This blog's for ME

Almost 25 years old, asking my parents if I can sleep in their bed with them. I had thought I was going to be the 25th Prime Minister of Canada. Things had changed. 10 years later, I was still a scared little boy. The time had come to slap myself awake. One Saturday morning, November 19th, 2009, I declared to the world I would be riding my 10 year-old motorcycle from Vancouver, BC Canada to Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and back.

The official departure was August 28th, 2010. A group of well-wishers saw me off at 8:03 am.

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro around 6 pm March 1st, 2011.



My return to Vancouver came on July 5th, 2011 about 2:00 pm.

Drug & alcohol abuse, ADD, social anxiety, health, chronic pain, night terrors.

So many concerns. But I am far more interested in this question: Do I have the capacity to make this trip despite all my shortcomings?

My mission: To inspire myself to face my fears, enlighten myself on how all living things can peacefully co-exist, enjoy every moment, and see the world as plentiful and generous.

Go ahead. Call me crazy. Call me anything you like.

I'm out to save my world.



I LOVE YOU ALL



Questions, comments, concerns, threats? Contact me: jason.chapman99@gmail.com


A Final Post






















What. a. journey. Words cannot describe. Fantastic? Wasteful? Awesome? Stupid? Inspiring? Indulgent? Arrogant? Unbelievable? Crazy? Transformative? Insane? Unforgettable?

I had made a work-related commitment for 8 am Thursday morning, so I was anxious to stick to my word. When my tire blew out 60 kilometres west of Jasper, Alberta Monday afternoon, I was still confident I could make it, and I did. There was a lot of begging, and phoning, and staying positive: the same things that got me through 16 countries (many twice), and many mishaps over more than 47,000 kilometres. My friend told me that is at least once around the globe.

I am proud of myself. I feel transformed. Will it stick, I wonder? Every day is a new day, and nothing from the past can be counted on to make my life wonderful in the present. It is only the courage, acting in the now, that can make any difference.

I am more than a 'talking head' now. I have proven to myself that what I believe about humanity is true. We only need one thing in this world to feel happy, accomplished, complete, and at peace within ourselves: each other.

A Scanner Darkly

The animated movie adapted from Philip K. Dick's novel opened up some surprising realizations for me. Set in a world only 7 years from now, 'A Scanner Darkly' paints an all-too-real future possibility of government control, paranoia, and rampant substance abuse. But even in a seemingly impossibly difficult world, one could create their own world, to their own satisfaction, by surrounding themselves with like-minded people, and doing what they want.

My own mind continues to speak to me and tell me all the steps I have to take to be successful in this world. Get a good paying job, get a wife, have a couple kids. Go to the social functions, do the deeds. Where do these thoughts come from? This journey really showed me how much chatter my mind threw at me in a thinly veiled attempt to get somewhere, but I know now where that goes. There are no clearly marked roads for my life, and how I want to live it, but with some fun exploring, and searching, and investigating, I can find others who have gone before me, and gain strength from their wisdom.

The movie also helped me realize that there are no guarantees as a human being, despite the sunny commercials promising eternal happiness if you use their product. It can be easy to dream a life away perhaps because of all the happy, noisy distractions of movies, internet, texting. There seems to be a constant loudspeaker blaring in my mind saying "you can do better", "you can do better". This also takes away from the knowledge that my time here is extremely limited. In my case, my first priority is now me. My state of mind, my comfort, my enjoyment of existence. There are just so many things now that can distract me from living a good life, feeling good, and having hope for the future. I need to continue practicing listening to my body, and giving me time to look at my thoughts before I jump on them.

My parents told me they get a yellow substance on their lawn when it starts raining. It is from the sulfur processed at a plant 30 miles away and I just cant help wondering how many diseases have been caused from this. How confusing to think that we seem trapped in this cycle of industrialization that may also cause our terminal illnesses?

Tin Cup

It's the US Open. You're on the 18th hole, and one behind the leader. You can lay up, easily go over the water, and be faced with an easy putt to tie the leader or, you can go for glory, try to get on the green in one, and putt for a eagle and a win to be remembered for all time. What would you do?

Most people, without much knowledge of golf, would probably play it safe, and get the guaranteed points, but not the protagonist of the movie, Tin Cup. This movie, starring Kevin Costner (nicknamed 'Tin Cup') as a 'coulda been' golf pro at a run-down driving range, showcases an interesting character trait involving risk-taking. Renee Russo's character plays off Costner's by being his newly-minted therapist, and Cup's intended love interest. Standing in his way is not only Russo's character's own doubts of Costner's stability, but her golf pro-tour boyfriend, who just happens to successfully play it safe as a regular tournament leader.

One day Costner decides to visit Russo at her office, and ask for her professional help. Russo does indeed help him by offering a bang-on assessment of the root of his troubles. She said that his incessant need to take risks on the golf course were due to him not taking the necessary risks in his personal life. If he were to take the personal risks crying out to be resolved, he wouldnt feel the need to take such disastrous risks in his professional life. Could I relate.

The final few scenes involve Tin Cup dropping the ball, and going for the green in one, with Russo in the crowd looking on.

Falling Down

Its Day 5 back at my parent's home, and I am getting a bit of relief writing, even if it is only for a short time. I even got a shiver down my spine. (That happens when I am suddenly filled with good feelings)

I haven't written much for awhile, as I had been riding hard for 14 days straight, and when I returned, I think I was avoiding facing myself, and thats what brought me here.

I had been feverishly reading, and working on the farm under the assumption that I needed to use the time wisely here. What was really happening was a desperate effort to stave off a melt down.

I woke up this morning a bit off, but nothing serious. Then, I started noticing some tension, then a flurry of thoughts hit me like a freight train. "Why dont you want to go in for coffee and meet with people?" "You're never going to be anything if you don't want to meet with people!" "You're going to be trapped in this state forever!" "You're never going to get better!" "You're always going to be a loser!" "You're never going to find out what's wrong with you!" "The trip was a complete waste!" "You were in your head for 9 months!" "You did it wrong!" "What made you ever think you could do this?" "You will never find love!" "You will be alone!" The thoughts were screaming at me, and I couldnt get away. There were no distractions out on the farm here, and I was facing off with my mind, a mind that was doing everything possible to make things worse.

I realize now my mind was just trying to distract me, somehow desperately avoiding coming face to face with some unimaginably uncomfortable situation. It was physically uncomfortable, as if my nervous system was all jittery. It was probably an adrenalin response, a physical reaction to the unsettling thoughts. I told my mom what was going on and I felt a bit of a release, and my eyes started to tear up. It was if my life was suddenly hopeless, and I was trapped to live in a constant state of fear, and anxiety for the rest of my life.

My theory on how anxiety is created is a combination of many things, but to simplify, it is the unique combination of a child's makeup, and a parent's makeup, and how they intertwine. In my example, my parents were two loving yet somewhat strict and uncommunicative at times. I was a super sensitive child craving assurance, and outward showings of love. I also was a big day dreamer who had a brain constantly on the move. I went on to somehow do well in school, and moved onto university, but by the time I ended up in a sales job in a new city, the constant uncertainty developed into a severe anxiety. My brain said "that ought to keep Jason from doing the things that scare me". But Jason was ambitious. He wanted to contribute. He wanted to feel free. He wanted to help, and feel connected with others. He wanted to love, and be loved. So, he set out on a path of discovery that started in 1996 and continues today.

I had just read about the symptoms of a panic attack, and think that I experienced something similar. Either way, the important part here is to face whatever is coming. Face it down. What am I talking about? Face what down? This experience is akin to being lost at sea in 30 foot waves with nothing to hold onto. There's nothing that can be done about it! Ok, take vitamin Bs like my mother said. But what do you do when the thing that controls everything in your body tells you you are not good enough? The brain can effect every cell from head to toe, and create all kinds of uncomfortable feelings to get its point across. My brain was in a panic mode, doing all sorts of things to somehow 'right the ship'. So, what could I have done in that instance?

Well, what not to do? Don't try and fight it, or ignore it or distract from it. Dont try and reason with it. The brain is in full fight or flight mode, and it cannot be reasoned with.

I think the best image to bear in my mind would be holding on firmly but confidently and in a relaxed manner. I am picturing a gentle feminine spirit, on a large boat, amidst a violent storm. She is holding on to a golden railing, with a relaxed and calm facial expression, one might say even a peaceful joy. Meanwhile, the storm is bringing rain, and wind and turbulent, chaotic seas, but she knows the storm is going to pass. She knows theres nothing that can be done about it, nothing that needs to be done about it, so she might as well just hold on, gracefully and confidently. This feminine spirit is actually enjoying the ride, and marvelling at the raw power of nature. it is crucial that this image be created in such a way that it invokes this grace, and not one of white-knuckling through it, because the same, specific process is needed to come through a spell of anxiety.

You know, I guess I was disappointed at how fast the memory of my journey faded. I am glad I kept a journal here. Perhaps I am only disappointed that my inner life is still not perfect. But, the work continues, and what I learned today, and remembered from a thousand year old memory, was that my life doesnt have to fall apart anymore. I just had a memory from early on in my journey with anxiety of when I was out in a park with my friend Lisa, and it was all I could do to stay in one piece. But, I learned I could pull myself out of it just by touching something tactile. Really feeling the rough sides of that wooden post, and letting the sensations break the pattern of my inner flagellations.

The unique challenge about anxiety is that it can stay with you all day, and all night, and all week. Even longer. My type of personality is one that likes to figure things out, have the answers, get to the bottom of it. So, when my mind and body start getting into extremely uncomfortable territory, I want to keep going and delve into finding an answer. "What do I need to do?" "What is the answer?" "What is the best way?" But, this is like trying to solve a complex mathematical equation while underwater being attacked by a great white shark. No, its not an exaggeration. They would both be equally unproductive. I can't ignore it, but I can't try and fix it. But taking a breather to get through it, and having something to engage with in the external world, thats a step in the right direction.


I eventually made a compromise with my mom and told her I would meet her at the grocery store after.

Family

It was never my family's style to get 'mushy' even though it had been 9 months since I had seen my parents. Alberta welcomed me with the same freezing cold and wet weather it had welcomed me with the first day of my journey. The clouds that I had so miraculously avoided from Manitoba through Saskatchewan finally started camping out on top of me. Trina's family in Yorkton, Shauna's family in Lethbridge, the Goddens & Dorans in Calgary I was fortunate to work my way back into familial relationships. I was surprised how normal it all felt. Travellers amnesia set in fast; all the miracles and disappointments of the journey were soon forgotten, and reality set in.

Mom was taking pictures of rainsoaked me by the time I was parked in the farmyard, and dad was out soon after. She was getting a bit teared up, but dad acted like nothing happened. I gave them both a hug. We settled in quickly, but I remember feeling like a stranger in my parents house, the house I raided the fridge in for almost 40 years. This isnt my house, this is their house.

The weekend boasted a great Chapman reunion of over 20 relatives and we played the name game to catch everyones. We sat around the fire in the garage all weekend except to play the bean bag toss in which I lost out in the first round. I enjoyed it all.

The come down was an anxiety filled day of expectation and realizations. I wasnt going to let it win, especially after 9 months of working on my own inner strength, so I found a good medical book about taking charge of ones own emotional and physical health, and that gave me a lot of optimism and focus on feeling better.

Welcome Home

On this, my 13th straight day of driving, I am aware of a normality returning to my life, and quickly. My welcome home had been wonderful in Yorkton, and here in Lethbridge with familiar faces. The weather has been somewhat ambivalent, especially skirting the outside edges of heavy dark rain clouds for two days and only getting pounded by it once.

The rude wake up came when I looked into my bank account and realized someone has been withdrawing money from my account for the last week, money that I dont have. It went into overdraft to the tune of 1200 bucks. Funny that that happened now, just as I was on the road. RBC is looking into it now.

Hurtin' Albertan

Im a hurtin albertan with nothin left to lose. - Corb Lund. Medicine Hat going to contact my cousin. tired after day12 of driving.

Yorkton

The bike was acting up again, the same as in Kansas. Could it be bad fuel, again? I was not enjoying thinking of getting stuck, and how in the world this bike would get us back to Vancouver. I stopped in at a gas stop and got some fuel treatment, and found out Yorkton was just 1 hour and 10 minutes away. It worked out to more like an hour and a half, but by the time I was at the visitors info centre in Yorkton, I hadnt had one hiccup in the road.

So, after meeting Trina's 8 year old new addition that I didnt know about, and her calling me Uncle, I settled in to meet her big biker looking husband who is such a sweet nice guy, her parents, and of course Billy, my godson. Still not really adjusting well to Canadian life, but we will watch the hockey game together, and hope for a memorable result.

CANADA

The best driving day in the last 10 productivity wise got me from Yankton, South Dakota to Portage La Prairie, Manitoba in around 12 hours. Although it was a cold day, my extra coat, and pants came in handy. Everything pulled together without so much as one problem. Tomorrow Yorkton.

Another Day, Another Mechanic

Woke up,and on the road for 9 but nothing prepared me for hitting a roofer's nail in the Shell garage station. Rear tire blown. Made a buddy at the mechanics, but 215 dollars later, i am so ready to work and pay it all off.

Texas

It really is like Alberta's little cousin. Ive been able to catch up on my sleep on these roads, definitely the best in 8 months save for a few spots here and there. No speedbumps (mexico just about did me in) or potholes. I busted off a seat assembly bolt going over a speedbump I didnt see so fast I caught air. That was scary Oh shit! I yelled but she stayed up. Got up this morning at 230 and made the mistake of going back to bed, and didnt wake up until 6 my time, 7 local time. so I was on the road, made it through the border (the americans had me take all my bags off to be searched, then left me to put it all back together) and now find myself near Victoria, about 700 km from where I left this morning.

I will be at my cousin Kim's house in 3 to 4 hours.

Mama Im Comin Home

Guatemalan roads improved, but the weather did not. Cloudy, misty, cold and high altitudes combined with some overdue negativity to make for a tough ride. I woke up from this self flagelation and remembered I am not always what I think I am, or the thoughts that I preoccupy myself. The stigglers included, but were not restricted to: all your friends are married with kids, steady job, house, two cars. It was doubly distressing to think that I somehow had to catch up to be worthy, or to be a part of society......

Then I saw it for what it was: I was scared to do it alone. It would be much easier to do what everyone else is doing, but it wouldnt necessarily be as satisfying, in the end. At least thats what I am telling myself. I did save the world from at least one generation of 1 or 2 more humans, and did use that time to scurry around every little dark hole in my mind and soul. This, I believe, would help enormously in being a parent if I ever do become one.

Now, in La Paloma, Mexico, I am a man on fire, fighting a bad head, body and chest cold from the AC two nights ago. I am definitely sweating it out in this 40 degree hot and dry weather.

The map Ive attached to the blog is not accurate; I am closer to Matias Romero, on the way to highway 147 west.

Last night, I hit the border and got through again amazingly quickly, but I had to find another customs place to get my permit. Over an hour later, I found it, only to discover that its regular 24 hour operations ceased on Sundays. I had to really think to realize what day it was. So, I did it this morning.

The rest of my journey will be to hightail to around Veracruz area, then Montmoros border with Brownsville, Texas. I think I will put on 1000 km at least today, after already 500 or so in the bag. I am ready to see my friends and family, and soak up the love.

http://youtu.be/MoBAuinI56g

Videos of my journey

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