Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Comfort Shmumfort

By Jacob Mccown
Editor's note: Jake is the newest member to the Gypsy Train. He was found by the banks of Hornopiren, wet and dirty. This is his story.

0545. My cell phone alarm abruptly ends my Rhiana love fantasies, and I roll out of the bed to start my morning routine. I stumble into the bathroom and try to aim as best as I can with my “party favor”, but can only aim as good as my morning grogginess allows me. I then wipe down the off target drops, brush my teeth, get dressed, and hurry to work. I come home around 4:30, consume my work out supplements, and head to the gym. Two hours later I’m home preparing and eating dinner. After dinner I mindlessly get on the internet or watch T.V until I am quite tired and return to my love dreams with whatever lucky celebrity it ends up being that night.

On the weekends I usually hit the beach or participate in something active, and in the evening, I get together with friends to enjoy some beverages and head downtown to chase skirts. This was my life, and I had no complaints. I had good money, good friends, and good times. There was not much to worry about except something inside of me rejects a comfortable life and comfortable routine. This voice inside of me cries for places, people and things that are unknown and wild to me. This voice or call to the wild and adventure is not only prevalent inside of me; it exists in tons of like minded individuals. I knew there was people like me, that yearn for exotic places and have no concern for tomorrow. Until I left the military, packed up a backpack with gear to live on for a few months, and left the U.S, I hadn’t met any of these like minded people.

After a week and a half of travelling on my own in southern Chile, I was in a very traumatic river rising accident. Life at the moment was not fun, in fact; life was very cold, wet and miserable. Just when it seemed like only a miracle could make the day get better, the clouds parted and the sun broke through. Just on the horizon a golden chariot came floating my way! A nice group of clean-cut and shaven young people jumped out smiling at me and waved me aboard. That’s the way I like to remember it anyway. In reality, I was sitting soaking wet on the pier, when a 20 ft bus came putting its way my direction.

“Hey what’s up man? The fucking river rose on me last night it was horrible! Where are you guys headed?” I said.

“Wow. That sucks. We’re headed south.” Alex, the driver, said.

“It’d be really cool if I could hook up with you guys and head south.” I replied.

“Yeah sure, why not?”

That’s the story of how I came to be on the bus known as “The Gypsy Train”. Everyone on the bus had been planning and dreaming of adventure. Alaena, Alex, and Zach, the owners of the bus, all gave up their taken-for-granted comforts of home and ventured into the unknown, just as I had.

The past three weeks aboard The G-Train we have been running into people that have been giving up their securities of home, a lot of them to an extreme. We’ve met Middle aged people who gave up prominent jobs, altered their vehicles for travel, and waved goodbye to their lives as they knew it. A man from Chicago, Illinois, gave up his upper level job at Motorola, educated himself on the mechanics of his motorcycle, equipped it for travel, and set off on his adventure. We met him in Chile Chico, Chile, ten months into his projected three year multi-continent excursion. We have met bundles of whiney Israelis, who after their mandatory military service almost second-naturedly travel the world.

Travelling the world and going to places unheard of before, with locals who don’t speak my language and refer to me as “ El stupid, gordo gringo,” is the best thing to ever happen to me! Along the way I have met awesome people with adventure in their eyes, who are living proof that following your dreams and living life the way you want to is a very tangible and real possibility.

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