Bill Maher once summed up death very nicely… He said:
Suicide is man’s way of telling God: “You can’t fire me, I quit!”
As a very stubborn person, this speaks to me.
I don’t read into it too literally, since I don’t believe in God and I certainly don’t empathize with suicide.. I read into more like: living on the edge, taking chances, getting a little crazy, can be a way to take control of life, and making peace with death… By living dangerously you might knock off a few years, but you went out on your terms, and if there is a heaven, you got bragging rights!
I bring this up, because I feel I live a little closer to that edge then average… Sometimes for pure ego/adrenaline reasons, other times cause I’m a dumb ass drunk… Those who know me, know I make a lot of jokes about having only a few years left, and expecting to die before I’m 40… Those who know me really well, know I’m not joking.
Now I don’t want any of this blog’s posts to come off as saying, “I’m hardcore and alternative and your just a boring consumer”… What I want to say “I live a little differently, and that works for me, maybe it could for you 2″.. I also don’t want to try and make my life seem more radical and dangerous then it is.. I just want to show the reality of the things I do…
With that in mind…
I hitchhike. I do it because its free, because its fun, because it adds so much to the trip, and you meet some amazing people, get a whole new perspective on the land, and because everything before the destination can become the real adventure… It is far safer then people think, but like anything involving trust, there are risks…
Last October I hitchhiked around Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Many experienced hitchhikers will tell you Poland is a thumbers paradise.. And they weren’t kidding… Never wait more than 20 minutes… It was an amazing experience.
A couple of months later, while I was in Stockholm, I read a CS post about a Finnish guy named Emil, my age, went missing on a very similar route out of Warsaw, just weeks before I was there…
Here is a facebook group for him, join it.
This story made me depressed for days, a combination of thinking about how young he was and all the adventures he would never have, and also, it could have very easily been me… For all I know I could have been on the same highway, the same road, the same truck stop where, 2 weeks before, he went missing… I had one of my worst rides ever (going the opposite way) that trip, its such a thin line between, being in control and safe and just.. Trusting the wrong face..
Its been many months since Emil went missing, he had said he was on his way home and would be there in a week, he has not made any contact, and apparently he didn’t have any family issues. Based on the facts, I’d say the chances that something awful didn’t happen, are pretty slim… His parents have not yet given up hope, and have done a cross Europe trip looking for him, tracking down leads.. etc..
As I prepare to take off on another adventure, I feel its important to say a few things I’m sure Emil wishes he would have been able to say… If anything should ever happen to me, I want my family, friends, everyone I’ve met along the way, to know how much they all meant to me. I don’t say it enough, but I love you all. I’d say it was not anyone’s fault, and that no matter how many times any of you tried to talk me out of (whatever dumb ass thing I did to get myself killed) I was still going to do it..
I guess what I want to say is, you never know what could happen, you could die of a heart attack while on the toilet, or die while hitchhiking in Poland… You could even die before you finish reading this post…
*long pause for effect*
The point is to live every minute with a smile on, so when that time does come, you have no regrets.