Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thumbing through Russia 

I met Feng Fan at the youth hostel. He is planning to hitch-hike through Russia and end up in South Africa. I think he's crazy. But I was crazy once too. After I graduated from high school, I put my clothes and a sleeping bag in John's old army duffle bag and had Mel take me out to the Market Street exit in Salem, Oregon, where we lived at the time. I stuck my thumb out and kept sticking my thumb out until I got to Dallas, Texas. From there I proceeded to Tennessee, then Florida, then back toward Oregon. So I'm not sure if I would have the nerve to do what Feng Fan is doing. But I sure do understand that urge to see what's over the next hill. And that youthful optimism. I was a boy scout, so I wanted to be prepared. I even made a small cook stove from some old vegetable cans, which I never used. But what if I had come to the end of a day, and had to be dropped off in a rainstorm or something? Or what if it had started raining when i was sleeping outside in my sleeping bag? I was taking a lot of chances--hoping for things to turn out right. There were few youth hostels in those days, and I didn't have money for hotels. So I made the decision to hitchhike. It was a crazy decision, perhaps, but it has influenced, at least to some extent, nearly every decision I have made since that time regarding my life direction. There's something about making a decision like that--even an apparently crazy decision--that emboldens you to do it again and again throughout your life once you have seen the benefit that can come from one step of faith. Feng Fan is planning to use couch surfing part of the time. He seems to be quite enthusiastic and in good health, so I think his chances for success are quite good. But I did tell him to skip South Africa. Keep the wind at your back, Feng Fan.

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