Creating our own adventures

As someone who has suffered from a case of wanderlust for most of her life, I feel as if I am kindred spirits with Matt Green. I’ve never met Matt but have been following his life for the past five months after a friend of a friend of his turned me on to his website Imjustwalkin.com which he created as a way of keeping friends and family informed as he made the cross-country trip from Rockaway Beach, N.Y. to Rockaway Beach, Ore. on foot.
Matt, as far as I can tell, never intended to become famous for his efforts to do the 3,100 mile trek with nothing but his feet and a retrofitted jogging stroller filled with basic necessities. He just wanted to do it for the hell of it. I appreciated the fact that Matt says you see things on foot that you would never see from a car window. I feel the same about running versus riding a bike.
I feel sure he took away many life lessons from the trip and memories that will continue in story form for several generations to come. But his blog really didn’t give a sense of that even though it had me captivated.
It was beautifully simplistic with nothing more than a few pictures from each day of his journey. I guess the blog’s simplicity was something that I seemed to have happily overlooked until one of his faithful web followers, who adopted the moniker “hobo nation,” pointed it out. As everyone thanked Matt, after he posted a video of his final step of the journey right in to the frigid Pacific Ocean waters, for sharing his many stories and adventures, one follower called foul.
I can no longer access the original quote but basically he said that Matt didn’t really share a story all at, he just published a bunch of pictures with captions. We never heard how Matt was feeling, what his favorite thing was at each stop along the way, how tired he may have been of walking or how homesick he may have been. Or maybe he was having the time of his life. Matt really was a man of very few words, the poster wrote.
I don’t think he was mad at Matt but rather pointing out that even though Matt said very little, he was able to create a story in the minds of those that virtually followed him for five months. I personally think each person’s story was different from the next and were based on what each reader would have hoped to take from the same adventure.
Everyone takes a little something different from each experience. I’m pretty sure if Matt had a companion along for the walk, that person’s experience would not be the same as Matt’s even though they would have seen and experienced the same things.
Have you ever talked about some place you’re about to visit and someone else says, “I hate that place!” But then you get there and think it’s amazing. Had you taken the other person’s opinion as gospel, you wouldn’t have created your own experience, and formed your own opinion.
For me, Matt’s story was one of kindness and hope in the good of people. His stories described a nation full of generous people — quite the opposite of what we are used to hearing in mainstream media. I guess I needed to believe in the good of people. It was also a chance for me to dig deep within myself to realize my own prejudices.
Matt regularly posted pictures of the people who happened to spot him on a local street and would invite him in either for a meal, a snack or even an overnight stay. I can’t imagine one scenario of running into some stranger on a street pushing a retrofitted jogging stroller that would have ended with me inviting that stranger to stay the night in my home. I likely would have never even stopped to talk to him.
I’m sure Matt experienced people like that, as well, but we didn’t read about it.
Even though I felt inspired by all the good people who did invite Matt inside for an overnight stay, I’m still not sure I would do the same. That’s kind of tragic.
But I do take comfort in knowing there are a lot of people in this great country of ours that haven’t become jaded and have hearts that are so big they overshadow potential dangers. Maybe by taking the time to look for the beauty in the people I meet on my daily adventures, my perception will change. That possibility makes me want to try.

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About travelerontherun

I am a chronic adventurer who loves to see and experience new places. What I really love most is experiencing those places after parking my RV and lacing up my running shoes.
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One Response to Creating our own adventures

  1. Pingback: Finding the things worth seeing | Traveler on the Run

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