RaeBean (Rachael) and myself had planned on leaving Gainesville, FL around 3pm Thursday. We are both go with the flow to the max, we left at 2am Friday morning. Right when we started driving we decided that we would stop whenever either of us felt like it, and we would get to DC when we got there. We were on the road maybe an hour before we made our first detour. RaeBean saw a sign for Jackle Island and gave me a quick back drop. Apparently sometime back a hurrican ripped through uprooting lots of palm trees and placing them on a beach down the way. The trees are supposed to be huge and now petrified. She explained it was a awesome scene and asked if I wanted to check it. Hell ya I do! We detoured, and got some what lost. Not really though because it is a giant loop and you can’t really get lost, we just never found the beach. This place is straight out of a scary movie. Two lane road, not street lights so it’s pitch black, and really ominous trees that hang over the road forming a natural tunnel. We saw multiple vermin running across the road, dying to be splattered under RaeBean’s speeding tires. We laughed off the 45 minute detour and got back on track. We drank coffee, traded stories, and rocked out as I played youtube DJ. Around 5:30am neither of us could keep our eyes open for another moment. We pulled into a truck stop and found the darkest spot, dropped the seats back as far as they could go and had a snooze fest.
I woke up around 9:30am and started poking Rae, to make myself laugh as well as get things moving. We got some gas and got back to it. At this point we are, according to google maps 6 hours away. Side note, another awesome part to the south, there are firework stands everywhere! Glad I didn’t have any cash because I would have probably lit the sky and the forest on fire with a flurry of explosions reminiscent of a combat zone. After driving through beautiful South Carolina for sometime we began to see signs for Pedro’s restaurant. Dude! Pedro is a marketing fool!!!! Every ten miles for literally 100 miles there was a sign for Pedro’s. by the time you reach the exit for Pedro’s there is NO POSSIBLE WAY YOU CAN NOT STOP! I was not prepared for what I saw when we pulled off. Pedro’s was not only a a restaurant but a entire mile strip of random shops. It was like a twilight zone interpretation of Tijuana, Mexico. It was sensory over load with rainbow stripped Zebras, green spotted giraffes, and two story gorillas. I made up a story in my mind of a pour immigrant coming to South Carolina opening a small restaurant and turning into a tourism mogul. Google shattered that dream. It was created by a dude named Allan Schafer. We walked around a bit and decided since it was hot, and we were on limited sleep; that we were going to break into “Pedro’s” cabana style hotel and have a swim. The pool was epic! It was in a huge geometric glass dome. The pool felt great, and even more awesome due to the fact that we weren’t supposed to be there. We swam a bit and got back on the road. Entering the on ramp we crossed into North Carolina.
The rest of the drive was filled with beautiful open fields with amazing farm houses. I am a city boy I have only seen this type of scenery in movies. I could easily see myself spending a portion of my life in one of those farm homes out in the middle of no where. Spending my days working my land producing food for my family and friends, and hunting with my dog. I will keep dreaming until I make it a reality.
That six hours at 9:30 am turned into 11 hours landing in DC close to 9pm. Rae an I did not have a care in the world and were fully enjoying taking in the moment, moment by moment. Hands down one of the best road trips of my life! I am so thankful for that opportunity! I am so thankful for you RaeBean!!!!!! Till the next adventure…
I will be posting the DC adventure tomorrow evening. I LOVE YOU ALL WITH ALL MY HEART, AND I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE SHARED THIS ADVENTURE/SOUL JOURNEY WITH ME!!!!!!
I AM ON THE CHINATOWN BUS ABOUT TWO HOURS OUTSIDE NYC!!!!!! STOKED!!!! 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!
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.
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!
I wanted to post a quick note to everyone who reads my blog. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read my posts. And a very special thank you to all those who take the time to write comments and click that like button. It took me two months to get 1000 views and I am almost at 2000 with in a little over two weeks. All of you are inspiring me to continue on when things get a little rough. Everyone who read my post inspire me to continue writing as often as I can. From the bottom of my heart, it is truly a honor an I am so thankful for each and everyone of you! I hope this continues to grow and I have the opportunity to reach, touch, and inspire as many people possible. I had someone from the Republic of Korea check out my blog, that blows my mind. Thank you an I love you all. Carpe Diem! Stay positive and share ALL of the light and LOVE that is with in you!