The purpose is to come back.
THE DESIGNER OF FAIRMEAN SOUGHT ADVENTURE IN SOLO MOUNTAIN TRIPS UNTIL HE RAN INTO TROUBLE. HIS REALISATION OF HIS LOVE OF THE MOUNTAINS? SIMPLY, TO COME BACK.
Some beings are cosmic. They give to you even when you’re not aware. They carry you on their shoulders of good vibes and wisdom. They share their lessons with you, and the more time you spend with them, you unconsciously start to receive lessons from them. Jules, my new friend, an Australian via England and now in Japan, is one such person.
Jules is an outsider through and through. If we all have purposes in life, one of Jules’ is to roam through the lands seeking out new adventures and breathing in the beauty that nature freely and readily gives to us. In pre- historic days, he would have been the hunter that went out and came back several days later empty handed and still smiling wide. It wouldn’t have been him trying to catch the animals, but him vs. the animals in a race to see who was the fastest, and then a high-five at the end of the race and a promise to meet up next week at the same time for another good hearted competition.
At the start of October, Jules took us on a trip out to the Japanese Alps. A 5am call time in Tokyo with the clothes on our backs, a road bike and a rucksack for an overnight adventure in the mountains. The plan was to ride the train to a small station at the base of the Alps, depart and continue onwards with a 5-hour bike ride into the mountains and to the start of a 90 minute hike that would top out at 1,900m, where we were to camp overnight under the gaze of the beautiful snow-capped Kitadake.
Before we even started the journey, Jules was giving to us. Sharing his experiences and wisdom over a coffee in some super hip and rad café in central Tokyo. Filling in the voids in our knowledge, taking our half-packed rucksacks and promising to fill them up with all the necessary equipment and food. And then as we got to the mountains he started to give us his energy. We became aware of an extra level of ‘aliveness’ attaching itself to him. His hoots as we ran across bamboo fields 1800m in the skies, calling out to his fellow animal beings that he was back to play, returning to his second home, super charged us all.
On the morning of the second day, Jules gave me more wisdom. A lesson he was sharing, and the unintentional lesson I was pulling from it. The story he told was of an experience 11 months earlier when he had gone on a weekend expedition and pushed beyond his limit, resulting in the loss of flesh and bone via frostbite. He explained to me that prior to this trip he always thought that going out to the mountains (which to him meant with minimal gear and sleeping out) was a deep part of his psyche. He had to see how far he could push it in a challenge against nature.
48 hours later, sitting in the hospital, he remembered asking himself is a night out on a mountain with minimal gear the peak of his offering to those around him; the people he loved and needed and those people who loved and needed him. What he realised, and what had been echoed by the infamous Reinhold Messner was not the challenge against nature, but in facing himself and grasping the physical world in an untainted way. That was what mattered most.
What he was sharing with me, was that if he could be wise, he could grasp both of those lessons and experiences in a way that minimised the risk of distressing those aforementioned people. That you can move through forests, run across snowcapped peaks and ride along at speed, but the real challenge is finding peace in doing that in a way that minimises risk, and with the main concern being to get back safely. It doesn’t reduce the level of challenge: Rather it gives reason to the challenge: The ultimate goal is to remain alive in order to come back.
And the lesson I unintentionally learnt? It was focused around the words “I go out to come back”. What I realised, as I was in the middle of a world wide wandering cycle that had no route, destination or end, was that one has to come back (not necessarily to the same physical place). It’s only with reflection that one can add the newly gained experiences to their knowledge and turn it into the wisdom that will inform the next decisions in ones life. You go out, but you have to come back to grow and evolve.
Jules St Gerome majored in sculpture at the Royal Institute of Technology in Australia. Transferring these skills to furniture design,the not so obvious step was to open a café in Central Melbourne, blending the early coffee scene with live electro jams whilst making furniture in the workshop upstairs. London called next, adding a stint at a motion graphics studio followed by a move to film school in Tokyo writing and producing. A chance purchase of a 1980’s roadbike and a sewing machine connected his love of motion and experience with his foundation in sculpture and the Fairmean bike bag was born. We were born to move freely and respectfully.
The ultimate goal is to remain alive in order to come back.
Julien Saint Gerome - Founder Fairmean