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Mars One Failure to Launch February 19th, 2015

Mars One. The next giant leap for mankind.

Hello fellow earthlings,

The good news is that I won’t have to eat worms and algae for the rest of my life; the bad news is that I failed to qualify for the next round of Mars One. So after almost two years, my aspirations to be the first person to bicycle around two planets has come to an end. I made it into the top 600 applicants out of 202,586. Maybe I was even number 101, but that doesn’t matter because only 100 get to move to the next round, and there were too many Americans from the start.

If you have about one minute, you can listen to my interview on WVXU, the local NPR station. I’m not sure why I’m reposting this. I was already feeling ashamed, and then to wake up the next day and see in the news about myself titled: “Cincinnatian loses out.”

My job interview to be an astronaut with Dr. Norbert Kraft (formerly of NASA, and now in charge of the applicant process for Mars One) was so bad — the worst I’ve ever done — that I literally had an out-of-body experience watching myself ruin the biggest opportunity I’ve had in years. I was saying the stupidest things and the lag and audio delay really made it impossible for me to connect on a personal level with Dr. Kraft. And somehow, of all the days in the year, I had a book due at the publishers just hours before my interview. I was exhausted from working every day for a month and somehow had just lost my mojo.

To give myself some credit, I was growing reluctant because I think I know too much about how hard this journey to Mars would be, because — not to pat myself on the back — cycling around the world is really hard. Visiting Mars is a fanciful idea, but the closer it comes to being a reality the scarier it is. (It was becoming so real, I began a list of things to bring, like: bicycle, bourbon still, 3D printer.) I mean how many other applicants know what it is like to go days without food, malnourished and fatigued; or sleep in such cold terrain that you wake the next morning with frozen water bottles and dying of dehydration; or to be isolated for days or even months; or to lay injured alongside the road with no one to help; or be sick with some strange disease in a village with no doctors? The more I learned about the trip to Mars, like spending 6-8 months in a capsule insulated from the radiation by your own bags of urine and feces, the more it seemed like a feat of survival than one of adventure and discovery.

Furthermore, I was growing reluctant to continue investing my time, money and energy into this project. The largest portion of the Mars One business plan is to use social media to earn the advertising revenue to fund the trip. I was beginning to feel like a media puppet. That’s a whole other story, involving media embargoes, nondisclosure agreements, and a lot of unhappy journalists and wasted time and opportunities. And it seemed the Mars One media blitz scheduled to launch on Monday also failed, since it didn’t break into the U.S. national media. That makes me sound a little jaded, but I was seriously considering the job and felt Mars One had some things to prove to me as well.

Nonetheless, I still wanted this opportunity very very badly. To have landed on Mars and be an astrobiologist — that would have been a dream come true. I’m sure I could have found some evidence of life somewhere. And despite some of my concerns, which I think are normal, I really tried.

Time to find a new dream.

Not making the next round was a painful experience. I felt as if I somehow betrayed myself. It really makes me question my ability to move through the world impeccably. Somehow I created these rules that I live by, like being an extraordinary adventurer; yet, I didn’t create a game that I can win. And I have made agreements and commitments with the world around me, a world that doesn’t seem to live up to my expectations and wishful thinking. One thing is clear, somehow I got lost in this equation because I didn’t value myself as much as I valued my commitment to these illusions, and I wasn’t even enjoying the journey.

Somehow I must put my life back in balance and create a new dream. As one journalist, John S. said to me: “I know you would have loved the experience and the adventure but, as your life up to now has shown, you don’t have any problem finding adventure right here on Earth.”

But what should I do? What world-record, Earth-shattering dream can I do now? Or maybe I should just have fun? It’s my life, and no matter what at the end of the sol (Martian day), the only way I can measure my life is by my own experience, memories and emotions — that is my only take away. So, can I value exploring the mysteries of what it means to be human as much as I value a journey to Mars?

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How to fall uphill

How to fall uphill by Scott Stoll

Here is a fun new graphic that I created. It has been simmering in my brain for years. I think it really captures the essence how doubt and fear are essential to any adventure. The trick is harnessing that emotional fuel and turning disadvantages into advantages. Available as a free classroom poster. Contact Scott.

Chapter books by Scott and illustrated by elementary students

Cayendo hacia arriba: El Secreto de la Vida Update: The new book about living your dream is here. "The Cupcake Boy". Illustrated by Amy Belle Elementary School.

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Welcome to The Argonauts featuring Scott Stoll's:
Bicycle Ride Around the World

I asked myself, "If I could do anything, what would I do?" My answer was to ride a bicycle around the world until I discovered happiness and the meaning of life. Discover what happened during the 4-year journey. Read all about it.

Scott Stoll celebrating have ridden a bicycle around the world

Above: The map of Scott's adventure.
Below: Re-imagine the journey in the best-selling independent book "Falling Uphill".

Falling Uphill, "Falling Uphill", Fall Uphill, Falling, Fall, Up, Uphill, Falling Upward, Faling, upward, Book, movie, album

Best-Selling Independent Book

Falling Uphill:
One man's quest for happiness around the world on a bicycle.

In one week, Scott Stoll lost his job, his best friend, his girlfriend and his confidence. Disillusioned with society, full of angst, a lost and wandering soul with nothing left to lose, Stoll asked himself a question: “If I only have one life, one chance, if I could do anything, what would I do?”

His answer resulted in a 4 year and 25,742 mile odyssey around the world by bicycle, seeking answers to the great mysteries of life, vowing to find happiness or die trying. The quest wasn’t easy. He was imprisoned, held hostage, mugged, run over, suspected of terrorism, accused of espionage, trampled, diseased, heartbroken—he nearly died a dozen times. But more importantly, in the most unlikely places, he also discovered the wonders of the world, kindness among strangers, the meaning of life, peace, love and — Yes!— happiness — in the last place to look — and much more than he imagined possible.

Re-live and re-imagine a journey around the world on a bicycle as a man stumbles through moments of pure survival and moments of pure enlightenment. More info. or Buy now.

Falling Uphill The short film: A montage of photos and videos from Scott's 4 year, 26,000 mile bicycle tour around the world. Previously a Youtube Feature Video and specially requested for the Boston Bicycle Film Festival. "I nearly cried watching this video. Just a normal guy and look what he has achieved." ~ Ingrid K.

Jason battling the skeleton warriors. Still from the 1963 movie "Jason and the Argonauts".Jason and the Argonauts
The Archetypal Adventure

I recommend you read about the original Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, including the history, culture and the actual story. I've been collecting this info for years; and I find it fascinating how this myth has embedded itself in our culture. More info.