w: ajleon

80 Down. 1,800 to Go.

Today is day eighty of my 1,880 day trip around the world.

It’s quite a moment of reflection for me.

I can remember when I was second guessing whether this journey would be possible, allowing fear to saturate my mental faculties convincing me that this adventure would end terribly, that I wouldn’t be able to continue my work, that I wouldn’t be a good enough writer for anyone to care, that I would meet some crazy dude named Cletus in the middle of nowhere, who would show me the serious end of a two by four and lock me up in his chicken coup.

And yet here I sit, writing this message to you on the eightieth day of the adventure of a lifetime.

Thus far, I have traveled close to 22,000 miles — 2,882 of which have been by train, 963 by my vegetable-oil powered bus and 17,423 via plane because of a slight detour to Bangkok and Stratford-on-Avon. (You can view my travel map here)

Starting from my home in the East Village of New York City, I sojourned on the rails through Washington DC and Chicago and zipped through the midwest eventually landing in Helper, Utah where Mystic Mike let me crash in his Magic Bus and soak in his mystical, mineral hot tubs. From there, I passed through San Francisco and then spent a couple weeks absorbing the sheer, unaltered beauty of Santa Barbara and Solvang. I continued on to Los Angeles, where Melissa found an antiquated and tattered municipal bus on Craigslist, which we bought and I renamed The Pegasus and which we took 14 days to renovate with the help of my cousins and their jolly band of artisans. On September 23rd, we chugged this beautiful new, veggie-oil powered home on wheels to the majestic Big Sur, a reflection of the splendor of heaven if ever there was one on earth.

I continued North, and finally arrived in Portland where Melissa and I spoke at SOBcon. We then had to leave The Pegasus in Portland at an RV storage facility because of a slight detour to Bangkok to speak to a group of change makers, and to host the first ever Misfit Assembly (we flew all the Misfits to Thailand in order to drink and plan and eat and strategize and be merry and ride elephants).

From there, I hopped to England quickly and back home on November 6th to cast my ballot, a blessing I don’t take lightly.

Yesterday, I was sitting at In Vino, a sumptuous little Italian wine bar below my home in the East Village, sipping on a glass of Pecorino, and reflecting on this adventure. It’s quite a thing, to recognize that you are the protagonist in an adventure of your choosing. And to peer back over 80 days, remembering the scents and the tastes and the textures and the people you’ve met along the way.

While sitting at this bar, I was asked about this misfit’s adventure around the world.

I was asked “isn’t this dangerous. I mean, couldn’t something terrible happen to you while traveling around like that?”

It’s a valid question that deserves sincere consideration.

Here is my reply.

But I believe it relates to you too.

If there is not at least a possibility that your pursuit, whatever it might be, may end in cataclysmic failure, then even your success in that endeavor will be tempered.

Greatness is only the positive reflection of the defeat that is probable in the pursuit of it.

Greatness is only ever a possible outcome when the prospect of utter, unmitigated defeat is also on the table.

____

I finished my glass of wine and remembered that in five days I’ll be hopping a train from Toronto across the whole of Canada, which will help me reach my goal of passing through each Canadian province, then on to thirty-five more states and a few disparate islands. Before I know it, it will be August, and I will be heading south to another continent and on to a new leg of the journey.

Must keep pressing into the horizon. Adventure calls.

80 down, 1,000 to Go.

Your Fellow Misfit,

AJ

689 words

11.8.12

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