Audrey James-Anenih, cub writer
Only a handful of the students have the opportunity to meet someone who has traveled to the most adventurous locations in the world. From the Himalayas, to Mount Everest’s South Base Camp in Nepal, Mark Mead has traveled to almost all four corners of the world.
Mead is known by most students as a freshman and sophomore English teacher, and the boys’ wrestling coach, however, few know that Mead is also among the few people with the audacity to travel the world and to take many of these physically strenuous treks.
The beginning of Mead’s great wanderlust began about 10 years ago. When the average person envisions their next vacation it doesn’t usually entail a 150 mile walk across Ireland or spending 38 days climbing the Himalayas. Well, you can easily say Mead is not your average English teacher.
“In the days when I used to travel I felt that I was gaining many exhilarating cultural experiences. I also strived to complete these treks because I found that I enjoyed doing physically strenuous and dangerous tasks,” Mead said, as the reasoning behind the trips.
It would make sense to think, that it would take long periods of time to become physically, emotionally and mentally ready to take treks with this sort of complexity. But Mead treated that general idea with disinterest.
“I felt ready, long before I was actually ready,” Mead said.
Though Mead’s 38-day trek through the Himalayas was the one excursions that took the longest amount of time to prepare for, he felt mentally equipped long before he was ready in all actuality. Nonetheless, it took a large amount of time and dedication to be physically prepared to go and take part in the excursion to the Himalayas, which is so laborious on the bodily operations, Mead practically fell upon the idea in the first place.
“I trained two or more hours a day: swimming two miles, riding 40 miles on a bike, and running ten miles. I spent almost nine months in training,” he said. Mead spent a lot of time training for triathlons beforehand, and the training kept him fit enough to go to the Himalayas when the time came.
The proposals of his expedition to the Himalayas were fairly unplanned, and were simply presented to him as a great opportunity. Mead straightforwardly said, “Most of my trips were very spontaneous. I would just tag along with co-workers that were traveling in a direction that appealed to me. But it was always a life long dream of mine to go on as many expeditions as possible.”
After every family vacation there is almost always a natural thought process that goes on in the mind of the traveler, that provokes the traveler to think about what you wish you had or hadn’t done on the trip. Mead’s thoughts after the hike to the Himalayas was no different.
“One of my only significant regrets was almost never bringing a camera, on any of my trips,” said Mead. The single most denoting regret had a reason, being that it was at the time digital cameras were just coming out it wasn’t easy to access a camera on his trek, and Mead also just didn’t enjoy being in the eye focus of photos.
Physically demanding travel is only one aspect of the multifaceted Mead. The varying array of activities Mead practices during his free time ranges from the simple, to the complex. Mead can be found teaching yoga, training for triathlons, free diving, or traveling to Italy with his wife and son.
“I just generally luxuriate in being active at all times. It keeps me sane,” said Mead. For Mead training, preparing and then competing in these athletic contests is another way for him to stay balanced and mentally sound.
A triathlon is an athletic competition that consists of three consecutive events, usually swimming, bicycling, and distance running. Mead spent a lot of time in the past training for these athletic contests, but only ran competitively in 2 races. He preferred the intensity of training and spending hours a day preparing for competition, over running the physical triathlon against other participants.
With Mead being the family oriented person that he is, Mead manages to spend almost every summer with his wife and two year old son in Southern Italy. They spend about six to eight weeks in Padernello, Italy, in his parents-in-laws’ home with his in laws, nieces and nephews.
As Mead is fortunate enough to experience traveling alone to remote hiking destinations, to being able to travel to the coveted nation of Italy in Europe every summer with his loved ones. But there are various arguments in favour of and against a motion, during the course of these two sorts of action.
“Definitely alone, because it’s more worry free. I can just go and do it, and it the worst thing that happens is I have nowhere to stay. But with my family, it’s not that easy,” said Mead. The challenges of traveling with family members outweigh the challenges of traveling without them.
“The first time I went it was super cold and I wore more clothes than I should have on a hike up a mountain in the rain. After the hike I realized I didn’t pack accordingly to the weather so I didn’t have adequate clothing. I put my wet clothes out to dry and they all froze when I went to get it in the morning. The next morning after freezing, I had to work my frozen toes into my frozen mangled boots,” said Mead.
With Mead’s life recently taking a new course he has had to take on new responsibilities as a father, and husband, taking these intrepid treks became unpractical. So, in order to keep his wanderlust satisfied, he took to Judo and other mixed martial arts. And this time he brought his skills to benefit the students’ he spends the majority of his day with.
“I gravitated toward Judo and wrestling to stay content without moving around,” Mead said. He has taken the position of the coach of the boys’ wrestling team.
Even after all of Mead’s major accomplishments, for him there is still many more places to be traveled by. But, the determining factor of when and how he goes about taking these trips, is timing.
” I still have the desire to someday to walk the trail from Mexico to Canada, the pacific crest trail. I know it is something that I will definitely do, it just has to practical, and have good timing.” Mead said.