Lift-off is delayed, the launch postponed, still in Ohio until the weekend’s end. Technical difficulties never abate. Ease is not part of the game. Answers are certainly vague at best with clarity at sporadic parts of the day, often forgotten. Instead of a big dipper trajectory, the journey west will instead be a straight shot toward Yellowstone. No problem at all if you know how you want it to go, how you want it to be, how you want it as, or how you want it after. What you want changes almost every minute with goals lasting slightly longer. There are so many whats out there and the hows are usually more interesting. Finding how you want it is far more doable and maneuverable so there you go.
Ohio is a good base. Fortune, however, has not cast as much upbeat karma upon the heart of it all over the past thirty years. Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, and some others in no particular order have had their ups and downs. Ohioans leave the state every year claiming to never return, but they will come back. Living in the desert, in the Deep South, in ultra-urban cities, in California, and in some other places are fine, but not for all time. The heat, the lack of fresh water, the season-less years, the stench of overpopulation, and pricey accommodations are bound to decrease desirability. Keep it a secret though in case the land runs out due to the droves of profiteering vagabonds. Do not forget that Ohio is a border state that must be wary of the conspiring Canadians and speed boat smugglers. Over the next thirty years Ohio will need defense over encroaching coercion. Returning Ohioans will bring with them experience, creativity, spontaneity, energy, and love only possible from years seeing the rest of the world. We’ll see how it goes…
The top of the mountain is bound to awe even the most traveled. The distant promontory brings forth an inspiration of the world and everything in it. You cannot capture its meaning with a photograph, nor can you effectively tell about it later to others. They have to see it to really understand it. What it is will be revealed when the time comes. It is such a foolish word to start a sentence with, however it is indescribable. Even those who reach those heights where they see it will mostly agree that it is better experienced with another person, preferably a friend.
Many prefer to travel alone and through experience have learned that others certainly can lengthen the day and limit the distance covered. The solitude found during a journey eventually gravitates toward a desire to share the experience with others, whether at a diner along the road in Iowa or a bar in Ohio. When one adds another to the journey, when two individuals share in an experience, there is less a drive to seek feedback from those who were not there. Sharing great moments enhances the moments and therefore trumps the solitary adventures. Walking into unknown territory amongst friends and those you trust is not only more enjoyable, but highly recommended by all reasonable people, especially those who have in the past had to go on search and rescues for those who hurt themselves or became lost.
The wilderness, like life, is not easy and to go at it alone you risk all the positive reinforcement along the way. Loners are bound to go mad and lose themselves at some point. That does not mean you should surround yourself with people for the sake of surrounding yourself, or to feel popular due to the many text messages you receive each day or the social dynamics of Facebook. You surround yourself by those who enhance your life (hopefully it is mutual). Let that friend in and move forward. Experience the world together and in time enhance the world around you. It all starts when you know it starts. Build real friendships with foundation and diction. Conversations about the past are good every so often, but hope for the present and future are likely of greater benefit. Come on along in if you please, for the door will only be open for so long before the wind slams it shut. I’m certain that it will open again, but not sure when.
What does one day about the home town? “We grew up together.” High school, grade school, and all above and below. Is it a city or town? It is for sure a suburb, and from what I’ve heard, most of them are all the same. A couple restaurants, some 100+ house neighborhoods no older than 20 years as the 1990-2000 years brought people out of their starter homes and into bigger living room homes with extra spaces that never get used. Then came the housing crisis. Most people who bought their homes during those years were spared. The group that attempted to emulate their example from 2001-2007 were up the creek without any savings. Avon Lake, just like any other place is full of good people, full of great families, and full with the desire to live in peace. In a middle to upper middle class town, there still are outlier problems with individuals who cannot handle themselves or selfish elderly who refuse to vote for school and library funding. Yet that does not make it a bad town. There are more than enough good people to make up for those who take individualistic behavior to the next level and revert only to themselves. As a lake front town, there is but a small portion that is available to the public that many forget the lake is even there. A relic of a house has been sitting empty for over a decade and longer than that was used only as storage and insignificant office space. Tear it down, start something new and interesting, hopefully include many windows.
The mastermind behind violence against those of the free world was eliminated over a week ago. Since then, most of the world has celebrated. The Bloomberg magazine had the face of the terrorist on the cover as well as many other magazines in recent days. Bloomberg’s article is worth the read, Al-Qaeda’s Leader Lost Because He Was Wrong. It shows not that America beat him at the end of the day due to our military might, but due to our American will to pursue happiness in a world full of hatred and fear. Read the article for further words about the subject.
We must move on, away from them and focus more on us. We have the power to influence so much good within our own society, yet we choose to focus so many energies outward, as if we were diluting our own truth and meaning with a contrast to the dreads of the rest of the world. So what do we do? Only the individual knows for certain as our society has pressed for so long especially in the most recent college graduate generation that we can all do anything we dream of. They forgot to stress the eccentric quantity of work and time that it requires to achieve great feats. They forgot to humble us as to the realities of this world with the advanced American citizenship that we were born into. They forgot the important lessons and instead showered us with the self-esteem building preschools and little league sports that made the average athlete feel like he or she could be an NBA star, as long as they tried hard. Today, our generation has more ACL rehab professionals for non-professional athletes. We are banging our heads together in eighth grade football because we see movies of glory and imagine a college scholarship or even NFL career in which everything is easier. It only gets harder. It only gets more complicated. We dream of a world in which we finish the college experience that is jokingly referred to as a higher education program, and expect it to be easier after. We expect to get that job offer right out of college, and if it does not come, then “oh, no what am I going to do?” We give up so fast on what we want to do, faster than any generation before us. We will not survive if this continues. We lose sight of so much so soon. The lessons of self-esteem start to tear the very fabric of our optimism and all we do is settle. Settle for less. Less excitement. Less ingenuity. Less freedom. Less happiness.
There is no excuse for this.
The world is far more complex than ever, yet that has never stopped us. America’s society embraced the rapid change of the 20th century and became an amazing symbol of human ingenuity and prosperity. The 21st century is here, over a decade into it, and it does not appear we have caught on yet. Let’s do it again. Let’s do it better. Forget that stable job, unless that is all you want. Find what will not only provide for you and yours, but provide for all a better world. Life is much more than the weekend parties. Break’s over! It’ll be one wild ride and the stories that we’ll be able to tell fifty years from now will trump any previous generations. It’s our choice. Now, go forward. Be happy and we will win yet again.
The preparations for the journey: suitcase & backpack. Compression. Travel light. Move quick. Decisions made easy. For one week, the road will show many things, many national parks and crater canyons. So much has changed over the years when it comes to travel and convenience. Complex technological devices that can fit into the palm of your hand make for great distractions when all else seems mundane. I highly doubt the road will be boring. Every forest, every field, every river and pond, every desert, every everything has something to offer. There are those who sleep though the journey (understandable to sleep through a windowless flight though). Treat it as a lucid dream during which ideas and inspirations spread from place to place and ear to ear, lip to lip, all the while with interesting moments of truth and virtue. Take the elevator to the top or climb the mountain?
For all the states and all the drivers plates, I expect to bring back an original concept that will set the foundation for the book. The book that contributed to my eviction. The book that pushed my limits to exhaustion and mad contempt. Now refocused, I travel not to seek the answer or the reason, but to add some flavor and hope to the story without an end. New business card, new boots, new color, new vibe, new mind. Anything is possible. Live a real life, dream no longer of life, just be.
“There are two different ladders. One of the ladders is straight old Judeo-Christian ladder with Charlton Heston at the top of it with a big beard and everybody’s trying to climb this ladder and kiss God’s ass; and always the people to blame are these people down there living in their Buick. As where over here, there’s this other ladder. And it’s all wiggly and taped together and Dr. Seuss looking ladder, going up to the clouds, you don’t know where it’s going, but everybody that’s on this ladder knows that they’re not on that ladder. We aspire to different things. And this is our salvation because we don’t know where we are going. These other people are certain where they’re going and they’ll never get there. We don’t know where we are going, so we don’t know when we’re not there. But, I know this: that everybody if they are going to be mature, they have to have a run. They’re going to have to make a run outside of their little family circle. Or they have to go somewhere and do something. Then they can come back and they’re whole. If you don’t sow a few wild oats, you don’t raise any oats.” – Ken Kesey
Attributed to 2001 documentary Rubber Tramps. Created by Max Koetter, Kenny Rosen, Sam Taybi, Brett Beardslee, Jamie Trueblood
All I knew was that I had to get moving. Time and time again it would hit me, but I’ve finally been knocked to the ground, and it took a couple hours; I recovered just enough to realize that I was done with the old silly lifestyle and ready. Ready for what? I was uncertain. I drove out of town, evicted, homeless, tongue tied, nervous. During the drive toward Cleveland it all come together and people were the answer. After a delightful weekend with old friends in Avon Lake, Ohio, I realized that I was ready for life. We sat around a fire, we talked of various stories and attempted to bring rhythm to a night devoid of bothersome worry. There were a couple spills and the beagle did get into some chips left on the ground, however, the only overall emotion was that of happiness and a thrill of the tomorrows to come. It truly was the big chill that I’d sought after for so many years and what came of it was not what I expected. After Sunday night, a decision was made, to stop performing life, and start living life. Now it looks like a lot of time needs to be made up, and the catching up is where I go. To the road…
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 2, Ch. 8
Three fourths through the book, I knew I had no ending. Sure there was a neat back story to it and meaning along the way, but to what end? Things were changing fast. I sought conversations with family and friends in search of an answer to my questions. I got used to answering machines and writing one way letters. I learned that I was doing it all wrong. Difficult decision points are on the horizon. A friend told me that I need to stop looking to others for help making decisions. “Do not hesitate,” he said. “If you go asking ten different people for their thoughts on your course of actions, you are bound to get ten different, likely conflicting suggestions from those who do not care about what they say.” It is true. Look to any conversation lately and you are bound to remember several made of straw. Still, the point is, you are the only one who knows what you want and need. Others may think they do and tell you what you should do. Those closest can sometimes be the most dangerous as they seek what is best for you, however will use their experience to sway your directions. You can only learn so much from stories told by others. You have to go out there and find the answer yourself by gaining your own experiences. This is not to say, “to hell with them.” However, it is to say, “I am going. See you when I see you.”
So while I pack my suitcase and prepare for the journey through America in search of my own answers, I think back on all that has happened since the previous venture. A dreary winter and sullen training program in Erie, PA. Sneaky job prospects. Spring shows up every once in a while, but does not last long. New friends did come into the picture and that is always good. I gained unhealthy habits and am not prepared for the mountains, but in a way that is how it should be. All I know is that I am ready for the road and whatever comes with it. Looking through America, hoping for some wisdom and joy, I will find out for sure who I am and what I want. It is what I believe is good and true. Some people find their meaning through the television or books or athletics, and that is fine, probably less of a financial burden. Gas aint gonna be cheap. But a decision has been made to go, so without hesitating, I will head west to the Grand Canyon at sundown. After a couple weeks, I take to the sky. It will end on a beach, where the answer will cement itself with margaritas in the sun.