In 2018, after suffering through an incredibly difficult period, singer-songwriter Mike Posner fell into a deep state of depression. Due to his condition, then, the musician decided to make a number of significant changes to his lifestyle. For one thing, Posner spent some time in a Buddhist retreat. And for another, he revealed that he was going to take a 2,700-mile walk across the United States. But in August 2019 everything altered once again – when Posner encountered a deadly rattlesnake in Colorado.
Posner’s trip, while certainly epic, is perhaps not so unusual, though. At some point in most of our lives, after all, we may feel the need to complete a particularly challenging task. Whether it’s a crash-course diet, a new fitness routine or a marathon in aid of a charity, these regimens can of course be rewarding if we see them through. Yet Posner’s idea was still pretty out-there.
The musician revealed the news to his fans in January 2019. At that point, he said he was going to begin trekking across America in the spring. The hike was set to begin in New Jersey, in fact, and then Posner would travel up to Detroit, Michigan. Once the singer had reached the Motor City, his plan was subsequently to head toward Venice Beach, California.
That would mark the end of Posner’s incredible journey, rounding off a walk that was set to cover more than 2,700 miles. The preparations seemingly went well, too, as the singer clocked in more than 1,600 miles by August 2019. However, as we’ve seen, a meeting with the wrong end of a rattlesnake would throw a life-threatening spanner in the works.
Perhaps an insight into Posner’s background will help us understand the singer’s journey. So where did it all begin? Well, born in February 1988, Posner spent his formative years in Southfield, Michigan, with his parents and his sister, Emily. The musician’s dad, Jon Posner, plied his trade as a practitioner of the law, and Emily eventually followed suit. Evidently, though, that wasn’t the path Posner wanted to head down himself.
To begin with, though, Posner showed a strong interest in athletics – particularly long-distance running – during his time at high school. After graduating, too, the singer enrolled at Duke University in North Carolina. There, the Michigan native became a sociology student, and he would later earn a bachelor’s degree in the subject.
Yet at the same time, Posner harbored another ambition. Yes, he got into music during his teenage years. The future star began to produce some tracks, in fact, but struggled to get noticed. But undeterred Posner continued to refine his musical talents while at university – putting together a mixtape in his spare time.
Posner actually touched upon his goals while talking to Billboard in July 2010. He said, “I wanted to do two mixtapes and get a deal to make an album. But my first mixtape [March 2009’s A Matter of Time], which I made in my college dorm room, kind of achieved what I thought would take two mixtapes to do.”
As Posner suggested, his debut effort was a big success back in 2009, thanks in part to a quick bit of thinking. The musician didn’t want to charge listeners for the tracks, you see, so he planned to upload his mixtape to iTunes U. Unlike the normal service, this system was made up of recorded college lectures for students.
So Posner managed to persuade his college that the mixtape was part of a “school project,” and this little deception resulted in the tape’s upload. And once that was done, Posner worked to spread the word about A Matter of Time on social media. Incredibly, too, the singer’s ambitious plan eventually paid off.
Posner recalled the efforts he’d put in to Billboard in 2010. He said, “I put it up there and told friends to tell friends. I started a Facebook event and invited people to it. I also leveraged a few relationships and got it posted on a few big blogs like 2DopeBoyz.com and Okay Player. Within months, I was doing shows around the coast, and people were singing the words to my songs.”
Off the back of that, Posner finally realized his musical goal – before making another big decision. He added, “I ended up signing my record deal after my junior year in college and decided to go back to school to finish my senior year. I finished in three and a half years with a 3.6 GPA.”
So, with the record deal in place, Posner then started work on his first album, carrying over one of the tracks from A Matter of Time. “Cooler Than Me” was the song in question, and it served as his debut single. The track hit the airwaves back in April 2010 ahead of the CD’s release later that summer – and it proved to be a decent success.
The single cracked the top ten of the American charts at that time, in fact, while it also made an impact in countries such as Canada and New Zealand. After that, one more track was launched in July 2010 titled “Please Don’t Go.” Although the song didn’t hit the heights of the previous effort, it still found a place in the U.S. top 20.
As for the album itself, 31 Minutes to Takeoff hit the shelves that August. Posner’s first record eventually reached the top ten of the American charts, too, alongside reasonable performances in Belgium and Canada. Before the CD’s release, though, the college graduate had already looked ahead to the future, noting his aims.
Posner told Billboard all about his goals. He said, “I want to make songs that will bring people together. My music doesn’t sound like anyone else’s, and it’s important for me that it stays that way. If I regurgitate what others are doing, then there’s no point in me living this lifestyle. I would probably quit.”
Some time after the release of 31 Minutes to Takeoff, though, Posner took a step back from his solo career. Apparently, he started to feel depressed. But the star kept involved in producing music for others, before his own sophomore album began to take shape in 2013. His fans would actually have to wait another three years for that record to come out, however.
Posner’s second effort, titled At Night, Alone, finally hit the shelves in May 2016. With the track “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” serving as the lead single, the album cracked the top 20 in America. The song performed brilliantly in Canada as well, reaching the top ten of the country’s charts.
Unfortunately for Posner, though, that success was followed by one of the toughest periods in his life. In 2017, you see, the singer’s dad passed away from cancer – and two more tragedies occurred over the next 12 months. His friend Avicii, a famous DJ, committed suicide in the spring 2018, while rapper Mac Miller died in the September.
As a result of that, Posner fell into depression again. And it was at this point that the singer decided to make some changes in his life. The Michigan native actually spent a period of time in a monastery, taking up the practice of Buddhism. In addition to that, he also had some interesting news for his followers on Instagram in January 2019.
Posner wrote, “That’s right! I’m excited to announce that I will be walking across America. I will start at the Atlantic Ocean and end at the Pacific Ocean. The journey will take me most of my 31st year. You are welcome to join at any time. See you out there.”
Now sporting longer hair alongside an eye-catching beard, Posner wanted to take on this challenge in the wake of the tragic losses. And as the singer explained during an interview with CBS This Morning, the trek wasn’t for a charitable cause either. Instead, the musician looked to get something else out of the experience.
“The big thing is, everyone wants you to forget that you’re going to die,” Posner said. “Why? Because then you waste your precious life doing what they want you to do. People ask me if there’s a cause for [my] walk. You know, I’m not raising money or anything, but maybe the cause is just to remind people that life is now.”
Posner kicked his trek off in New Jersey in April 2019. And over the next few months, he kept his followers up to date via social media, recording his progress as he walked along the American roads. By the summer, then, the music star had covered more than half of the journey’s distance.
However, Posner’s walk took a terrifying turn in August as he traveled through Colorado. That’s because he came across a rattlesnake on the road – and the reptile took a bite out of his foot. Given the severity of the situation, then, the singer was transported to a local medical facility in a helicopter. There, he received some life-saving medicine.
Some 24 hours on from that dramatic incident, Posner offered his fans an update on social media. He wrote on Instagram, “Whatup doe! Crazy day yesterday! I had just crushed 16 miles and was going for eight more when I got bit by a baby rattlesnake! That venom is no joke!”
Posner’s words didn’t end there, though, as he also hailed the work of the medical staff at the facility. The star continued, “I got to the hospital and got the anti-venom in time. Shout outs to G and Mike from the chopper team, and Bo and Cassie and Whitney (my nurses).”
After that, Posner concluded his post with a big revelation about the trek. He added, “I’ll be here [for] a few days and will not be able to walk for several weeks. But [I am] enjoying the AC and the nice bed, haven’t had those in a while! Can’t wait to get back on The Walk! KEEP GOING!”
Alongside the message, Posner included a brief video clip of himself being wheeled away in his hospital bed, giving a thumbs-up to the camera. Since then, the post has earned more than 500,000 views on Instagram, while close to 6,000 comments have been made by users. But the updates didn’t stop there.
Indeed, Posner made another Instagram post a couple of days later – highlighting that he required a Zimmer frame to walk. The music artist wrote, “From 24 miles per day to using this walker to get to the bathroom. I’m on my way back. Gonna rebuild with patience and equanimity. KEEP GOING.”
Much like the previous post, this one generated a big response as well, as fans rallied around Posner. The Zimmer frame clip racked up close to 380,000 views, in fact, alongside more than 3,000 comments. And around 24 hours later, the singer returned to the social media platform with an additional update.
Posner wrote, “I knew walking across America was going to be dangerous… I knew I could die doing it. I still might. So don’t feel sorry for me. I’m proud I’m in this hospital after chasing my dream and not sitting on the couch watching Netflix. I’m proud of this pain.”
Then Posner had a request for his fans at the end of the post. He added, “If you understand this message, do not leave me sympathy comments. Just write KEEP GOING.” The singer’s plea appeared to have the desired effect, too, as users reiterated his positive mantra in the comments section.
Of all the supportive messages under that post, though, one really stood out. “Keep going!” wrote an Instagram user. “Proud of your message! Keep chasing what you want! It doesn’t stop just because you hit a certain age. I’m still figuring out my dreams, and I’m 54! You keep inspiring!”
Posner also received some excellent news at the hospital later that week. Just a few days after suffering the snakebite, you see, he was discharged from the facility – leaving the staff behind in a wheelchair. The stricken traveler then took to social media once again as he looked to share the announcement.
Posner wrote, “The only time I cried [during] this whole process was when I thought about all these INCREDIBLE, SELFLESS, PROFESSIONAL people in the hospital who helped me keep my foot. I’ve been discharged, and I’m going home to rehabilitate now. I’m still using a walker and crutches to ambulate.”
Given Posner’s condition, he touched upon the status of his trek across America too. The musician added, “It’s going to be a good minute before I can take extended walks again, but no one ever said this would be easy! I love you guys so much. Thank you for your support in this time. KEEP GOING.”
Posner also continued to update his fans in the days that followed, as he stepped up his recovery. And by August 18 – 11 days on from the incident – he’d finally rid himself of the Zimmer frame. Then, just a short time later, the Michigan native made a significant decision regarding the walk.
Posner confirmed that he was getting back on the road again in a defiant social media post. After sharing that news, he wrote up an additional message on Instagram to detail his progress, admitting that he couldn’t rush things. The trekker said, “Patience is the name of the recovery game.”
“As much as I’d like to jump directly back out there and rip the 24 mile day, this would almost surely result in injury,” Posner added. “I have to slowly ramp back up from zero miles to five or six before I feel comfortable heading back to Rattlesnake Road where I got bit, to continue the walk. I walked 3.6 miles today!” In October 2019, though, the singer was back on the trail and confirmed that he’d crushed a 26-mile day.