This page is dedicated to a few frequently asked questions. My lifestyle choices often create a lot of confusion in the mind of those not like me (I.E. non wanderers) so I’ve decided to answer the most basic questions I often get.
Q: Bryan you’re insane. Why the hell do you travel this way?
A: Well, suppose the simplest answer is because I enjoy it.
I enjoy traveling, it brings me a calm and a deep interior peace that I suspect very few in our over stressed, caffeine addicted culture ever really experience. I geneuinely enjoy exploring other cultures and traveling low-no budget. Its a life on the edge and, yeah, some days suck, but even still I consider myself to live a life of privelege (even as I dumpster dive for dinner). A life of adventure can’t be bought with money; it must be bought with courage.
Money is a means not an end. To quote Henery David Thoreau,
“Men waste the best part of their lives obtaining money in order to earn a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it.”
I completely agree. Money is the main goal, the chief aim of the lives and efforts of so many and for what? To pay your bills? To pay the rent to a landlord for a property that you will never have the option of owning? To pay for the insanely over priced car that you didn’t really need, but bought out of vanity? To pay for brain rotting cable TV? To stuff into a checking account and ‘save’ for ’emergencies’. I’ll pass.
I do use money. This is primarially because most of the world uses money. I care very little for money, personally. Money is only as useful as what I can do with it. If bread shoots up to $20 a loaf (that is if our dollar devalues to that level), then 20 bucks won’t do me much good.
When I travel I usually start each day with enough money to get breakfast, after that I just see where the day takes me. It’s worked well for me so far.
Q: But Bryan, don’t you want to ‘make something of yourself?
Don’t you want to marry a hot girl, have 2.3 kids, and go into a massive amount of debt from student loans and a mortgage on a home that the banks don’t seriously expect (nor do they want) you to pay off?
A: No thanks, I’ll do things my own wrong way.
I take issue with the American attitude that one must ‘make something of ones self.’ Aren’t I already something? Of course, this is not what is meant by the phrase. One is expected to make something important, something productive of oneself. You’ve got to have the right kind of career that identifys you as a man of substance, you’ve got to drive the right kind of car, and wear the proper attire, and associate with the proper people.
If I may again quote Thoreau, “How ever far into the forest you may go, men will pursue [you] and compel you to belong to their desperate company of odd-fellows.”
Q: But surely you must finance your travels somehow.
Food and things cost money, so how do you purchase food and basic necessities? Where do you sleep? You sound homeless. How can you be homeless and consider yourself an adventurer?
A: Good question.
The answer to that is very complicated in its simplicity. The answer is simple, but to understand it, some basic assumptions about life, reality, and the world we live in will have to be deconstructed. It will require a DEorientation about the world and a REeducation about what things really mean and about whats actually possible.
Essentially, I survive and sometimes thrive, on Faith. Now, usually thats a dirty word and tends to imply a belief in some kind of a personal god looking out for you or something. This is not what I mean by the word Faith. I have Faith, that I will succeed in my endeavours. I have Faith in the generosity and the basic goodness of mankind. I Believe that I’ll make it across the border, through the desert, over the mountain pass. I have an unwavering Confidence in the strength of my Will. I will not be defeated.
It is this Courage (with a capital C) and my curiosity of ‘what lies beyond’ that gets me moving, that inspires me to take up the backpack and start walking. However, the generosity of others is what allows me to continue. The kind lady that put me up for 3 days, the truck driver that ‘lifted’ me for over 300 miles, thestranger that just decided to hand me 20 bucks. It is with the generosity and the blessing of each human I meet that propels me forward.
Q: So you’re a bum?
A: Oi, You’re not seeing it.
Travel is more than just getting from A-B. Travel is a journey, and in my case, travel IS my spirituality. Everytime I meet a stranger, there is an exchange on a very deep spiritual level. Where you see one guy taking advantage of so many people, I see a man connecting with men and women across nations, across cultures, and more than that, with each offering of money, food, shelter, I see the whole of humanity not only condoning, but supporting this pilgrim as he journeys.
I think we all have a secret, instinctual, spiritual calling to reach out and learn about each other, but sadly most of us cannot do this. We get very involved in our own lives, so much so that traveling in this soulful way is not possible. One may jet off to different countries for business or while in the military, but just because you spent 3 days at a conference in Tel Aviv, doesn’t mean you know the first thing about the culture. The only way to get to know the culture is to get to know the people. This means meeting them and interacting with them in the most spiritually intimate ways. It means breaking bread with them, sharing a drink with them, lodging with them, working along side them. This can not be done by shotgunning money during a 10 day vacation.
And the sad fact is, most people cannot take the time from their busy lives to go do this. There are careers to be tended to, children to be raised, social and finacial structures that must be maintained. I respect that not all can do this, nor does everybody even want to travel in this way, but I do think that when this type of individual is seen, the soulful traveler, that the people go out of their way to help him continue his journey; its happened to me time and time again and you would be surprised how many people support what I do.
Q: Dude, you’re a nut.
Traveling as you do, based on the supposed ‘generosity of others’ is incredibly dangerous; you’re gonna get yourself killed.
A: Not Likely.
The best thing about hitch hiking? All the assholes drive past you.
More people die from peanut allergies than from hitchhiking.
Furthermore, “Life is hard, eventually it kills you.” I’m going to die anyway and there’s nothing I can do to prevent that. Death is the natural and neccessary end of Life. So, in my mind, if its unavoidable anyway, lets have a blast while we’re here. Safety and security are illusions. You are not safe. You never have been. Life, by and large is a crap shoot and theres no telling when you’re going to die or when some random illness is going to make you bed ridden. Whether you die by the sword or the slow decay of time, rest assured, you WILL die and don’t ever think that you and Death are such good friends that he’ll let you know when he’s coming.
In the word of Christoper Titus, “You don’t get a rebate at the end of your life. Death doesn’t show up one day and say, ‘Hey, I was gonna take you today, but you were with that bitch for like, 3 years, so heres a coupon.'”
You’ve got one life (that you’ll remember in the future.) Friggen enjoy it, and if you’re playing a life game where you’re losing all the time, I suggest you find a new game.
Q: Still sounds scary to me, haven’t you ever been robbed or mugged?
A: Yes, about three different times.
It comes with the territory. The first time was at gunpoint in Nashville TN. The second I was pickpocketed in Berlin, Germany. And the third time I left a bag unattended (dumbass) and when I came back it was gone. I suppose I was robbed a fourth time if we count that high stakes Texas Hold’em game, but maybe I’m just a sore loser… hey my consolation prize was to go home with the cute brunette that brought me drinks. Had I not lost, I wouldn’t have had the time to chat her up.
Look, really all a man has to do is keep his wits about him. I got robbed geing stupid. I got drunk in Nashville and wandered into the wrong dark alley (is there a rightdark alley?) In Germany, I got pickpocketed. That can happen to anyone, theres no such thing as pickpocket proof, but I made it real easy by carrying my wallet and passportin the back pocket of baggy pants. I was an idiot and left my bag unattended in Heidelberg and the poker game in Australia was the unfortunate result of charismatic locals, childhood trauma, and drinking too many shots after a certain time of day.
Don’t be stupid, take a map, never trust cute Japanese girls twice and I think you’ll be alright.
Q: Where do you sleep?
A: Usually? Well, by default I suppose I sleep ‘wherever.’
More often than not, I stay in various homes at the stubborn insistance of random strangers, or the chance meeting of a fellow traveller. But, when the Universe does not conspire in my favor, I generally look for well hidden out of the way places on the out skirts of towns or in forests and other wooded areas. Beaches make a great place to rest ones head.
This one time… (I have so many stories that begin this way) on the outskirts of LA, I camped out along the beach about 70ft from the main highway there. I didn’t want to be seen by anyone that would give me a hard time, so I didn’t set up my tent and instead slept with naught but a bedroll, a sleeping bag, and the stars over head. The helicopters searching for police suspects made me a little uneasy, so I smoked a joint a ride gave me and drifted off to sleep with the sounds of the ocean waves crashing on the shore. The next morning I awoke and got breakfast… ah, good times.
You’ve got to understand, I think very differently about these kinds of things. Sleeping isn’t very exciting. I mean, one is unconcious for most of it excepting any lucid dreams. Sleeping just means being unconcious for 6-8 hours before you wake up and get to go out and do things. So I simply sleep, then I wake up and I’m off. That’s all I need to know.
Q: Your insane.
A: And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You have to be crazy to live a life of adventure, excitement, and purpose. You have to be different if you want these kinds of things. The key is to be crazy in a good way. Ghandi, he was crazy, but he was crazy in a good way. Same with Martin Luther King Jr. A prime example of a good crazy guy. These men were crazy in that they actually DID things that others only talked about, and the things they did flew in the face of convention.
If Rosa Parks had been ‘normal’ she’d have sat in the back of the bus, and then where would we be? If Chris Columbus has been ‘normal’ we’d have never grown. That Chris thought he could arrive East by sailing West, during his time period, says a lot about the man: he had guts and wasn’t afraid of ridicule.
If want anything other than 9-5 drudgery you have to dare to be different. “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got.” And you have to believe in yourself even when the whole world tells you you’re wrong. Because they will, the world; they’ll all tell you you’re insane and wrong, until you start doing it, then they’ll cheer you on. Most people are themselves too timid and frightened to do anything of note, and when you tell them of your ideas, if they can’t do it themselves, they’ll try very hard to convince you that you can’t do it either. Yes, you can. But theres no way to do it, but to do it.
Q: Wow, that’s a lot. Do you think you’ll ever settle down?
Maybe get a wife? (As though wives were something one ‘got’ at market.)
A: I sure hope not.
I like Traveling and a home is really just a place to rest ones head before moving out. I grew up in Kentucky and I’ve observed many conversations between a man on the ground and a man on a roof that go something like this:
“Hey how you doin’ roofer?’ (Are you miserable too?)
“Oh, purdy goood.” (How did we get to this place?)
“Weather’s nice… I thought it was gonna rain, but I guess not.” (What the hell happened to my life?)
“How’s Susan? She’s getting pretty big these days.” (How did I become this shell of my former self?)
I’m not against being a one woman man, I’m really not, but she’s got to have the adventure in her. My kinda girl is the rock climbing, cross country cyclist, covered in grease and wearing mechanics gloves. Or a girl at least willing to sail across the Atlantic in a 30ft-40ft sailboat. If you’re a female and you’re toting a $300 purse and can’t be bothered to illegally cross international borders, well then just don’t talk to me. 🙂
Q: Don’t you have a family back home?
Parents? Siblings? You just say adios to them and you’re off.
A: Sure do.
But in this day and age traveling abroad need not put me out of contact with them. With cellphones and the internet being more or less universal, it is easy to stay in contect via Facebook, Twitter, email, skype… etc. This blog also helps serve as an account of my travels and so my family can join in my adventures vicariously throught the written word. In way, I’m taking them with me.
Q: Surely there are better ways to do it.
I mean what about saving up money and then jetting off for a bit while saving for a retirement and what not?
A: I could do that.
But as I think you’ll find throughout my writing, I have these adventures not inspite of my poverty, but because of my poverty. During soulful travel, there comes a point when you realize that money ‘gets in the way’ to some degree. When I was traveling in the military, we stopped in places like Australia, Singapore, the Middle East, and Africa and although I had a lot of fun most of the adventures there involved running from Singaporean police, sex ed with an Australian hooker, and venturing (against Navy regulation) into the unknown back alleys of Middle Eastern port towns; I found that the best adventures happened with out money.
In Germany, I found that my best adventures came after my money had been absconded with and I was forced to busk. That’s street performing. In this case it was magic tricks using a deck of cards, a Turkish bar owner named EZ, a fake thumb, and A LOT of charm. (Hey, it charmed the pants off that Italian girl.) In Berlin, I actually covered a debt to another traveller with a glass of Southern Comfort whiskey, freely given to me by the owner of the bar.
Now, those were good times… and yet I didn’t have two Euros to rub together.
Q: Wow… well this is all very entertaining, but why do you write?
A: Like most people, I write to be read.
I’m a bit of a show off and I like to have an audience. I have ALOT of opinions and philosophies of life. I have thoughts about travel, the government, economics, and the whole host of social games we play. And I really just want a sounding board to convey my thoughts and ideas and I also want to know what you think about my writing, my stories, my philosophies and such. I don’t think that life is serious; rather I think it’s alot like a child saying, “Won’t you come and play with me?” Come play a game with me… and this is my invitation to you, to come play a game.
I think all enlightened, humane, moral individuals will admit that they’re tricksters playing a variety of games. That I am playing a game with you, I am freely ready to admit this. I have cleverly tricked you into comming to my site and reading my articles and I have conned you into leaving comments and pushing the ‘LIKE’ button. I have ninja’ed your brain and made you ‘Digg This’ and Twitter it. 🙂
My site, is a trap that I have tricked you into tripping, but I like to entertain and so maybe I can make it a fun trap and we can have some fun. Enjoy the site.