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They say you should never meet your heroes. I say bollocks to that!
I’m a fan of podcasts. Actually, I’m a fan of just a handful of podcasts that I listen to religiously, usually while running or riding. There’s one that was my gateway into the world of podcasting: the Rich Roll Podcast. The RRP cuts across all my personal and professional interests. Sport, business, food and nutrition, wellness, social issues and more. The episodes are deep dives, usually in the vicinity of two hours, that really allow for serious contemplation about the topic at hand. The format is simple: the host, Rich, in discussion with a single guest. He is a former lawyer and alcoholic, turned vegan ultra-endurance athlete. It makes for an interesting perspective, but what is most compelling is just how skilful he is at turning what could otherwise be stilted interviews into very personal conversations. Yes, compelling is the right word. Guests as well-known as Ariana Huffington, David Goggins and Russell Brand; but also those whose lives are extraordinary without the profile to match. All are equally fascinating and over the years I’ve found myself engrossed in subjects that I would not otherwise be exposed to.
There I was out for a run on Tallows Beach early one morning between Christmas and New Year, earbuds filling my brain with the latest episode of the RRP.
Now, to be fair, I’d seen (via Instagram) that Rich was in Australia, and that he was holidaying in Byron. We’d joked driving down to the beach that morning that we should keep and eye out for him to say hello.
You can see the punchline coming right?
I recognised him and hesitated, wondering whether I should interrupt his peaceful morning stroll. I know what I’d think if a red-faced, sweaty stranger ran up to me on a beach! In the end I figured it was one of those moments in life where I had an opportunity to shake the hand of someone I genuinely admire and someone who has influenced me enormously. He was incredibly gracious, and we chatted for a few minutes before heading off in opposite directions.
It was surreal in its normalcy. He was just a real person, enjoying a real place – and hopefully eating some really good food while he was here.
And yes, I did offer to connect him with some great local producers if he ever comes back!