No Home, No Job, No Plans, One Hell of an Adventure- Unreal Guest Post From Jamie At Great Big Scary World
What do you do? Where do you live? Who exactly are you and how do you define yourself?
Wherever you go in the world, people often choose to define themselves by their profession and where it is that they sleep at night. By having a certain career or by living in a particular area, people attempt to elevate their status above that of other individuals. In recent times, some job titles have become so convoluted that I don’t even understand what it is that people do everyday. For this reason and for the fact that these questions do not define a person, I normally don’t bother to ask. In short, I don’t care what your job is or where you live because these things cannot define you. Even your name does not matter.
I left my job and my home to start hitchhiking. My whole world was contained within my rather heavy backpack. When people asked me what I did and where I lived, I told them that I was homeless and unemployed. “Who are you?” they would ask. I am me. My name is Jamie if you really need to know. And this is my journey.
My backpack became lighter as I discarded unnecessary belongings and I spent nights sleeping under bridges, on beaches, in bushes, and anywhere I could put my tent. In the end, I got rid of the tent because I didn’t need it anymore. Although I didn’t have much, it wasn’t because of a lack of money that I slept outside, it was because of the sense of freedom that it gave me in a way that I had never felt before. The first night of my journey, I was left outside Brussels at four in the morning. I was completely exhausted after walking in pouring rain for four hours and turning away the suggestive compliments of a gay gypsy who offered me my first ride. I found an abandoned building and slept in the garden. From that point on, I knew that there was no reason for me to worry about where I would sleep at night.
To be free, does not mean to do nothing. To be free, means to do only what it is that you want to do. When you are free, you should be busier than you have ever been before in your life. You should be busy doing everything that you want to do. By eliminating the need to return to a home at night or a job in the day, I was truly free. I herded cows under moonlight in Lithuania, I trained rats in Estonia, I cooked dinner on the beaches of prestigious towns in Italy, and I lived life in a way that I had never ever lived it before. A way that I had never even known was possible.
My home was wherever I laid my head each night. What I did, was impulse. When I met a girl by the Eiffel Tower as I read a book under the stars, I invited her to join me on my journey. I slept under the Tower that night through the most awful thunderstorm that I have ever known since Asia. I wondered if being a few metres away from one of the largest manmade electrical conductors in Europe was a good or bad place to be. The rain was too heavy for me get out of my tent, so I wrapped my arms around myself as I rolled into the fetal position and wondered if I should start praying to a God that I had never believed in to help me through the night. When morning came, the world was steaming and fresh. I met my new friend and together we went to Italy on a whim.
Camping under the Eiffel Tower
Shortly after, I met an Irish guy in Denmark and we traveled together. Against my better wishes, he introduced me to skipping, otherwise known as dumpster diving. I have never had a single meal with so much cheese and dessert. It was luxury. From a bin! No longer am I afraid of eating from bins or sneaking around the back of supermarkets. There is a lot of perfect food going to waste and we should take advantage of that.
I joined forces with hitchhikers from Scandinavia, England, Poland, America, and when I unexpectedly found myself at a hitchhikers festival in Northern Europe, I suddenly realized what a wonderful community I had fallen into. People from all over the world were living an alternative life together. Where they were from, was unimportant. All of them lived in the moment. In the now. These were the people that I had been looking for, the people that I never even knew existed but always hoped to meet. And I encountered hundreds of them. No doubt, there are hundreds, thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands more, all over the world.
Hitch Gathering 2012, a home for the modern hippy
My journey was intended to be a solo journey. A journey that was to be undertaken alone. But it never could be alone. All of the time, wherever I went, whatever I did, people were there and they were wonderful. Hundreds of people drove me on my way. Many more invited me into their homes to spend the night. Some of them simply waved at me from passing cars and apologized for not being able to help me out. The size of our interaction was not of great importance. It was simply the acknowledgement of one another that made the difference. That little notion that we are all alone together. Some of my most favourite people that I met on the journey, were people that I do not know the name of. Nor do I know their job or their origins. They were who they were and I remember them as I want them to be. I remember the important things about them that defined them in my own eyes.
Although I started my journey alone, I was rarely alone either physically or mentally
One night in Lithuania, many kilometres from the nearest town, a family stopped to pick myself and the Irish guy up on an isolated road close to midnight. Admittedly, they only stopped because they thought that we were girls with our free swaying hippy pants and donning long hair, but that wasn’t important. They took us to their country cottage and offered us food. In the morning, I swam across the lake with the daughter of the family and then walked along the opposite shore. When we came back, we were given delicious pancakes topped with homemade fruit preserve and curdled milk before being driven on our way. I may never see that family again, but they will stay with me always.
Another family allowed me to bathe in a lake, play football with kids I couldn’t speak with, run down a road with a cow, and sleep in a barn. They too, will not be forgotten. If I talked about everyone from this journey, every special moment and what it meant to me, it would take longer than the journey itself. My journey started as a one month vacation. It took over my life because I loved it so much.
During my times on the road, I have been stopped by the police on a few occasions without receiving much hassle. They seem more intrigued and perplexed about what it is that I’m doing than wanting to stop it. I spend little money because I realize how little we need in life to be happy. And by throwing away all of my preconceptions, I live several lives every day.
Smile because life is fun and people can be great. Yes I am hitchhiking alone in the Alps.
Leaving my job, my home, and making no plans allowed me to become truly free for the very first time. Life was wonderful. All it took was letting go. I sometimes wonder how much we really have to lose as we accumulate possessions. What is it that we are holding onto? Is it really possible to let go of everything? Everything meaning your home and your job. Everything that defines you. Yes. Yes it is. I did it and it was wonderful. Instead of defining myself by my home and my job, I defined myself by a lack of them. I was, and am, exactly who I am. No more, no less. I am not better than you, I am not worse than you. I am simply me and I always will be.
When there is nothing left in my world, I will be able to look back and I will smile. I will have lived my life in my own way. I will have done exactly what it is that I want to have done; things that I don’t even know about yet. I will never have to regret living somewhere that I did not want to live. I will never regret working a job that I did not want to work.
I will be me. And I will be happy.
People won’t understand when I tell them I had no home. They won’t understand when I tell them that I had no stable job. They won’t comprehend the idea that I had no plans. But they might start to believe that I had one hell of an adventure.
When people ask me who I am, I will tell them. I will them that I am me. And that me, is happy.
Gabi here friends. Before you read his author blurb and go off to the next thing you are doing, I just wanted to say how deeply honored and touched I am to call Jamie, friend. We bonded over him writing Why Don’t You Get A Real Job and me taking his invitation to respond/add/let it out with my guest post on his site Why Don’t You Get A Real Job And Stop Abusing Those Poor Kids. I strongly encourage you to read them both. Very inspirational.
Jamie’s writing is superb and sharp, and his honesty is just the way I like it, the same way as mine, the way that keeps getting me into heaps of trouble, and makes me lose all popularity contests. You guessed it: raw, and I love finding souls like his floating in this world. So, leave my good man Jamie a comment about how you react to his ‘radical freedom’ and check out his blog. This is one amazing young man worth following.
Hugs to you, and read his author blurb. Isn’t the picture the best?
Jamie is the creator of www.greatbigscaryworld.com in which he writes honestly and openly about adventure, overcoming fear, and the search for happiness in this great big world. He advocates the idea that our fears, preconceptions, and financial restraints can all be knocked down with a little bit of rational thinking. He recently released The Avant-Garde Life which is a free download promoting this idea. If you have have ever thought about disregarding society and following your dreams, go to www.greatbigscaryworld.com/ag/ and download it for free.