Way back when, meaning when I first became an internet user, I became online friends with a guy from Colorado who was quirky and fun to chat with. As those things go you never know how long you are going to remain friends with someone you meet online, but Steve Garufi and I have kept in contact for over 10 years now. That is great considering he is the only one I have kept in contact with from that time frame.
But Steve has been more than an online friend to me. He has been an inspiration. From his bike across America trips to his "Not To Shabby" videos he has not only built an online following but has been able to do so by making a connection with the people who follow his antics.
One of my favorite things that Steve does is his "Not Too Shabby" videos. In them he finds the little things in life that one would notice every day and finds humor in them. One particularly funny one is when he finds some fries on the sidewalk, he found them "Not Too Shabby". You can see his videos bellow.
He has made two bike rides across America in the past and as this is being written is beginning his third trip. This one is titled "Bike Ride For Empathy" as he feels that is one of the things lacking in our society today.
2011 bike across USA trip: www.bikeacrossamerica.net/tour.htm
2008 bike across USA trip: www.bikeacrossamerica.org/trip-report/index.htm
Author page with book info: www.stevegarufi.com
Colorado Guy, my hikes and adventures: www.coloradoguy.com
Follow his 3rd trip across America www.facebook.com/bikerideforempathy?pnref=story
In December of 2014 Steve published his book "Under a Triumphant Sky" about his second trip across America. It is a very interesting read about his trip. You can purchase Under a Triumphant Sky at Amazon. I was chatting with Steve about a while ago and asked him some questions for an article that I wrote before his book came out. I thought that I would reprise the interview for this article and you can read it bellow.
What makes Steve Garufi tick? What makes you you?:
Life. Travel. Hiking. Exploring. Going on adventures. Connecting with people. These are some of my passions.
You have a great love for Colorado, can you put that into words? Is it part of your dna to be the outdoors type?:
I'm definitely an outdoors type, but I'm not sure where that came from considering I grew up in the concrete jungle of suburban northern New Jersey. In 1994, I traveled across the country by car on a post-college road trip, and I fell deeply in love with the “four corners states” of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. I remember seeing all the scenery and I knew deep down that I had to come back. I made that dream a reality when I settled in Colorado Springs in 1997.
What is your favorite part of Colorado that you have visited?:
So many places come to mind. There are the rugged San Juan Mountains with the charming towns of Ouray, Telluride, Durango and Silverton. Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Canyon isn't a shabby region either. Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs has many pretty places too. However, if I had to pick a favorite, I'd say Buena Vista and much of Chaffee County. This is where I currently live and hope to never leave. After you've seen the stunning mountain views of the Sawatch Range, then you'll know why our area is a huge tourist destination. Our county's tourism slogan is “Now THIS is Colorado!” 🙂
You do a lot of Climbing and hiking, do you do any special workouts to be able to maintain that stamina?:
When I get serious about my gym workouts, I love doing burpees. If you don't know what they are, here's a video of me doing ten burpees at Cottonwood Pass (elevation 12126 feet):
What is the most memorable part of your bike rides across America? Favorite place you visited I mean.:
Arizona, New Mexico and southern California had many pretty areas with a good mix of desert, mountains and scenery.
You had to have met a lot of people in your travels across America. Who sticks out in your mind the most?
On my second trip, I met Tom Vossman, a guy from Texas who was also riding cross-country. For two days, he and I biked together in New Mexico. He and I keep in touch to this day.
Also, I visited many existing friends with some hosting me at their homes. Others drove long distances to see me pedaling on the road. It was always comforting to see someone who already knew me – a friendly face on the journey.
You pretty much live life on your own terms. That is clear in your websites. What advice would you have for someone who is feeling like their life is not theirs. How should they break the chains of feeling trapped in a career that they don't like or want?:
This is a difficult question. There are no easy answers. Personally speaking, I knew that I had to take the risk of going off on my own, for the restrictions of normal employment didn't work for me. I kept getting decent jobs in the mental health field and after about a year, I usually quit feeling exasperated and disillusioned. For me, it made sense to start my own counseling practice (www.salidachristiancounseling.com) but it has not been easy. I no longer have a boss to delegate important matters to – I am the boss and have to figure it out on my own! Also, I've given up the security of a monthly paycheck, and usually I have one or two part-time jobs to help with income.
This may sound like a cliché, but I'd encourage a person in the situation you described to pray hard. Seek God's wisdom. Also, seek guidance from those who are trustworthy and know you well. Always be open to possibilities.
You are in the process of working on a book about your travels. How close are you to being done with it? Can you give my readers the Cliff notes on it.:
I've written a 110,000 word memoir about my 2008 bike across USA journey (the first trip). The title is “Under a Triumphant Sky: A Bike Across America Story.” The story covers everything in detail. My bike was stolen in Phoenix – yes stolen! Twice I came close to quitting after mechanical failures in desert. The narrative shows how I faced my fears, overcome adversity and learned lessons about life. Of course, there are many stories about interesting people I met on the roadside, and some crazier stuff like loose chasing dogs in the South and encounters with tractor-trailers.
My book should be available as an eBook and print book by December. Stay tuned. It'll be sold on Amazon and my author website (www.stevegarufi.com) will have details on where else to buy the book.
You decided to make Christian Counseling your career field, how does that affect your life when travel the state and the nation?:
I keep my counseling and traveling separate. They don't affect each other. When I'm working with my clients, I'm fully there. When I'm out and about, I put all my energies into enjoying the moment.
As a christian counselor, how big a part does faith or spirituality play in your life?:
It plays a huge role. I do call myself a “born-again Christian” and I strive to live a life that's pleasing to God. Jesus Christ is my lord and savior, and I'm so grateful for all he's done for me. While it's easier said than done, God has got to have influence in every part of my life.
It is easy to see how someone like Steve can be an inspiration to people. He lives life to the full. He lives it under his own terms and he takes advantage of everything that is presented to him.
I doubt I could make a bike ride across town let alone three trips across America but he is in the process of his third one. But that is Steve. He also is counselor and an author. That is a pretty well rounded life.
Steve is also one of the one who was telling me that my story and my life with bipolar would be interesting. He said that he would be interested in reading it too. That type of support is actually priceless. Someone who feels that you are interesting enough that they would want to read about.
The things that Steve does often makes me wonder what I am waiting on. Although I do live my life and do the things I want to do, namely going to local music concerts and festivals, spending time with my wonderful wife. Taking pictures and other such things I still think that I can do more to help and inspire people. To be a positive in peoples lives, especially people whom I have never met.
So what about you? Do you have someone who has been an inspiration in your life? Do you have a friend you have met online who you are still friends with many years later? Have you actually met them in person?
About the author
I am a certified webmaster who has lived a life dealing with bipolar depression. My goal is to not only help others dealing with bipolar and depression but to help those around them to understand what is going with their loved ones. I write about how I deal with it and hope that it inspires you to understand that you don't have to let it control you. You control it. I write the way I talk. I want you to feel like I am talking with you in a conversation, not preaching at you in a way that makes you feel like you have to do what I tell you. I hope you enjoy my blog posts about not only bipolar but all things that I write about.