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.