FRIEND OF NED: JOSH JESPERSON
Meet Josh Jespersen — former Navy SEAL, veterans’ health advocate, mountain guide, and friend of Ned.
After serving six years in the military, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan, Josh moved to Colorado to immerse himself in nature and he ended up setting a world record in the process (he’s the first person to climb and snowboard downall 54 of Colorado’s fourteeners — mountains over 14,000 feet — in a single ski season.) After experiencing first-hand the healing power of nature, he started leading fellow veterans on therapeutic trips into the outdoors. Josh has become a leading advocate for veterans in the outdoors and serves as president of Veteran’s Outdoor Advocacy Group, a group dedicated to providing treatment and therapy to veterans through outdoor recreation and getting the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act (H.R. 2435) passed.
Ned: What are the core values that guide your daily life?
Josh: I have unfortunately lost a lot of people in my life, and because of that I try to remember them and be better by living my life magnified, as if I'm living for them as well.
Ned: What is your idea of contentment?
Josh: I don't know if I have a strong frame of reference for this. I've not yet had the urge to sit back and relax, and I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing, but I always tend to be thinking about what's next and moving towards it. If we rest, we rust, right?
Ned: What is a super simple practice you do that’s improved your life?
Josh: Being present.
Ned: What’s the small change you’ve made that’s had the biggest impact?
Josh: Being present!
Ned: What is something you want to start doing?
Josh: Taking better care of myself. Sometimes I take on every opportunity that comes my way and the first thing that falls to the wayside is my health. I'm stoked about all the projects I'm involved with, but I think I could probably get a bit more sleep, not work through my gym time, and not let my own physical/mental needs fall by the wayside.
Ned: What is something you want to stop doing?
Josh: I don't know . . . Wasting any time or moment of my life, I guess. That's a hard one because I try to not take any moment for granted, but sometimes you just have to wait on things to come to fruition, and I try not to stagnate in those times.
Ned: What’s something not many people know about you?
Josh: I also work as a mountain guide in the San Juans. Come ski the backcountry, ice climb, rock climb, or go on a multi-day adventure in the mountains with me; I do more than just snowboard ;).
Ned: What is your favorite daily ritual?
Josh: My days all look so different, but I love the mornings before a big mission in winter. Waking up before the sun rises with all my gear prepped. I love the routine and rush of brewing a crappy cup of coffee, frying up some bacon, and walking out the door to crisp air. I have started taking hemp extract however as a natural remedy to jumpstart my day and help the recovery process at night so I can get back to doing what fans the flames – being in the mountains.
Ned: What is your favorite form of exercise?
Josh: Moving through the mountains in whatever capacity that allows me to see around the next corner and continue to explore.
Ned: Who do you follow that inspires you most?
Josh: Anyone who is determined to keep putting one foot in front of the other to accomplish their goals and have a positive impact on those around them.
Ned: What’s something you’re grateful for?
Josh: Every breath in and out. Just waking up every day . . . opening my eyes, you know? It's hard to put into words — or not sound cliche somehow — but it's the truth.
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