As we near the completion of our journey, we are all taking the time to reflect on what it meant to us and how our lives are transformed by the experience. What follows are KJ's reflections.
It seems as though everything is as it should be. No matter what obstacles we are faced with, no matter what devastating dilemma presents itself, everything is as it should be. Our bus breaks down in Denver at seemingly the worst possible time--just as we are about to roll out of town. But then we take a step back and see the reality of it all. If the bus had broken down at any point in time after that, whether it be as we ascended the Rockies, or after we got to our destination at the time, middle-of-nowhere desert, we would have been totally screwed. So the bus gets fixed and we arrive at Yosemite a couple weeks “late,” but what’s this? Yosemite is having a week-long event called Yosemite Facelift where volunteers walk around the park picking up trash? That’s so weird... or is it just that everything is as it should be? I think so.
A common theme on the road is serendipity. It’s been a series of cosmic collisions lining up perfectly to provide us with exactly what we need to proceed on our path to the epic conclusion of this righteous journey. Before Pick Up America, I had never lived a lifestyle so much “in tune with the flow”, if you know what I mean. It’s as if this is the true way to live life: giving as much as you can and taking only what you need, interacting with your environment in whatever way betters your and everyone else’s experience: living free. Trying to picture the routine in a job like I had at Safeway is almost painful at this point. I shake my head at the time I’ve wasted over the years, whether I was “working” or not. I say “working” because I no longer consider performing monotonous, meaningless tasks all day real work. Now, real work to me is work towards the betterment of the human experience. Real, meaningful work.
I think the first step in the right direction for most is simply, or maybe not so simply, to step out of the box. Once you take that step out of the box, out from under the crushing pressure of a career and payments for this, that, and the other thing, you feel the true weight of consumer culture come off your shoulders and it feels like... well... it feels like everything is as it should be. There’s an air of lightness and a feeling of profound inner peace. It’s a different state of mind, a better, stress-free state of mind full of love and gratitude. It’s the state of mind everyone is looking for, whether they know it or not.
Where do I go from here?
At this point, I’m not really worried about it. The difference now is that the potential for earning and contributing is there. After taking this rollercoaster ride we call Pick Up America, I’m set. I have connections all across the country from all walks of life. I firmly believe that as long as I do everything in my power to better intentional communities, permaculture, and healing arts centers, it will make for the most fulfilling and awesome life I could possibly imagine. In the end, I imagine my brethren and myself taking huge strides in helping the masses realize things don’t have to stay the way that they are. It is possible to grow food, not some bumbaclot Monsanto GMO garbage like you get at the grocery, but good organic food, in your own yard. It is possible to be zen when everything around you is chaos as is the case in most cities. It is possible to step outside the box, at the very least think outside the box, and better your situation. We will show them how we did it, we will show them how they can do it, and we will show them how to make everything as it should be.