Josh Foer: The Explorer’s Code

Josh Foer - The Explorer's Code at The James Altucher Show

Episode 195

The Explorer’s Code: 

I wanted to wake each morning, not anxious about my day anymore. Not worried about what so-and-so would say, or where my career was going, or what was I going to write today.

My only job each day is to explore something new.

So I called up Josh and asked him how I could be an explorer. He told me.

– Have a Mission

Every day, whether it’s “be creative today.” Or “go some place you’ve never been” or “talk to ten random strangers”, make a mission.

Learn something new.

Missions are for people who DO. Mission statements are for people who DON’T.

– Uncomfortable Situation

Try to put yourself in as many uncomfortable situations as possible.

“For instance,” he said, “you should apply for a temp job. See what it’s like.”

Or maybe one day you and a friend can make a bet: who can get the furthest out of town with just $100.

The uncomfortable zone is where you find out who you are, the comfort zone is where you sleep.

Task: make a list of uncomfortable situations. Stretch the idea muscle.

– Partners/Team

Josh has 100s of people who submit items to Atlas Obscura and atlasobscura.com. “There’s over 10,000 weird and obscure places on there now.”

He also started it with two partners.

Even superheroes need a team. Superman still needed the Justice League. Luke Skywalker still needed Han Solo and Princess Leia. Luke Cage needs Iron Fist and Jessica Jones.

Who are on your team? Are they good people? Do you each have your super power?

I am constantly looking for my team of fellow explorers.


“Try to experience wonder every day,” Josh told me.

A few months ago, my mission was to throw out everything I owned.

What would it be like after 40 years of collecting things, to own absolutely nothing.

And a few months before that, my mission was to track down someone who had disappeared from my life.

I failed at that mission. But I experienced wonder along the way.

And today, I’m going to change my life forever. I will text you about it.

Links and Resources:

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  • Bowen Pratt

    With “The Kingdom of Women” discussed in the podcast, you are very probably referring to inland China’s indigenous Mosuo people.

    During the episode, you raised the issue of how common polyandry is in the world. Most of the known examples of polyandry-practicing cultures seem to be just three or four cultural groups confined to Nepal, Tibet, and select areas of China, of which the Mosuo have the highest profile. It’s been awhile since I’ve read any of it, but I’m under the impression that Jared Diamond devotes part of his bestseller from the 2000’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, to discussing them.

    Anyway, thanks for another awesome podcast!

    • TengoPaz

      Your post prompted me to research the Mosuo people. Very interesting culture and customs.

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