When I first arrived in Gainesville I was taken in by it’s beauty. It is referred to as a city but I would call it a large town. Entering the town from the south you are greeted by large open fields that intermingle with deep dense woods. The woods are lush green pine that stand side by side with oak. When you look into them you get the feeling that they want to stay untouched. They hang a natural sign that reads, ‘enter at your own risk.’ I have fallen in love with the trees of the south. They have this long grey moss that hangs from them, giving me the feeling of being in movies of my childhood such as “Stand By Me”. They are so beautiful with a touch of haunting. As I am driving in with Meg I am also feeling huge relief. Her friendly presence and openness puts me at ease an I know I have nothing to worry about for at least the evening. She explains to me that her house is a hostel of sorts and that she always has people coming and going. She explains that she has band practice for a few hours; but I am welcome to shower and do laundry. The day prior I was freakin’ out as to how I would get out of Miami and now I was six hours north and about to take a hot shower and have a bed to sleep in. One of the biggest lessons I have learned on this trip is not focus on what I don’t have, rather be thankful for ALL that I have in this very moment, and really, that is all I need. I think hard about what I truly want to happen, I visualize it, and then I release it into the universe. In training my mind to think this way I have REALIZED the power my mind has to attract and manifest what I desire. I have the ability to be the creator or the destroyer of my experience here in this life. Positive thought will create and cultivate my dreams. Knowing myself and having faith in my INFINITE abilities allows me to move towards my next goal in full confidence without fear. When I doubt myself or am not being truthful with myself in moving towards MY DREAMS and MY LIFE’S PURPOSE things quickly begin to get negative and roll back down the mountain I just struggled to climb. In the spirit of the last few lines I want to share a quote from a book I started reading yesterday “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. “When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. EVERYONE SEEMS TO HAVE A CLEAR IDEA OF HOW OTHER PEOPLE SHOULD LEAD THEIR LIVES, BUT NONE ABOUT HIS OR HER OWN.” True statement! Another lesson I have learned on this journey. A lot of people in my life knew nothing about this journey until I was already on it. I knew people would have something negative to say about it, and it wouldn’t be that way because their own fear and lack of trust in themselves. When I told my parents and my close friends, the majority of them thought I was crazy and foolish. Those same people are now telling me that I did the right thing FOR ME. Lesson learned: no one else can live your life for you. No one else can go out and achieve your dreams for you; so why in F would you listen to anyone else’s opinion on how you should live your life? Follow YOUR heart! Follow the messages that the universe and YOUR soul are feeding you and YOU can not go wrong!
The following day I woke up feeling full of life and energy. I was not worried about the next day only what adventure I was going to get in that day. Meg is a vegan, I made my first set of vegan pancakes, man! Swapping apple sauce for eggs makes em bomb dot com! After breakfast I hopped on goggle to search for free museums in town. The Museum of Natural History on the UF campus was the ticket. I hopped on Meg’s husbands bike and headed out. The museum was a awesome experience. There was a lot of Native American exhibits from where and how they lived to how they carved their canoes (I now have a new bucket list project). My patients were tested by ignorance. I felt so connected to the exhibit and the proud people the exhibit portrayed. A father was walking with his very young daughter. He was not reading off the prescribed plaque and thus giving completely wrong info. And then standing in front of a tribal scene he told his daughter, “the sound that “Indians” make is woo hoo hoo.” Something ignited in me an I became quickly furious. I wanted to blow up on him and explain how wrong it was for him to pass on ignorant thoughts to his daughter. It wouldn’t have been good for any of us. I put my head phones in and walked away. Later in the exhibit I read a plaque that blew me away. It explained how the Europeans came over and destroyed a culture, enslaved prior free peaceful people, and wiped them out with the disease that they brought with them. I have never seen/read that in a museum, let alone a University museum. I wonder if daddy relayed that message. In short, we all know that horrible things haunt our past. It is important to inform the next generation of these wrongs so that they are not repeated.
I arrived in Gainesville on Wednesday evening and played it mellow the following night. On Friday I ended up at a house party. The people were super welcoming and having a great time. I tried to make rounds and talk with everyone. After about an hour Racheal showed up. We were introduced and there was a instant connection based off of creativity. We talked late into the night over vodka/hawaiian punch cocktails. Racheal is a intensely focused artist who is three days away from having a Masters Degree in Fine Arts neatly tucked in her back pocket. Super intelligent, interesting woman who is secure in herself and her thoughts about this life. We momentarily parted ways an I ended up back in Meg’s hammock. The next evening Meg was playing a show at the Jam. She was guest playing the Alto Sax in “Morning Fatty” horn section, as well as spinning fire through one song. The Jam is one of the best music venues I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The bar is indoors an the stage is outside. I felt like I was in a friends large backyard. There was a huge bonfire going on an lights strung up from huge tree to huge tree. It was basically a sick house party with close friends I had never met. Everyone was super mellow and very friendly and open for conversation. Hands down one of the best live music experiences of my life. I highly recommend you check out ” Morning Fatty” on Youtube.
The following day I spent a beautiful lazy day in the hammock talking with new friends enjoying stories and the moment. I was feeling incredibly recharged and ready to continue on my way with in the next day or two. Then Monday rolls around and Racheal calls me. She says she is supposed to go to class, but wants to know if I would be down to ditch with her and roll to the beach. No questions asked, ‘lets ride out!’ It was a awesome day that ended with meeting her brother James. The conversation and the laughs we shared made a instant connection. As we left I reached out for a hand shake and James pulled me in with a hug. He told me, “Anytime you are in Florida you are welcome at my home.” It swelled my heart so much to hear that and it felt real and unforced. On our way home Racheal told me about a big art installation that she was working on. It is the last project she has to complete in order to attain her Masters. She told me that she had posted ads on craigslist trying to enlist people to help her for ten bucks an hour. Racheal asked if I would be interested. No hesitation, ” hell ya, but I am not taking any money.” I was so jazzed to be apart of this momentous situation. For one I have never worked in a working art studio. Second it was to help a new friend get her degree!!!! The amount of creativity that flows from this woman 24/7 is ridiculous. I was nom stop inspired from our conversations an to be able to be engulfed in that creativity. I could not pass up the opportunity. Plans to leave got put on hold.
For the next five days Racheal and I put in lots of hours at the studio, bouncing ideas off each other and having a amazing time constructing and forming this massive installation. The experience further inspired me to get to NYC asap an to put all my energy and efforts toward building and manifesting my creation, that being my first book. It all culminated with opening night at the gallery. That whole week all we did was focus to create. And to see all the people taken with the installation and how it brought inquisitive smiles to their faces was further inspiration. I had my second encounter with James, he came down to support his sister. I was excited to see him again forsure. After the opening we piled into his car to go celebrate. One of the first songs he plays is 93′ Till Infinity by Hieroglyphics. Man! I knew we were brothers from another mother. That night we all celebrated, conversated, drank, and danced the night away. It makes going out for a cocktail level ten when you have something special to celebrate. Racheal’s degree is as good as tucked in that back pocket!!!!
Gainesville, Florida was not supposed to be. It was no where in my travel plans and I did not expect to be here. It has been one of the best most inspiring portions of my journey and I am beyond grateful.
I have the end of the journey in my sights and it is bitter sweet. Since yesterday afternoon I have been on a beautiful emotional roller coaster. I have a lot more to write but I am going to save it for mañana. Stay tuned! I love you all with all my heart! Thank you for all of your beautiful thoughts and words. Remember, everyday that you wake up you the ability to change your life for every. It only takes a willingness to trust in yourself and your infinite abilities! To all of the incredible people I have met here in Gainesville that have become life long friends, wow, I am so thankful for each and everyone of you! Jan get that website up and running and I will throw it up on the blog! LOVE!
I want to start this post with full disclosure and honesty. I get so many people telling me how brave I am. And how they could never do what I am doing. Mì familia es mì fuerza! Translation- My family is my strength! I could not do this without their love and support. I spent christmas and new years with my family. I wanted to go home and tell my parents in person the journey I was about to embark on. During this time a good portion of my family was together. I was able to talk with them on a personal level and I received great feedback. I was still really nervous about this adventure. I was scared shitless to be 100%; but I put it in my mind that there was no other option then to follow through. And if I told my family that I was going to do it then there is no way that I could back out. I am completely and unconditionally in love with my family. I was blessed to grow up in close proximity to a large portion of my family. All of my AUNTS and UNCLES have a hand in raising me. They have all ha huge influence on the man I am today. All of my COUSINS and I have grown together. We are all off doing our own thing, but no matter where we are, we are bound TOGETHER.
I have absolutely no problems being in the woods or walking the highway by myself for days at a time. Sometimes when I am alone I allow my mind to get the best of me. When you are traveling solo you have no one to bounce ideas off of. It is all on me which is nice because sometimes I put myself in stressful situations that I would not want to put another through. On that note, in all honesty I have my mother and my father to fall back on. At times it feels like a curse of weakness; but in actuality it is a blessing. I have only had to fall back on them twice. Miami was the last time it occurred. I was so excited to see my friends and all the possibilities that Ultra Music Festival presents. So excited that I did not plan for or even think about an exit strategy. I had planned on taking the ten all the way to it’s end in northern Florida and then cuttin’ up to NYC. Miami was a unexpected surprise. A surprise that once everyone departed to the airport left me feeling helpless for multiple reasons. I did not take into account that I know nothing about Miami or it’s highway system. After everyone left I was in a figure it out quick fast situation. I was so exhausted from the previous five days of raging face that I ended up setting up not to far from where we stayed. I found a bush an set up my sleeping bag and racked out. When I woke up the next day, ‘what am I going to do now?’ Slapped me in the face and I started to panic a bit. Rather then take it on like a man who got himself into this predicament, I called my Ma and Pa. I went right into freak out mode and told them I had no idea what I was going to do to get myself out of Miami. I began to tell them that it didn’t seem like a hitch hike or camp out friendly city. In all truth I wanted them to say, ‘yo let us get you a greyhound ticket up outta there.’ That is why I say curse and a blessing. My parents love me so much that they would never want to hear that I am struggling. That is the curse, because I know I can fall back on that. It is a blessing to have, feel, and know that love exists for me. Like I said this is the second time I have called them in this panic mode. And I knew I would not have them buy me a ticket; but hearing them say it for some reason gives me a boost. It helps slaps me back to reality. It helps bring me back to what a portion of this trip is about, SELF RELIANCE. My parents did not say, ‘ hey Matt go out and walk/hitch hike across the country. And oh yea we think it would be even better if you did it with not a dime to ya name.’ Matter of fact they tried to be parents and didn’t think it was a sane or reasonable journey. Their love and support is what puts my ass in check. I am the one who put myself in this predicament, an that means I have to be the one to get myself out of it. I reconvened with my strength of heart, mind, and soul and I told my Mom an Pop, ” I am sorry for worrying you momentarily. Worry no more because I am a warrior and I will handle this.” They told me to keep it movin’ and keep them updated. I went into the Starbucks bathroom, splashed water in my face, filled my water, and gave myself a pep talk in the mirror. I walked out of that bathroom still confused as to what I was going to do; but I knew I was going to do something.
I strapped up the toe shoes outside and gave a quick stretch. I hucked my rucksack on my back, put my head phones in and started truckin’. While I am walking, sun beating down trying to be a discouraging force, I just kept repeating to myself, “You have no other option than to succeed. You will get the fuck out of Miami today!” Within 1 hour and a half I was in a car with two amazing ladies. I spent the entire day talking with them and having them show me parts of Miami tourist don’t see. My whole view of Miami flipped 180. And by the end of that day my heart, mind, and the love of other beings had me on a bus four hours north to Orlando. All that stress and worry was for NOTHING! I have said it all through out my post, if you want to focus on the negative possibilities then all your going to get is stress. Somethings are just out of are control and we have to learn to roll with that, and focus strictly on what we can effect in that moment and on to the next. We are all capable of ANYTHING. And we ALL have the ability to ADAPT and OVERCOME ANY obstacle that presents itself in our path. Another lesson learned that has taken me a few times to grasp. Actually taken many multiples of times to grasp. I have a feeling that it is just one of life’s test that will always be there to keep us on our toes and remind us.
I didn’t sleep so well on the bus ride, and arrived at 4am in Orlando. If you don’t have a transfer ticket to another spot you are supposed to kick rocks and leave the greyhound station. It was super cold outside and Instill needed to rest up for the next day. I snuck right past the guard and found myself a little nook to hide and catch some shut eye. I woke up around 8:30 and was cloudy headed and red eyed’. I am not a morning person, so it takes me a moment to wake up and be solid minded. I can be grumpy at times when I first wake up. I like silence and peaceful surroundings. Didn’t get that at all. Im sitting on a bench and this dude comes out of left field an sits right next to me. Would be no problem except he is talking loud as hell on his cell. And before I know it this cat is free-styling raps to his girlfriend, loud, and is horrible at it! In my mind I am yelling furious words and shooting mind daggers straight for his jugular! Next thing I know he is off his phone. He looks at me and says, ” hey bruh, I can’t finish this last piece of chicken. You want to crush it?” And with a nod he hands it over to me. I was hella hungry, and while I am mowing it down feeling horrible for my previous thoughts dude is happy and smiling. Not a lesson learned, more like another slap in the face wake up call for positive thoughts. Doesn’t matter your tired and upset, the rest of the world wants to be happy. And it wants you to join in with that happiness. LOVE that gentleman for showing me whats up and starting my day off in the right mental direction. A few moments later the security guard came over an said let me sew your ticket. I told him, ‘ no worries brother. I was just about to leave.’
I got out into the heart of Orlando and just started walking. It is a really beautiful place. I hadn’t talked to my friend Val Mc Valster in a while and I knew she would keep the good vibes going. She did not disappoint! Love you Val! I was recently blessed with a online Starbucks gift card from Cathy (one of my best friends mother). I stumbled onto one and enjoyed a big coffee, a bagel, and a tasty brownie. I handled some internet affairs and talked to a few more friends, always a rejuvenating situation. I was soon joined by to sisters who sat at the table with me. They were both proud loving mothers interested to see what I was about. I told them about my journey and a few of my adventure tales. It was really awesome company/conversation. As they were leaving one of the mothers handed me a 10$ bill. I tried to refuse it and they told me to take it because as mothers they will have a feeling of safety for me. I don’t argue with my mother; so why would I start with the beautiful ladies. A few moments later I received a text. It was my friend Mel who I had just met a few weeks prior in the woods at Rainbow Gathering. She asked where I was and if I was going to make it to Gainesville to hang out and see her band play. I told her I didn’t know how I would get there but I would try. She wrote me back ten minutes later and told me to give her the address where I was, because she was on her way to get me. Mel drove two hours each way to get me!!! That ten bucks was a sweet kick down for gas, thanks mama. Mel and her husband opened their home to me with wide arms. I am so blessed and thankful! I totally did not expect to be in Gainesville on this trip. The best things in life are unexpected!!!!!!! This place is so rad! I an not wait to write the post to tell you all about this epic time here! It is not over yet so you will have to wait…. I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME OUT OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL DAYS TO READ!!!!!
Apalachacola, Florida is roughly 500 miles from Miami. A few weeks earlier I sent out a Facebook message to a few close buddies telling them we should link up in Florida for spring break. A day later my friend Ian writes me back. He had already planned a trip to Miami for Ultra Music Festival. we ha talked about going to this festival a few years back when we shared a apartment. It was finally going down! Two things, A) MUST MAKE IT TO MIAMI!
B)HAVE NO TICKET FOR FESTIVAL! NO WORRIES!!
I had planned on leaving the woods giving my self 4 days to walk and hitch hike to Miami. My friend Ian bought me a expensive ticket for Fedde Le Grand’s set on the 21st(one of the kick off parties for UMF), so I had to make it. The day I was set to leave one of the people leading the camp asked to speak with me. Most of the people who said they would stay and help clean/naturalize the woods bailed out. He asked if I would stay and help. I told him about my dilemma as far a getting to Miami on time. He told me that if I stayed and helped him out, he would get me a greyhound ticket. I stayed an got things knocked out. The day before I need to be in Miami, dude is M.I.A! I started to get upset and freak out a bit. I made one quick call and it was sorted. My boy Keith came through and got me a ticket! I arrived in Miami the next day at noon.
I learned my lesson at the Gathering and I ventured into Miami with a open heart and no expectations. I was just excited to see my friend Ian, have a hot shower, and a roof over my head for a few days. I didn’t yet have a way into Ultra Music Festival, but something inside of me told me I would make my way in. I still had a few hours until Ian arrived from Switzerland, so I made my way to the bay and laid out in the warm sun. When I woke up I checked my email to get the address and time Ian would be in. I threw my pack on and started walking over the Venetian Causeway. It is a beautiful bridge going from downtown towards the ocean. As I am walking across I see Lamborghinis, Bentleys, and Porches. Down below on the crystal blue water I see Yachts with women sun bathing on the deck. I am walking through a freakin Notorious B.I.G music video, and here I come barefoot, filthy pants, and shirtless with a huge pack on my back. The timing was epic. Right as I came up to the address Ian and Hillary are pulling up in their rental car! Ian does not disappoint with his greeting. He has music blasting, hops out of the car bouncing around arms flailing, and gives me a huge hug.
We met up with the owner of the rental. It is better then any of us could have imagined. We walk through a long winding hallway and when we come out, beauty smacks us in the face. We are staying right on the water! All of the Yachts and speed boats I saw from a far are now floating right past our balcony. We are surrounded by swaying palm trees and before the bags are unpacked, loud music. Turns out that the guy renting us the place is a local news caster. Before he was about to leave I pitched him my story, ya never know right. He was blown away by a few of the stories I told him and couldn’t believe I was doing it with no cash. At the end of it he told me to email him links of my blog and youtube video. He informed me that he knows people in New York who do documentaries’ as well as non-scripted reality tv shows, and that if I didn’t mind he would pass it on to them. Cool with me! After we settled in we took of to get the house stocked for the next few days. Miami reminds me of a mix of downtown LA and San Diego, I would rather live in San Diego. When we got back the rest of the crew arrived from their flights. I was introduced to Christina, Sarah, and Jenna. All awesome down to earth ladies. While the girls started to get ready Ian and I started mixing up cocktails. 20 minutes before we are setting out for the Fedde show, Alex blast through the door! Alex is a one of a kind gentleman. He is a D.J in San Diego that I met an became friends with through Ian. Alex is a mad man who will have fun in any situation, especially this one. Between him and Ian they are a dynamic ball of unstoppable energy.
We all got back in around 6am and got a few hours sleep. I was woke up by blaring house music at 11am. Alex and I made some breakfast for the family and got prepared for the day. As everyone is lounging around three new friends roll up to the house River, Vanessa, and Stephen. All amazing people with positive energy and great outlook on life. Turns out that River an Stephen have recently started a digital magazine online. They were both there to interview artist/dj’s, as well as shoot video and pictures for their site. The first day the festival started at 5pm. When I got to the entrance way I split off from the group and told them if I didn’t get in I would just meet them back at the house. I made my way towards the entrance. There was mass amounts of people and I thought,’hey maybe I can just slide right by and no one will be the wiser.’ I almost made it and a big tough woman grabbed me at the last moment. I didn’t resist and just made my way back towards home. I didn’t really mind because I was still a bit beat and knew that there was a nice bed waiting for me. Plus Miami never sleeps and I knew I would be going to after parties when everyone got back.
The next day everyone woke up around 1pm and was moving slightly slower then the day before. As everyone is mapping out their set list for the day I am wondering how I can get in! After a few moments of contemplation River, Vanessa, and Carol walk up. River asks, ‘did you find a way in yet?’ Nope, not yet, but I will some how some way. He replies, ‘I got a press pass for you to use bro!’ I jumped up and gave him a giant bear hug! I tell everyone inside and the place erupts. We are all going to make it in and have a off the wall time with incredible dj’s. The press pass was slipped of someone with a small wrist. I tried to slip it on with soap and it wouldn’t slide over my palm. I couldn’t break it or it would be useless. Carol who I just met ten minutes prior steps up and says I will try it. It slipped right over her tiny hand. She says, ‘Cool! I will use this and you can take my ticket.’ She handed over her ticket and we all walked over to the Festival. I was electric walking in. I had so much energy and excitement. I knew eventually I would make it in, I just didn’t know it would feel this good. As we walk in Fatboy Slim was just starting his set. That day I got closer to new friends and heard great music. It was everything I could have hoped for times a million.
The weekend carried on and we all continued to enjoy each others company and have great adventures together. Tuesday was a sad day, everyone was saying good bye and going their separate ways. I had not thought about what I was going to do after. I threw on my pack and started walking. I ended up on Interstate 95. It was a high speed sketchy highway that was not going to be hospitable to me walking on it. I got back off and was not feeling good. The mix of the late afternoon heat and the previous weekends non-stop go caught up with me. I began to feel light headed and very weak. I decided to walk back towards the beach and rest up. I walked up to a grass area with some shade and laid down for a bit. I looked at my surroundings and 100 yards up the way I saw a bust that would shield me from the wind and anyone walking by. I decided that is where I would make camp for the night. It was actually quiet beautiful and peaceful. I was right on the bay on soft grass with the bush allowing me to tuck into it giving me overhead coverage and a feeling of safety because no one could sneak up from behind me. To be honest it was the first time I was nervous to camp out. It was a urban setting and I had seen quite a few homeless. To my surprise I fell asleep quickly and slept all the way through the night. I woke up to a homeless gentleman picking up cans next to me. I said hello and he kept moving along. Even though I slept well I was in a bit of a funk. I allowed worry and negativity to cloud my mind. I realized that I have a pretty good distance to cover to get to New York. I started to think that no one is going to pick me up and it is going to take me forever to get out of Miami. I am not super man by any means and this is the challenge I write about. It is a daily challenge for all of us to remain in a positive state. My journey has been amazing and very very blessed; but it is also easy to fall into a negative state. I can spend the day focusing on the fact that I have no money. I can focus on not knowing where I will sleep or where my next meal will come from. And thinking about those things will momentarily put me in a state of panic. I spoke with my mother and father this morning and told them what I was feeling. Just in the short while I spoke with them helped me snap out of it. I realized how much my parents love me and my job right now is to make them not worry and know that I will survive no matter what. I stopped myself and I told them, ‘I got this!’ I told them that it is all going to work out and there is still beautiful adventures to be had on my way to New York. I got off the phone with them stretched out and threw my pack on my back. I walked two or three miles down interstate 1 and saw a sign in the shade that said North 1. I figured that would be the best place to stick my thumb out. I just repeated over and over in my head, ‘ the right people will pick me up.’ 45 minutes later Jacky and Maria pull over. “Hop in man!” I threw my bag in the trunk and we were on our way. They asked where I was headed. I told them as far north as I can get. They are two angels in my life and everyone that they will encounter. We spent the next two hours at a man made canal filled with wild Manatee’s. It was so calming and unexpected. I forgot about having to be anywhere, because I didn’t have to be anywhere but there in that moment. Maria was born in Colombia and brought to America at the age of 8. She is a very deep woman with fantastic thoughts and ideas. Jacky’s parents are from Venezuela and she was born here. The talk we had this afternoon was a blessing to me and further got my mind and positivity back on track. I am so thankful for them! We had to drop Maria off at work and them Jacky was going to take me to get me further on my journey. Jacky took me to subway and we split a sandwich over great conversation. She had a few errands to run and then she told me she would take me somewhere. I had no idea where I just trusted her. I was exhausted for some reason and I fell asleep
In the passenger seat. After a bit I woke up and we were pulling up to a greyhound station. Jacky took out her last bit of money and asked the man behind the counter, “how far will this get my friend?” He replied, ‘up to Orlando.’ That is a huge distance covered for me! I gave her a giant hug and thanked her. She had a huge smile and thanked me for the blessings I brought to her. My whole day was flipped from a state of worry to positive again. I will forever be thankful for Jacky and Maria. This is a lesson to us all. If you want to worry and focus on all the negative then that is where you will remain. If it takes repeating a thousand times, ‘ I am so blessed and thankful to be alive. I have so
much to look forward to.’ Do it! Wake up tomorrow and before you move a muscle say thank you for this beautiful day! I AM ALIVE AND ENDLESS POSSIBILITY LIES BEFORE ME! I AM A GREAT BEING AND I AM BECOMING GREATER!! And then I want you to believe it whole heartedly and continue to become that greatness! I love you all with all my heart! Thank you for reading and thank you for being you! Positive thoughts and actions will lead us in the right direction!
Last night at main circle I have shattered another fear and moved one step closer to achieving my dreams. I wrote and delivered my first speech in font of a large group. Today marks me being on the road for 100 days! I have been living in the woods now for 14 straight days. The perspective that this experience has brought to my life has changed me forever and further propelled me towards fulfilling a portion of my life’s purpose. I have never felt more in tune with who I am, my abilities/gifts to share with the world, and how blessed I have been and continue to receive. In the first portion I speak about a feather. When there are issues that need to be brought to the table, council is called. During council every single person has the opportunity to voice their opinion. A feather gets passed around the council fire. Who ever has that feather is the only one who should be talking and everyone else should be listening and analyzing. It is such a beautiful concept that brings about great discussion, an eventually a resolution. What follows this sentence is the first speech I have delivered. Enjoy and please feel free to comment and add your ideas. I love you all. Thank you for reading!
Since I arrived on the First of March, I have remained in most part a silent observer. I have learned that when you are actually listening you are able to pick up on the messages that are being fed to you. When you try and speak like you know everything it is no longer a conversation; because while the other person is trying to talk to you, you are thinking of what response to fire off next. I think that the feather concept of council is incredible. And if people valued and respected it everyone would learn a lot more. The Rainbow family as well as the rest of the world could benefit from the great change from speaker to active listener. I truly hope and desire for all people to challenge themselves to be a listener and a student hungry for knowledge.
On the flip side of that, I want to practice and express my gift with you. And that gift is my words. With my words I am fulfilling a portion of my life’s purpose. Around the age of 13 I began to develop a desire to change the world around me. I have met incredible people along my life journey. People who have opened my eyes and exposed me to the reality I know see. We all know about the negativity that surrounds us. We all know about that there is corruption and horrible things occurring daily around the world. For a good portion of my life I thought, “I am only one person. The government an the world is so huge. What can little ol’ me possibly do to change the negative to positive? How can little ol’ me stand against the corruption an horrible things going on around the world?” Through my journey on my life’s path I have picked up many lessons that have led me to my answer. It has culminated with one powerful quote! ” Be the change you want to see in the world.”- Ghandi To me that is a loud and clear call to lead by example. To aspire to be the greatest me I can be. To aspire towards always remaining in a state of positivity. To show every being I encounter the love and respect that I desire. I by no means have this mastered ; but I am actively trying to grow and NEVER stop learning. I have made a commitment to MYSELF to shine the light that burns eternally within my soul. And I promise to share that with the entire world. It is my opinion that we are all KINGS and QUEENS of the Universe; so long as you are willing to accept that. We are all equal and we all have the ability to achieve higher consciousness if you actively pursue it. We all have our own gifts and light to this life, please do not mask yours. It is there within you, I promise! All of us are here in Rainbow land because we desire change in the world and within ourselves. We all desire love, acceptance from our peers, and respect. I think that is why we call everyone our family. That is why we exchange long heart pressed hugs, an tell each other,”I love you.” I have never felt more at peace with myself. I find myself in a state of pure bliss filled with smiles. I am actively trying to live in the moment without want or need for anything else. I am learning so much through this beautiful experience with each and everyone one of you. I love you and I am in love with this gift we acknowledge as life!
Today I was overcome with utter joy for life. My current surroundings, the giving and receiving of smiles/hugs, and sounds are magic fuel that ignite my soul. Taking time to stop and listen as the breeze flows through the trees from the north and sweeps beautiful sounds south. At night it is pitch black until the moon comes into view. And when it does, it lights up the white sand path I am traveling on. The trees reach to the sky trying to block it out; but ever now and again there is a clearing, and you can see endless brightly shining stars. Every camp has a fire raging and great great people laughing and talking. The fires are incredible spectacles to stare at and lose track of your thoughts…
Bear Necessities camp if fully set up! We have finished digging our giant fire pit, built our stove, and organized the over all operations. There are two kinds of people here at Rainbow Gathering. Those who are here by choice and those who see it as a easy option to get free food and take advantage. The positivity by far trumps the negative. I have taken a lead by example way of thinking. I am going to bust my ass, every task that needs a volunteer, I hop on it. We always need a ton of wood for the kitchen and evening fires. It is actually pretty therapeutic for me. I venture deep into the woods off the beaten path and search for old dry logs, and then try and find my way back. I make it a challenging game. Each time I will try and find a bigger log and then challenge myself not to stop or switch arms until I make it back to camp. I am trying to motivate people to help out and get involved in what this is truly meant to be about, family and love. It is based on the concept that you always want to do your best to help your family in any way you can. Everyone has their own skill set, and if they bring that to the table then we make shit happen . And then we all have time to hang out, relax with new friends, and make music. Tonight I am calling my first council with everyone at the camp. I want to speak to them and move their hearts in such away that we all come together to accomplish and enjoy. I am really excited about that.
Main circle has started and it is a magical place of energy and love. It is two mile walk on long winding paths deep into the woods. When you arrive, you walk into a HUGE clearing where we dug a 250′ in diameter (rough guesstimate) trench with a giant volcano looking mound in the middle to place the fire atop. A large portion of the people in the woods from various camps all migrate to main circle around sunset. When all of the kitchen camps have arrived everyone yells, “Circle up!” We all hold hands and do a mantra chant. It is so electric! You can feel so much energy surrounding us. Someone will usual speak and give a positive message, and then everyone sits in the circle and the kitchens go around feeding everyone; so beautiful and inspiring. Tonight is my biggest challenge yet as a cook. I am in charge of tonights main circle meal, representing Bear Necessities. I have never coked for more then 8 people before, I am stoked!!!! After everyone has finished there food, the drums kick in. I have been blessed to hear some insanely talented musicians. Everyone hangs out for a few hours making new friends and talking about whatever moves you at the moment. The emotion and connection I have experienced over the last few days is like nothing I have ever felt before. I take time to sit with myself just so I can be with my thoughts and fully acknowledge everything I am feeling and learning. My love for this life continues to grow exponentially. And countless blessings continue to flow my way. I highly recommend everyone attend and truly be a part of the Rainbow Gathering. They are held all over the world. I am going to make my way to every single countries Gathering throughout my life time. More follow within the next few days. I am heading to Miami to meet some friends I have not seen in a few years, going to be an amazing reunion. I am trying to get a ticket to Ultra Music Festival for the weekend of the 22nd. They are sold out, which doesn’t mean anything because I have nit cash to my name. Anyways, if anyone knows anyone who might be able to get me a ticket please let me know. I am willing to work for them. I have a large spectrum of skill set. I would be willing to volunteer helping out in anyway I can. Everyone, I encourage you to check me out on Face book. I post a lot of pictures there an it is a great way for us to connect and become involved. please pass on to your friends and family.Click the link and send me a friend request! http://m.facebook.com/login.php?refsrc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F&refid=8#!/matthew.hernandez.376043?__user=1278487002 world is my family and I love you all. Everyone desires love, understanding, and someone to make you feel special. I am that person and I want to spread that to as many people possible world wide. I love you all, thank you for taking time out of you day to read my thoughts and emotions. All together we are complete, food for thought! LOVE!
I am writing this on my iphone and it is about to die. I wanted to publish this so bare with the mistakes. Love!
I am 7 days deep in the woods. Cut off from civilization, and engulfed by mother nature. The ground is covered with last springs leaves. Poping up from between them are future strong oak trees sprouting their very first leaf. The trees and vegetation is so thick around me. Sun light easily gluides by to keep me very comfortable…
I arrived around 8:30pm set my pack down and was greeted with open arms, smiles, and everyone I met gave me a enthusiastic heart felt,”Welcome Home.” Being it is my first Rainbow Gathering I wanted to jump right in and start helping. While serving family (everyone here is family) dinner I met Curly and she gave me my first gift, a awesome necklace.
My initial perception and understanding of what Rainbow Gathering really is was thrown off by two things. First, I went into it with my on preconceived notions and ideas. I had my own expectations of what I wanted it to be. Second, I lost focus on the lesson I am trying to teach myself. And that is to live with understanding rather then judgement. The first night I stayed in the front welcome area. There were a lot of people binge drinking and were pretty negative in general. I momentarily second guessed my decision to come in the first place. I reminded myself not to judge a book by its cover. I still had many days to explore and discover.
Over the next few days I ventured further and further into the woods. People come in a week early to set up kitchens and camps to feed people. Setting up these camps requires a lot of work. You have to dig huge fire pits, build a kitchen/stove, and a lot of wood choppin’. I figured my best way to make new friends would be to go to all the kitchens and help out with those tasks. I volunteered for everything I could and met some incredible people in the process. The people who set up these kitchens are mostly kids ranging from 18-30 running the entire operation. These are kids who have no money, train hop to get from point a to b, an travel around the country. They make shit happen! People coordinate with local food banks an scrap together money an then give it right back to anyone who comes by there kitchen.
Any time I travel to another country I always want to learn their customs so I can be respectful of them. I travel because I want to experience and explore something other then what I know. Coming into Rainbow Gathering is no different. The family has their own language and terms. They have different ways of going about things. I wanted to be respectful and learn. I did a lot of listening over the first few days. Observing an picking up incredible knowledge everywhere. I didn’t want to just go in the middle of a families camp. I wanted to feel out everyone an I wanted to be invited to join the tribe…
I have to give a bit of a intro to how I came to be come a part of the family I am camped with. Throughout this trip I have been whistling one tune in particular. When ever I feeling tired after walking for a long period or I need to pick myself up I whistle “Bear Necessities” from Jungle book. One day it just popped in my head and I have not been able to stop since. After four days of camping by myself I found my family. The Bear Necessities rolled in to Rainbow Gathering. I was walking by and noticed they had a ton of gear to hike into the woods. I offered to help. After we got everything to camp things got rockin’ and rollin’. Rabbit doesn’t like to claim to be the leader of the family;but he is. I knew he was the man to talk to. We collaborated and decided how to dig the Bliss pit (Bliss pit is a giant fire pit that everyone sits around when we eat, and we stay there late into the night talking and playing music.) The Bliss pit is 100′ feet in diameter and 2 1/2 feet deep. We both hopped on it and started talking. Rabbit is a born leader and incredibly smart. He has a lot of big dreams an is actively growing in that direction everyday. We dug for a solid four hours and then went off to gather wood. At the end of the evening he told me that would love it if I joined their camp. I believe he saw the leader in me, and a strong work ethic to get shit done. I have to thank my Father and my Grandfather for instilling that strong work ethic in me. They taught me that building your own home and using your hands for physical labor is good for you. Plus I am a little kid at heart. Playing in the dirt with new friends digging to create monumental flames! I am a city boy, I never really get the opportunity to chop wood. I like creating challenges for myself. For me, right now there could be nothing more fun then choppin wood???? Although I have been missing and thinking about surfing a lot lately. My phone is about to die so I will have to sign out for now. There is a lot more adventures and stories to follow. I am having the time of my life and adding a lot of knowledge to the bank. I love all of you.
I woke up under that bridge to beautiful sunshine, the pressure of rocks throughout my body, and feeling like shit. As soon as I woke up I started hacking like a 50 year smoker and gnarly green phlegm pouring out of my nose. On top of that I was feeling something I have not felt in 11 years, home sick…
When I was 17 I got caught with quite a bit of weed on me in separate bags. I would not say that I was a model son. I have never done very good with authority and wanted to do my own thing, parents telling me what to do and when was not my idea of livin’. A felony for intent to distribute was the last straw for my pops, he informed me that he had talked to a Army recruiter and that if he signed papers I could go in at 17. I felt like it was the best option at the time; so I went for it. I thought about it and if I am going to do this then I am going to go as far as I can and be stationed overseas. After I finished basic and advanced individual training I was shipped out to Germany. For the first three months of being there I found myself feeling real home sick. I realized that the people I had spent my entire life with were now thousands of miles away and all the times I was out running the streets I could have been spending with my mother, father, and little brother Mikey. I didn’t see my family for two and a half years. My parents had further grown and my brother was now a college student. I had been living in Europe growing in my own way and just came back from 15 months of war in Iraq. We were all figuring out how to reintegrate into each others life’s. Since I have been out of the military I have been moving back and forth between San Diego and the Bay area trying to figure out where I fit. I see my parents and my brother maybe two times a year now and have never really thought much about out. I love them with all my heart and that will never change. When I woke up under that bridge it hit me hard. I was in the middle of a place I had never been all by myself, and my family is miles upon miles away.
Connections are made for a reason and the ones that are worth anything will always be there even if you have not seen each other in years. I lived with Jazzy J for a little over six months. We had a sick apartment 3 blocks from the ocean in Ocean Beach, San Diego. Her and I had some up and down times and that is only because she is a good friend and I was not living to my potential at the time, she let me know it. Real friends will always tell you the truth, even if it hurts both of you to do so. When she graduated from the University of San Diego her mother came out and I had the opportunity to enjoy lunch and briefly get to know her. During this lunch collard greens got brought up and I explained that I had never tried them, but have always wanted to. Ms. Williams told me that if I ever made it to Mobile, Alabama that she would make me some of her collard greens.
I put it in my mind that I needed to make it to Mobile that day. I got out of my tent stretched out and packed up quick fast. I cleared ten miles before stopping at a truck stop to clean up and make myself some oatmeal. After a bit I got back on the road. I was not feeling good and thought about starting to look for a place to set up camp, it was around 2pm. Something in me said NO! ‘Keep going, you told yourself you were going to get to Mobile and you are not quitting until you get there.’ I walked another five miles before I got picked up. Luckily It was only a short 20 miles to Mobile because this guy was weird as hell and I really thought I was going to have to knock him out. Conversation started going south and I told him he needed to drop me off quick fast or else, he obliged. I got out and gave Jazzy J a call. Told her I was in Mobile and wanted to know if her mother was around. Jazzy says, “Give me a a second, I am going to call her right now.” Within five minutes she calls back and tells me her mother is waiting on me and that she was going to have someone come pick me up. Yes! As soon as I get into Ms. Williams house she is showering me with smiles and a lot of love. That home sickness I was feeling earlier is gone. The very next day she reminded me of that conversation we had four years ago. That evening for dinner I tasted collard greens for the first time, and it was made with love. My heart was filled with joy and I was recharged to get back on the road. Ms. Williams dropped me off on the side of Interstate 10 and I got to steppin’. Love!