Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daring to Be

I know a guy who quit his job to travel the country. During these tight economic times, you might consider his choice irresponsible . . . or bold. Either way, he doesn't care. As I'm writing this, he's camping in the outdoors at Eastport, Maine, watching the sun at the easternmost point of the United States. Another item checked off his bucket list.

He began in South Carolina, hitting Georgia then Florida, seeking to experience the southernmost point of the US at the Keys. He did, camping along the way, meeting friends and family as they cross his path. He covered Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, working his way to a wedding in Baltimore, then up the New England seaboard. As a college football enthusiast, he stops at every major conference stadium, making their locales the basis for much of his road choice. He purchased an annual National Park pass, and camps at every opportunity in his two-man tent and -20 degrees sleeping bag, all his belongings and needs behind the seat of his truck.

He tired of the nine-to-five, the inter-office squabbles, the backbone-less boss. His frustration level grew as promotion became non-existent due to both the economy and the entrenched management. His job was quite secure, having a Computer Engineer undergraduate degree and an MBA. He'd set records on work performed, and had become quite indespensible in a world where people are dispensed like PEZ candy.

He'd breezed through school, making the honor rolls, pleasing his parents and teachers like a good kid. He didn't drink, smoke or enjoy the common vices. Finally he graduated college, entered the working world and began his journey. Or so he thought. One day he realized that he hadn't lived. So he decided to.

Now he's living. He's living sunrises, dolphins, snakes, unexpected weather and expenses, friendly people in places he never expected, even depression when rain, mosquitoes and loneliness hit at once. People tell him he's nuts while secretly envying his audacity. He respects then for their opinion and keeps on keeping on, embracing the outdoors as his bedroom . . . his home.

People talk about writing and publishing. People avoid traditional publishing because of the ease of self-publishing. People self-publish, then fear the public's eye when it comes to marketing. They dodge the $1/word magazines. They attend conferences in lieu of writing, to rub elbows with those who have. They remain in the comfort zone, writing what's easily published, or penning material only to lock it away on a flash drive, fearful it's not worthy of public attention. They talk about the frustration of writing, only they've not quite experienced it, because they fear the uncertainty of taking it serious.

One day this guy on the road will look back and cherish his memories. This trip will teach him to attempt new experiences, greet strangers and apply for opportunities he might never have before. He chose to grow as a person, shedding what's comfortable, shrugging off the naysayers, because he felt an obligation to himself.

I'm proud of writers who dare. I'm envious of writers who color outside the lines. And I'm proud of my 28-year-old son who's traveling the countryside proving to people how you can choose to live a rewarding life.

NOTE: I taught him how to blog and Tweet. He keeps a journal. The blog and Twitter were, admittedly, for me. The journal for himself. What a treasure that will be for his children one day. If you care to check it out, here's his blog entitled appropriately, Nanu's Nation .

17 comments:

Ellie said...

Oh, that is so brave. Good for him!

nanusnation said...

Thanks for all you've done along the way, Momma :-) Both on my trip and throughout my life!

Kirk K said...

That's an amazing story about your son. Good for him, and to do it when so young than when old with bitterness or regret.

As writers we need to be daring. Taking that first step - to actually WRITE - is the toughest one. I've only begun writing daily this very month. With a full-time job and a house full of young kids, I've been making excuses. Now, I'm taking action, as I believe writing is a gift God has given me to share.

Thanks for your perpetual optimism and for calling things like you see 'em, Hope.

Stephanie said...

Your son??? Oh, Hope! That story is just about the most wonderful thing I could ever have read to start my day today! Hail, the People Who Live! And thanks for telling us.r

sepen2 said...

Takes a lot of courage to set your spirit free. Nice blog, Hope, and good for your son. While others wallow in regret, he's collecting the memories of a life time. Wow...

Sharon

sidney said...

This is how you learn the most about yourself. I know I did...

Jonah Gibson said...

I've heard that when a playground in unfenced the children will congregate in the center and not venture outside their collective comfort, but when a playground is fenced they will scatter to the furthest reaches of their confinement. Confinement then is liberating and liberty, in a sense, confining. By reducing his possessions to what will fit behind the seat of his truck, your son has, in that same sense, limited his options, but his horizons are infinite. My brother did this in the seventies. We called it the Rand MacNally approach to self-discovery. Good luck to your son, and thanks to you for an excellent post.

dellagation said...

Thank you now I know your name is Hope for a reason. Doubt was trying to find a chink in my armor today and I used this post to seal the fault. Thank You!

Dellagation said...

Thank you now I know your name is Hope for a reason. Doubt was trying to find a chink in my armor today and I used this post to seal the fault. Thank You!

Annette Lyon said...

I know I'd be a proud mama.

Cynthia Briggs said...

Good for you, Hope! He sounds like a wise son who listens to his momma, which is such a Blessing.

You've probably taught him to embrace life and the people he meets, which, in the end, is what matters most.

The best to you both!
Cynthia Briggs

Jessica McCann said...

Wonderful post, Hope. I got goosebumps when I read in the end that this man is your son. My favorite line in the piece? "People tell him he's nuts while secretly envying his audacity." Isn't that the truth. Good for him, and good for you in supporting his choice to roam.

Jessica McCann
Author of All Different Kinds of Free
www.jessicamccann.com

Carol J. Alexander said...

A young woman in our church, about the same age as your son, spent most of this year hiking the Appalachian Trail--ALONE! People thought she was crazy. But I was both afraid for her and envious of her--just as you said, "secretly envying his audacity."
May I be able to apply such bravery to the life that I am able to live.

Paul Callaghan said...

Ah, Jealous and nostalgic all at once. I did a similar thing in my late teens to late twenties. But without the truck and across Europe, the Middle East and Asia rather than the USA. It's not for everyone, but it has to be the best thing in the world for character building and getting a good perspective on life and the range of people that make up this beautiful world. And he sounds much better than I was at keeping in touch with his mum. There's a Maori saying that kind of fits for both of you: "Kia Kaha". It means something like 'go hard, be strong, realise your potential'. So Kia kaha to you both.

C Ann Golden said...

Hope, your post about your son brought tears to my eyes as I too have a son (although he's only 7).

God bless!

Carrie

Scott Bergman said...

Very interesting story, and your right, traveling the country with few cares in the world, seeing the places I've always wanted to see is definitely something I'd love to do.

Glad to hear your son is living his dream.

Getting out of the comfort zone and daring to live is something we all need to do!

Jake's Place said...

I picked up on Matt's journey late - after getting the link from Kristin, but have thorougly enjoyed following him. You've got quite son there!!!