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Posted on May 16, 2013

No Home, No Job, No Plans, One Hell of an Adventure- Unreal Guest Post From Jamie At Great Big Scary World

No Home, No Job, No Plans, One Hell of an Adventure- Unreal Guest Post From Jamie At Great Big Scary World

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Sleeping Under A Bridge

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.
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                                                                                    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.
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                                                                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.
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                                            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.

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                                             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.
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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?
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Jamie Bowlby Whiting, great big scary world, the nomadic family
 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.

Comments

comments

32 Comments

  1. Yet again Jamie you write challenging and interesting work, well done. I think you fully define frugal travel!

    Whilst I am happy to sleep in a tent from time to time I certainly wouldn’t like the idea of sleeping in the open air or going through rubbish bins for food.

    Fair play to you but it is not for me.

    • The guy, isn’t jamie remarkable? i totally agree.

      • He sure is Gabi, very refreshing points of view.

        I came across his site a few months ago and he certainly is remarkable.

        • totally! i agree.did you see that post i wrote on his site. you’d love it.

    • Of course, we all see the world differently. I never thought I would do such a thing until someone pulled me into that world. Sleeping outside without a tent however, is truly liberating. As for going through bins, it’s more like looking through a plastic container filled with good to eat, sealed, free food. It’s exciting what you find.

  2. This is the best thing I’ve read in a while. There seem to be a lot of parallels between your travels and mine, Jamie, or at least the way we perceive people and our interactions. Very happy to have come across this piece, mate! Keep it up!

    • Jeremy, i’m so glad you came by. i know jamie will be so glad to meet you. he’d love your hospital story man! can you put the link in a comment here, he would die. i think all my readers would love to read it. send it ok?

    • Thanks 🙂 I’m glad to find more like minded people in this world. I hope that whatever you’re doing now, you’re having a great time.

  3. Eeeeeeeeee, I’m so excited; just reading The Avant-Garde Life, and I can’t believe I haven’t heard of Jamie before now. I think he will fit in very well when we eventually get round the campfire with our fellow renegades!

    • oh melanie. he will. i believe he will just dance to our frequency and laugh all night with us. yes, let’s invite him to the campfire! 🙂 you have a place of honor waiting for you jamie. you tell stories first.

    • I’d better get practising on the ukelele so that we can all sing a song! I’d love to hear what you the of The Avant-Garde Life when you’re done. I hope you find something useful in it.

      • No probs Jamie-I’ll be in touch!

        • i told you he was amazing!

          • And very cute! 😉

          • You guys are flatterers… not that I mind of course!!

          • suffer with grace love. you deserve it! gabi

  4. Beautifuly written and a great story Jamie. I used to have a little flat in Richmond overlooking the Waitrose bins, I used to see all the food going in and all the people coming to take it out again.

    • ah, i bet jamie would love to chill there too! adore you dear. listen, are you coming to malaysia when i’m still here? i just realized we may be able to see each other, omg!

    • I used to work part-time in Waitrose as a seventeen year old student and would throw so much away everyday due to sell-by-dates. Glad to see it is being made use of!

      • That’s alyson’s mission in life- to help us all know we have a higher purpose! 🙂

  5. Inspirational story and yes, Jamie is an excellent writer. I only left London for a life on the road a couple of months ago and still suffer with the odd pang of guilt over having quit my job and left my home to travel; this piece reminded me again of why those material things aren’t important.

    • amy, funny how much we grow through leaving and funny how we learn that all the material goods we once lived our lives around mean so little to us. i know jamie will have much to say too. thank you dear.

  6. Jaime always makes me feel free, his writing allows me to vicariously live a life I think perhaps I’m afraid of. Two years ago I left my home on a similar adventure, only there was no way on earth I would be sleeping in abandoned buildings and hitch hiking.

    I was a spoilt little girl who thought that money = experiences.

    How wrong I was…and oh how much my outlook on life has changed. Jaime’s view of the world, the people he meets and his care free abandon of what defines our societies is so refreshing. I wish him all the best for his continued adventures and hope one day our paths cross on the open road.

    • charli, i feel the same way about jamie. you just love him for being raw. i do too. i know he’d love to respond to you soon. he is marvelous. i’m so proud to feature him here. so very very proud.

    • 😀

      • right jamie. the coolest people….

  7. After Being punched out of the nest at 17, I cried my way with a backpack a few miles north.The elementary school I went to was now my home. I slept on the roof and at 5 am I rolled out washed in the drinking fountain. The boss would pick me up on the way to the site,(Thank you Rob D.)and continue to work. Then he’d drop me off. After a few weeks he asked where I went, after he dropped me off. I told him. He immediately insisted I come home with him. I did and feel a sense of gratitude to this day.Then he sold me a clean but not luxurious ford pinto…This was my new home, God knows the gratitude I have for that safety from the elements. The deli sandwiches I made for myself, the trips to the laundrymat, I was Never worried about what I could lose. I was Very grateful for Everything I had……

    • Dd, wow. i cannot believe what an amazing life story you have. what a book! wow. clearly, all of this made you so strong and independent and then, allowed you to meet Rob, a true angel who forever will be in your heart. i feel like crying. you don’t get those amazing chances to get such love often. i’m so happy for you Dd. HOpe to see you more here and to learn so much more from you. find us on FB too. 🙂 hugs to you brave adventurer, gabi ps: jamie’s on a bike right now in turkey (?). i know he’ll be so happy to connect with you when he has internet again. check out his site, you’ll love it! hugs, gabi

    • Dd, wow. You have quite a story. I am glad to hear that you are a fighter and you worked your way through this. I hope whatever you are doing now, you are happy. You are a role model for everyone who ever questions if anything is possible.

      • There you Go Jamie. i thought we’d have to wait until you finish cycling the world and building rafts. DD- you do rock, so you do Jamie. my greatest respects to you friend. gabi

  8. YES YES YES!!!

    • is jamie fuckin amazing or what? i know! i know!