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 Brave New World

How annoying..... I know! All 0 followers have been choked that I haven't blogged in a week; I can hardly believe it myself. You ever feel like you blinked and a day, week, month, or year has just passed? When I committed to assist at a Landmark Advanced Course seminar back in December, I thought at the time March 26th was a light year away. It has now come and gone, and I find myself readily aware of how little action I have taken towards the journey south to Rio. My goal of $7000 in the bank by the end of March is already $2000 on the optimistic side. It's not worrying me, in fact I'm quite excited about reaching my goal - I haven't been excited about money in a long time. There isn't an attachment to it's value, just simply playing the game to get it.
There were so many amazing breakthroughs from the weekend, but the one that stands out is about health. Stomach aches, joint pain, tired and restless has been my reality for two years. May 2007 I decided teaching English as a Second Language was too difficult for me, promptly quit, and proceeded to lay in bed for 3 weeks frozen in fear. It was severe enough I considered going to a Mental Health Hospital for an extended stay. My parents were obviously concerned and gave me the option to move back to Stettler, Alberta (It's the small town of 5,000 people that I grew up in) The next morning I had made my decision to stick it out in Vancouver and figure a way out. Unfortunately the distress I had caused myself that summer left a lingering health complaint that soon doubled and tripled into related issues. Since I was just glad to be alive again, I ignored it. Eventually I hit a point with my health where the writing was on the wall - change something or risk severe health issues, not to mention sacrificing my present moments. What would be the cost of me ignoring this further?

The World Is a Dangerous Place


Do you remember the mysterious disappearance of the young American girl from Aruba in May 2005? Her name was Natalee Holloway, and I just finished watching a report on her disappearance, the immediate and unfailing dedication of her mother Beth, and despite video evidence of her killer's confession, an unsolved crime. Her final trip, at the age of 18, ended quickly and violently. Her body has yet to be found, and the ripple effect of the murder will continue to seep into the island of Aruba, and the consciousness of the American people who think about the world outside of their country.

Despite the obvious danger of a young woman getting in a car with 3 strange men, I'm still left with a realization that our media creates the world outside of ours to be a very dangerous place. It is, in many ways, but I want to really look danger in the face. What is danger? The loss of life? Certainly. Emotional pain? Sure. How many thousands of young women get in cars with strange men by themselves every Friday night around the world? These things can happen here too, but what's different is the false sense of security I believe we have here.

Just outside my door is one of the busiest intersections in Vancouver - Broadway and Cambie Streets. Many people walk across these streets everyday, headphones in ears, distracted about the day to come, what to have for dinner, how to pass that test, or survive that boss. Despite our recent outlaw of cellphone usage while driving, who can stop a person deep in thought, commanding a 2,000 pound hunk of metal, from hurtling through a crowded crosswalk? Who can stop that stressed out, overweight, out of touch employee who just had a heated argument with his wife, from having a heart attack and plowing through the crowd of people you haplessly join in your last moments? Not much, and yet as soon as I see that green crossing light, I am off to the races, absent mindedly trusting my safe passage to the other side of the street.

And so it is. I would argue my life in Canada is just as dangerous as one spent on a motorcycle through Central and South America. Not necessarily in the ways you might think. My roommate Sy just informed me that he will be moving out at the end of April. Just over one month away. Despite hardly speaking to each other for almost 3 years, I am surprised. Sy was quite sick with lupus-related symptoms several months ago. When I asked him why he wanted to move, he said that after he was sick, he really started looking at his life seriously. I would have never known. You see, I have let myself fall into such a deep pattern of self absorption, and anti-social behaviour, that I didn't even care about him. I didn't even make an effort to pull him out of his room, to go and do things together, basically to care for someone outside of myself. Heaven forbid I would get too tired, or have to spend money, or take the time for someone else. That's what is so frustrating about how I have been; I wait for someone else to make the effort.
The danger of my life was so insidious I hardly noticed - I have wasted arguably the best years of my life in a haze, afraid to live.

So, despite the tragedy of Natalee Holloway, I was inspired by the story. Life will move on for everyone, except the Holloway family, the people involved in her murder and their families, and the people of Aruba. Natalee's mother has found a purpose in sending her message to young women about personal safety, and has made it her personal mission to be a positive influence for people, somehow, someway. My problems are so small. My issues are so silly. I need some bigger problems, and I will gladly die in pursuit of making my life not only meaningful but contributing to others. The danger is not in dying, but in not living. I am grateful for my roommate and his courage to say he wants a change. By association, my change must happen as well.

I Shall Not Fear


Just over 5 months to go. Arivederce, right? Not quite. My parents quietly deny me even going. It doesn't seem to even fit within their comprehension. Despite them being the 2nd, and 3rd people to find out, they steadfastly perform a gentle refusal of the fact. A very close friend of mine, Eddie, has been reduced to tears in the last week, feverishly sending ads for GPS equipment from the internet. It doesn't matter that he's 82 years old, but the intensity to which his worry has compounded has shaken me a bit. (That's Eddie to the right of me, and Steve on the left.)

A bit of history on his emails, starting shortly after my declaration of November 19th.

TELL ME THAT WHAT YOU SAID WAS A JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PLEASE. (November 22nd)

THIS WAS A JOKE?
LET ME KNOW. (november 23rd)

I DIDN'T SLEEP MUCH.I DON'T KNOW WHY I KEEP WORRYING SO MUCH.
I AM TRYING TO STOP.
YOU HAVE TO BE EXTREMELY ORGANIZED.KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU SLEEP IN AND WHERE YOU STAY. ALL SAFE PLACES. THE CULTURES ARE DIFFERENT.
NO DIRECT LOOKING IN EYES AS CRAZEES TAKE OFFENCE. SUN GLASSES
ARE BEST. DON'T TRAVEL IN THE DARK. LAWS ARE DIFFERENT, PRISONS ONLY ENJOYABLE TO SADISTS AND CRAZIES.
YOU NEED A GOOD GPS. SOME FRIENDS FOLLOWING YOU BY CAR.
MAPS. TRAVELERS CHECKS-NOT MONEY. ADDRESSES NAMES AND PHONE NO'S OF EMBASSIES. TAKE MAIN ROADS. NO SIDE RDS.
AVOID DARK PLACES. PEOPLE IN WARM COUNTRIES ARE FAMILY ORIENTED AND STRANGERS CAN BE PERCEIVED AS ENEMIES.
DON'T DRESS ABOVE THE AVERAGE PERSON.
SORRY I SHOULD KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT AND KEEP PRAYING FOR YOU.
I WILL THINK OF SPONSORS.ALL THE BEST. (November 23rd)

I HOPE YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND AND GO TO HAWAII. (November 23rd)

WATCH WHAT YOU DRINK EVEN WATER.DON'T GET HIGH ON DRUGS OR C2H5OH .THESE ARE POOR PEOPLE WHO DO ANYTHING TO GET VERY LITTLE.
RXS NEEDED.A PHYSICAL BEFORE YOU GO. SAFE PLACES FOR ADDRESSES-PHONE NOS. (November 23rd)

JUST HEARD THAT THE FELLOW I SPOKE TO YOU ABOUT WORKING ON A CRUISE SHIP LEARNING TO BE A CAPT. TOOK A CAB DOWN IN CENTRAL AMERICA. HE WAS DRIVEN DOWN A BACK LANE DUMPED OUT AND ATTACKED BY A GROUP OF WAITING BIG GUYS-ROBBED AND BEATEN AND GOT AWAY WITH HIS LIFE BY OUTRUNNING THEM.(DAYTIME EVENT)
CAPT CHEWED HIM OUT FOR NOT GOING WITH OTHERS. (November 23rd)

COUPLE OF CHARITIES COME TO MIND.
DAVID FOSTER FOUNDATION--TRANSPLANTS FOR KIDDIES
CHILDRENS -CANNUCK HOUSE
BC TRANSPLANTS
I WILL THINK OF OTHERS (November 23rd)

Steve tells me tonight, "y'know mate, if things with Bonnie and you get hot and heavy, you don't have to go on this trip". Steve's an Aussie.

I totally understand the love and support of my closest friends, but it is starting to discourage me and by association my fear is coming up. I'm now over $2,000 behind my budget month to month. Oh, and did I mention gang-style slayings in Mexico, 11 murders in El Salvador a day, guerillas in the Darien Gap of Panama and rumours of the assassination of Chavez in Venezuela?

I will be riding my motorcycle to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from Vancouver, Canada. Somewhere between 11 and 15,000 kilometres. This doesn't concern me at all. I also get the impression others before me have planned several years before embarking through arguably the most dangerous and unstable countries in the world. I am well aware that things are different outside of 'my little bubble'. That being said, I am not afraid. The only thing that scares me is the thought that I will have thoughts, feelings, and impulsions that have me frozen in fear in another country. Not only another country, but another culture, language, environment and most definitely state of mind. It is why I must go.

What it's all about

I'm actually writing this on April 15th, 2010 and thought it wise to go back and give a brief history of the nexus of this trip. In February of 2002, I was working as a construction worker, in a bachelor's suite of about 500 sq. feet, on anti-depressants, and working for $11 an hour. In the 6 years previously, I had graduated from university, quit 2 jobs, got fired from 2 jobs, started and shut down 2 businesses, married and divorced, bought and sold a house, and pretty much alienated my family and friends. When I was 'discovered' by a talent agent in a movie theatre as someone who might succeed as a model, I was so excited. I thought this was my big break. Thousands of dollars in photos and travel later, my agent suggested I become an actor as well. I moved to Vancouver, BC from Edmonton, Alberta in September 2002 to follow that dream, but with a few hundred left on a credit card, I thought it necessary to start a business. On a whim, I named the company Donna Maintenance, to honor my mother and the love she had shown me over 30 years without fail. 3 years in, I had 7 guys haphazardly completing a 2 month, $80,000 painting job in Richmond, the experience being enough for me to call my client, and friend Terry to say the job would be my last. With some money, and time in my hands, I took some the fall of '05 off, and took the University of Cambridge's CELTA 4 week intensive course, which prepared me somewhat for a 1 month substitute stint at an English as a Second Language School in Vancouver that turned into 16. I was falling behind in my preparations for teaching, and foresaw a breakdown, perceived or real. It was enough for me to say goodbye to a dream that I had created myself. It was a time of optimism, and hope for my place in the world, and it was suddenly shattered by my own hands. In the summer of '07, that same friend and client basically forced me to come and work for him in the property management business. It started out as a difficult, but necessary climb out of the anxiety-filled self-hatred that enveloped me during that time.
3 weeks cleaning out a fish pond, and me standing there thinking "I've got a university education, and now I'm cleaning pond scum. What the hell is wrong with me? Why can't I make anything work?" This time, I felt I wasn't going to run away, thoughts be damned. So, that's what I did. I just went about my business, and let my thoughts come, and go. I then realized, "heck, I can create anything I want." When I had let myself fall to my own personal low, I came to see that what I feared was not so bad after all. I began to take on challenges, small ones at first. I saw the time as an opportunity to create my life again, from scratch. I told jokes to people obviously not interested, complained about chicken bones in my salad, and flirted with attractive women. With people I didn't know, I always played it safe. Only the closest people to me ever really knew me. A whole new exciting world opened up to me.
When I was promoted that fall to manage my own building, i saw it as a 2nd chance, and I took full advantage. I created my whole world there, from dealing with people, to buying what I wanted, to working how I wanted. I had some loose guidelines, but that was about it. After 2 years of successes (and lots of failures too) I felt ready to take on the biggest challenge of my life: ride my motorcycle from Vancouver, BC to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That Saturday morning of November 19th, 2009, the wheels were set in motion, whether I wanted them to be or not. My friend Michael Ilyin was the first to hear my declaration, and my parents the 2nd and 3rd.

Videos of my journey

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