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Rex Chestworthy is in da house!!

Those who have been following these wanderings for a while know that this journey was ultimately initiated by the collision of two bloggers. The whole idea started when one wise idiot had a world-changing idea. The world that was about to change may have been limited to a world of two, and the changes ended up completely different from what had been planned … but such is life. Every once in a while, I give an update on what the founder of this whole project is up to, even though our paths have gone in slightly different directions.

Mark, despite many speed bumps on the road of his life (some might even call the speed bumps mountains), keeps showing us the power of perseverance and a positive attitude. Like many who jump into the blogging world, for him blogging was a method of self-healing. His ability to turn difficulty into humor quickly gathered a large following for his blog, and he turned being an Idiot into a rather enviable status. However, his path changed, and he slipped away from blogging to become a master painter, with an equally avid following. Recently, he has decided that the world could once again benefit from his humorous yet insightful take n life, so has rejoined the world of blogging … sort of. He has sadly been forced to step away from the persona of The Idiot, because others far less worthy (insert the name of your favorite Tea Party Republican here), have claimed, and totally tarnished, the title. So he has instead brought another of his alter egos out, one Rex Chestworthy, to regale us with wisdom and the healing power of laughter. Those of you who are his friends may already have encountered his new page on FB, but for others who may be interested, or who may just need a good dose of eye-opening thoughts, take a wander over to The Ramblings of Rex Chestworthy. You may not agree with everything he says, but you will definitely not be disappointed for visiting.

Rex

Brown Dog teaches …

“Not yet Brown Dog! It’s too early! Go back to bed!”

This is my equivalent to hitting the snooze button on an alarm clock. Every morning Brown Dog enthusiastically and urgently prances about, essentially saying “Gottagogottagogotaago!!,” while her mean and unfeeling companion hasn’t the energy to crawl out of bed yet. This has become part of the routine. On some levels, there is resentment in these actions: I went on this grand adventure, and all I have to show for it is a dog I did not ask for. Yeah me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love Brown Dog. Precisely because of that, she is often the target of my frustrations with life in general … and with myself. She has an exuberant energy that drives me crazy … mostly because I envy it. The irony being that my NOT having it is essentially my own fault. And any resentment is really just my inherent allergy to responsibility. Truth be told … once I actually get the walkies project started … it usually turns into a moment of peace (if often slightly agitated peace thanks to B. D.), reflection, and … believe it or not … learning. I take these moments to appreciate: appreciate what is around me; appreciate what I DO have and what I don’t; appreciate the simple fact of living. These moments are also good for letting the mind wander in nomadic bliss. My thoughts are often random, but I will explore that randomness to its very edges.

SQUIRREL!!!!

SQUIRREL!!!!

This morning, as I admired the early morning light on the autumn colors, the chill, brisk air instilled some nifty thoughts in my head. One that I may actually pursue (let my inner inventor run for a change) is the concept of a treadmill for dogs. As seems to be the norm for this time of year, Brown Dog’s focus was torn between the desperate need to GO NOW!!, the finicky need to GO HERE!!, and the distracting need to  CHASE SQUIRREL!! Basically a typical morning’s walk. Nearing the end of the walk, our slightly frayed, “ghetto” rope of a leash once again burned my fingers as B. D. once again decided THAT squirrel was Public Enemy Number One. So I said to her: “They are everywhere, girl. If you chase them all, we’ll never get anywhere.”

With an eye awakening smack, the cold air put its fingers to my cheek and I suddenly GOT IT!

I was talking about squirrels to a dog, but there was a profound lesson in what I had just said for myself (and maybe others). This simple statement so well applies to many other things … but most applicably in MY life to dreams and … causes. Dreams are everywhere. So are battles to be fought. One of the temptations an Idealistic Thinker faces is the need to follow ALL the dreams; the need to fight ALL the battles.

THAT way lays eternal frustration.

Maybe part of the reason I feel so adrift these days is because I have CAST myself adrift. If I keep chasing everything that catches my attention, my own personal squirrels, I will never get anywhere. To reinforce this message, B. D. suddenly got another scent, and started towing me at the cost of her own breathing … again. This time I said, “Stop choking yourself chasing after something you will never catch!!”

The cold air slapped me in the face again as soon as I said this.

Yep. Brown Dog is one fine teacher!

 

What comes after the summit?

Hey guys! It has been far too long since I last updated the masses (all 6 of you) on the status of my journey. By now 4 or 5 of you have had a brief moment (no more than a passing thought) wondering if I have ended up in a ditch somewhere, then immediately went on with the more important things in life such as finishing cleaning the toilet. But I will type away, keeping my delusions that SOMEONE might be a bit curious.

Before I set foot on the Appalachian Trail, it was pretty clear that there would be a lot of climbing involved … clear to anyone who has ever seen a mountain. It was less clear to the middle-aged couch potato who still thought of himself as 18 how STRENUOUS and painful some of that climbing would be. But without fail, reaching the summit always carried a sense of achievement; frequently a sense of awe; and all too often a sense of severe pain and hunger. Yet we continued on, sometimes because we really had no choice if we wanted continued survival, but usually simply because that is what we do. But as I have no doubt mentioned many times before, my life is governed by irony. Little did I know that the pains and rewards of that first part of my current journey … a mere hiking a few hundred miles through varying terrain with a house on my back … PALED in comparison to what came next.

logo-546e4da8_site_iconWithout getting into TOO much detail (after all that is what my best-selling yet to be book is about), suffice to say that the emotional and spiritual part of this journey that has defined the last couple of months is to the hike like The Incredible Hulk is to the kid that always got stuffed into the locker. If you want a less S.A.T.-ish metaphor, or better yet clear speech, it was downright HARD! I reached the depths of despair … not even being able to envision continuing another moment … yet still continued. I found moments of pure nirvanic bliss, so content that if my life stopped at THAT moment, I would know the Question to the Ultimate Answer … yet still continued. I did manly battle with inner demons galore, with many a scar … yet still continued.

And here I am, at the proverbial peak … wondering what is next.

Now I can finally start this blog post. Since I spent so much time in prepping you, I’ll shorten things up a bit. What is next is to continue climbing. No more path to WALK on? Guess I am going to have to fly now. So my new life plan in one long-winded set of words: yet another website (which is also a business) up and running; one old website in the process of being revamped and also turned into a business; two more websites to be upgraded to join the team; all to fall under one shell that also will require a website; three books to finish writing; going to massage school to round off the plan; all this with no steady place to live and no active income yet.

I think I got it all.

Stay tuned folks, it is really starting to get interesting now!!

Return of a footsore Idiot

As I think I have said before, I am not sure one can really go walk-about if they are not doing too much walking. Now that I have survived the most recent pass through the forge as I turn myself into whatever tool I will be, I decided to start taking some control back. Winter is approaching, which means that it is a good time for nomads to stay put for a while. Plus it would be good to replenish the coffers. Gotta start paying back money I owe, resupply, and ensure I actually survive the winter. Since me becoming a wealthy award-winning author seems a very slow process, this means some temporary work. I consulted the digital genies and immediately found a new bar opening up only a couple of miles away. Walk-able, and in many ways ideal. Food service is good for flexibility of schedule and occasional cash in hand.

Being the excellent planner that I am not, I checked routes on Google. To the bar; from THAT bar to “MY” bar … er … um … office. Filled out an online application, got an email saying come in for a talk, and the process was started. Of course in my usual perfect timing, this day it decided to snow. Oh well. Walking in a light snow can actually be quite refreshing. I walked to he potential job site, actually FOUND it with only slight difficulty, had my ten minute canned interview (stay tuned for results), then began the walk to the office to get some REAL work done.

Pause for sarcastic laughter.

deep-snowIt is one of the many ironies that govern my life that the more “civilized” and area is, the less capable I am of navigating it. Put me in the woods, and I will rarely get lost. Put me in something man-made, like say a city or a mall, and I will be lost for hours. I am glad (?) to say yesterday was no different. I apparently totally misread the map for my return journey. Add to that the lowering temperature, the increasing snow, and my tendency to go into the “zone” when conditions become less than comfortable, in no time I was … completely unsure where I was.

I am one who travels by landmarks. Like trees and rocks. Stock buildings, highways and advertising signs completely baffle me, especially when they keep repeating themselves. After a few, “I’ll turn here, it is bound to take me somewhere,” mishaps, I finally ended up somewhere that there was potential for warmth and better yet … directions. I shed what remained of my pride and … dun dun dun … asked. I may be remembering incorrectly at this point, but I am pretty sure the answer was, “You are in the wrong state.”

Finally I figured out where I needed to be, roughly 5 miles That-a-way. Fortunately it was now getting darker, colder, and snowier, ensuring I didn’t settle down in someone’s yard for a nap. So after a walking only about nine miles out of my way, I finally made it to the “office”, I stayed long enough to thaw out before I skied back to my room to crash for the night.

So basically I walked roughly 13 miles and got slightly hypothermic for a ten minute interview for a job I may or may not get. All in all a rather productive day.

The Tao of Picnic

Fence 0001
As I recently mentioned, this adventure is destined to be the next book project I start. Now it remains to be seen if I will actually finish ANY of my manuscripts. I seem to have fully slipped into the role of starving artist (except for the starving part apparently). I even have a coffee shop I frequent almost daily now … though I usually get fruit smoothies. I am not sure If I qualify as a writer without caffeinated products altering my bloodstream.

Anyway, I spent a few hours this morning expanding the few sentences that I realized were the start of my story. It is interesting to me, that now tha I am specifically trying to write about my OWN adventures, the writing is that much more difficult. I have dabbled in writer’s block before, but usually find that it is just my own demons trying to catch my attention. But somehow with me as the actual FOCUS of … I don’t know … reality fiction? … I am not sure what to say. I guess I want to keep things interesting without tooting my own horn too much. Didn’t expect it would be that much of a challenge. But then again little of my life in recent months has been as expected.

Possibilities for my near future: I will actually finish A manuscript. I will maybe sell some of my photos (even though it goes totally against my grain) and maybe even make a few bucks. I will do a road trip to Ohio with my partner in crime in an attempt to recoup some (or all) of the money spent in recent weeks, refilling coffers that really should not be emptying in the first place. I also am dabbling with the idea of making some web pages for folk … also with the possibility of earning from that. The first challenge is getting over the to me rather awkward concept of charging for things that I am perfectly willing to do for free. Someday I may manage to fit in this backwards culture of ours yet … though I have my doubts.

Here is the intro to what I think I will be calling The Tao of Picnic. Let me know if it is something that you might want to read:

How do legends become legends? What makes deeds great enough that they need to be shared across the land? Is it the actions that make the hero? Or is being a character of legend something we are born with? I suppose it pays to have a good advertising team. It’s all about spin.

I would love to share the tale of a legendary character here. I would love to give the exciting details of his journey, a journey like no other. Yes I would love to share such an exciting tale, but sadly I can only work with what I have. THIS particular story is just about lil ole me. Or more specifically, some recent adventures of mine.

“Who,” one might reasonably ask, “ARE you?”

I guess that might be a good place to begin.

It all started some four plus decades ago in a classic example of industrial suburban. In Brockton, MA, halfway between Boston and Providence, a small city that grew from shoes and boxing, trying its best not to become another fallen paradise … in other words a typical small industrial city, one condominium complex bordering a large park was welcoming a new arrival. Without revealing too much too soon, suffice to say that that new arrival, a quiet and inquisitive (not so) little guy, went through the cauldron of youth in suburbia to grow into a nature loving, out-of-the-box thinking, wandering soul with a lust for learning. This is That Guy’s story.

I was That Guy. I guess technically I still AM That Guy. Yet I have learned enough throughout my personal adventures to understand that we all are like the proverbial water in a river, constantly changing, never the same we were a moment ago. The man I am now, as I navigate my current adventures, is That Guy Plus. That Guy is the foundation of who I am now, and will always be part of who I become.

Is this a sufficient introduction?

Inherent in the human condition is a visceral need for labels; reference points in our maps of reality. Since I am guessing most of my audience here will be human, I will attach a few labels to myself. I was born Steven Howard Kramer. That has morphed through many incarnations, finally mostly settling on Steve for family, and Kramer for everyone else. Until the recent adventures, that is, in which Picnic was introduced to the world. Yes folks, I am Picnic.

Ultimately that is what this story is all about. This is the evolution of Picnic.