Monthly Archives: November 2011

Live Your Creed.

Heard this from a friend. Enjoy.

LIVE YOUR CREED

I’d rather see a sermon,

Than hear one any day,

I’d rather one walk with me,

Than just to show the way.

The eye is a better pupil,

And more willing than the ear,

Advice may be misleading,

But examples are always clear.

And the very best of leaders,

Are the ones who live their creed.

To see good put to action,

Is what everybody needs.

I can so learn to do it,

If you let me see it done,

I can watch your hand in motion,

But your tongue to fast may run.

And the lectures you deliver,

May be very fine and true,

But I’d rather get my lesson,

By observing what you do.

For I may misunderstand you,

And the fine advice you give,

But theres no misunderstanding,

How you act and how you live.

Advertisements
Categories: Character Development, Leadership, philosophy, Poetry | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Cycling from Yakima WA to San Diego 2.

I continued south for what seemed like forever with only Bon Jovi and Billy Idol to keep me company. The Yakima Valley is a kind of desert valley, not the kind with sand and rocks everywhere, but rather the barren, wind swept plains kind. The kind where all you see are endless fields, mountains in the distance, and a lone farmhouse every so often. The bike ride was difficult. I was never much of a bike rider before this trip, and it was about now that I wondered if this was really such a good idea. I didn’t know where I was going, what I was doing, and my body already hurt from just the short 20 miles I had gone. Cycling for 6 hours didn’t help my mental state much; it gave me a lot of time to dwell on these facts.

At length I came upon Toppenish, home to the trashy looking indian reservations where people lived and one big ass glamorous Casino where they all worked. Interesting dynamic… I fought my urge to play a little Black Jack and continued down the road for many more miles all the while trying to forget that what I was doing was technically insane. Many cars passed me, more than a few comming dangerously close to clipping me with their mirrors. Each near collision aroused this intense anger within me and it wasn’t long before I began shouting at cars and drivers that couldn’t hear me. Each burst of anger brought on a sharp pain in my chest; my personal reminder that my anger, the anger that I’d held in for almost 2 years, was literally going to kill me if I couldn’t calm myself down.

It took some work and a lot of mental gymnastics, but I managed to convince myself to forget about the cars that came within 2 inches of running me over and instead focus on where I was. I was still on the 97 South right? I looked around for a sign that I was on the right road still, but I found none. Whatever, though I had been stuck inside my head for a bit while battling my demons, I definitely knew that I hadn’t made a turn. So I was still on the same road I was on before. Good.

The day was long, the sun was hot, and I was pounding water like never before. On my bike I carried two 1.5 liter water bottles and a 1 liter water bottle in the cage underneathe my bike. Four liters of water and yet, it wasn’t long before I found myself empty. I slowed my speed as I looked around for a place to refill my water. Endless fields surrounded me and a dry, dusty, barren road stretched out before me. Damn.

I had no choice but to keep moving. I certainly couldn’t refill my water out here in the middle of nowhere and it would do no good to complain about it, so I took 1000mg of suck-it-the-fuck-up and pedaled faster. At this point I had not discovered the benefit of shifting gears correctly so I’m sure riding in my highest gear at all times was counter productive as it placed a strain on my body that could have been alieviated by simply switching to a lower gear. Ah, the things I didn’t know.

I pedaled on and on, thirsty as hell, hoping that I would come across a house or a small town or a pond… something, anything that had water. An hour and half passed by and I was sure that I was fast becomming dehydrated…

Back to Part 1  

 On to Part 3

Categories: bicycling, cycling, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Overcoming The Fear.

Would you like to Travel? Do you surf the web reading travel blogs, much like this one, hoping to catch a glimpse of the adventurous lives of countless long time over seas travelers? Do you know flight prices by heart? Do you find yourself beginning a different language study every 2-3 months because you “just know you’ll use it in that one country eventually?”

You read and you read and you devour page after page of the sweet, hot, vagabonding goodness that abounds on the Information Super Highway. Your mind is filled with the teeming possibilities of ‘going there.’ Several countries call to you in your sleep. Thailand. Japan. Argentina. France. Australia. You’ve read so many reports and blog entries from those travelers ‘in the field,’ that you could walk through Hong Kong blindfolded, yet you’ve never been there.

You plan and prepare; research flights and draw up an itinerary; you might even pack a bag or two. You tell friends and family and bid farewell, yet something very curious happens. Despite your energetic enthusiasm and unusually youthful optimism, you don’t go. You never talk to your boss about getting time off and you can’t seem to convince yourself that your plane ticket to Chiang Mai is a ‘reasonable investment.’

Something strange begins to happen inside your head. Your thoughts turn dark. Instead of imagining the wonders that are here and now, or that may very well be naught but a fifteen hour flight away, you begin to panic about future worries that may or may not even happen. You begin to wonder what the consequences of traveling are. You begin having thoughts like, “Will my job still be there when I get back? What if I get robbed while I’m overseas? Is now really the time to be traveling in this age of terrorism? I must think of my age, travel is a ‘hobby’ for younger men. Travel is expensive, ’tis not something a middle class worker like me can afford.”

And so on and so forth. I’ve dealt with many of them. These are idle, malicious thoughts that seek to cloud your judgement and put your happiness to route. This ‘hell inside your head’ is the inevitable result of that dreaded ‘F’ word.

FEAR.

Fear… that’s a dirty word in my book. Fear is the emotion that ruins the party. What happened to your excitement? You were finally going to get on that plane and go to Rome. This time you were really going to tell your boss that you needed time off to decompress; this was to be your last glorious stand. You had it all planned out.. You were going to march into your firm on Monday morning after a non-fat latte and a three bean salad and kick open your boss’s door then ask, nay, demand 6 months of vacation time for your 15 years of loyal service. Goddammit, in your mind you were righteous! What happened, man?

Fear, that’s what happened. Fear is a sneaky bastard. Fear will tell you that what you’re doing is stupid and illogical. Fear is the pseudo logical emotion that does the math, crunches the numbers, and then feeds you some incredibly skewed misinformation. Fear will bind itself to your vision of the future and play on the memories of your past. Fear cherry picks the information it wants you to see, and thus causes you to doubt what you are doing by not giving you an accurate view of the situation to start with.

If you have decided that you want to travel, or do anything in life that requires risk, but know that you cannot yet take action due to fear, then you know what you must do. Your course is clear. You must over come your fear. You must find a way to calm that raging storm of paranoia that surges everytime you come to the threshold between planning and taking action; putting that plan into motion. In the next article we’ll take a look at a whole host of methods and techniques designed to break those chains and get you out there.

Continue to Part 2.

Categories: Character Development, Emotion, Fear, philosophy, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

I am a vagabond ‘one without a Home.’

Last night was an interesting night. It was Thanksgiving Day, and I’d been invited to dinner with two friends, my only two friends in Chula Vista actually. Dinner went very well. We all watched movies, drank wine, ate dinner, and engaged in lively discussion on a wide variety of topics.  After dinner my two friends Thomas and Vilma discussed plans to hang out all night and do somethin with Black Friday and then have coffee at Denny’s afterwards. I expressed an interest and I was invited by Vilma to join them.

Thomas and I were to go ‘home,’ change clothes, and then come back to get Vilma. Everything was great, till we got in the car and Thomas asked me not to come along. I’ll be honest, I felt hurt. Not since High School had I been asked so bluntly not to join in any reindeer games; usually people have the common decency to ignore me till I ‘get the hint’ and I leave feeling dejected. To be asked so casually, so frankly, not to hang out with them, and on Thanksgiving Day of all days; it was painful.

You see Thomas is a childhood friend. I’ve known this guy since the 6th grade. We grew up together. The scar I have on my left eyebrow he gave me when we were kids bein stupid. We played Soul Calibur 2 when it first came out. He sat next to me in ROTC for christs sake. I thought, if there was one person who wouldn’t ever exclude me it would be Thomas, my childhood friend, the guy I consider family.

But apparently, I was wrong. I get it though. Vilma is his girlfriend. They’ve been dating awhile, their schedules are kind of hectic, so they don’t get to see each other as often as they would like. So when he asked me not to come so he could spend some time with her, I totally understood. But come on, the three of us were going to go Black Friday shopping and drink coffee at Denny’s till Vilma had to go to work at 4 in the morning, Vil was the one who invited me to begin with and it’s friggen Thanksgiving. This is a holiday of friendship and celebration, one of those days where it’s just kind of sad to see some one alone.

Well, after a quick dinner, I was alone this day. What made it painful, was that my best friend gave me the pseudo choice of awkwardly hanging out with them when I knew that at least Tom didn’t want me there, or voluntarially ‘choosing’ to stay at ‘home’ and be alone, knowing that I’d been invited by Vilma and then quickly univited by Tom. Oh gee, are those my options?

He didn’t even hesitate when he asked. It was like it was no big deal to him. “Hey I know we all had a great dinner and Vil invited you to come hang with us at Denn’y and such, but would you mind staying here in the apartment, you know, far away from us, while we go have the good times that you were until recently invited to join in on? Thanks, buddy.”

So I did what any lonely person would do on a holiday, I drank way more wine than any man should. Funny thing is, the inebriation really got me thinking. Tom’s asking me to sit out of the fun, and the ease with which he asked it, served as a red flag. It was a warning, that this is his life, not mine, and that even though we may be ‘old frieinds’ I would be a fool to think that this setup will last.

On this night, I very palpably feel that I truly do not have a ‘Home.’ I can’t go back to KY, I will not go back to WA, but it has become clear that I also cannot stay here in Chula Vista. I had this idea in my head that I could set up a kind of home base; a headquarters if you will, to use as an anchor for my nomadic tendancies. And what better place I thought, than right here with my old friend Tom. But, it seems obvioius to me, that I will not fit here. My piece does not fit this puzzle.

Perhaps I am over reacting. Or I’m a bit drunk. Both are possible, but either way I think I am beginning to understand what it means to be ‘homeless,’ not in the physical sense, I’ve been rather fine with that these two months; rather I mean ‘homeless’ in the metaphorical sense, of not really having a place where one belongs.

I wonder if thats the real reason vagabonds travel. To find a place they belong, to find a ‘Home’ in a very deep sense of the word. Seen in this light, maybe travel isn’t about running from something, maybe its about running towards something.

 

UPDATE: I later found out that I was never supposed to come. Vilma only invited me because I expressed an interest and she didn’t want tell me no. A lot of pain and confusion could be avoided if people would just be honest about their feelings and communicate them.

Categories: Character Development, Emotion, Friendship, philosophy, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cycling down from Yakima WA to San Diego CA.

Using Facebook I posted a series of videos and pictures that I took during my travels down America’s Pacific coast. Having reached my destination I have decided that I’d like to write about the experience post travel.

I began my frugal travels following a serious bout of depresseion. Life in Yakima WA, working in a mental health nursing home, and living in a drug infested gang ridden area of town; it all had me feeling pretty down. My second winter in Yakima was drawing near and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to endure it once again. I had the palpable feeling that I needed to leave Yakima and go travel again. When I reflect on some of my worst times, I find that theres never been a problem I can’t solve by going for a really long walk… or bike ride.

On September 14th 2011, I packed a few bags full of essentials, attached them to the back rack of a low end Raleigh mountain bike, and hit the road south on the 97. I’d never rode more than 12 miles before on bike, and I wasn’t very sure where I was going. As I rode south through Union Gap I fought a very malicious fear. A fear that meant to undermine my vagabonding efforts before they’d really began. Fear that I would end up broke and homeless. Fear that I would get lost; get mugged.

These fears persisted despite my attempts to rationalize my emotions. ‘Of course these things wouldn’t happen,’ I told myself. ‘These things didn’t happen when I hitchhiked to Yakima in the first place. Nor did they happen during my adventures in Germany.’

But fear is subtle and it found a way to work itself into my own logic and memories. ‘Yeah, but you DID get pickpocketed in Germany,” my fear whispered to me as I entered Wapato. “And you DID return to KY penniless. And you technically WILL be homeless if you do this.”

I’d stopped in Wapato to meet a friend on the way out. It would be the last time I’d see her for quite a while, so I’d wanted to say, ‘see ya later’ properly. As Tiff and I talked, the fear torrented underneath in my subconcious. But I wouldn’t let it show. I wouldn’t let her know how terrified I was of what I was about to do. Most of my friends think I’m crazy, because I actually do things that no sane man would even contemplate. I’m the kind of guy that quits his job, sells or gives away everything he owns, hops on a bike and heads ‘south’ with no real destination in mind. I’m the kind of guy who buys a plane ticket to a country I’ve never been to, with a language I can’t speak, lands on a continent where I don’t know a soul, and lives there for a month on next to no finances.

People who know me would swear I needed medication for these impromptu traveling tendancies, and their worry is compounded by the seeming fact that I have no qualms about doing it, no hesitation. But what they don’t know is that I do have that fear, I do have those worries, and for a moment I do have some internal hesitation. Unlike them however, I don’t let fear stop me. Ever. My Will is strong and if I seem like someone who can be stopped, then just try and stop me.

Meeting with Tiff in Wapato, I put on a brave front and talked a big game about how awesome this trip was going to be. Truth was I didn’t know anymore about this than she did, but my facade did have the added bonus of bolstering my confidence and strengthening my resolve. Fake it till you make it. We made idle chit chat till she had to leave and then I was back on the road.

Continue to part 2.

Categories: bicycling, cycling, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Going on a Pilgrimage to Japan?

Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare yourselves, for soon I be taking you with me on a journey as I complete a Buddhist Pilgrimage, ON FOOT in beautiful Japan. I will walk, Henro style around the circumference of Shikoku Island, and meditate in 88 temples. I have already completed a cycling journey of over 1800 miles down America’s Pacific coast in 55 days, living on a shoestring budget of $8-$11 a day in America of all places, so I know I can do this. In fact I almost went back in September of 2011, but I had squandered my money on bullshit and so opted for the cycling trip instead. The main reason I cycled in the US instead of going on my pilgrimage in Japan? The cost of the flight. I had enough money to travel and live in America or Japan (I am a shoestring traveler after all), but getting to Japan was so expensive that I ended up postponing my pilgrimage to another time.

Well, that time is now.

In an effort to draw tourists back to Japan after the earthquake and radiation scare, the Japanese are launching a campaign where they GIVE AWAY 10,000 (yes ten thousand) round trip tickets to bloggers. The only catch is that winners must blog and write about their experience in Japan using their blog or other form of social media. Japan wants to promote a vision of its country that is safe and enjoyable, not the media driven fears that Japan is an earthquake ridden, nuclear radiation tsunami waiting to happen. That being said, who wants to see me complete a Buddhist pilgrimage on Shikoku Island? Because I will need your help to pull this off.

The contest begins sometime in April (possibly March) and I’m going to need to build this blog into a decent readership by the time April (ironically my birth month) rolls around. I have had troubles with blogs in the past. At times it seemed that I had no interaction with my readers, ergo it appeared that I had no readers. This caused me to lose my drive for writing. I write mostly for you guys. I found out later that that wasn’t the case, people were reading. But they didn’t post so I had no way of knowing that they were there and the blog died out.

Also if anyone has any tips, tricks, and methods they would like to share be it about traffic, blog content, layout design, it is greatly appreciated. If you guys, help me win this; you’ll get to follow me on the trip of a lifetime.

By the way, now that you’re here, take a look around. Constructive criticism appreciated, constructive being the operating word.

Categories: bicycling, cycling, Travel, Vagabonding | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.