Epic Experience: There’s Not a Word Yet, For Old Friends Who’ve Just Met!

On Friday, April 15th, 2022, I was oblivious to the monumental change awaiting me. That day, I was diagnosed with cancer.

The world in 2020 faced a pandemic, forever altering our lives. Amidst the chaos, I, Shawn, found myself battling boredom. The remedy? A new project. Teaming up with Michael Harper and Robin Glasco, we embarked on writing a book. January 2021 saw the release of Kiss Your Dragons.

I share this because the book unknowingly prepared me for my 2022 cancer journey, offering principles that helped me persevere.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I joined cancer survivors for an Epic Experience in Colorado. It was transformative. I thought I had processed my cancer ordeal, but the emotions and questions came flooding back:

  • Why me?
  • Why us?
  • What did I do to deserve this?
  • Will I ever feel normal again?

They just kept coming. One after the other.

The week challenged me emotionally and physically, pushing me to undertake activities I had never dreamed of.

Let me introduce you to Camp Uncrackable. Ashton, Pathfinder, Stevie, Smokey, Starshine, Estrella, Fox, Eagle Eye, and I, Maverick, started as strangers in Denver. By week’s end, bonds of six sisters, two brothers, and cousins Wingman, Sunshine, Giddy-Up, Ginger, Harley and Mama Lou.

We spent seven days at a ranch with limited cell service and wifi. Despite my usual aversion to camping, sharing cabins was a joy – like reliving childhood with my week’s brothers.

Activities included sledding, snowshoeing, skiing, and visiting hot springs. Though a year out of treatment, I hadn’t truly paused to breathe, to accept cancer as a part of my identity.

In Kiss Your Dragons, we define a SWARM as:

Building quality (radical) relationships leads to finding your swarm—that group of individuals that you can go a mile deep with regularly. And though these swarms need to be packed full of people who have similar values and who are like-minded, they also need to include as many or more people who offer a different perspective. Because they’re filled with humans, these swarms are not all sunshine and roses. In fact, they’re complex, complicated, and messy. In the end, though, these swarms will take us to places that we never imagined and will help light and fuel our inner fires

[ Get a copy of the book here]

I have a SWARM in my life, but I found a new one. A SWARM that understood when I say, chemo brain or fog. One that understands my aches and pains. Although, we almost all had different diagnosis, we all still had cancer.

So, why am I writing this. Honestly, I don’t know. I just knew I had to tell a bit of my story and my journey again. One that will ever be a part of me. To my new brothers and sisters, and all the cousins, thank you for being on this journey with me, and know, despite the distance, we remain united. I’ll leave you with the meditation I wrote and read from our last night at camp:

Maybe you just need to hear this:

Get into your meditative pose. Eyes open or closed . . . whatever is your practice

Breathe. Breathe.

Think all the way back to when you arrived. Why did you come to Epic Experience?

Breathe. Breathe.

To Learn?

To Laugh?

To Connect?

Perhaps to figure out why this happened to you.

We climbed up the mountain where the thin air created a thin space.

Where we could bring our passions, our questions, our frustrations.

Where we could be pushed and challenged and inspired

Finally, an experience—a camp—had been designed for us.

Someone looked at our lives and crafted a week that responded to our needs. And the journey all converged in this place, 7W Ranch.

Breathe. Breathe.

A chance to connect.

We figured out that we’re not alone. We look around to see the people who walk this journey with us.

We can exhale. And get real. It’s creating relationships with people who speak the same language.






Screw what others think. Who really gives a f**k anyways? We are friends, we are family, we are now in each other’s lives forever!

Breathe. Breathe.

As we climb back down the mountain, we may not have all of the answers, but now we know who to call.

We leave equipped. Impassioned. Committed. We are Braver. Smarter. And Ready.

Breathe. Breathe.

I leave you with this blessing:

May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sunshine warm upon your face,

For every storm, a rainbow,

For every tear, a smile,

For every care, a promise,

And a blessing in each trial.

For every problem life sends, A faithful friend to share, For every sigh, a sweet song, And an answer for each prayer.

May the friendships we’ve made, Be those which endure, And all of your grey clouds. Be small ones for sure.

And trusting in the one to whom you pray, May a song fill your heart, Every step of the way.

Breathe. Breathe.

And until we meet again, May you know you are held in the heart & hands of your brothers and sisters!

Breathe. Breathe.

Love & Gratitude,

P.S. – If you haven’t heard the song by Gonzo, I’m Going To Go Back There Someday, here you go (the title of this blog comes from it):


  1. Ashton on February 19, 2024 at 1:21 pm

    What a wild, joyful, unforgettable Epic Experience, Maverick. It was amazing! Miss you? Waiting for our next “uncrackable” family adventure! Love you guys and miss you?

  2. Ginger on February 27, 2024 at 7:03 am

    Maverick – thank you for writing this and sharing your Epic Experience with others! Happy to be a member of your new swarm!! I learned so much from all of you that week.

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