"I could die doing what I love, but I could also die never having really lived. To me, that would have been a far greater tragedy."
“We live in a world where how you live is dictated largely by how you trust. If you do not trust others, if you believe human nature to be something dark and rotten, you close yourself off to a whole lot. If you do not open the shutters, all you get is darkness, no matter what’s outside. True, you may get darkness even if the shutters are open. Darkness or something worse: a rock hurled through your window, a tree branch kicked up by violent winds. But there’s no way to let the light in unless you open your shutters to the wider world.” **************************************************************************************
Rainbow In The Distance
"There's a rainbow in the distance. It arcs in an enchanting array of colors across a bright blue sky. Your eyes follow that arc downwards, into the forest, beneath the trees. It's meeting with the horizon is obscured by dense brush, but you know it's somewhere in those woods.
There's rumored to be a treasure at the end of the rainbow. The allure of that treasure pulls you in. You descend your mountain, cross through babbling brooks and lush meadows of wildflower, and plunge into the thick of the vegetation.
It's hot and sticky and dark. You're pressed in between thick trunks that tower over your head. Fist-sized mosquitoes surround you, latch onto you, draw blood from your body, now soaked in sweat. You trudge onward. The rainbow is somewhere up ahead.
You travel for days through this brush. Without light, you lose track of the sun; without the sun, you lose track of the days. The days become weeks and the weeks become months. Maybe the months become years. Maybe the years become decades.
There's a rainbow in the distance. If only you could reach it. Then you'd have your treasure. Then you'd be happy. You must be close by now, you think.
You encounter a chasm in the earth that's too wide to cross. You turn left and continue walking, searching for a way around it. It's bringing you further from your destination, but it's the only way.
The chasm widens and bends and doubles back on itself. In the dense forest, you lose your bearings. You can no longer see the rainbow. Your resolve weakens. It's probably gone by now, you think. This was a fool's errand, you think.
You try to find your way out of the forest, but you don't even remember whence you came. You stumble over some rocks. Your legs tangle in some vines. Quicksand sucks at your feet, and still the mosquitoes aim to bleed you dry. Tired, weakened, you surrender. You don't bother to get up. You don't bother to swat them away.
Defeated, you let out a wail. You curse the forest. You curse the rainbow. You'd curse the treasure, too, if you still believed it existed. But you don't. You no longer believe it ever was.
Here's the thing, though. That rainbow, it did hide a treasure, just not at its end. The treasure wasn't a pot of gold where sky meets earth. The treasure was the magnificent spectrum in the sky where red meets orange, where yellow meets green, where waves of indigo and violet dance against a pale blue backdrop. The treasure was the mountain. The treasure was that boulder atop the mountain from which you could watch the rainbow shimmer. The treasure was the meadow and the treasure was the brook, the empty spaces and the clean water and the fresh air.
There is treasure, and there is the treasure map. The rainbow is not a treasure map. To follow a rainbow to its end is to use it as a means to an end. The rainbow is the end.
Where, then, is the treasure map?
When I was younger, grown-ups asked us kids what we wanted to be when we became one of them. I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to be an astronaut because I wanted to see the whole world. I'd seen a photograph once of the view from a spaceship, and there it was: the blue marble, both enormous and absolutely minuscule at the very same time.
I never did become an astronaut. I went to college to learn the Liberal Arts. I went to graduate school to learn more about those Liberal Arts. It wasn't all that liberating, learning about these arts. It came with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. My diploma and my first student loan bill arrived in the mail on the very same day.
To pay that bill and some other new bills, I got a job doing very complicated things in a very complicated organization made up of cubicles and grey suits and forgotten dreams. I worked. I got paid. I worked harder and I got paid more and soon I found myself, for the very first time, with a Disposable Income I knew not what to do with. It felt nice. I spent some of it on furniture, or something, and kept the rest. I watched the numbers on my bank statements grow from double digits to triple digits. I really liked when they reached quadruple digits. I wondered if I could do even better.
I crossed the brook and entered the trees.
Somewhere deep in the jungle, there's an old stone pyramid. A tribe of cannibals built it long ago. Those lucky enough to make it here are eager to reach the top. They've been weakened from their journey, and so they crawl slowly. Very slowly.
It's a tall pyramid. It punctures the clouds and continues on above them, so one can never really see the crux. It can't be much further, though. They climb over each other, these frail bodies, desperate to reach it first.
The city is a funny thing. The people who build them funnier still. It's like one of those Rube Goldberg machines, where a series of pulleys and levers and weights and switches play off each other, a series of cause and effect, action causing equal and opposite reaction, where marble engages scale and scale tips into domino and domino starts motor and motor keeps it going, until somewhere down the line, some little cog or something cracks an egg. Every part plays a role, and every part is integral to getting that egg cracked.
Of course, it's not about efficiency. It's about entertainment and ingenuity and play, about making the very uncomplicated complicated. We like watching Rube Goldberg machines do their thing because they're so very silly.
We humans need food and water and not much else. We can grow food in our backyards, as it literally emerges from the ground and falls off trees. We can catch water from the sky, as it literally falls from the heavens on a pretty regular basis.
But these little systems don't use all the pieces. They don't use every human body and they don't use all the bits of coal and oil we've been afforded. They don't fell the trees like dominoes and they don't turn mountains inside out for our amusement. Check this out, we say. Look what we can do.
We gather up all the seeds and we plant them far away from the people. We pull fuel from the ground and we use that fuel to power machines that fly over those seeds and season our fruits and vegetables with substances brewed to kill. We scorch the earth and cut trenches through the forest and the mountains and we pour tar onto the ash, and then we drive that food from ground to warehouse, warehouse to distribution center, distribution center to homes with backyards that grow nothing but grass.
We dump oil and chemicals and plastic and human shit into our rivers. We stop drinking from the rivers. We build thousands of miles of leaden pipes underneath our homes to bring water from afar, and thousands of miles more to pour whatever we don't use into those toxic rivers. We're told that those pipes aren't good for us anymore, and so we stop drinking from the tap, too. We create a new Rube Goldberg machine and marvel at how many pieces we've put to use. It's an impressive one, really. It fills containers of pressed petroleum with eight ounces of water from the springs of a little island called Fiji, and then it packages those containers in big pallets, and then it flies those containers all over the world to temporarily quench the thirst of our people for an hour or two. When those eight ounces are through, we toss those containers into cans. The container sets off a chain reaction in which the can engages truck, the truck engages barge, and the barge carries that little bit of plastic halfway across the world to be dumped on the shores of China. We've made our routine hydration an all-inclusive ordeal.
There are to be no leftover pieces in these machines. All humans must work. All humans must play a role. If there aren't enough roles to be played, we will create more roles. We will bend the machine a little, make it a little sillier, make it do things a little more fanciful, a little more complicated. There's room for everyone.
"We were not made in its image
but from the beginning we believed in it
not for the pure appeasement of hunger
but for its availability
it could command our devotion
beyond question and without our consent
and by whatever name we have called it
in its name love has been set aside
unmeasured time has been devoted to it
forests have been erased and rivers poisoned
and truth has been relegated for it
we believe that we have a right to it
even though it belongs to no one
we carry a way back to it everywhere
we are sure that it is saving something
we consider it our personal savior
all we have to pay for it is ourselves."
— "Convenience," WS Merwin
I am young and white and American and living awfully close to the world's shining beacon on a hill, or something like that. Life is grand, if grand is to be understood as comfortable. Comfortable on a sluttish, unprecedented level.
I can wake up each morning in a warm bedroom, as people shovel coal into a furnace somewhere far away. I can get dressed in clothes others made for me. If I'm running late to my white-collar job, I can call a driver—without even calling, actually—and be picked up just where and when I want. I can be chauffeured right to work. If I need a little caffeine, I can have someone make me some coffee along the way, and take it to go in a cup made by someone else, with a lid I'm not really going to be using for too long, but that's okay, because someone else will store it for me when I'm done with it, for the next million years or so.
If I'm hungry for lunch, but don't really feel like getting up from my chair, I can push a few buttons and summon someone to bike across town to pick up a meal someone else made, and then deliver that meal to my desk. Meanwhile, I can arrange to have someone clean my house this afternoon, and someone else to pick up my laundry and wash it. I can go online and pick out some groceries and have someone I don't know collect produce and deliver it to my door.
Apportioning food and figuring out what to make for dinner can get tiring, though, especially after my long day here at the computer doing Important Things. No matter. I can have someone do all the hard work for me, sealing up exactly what I need in little baggies, packaging it all in a big cardboard box, and dropping it at my house with specific instructions on what to do with what, or How to Cook Food.
If I don't feel like washing dishes, I can just skip the whole cooking thing and go to a restaurant. There, someone will make sure my glass is always filled, that my plates are cleared once I'm done, and that I'm served with a smile. If I don't receive enough smiles, I shall dock their pay.
All this sitting around and eating isn't good for my physique, of course. So at the end of the day, I can have another driver transport me to the gym, where an instructor can tell me exactly what to do with my body to make it look thinner and burn off those excess calories from the beer I had with dinner. I'll be tired by the end of the hour, so I probably won't walk home. Fortunately, I have a third driver waiting on hand.
It's a good time to have a Disposable Income. It's a buyers' market for servants right now, even if you do have to share them with others.
I liked the forest at first. It felt cool in the shade. It felt good to be a little surrounded. It felt safe to not be so in the open like that. I could climb the trees and look down on the world. I knew good things lay ahead.
But I stumbled early. I fell to the ground and watched the vines begin to close around my wrists. I saw bones peeking through the dirt. Others had been here before. This is what became of them. I felt the heat settle in. I saw how the trees became more dense up ahead, how the sunlight barely broke through. I looked back and could still find my way out, if I went right now.
I got up, brushed myself off, and ran.
I believe there is a sinister force, often felt but rarely seen. I personify this as a man, a man with yellowed teeth and lips permanently turned downward from a long lifetime of frowning. I imagine him with overgrown fingernails and a shrill voice.
I believe this man will do anything to stay in power, to grow richer. This man has lost battles in the past, but he's nearly won the war. He faced an upset when some of us decided that we couldn't keep putting others of us in chains to make them grow things for our profit. He'd grown too confident, too heavy-handed.
He learned the art of subtlety. He told us we were mistaken. It wasn't about us chaining them for profit. It was that they were actually dangerous—they were criminals. It was for their own good and our own good that they be in chains. It was a matter of public safety. Well, we said, if it's about safety, then okay. Okay. We turned the other way and locked our doors when we heard the rattling chains, the gunshots, the sound of billy clubs beating on human flesh or prison bars. It simply must be done.
There was an other and we were not the other and we felt safe. But we were not safe. The man went further. He took away the land and he called it his. He dragged us from our farms and put us in factories. Our children never learned to feed themselves, and their children didn't know how to do much of anything: build things, fix things, learn things.
Now, none of us are free. He's told us that if we work hard for most of our lives, we can buy our freedom. We can buy our land back from him. Some of us think we can do it, if we just save our money and do as we're told for a very long time. It'll be worth it.
But he doesn't really want us to be free. You can't control the free. And so he throws distractions our way, shiny objects that bring us short-term enjoyment with no long-term gain. Here, take a break from all your hard work. Take a seat. Here, isn't this a nice new sofa? Here, let me put on a movie for you. Take your mind off things. Hey, why not take a weekend away from all that hard work? Sure, that hotel and plane ticket and bar tab will set you back a little, but you've earned it. You work so very hard. Enjoy the rest stops on the way to your destination. You stay as long as you'd like.
This man wants us all to buy things we don't need, to pay for things we can do ourselves, to keep our minds occupied and our lives cluttered. He likes us tethered: to homes, to mortgages, to objects, to markets, to retirement portfolios, to children, to each other. He will go to war to maintain his reign. He will turn friends into enemies and neighbors into rivals. He will hide behind humans, use them as a mask and a shield. He will divide us and, in division, he will conquer us all. He will commoditize our anger, sell our resistance back to us in fashionable form. He will watch people starve and people die with regrets and people put bullets in their heads before he lets people go free. The work, he says, that will set you free.
In the words of Albert Camus, there is only one way to kill this man. The only way to deal with an unfree world. It is to live a life so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
Fuck the forest, fuck the pyramid deep within. Fuck that man especially. I don't want his stuff, neither his servants nor his distractions. I want to go back to that boulder on that mountain and watch that rainbow, and I don't particularly care if I'm trespassing on the mountain and I don't care if someone else claims ownership of the rainbow. It's a planet. There are no property rights, just shared delusions.
It took me a few decades to see this man creeping behind the rocks. I wasn't sure he really existed. Leprechauns can be sneaky like that. Once I realized what he'd done, how he'd turn the world to shit, I didn't think there was any escape from it.
But then I built a little house and I got on a little scooter and I rode away from the heaping, pulsing Rube Goldberg machine behind me. I got far enough away for the smog to clear. I camped under the stars. I saw stars I'd never seen before, stars hidden from me by the thick stratosphere of the city and the orange glow of Development and Progress. I wondered what else had been hidden from me.
I raced across the continent finding all sorts of things. I found canyons, and buffalo, and rivers you could still drink from, and people who still drank from them. I found that the sky was still beautiful on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings, and that there was so much going on that I'd been missing while facing a glowing rectangle in the depths of a federal office building.
I came back with plans. I'd never work all year again. I'd stop buying things I didn't need, and I'd travel for three months every year, and I'd abandon this whole perverted notion of a career pointed ever-upward, and I'd live a life that'd look good in my eyes, unconcerned with how it'd look in a job interview.
I thought I'd found freedom. I put solar panels on my house and caught the rain like we used to and I severed my home from the giant machine of gulf wars and exploding mountains and Saharan droughts and sinking islands that we're told is required to keep our houses homey. I spent months exploring new places in Europe and Asia and Africa, where that man had a little less reach. I saw what the world was like before him. I fancied myself a rebel.
But I still hadn't extricated myself. I still have not. I am still part of this machine we now call Society, and I am still afraid of the repercussions of leaving it. I've seen the way we treat those who call bullshit. How we mock them and ostracize them and snicker at their claims of global conspiracy or whatever. Yeah, right, like we're all going to give up our iPhones and go live in the trees again.
I mean no disrespect to those who are able to find joy and meaning behind their desks and between their commutes home and their commutes back to work. If anything, I envy them. My hope is for each of us to enjoy a life lived on her terms, and if those terms align with reality—and don't leverage the subjugation of others—cherish that good fortune.
But it's not enough for me, at least not yet. Right now, there's something I want to do, and it's the same thing I've wanted to do since I was young: to live the life of an astronaut, to float, quietly, through time and space, to see the whole world and watch it turn, slowly, beneath my feet.
I want to bike around the world.
We Americans are told that the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right. We are raised to Pursue our entire lives, toward a Happiness we may one day reach. This is how we understand the pursuit of happiness to work.
I am not interested in this pot-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow sort of happiness, because I don't believe it to exist. I am interested, instead, in the pursuit of Everyday Happiness. The kind where we embrace Mondays as an amazing fucking day in which the sun is still shining and we are still breathing and the world is still out there to be enjoyed and appreciated and discovered, not as a day we churn through en route to Friday. I have no interest in viewing Wednesdays as "hump days," a mountain of effort to crest before reaching the sea on the other side. To live for Saturdays and Sundays is to live for two-sevenths of one's life, and to begrudge the five-sevenths of life getting in the way. This is not the pursuit of Everyday Happiness.
I'd like to wake up every morning and expect that this day may very well be the best day of my life, and to not be delusional in thinking so. At the very least, I'd like to close the day by having learned something, having been moved, having been happy in the moment. I'd like to die pursuing one of those days, not in a cubicle pursuing the happiness that may or may not rest on the horizon of a retirement I may never reach.
We all find enjoyment in different things. I find enjoyment in the great outdoors, in the warmth of a sleeping bag on cold mornings, in the sounds of an entire ecosystem waking up around me. I find a thrill I can hardly explain in packing up the few things I own and leaving no trace but a slightly trampled patch of grass. I live for moments of rolling down hills with the gentle buzz of a freewheel hub, and the birds, and the wind.
Everyday Happiness, for me, is an endless horizon, a rainbow for a rainbow's sake, a gulp of water after physical exertion. It's in finding food and water and people in simple systems, in gratitude for the simplest of things. It's feeling like I've found the secret to slowing down time, to packing so much life into such a limited number of waking hours. And it's, when lying down my sore and weathered body at the end of the day, expecting the very same tomorrow.
So this is the big adventure I've mentioned. This is one person's feeble attempt to live a life so absolutely free that my very existence is an act of rebellion. It's an attempt to carry myself, and a tent and a stove and a few other things, across the world, and to rely on the kindness of others, and to provide kindness to others, along the way. To travel not as a means, but as an end. To test this hypothesis of happiness in simplicity, to tie together everything I've learned within and between each adventure of my scattered, searching little life.
The practicalities are more mundane, sure. There's nothing extraordinary about this adventure. Others have done it before and many will do it after. It's something that will neither save the world nor bring an end to man's ever-oppressed and ever-oppressive nature. It's just the very first time where I feel I'll be doing exactly what I want to do exactly how I want to do it, to live a life unapologetically on my terms.
I think I've found freedom, an escape from enslaving and an escape from being enslaved. An escape from the whole rotten system, articulated in a way much darker than intended, but hey, it's a pretty dark system. I think I've found freedom—for me, for now—and I think it looks like this."
Growing up, I was perpetually troubled by Thanksgiving—a day in which we celebrate one of the world's most catastrophic genocides, in which we repaint history for our own untainted conscience, in which we demonstrate appreciation and gratitude for what we have
by demonstrating that we simply can't have enough, stuffing our faces until the supermarkets are empty and emptying our wallets until our minivans are stuffed, literally trampling others for a fifty-percent-off Blu-Ray player or a buy-one-get-one HDTV. I never
cared for the food nor the football, and when it came to flan, I was never a fan.
Thanksgiving is a day in which we allow ourselves to feel good about pardoning one turkey though we've killed fifty million more, in which we feel good about breaking bread with a few Native Americans though we've, well, killed fifty million more. And still, not much has changed—it's still an orgy of food and floats, of traffic and television, of self-interest and self-indulgence, American hubris and American portion control. But it doesn't have to be this way. Thanksgiving—when stripped of all its cultural baggage—is nothing more than a day to give thanks, to truly appreciate what one does have, a reminder of how fortunate we all are each and every day. So today, obligatory pontification now out of the way, I want to take a moment to say thanks.
I feel so blessed to live the life I do, to have the privilege of yet another year, to have the opportunity to have spent that year so fully and so well. From tremendous progress on my tiny house to an unforgettable and life-changing two months scootering across the
continent, from the incredible ability to have my thoughts and passions broadcast locally, nationally, and worldwide to simply relishing time spent with irreplaceable neighbors, friends, and community, I really couldn't ask for anything more.
Thank you to every individual who has lifted a hammer or hammered a nail for the betterment of the Matchbox, to every inquisitive soul who has wandered through Boneyard Studios for an open house, bonfire, concert, or story. Thank you to those who have supported my tiny house adventure from near and afar, to the many who have guided me along with their encouragement, advice, and wisdom.
Thank you to those who spent countless hours with me sharing maps, detours, and cautionary tales before I left for the road last May—I have you to thank for my safety, security, and spectacular sights. And thanks to the immeasurably kind souls who provided lodging and food and warmth and friendship during cold, lonely stretches of safari, to the friends, friends' friends, and absolute strangers who never thought twice about opening their doors to a weary traveler—I have you to thank for my affirmed faith in the awesome generosity of humanity. Lastly, thank you to those who have been there for me during all of life's unplanned adventures, who have kept me company over a bottle of wine, who have taught me new things and made me a better person, who have taken care of me when I needed being taken-care-of and who trusted me to do the same when it was my time to return the favor. Thanks for making my life all the richer, all the better, and all the sweeter—thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being part of it.
Joshua Tree (Written during the 'Scooter Diaries' trip)
Many people, I am told, lead perfectly happy lives free from nagging questions of what it all means and how to escape the trivial meaninglessness of an existence that will undoubtedly end and how to come to terms with the inevitable heat death of the universe. I am, unfortunately, not one of those people. No, though I am grateful to live a life colored by a particularly positive disposition, I have been haunted from a young age by existential and philosophical questions to which I have no answers. As an intuitive, feeling, judging introvert, per Carl Jung's personality types, I am perpetually in search of an answer, a single, coherent truth that will piece everything together, that will connect the entire universe and all its mysteries, despite the logical, rational realization that such a thing cannot possibly exist. And as a Highly Sensitive Person, I have a wider range of emotion than the average homo sapien, which makes those more pronounced attempts at grasping an answer gravely disheartening, capable of throwing my whole self into an existential funk that can last for weeks.
My road trip across America was never an attempt to find some nonexistent answer, to put an end to that existential funk, because I knew if I had set that to be my aim, I'd return disappointed, dream unrealized. And so I resolved to simply experience the continent, to see its beauty, to have fun and have adventure and let my being become what it may. I didn't expect a life-changing experience, and if it were to come, I expected it to be incremental, gradual, nearly imperceptible. Someone had written me during the early weeks of my trip wishing me a positively "life-shattering" journey, which was a nice way of putting it, but I knew not to expect the shatter, that those fabled moments of profound change and realization are nothing more than post-hoc myths.
And then came Joshua Tree.
Riding out of Joshua Tree that Wednesday morning, I wasn't thinking of anything in particular. I wasn't looking for anything in particular. It was a sunny day, about seventy degrees, riding forty miles per hour down unremarkable asphalt with pleasant but unremarkable scenery around it. Hey Marseilles played through my headphones, and the taste of almonds floated about my tongue while thoughts of no particular substance floated about my mind. The circumstances that morning were, by all means, notably unnotable.
Then, about twenty minutes into the drive, neurons began to fire wildly. I felt a lifting sensation in my cerebrum, every part of my brain lighting up at once, the indescribable ability to actually feel myself think. I felt as though I was pulling myself up over a wall, about to glimpse what was atop it, an experience I had felt many times before, but this time was different, this time, I had a hold of the wall's top ledges, this time I was hoisting and pulling and throwing myself onto it, this time I had actually arrived at the top. And it was glorious.
I cannot, and could not, ever accurately describe what happened then. In an instant, the universe was inside me, and I could feel every fiber of it, every particle of matter. Every single thing made sense, and nothing made sense, and I felt everything, and I felt nothing. In an instant, I felt every answer to every question I've ever had, and then, nodding in the ultimate realization, the answers vanished with the questions in tow, leaving me not with any practical answer whatsoever, but leaving me without the questions I had battled against for decades. I couldn't even remember what the questions were. All that was left was quiet, peace.
In that instant, my rational mind cynically doubted what was happening, chocking the experience up to a misfired synapse or a mistaken overdose of dopamine. But at the very next instant, another wave of truth hit me, and I began crying, torrents of tears running down my face, not sadness, not happiness, just awe. This is it. I was terrified, I was thankful, I was devoid of emotions and filled with every one of them. I was ready.
And so I waded into it, into the metaphysical ocean before me, and felt a peace and a truth I had never felt before, and it persisted, and the deeper in I waded the stronger it felt, and the harder I felt it, and I cried so hard I had to pull to the side of the road for practical fear of physically crashing at the actual moment of this actual moment. Waves of realization broke atop me. I realized that my wish for all the puzzle pieces of the universe to click together into something that made sense hadn't happened in an instant; I had been putting the puzzle together for years, and it was only that morning that I realized what I was putting together, how close I was to being complete, and with each piece set into place, the next became exponentially easier, until with one final click, it was done. Complete. And complete was the right word for how I felt: my search, my quest, my life. What now? I recall asking myself, legitimately unable to conceptualize a continuing existence after that moment, unsure of what banalities would be left to occupy my time and thoughts.
A few minutes later, I started driving again, not knowing what else to do, and the feeling came with me, and for forty miles I basked in that glorious glow, that eternal truth, not parting ways with its most intimate form until reaching a gas station on the far stretches of the California Desert.
I was okay leaving it, because I knew it wasn't gone. As of this writing, it is still there, a gentle ocean in my sights, so close I can hear its cresting waves, smell its salts, recall the ecstasy of being in it. Still, I feel that zen and that peace. The questions haven't returned. I feel no stress, no anger, no frustration with the world or the people in it. I feel nothing but truth, truth and peace and love.
I have done my best to explain what happened to me in Joshua Tree, and my best is far from good enough. What happened was indescribable. I didn't see anything, I felt it; I didn't learn anything, I realized it. I emerged from Joshua Tree a different person, if only in my head, and I can quite honestly say that I would not trade that experience for any other in my life. I hesitate to call what I attained there nirvana, for fear of inferring some sort of spiritual superiority, or enlightenment; if I was religious, perhaps I'd deem it a spiritual awakening. Transcendence, maybe. Really, I just as easily could have experienced an aneurysm or a collapsed lobe. I don't know what to make of my experience, and truthfully, I don't particularly care what prompted it or even what it was. It happened, and from it, life got figured out.
Now, the rest is just for fun.
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Created by Jay's Mom, Jea Santovasco
'I could die doing what I love, but I could also die never having really lived. To me, that would have been a far greater tragedy.' - Jay Austin
Jay really lived .. up until the very moment he was intentionally brutally murdered in a terrorist attack while cycling the world.
Jay lost his life simply because he was an American.
May 1st, 1989 - July 29th, 2018