By Pat Daley

“Do something new and more ambitious.” A mentor of mine said that to me when I mentioned I was considering hitchhiking from New York to Mexico for my next film project.

Last summer, after quitting my office job and selling 95 percent of what I owned, I hitchhiked from Florida to California and filmed a YouTube episode for each day. I then went on to Hawaii and Southeast Asia documenting my travels through video along the way.

After this stint that brought me halfway around the globe, I found myself back in the US wondering what my next adventure should be.

My mentor’s advice came back to me: “Do something new and more ambitious.” It’s one of those lines that makes a huge impression on you with so few words. It was so true. Why do something I know I can accomplish? I’d hitchhiked across the country before. True growth comes from true challenges, adventures that test you to your core.

An hour later, the idea of canoeing from NYC to Mexico popped into my head.

I could’ve dismissed the idea, it was just a small hunch at the time. I could’ve focused on my lack of experience in a canoe, or listened to those who told me I would be risking my life and settled on something safer.

Now here I am, six weeks into the trip, having canoed over 300 miles from New York City to Virginia, and it’s been a rollercoaster of adventure, emotion, and challenge.

I’ve been woken up by policemen in Maryland for illegal camping, and then an hour later joined them for breakfast at a nearby restaurant. I found myself shooting a gun for the first time when a family invited me to go trap shooting with them. I’ve waited out a hurricane in the cabin of a boat belonging to a man I had met earlier in the day.

These are the experiences you are rewarded with when you break out and do something different. I’m looking forward to documenting the new adventures this journey will bring me in the miles ahead.

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