I rolled into DC full of emotion. I have a strong disposition when it comes to the North American government. It felt like I was traveling into the belly of the beast. On one hand I was excited to see Jazzy J, it had been 3 years. On the other I felt anger boiling inside wanting to scream injustice as loud as anyone has ever screamed. I wanted to transform into a lion so I could stand before the white house a roar so loud they all pissed their pants. I calmed my anger and it turned into pure excitement. The sights, sounds, and raw energy of city life over took me. As much as I love spending time in the woods, I am a city boy. It was the first time I felt like NYC was within my sight. I could tell RaeBean was getting a bit frustrated with me because I was super hyper bouncing around, and I got into are we there yet mode. She had to tell me to calm myself a few times.
When we arrived I gave J a hug so tight it could have popped her little peanut head right off. She gave us a tour of her awesome apartment and then we sat on the couch and caught each other up. Before long Jazzy J was running upstairs, she told me she had a present for me. She handed me a weaved palm leaf canister and told me to pull the top of. Inside was a beautiful rubbing from a Cambodian temple she visited. J hand carried this for me from Cambodia, through Vietnam, to Bangladesh, on a flight back to DC. To me that makes the gift that much more special and a true honor to receive. I have quite a few beautiful gifts and post card from J’s travels, she is a inspiration to me.
The following day J, RaeBean, and myself went down to to be tourist and see the sights. One of the most emotional/best parts was going to the WWII and Vietnam memorials. As a Veteran I wanted to visit these particular spots to honor both of my Grandfathers, and my Uncle George who served multiple tours in Vietnam. It is something the carried with them for the rest of their life. I now know what that means, because as much as I suppress my time in Iraq, it will always be there and that is ok. Those memorials are a reminder to everyone of the sacrifices people made, not only the soldiers but their family and friends as well. I WILL NEVER FORGET!
I read a lot of honorable words on walls. Ideals put down on paper that are with us forever. They were words thy were supposed to be guiding lights for this country and what this country was meant to become. Those ideals have been lost along the way. Lost by means of greed and dishonor of truth and the freedom of all humanity. Like I said this place brought a lot of emotion forth. Touring around that portion of the city was a great experience.
Jazzy J is a teacher at a Montessori Charter School providing progressive education to children. Being the awesome person she is she talked to the head administrator of the school and set me up with a job while i was in town. J you are one of the most thoughtful beings I have ever met, and I learn so much from you. Being at the school was a beautiful experience! All of the faculty was full of life, positive energy, and smiles. And the children were incredible!! By the second day I had multiple little kids calling out my name and hugging me. I love hanging out with little kids! They are always full of energy and have the best outlook on life. I was helping out the schools handy man doing various tasks. This gentleman was from El Salvador and from the moment we met we were connected telling each other life stories. He was at one point a guerrilla for the communist party who escaped and came to the US. His life story is out of this world and the energy an positivity that he has everyday is beyond me. He is always smiling and making other people laugh. I would say he is the celebrity of the school. We painted chalk boards, we helped build science projects, and delivered lunches to little rugrats. The experience could not have been more fulfilling. When I have children of my own they will definitely receive there formal education at a school like that. On my last day I was able to talk at length with the head administrator. We spoke about life’s journey’s and throwing caution to the wind every now and again. We talked about the relationship between mother and child, and spoke about whether it is better to live a long life without risk or to go all out everyday like it could be your last, possibly shortening life due to it. It was a great talk, and I think that we both walked away with food for thought. We ended the talk with a giant hug and promises to return to the school as a published author.
I am thankful for my time in D.C., it was full of love and lessons learned. Being there was a great last stop before heading into NYC. I am breathing deeply right now because this is the last post for this particular blog. To try and squeeze in all of the lessons, life affirmations, and connections made would be a great injustice. You will have to buy the book for that. Like I have said in earlier post, this blog just scratched the surface of this journey. I left a lot out and only had so much time and space with this blog. Thank you to everyone who has read and supported me throughout this journey that has forever changed my life. It is now time to start the next adventure which is being in NYC and on the road to being a published author. I love you all with all my heart! Dream as big as you can and then make it your reality!!!!
I have begun a new blog that is going to chronicle my path to becoming published and all the adventures I have in NYC. The first post is up and ready to read. thenyccomeup.wordpress.com LOVE!
I continue to encounter people who are stressed out by the schematic of the North American society. People who believe that they have a certain standard to live up to. A standard for THEIR life that was set by someone else. In a capitalist society that breeds competition, it is a race to see who can achieve the degree, big house, and 2.5 kids. You are made to feel like less of a person if you are not involved in that race. I see so much discomfort and dissatisfaction with life in the people involved in this race(wether they are willing to admit it or not). Straight from High School you are supposed to go right into college. And when you get there you are supposed to know what you want to do with a large majority of your adult life. You are 18 years old! How could you possibly know what you want to do with your life when you know nothing about it. For a good majority of North American citizens they have never traveled outside of the country because either their parents do not have the finances or the time off of work. You are boxed in, knowing only one culture and one way of life.
The lack of honesty and communication between parent and child allows this cycle to continue. I have clearly seen in people that have a college education and a “great job”(great because of the monetary account, not because it is their passion) habitual unhappiness. Unhappiness because they never really took the time to discover themselves or their true passions in life. They banked on the falsity passed from generation to generation that the comforts of a large bank account will bring you happiness. It is a parents fear of survival that causes them to continue to pass down this bullshit schematic for life. It is a fear that if their child leaves to explore themselves and the world that they will lose track of the end all be all goal of the job that will bring them the large account, which will bring the home with lots of things to fill it with. When and where in all that, is happiness in the moment. If you are always focused on goals of the future where does that leave you now? If you are constantly focused on the large account and the home with lots of things in it where is the happiness NOW when you have nothing. When you are always focused on what you don’t have what room does that leave to be thankful for all that you currently do have? How many stories have you heard of generations prior becoming utterly depressed when they retire? Suddenly there is no job to occupy their time or their thoughts? What now? For the baby boomers and my parents generation, a majority of their life was defined by a job title or the company they work for. That is their identity and what defines them in society. When they are done with that job they did dutifully for 40 years of their life, how do they then define themselves? Who are they to become next? Retired? From this spawned the bullshit getting to know you question that EVERYONE asks when they first meet someone, ” So what do you do?” And the other person will rattle off some company or job title which supposedly provides status. Why does your job define you? Probably because that is all you do or all you know. High School, College, Job… Where does that leave time to create, manifest, an truly learn about yourself? This is not true of everyone and I am not knocking or promoting one or the other. I am a observer and student of the human experience. What I write is not fact, it is my opinion on what I see and how I feel. My hope and desire for you is to really think about that very common question you are repeatedly asked, “So what do you do?” Here is how I will now answer that question for the rest of my days, “I live life to the fullest! I strive to remain conscious as to not waste one moment of it in negativity. I am passionate about mother ocean and love to surf whenever I get the opportunity. I am a student of life forever starving for knowledge. I am a soul adventurer always searching. I love to go to the gym and train. I can’t wait for the next Rugby season so I can challenge myself mentally and physically. I love to travel and explore the entire world. I am a romantic man full of passion. I love meeting new people with new ideas. I love music in my headphones an even more so live. The list carries on infinitely because there are so many more experiences an ideas to be had. The most important of all is I LOVE!!!!! Thank you for reading this an taking time think, and soak in whatever you choose. I LOVE YOU ALL WITH ALL MY HEART!
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 had the opportunity to eat one more meal with Willie. We went out and some great crawfish on the bay. He ordered for me and told the waitress I needed 5lbs just for myself, it was a heaping mound that I maybe got 3/4 of the way on. It was great company that we both needed. At one point I ask him what one of his dreams is. One of Willies dreams is to sell his home and spend his life on the road in a RV. With his personality it would be the best. I guarantee he would leave a trail of friends where ever he went. I asked what was stoping him from doing it. He looked me in the eyes with a big smile and said, “Balls.” Willie I know you are reading this. You already have all the balls you need, you just gotta grab em’ and go for it.
I left Woody’s lake shore home around 12 the next day and started walking. When I got to the on ramp there was a cool hippie dud with dreads, a skate board, and his dog. We exchanged a few words and as I am walking away he yells out, “hey, you ever heard of Rainbow gathering?” In my head I instant recalled Kamy telling me about this on our hitchhike through Arizona. He informed me that there was one going on in Tallahassee on the 1st of March. I told him I would see him there and made my way on to the highway.
Rainbow gathering is a concept I have been dreaming about getting involved in for a long time. People go in to the woods and form a community based on love and helping one another. There is no exchange of money, it is all on a barter system. There are bonfires and drum circles at night and you work and help durning the day. If you listen for the calls through the woods you can eat three meals a day for free. Check out the site for more info, they happen in every state all the time. http://flrainbow.org/A-cola/
The days leading up to getting to the gathering were a bit rough mentally. I stopped living in the moment and got focused on how long I still had to go. I allowed it to weaken my spirit. During the next four days I did not have one person pull over and offer me a ride I just walked. Looking back I can tell why. I had my head down instead of looking at all the beauty around me and I prolly had a cloud over my head because I was not happy in those moments of pure freedom.
I woke up early yesterday and immediately put on music. As I started packing up my gear to get on the road I noticed that I was smiling and moving to the music. The night previous laying in bed I started analyzing the last few days and my mood. I told myself to get back to the moment and forget about three days from now, because right now there ia nothing you can do about three days from now except be positive. I packed my gear quick. I walked down to the highway set my bag down and stuck my thumb out. I told myself that I would be there all day until I got picked up, and that it would be the right ride. An hour later Eric picked me up and he was an awesome guy! He told me he could take me 20 miles down. As we get close I ask if he knows where a Starbucks was. I was hungry and remembering Cathy Wright, my life long friend Keith’s mother, bought me a Starbucks gift card online. A mile after I asked there was a sign for a Starbucks at the next exit.
I stuffed myself with two bagels, a cup of oatmeal, and two cups of coffee, thank you Cathy. As I am getting ready to leave Sheri who is sitting next to me says, “if you want I can give you a ride to the 10.” Which was about two miles away. She told me it was her uncles truck otherwise she would run me all the way to Tallahassee. When I get out of her truck I am about 170 miles away and it is around 3:30pm. I stand out for maybe 20 minutes before Johnny stops to scoop me up. Johnny is a retired Engineer an tells me some awesome stories in the 30 miles we ride together. I got out of his truck at a rest stop to use the bathroom and try my luck hitching out of there. That lasted 20 minutes and I decide to start walking on the highway and scope out a place to lay my head. As I am walking on I see a SUV pulled off the side 200 ft up ahead. I walked to the side and Angie asks me if I want a ride. She asks where I am going and I tell her about the Gathering. She replies, ” I will take you there right now.” Goal accomplished! I made it 170 miles in a day to make it to the Gathering at 8pm. Just like I told myself I would when I woke up that morning…
I am here at the Gathering right now!!! I am laying lake side in the sun and I am settling in for a two week hippie fest! There is no electricity where i am, but in a few days I will walk into town and make a new entry. After my phone dies I will be off the grid for a while. See you after a bit. LOVE!