Why Cash Does Not Equal Happiness – Bicycle Touring Professional

by jpc_touring-bicycle

Rising up in California, I used to be led to imagine that having a giant home, a elaborate automobile, and a flat display TV was what you have been alleged to attempt for as an grownup. The larger the home you had, the extra profitable you have been and the extra revered you’d be inside your neighborhood. That’s what I believed not less than, till I began bicycle touring.

As a youth in California, I didn’t get out a lot. I used to be extraordinarily shy and deathly afraid of strangers. So when, on the age of 16, I advised my mother and father I needed to journey my bicycle down the California Shoreline, they have been greater than a bit involved.

Previous to that second, I had by no means actually been alone. I had all the time been a “loner,” however I used to be by no means really on my own. My mother and father feared for my sanity, however greater than anything, had considerations concerning the folks I’d meet whereas on my journey. Photos of kid molesters, murderers, and loopy homeless drunks ran via their heads.

However, I used to be in a position to efficiently persuade my mother and father {that a} bike tour could be a good suggestion. Just some weeks after graduating from highschool, I jumped on a Greyhound bus and started a 30-day journey that will perpetually probability my life.

A couple of week into the journey I pulled right into a California State Park with my driving associate Jason and was met by a tall, balding, white bearded outdated man in a blue “Harvard College” sweatshirt (which he clearly bought from a thrift retailer).

“My title’s Jerry,” he advised us.

We launched ourselves and later realized that Jerry was an ex-construction employee from Seattle who had been residing on the streets for the previous couple years. Out of labor and with a couple of {dollars} coming in every month from his service within the navy, Jerry had determined to purchase a BOB bicycle trailer and cycle all the way down to San Francisco.

“It’s so miserable in Seattle,” he advised us. “It rains on a regular basis, however as soon as I get to San Francisco, I’m unsure what I’m going to do.”

That first evening, I keep in mind Jason and I strolling all the way down to the seaside and speaking about our homeless campsite companion. We each thought he appeared like a pleasant man, however there was one thing a bit of off about him… and neither considered one of us may fairly put our finger on it.

As we returned again to camp a couple of minutes later, Jerry had arrange his range and was cooking some meals for his dinner.

“Would you fellas like some potatoes?” Jerry mentioned.

We refused, however Jerry saved pushing.

“I acquired some donuts on my bike if you need a few of them”

“No thanks” I mentioned. “We’re nice.”

It continued like that for a pair minutes earlier than Jerry lastly relented.

The subsequent morning, Jerry was packing up his bike simply as I emerged from my tent. Jason was nonetheless asleep, so I sat down on the picnic desk in our shared biker campsite and began speaking to Jerry.

Over the subsequent half hour I realized rather a lot about our homeless campsite companion. I realized that he had been married, had a daughter, after which later divorced. When he injured his again in a building accident, he was unable to work and unable to pay his payments. With no pals or household to assist him in his time of disaster (he wasn’t talking to his daughter on the time for some motive), he was compelled out onto the streets.

When Jason awakened a couple of minutes later, Jerry began asking us about women. He shared tales about his former girlfriends and warned us of the risks of getting right into a relationship with the mistaken girl. After a couple of sips from a bottle coated by a brown paper bag, Jerry began to inform soiled jokes and confirmed us tips on how to make a mini flamethrower out of a cigarette lighter (one thing he mentioned he realized whereas serving within the navy). I suspected there was rum in his oatmeal.

Jerry was definitely one odd character! However for some unusual motive, he made me giggle… and I actually preferred him!

Later that evening, Jason and I rolled into our campsite and located Jerry ready for us there. For the subsequent few days, Jerry joined us on the street and made the miles fly by rapidly.

Late one evening, Jerry launched us to the farting recreation – a recreation the place you get 1 level for audibly farting in entrance of different recreation members… and 5 factors or audibly passing gasoline in entrance of somebody who was not conscious that the sport was going down. With a camp filled with touring cyclists and a Mexican meal as his ammunition, Jerry gained the match that evening with a monstrous rating of 27.

When it got here time for us to go our separate methods, I used to be form of unhappy to say goodbye. This soiled outdated man from Washington State had in only a few brief days modified the best way I might perpetually have a look at the world.

What Jerry taught me is that being poor doesn’t imply you must be sad. When you don’t have some huge cash, you may nonetheless have enjoyable, make pals and achieve your targets. Jerry taught me that cash shouldn’t be required for a life stuffed with pleasure. Success shouldn’t be decided by the dimensions of your own home, the make of your automobile or the sum of money in your checking account. Enjoyable and achievement could be had with out these issues. Enjoyable and achievement could be had anyplace… and by anybody!

Over the subsequent 4 years I spent my summers driving my bicycle round the USA. For lower than $3.00 a day I traveled via 29 states; met numerous people from all walks of life; noticed most of the nation’s biggest locations; and greater than anything, realized that having a giant home, a pleasant automobile, and a flat display TV aren’t the issues that make me comfortable.

If Jerry taught me something, it’s that cash doesn’t equal happiness. If you wish to be comfortable, go after the issues YOU need in life… and have enjoyable within the course of!

Thanks for the lesson Jerry! I gained’t overlook you.

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