Walking The Great Mountain Trail Of Deep Time
It's certainly the hike of a lifetime. But is it even *possible*?
Hello! This is Everything Is Amazing, a newsletter that zooms in on curiosity, attention, and the happiness-engineering power of enthusiastically trying lots of different things for no immediately apparent reason.
It’s an essay about enthusiasm that Brendan Leonard of Semi-Rad just republished, as he does at this time every year, and every year it’s exactly and precisely the best and most useful thing you could read today.
From his new introduction to it:
You might think the person who wrote this piece is constantly whooping and high-fiving people when they’re out in the world. Sometimes I wonder if I should be doing those things, especially when I read this piece again. I am actually much more chill in person, despite my medically inappropriate consumption of coffee. But I do espouse the idea of Practicing Maximum Enthusiasm. I am generally trying to look for the bright side. and happy for you when things you want to happen happen, even if I’m personally not that excited about new skate skis or adopting cats or whatever. I’m just happy you’re happy.
I’ve written a lot of words over the years, and sometimes I go back and read them and realize I don’t 100% believe something I wrote in 2015 anymore. But I’m still pretty OK with everything in this piece. Especially these two parts:
“People can disagree with things like quality, maybe your taste in food, or whether or not a movie is good. But no one can argue with enthusiasm.”
“Enthusiasm doesn’t have to stand up to criticism. It doesn’t even have to really make sense.”
You can also buy the t-shirt. But really, the best thing you can do here is just spend a lot of this year enjoying doing that ridiculous thing you like doing, madly and joyously, without feeling any need to justify it to anyone but yourself, or to measure your success in doing it against anything except how much fun you’re having.
(People who do that generally seem to be pretty damn happy. So hey, why not become one?)
Meanwhile over here, I just learned about the second-longest mountain chain on our planet.
As I wrote about previously, the longest mountain range is 65,000 km long (40,000 miles), which sounds like a proper adventure until you discover it’s thousands of metres deep at a depth that’d be instantly, messily fatal to an unprotected human being. Not anyone’s idea of a fun day out.
But now I’ve discovered the second-longest, and it’s far more manageable. Nope, it’s not the Himalayas (they’re piddling in comparison). It’s also not the Andes (the third-longest). This thing is bigger - and, incredibly, it’s on land. You could, in theory, walk along it.
I first learned about it while reading Lewis Dartnell’s Origins a few months back (come read part of it with me for free on Threadable here) - but I only knew of it as an ancient, long-destroyed relic of our former world. I didn’t join the dots. I didn’t know it actually still existed.
So in today’s post for paid subscribers, I’m taking a proper look at the ancient origins and the current reality of this thing. Is this the world’s greatest (and perhaps least doable) hike?