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Thoughts and Feelings

Dirty Minds

Hey Team,

Here’s a little something I ran across yesterday that kind of (read: REALLY) bothered me. Granted, I was waiting at the airport ticketing desk in Los Angeles at four in the morning on no sleep so I probably wasn’t exactly in a happy-go-lucky mindset to begin with…

Behind me I hear something fall. (Nothing bigger than a waded up wrapper.)

“Hey Bob, you dropped something.” Bob’s friend leans into him and points at the floor drawing my eyes down to the wrapper at Bob’s foot.

“Meh, it’s just trash.” Horrified, now I can’t take my eyes off the wrapper…but Bob continues, “I was going to throw it away so I set it on my bag but it fell off. Not my fault.” Then he steps on the trash and rolls over it as the line moves forward!

Seriously?! I can’t believe people can do that! How much personal entitlement do you have to feel before you can convince yourself that 1) It’s not your fault YOUR trash ended up on the ground and 2) It’s not your responsibility to pick it back up?

It killed me inside to not walk away from the ticketing counter and pick up this dude’s trash in front More >

Uncertain Times

Hey Team,

Here’s the update. I’ll be flying out of LA in the next day or two on a donated airline buddy pass bound for Orlando so I can knock out SCUBA diving. That should give me a couple weeks to hitchhike back across the country for the big finish passing through Atlanta for the horse through the covered bridge with CNN’s News To Me!

It’s funny that even after almost a year and a half practice put into “amtrekking” AND with the October 25th deadline looming the final two objectives still feel so tenuous. I haven’t actually spoken to anyone about SCUBA diving but I have sent out a few emails so basically for that one I’m relying on the fact that I’m already certified and blind dumb luck. I’m really not sure how that one is going to happen but I figure I have at least a little bit of time to figure it out.

I got a call from the folks at CNN (the ones I did an interview with earlier in the year) last week and they sounded pretty excited about helping to set up the horse through the covered bridge but I haven’t heard from them in a More >

Nightmares

Hey Team,

Every since I was very young I’ve had a problem with terrible nightmares. Sometimes it’s not so much that they’re gruesome, or even “scary,” it’s often just a matter of how extraordinarily vivid they are. I can’t exactly remember when this became a problem…as far back as I can recall I would lie awake in bed at night praying that I wouldn’t have a nightmare despite the fact that I’ve never been all that religious.

“Please God, pretty please God, don’t let me have nightmares. Please God, pretty please God, don’t let me have nightmares. Please God, pretty please God, don’t let me have nightmares.”

Obviously, I was at my wit’s end when it came to stopping them and yet one day they were just gone.

Since then they’ve kind of ebbed and flowed with whatever weird stresses wander in and out of my life. I don’t understand and I haven’t been able to find a pattern; I just know some nights I wake up and want nothing more than to stay awake and not have to slide back into that dream world, “just in case.”

So, why would I give everyone such an intensely personal insight into the life and times of More >

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Wholesale Slaughter

Hey Team,

I rode the motorcycle up to Northern California yesterday to meet with a couple of friends I haven’t seen in a very long time. It seemed like a simple enough procedure and in many ways it was…it just wasn’t a very comfortable ride.

Turns out this is also butterfly mating season here in California and along the scenic (and not so scenic) highways butterflies are chasing each other around at high speeds and following unpredictable paths like a bunch of drunken, horny high school seniors after prom night. Except now picture thousands upon thousands of prom nighters all bouncing off my windshield and helmet. (Wait…that analogy broke down somewhere.)

The point is: I was LITERALLY dodging butterflies as I was riding the bike. Bobbing and weaving my head trying not to catch a bug to the face mask that would obstruct my vision and the whole time thinking about that board game “SPLAT!” (I know you know what I’m talking about. It’s like Sorry! but with the added fun of crushing each other’s bug shaped play-dough playing pieces.)

The worst part is that the windshields on motorcycles are only so big. As a result every cute little butterfly that bounces off is More >

Welcome to Crazytown. Population: Me

Hey Team,

Sometimes it concerns me that when I’m forced to spend a lot of time alone I may not be much more than a hop, skip and a jump from Crazytown. It feels like there’s a thin wall between sane and insane in my life but that wall is really more of a sheet of rubber than a stack of bricks. If I lean to hard I end up crossing that line…but so far I rebound back.

After this last week I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe there were a small tear in that sheet too.

The funny thing about Amtrekker is that people assume I spend a lot of time alone. But nothing could be further from the truth. If anything I have less alone time now than I ever have before. The alone time that I get now is a different flavor though. I don’t end up just alone but sometimes completely cut off.

This isn’t the greatest example but over the last five days I spent a total of 24 hours on a motorcycle with nothing but the sound of wind bouncing of my helmet to keep me company. In the meantime my brain took a running jump at that More >

Get Well Charley

Hey Team,

Just wanted you all to know that Charley and I really appreciate all the support during the little guy’s difficult times. I’m out on a lake off the grid right now on a little mini Team Amtrekker get away so I had Charley pick out a few of his favorite pieces of mail to show off. The site is all his today! Enjoy!

Hey Charley,

Ya gotta pull through buddy. Who else is going to keep the Amtrekker warm at night?

Get well soon. Let me know if I need to send a prescription!

Karl J. Blessinger, MD

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Dear Charley,

I’m writing this using Rachelle’s email address, because “they” won’t let me have one of my own! Darn people…literally. But I’ve heard a lot about you in relation More >

The Wonderful World of Greyhound

Hey Team,

I stepped up into the doorway resigned to the upcoming fifty-three hour marathon only to be slapped in the face by a wall of stale air. A quick look around shows only one empty seat; not leaving me the usual option of scouring the bus for the least stained place to plant myself. It’s the front seat. Not a terrible spot. At least not as compared to all of the other terrible spots. Notable drawbacks: No reading light, less leg room (but since the leg room is minimal anyway I go in expecting discomfort), and a little old lady who thinks she can “save me” by convincing me I should settle down and get married, “maybe have a few kids.”

I fold myself into a good book silently throwing out all the social cues I can muster to drive the point home that I don’t want to be having this conversation. The next forty-five minutes only bring me two pages closer to the climax. She needs no prompting to ask the next question and a never-ending string of one-word answers are nothing in the face of her persistence.

“Were you married once already?”

“No.”

“Is there a girl back home?”

“No.”

I think she’s More >

Thank You

Hey Team,

Today is the 365th day of Amtrekker. (Although officially tomorrow is the first anniversary…wacky leap year.) It’s hard to believe I’m still out on the road after all this time. I’m not sure which PART is hard to believe. Is it more of a surprise that it has taken me this long to accomplish my goals or that I’ve actually managed to afford being homeless and unemployed this long?

Regardless, I know I couldn’t be doing this without help and it’s amazing how many people have come together to make Amtrekker happen. Whether it be a small donation or the opportunity to hang glide or drive a racecar or even just being there to follow along and spread the word it’s amazing how much you have all done for me in the last year. I feel like, quite literally, I’m the smallest piece of the puzzle here and I’m just glad that I have the ability to share my adventures with all of you in turn.

So, although tomorrow is the “big day” and this weekend will be the celebratory trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon I can’t help but think of this as an important day and get More >


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