Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Daring to Be
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 .