For a long time I have been writing stories and documenting my travels in composition books or spiral old school notebooks; I had at least a dozen journals that were completely full from backpacking the Appalachian Trail when I was 14 yrs old, on thru traveling Europe for 4months when I was 20. I had, what I would consider to be books worth of material. Not that the writing quality was there but a good editor could have done something with it. When I left Florida to start my life as a nomad in 2007, living out of my truck, I brought them along in a backpack.
It was a very sad September morning in the summer of 2009 when I woke up in California, walked out to my truck and saw the passenger side window of my truck smashed in. The sock full of rocks they used to bash the window was still there on the sidewalk and broken glass was all over the inside of my truck. I started to assess the damages: a $200 ski jacket, a lot of clothes, all my change from the center counsel, along with a bunch of random stuff which I would have gladly given away, my video camera along with all the videos I had recorded (surfing in FL, traveling in Europe, driving across the country, snowboarding in WA, visiting National Parks including Yellowstone and the Redwoods). It took me a few minutes to realize that my two school backpacks were gone. One of which contained all those journals, the other full of camping gear. Before realizing that the journals were gone I thought to myself well I have less stuff to deal with in my life, and some bums will be warmer as winter comes. (I usually have the mindset that if someone steals something from me they probably needed it more than I did)
My thoughts suddenly changed to those sons of bitches, what good are a bunch of journals I wrote when I was a teenager to those thieves. I was a little scatter brained at the time but I remember I kept telling myself I’m going to find those journals. There was a bridge nearby surrounded by woods and I knew bums lived under the bridge and in the woods. I tried to grab my buck knife, but oh that was gone. I tell you, for days I was still figuring out more things that were stolen. I had so much in that truck, and they didn’t even get half of what was in the cab, let alone anything that was in the bed safely locked under the topper. That area was completely loaded front to back, bed to ceiling (a surfboard, two snowboards, more clothes, winter gear, tent, sleeping bag, a box full of books, a shoe rack with 5 pairs of shoes, a cooler, fishing pole and lures, etc.) With no buck knife I head under the bridge with sheer adrenaline, no bums, I walk their well beaten path into the woods, no bums. I find plenty of beer cans, cig boxes, old blankets, shit stained clothes, empty soup cans, and a bunch of trash, but no bums. They were out celebrating their latest smash and grab or pawning my belongings; but what would they do with my journals? Burn them to stay warm at night? I was pissed, I went back to the house, and filed a police report but knew nothing would come of that.
After an hour or so of stressing, I had an idea – Go check all the neighborhood trash cans! Luck was not on my side, it was trash day and they had already come, so all the trash cans and dumpsters for blocks were empty. In the following days I visited the local pawn stores thinking my video camera might show up, but no luck there either. Over time I got over it, but for some reason I had also stopped writing. It wasn’t until three years later, April of 2012 when I went to South America, that I would keep a journal again. I’m not sure what made me keep a journal for that trip except that I was very excited to be on another long adventure in another country. So I kept a journal and notes on my trip, but then I was done, I didn’t continue to write.
In October of 2012 just months after I had kind of started writing again an older and wiser friend got on my ass about writing, starting a blog, sharing my experiences, and promoting my life as a world traveler. He tried telling me that I had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from all my journals being stolen. I didn’t believe him because a year earlier he also told me I had PTSD because I couldn’t remember very much of my childhood. I like to think I just lost some of my early memories to make room for all the new ones I have had. I know that my friend was just trying to convince me to start writing again and it worked. Before I left Washington he helped me start my blog; I’m writing more than ever, and starting to embrace my life (the wild life). For the past three months I have been re-writing many of these lost stories on a smaller article themed scale. I have a long way to go to catch up, and have many plans on how to get there as well as making this blog bigger and better. However that will have to wait as I change my focus to writing in the present as I travel SE Asia for 4 months.