, 2018

Enjoy The Rest of Your Summer!

On June 15, I wrote a post about taking the summer off from blogging to do some work on my new house before my upcoming wedding. Last week I made a few posts about some items that I felt were important to share and was told by a friend that it's good to see that I'm blogging again. Well, I'm diving back into working on my new house (interior painting and some other items) and will be away from this blog for the next couple of months. Enjoy the rest of your summer!



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Friday, July 27, 2018

Running from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida -- All Alone!

On October 24, 2016, I wrote a blog post about Pete Kostelnick setting a new world record for a crew-supported run across America (averaging 73 miles per day), surpassing a record that had stood for 36 years! Well, he has rested up and is about to embark on his next big running adventure. On August 1, 2018, Pete is going to begin a 5,300-mile run from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida... aiming to average about 50 miles per day SOLO!

Pete is going to push a jogging stroller of gear, as I did when I ran across America in 2006, and will not have a crew this time to support him. He's quoted as saying, “In 1999, my family and I drove most of this route from Kenai to Iowa. I’ve wanted to go back since, this time to run another transcontinental route, this time in a self-supported manner. I came up with this idea about a year ago. I’ve done a lot of research to see if it’s feasible. I won’t really know until I start, but I am confident it is.” The run should take just slightly more than 100 days.

I grew up in Alaska and did a 500-mile solo run in Alaska back in 2009. I know the geography of Alaska and the Yukon/British Columbia territories of Canada very well and this is a massive undertaking that Pete is about to embark on. A few years ago, a guy in Florida planned to run from that state to Juneau, Alaska -- but the adventure never got to the starting line. If Pete can pull off this run, it will be a first!

You can learn more about Pete at his website, and you can track his progress on social media at his Facebook page and his Instagram page -- and you definitely don't want to miss Pete's live tracking map! Good luck, Pete!

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Death of Paul Staso -- Fact or Fiction?

As bizarre as it may seem, there appear to be some people who are under the impression that I'm dead. The topic of my supposed death first arose in 2013 when an ultra-endurance runner I know was told that Paul Staso died while on one of his running adventures. Of course, I was quite alive and the runner put that man's mind at ease... and then he chuckled when telling me the story about it. The topic of my demise arose again in 2016 when a teacher sent a message through my website sending her condolences to my family regarding my death -- which she was told about by a former student who read online that a "Paul Staso" had died. Wrong again! There are actually around six different people with the name of Paul Staso. Well, today the subject of my running off into the great beyond has once again surfaced.

I have an old online guestbook from past running adventures that hasn't seen any activity in years. Today, I was alerted to an entry needing my review and approval to officially post it. This is what I read:


Someone apparently "heard" that I died somewhere. I'd like to know how this person heard that. I have no way of contacting the writer, but once again am surprised that there are those who believe that I'm no longer a part of the 7.6 billion people on planet earth. I've said it and written it before, and I'll say it and write it again: I AM NOT DEAD!

For goodness sake, just Google "Paul Staso" and you'll see on the first page of results that I have an active blog and work in a law firm. Come on, is it really that difficult to conclude that I am still alive? No, I didn't die on one of my running adventures. I haven't been hit by a bus, been eaten by a shark, or had a piano fall on my head. I'm alive and well... recently purchasing a new home and looking forward to my upcoming wedding. So, once again, if you or someone you know has "heard" that Paul Staso (the former adventure runner) is dead, do some quick Google research and find out the truth yourself! Now, I'm putting the topic to rest... in peace.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Swede Björn Suneson, Age 70, Completes 6th Run Across America

In my last blog post back on June 15, 2018, I shared that I'm taking the summer off from blogging in order to spend my spare time doing some interior painting and other projects on a new home I purchased -- particularly since I'll be getting married soon. However, today I just had to share the news that yesterday Björn Suneson of Sweden completed his sixth solo run across the United States, and yes... he's considering a 7th crossing.

Björn and I exchanged messages today and he said that seeing me while he was running through Indiana was one of the highlights of his journey. Those are very kind words! You may recall that on May 16, 2018, I wrote about meeting Björn along the road after I had gotten off from working at the office. I also wrote a couple of other follow-up blog posts... one regarding his comparing my laugh to that of John Denver, and another about Björn drinking Coke.

When I saw Björn on his 30th day of running during this year's coast-to-coast adventure, he was quite surprised. This is what he wrote in his blog about it: "I’m running on a road with little traffic between Peru and Logansport in Indiana. I see a man get out of his car holding a camera. Is it the local press that is out on a job? I think. But suddenly I recognize the person who says: 'Hi Björn, nice to see you!' Oh My God, it is Paul Staso, the old coast to coast runner! Paul as well as our own Rune Larsson is the person who has inspired me the most when it comes to running across the USA. I met Paul in 2010 when he lived in Missoula, Montana. It was 2006 and he was running across the USA. I took in all that he wrote in his blog and was fascinated by his video clips." Back in 2006 when I was contacted by a long-distance runner in Sweden I had no idea that 12 years later I would watch online as he completed his sixth crossing from one ocean to another!

It's time for Björn to fly back to Sweden after running 3,300 miles in 100 consecutive days from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon. His first coast-to-coast run across the USA occurred in 2007, the year following my crossing. Björn had tracked my progress via my website and told me in late 2006 that he would be attempting a solo crossing of America in 2007. Well, it is many years later and this tough Swedish endurance runner has now logged six solo crossings of the United States -- a world record. Absolutely amazing! Well run and well done Björn. Safe travels back to your homeland. I look forward to your next running adventure!



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com

Friday, June 15, 2018

Taking a Summer Break From Blogging to Work on My New Home

On May 3rd I wrote a blog post titled "I Have Arrived... Finally." In that writing I shared that I have purchased a new home, one that will be filled with love and laughter. As my wedding day approaches, I want to do some interior painting and other projects prior to the wedding. I work a full-time job at a law firm and over the next few months I won't have time to do as much reading outside of the office or writing in this blog. With that said, I'm going to be taking a break from posting writings here. It was two years ago that I started writing this blog, and in that time I've made 281 posts. You can use the blog's archive to read through any of those writings. Have a great summer!



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Social Media and Adventure -- Crowds, Posers, Fakes, and Death

In the past 10 years, social media has become a huge part of our world. There are so many options: Facebook; Instagram; Twitter; Pinterest; Snapchat; and others. I didn't use any of these tools during my big adventure running days between 2006 and 2011. However, many adventurers are using these social media platforms to share details about their endeavors. I know that social media has contributed to the increase in interest of running or walking across America -- with more people taking on the challenge each year.

However, there is a negative effect of providing a social media window into adventures. For instance, Trolltunga is a cliff above Lake Ringedalsvatnet in Norway. The photo accompanying this post is a stock image, but apparently there is a long line of hikers waiting their turn for this iconic 'alone in the wilderness' image. National Geographic published an article about how Instagram is changing travel and in it is written, "Between 2009 and 2014, visitors to Trolltunga increased from 500 to 40,000 in what many consider a wave of social media-fueled tourism." The location has become so popular due to social media that being "alone" there is nearly impossible.

True adventurers have criticized those who post photos on social media of "adventures" that are not actually being done. As an example, a person may post a picture of climbing a mountain just so that others can see them on a mountainside, but did they actually make it to the top? Were they on the side of the mountain for a selfie opportunity or because they were truly engaged in an adventure? Social media is filled with 'posers.'

Unfortunately, it is well documented that there have been many adventurers killed as a result of trying to get an outrageous photo. In 2014, Clif Bar stopped sponsoring five rock climbers known for climbing without ropes or safety gear. Sadly, ordinary people have been enticed by risky adventurous images to try stunts they don’t have the skills for, and have died as a result.

Perhaps the most outrageous part of this is that not everything you see of adventures via social media are true. Case in point -- the "Amanda Smith" Instagram account, which has been discontinued. Marketing agency Mediakix did a test to see if anyone can fake an adventurous Instagram account and build followers to the point of attracting sponsorship dollars. The agency created a fictitious Instagram account for "Amanda Smith" (wanderingggirl). The entire feed was composed of free stock photos of random places across the world and blonde girls, always posing facing away from the camera.

After setting up the fake personality and generating content, the agency started purchasing followers (yes, apparently you can do that). They started with buying 1,000 followers per day and ultimately jumped to purchasing 15,000 followers at a time. The cost? Between $3-$8 per 1,000. Essentially, if the followers don’t like or comment on posts, they’re kind of worthless. So the next step was for the agency to purchase fake engagement -- buying likes and comments. Mediakix paid about 12 cents per comment, and between $4-9 per 1,000 likes. For each photo, they purchased 500 to 2,500 likes and 10 to 50 comments. The entire experiment ended up costing Mediakix about $300 for the "wanderingggirl" Instagram account. After the account reached 10,000 followers (the threshold amount for signing up on most influencer marketing platforms), Mediakix started applying for sponsorship deals -- securing two paid brand deals for the wanderingggirl account. Before the account was closed it had over 64,000 followers... and it was completely fake!

So, don't believe everything you see about "adventurers" on social media. Unfortunately, sometimes they're posers or are not real at all.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com