SAN DIEGO — The spirit in most Veterans is the spirit of adventure.
“I think a lot of times, Veterans forget that,” Julian Torres said.
Torres will never forget how his adventure started. In 2010, the Marine lost both of his legs stepping on a bomb in Afghanistan.
“Once that happened, it was just kind of like everything else just seemed so trivial. Fighting for my life was the paramount,” Torres said. “Fighting the Taliban and stuff like that was secondary. I had to really focus on taking care of me, man.”
The double amputee was forced to medically retire, spending the next few months rehabbing with the Wounded Warrior Battalion in Camp Pendleton.
“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was down, I was depressed, I was lost, man,” Torres said.
As the uncomfortable became comfortable, the Oceanside resident received prosthetic legs, relearning how to walk.
“I have options here. Options are: I can stay in my wheelchair and become a wounded warrior, I didn’t like that term. What I’m doing here? What’s my mission now? I would stay in physical therapy eight hours a day, because I needed to learn how to walk,” Torres said.
While finding solid ground, the Marine took on a new mission climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
“It was really like a purge man. Doing all these things, you forget to like, grieve. And say ‘Hey man, I’m sad I lost my legs,’ at least I did. Kilimanjaro was the best medicine I think could have ever have taken,” Torres said.
“I want to put myself in harm’s way again. See what I’m worth post-injury. See what I’m worth, Julian 2.0, so to speak,” Torres said.
Despite ascending one of the world’s highest mountains, Torres still felt incomplete.
“I was like man, what’s next? I needed some zest,” Torres said.
Zest that led to hunger. The 35-year-old discovered a new passion.
“There’s no way I could do jiu-jitsu. There’s no way there’s a spot for me on the mat. But I would look and be like, I can do that,” Torres said.
Now, Torres takes on a new fight, which is a lot less dangerous but equally as rewarding. He is taking the lessons learned in the service on his new adventure.
“There’s always a way. I can do more with less,” Torres said.