Friday, October 9, 2009

How Far I've Come

It's day 25 of my Walkabout Adventure and I've spent much of the day reflecting on my travels. I read through my journal and added some more entries. It was a good day for reflection and after looking everything over, I can see how far I've come and I'm amazed at it all.

In just this short amount of time, three and a half weeks, I've visited 24 towns and cities in 6 different states. In Louisiana I've been in Sulphur, Westlake, Lake Charles, Welsh, Jennings, Grosse Tete, Chalmette and Slidell. In Alabama I've seen Mobile, Saraland, Montgomery, Alabaster and Birmingham. In Pennsylvania I've visited Scranton, Carlile and Hazelton. I've seen New York City (just long enough to get robbed). I've hung out in Providence, Cranston, Warwick and Newport, Rhode Island. And finally I've seen Boston, Wellesley and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

So far my transportation has cost me a grand total of $104, which I could have saved had the cops not been so anal about hitchhikers. But it's not bad. It's a minor setback and one I can afford. I look at the list of places and I wonder how many more stops I have to make. I wonder where I will be next. I still have so much to do and see and experience and learn. Sometimes I think it'll take a lifetime... or a month. I don't know. I never imagined I'd get this far, but I'd always hoped.

The trip as a whole confuses me, as I don't know what to expect or where I will be next. But right now I'll focus on where I've been and what I've done, seen, learned and experienced. I'll worry about the future when it arrives.

What's my biggest accomplishment thus far?
I'd say it's making it from Birmingham to Pennsylvania in a day, which I owe entirely to a truck driver named Stan whom I saw parked on the shoulder of the interstate outside Birmingham. He was updating his trucker's log when I walked by and he asked where I was going. I told him that I had just decided to go to Rhode Island to watch the leaves change and he said he could get me to Pennsylvania. Thanks Stan. I guess that was really his accomplishment, not mine.

What's my fondest memory?
That's a tough one, but after a little debate I'd have to go with the one that keeps popping up and giving me a warm feeling. A guy named Alex who let me crash at his place when I got into Providence has a beautiful daughter named Allie. I think she's three. I walked into the house one day and she ran across the room and hugged my leg. There's nothing quite like being greeted by a child to brighten a day. Thanks Allie and Alex.

Best time?
Another tough one. It's either the intellectual conversations with Rex in Montgomery, Alabama or riding across Louisiana with Steve and Josh, listening to Ryan Bingham and feeling the wind whip through the open window. Both experiences were cool in completely different ways. Hanging with a couple of good old boys and discovering a new musician that fills you with so much energy is awesome, but so is meeting a kindred spirit who shares so many of the same passions as you. Thanks Rex, Steve and Josh.

Best meal?
That one is easy. I've had some nice feasts, but the best was cooked by Henry in Boston. His steak rocks. It was so juicy, tender and tasty. Henry, keep on rocking. And the meal had great company too.

Hardest time?
That's another easy one. The most difficult part of my trip, in retrospect, was my time in Mobile, Alabama. So many of the people there were so cruel. Even losing my journal couldn't compare to how I felt coming out of Mobile. I didn't even feel like a human being.

Scariest moment?
That's a tough one. I got picked up by a guy named Jerry who was a pinhead who listened only to teenage girl pop music which only served to stir up his numerous emotional problems causing him to punch the dashboard of the truck. I was fine with that, but he also couldn't drive for shit. It was a white-knuckle ride from Saraland to Montgomery. It was a very intense hour. The other scary moment was when the crackhead couple under the overpass north of Mobile decided they wanted to attack me after doing a few lines of coke. The guy was shouting something unintelligible and threatening and marching forward. His woman was doing the same. I think they wanted to rob me but he had a difficult time annunciating. That confrontation lasted only about a minute, but it was pretty scary.

Worst pain?
That would be a phone call I made on the morning of September 17th. I had wanted to make that call on the 16th, but couldn't make it to a payphone in time and slept in a field. I didn't know that hearing a person's voice could cause physical pain, but it can if you miss that person enough. Hearing a person's voice but not being able to touch them can tear a hole right through your heart. I don't think I've ever felt a pain like that before.

Coolest place?
Providence, Rhode Island. Hands down. I went there on a whim, or what I call "Ooh! Moments" and decided to spend 10 days there. The whole area rocks and it's so beautiful. On top of that, the people are so friendly. If you've never been, plan a trip for mid October so you can see the changing leaves. If you have been, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

This trip has been magic thus far. The ups have been great and the downs have been a learning experience. I've seen so much and traveled so far (emotionally and geographically) and I still have lots to do. I have activities to do, things to write, pictures to take and a boss-wicked festival to scope out... and that's just in the next 24 hours. Then I'm migrating south (I think) to check out another part of the country that I've always been interested in and to take my trip to a new level by living in a whole new manner.

I want to thank everyone who encouraged me and believed in me while I was gearing up for this trip. Your words are kept close to my heart and help me when the road gets tough and my feet grow tired. Thanks. And to all those people who have started following since my trip began, thank you. Most of you are people who helped me in some way, large or small. I see people listed as followers who picked me up off the side of the road. I see people who just offered friendly conversation when I was at my lowest. And I see people whose names I do not recognize at all. Your fascination with my blog fills me with inspiration and prompts me to continue writing and giving updates.

Thank you all for everything you've done. Great or small, you are helping me through a difficult but wonderful trip.


Robby said...

keep on truckin' jason. You're doing what so many of us would love to do but are to scared to do. God bless you. you're in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Jason -
I’m always waiting for your next adventure! Wish I could cheat & fly somewhere to trail along. But I think Amanda would have a problem with this & so would the USAF! Amanda who thinks I’m going enough now & the Air Force wouldn’t like the fact I couldn’t be tracked. I guess the swamps of S. Louisiana will be my place to be. Being married is awesome, but the days of just me, my thoughts & God are a missed. The art of surviving on nothing, but the land, skills, luck, adapting & over coming, spending time with yourself and sacking up to whatever life throws at you are things that a lure me. I find myself telling friends about your adventures, & they just wonder why. Sure the same questions, most have said already. I get it, people have to find what’s inside them, what makes them tick. When people say something negative, I feel sad for them. Most of those people don’t have the balls to leave what’s comfortable to them, nor be a lone with themselves for more than a minute. They have to have the cell phone to text the world, their TV, something to entertain themselves, or some technology to fell comfortable about them selves. It always sucks to be them when a hurricane hits & their left w/o electricity! Cheers to you! Hope to see you whenever we’re both home again. Stay safe, enjoy your time. Stay warm, guess the cold will be your way soon! Take care- Adam

Alex said...

I'm psyched you're having a good time and that you love my state! Also glad my little girl got an honorable mention :) You should get a flickr account or something, put up your photos for all of us stuck in our day to day routines to look forward to. Happy travels, my friend!

Midassa said...

You have come so far, both in miles and inside yourself. You have grown and seen things. You will always be able to look back on this trip with pride and accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

Your writing has changed as I'm sure you now know you have changed. You use less empty learned adjetives & more meaningful life experienced feelings. It's for the good you have changed.