SaltStick's CEO shares his adventures in Colorado and thoughts on travel

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SaltStick's CEO shares his adventures in Colorado and thoughts on travel
This week, our CEO, Jonathan Toker, Ph.D., shares his experience racing in Colorado and how travel has impacted his life. This is a really good read, and anyone ever "afflicted" by a sense of wanderlust can surely relate.
As CEO of SaltStick, I've been forced to travel to many places for a variety of reasons. I used "forced" somewhat jokingly, as I frankly love to travel, and so it has rarely been anything less than a joy to get away for a few days to somewhere new or somewhere familiar but special. As I'm sure you can imagine, travel brings about a whole set of unknowns and potential challenges, from the clown convention clogging a hotel lobby to cancelled flights. However, most of the time, travel affords a glimpse of the world that is not our normal environment. Having experiences and meeting people are two of my favorite aspects of travel. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
Chris (l) and Jonathan (r) complete TransRockies run 2017, winning Master's Men's division
I recently returned from the TransRockies Run in Colorado. This 6-day 120 mile stage trail running event has been on my calendar for eight of the past 10 years, and often the highlight of the summer. Think of a "summer running camp for adults!" This was a particularly auspicious reunion with my teammate Chris, with whom I raced our first event in 2007. Chris is a strong runner, though both of us have overcome some orthopedic challenges over the past year that made even finishing the event doubtful. But, we rocked it and took the Master's Men's win and placed well overall! SaltStick was an event sponsor for the first nine years of the event, and we assisted thousands of runners during that time to achieve their goals and running dreams. While SaltStick is no longer at the aid stations or in athlete registration bags, it was incredible to see many (most?) athletes using SaltStick products, and hearing their stories of success. And while I didn't give a nutrition talk this year, I was fortunate and grateful to have had many one-on-one conversations with athletes and to be able to assist with some performance nutrition advice.
Having experiences and meeting people are two of my favorite aspects of travel. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
A funny thing tends to happen, and it never gets tiring. We are out on the trail. Wearing a SaltStick logo'd tee shirt usually causes the conversation to start with "Are you sponsored by SaltStick?" "Basically, yes" I reply. “Have you heard of the brand?" More often than not, they go on to tell me about their first/last/worst race and how SaltStick helped them. We usually continue running a while, and chat more about the products, and I answer a few questions. My favorite part is that I rarely tell them that I started up and run the company. It simply doesn't matter in the grand picture, and I've been able to answer their questions and share enthusiasm about the product without ever having to reveal that I'm the CEO. If they find out later that I'm the guy behind the company? Well, they can feel however it makes them feel that they didn't know at the time of our conversation. Somehow, I think it's always better this way. And that's one of the aspects I like best about travel. You can be yourself, or whomever you want to be. And most of the time, nobody knows otherwise. Tired of being yourself? Why not be a prince? A motorcycle racer? Tired of not being yourself? You can be yourself, and perhaps, just perhaps, you'll return home just a bit more yourself.
That's one of the aspects I like best about travel: You can be yourself, or whomever you want to be. And most of the time, nobody knows otherwise.
Meeting others is another awesome part of travel. As a result of racing as a pro triathlete and during my time as a graduate student, I have made a truly worldwide network of friends. Athletes, scientists and their families in countries around the globe. People I care about, and who I try to visit or to receive their visits to Los Angeles. Imagine - Facebook friends you actually meet! As well, new people met on the road, some of whom have become lifelong friends. By way of example, an apprentice photographer who was at the same youth hostel in Zermatt, Switzerland in about 2002...well, the photographer and I ended up traveling together a little while at that time, and have since met back up in the USA, Japan, Switzerland, and France! His photo of my silhouette in the Alps taken on that first trip in 2002 wound up on the cover of a Swiss travel magazine years later!
Jonathan's leg makes it onto the cover of a Swiss travel magazine
People who know me would probably rarely use the words "outgoing" or "life of the party"...and yet, travel has allowed a bit of escape from a self-inflected shell, and I eagerly seek every opportunity to break down these barriers. And perhaps, just perhaps, you'll return home just a bit less yourself. Happy travels and see you on the road! -- Jonathan Follow Jonathan on Twitter! Photo at the top: Teammate Chris takes Jonathan's photo at the top of Hope Pass (elev 13000') in Colorado