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 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

Thats How We Do It

Border crossing one of the easiest despite teasing the Honduran customs guy that El Salvador had a better soccer team...... those two countries had an actual war over a soccer game in 1969. He came back and told me I owed them 200 lempiras because I was in the country too long. Thats a lie, I said and he smiled. I ended up giving him 100 which is about 15 bucks i realized now... whoops. Oh well, they got me through quick.

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.

Cant Stop This Thing We Started

It was a pensive walk to the mechanics Friday morning, preparing myself for bad news, but also cautiously present that I could be on the road again. They were just opening up as I got there. Some guarded, but relaxed handshakes that turned into fist bumps as I trusted their status update of no oil leaking. The JB weld worked great, and all the better that I was there to see it applied from the ground up. They asked for 1000 cordobas, or about 50 bucks. I gave the old man that (hes a grandpa at 42) and the 24 year old son a 500 cord bill. Thats for all the oil leak problems, and putting in the differential. The brake didnt work long but i have a seat that stays on now too. Oh, and they welded the guard too, damaged from the accident.

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.

Why My Mother Is Always Happy

http://permaculture.com.au/online/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=192%3Awhy-gardening-makes-you-happy-and-cures-depression&catid=27%3Aarticles&Itemid=55

http://m.straight.com/s?a=394518&id=390742&pal=1&s=60

A Plus B Equals

The night had a couple weird and awkward interactions with some gringos, and it took all my strength to stay centred, made all the harder after drinks at Jack´s, La Pearla (father son luxury hotel where I watched the Canucks win 1 to 0), Olla Que Mada, and another place I cant remember.

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.....

http://youtu.be/dgM1II0Am8s

Pissed Off That I Have To

Lost my patience with the mechanics today. Drive shaft differential was in, and they said no more oil leaks. I actually believed them. I took it for a ride, and there was still oil.

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.....

Videos of my journey

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