Monday, March 30, 2009


I took the day off today. I needed a mental health day. Plus, I still felt like crap this morning from drinking too much on Saturday.

It's gotten about 7 degrees warmer in the last few days, which may not sound like a lot, but it's a huge difference to me. The coolness of Spring doesn't last long here in the Sunshine State.

I've been cooped up indoors for the last 48 hours, recovering from my over-indulgence this weekend -- so I decided to go to Plantation Heritage Park, not far from my apartment. I took the photos above with my iPhone.

I've been trying to finish reading 'Into the Wild' again, but I rarely seem to find the time to sit down and read these days. I figured since I actually have some leisure time to do whatever random things I want, I thought I'd bring the book with me to the park.

I found a solitary bench in a nice little breezy spot under a tree. It's much too hot to sit directly under the sun today, so it felt nice to sit in the shade, relax, and read a few chapters.

It's odd how when I'm in a park by myself in Florida, I don't want to be around any people. Even when there are only a few people around, it's a few people too many. But when I'm in Central Park, or even Bryant Park, I love having people around. I find it pretty odd, but it is what it is, I suppose.

So I sat down to read, and was really eating it up. I watched the film adaptation of 'Into the Wild' about a year ago, and loved it. The movie inspired me to read the book as well.

This guy, Alex McCandless, had a yearning within his soul to escape a mundane, predictable life to live a life of adventure and self-reliance, free from limitations. But what I love most about his story is that he actually had the courage to leave it all behind and follow his dream. In the face of the unknown, filled with danger and uncertainty, he broke free from a life that was leading him far away from where his heart needed to be.

Some people think he was an idiot, some guy with no sense who died for nothing and wasted his life. But I see it differently.

I read his story and live it vicariously. It really inspires me. I wouldn't exactly follow the same path he took, as it was uniquely his to follow. It's his free spirit and courage that gets me most. I think I keep picking it up in hopes that one day I will have that same courage to just pick up and go, against all odds like he did. I think there are lots of people out there like me. We desperately want to take a shot -- it's just that it's taking some of us much longer to muster up the courage.

The truth is, we may never will. But then again, we just might.


This is from a letter Alex sent a friend (from the book, pg. 56-58), which really moved me:

"Ron, I really enjoy all the help you have given me and the times we spent together. I hope that you will not be too depressed by our parting. It may be a very long time before we see each other again. But providing that I get through this Alaskan Deal in one piece you will be hearing from me again in the future. I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing or been to hesitant to attempt.

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.

If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did.

But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover.

Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.

You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.

My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.

Ron, I really hope that as soon as you can you will get out of Salton City, put a little camper on the back of your pickup, and start seeing some of the great work that God has done here in the American West. You will see things and meet people and there is much to learn from them.

And you must do it economy style, no motels, do your own cooking, as a general rule spend as little as possible and you will enjoy it much more immensely. I hope that the next time I see you, you will be a new man with a vast array of new adventures and experiences behind you. Don’t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it. You will be very, very glad that you did.

Take care Ron,



  1. Into the Wild is a great story.

  2. I found your blog the other day and loved your writing style, so decided to go back and read some of your own posts. I have my own "Into the Wild" post in my blog, and expect more to come. I saw the movie with my cousin in a tiny theater in Columbus Circle back in 2007 and it changed my life. I read the book soon after, and it moved me in a way that no other book ever had. Chris McCandless is a bohemian hero... he may have made mistakes along his journey, but at least he had the courage to create one for himself. We should all be so lucky!

  3. I'm totally with you on that. His story and general outlook on life really touches me...even though I wouldn't follow his path, I do aspire to have that kind of courage someday.