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!
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!!!!!