This journey has been remarkable so far. Imagine if you will, seeing strings of a million different shades of colors, slowing getting intertwined together to form something recognizable. That right there, is what my life has become since August 5th 2012. That day Jessica, my fiancée, and I made the decision to do more, see more and be more. We sold all of our belongings such as our cars and electronics and donated 80% of our clothes to the Goodwill and the Salvation Army down the street from our last apartment. That last apartment was where we decided to move into to save some money before we were set to depart. We moved in on August 31st ish and it was a couple hundred square feet smaller than our previous apartment, along with a couple hundred cheaper per month. We had 3 or so metal things hanging on the bare cream walls along with two pastel green lawn chairs as our sitting area once we had sold our couch. Two weeks before we left we had no couch, no TV, no furniture, an increasingly empty fridge, we had nothing other than each other and that mattress on the floor. That was all we needed, each other.
Along with so many changes, came other things, things that I had to get rid of, throw away or stop relying on. I gave up on things that I held so dearly to me, my self-built computer, my World of Warcraft addiction membership and my high tech, “newest and best” phone. I laugh at myself now, thinking of those things becoming a purpose for me to live back then. It was only a bit more than 6 months ago when I was so dedicated to using my life for a box… a box full of circuit boards, wires and “fake” friendships. It’s humoring to think back, but its also has been a grand learning experience. It wasn’t drugs or cigarettes, it was an addiction to a video game – one I was able to walk away from and learn from. No life, mine nor another’s, should depend on electronics, entertainment or addictions. My life should find, and have found, happiness from internally within me. This consists of myself focusing on positives around me, turning the negatives into positives and feeling completely free and accepted by myself.
I didn’t have a huge closet or a ton of clothes, but I had enough to fill one side of a decent size walk in closet. Now, I own just a backpack with some clothes in it. In that backpack, I have six pairs of underwear, six pairs of socks and around six shirts to choose from. Along with those is one pair of jeans that I got from a Goodwill, one pair of cargo pants I purchased using a gift card I found in a bottom of a drawer and I have one pair of sweat pants that I got from the dollar store. Yet now, I feel I have more substantial things in life, then I have ever had. Strength, endurance, focus and a free mind.
I used to require myself to have a list of rules when staying at a hotel before I left for this journey. First and foremost was, that it had of be a Hotel, not a motel or anything like that. Second on the list was, I had to spend at least 89 dollars on the room, that way, I knew it would be clean and not a hole in the wall. Third, yet not last, is that I had to do a tour of the hotel room to make sure it met my standards. The bathrooms, were where I had super picky rules as well, relating to the cleanliness of course, it had to be sparkling enough to see my reflection. I feel sort of awkward and humiliated typing those rules now for they sound absolutely ridiculous! That is yet another thing I have come SO far from, why was I so picky and prissy? When did I develop that mind set to have rules for a place I was going to just lay my head in, then wake up and leave from? Now, I have stayed in motels, hostels and on stranger’s couches in their homes. Those couches consisted of futon beds, pull out trundle beds, love couches, a three cushion makeshift thing on the floor and an air mattress in a basement. I have slept on beds in rooms with 10 other people, some of which had no curtains on the bunk, which meant that man across the way could see straight into my bunk. I’ve had a situation arise where a middle aged man made it uncomfortable enough that we actually had to ask to move to another room. Ear plugs, they are my friends indeed. For without them the world would be louder, of course, but other than that, the 12 man hostel rooms I have slept in, would of been insanely louder. Those ear plugs have kept me asleep throughout babies crying, doors slamming, men snoring and through group conversations in German at one in the morning. I thank the man or woman that made ear plugs a reality, and I thank myself for learning to handle and deal with any sleeping situation. It’s humbling.
Ear plugs will also help me tonight. Jessica and I will be spending the night at a train station. Gare de Lyon is the name of it, it is a central hub in Paris for transportation. Buses, trains and metros leave from here. It is widely busy and there has been plenty of cops, security guards and military here, so I do feel somewhat safe here. There has also been the normal,handful of bums, beggers and ladies trying to pull scams to get close to you to pickpocket you – but that’s everywhere in Paris, so no biggie. If you would of told me a year ago that I would be spending the night in a train station, I would of walked away from you with tears of laughter swelling in my eyes. The price of hostels and hotels were through the roof expensive for this weekend, either because of it being a Saturday or because of it being Valentine’s weekend – or both. We had no luck finding a couchsurfer for tonight either, after several attempts. We chose to sleep at the train station, not out of severe desperation but we did it out of an attempt to conserve our money and to put us in the place we depart from early tomorrow. What a life changing experience this night alone will be for me, to be okay without a bed, without comforts, without a bathroom to shower in and brush our teeth in, without a place to kick back and relax, without privacy – but wait…. Those are all things I have already gotten used to already! So this will be a walk in the park.
Humbling is just the beginning of what this experience has done so far for me.