In the past I have had a few confederates in my journeys. I've been keeping tabs on these fellows as much as possible and I thought I might recap their time with me ever so briefly and give you a heads up on where you can see them performing. Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Free: This was my buddy for about two months of my journey. I met him when I couch surfed his place in Maryland and saw in him great possibilities. I pushed him to come with me and I didn't have to push hard, at the time, it seemed like a godsend, the perfect travel companion for the trip of a lifetime. Well, Free was great, but if he was a godsend then heaven is a coffee plantation. Free drove ahead and helped with any number of things including but not limited too: Press Releases, meeting CS Hosts, recording film, drinking copious amounts of coffee, setting up camp, breaking down camp, feeding me, getting me water, inspiring me into trying to be a mediocre writer (when I had previously been happy with being a terrible writer) and just being an all around pretty good friend. I cried on his shoulder at least once that I can remember.
We had met up in Washington DC again after I left his place and we were together until my 'down time' in Gainesville, FL, or somewhere in Southern Alabama on my route at the time. We cracked each other up. An example on both sides -
When arriving at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, Free pulled up to find me talking with a local sheriff who was searching me and a cluster of people coming out of trailers to see what was up.
"This is the most interesting thing to happen in a month," one said.
"What happened last month?" replied Free.
"That's the top of the list for this trip: witness a bris."
Now that he is living with a rabbi, perhaps his dream will come true. (I had an inappropriate joke for this occasion which I have left out for tastefulness)
When being woken up via air horn from a police car outside the tent, headlights glaring in, we opened the tent flap up and talked with the officer who informed us that people had been steeling the copper pipes off the church we were sleeping behind for scrap metal sales. He checked our IDs and went off and we zipped up the flap.
"Now how about we get to work on those pipes?" I said to Free before crashing back into sleep.
"Man, I want some apple juice, but not the natural stuff with all that crap floating in it."
In actuality, I've said funnier things, but it turns out I have a very dirty mind and many of my jokes aren't fit for the blogosphere. That, and well, I talk with Free on occasion and he tells me something I said that made coffee spray out of his nose months later, I never remember it. I'm glad one of us remembers it.
Life was good times with Free and I miss him, I recently read this on his blog "Within the week, I am moving to East Providence, Rhode Island, where I will be renting a basement apartment from a Rabbi and his wife, who has purple hair." Needless to say that made me proud and happy and I look forward to keeping track of his adventures. Previously he had become a waiter which was totally not befitting of a man of his unique disposition.
Kodiak: I met this guy on Couch Surfing, he was a 19 year old kid who wanted to get out into the world and travel but was afraid to go alone. We finally met up in La Grange, TX after a 43 mile day. His intent was to walk with me the whole distance to California. After 8 miles he decided that hitchhiking might be the way to go.
In the end Kodiak only hung around for about four days before he felt comfortable enough on the road to go it on his own. He headed off to Dallas out of Austin as I went towards San Angelo. I didn't have much time with Kodiak, but I like to think that it had a pretty profound effect on his life if only as training wheels. Kodiak is out riding by himself, running wild, here's a clip from one of his recent blogs, "I had to keep up my travels but I need the money for a new laptop so I will be hitching to Maryland to join a carnival temporarily."
I chat with Kodiak sometimes online still and keep up with him. He's leading an interesting journey very different from my own and I look forward to hearing about my friend, the kid who actually ran away and joined the circus.
It's not all though. Outside of my journeys I keep in contact with friends. In a matter of months there will be babies, lay offs, divorces, abandonment of businesses, the return from a life changing trip, and a number of other things. I can't think of a single person I know who is not going through, or about to go through, huge changes in their lives. Can we all expect such a drastic realignment? Is the 'swift spiritual boot to the head' that John Cusack talks about in Grosse Point Blank coming for us all? Perhaps since we see shifts coming in economy, government, and so many other areas, perhaps these are spurring us on to our own changes under the guise of "When in Rome."
I do feel like something big is coming, some great change. I can't say that it will start well, the economy, housing, I don't know, but I don't feel it's apocalyptical, I think it could be a new renaissance. I make no bones about being a huge dork when it comes to science, I spend a good amount of my time reading science news and listening to science podcasts. The things that are going on right now in the world are incredible, miraculous things that we could only dream of before. Invisible fabrics, pills that can re-grow amputated limbs, as you read this there are photos available to look at from the Hubble Telescope that look back in time about 10.5 billion years.
Right now we are in a period some have already begun to call "the Sixth Extinction." There have been five great extinctions before this, a great extinction is when an abundance of living species disappear during a relatively short time period. In the worst of these, over 90% of the species of earth disappeared with estimates as high as 95%.
Our world is changing, personal, national, species and the earth itself. To quote Ryan Renolds in Van Wilder, "Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere." Change is inevitable, some will be sad, but I think we could use it all the same.