The next few days were a furious blur of paint and dust and alcohol. Jeff, Romen, and Bryan worked more on the rehab property painting more of the house and laying down tile in what would later become the kitchen. Each day of labor Continue reading
When Bryan awoke the following morning he had a slight hangover. Nothin’ he ain’t dealt with before, he was a sailor, so he knows how to drink. Making a quick breakfast of oatmeal and Earl Gray tea, Bryan thought back to a thought he had last night amidst the inebriated pool game. Get a tattoo, Bryan mused to himself. I think it’s time to get my Compass.
Bryan had long wanted to get a compass tattoo on his left forearm Continue reading
Leaving the Citgo station our favorite Nomad resumes walking on the southbound road. He decides that he really just wants to walk for a while. The weight of his rucksack starts digging into his hips, pressing thin, hard metal carabineers into his soft, squishy skin. Bryan knows that this is happening because he refuses to adjust his bags. You see, Einstein thought it might be a brilliant idea to wear a belt under a belt attached to a belt. Huh? Continue reading
In the words of Cowboy Beebop…
“I think it’s time to blow this scene.
Get everybody and the stuff together…
OK. 3. 2. 1. Let’s Jam.”
Ladies and Germs… it begins. (And is written in the narrative third person for fun.)
After being dropped off at a truck stop in Mortons Gap KY, Continue reading
Ladies and Germs, I am knee deep in preparations for a vagabonding journey to Ft. Lauderdale and beyond. The goal (if it can be said that I have one) is to hitch a ride on a sailboat to who knows where, and learn how to sail. I will start from Providence KY, taking a bus to Montegomery Alabama and from there, I’ll wing it (like I do.)
As a preface to the journey ahead, I’d like to take the time to talk about my newly Continue reading
I lost track of time as I biked on and eventually I came upon that winery and vineyard that Jody told me about. I pulled to the right, my tires grinding over loose gravel and made my way passed a few tall metal buildings towards a large house in the back. When I got close enough 8 different dogs approached me barking loudly. Dismounting my bike I walked past the dogs, up to the house and knocked on the door. No one answered. I looked in the window; no one seemed to be home.
For a second I didn’t know if this ‘Tim’ would be here, or even if I was in the right place. I Continue reading
Like many of my generation, much of my formative years were spent playing video games such as the epic series Final Fantasy, the space odyssey of Star Ocean, the legendary Tales of series, and many, many more. Some of my peers and elders would say that my time with these beloved gaming treasures was time wasted, but I disagree. Plenty of time honored and useful life lessons and basic travel fundamentals have been passed on to a younger generation through the medium of video games. I present for you here 5 practical travel lessons I learned from video games.
1 Talk to Everyone, twice.
It is the most basic of all advice that can be given to gamers. Talk to everyone and then talk to Continue reading
Off in the distance, the endless road stretched out and then sharply climbed toward the sky. Great, I thought, a steep climb up. I approached the climb with thirst and fatigue, but I just kept pedaling. Up and up I went over this hill and when I reached the top I looked out and what should I see but salvation, a lone house on the side of the road. I thanked many different spiritual entities, because Jesus and Krishna will quench my thirst as easily as will Buddha and Zeus, so I just blanket thanked them all.
I made my way to the farm house’s driveway wondering if anyone was home. Three dogs began barking and trying to climb over the fence as I walked past. These were big dogs too, I didn’t take that as a good sign these dogs and I hesitantly knocked on the screen door of the farmhouse with trepidation.
I heard a thundering inside as footsteps bounded down what sounded like wooden stairs and when the inside door suddenly swung open, I was startled. “Yes, what can I do for you?” said a tall, festively plump, middle-aged man.
“Excuse me sir, might I refill my water bottles here?” I asked not showing how nervous I was.
The farmer let out a hearty laugh, “Sure you can, come on in. Where you from? Where you goin’? Heavy load you’re carryin’ there.” And with that all my nervousness dissipated. Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened, quite literally it seems.
I entered and shouldering my pack up the wooden stairs I made my way into his kitchen. “I’m from Yakima actually, bicycling down to San Diego.”
“San Diego! That’s quite a trip. You know I did somethin’ a lot like this when I was your age.” The man roared, his whole body moving with the energy of his voice.
“You don’t say, what kind of trip did you take?” I asked as I began filling my body before filling my water bottles.
“Oh hell, I’ve hitchhiked all over the USA, seen all them States. Name’s Jody by the way.” He said as he extended a handshake.
“I’m Bryan,” we shook hands as I relaxed even more. “Got a favorite place?”
“Naw I like’em all.” Jody paused. “‘Cept that there L.A. Got robbed in broad daylight by 8 colored fellas. I stepped off the Greyhound bus and before I knew it 3 black boys told me to give’em my money. I laughed at’em cause surely I’m not gonna get robbed during the day in a public place. I told’em to fuck off and started walkin’. They stepped in my way, motioned to sum buddies behind me and next thang I know, I’as surrounded by these black kids tryin’ ta rob me. Seein’ as how I’as outnumberd, an’ no one in the area gave a damn, I opened my wallet and give’em the 20 bucks I had in there.”
Jody paused for a bit, seeing me distracted by grabbing a bottle to fill. When he had my attention again, he continued. “But I ain’t that dumb, ya see? I had the bulk’a my money duct taped to my inner thigh under my clothes where no one can get it, ‘less they wanna get real personal.”
I laughed at his entertaining stories and we exchanged travel experiences for about 45 minutes before he asked where I was going tonight. It was only 12:30 pm at this point, so I wanted to continue biking and gain what ground I could, so I told him I was going to continue south and just improvise lodging as I went.
“Well buddy, I hate to tell ya, but yer headin’ East right now.” Jody laughed that deep laugh of his. “You ain’t been goin’ south for 25 miles, ya missed yer turn in Toppenish. Didja see the big ole’ casino? That’s where the road curves south.”
“Dammit! I knew something was weird when I passed that casino. I figured if I just kept going straight I’d be heading on the right road.” I felt worried and confused. I didn’t know where I was and I didn’t want to back track 25 miles unless I really had too.
“Don’t worry friend. Keep headin’ down this road. This here’s the 15; heads straight on in to a tiny town called Mabton. When ya get to the edge’a town, look on yer right. You’ll see a winery and grape vineyard. Its ran by a guy named Tim, tell’em Jody sent ya ands he’ll help you out.
Knowing where I was and where I was going did little to calm my nerves. Living in Yakima for a year and a half had wound me up tighter than a box spring and I still felt a need to solve my problems as soon as they happened. Not being on my ‘planned course’ was a problem to me and I hadn’t yet learned to just take things as they came.
Fear pushed me out his door as I packed my water bottles and thanked him hastily. He wished me luck and then I tore out of his drive way with full speed. I biked down the road my mind a jumble of fear and self-destructive thoughts. I cursed myself for not trusting my gut when I passed Toppenish and for being so angry in the first place that my mind was distracted and not able to focus on where I was and what I was doing.
It was only about 1pm now and I still had plenty of daylight to ride, surely I could make it to Mabton soon and find this Tim. Fear made me wonder what would happen if I failed to reach the small town in time and soon I was racing way faster than was healthy. I was unable to simply enjoy my journey due to the fear of an unknown and unlikely failure. It would be a long time before I would sit down and reflect on my emotions and how unhealthy my mind was. The greatest benefit of the road ahead, was the opportunity to put my mind in order and clean my emotional house.
The sun bore down on me, and as fear drove my mind and body, I raced towards Mabton.
On to Article 4
In the last article, we very briefly discussed fear, what it does and how it works. In this article, we’ll talk about why you should want to be fearless, that is without fear, the benefits of being so, and some general methods of overcoming fear.
Why should you want to overcome fear? Well, let me ask you another question, are you happy? Are you living the life you want? If your answer is anything other than “yes my life is friggen fantastic” then you have probably have some changes you’d like to make. Perhaps you’d like to go travel as we’ve been discussing, but maybe your goals are more career orientated. Would you like to open up that business you’ve been talking about? Maybe you’re looking for Mr. /Mrs. Right. Whatever your goals are, it will undoubtedly involve risk, and risk that you’re averse to taking else you would not continue reading this. The key to getting over that aversion and taking action toward those goals lies in the art of overcoming fear, of breaking those chains that hold you back.
Let us dive right in with a quote from William Shakespeare,
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”
Couldn’t have said it better Bill. The most important reason to overcome your fear is the sheer number of opportunities you’ll have once you stop shying away from them and start attempting to accomplish them.
Now, our next question must be how can we fight our fears and get moving in a positive direction in life? Well, there are a variety of methods to combat fear, and generally the more radical the more effective. But before we train in fear fighting tactics, we first must learn a fear busting strategy.
Real quick, what is the difference between a Strategy and a Tactic? It is an important question because the two are quite different. The best way I ever heard it put is, “Strategies are those things you THINK about, the things you keep in mind as you fight. Strategies are acquired by asking questions and analyzing information. Tactics are those things that you actually DO, the methods you employ in the fight. Tactics are the actions required to make a particular strategy successful and are usually naturally derived from the strategy itself. Tactics are refined and perfected over time by practice, failure, and a kind of trial by error approach.”
In other words, we’re going to learn the theory before the practice. This will bring us to-
Fear Busting Strategy #1. Know your enemy.
It is important that we study fear and how it operates before we face it in battle or we’re just asking to be caught off guard when it throws something unknown at us. In order to analyze our enemy we must first ask questions to acquire information to analyze. So the first strategy must be this: Ask general questions about Fear itself. Questions like, “Where does fear come from? What causes it and can we cut it off at the source, potentially avoiding a fight altogether?
So let’s ask those questions… Where does fear come from? Fear is born from the avoidance of pain. Now, I’d like to take the time to prove this to you logically. Pain itself is an interesting phenomenon because its sole purpose is to end itself as fast as it can and prevent itself from reoccurring in the future. It does this, by wielding Fear as a tool. Think about it. Let us take a very basic painful situation such as burning yourself on the stove. Touching the hot stove causes Pain. Pain’s purpose is to end itself. Thus when you feel Pain, you immediately remove your hand from the burner. The immediate cause of Pain ends. The burns may last, but the initial cause has been stopped. Pain would like to prevent itself from occurring in this fashion in the future, and so the Fear of hot stoves begins. Now, every time you get near a stove you are a little uneasy because you remember what happened last time. It doesn’t mean it will happen, but as soon as the possibility of remembered Pain presents itself, you will feel Fear as a protective reaction.
What can we extrapolate from this about the workings of Fear? Let’s break it down. Fear is the avoidance of Pain with regard to the possibility that a remembered Pain can happen again. Is this true? Let’s see. At home you rant and rave about how you deserve a raise and tomorrow you’re gonna march into your bosses office and demand what’s rightfully yours. Your boss denied you last time saying that the budgets had been slashed and that your department may be downsized ‘considerably’. In your living room you are strong and confident and talk a big game. You may even hold on to that strength as you swagger through the front door of your firm, but as soon as you see your boss’s door or catch sight of him in the building your guts jump up in your throat and you find yourself wondering where you can cut costs in your household budget.
What happened? Why did you not speak to your boss? You were afraid. Why? You remember what happened last time and your boss seemed to have implied that you may find yourself out of work if you press the issue. So when it came time to put up or shut up, you allowed your Fear of what negatively might happen to shut you up to avoid the Pain of maybe being out of work.
There’s a lot of Fear, Pain, and unsubstantiated views of the future in that line of logic. In this case you were afraid of what might happen. No one knew for sure what would come about by approaching your boss, but you ‘feared’ that your boss might ‘downsize your department’ (read: fire you) if you didn’t settle for what you had. So you didn’t broach the subject, you just collected your paycheck went home defeated and nursed a beer while your wife nursed your bruised ego.
But see; now we know. (And knowing is half the battle G.I. Joe.) Now we understand what happened; what keeps happening every time we try to do this. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that a similar pattern would emerge if we looked at the woman who was too shy to talk to the cute guy (who unbeknownst to her wishes she would talk to him), or the traveler that can’t seem to put in his two weeks, or the business man who is afraid to invest in a product that he already knows is the next 800 lbs. gorilla in his market.
Once again, to paraphrase ole’ Bill Shakespeare, ‘Your doubts were traitors, and made you lose the good you might have won, by fearing to try in the first place.’
So if learning about fear is our first strategy, what should we actually DO when we discover that our fear is scaring us out of opportunity? Well, we employ-
Fear Fighting Tactic #1: Question your doubt.
When fear says, “What if something bad happens?” You must respond, “Well, what if something good happens?”
In the face of fear it is important to be militantly optimistic or else your doubts will weaken your resolve. Question your questions when they arise and follow the train of questions logically, to their natural end. “What if something bad happens?”
“What if something good happens?”
“What if you get mugged and robbed and end up homeless?”
“What if I don’t and instead I have an incredible experience and make new friends for life?”
“What if your boss fires you?”
“What if he appreciates my daring in the face of uncertainty and gives me the raise and a new position to boot because of my courage?”
“What if my wife leaves me for bringing up a sensitive subject?”
“What if she’s feeling the same way about this tension that we both know is there, and will be relieved to finally resolve the issue?”
As you question your questions with positive things that are as equally likely to happen as the negative things, your worry will begin to dissipate and you will instead start to see the possibilities hidden between the two extremes. ‘Well maybe that bad thing could happen, but this other good thing is also likely.’
So the next time you feel fear creeping up, try implementing these techniques and see if your life doesn’t get a little easier. In the next article we’ll discuss following our fears to logical extremes.
On to Article 3