Longhair Journey

How A Traveler Became A Longhair

In Advocate by El Rubio37 Comments

6 Continents. 28 Countries. 11 Months…0 Haircuts.

“Every guy with long hair has a reason for it. Maybe it’s a statement, or a story, maybe it’s about his character and who he is. Maybe he just doesn’t like getting his hair cut. But there’s something about it for all of us.”

There was a guy. He had a dream to grow his hair long.

There were attempts early on. As a young boy his father maintained that a short, proper cut was handsome on a young man.

In high school he tried a rather curious haircut in which the entire head was shaved, with the exception of the bangs in the very front, which were permitted to grow down past his chin.

During college he tried to grow it out, but his girlfriend wouldn’t be seen with him during the awkward stage, and he cut it. By the time he reached his first job, company policy prohibited any hair from approaching the collar.

Long hair changes a man’s identity. Traveling changes who he is.
With the exception of the rat-tail thing in high school, he was a lifelong short hair. Not only in appearance, perhaps, but in demeanor as well: the classic, high-and-tight, clean-shaven, all-American businessman. His short, spiked hair and whitewalls were part of his identity.

Still, he always wondered what it would be like—while the notion of longhair problems never crossed his mind back then. As each haircut came and went he started to wonder if he would ever have a chance to grow it out.

But he had another dream: to travel around the world. And much like growing long hair, traveling around the world isn’t a dream that happens overnight. It turns out growing long hair and traveling the world have a great deal in common.

Both require time and commitment. Both necessitate discomfort. Both require a certain independence, and much like long hair changes a man’s identity, traveling the world changes who he is.

Some might say of either, you’re crazy, or foolish, or irresponsible. They might say you shouldn’t do it, that it’s a bad idea, far too risky.

He stepped onto that aircraft without looking back.
Nonetheless he saved his money while planning his departure and biding his shorthair days. Through years he stayed committed to his plan, resolved to fulfill his dream. Sketched in his notebook, he would read his message to himself out loud, “I am doing this.”

Even so he was a little scared to think about it. It was definitely going to happen, and everything would change. He’d grown quite comfortable in his life with short hair. It was a good look. The job paid well, and lots of perks.

Still, the time approached and he left his job. He moved out of his house and closed his affairs, with much trepidation. He packed his belongings into storage—except those which would fit into a single backpack—with a distinct feeling of being torn away from his life.

But the day arrived, and he was ready. He stepped onto that aircraft without looking back. It was the beginning of his longhair journey, and his life’s adventure.

This is his story.

Watch The Prequel


  1. Hello, just finished reading the article, I watched the video. Thanks El Rubio, I really needed that. In these days I’m kinda struggling with my life, I feel stuck.
    My parents say that no matter what I wanna do in my life, I gotta study for it, for me it’s kinda annoying a bit, I dont feel supported at all.
    I mean the whole background requires days of talking for explaining haha.
    I would like to share my longhair journey

    It started almost 4 years ago, after the AC/DC concert in italy (I had mid-hair)
    My dad forced me to cut my hair, because for him I looked ugly
    I shaved completely my head and I said “now I want them to grow”
    I went from shaved to Justin Bieber’s old look haha. The awkward stage was kinda difficult but I got through. People started calling me Jesus, kinda annoying but a lot of people actually always said “you have awesome hair! ”
    My dad was always “I will cut your hair when you sleep”, it was kinda sad to hear that, it really scares me that he will do it one day.

    I finished school so I started university, I realized is not my thing you know?
    So I told my parents I didnt like it, they said “if you want a job, you gotta cut your hair”.
    They almost did it, almost managed to force me cutting my hair. I said “I’ll keep studying” but I see it’s really draining for me, because it’s not what I want

    In Italy, it’s also hard to find job, it’s also a core belief I have, but I see lots of people struggle with jobs here unless you have a degree.

    I dont want to cut my hair because, this is me, this is who I am, I dont want that people take this away from me, it’s a part of me

    So I feel stuck, feel lost

    Thanks for the video, it helped
    Have a great day guys! I wish one day I’ll meet you all

  2. Love the story and the videos. For me, long hair didn’t just happen as a byproduct of something else (although my growth journey did span three continents) – I had to plan it carefully years in advance. I’ve wanted it long for as long as I can remember so I resisted social/family/peer/professional pressure (still doing that!) and grew it out. I realized that for me, it’s not and never was “just hair”. It’s a deep part of who I am, and I feel more “me” than ever with my hair long. It’s part of my identity and how I’ve always seen myself, even when I was forced to keep it short. And like you say, there’s absolutely no going back – you can’t reverse this kind of change and personal growth.

    1. Author

      Jay, hell yeah man, great read! I feel much the same as I know many others on here do as well. Thanks for commenting hombre, keep lettin it ride!

  3. Cool video El Rubio…sure I recognise the New Brighton Pier, Christchurch in your video? That’s my local surf spot bro!

    1. Author

      DUDE that’s exactly where it was, keen eye mate! Thanks for the comment, she’ll be right. Good on ya and go Blacks! (that’s all the Kiwi slang I can pack into this response at the moment)

  4. I’m in the process of settling my affairs out so I can travel.

    Got a plan nailed down for the next three years that will let me at least get myself out there.

    Coincidentally, I started growing my hair out about the same time my plan went past the dream phases into the plans made.

    Time to let it go and ride the wave of life!

    1. That is awesome JP. What’s your travel plans looking like? Any countries that are a must go for you?

    2. Author

      That’s badass JP. Keep us posted man, want to hear how it all plays out.

  5. This video is quite inspiring! Loved the video, loved the cause, loved the motivation and mostly.. loved your dedication! Can’t believe I’m watching this in 2016!

  6. It has been such a delight getting to know you! Your journey is beautiful and inspiring!

    1. Author

      Thank you Paula we’re happy to have you in our building and as a Longhairs guest contributor!

  7. Epic story, man. I love it. We met in Denver, if you recall. Copyblogger. Thought I’d check in with you today and happened upon this gem. Keep on rocking, brother. Thanks for “letting it ride.”

    1. Author

      Yo Ryan! Sure do man, good timing on checking out the site! Appreciate the feedback and glad to reconnect. Keep in touch homie.

  8. Thanks bro I’m pumped for the tee you’ll see me rocking this on my climbs. Spreading the love with the business cards too hahah

    1. Author

      Shane Train thanks homie let us know how it goes w/ the referral cards.

  9. Truly inspiring. I always wanted to travel, but at least I’m halfway there with my hair haha.
    Can I ask you guys a totally off-topic question? I know you guys are mainly in San Diego, CA, but would it be possible for some time in the future to set up a satellite on the East Coast like in New York or Boston?

    1. Author

      Joe, that’s actually right on topic. Yes, that is possible, and we’d like you to be the chairman. Start by ordering your referral cards, click ‘Cards’ in the navigation and we’ll send you a free pack. Thanks for the comment man!

  10. Great story brother. Very inspiring. Traveling gives you a new perspective. And I learned something today from your video, as you said, it is an investment within yourself..

  11. Great video man, I’m really happy I got to meet you and hear bout this story. Thanks for telling me to check this out. I love it.

    1. Author

      Shane! Thanks man, totally pumped you saw this! Thanks also for going through every page on our site and finding the t-shirts. You are the very first online sale we’ve made, which is just about the coolest thing ever. Your full package is heading to the 559!

  12. As always, you are a great storyteller….awesome video and incredible story, El Rubio!! I was there @1.54 and it was fun 🙂
    Keep it up buddy!

    1. Author

      Yo Alvin! Thanks a lot my friend what an experience. Hope we can do it again, without the storm. Actually…with the storm.

      1. WITH the storm! That may have been the best part. And I’ve never seen the video…

    1. Author

      Thank you Debbie! Now I just need a little trim. A LITTLE trim!

  13. I am ready. I can be whoever I want to be. I can be who I am. And in that I am. Thank you for the video and the inspiration that surrounds it for its given me so much than I can put into words. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Yo Michael go and be it! Pumped up to hear this inspired you.

  14. Well you made your mama cry with this one, El Rubio. Well done. An excellent depiction some of what the trip — and your life — mean to you. I love you endlessly.

  15. When I was an undergraduate at ‘Warren Wilson College, I put together a 12 page goal list and wrote my personal vision statement, “Creating a life of change impacting the lives of the one or the many”. One of those goals was whatever my age is how many countries I should have seen on the planet– 20 years old = 20 countries, 40 = 40 countries, etc. And for me, seeing a country was not just passing through but living with the people and helping their communities. Ever since and almost every year, I travel from 4 weeks to 2 months and complete global service. My vision statement I wrote 30 years ago is something I still celebrate and honor.

    Three years ago when I was living in India for 2 months, I reflected on what I could do more intentionally with my vision statement. What could I do to push it forward even more? I volunteer regularly in the USA and my service extends around the planet, but what could I do to give back more to Earth? And there it was sitting clearly on my head; I could grow my hair. And it was then and there sitting on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi, India that I began my Longhair journey. It has been 3.5 years, and I am still going and growing.

    In December 2015, I leave for a 4 month sabbatical to return to the Southern Hemisphere to complete global service in reforestation of the rainforest, hunger management, AIDS/HIV education, working with indigenous people, and teaching. And upon my return to the USA, I plan to have my first haircut in over 4.5 years and give my first 8 inches to help women and children with cancer by giving it Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

    Creating a life of change impacting the lives of the one or many is easy; it’s about making courageous choices. Dream and dream BIG, and when you do, a fuller life is revealed by observing how your actions can create a life of legacy. As Gandhi so eloquently said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

    1. Author

      Gregory dude! Your story is incredible, in particular your lifelong mission of service. I also did service during my adventure, although not to the extent you’ve described. Especially glad to hear about your upcoming donation to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a cause we intend to support directly through the Longhairs.

      I’m sure you recognized India and many other countries in the video, and thrilled you were inspired. Thanks for sharing your longhair story from the banks of the Ganges, and for your service to the world! Look forward to a chance to connect with you in the future. Thanks for being a longhair and an advocate, keep lettin it ride!

Leave a Comment