For 485 days I’ve traveled around the United States (they wouldn’t let me into Canada) — living out of and sleeping in my car, taking pretty pictures and doing things that people suggested — living my life as a real life adventure. I quit my job, terminated my lease, and sold everything I own to do it.
I put everything I had on the line and poured everything I had into it — believing that if I kept at it, I could find a way to monetize what I’m doing or find some sponsors or at least offset the cost. I hoped that out of what I was doing, an opportunity that I could grasp onto would present itself. I took a leap of faith to make my life better.
It didn’t happen.
I had valuable things stolen from me. I accidentally destroyed things that were valuable to me. I was threatened. Screamed at. Scolded. I had health issues and no insurance. A broken tooth — still broken. I eat on one side of my mouth because it’s the only way I can without pain. I had to file it down with a metal file so it didn’t stab my tongue.
Dedicated to what I’m doing? You might say that.
At times I thought I was going crazy. I put myself at risk and in dangerous situations. I was escorted out of Starbucks by police officers. I had an international casting company contact me out of the blue, say they’d get back to me — and then didn’t. And I’ve been scared a number of times beyond anything I’d experienced before in my adult life — though still paling in comparison to my childhood.
And mostly — sadly — I was ignored. But I kept going anyway — pushing myself beyond the point of no return. Investing everything I had in my future. Determined to succeed.
It didn’t happen.
I tried lots of things. Perhaps too many. I messed up. I made mistakes. And I learned from some of them. But I never figured out how to make it work.
I started out with an abundance of enthusiasm, but over time — as I got feedback (or lack thereof) and attacked – my enthusiasm was tested.
“You are the Chef of Lamesauce.”
“I can’t wait to see you fail.”
“No one escapes the system.”
“They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
What!? Haters on the internet? No surprise here. [I've even since received some hate from the post you're reading -- also no surprise].
I was even politely
threatened contacted by a real multi-billion dollar corporation after writing a story about a fictitious one that didn’t treat all of its employees well. And as a result of my story hitting the press and going viral, my name was dragged through the mud around the world — because I don’t believe companies should abuse employees? — Yeah. That makes sense.
Admittedly — I sounded like an asshole and I didn’t pull any punches in my tale — and, well, there could have been some coincidental similarities to people, places, or events that could have happened in real-life. I feel somewhat compelled to say that I don’t know anything about that. But what I do know is the sort of abuse I wrote about does happen in the gaming industry.
Was my story a press release? No. Was I looking for the attention — not from that post — and not that kind. I redirected my entire site to livestrong.com and goodwill.org for more than a week when viral traffic was at its peak.
My post was intended for a limited audience. I was giving people who were following my adventure the missing piece of the puzzle — a story that provided the additional motivation that led me to where I was. I hoped that maybe more people would see it and maybe check in on what I was doing.
And then it went viral & blew up beyond my control. It brought me nothing but negativity and hate over the holidays.
Be careful what you wish for. I’d always hoped something I created — be it a blog post, photo, or video — during my journey would go viral — but that story was the absolute worst thing that could have. I’m a positive person by nature — but that wasn’t a positive story.
But I tried to put on the happy face — as I have a tendency to do — and not focus on the negative shitstorm that arose — because whatever you focus on only grows stronger.
That blog post went viral around Dec 22, 2010. And as a result of a falling out with family — I spent that Christmas alone. Sitting in my car. In a beach parking lot. In the rain. By myself. Wondering how fucked I — and everything I was trying to do — was going to be as a result of all of it.
Sound sad? I don’t want your sympathy. I’m just telling you what happened.
There are people with real problems in the world — and since I’m not suffering, dying, or being tortured, I don’t consider myself one of them. But I’ve got stories from my journey that would rip your heart out.
I passed some of that day reading from The Alchemist — which still sits on my dash — and then I decided to persist.
And it’s not all been bad. I got some press and did some live TV interviews — which are an addiction now, only no one’s calling.
And I have some loyal followers — others not so much — and others who seem dedicated to despising me. My fault? I’m certainly responsible for some of it.
Did I always interact with my followers (or anyone) as well as — or as patiently — as I probably could have? No. But then, the thing about living out of your comfort zone is that you’re not comfortable. And I don’t live, work, or sleep in a stable environment.
Think about how you react to people after a day of discomfort — or things are just not going right — or after days of not getting enough sleep. Not always “in the mood” are you?
Now multiply that by a couple hundred days — and add to that the fact that your future depends entirely upon this calculated risk you’ve taken, but it isn’t working yet and your resources are dwindling — you might even be a bit frustrated or feeling pressured.
You try to put on the happy face, but do you handle 100% of situations as you would if you were rested and relaxed? No. Is that ever an excuse to act badly? No — and I’m not suggesting that it is.
But when you were expecting me to respond to you like someone living a “normal” life — sorry.
Granted — I CHOSE THIS. I wanted this adventure — and that’s what it has been, just not at all how I imagined it.
I’m not complaining. But I do think many people had a mistaken understanding of what my life has been like and what I’ve had to deal with.
So forgive me for making light of getting a speeding ticket instead of treating it with the seriousness that you think it deserved. But spare me your comparisons to Hitler because I was decisive in handling some comments you made — at the end of a long day — minutes before going to sleep — in the back of my car.
And spare me your, “You should have done this…” and “I pretty much live my life like you do.” bullshit, too.
1. “You should have…” is judgmental. So piss off.
2. You sacrificed everything to live in your car & do what the internet says? Bullshit. Piss off.
And while you’re at it, keep your fake profile roleplaying I’m dying bullshit, too.
But if you read all this and would like to make a kind solution oriented suggestion that applies to moving forward – I’m listening.
I wasn’t living in my car for the fun of it. I was living in my car as part of the sacrifice for what I wanted to accomplish.
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
This was my intention with living in discomfort — it was simply a sacrifice.
So did I always interact with people online in the best of ways? Probably not — no. So if you are one of the people who were inadvertently turned off by something I did or said, I apologize. It was never my intention to offend you.
Or if you think I tried to promote what I was doing too much or in a way that annoyed you, sorry. But then — you can’t please everyone — that day wasn’t your day.
I was just — focused. And selfish.
“To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.” — Michael Jordan
I was focused on making things work — despite constant setbacks and my disconnection from my family, my friends, and the illusion of stability — and trying very hard all the while to stay positive — or at least appear positive.
I tried to make it look fun at times when all I wanted to do was crawl under a rock.
I bought gifts to give away as prizes, when I knew I was bleeding myself dry in the process. And I paid to do things that folks suggested knowing it would only be of interest to a couple people — if that.
My “writer’s block” I mentioned yesterday — something I’ve had for the past several months — not really “writer’s block”. I just haven’t had much of anything positive to write about. I’ve written a number of posts that you’ll probably never see.
I didn’t post much of the juicy negative stuff that happened along the way — because I didn’t want my journey to be about those things, even though I knew they were interesting.
- The very painful infection on my toe from the Petrified Forest — better now. Damn you flippy-floppies and petrified wood.
- The pregnancy scare — she was just over a week late — just a scare. Phew. I swore that was the last time I was going to have sex on this adventure (and yes it was protected – duh) – over a year ago. But then — let’s be honest here — that was the last opportunity I had.
- The fungus covering a large portion of my body — which isn’t at all related to the sex I just mentioned — is gone now.
- The insane dandruff — WTF? — under control.
- The horrible dates — are over. No more.
- Shitting my own pants — yeah, let’s just move on.
All the while trying to stay (or appear) 100% positive and excited about what I was doing. But that’s especially difficult when:
1. You’re being attacked while you do it. And more importantly…
2. You’re just ignored.
Because seriously, haters gonna hate — I get that much — but if you’re being ignored…
If you’re being ignored then there’s a serious issue with whatever it is you’re doing.
Should I have read the signs? Maybe. And there was a time I thought this might be a bad idea.
People may say, “Well there’s your indication, dumbass.” — but that’s the thing, people tend to give up too easily. I didn’t want to be one of those people. I still believed I would not fail.
So I pushed forward — pausing at times to spend 12-14 hour days at cafes — for weeks at a time — “tweaking” things, making videos, and other stuff trying to make this work. Convinced that my hard work would pay off.
It didn’t happen. It wasn’t even noticed.
After 486 days of blogging about my travels, posting pretty pictures & motivational quotes, and the occasional video, I have 26 subscribers. You read that right. 26. Not, 2,600. Not 260.
Twenty-six — and one of them is me.
And of those 26, only 18 of those subscribers click through to read my blog on any regular basis.
But don’t you have 11,000+ followers on facebook? Yes, and I bought most of them through advertising. You can do that? Yes you can do that. It’s expensive. And I was dumb enough to do it twice.
And you know what? — Out of the 11,000+ followers I have on facebook, less than 20 are active on a regular basis and less than 5 regularly share or “like” anything I post.
So yeah, I have over 11,000 followers who just don’t give a shit — which is fine, of course — and this is something I’ve known for a while, but I kept pushing forward, hoping to find the right formula to “connect” with people.
But I obviously had issues with that and…
It didn’t happen.
So for 486 days I lived out of my car by choice.
Now I live out of my car out of necessity.
But fortunately, it’s one thing I do well. I’m used to it. It’s not “fun”, but it works.
And if you think I’m whining or complaining or coming off like an asshole, you can fuck off. Because I’ve just given everything I had for over the past year to face my fears and try something big — something difficult.
I went for it. And I failed. But at least I tried.
Did I completely fuck up my life? As far as I can tell, yes. But then, I’m not dead — so let’s just say “TBD”.
Was it worth it? I guess that depends on what happens next.
My confidence is rocked. My belief in my abilities is shaken. I write things — that no one reads. I take photos — that no one comments on. I make videos — that no one watches. And those were the things I thought I could do well.
And my faith in people has been greatly diminished. The friends I had when I started my journey? All gone. My fault? Maybe. And maybe they weren’t real friends.
The support I’d hoped I’d have from my family? Never came. My fault? Maybe.
The things key people said they would do to help? Never happened. My fault? No — just people who are just too busy with their own lives to lend a hand after they said they would, others who just find excuses to not follow through — and others who simply lack integrity and have a habit of making offers they won’t keep.
I’ve never been so let down, given false hope, betrayed, abandoned, or attacked more often, or have felt more lonely than I have than in the past year+. But I kept at it — because I believed it would be worth it — looking for opportunities and hoping for… something — anything really good to happen. Something to help me leap from here ——— to there.
It didn’t happen.
At times it was a blast. Incredible. I dare say “awesome” and mean it in the truest sense.
I’ve seen amazing things — alone.
More importantly, I’ve done things I never would have if I was still sitting behind that computer monitor 50+ hours a week looking out the window and wondering what my life would be like if I faced my fears and just went for it.
But I’m not at a place where I can say “no regrets” yet. I’d like to be — but I just don’t see the light at the end of this tunnel. I’m not through it and I have no idea if that will happen.
Yes, I AM the optimist. I AM a dreamer. And the quotes I post are not an act or a bait & switch like a lot of those snake-oil motivators. Unlike them, I’m not selling anything — I truly believe in this stuff — though lately it’s become a lot more difficult to. And sometimes …
Sometimes you just have to face reality.
And that’s it.
It’s kind of liberating having nothing left to lose. And I mean that almost literally.
What’s funny is that I loaned an ex-girlfriend $380 just before I started my journey – because she was in a time of desperate need. And I did so even though she’d accused me of being a bum — because I’d quit my job & wasn’t working (I never told her my full-on plan that resulted in my present journey).
When I sent her a single text message a couple weeks ago to discuss the status of her loan (after over a year of just letting her be), she texted back and threatened me with a restraining order saying “she didn’t work” and that “I was harassing her”. Two texts. We always had a way of making the other person “get it” quickly.
So much for gratitude and long-term memory.
Maybe she’s a prophesist. Because the bum she accused me of being — I’m getting closer. Not in “mind”, but in “social status”.
I’ve got a car. Almost no property to speak of — just what’s in my 4Runner and a few possessions in a tiny storage unit in Las Vegas. Enough money to survive (as I have — in my car) for a bit. And a decent credit card rating (I hope).
I bet people have done great things with far less.
But me — I’m just going to lay here for a minute and rest. I’m not “quitting” — there is no quitting here — but I do have to redefine what it is I’m trying to achieve in life and change my strategy. Then I’ll get back up — I always do.
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
September 8, 2011
It’s been a couple days since I posted this — and in that time I’ve received a number very kind and supportive responses. To everyone who has written, THANK YOU. I do plan on replying to people individually as I can — and I’m not ignoring anyone. It’s just going to take me a bit of time.
And to those who are concerned about my well-being after reading this, you may want to skip over to my “Everything to gain” post which I wrote today — and then go to the very bottom where I talk about that — unless you’d like to read it first.
But that post — unlike this one — comes with a warning at the top.