“Just fucking jump, dude.”
The phrase had become a mantra that over time I had started to ignore. A decision that lent itself to more posturing than real action over the past six months or so. The behavior I had once prided myself on had dissolved and morphed into more of a safety net or protective blanket from the outside world in favor of keeping up appearances and clinging helplessly to some idea that I could control the world around me. It’s easy to lie and to appear as though you live one way while reality is something wholly different in this wonderfully narcissistic and narrow technological age we live in. But my pot was boiling over. I couldn’t keep up with the claims I had made or the expectations I had put on myself in an effort to pursue the things I was “supposed” to be doing when I knew I honestly didn’t care about them in the slightest.
I went from happily living on couches and from the back of my trusty pickup in favor of chasing the next misadventure that came my way, to living in a house too big for one man with attachments to things and ambitions that meant nothing to me but looked attractive from the outside.
“Just fucking jump, dude.”
It woke me up countless nights for months on end. I knew what I wanted to chase and it was eating me alive. I wanted to chase what I assumed would translate to a pursuit of uncertainty. What I didn’t realize at the time was that what I was really craving was some raw humanity and a solid stretch of uninhibited self-discovery and loads of validation from the one person I needed it from most. Me. I had lost touch with what really mattered most to me and I was throwing darts in the dark at any target that seemed the most familiar, closest, and easiest to hit. It was a sham and I knew it. I was spending longer stretches of time going down internet wormholes admiring stories showcasing the pursuit of self-improvement and discovery. I coveted any story, fiction or not, that related in some way to my current obsession and fear of the pursuit of life. Over the course of one year I had abandoned everything I had claimed held the most weight in my life for a neglectful existence as an armchair adventurer.
Then the apple fell. It landed so squarely on the crown of my head that the clarity that followed would lead to one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life. A period of growth and awakening I’ve heard of, pussy-footed around and feared for years. A trip that I had repeatedly pawed at halfheartedly or entertained merely as drunken fantasy. An ambition I shamefully hoped would pass as the years slowly ticked by. It was time to put everything down and throw the lines off. There are three things I know I believe beyond any doubt to be true in this life; we are not born for any special reason and nobody owes us shit, we only have a handful of opportunities to fuck up before we die and they must be exploited with care, and finally, on any given day, most likely by means out of our control, we will die. It was with those three things at the forefront of my brain that I began to plan for the year to come. Everything went into storage. I broke my lease. I bought a few plane tickets. Checked and double checked my gear lists. Tuned up the truck to allow for a quick escape upon my return. Got a haircut. Called a cab. And headed for the airport.
Fast forward to today. Eight months have passed and I’m now in the position of wrapping up and putting some sort of semi-conclusionary spin on the whole deal. A position I’m in exclusively because of the fact that I have been standing on this soapbox spouting the glories of many of the places I’ve visited along the way. Some have been left out for one reason or another but will more than likely be shared in another forum through a different medium somewhere down the road. The tastiest bits are still mine to mull over and deconstruct as other projects progress.
I could write some long list of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. As if I have some big insight into how other people should live their lives based on my very biased individual experience. I won’t do that. I really don’t want to. I’m trying very hard not to. There are any number of ways I could fluff the thing up and jerk myself off in favor of entertainment and cultivating some kind of following and awareness for the things I’ve got coming down the pipe. But fluff is a cop-out and it makes me feel ill. And it’s everywhere. And although masturbation in its various forms does often appeal to me, I’m saving that for later as well. In all of its forms. Instead I will close with one message. It’s a message that covers a lot of ground and has an infinite number of outcomes and interpretations. It’s very simple in structure and unnecessarily divided by one of my favorite words. It carries the weight of all of the outside pressure everyone I know has dealt with at one time or another in their life. All of the anxiety, fear, apprehension and any other smear of bullshit we’ve collected over our lifetimes is hiding under its umbrella.
“Just fucking jump, dude.”
What is that one thing in the back of your mind that you’ve avoided but you know, you absolutely know, you could pull off? That thing you tuck away and hide from people because of the myriad of reasons you’ve been told you couldn’t wouldn’t or shouldn’t based on someone else’s opinion that really has no bearing on the outcome of your life. Do you want to sell everything and travel until you go broke and fall flat on your face? Jump. Is your dream to build dog houses? Jump. Just fucking jump. People will always talk and try to convince each other that they know what’s right for you or her or him but both you and I know that it’s largely made up of horse shit and ego.
So whatever it is, jump. Take a few baby steps toward the edge if you have to. Do your best to try and spot your landing if that’s how you roll. But one of the worst things I can imagine is that someday I’ll be staring death in it’s big dumb face and know that I deliberately avoided my dream of being the world’s best unicycling juggler in favor of making other people comfortable with a life that was completely and wholly mine to master. And I truly believe, in my heart of hearts, that if more people in the world honored themselves and at least gave whatever it is they wanted from their lives one good shot, the world would be a better place. Idealistic? Yes. Proudly. Unachievable? Fuck no.
On that note, I’ll be taking a small break from Rodda Trials for a bit. There may be a post here or there that pops up, and I’ll continue to post photos from time to time, but I’ve got a few other projects I’m itching to take on. After eight months on the road I’ve decided to “Just fucking jump” and start to really take this business of writing for a living seriously. I’ve got some idea of where I want to go and I have a mountain of things to learn, but that’s the way. Isn’t it?
Thank you for reading and indulging me for however long you may have been. Even if it’s just this one post. Now go do stuff.