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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I will be at my cousin Kim's house in 3 to 4 hours.
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.
Remembering the wonderful vistas of Honduras. Beautiful country. Lots of cows and horses with their heads tied to their leg to keep them from getting too far. Also lots of very very sick dogs.... especially a little puppy with a broken leg.
The border was one of the quickest, and now, with a tidy Canucks victory, and a nice meal, I am pretty content.
I am just loving being out on the road again, although 12 hours is enough today. I will start again as early as I can, probably around 5 am, and make for the Mexican border.
Over the last almost 40,000 km, and 9 months on the road, I have had a lot of time to think about things. Unfortunately I miss most of it, but I do my best to document what has gone on. I feel as if my head has changed forever. For the better, by the way.
3 police stops, and I paid one of them off. The Honduran border was worrisome in my mind, as I had to pay over 220 US to get through 7 months ago. It was actually the Nicaraguan border that did it to me this time. My lengthened stay was fine on my passport, but not on my custom document for the bike. I paid 50 US extra for that, which made everything late, and we had to wait over an hour for lunch break. A nice young kid was helping me out, a custom at most of these border crossings. There are so many different buildings and photocopies and procedures, I find its worth 5 or 10 bucks. This time........ 35 bucks to get into Honduras.
Some more police on the Honduras side, trying to cause problems with my ICBC paper that after 6 months looks like a gum wrapper from Christopher Columbus pocket. I said I would be happy if I made it out of Tegucigalpa by nightfall, and despite a stop at KFC i just couldnt help myself) mission accomplished. I ended up in a rough rough part of town, but got out just in time. Had 6 guys surround me at once when i asked for directions but they were all fine.
The road was getting pretty bad, and since I was out of the city I started looking for a hotel. Bingo! Nice little one, 13 bucks for the nite. Steep hill to get up, worried about getting back down with one brake. Got out at 545 am and I thought it was Gustavo the hotel owner on his horse until he asked for 10 pesos. No! WTF! not Gustavo. I opened up the gate, and then Gustavo came out.
Watched the end of the Jack Kevorkian movie starring Pacino, then found out the next day he had died that day. Imagine being trapped in your body with a terminal illness, and unable to do anything about it except wait to die.
Some mixups with the road BCAA map is 15 years old) but got over here to La Esperanza, anxious to continue on. On the way down, I got from Antigua, Guatemala, to the Nicaraguan border in 40 hours, so I am on pace to be somewhere close tonight pending a quick move through Guatemala City.
Bike is running well. I am constantly worried about when the other shoe is going to drop (where does that saying come from) but forcing myself to enjoy the gorgeous Honduran hills, and take it all in. A subtle grind sound now and then (probably from the brake alterations we did) and a crunch twice but overall oil level is great. I feel like I am riding on a ghost bike....... the way it looked 6 weeks ago, that was the only way I would be riding anywhere on it.
Honduras is funny...... so much American influence in the form of fast food outlets in smaller size cities but so much poverty, and lack of attention. No wonder people put guns in your face...... they dont have enough money to go to Pizza Hut!
On the TV here is a magician show where a masked guy is showing all of the magicians secrets..... he has to have a mask because all the magicians would kick his ass. This is how some people operate..... if it makes you money, breaking personal values are irrelevant.
Its nice to have some mystery in life. Instead, were watching Atlanta houeswives get their hair did, and guys with Tourettes sing someone elses songs, and a bunch of testosterone fueled 20 somethings fight and fuck in a house they cant leave for a month. We cant help it. Its easier to watch someone else live their life then to live our own.
AND..... heres the kicker........ most big name grocery items like Heinz, Coke, or Kraft are spending our food money to advertise their products during commercials for these shows. TV is NOT free..... it is one of the most expensive things in society today, when you look at all associated costs.
I woke up this morning with disgust at having gotten drunk again.
It may have been the first time in my life that a hangover was exactly what I needed. It was about 830 am. After laying back down following a much needed pee, I knew I wasnt going to sleep again. Another bladder infection (not caused by anything nefarious I am an angel you know) has made the pees particularly painful. I felt the need to share that with someone in case you know how to cure it.
Assured of some kind of night time talking, and subsequent guilt and embarrassment, I jumped out of bed with a bleary eyed determination. That bike, and everything around it was indeed my life, and it required my due diligence and attention. I think it was me that was holding on staying in Nicaragua, not the bike. I had to take full responsibility for me being here still.
In a hurry to go nowhere, rapidly flashing from thing to thing creating destruction along my path, my pattern during times of stress has been like a nuclear bomb from time to time. That wasnt going to work today.
With JB weld tubes in hand, I walked determinedly down the 10 blocks to the mechanic, after a surprisingly perfect breakfast. (I havent been a pancake fan since I was a child but this time, I think it sopped up the booze a bit) As I approached the shop, I saw Marlon Jr. under the bike. He didnt look up, replying only with ´working´when I asked him what he was doing.
Things continued to improve throughout the morning.
Once I let go of how it was supposed to be, or how it was supposed to look, I relaxed, and everything around me began to shift. Starting with the JB weld (which I had strangely hoarded from the mechanic because I was not sure how to use it duh its simple!), which Marlon Jr. started to mix and apply. His father and him slowly and surely worked through the brake problem, and put the bike back together.
I thought hell why dont we get the seat fixed while were at it? Marlon Sr. was off to the welder and back in 30 minutes with it, fitting perfectly strong back into the chassis. (My seat has been held on only with one bolt in the back for 5 months or so) I took the tape off the two side lights and repaired them proper, as well as redid my blog address that was on the back of the orange cooler, faded dramatically since September.
I guess its strange and sad also at how long I have been waiting for some kind of answer to life. I finally got what I needed. It is this: A plus B Equals Whatever. What this means to me is that as long as I live my life with effort, and care, and attention, my life will turn out fine. It might not look how I want it to always, but as long as I am doing my work, I can live with ease, not dis-ease.
Its been a lifetime of worry since I became conscious of myself existing, around age 5, and recorded memory. My first day at kindergarten was a disaster when, according to my mother, I clung so tenaciously to her leg, (wailing like a wounded animal knowing my child within) that the administrators suggested she wait another year, and try again.
Whats going to happen? Can I handle it? Am I going to be ok? I learned to cope by avoiding my life, and waiting for the right conditions. The problem was the conditions never came. I just simply didnt trust myself to do the right thing...... and how could have I when I had created such an impossible standard for myself to live up to? I expected myself to be able to say exactly what the other person wanted to hear, so that they would be happy, and give me back some sort of happy feeling.
Well, I can just transcend that whole weird equation, and keep it square and centre. Imagine a life, Jason, where you dont have to apologize for who you are anymore. You dont have to apologize for what you say, you can live peacefully with however people react to what I say. Because you know what? I know the truth, and if you cant handle it, thats not my problem. I am not speaking it to hurt you, I am speaking it to release it from my own mind. It is too heavy for me to hold in.
I never want to hurt anyone, I grant you that. And I know I can be harsh when I let it fly. I really do. But you will like being around me, for the most part. And I will like being around you. Even if we have things that bother us, we can get along. That being said, theres nothing wrong with surrounding myself with people that I feel free around.
I will let Patty Smyth, and Scandal communicate my sentiments of Nicaragua.....
Ive been buddha for a long time. This set me off. The mechanics son asked when are you coming back I said one year, two years. I told you guys to take the silicone off and change it. Ive waited 10 days for the parts you could have done it then.
I had to walk off because I know thats how they do things down here. Things get done when they get done. I guess I was most upset that he said the oil was old.
So, Im going back there to apologize, and give them the jb weld.
Another day in Leon.....
One of the youngest volcanoes in the world, Cerro Negro last erupted in 1999. 140 years before that, a flat valley of soy fields suddenly changed, as if a massive hand came lurching out of the earth to touch the sky! And, we now were to toboggan down it at 80 km per hour. Upon return to base, I willingly jumped into the iguana tank for 20 cordobas, took up close photos of wasps drinking watermelon juices, and chronicled a few other interesting life forms.
I had a great time chumming up with some new friends, as we hiked, ate, swam and sweated our way through the Cerro Negro highlands, catching a bus back to Leon. Felt wonderful to be outside and explore.
He himself cannot obtain enough identity to feel he has an identity. Identity is so scarce that its too valuable. Nobody must have one. To be with such a person is therefore an uncomfortable experience since he does not credit our identity, does not grant us beingness.
Usually yellow and brown people, the white does not usually believe he can get attention from matter or objects. The yellow and brown believe for the most part, and it is all a matter of consideration, that rocks, trees, walls, etc. can give them attention. The white man seldom believes this and so is likely to become anxious about people.
Attention is a method of knowing. Inattention is a method of notknowing.
An artist stops his work when he believes he can no longer create an effect.
When a man has a problem very thoroughly and cant solve it, he really has too few problems. He needs more. The insanity among the idle is a matter of problem scarcity.
Despite the amount of suffering, pain, misery, sorrow, and travail which can exist in life, the reason for existence is the same reason as one has to play a game, interest, contest, activity and possession.
If a thetan can suffer from anything, it is being outcreated. The manifestations of being outcreated would be the destructino of his own creations and the overpowering presence of other creations. Thus a thetan can be brought to believe that he is trapped if he is outcreated.
excerpts from Scientology the fundamentals of thought
my note check out wikipedias history on L. Ron Hubbard to see what the guy behind these words, and what he was really like
We never get what we want,
We never want what we get,
We never have what we like,
We never like what we have.
And still we live & love.
The best kind of friends,
Is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with,
Never say a word,
And then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.
It's true that we don't know
What we've got until it's gone,
But it's also true that we don't know
What we've been missing until it arrives..
Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they'll love you back!
Don't expect love in return;
Just wait for it to grow in their heart,
But if it doesn't, be content it grew in yours.
It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone,
An hour to like someone,
And a day to love someone,
But it takes a lifetime to forget someone.
Don't go for looks; they can deceive.
Don't go for wealth; even that fades away..
Go for someone who makes you smile,
Because it takes only a smile to
Make a dark day seems bright.
Find the one that makes your heart smile!
May you have
Enough happiness to make you sweet,
Enough trials to make you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
And enough hope to make you happy.
Always put yourself in others' shoes.
If you feel that it hurts you,
It probably hurts the other person, too.
The happiest of people
Don't necessarily have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
Happiness lies for
Those who cry,
Those who hurt,
Those who have searched,
And those who have tried,
For only they can appreciate the importance of people
Who have touched their lives.
When you were born, you were crying
And everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die,
You're the one who is smiling
And everyone around you is crying.
By the time I had gotten to Quetzal Trekkers, I was hoping secretly that they wouldnt answer the door. I just felt sick at the thought of having to go into a classroom again. Well, I did it, and I was fine. The administrator praised me, and said he had never seen the students so engaged before. But I just wasnt comfortable, and was looking at the watch, hoping for it to end.
I whiled away the afternoon watching Braveheart for the first time. Like the story of Che, a man dies for what he believes in, betrayed by the very people he stood to die for. Like Jesus. There was something that I related to there, being so virtuous in my love for people, then hating them for not idolizing me.
I am not sure if I am the only one to develop a coping strategy of ..... if I dont succeed at something Im actually denying to myself that I enjoy or feel comfortable at, I need to work harder and make it work, because if I dont I am a failure.
The afternoon was spent dreaming about what a job would look like that I actually felt comfortable in. I would excel like nobodys business, and be in the top of my field in only a few years. Thats whats on the line.
Inspired also to realize that we share the same cells as plant life, only our cells have adapted to a slightly different way of existing.
So, why not see what is possible for myself living into a world of fun, attraction, attention, interest, ease, passion and creation? I let go of a world of struggle and doing what I am supposed to do.
And now, its 6:42 pm, and Ive agreed to meet Connor at 7 pm at Quetzal Trekkers to talk about volunteer teaching English to a group of 14 to 15 year olds tomorrow. All the same old stuff is coming up for me and I am feeling stressed in only 15 minutes. I feel really worked up. All the same old jason brain stuff is coming up right in my face and I am finding it really hard to cope. Feel like I am falling off the edge of sanity. All because I feel SO scared to screw up in front of someone else.
I am considering telling him it is not really my thing. Its a confusing situation, but in my own reality, I cant deal with a class not being perfect. And so I miss out.
The oil leak is located around the starter, the cylindrical shaped piece on the right hand side of the photo.
This is a photo of the complete gearbox assembly. The shaft would normally be seen inserted into the left hand side here. My mechanic said that the whole unit must be sold intact, as everything is shimmed &machined to work perfectly together, and its not prudent to mix and match. In fact, Yamaha does not sell individual parts inside the gear box. The part will be shipped out by DHL this afternoon. We have a DHL office here in Leon, and with Dave separating freight and cost of item, and keeping one of the receipts out of the box, I think it is all we can do to make it easier this time.
And in a completely different vein, a short article that says its ok to pace and walk around when thinking.
My friend messaged me this map this morning and said I scored 644. Thanks Bob.
Wasnt the world supposed to end....... again?
Now Im feeling ready to talk less, and do more physically. Ready to watch the Canucks game though; the two feelings are related. Ive always felt the need to align myself with the tough jocks when need be. I am equal parts tough jock and sensitive sap, not to mention a myriad of other things. But I am aware of my need to be perceived as a manly man, despite not really acting that way, or feeling that way all the time.
Finally, a woman had emailed me a few times and shared herself. I finally put two and two together to realize she was someone I knew. I responded to her a few times, and wondered how much I would have changed if I had realized I knew her. Secondly, how much more I trust someone when they are a friend of a friend.
I had milliseconds to improve my situation. Tining on the brakes, I tried my hardest to turn the bike and somehow avoid it but it was no use. The bike slammed into the rear bumper, and the next few moments was like riding a 600 pound gorilla. It was as if the bike was abruptly ready to lay down and begin its onerous slide into the ditch, and then suddenly it slammed itself upright, only to do the same thing on the other side. My legs were flailing trying to keep balance and somehow regain control in case of oncoming traffic. I was reeling from the impact.
I momentarily found myself parked on the side of the road. Miraculously the front tire looked intact, although 2 of three head lamp lights were popped right out of their sockets, and a 1 inch thick round metal guard was bent back on itself right onto the right foot brake. I heard a woman wailing, and the sense of people gathering. There was no hesitation, and no opportunity to complain, cry, or get upset. I needed to get help. My leg was starting to hurt a bit at the ankle and knee, but I ignored it and started walking back to the scene. Was it my fault?
The car´s driver approached me as soon as I arrived on foot, and I realized right away he knew his guilt. ¨Tranquillo, tranquillo¨, he kept saying in a hoarse voice, his stress apparent. I thought later he was just as surprised as I was to be impacted suddenly by such a massive force. I told him ¨listen, I dont want money but I do need help to get my bike going again, and to find a hotel and some food.¨ He was assuring and staying calm, which was a relief.
By now a large crowd had gathered around the bike, inspecting the situation as often happens in small town Latin America. I took charge, and asked if anyone had a bar long enough to bend the guard back into place, and take it off the brake. One guy said he did, and promptly brought it back. Two of us held the bike back, as he jerked the bar hard enough to show movement in the guard in the right direction. It was working so well, we went too far the other way, and put a gash in it. I was fine with that, saying I would just get a welder to fix it up. In all honesty, I just wanted to get away from all the attention, and somehow deal privately with what had happened.
Before I had a chance to really appreciate being alive, I heard a grinding noise coming from the tire, and knew I had to stop. My 1 month forced vacation may have been slightly shorter, and cheaper if I hadnt pushed it the first time I heard serious problems. So I promptly turned around, and found someone to ask where a hotel was. This had to be looked at in the morning. Found a guy, and he said Jinotepe would be the best bet, 7 km down the road.
A welcome was soon to come my way, with a nice little hotel and a receptionist who spoke English. I was so messed up, I didnt want to speak spanish anymore. My knee, and ankle were starting to throb, so I was glad when she offered for me to bring the bike into the lobby, and gave me a close room. I showered, changed, asked for a restaurant, promptly went there and downed 2 rum and cokes, and 2 beers. The restaurant staff came over and sat with me for a bit, as I invited them to come and join in my happiness to be alive.
The next day was spent finding someone to repair the front disc brake. Several stores denied us, us being me and the hotel staffer who volunteered to help me find a solution. We ended up finding a brake store, who made new brakes for me, then grinded down the areas that were rubbing on the metal, on my suggestion. A lengthy process, but only cost about 7 bucks. I went back to the hotel and threw all my stuff on the bike.....which was leaking a lot of oil still. I was cursing that mechanic let me tell you.
70 km later, the clunking started. I knew I was going to be stranded, but I decided I wasnt going to sweat it. I realized whether it was going to happen or not, me stressing about it would do me no good. The bike just stopped moving forward. It was revving, and engine sounded good, but not moving. So upset but couldn´t let it out. Changed my shoes, and started pushing. Luckily news came that a mechanic was only 2 km away so I headed that way. It was 35 degrees out and me in my leathers. Two young local guys felt sorry for me, and started pushing me. When we got to the mechanics, his wife told us he was in Managua, so we had to turn around, as I thought my chances would be better on the road. We then met a truck who offered to take us to Leon for 50 bucks I said no too expensive. The one young guy suddenly says his buddy would do it too. That felt better, so I told them to toss off.
Soon, I would find a way to justify the hemmoraging of money as my way of donating to the Nicaraguan economy. And they didnt have to pry it away from my dead hands.
We got the bike to Leon a couple hours later over some very bad roads, then found a mechanic. Drive shaft is damaged. Must have been in the accident. I am lucky to be alive, so you wont hear me complain. I will get home when I get home. No. Use. Sweating.
I want to be in Guatemala by Sunday.
What a trip it has been this month. A week sleepless on the beach, a couple weeks on a volcano island. Now there´s a crying baby and because its not mine its incredibly annoying. ..... Continue practicing patience...... anyone who knows me well knows it is not my forte.
I am taking a friend back to the Nicaragua-costa rica border, then turning around, and having my mechanic plug up the oil leaks as best he can. Dave from New Life, the mechanic in Williams Lake, suggested I take all that silicone that this guy has put on and take it off, replacing it with JB weld, a liquid metal compound. Loath to do that up til now, in case I had to get back into parts but I am not going to be selling this bike. I will donate it to the Stettler Museum after I am finished using it, if they would appreciate it, of course. The patchwork engine will make for a good story and be inspirational to some, crazy to others. A story nonetheless.
I am happy. I am happy with what I have, and dont have. I am eternally grateful to myself for giving myself this gift, this journey. I am the same Jason, but I love that Jason a bit more. And everything else is just a bonus.
taken from OSheas Irish Pub Restaurant menu
With the best intentions in the world, you might be inadvertently doing more harm than good - and creating parasites at the same time....
The children you see on the streets of Granada begging for food and money have become an epidemic that, beileve it or not, is destroying their lives. These children have learned that tourists are walking ATM machines that hand out money and food whenever they ask. When a kid approaches you, please bear these things in mind:
THESE KIDS HAVE HOMES
The homeless situation here in Granada is not nearly as severe as it is in other cities. Orphanages and charity organizations take care of homeless children here. These kids have parents and a family...
THESE KIDS ALREADY HAVE FOOD
But they want the hamburges, french fries, and other rich foods that tourists eat. These kids eat rice & beans, fruits and vegetables like all the other children in Nicaragua - and those that are hungry are fed in a large charity kitchen here in Granada called ¨Carita Feliz¨(Happy Face). However, these kids are refusing to eat the nutritious food that this kitchen provides because so many tourists will give them richer foods......
THESE KIDS BELONG IN SCHOOL
Many of these children who arrive on the street are usually already attending school, but within days they drop out and begin spending all the time on the streets begging and harassing tourists and locals alike.....
THEY ARE BECOMING DRUG ADDICTS AND PROSTITUTES
As they roam the streets at night, they come into contact with bad influences: drugs, sniffing glue (which literally dissolves the brain), pedophiles, and pimps (who turn them into child prostitutes)....
THESE CHILDREN ARE BEING EXPLOITED
Many times these kids are sent by their parents to earn money, since the children can earn more begging for a few hours than the parents can working a full day. Some children are beaten if they don't want to beg. Poor, irresponsible adults will ¨rent¨ hungry looking children to use for begging in the streets....
PLEASE PRACTICE TOUGH LOVE: if you give these kids what they ask for, you´re making their lives - and the lives of the locals and visitors miserable. If you truly want to help these children, please give donations to any of these organizations:
Carita Feliz: (meals and development) - www.caritafeliz.org
La Esperanza Granada (education) - www.la-esperanza-granada.org
Mi Familia: (family assistance program) - www.mifamilia.gob.ni
my note: YES, all this just from giving someone 10 cents for nothing. Never forget how powerful we are in affecting positive and negative changes around us.
"The fates will lead him who will; him who won't, they'll drag" - Seneca
"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society" - Jiddu Krishnamurti
"Proventus Awesome quod Minutum Combibo (Increase the Awesome and Decrease the Suck" - Nerdfighters
I had a sense that Ezequiel was lying. Why would he be so evasive? Was I being paranoid. He said, come on Thursday. I said but why if you say the bike is ready now why cant i come tomorrow. Ok tomorrow you can come but after 3 pm. Ok, but still what is going on Ezequiel I dont want lies why cant I come tomorrow at 8 am? Ok fine, you can come but between 12 and 1 pm.
I spent the night waking from dreams of the motorbike crashing, losing everything, and having everything in the room stolen!
Its 5 pm, and Im off to the mechanics to pick up the motorbike.
Now its 820, made it to Granada but just not happy with the sound of the bike. It just doesnt sound right. I told Ezequiel I will pay him 200 now, as the bike was not ready before monday as agreed, but that I will be back on Friday to pay him the extra 100. This way I can get any extra work required....... but I dont think he has much experience in tweaking. Turns out he was concealing the truth indeed..... I noticed the engine bottom slathered in silicone, and that is all they did after discovering the leak. I will need to do more research myself on what to do now.
And, as I write at 830 pm in Rivas, it was a difficult day. Started by missing the boat literally, as I was waiting in front of one boat, as the other was leaving behind me. Missing school bus dread! That was a blessing, as I had forgotten my visa and bank card back at the camp, so I would have had to return anyways. Also I was able to get ahold of Jose, the guy that helped me 3 weeks ago. I could not conceal my anger with him charging me 120 bucks to get into Managua 2 weeks ago (and exacerbated by the trip being a total waste of time) after a couple people told me 50 bucks to Managua and back. He still tried to cover it up explaining cost of gas and such. I said its not my problem, bring the purolator bill of lading with you to San JOrge boat dock, and well discuss.
I got on the 11 am boat, chatted with a canadian, then arrived at 12 and found jose. We had some tense moments, then settled on 70 bucks. We drove back to exchange him with his brother Jimmy, the seemingly quieter, more responsible , more likeable and trustworthy boy did I just make a lot of stuff up there! When we finally got to airport, it was looking like a quick and dirty deal, as the UPS guy said keep that bill that says 980 dollars value in parts in your bag. If its under 500 you dont pay taxes. I also let Jimmy take care of things but he was gone for an hour before coming out and saying the police found the bill of sale in the box, that included cost of parts AND freight to a total of 1750 bucks, meaning taxes to be paid on the total amounting to over almost $400 US. It was a shock, but I told myself we were lucky to not be thrown in jail for fucking around with the truth. Funny how quick I was to avoid telling the truth, and doubly interesting how I justified it wholly, telling myself the nicaraguan government had no right taxing goods or products not made in their country, nor staying in their country long enough to gather dust.
Now, I have 1 dollar left in my pocket, as VISa didnt work at the customs, so I had to pay cash, and I can only withdraw 450 per day out. No biggie ready for bed anyways but it hasnt been the first time i was down to nothing. If I didnt have a credit card, things would be a scramble and hats off to travellers who dont or cant use them. They are really a dangerous hit to the bottom line 30 days after purchase.
Tomorrow will be day one of mechanic, and I expect there will be at least one seemingly insurmountable problem arise. He already has shown his confidence to be misfounded when we went to Managua to find they didnt have any parts for my bike. Heres to hoping im wrong.
Will make it back to Ometepe tomorrow night, sleep there, gather my stuff, as I now am spread out between three places, having stored some bags in Playa del Sur since leaving there last Tuesday. This has all tested me to the point of not caring, so now its time to care again. No one else is going to do it for me.
Just for today I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abe Lincoln said, that ¨most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.¨
Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my ¨luck¨as it comes, and fit myself to it.
Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways i will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out. If anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things i don´t want to do just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt they may be hurt, but today i will not show it.
Jus for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as i can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything, and not try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.
Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests hurry and indecision.
Just for today i will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so that the world will give to me.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury, pardon, where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair hope where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master grant that i may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love for it is in giving that we receive it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Tell people when you want alone time.
Motorcycle spewed oil after 5 pm so the welder needs to come back. We are back to the waiting game.
Having an extraordinary life is never farther away than breaking throughh patterns. The patterns themselves, to me, can seem like a 20" thick wall of platinum when I face them, but its all perceived. Met another sleeptalker last night, and it was freeing to have a group of people and I talk about sleeptalking and what I said and all laughing about it. They thought I was an army guy because of the terminology I used in my sleep 2 nights ago. So, this big ugly thing I was embarrassed about for my whole life has come down to this. Tell people, share with them, and let it go. Hi my name is Jason. I'm a sleeptalker. Hi my name is Jason. I'm scared of intimacy and commitment. Hi my name is Jason. I am scared of a lot of things, but I will live everyday with courage, and continue doing what I believe is right.
And the bug that was tearing at my eyeball on the moto return ride stayed in there all night, leaving it brightred and sore, puffy. I get regular, welcome check-ins from Eddie and Mom but the friendship base has withered to nothing. It left me feeling very lonely and angry. I went through a moment of 'you could really care less about me', to realizing I am not calling any of my freinds, nor talking to them directly, besides a once a year drop in. What the hell do I expect? I fell into the trap of facebook, quick comments on life and shallow, surface talk. So, if I were to choose 3 people to get back into contact with, who would they be?
I go into Granada today, and leave island life behind. Sad to say goodbye; this island has been an insular, safe world for 2 weeks. The bike, I expect, will be ready between today and Wednesday, making it 1 month, and 4 - 6 days of waiting. But we are almost at the end, and it has been a good learning experience to stop and face myself for a while.
I just called Ezequiel and he said the motorbike will be ready by 3 pm today.
Hey I would give anything, or take something away from someone else just to feel ok. What is the point of any animal feeling strange? Its somewhat comical to have an anaimal feeling strange. Shows the power of the human mind to take itsself out of the game, to overfocus on something irrelevant. Todays technologically, and socailly complicated world, some of us have to adapt or perish. We cant just live. It has to be an awareness, a work in progress.
And, on the parts front, they are out of the Managua airport as of 1230 this afternoon, and are probably across the lake in Rivas tomorrow. Now, trusting the process and the guys, my mechaic should have the box tomorrow. Go guys. After 2 and a half weeks, I feel that when I am on that bike again, it will be like starting all over again. Has been the most interesting experience of exploration, and some really fun times, with lots of laughter.
All of the embarrassing moments of the past came rushing back in a flood of emotions. So, when one of my roommates I hadn't met yet mentioned it this morning, I was aghast, and a bit speechless. He said that the night before, he and his girlfriend thought I was talking to someone on my cellphone in the middle of the night. (I have been known to surprise people with the clarity of my speaking, although it always ends up in very clear nonsense) But when I talked again last night, they realized I was indeed sleep talking. I told him I was embarrassed, and he said "you don't need to worry about this. You cannot control it. Every person should be able to understand that." He gave me some perspective and I started to tear up, as the emotional wall came down.
Only the computer screen saw my tears, confiding in it with a release of pent up embarrassment, and a deep sense of inadequacy melted away, if only for a moment. it is crucial to acknowledge the fragility of being human, thus healing that inner child who doesn't understand, or can't cope. Then, it is time to do what humans do best, and move on from it. Get up, dust off, and get back into life. And next time, tell everyone in the room that you're a sleeptalker.