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The world is timeless, but life is far from it.  Time is but a creation of man and his ability to understand mortality, which many comprehend, but disregard, clinching onto longevity instead of brevity and living in the moment, experiencing, loving life, meeting strangers, holding onto those you love and cherishing the immaterial; life is a precious gem often overlooked.  The future will come one way or another, but the present is now.  Embrace it.  Life is fragile.  We all take it for granted sometimes.  I know I did.  I still find myself fighting the demons that hold me back at times from enjoying it.

I learned long ago when suffocating in the shadows of white-collar America searching for purpose through career and inflated ego, but falling short, that life is too precious to focus on unquenchable greed and social status.  As a young adult, I could summarize my life into a sentence or two if I really tried, a pitiful feat.  I neither enjoyed routine or felt proud of my achievements, and knowing that conventional lifestyle and chasing money shapes much of our society, I felt hard-pressed to fight against its shackles and follow an alternate path.  Career and dependence on government and services are so heavily pushed on fledgling youth that I just dealt with my steady paycheck, and dreamt of sailing off into the sunset in retirement despite my stale, unhappy life.

There is nothing wrong with planning for the future, living in luxury or even enjoying a conventional lifestyle and the comfort it brings.  I enjoy our small studio apartment, the luxury of a smartphone, our comfy bed, my bicycle, among other entertainment, but after a while I feel stuck in a permanence, and need to move around, to wander.  I’m not really sure why, but comfort and career just do not work for me the whole year and that’s perfectly okay.  

For a while, I tried to fit the mold indoctrinated from youth, and bury my eccentricities, dreams, and desires for travel in order to climb the ladder of social hierarchy, latching onto the ideal of the American Dream, in my mind only achieved by the elite, a fabrication of American propaganda.  When I lost my job and saw how disposable I really was to “the company,” I no longer saw the point of focusing solely on money or status or putting the company first.  I wanted to quench my wanderlust, my desire to see and feel the world, to sleep under the stars, picking up odd jobs, meeting new people, and to stop worrying about the future because it’s unknown.  My time could end at any moment and no matter how important I am or how wealthy, I will end up like the burned pages of a fallen empire, dead and forgotten.  So, I mine as well live how I want.  Since then, I adopted a moral creed with myself, to work on becoming a better person by controlling my emotions, and to live life for its experiences, and not for money.  

At particular times, for no particular reason, I find it hard to not get overwhelmed with the menial speedbumps of life.  Freedom is very much a state of mind that takes much practice to hone and accomplish and no amount of money can change that.  It can only make my life a little easier.  

My quest for nirvana started in the summer of 2013.  I am still fine tuning it each day after nearly eight years of living in-between, fracking away, little by little, to improve myself as a human being while learning from others around me and seeing as much as possible by foot and train.  Life is full of so many possibilities, so many adventures, destinations and aimless choices all within reach because of sacrifice, discomfort, as well as, privilege and hard work.  

I am privileged as an American and a minimalist to live my lifestyle.  I learned more from my fellow man than any book or degree or corporate entity.  This knowledge came from an open mind, a fresh start, a lotta walking and many nights on the street by choice, living in destitution to garner wisdom, and treating it all as an experience, good or bad, comfortable or uncomfortable.  Because of this, I developed a greater understanding of the meaning of life.

I learned much humility through self reflection, how to channel my rage and frustrations because there was a point a few years ago where I grazed the ocean floor, drowning in waves of ephemeral sadness that kept me up for days in a crippling psychosis.  Oftentimes, I fell into chemical dependence from stagnant hopelessness because I took my life and all it’s offered me for granted.  I am so fortunate for all of it though, the good times, the bad, and the person who helped me pull through it all and still helps me to this day, my wife.  It’s true what McCandless concluded, “Happiness is shared.”

It is really that simple, but my overly critical disposition at times is often my worst enemy.  As long as I focus on happiness and make the best of this life, then nothing is impossible.  Nothing is out of reach.  So I keep a pace which curbs both my wanderlust and need for work, and tackles my faults and troubles, all while learning to appreciate the nectar of life and all of its fruits bearing countless opportunities.  

With that, I go into every year with no expectations and little direction living in-between society.  After a while, the comfort of home and a steady paycheck slowly devours my morale, diminishing my cheerful character, making me miserable, depressed, feeling aloof like I MUST do something else with my life, but I don’t quite know what.  

Should I keep contributing to society, and pay the man, to keep that industrial wheel spinning?  I could, but time and time again I just say “fuck it” and rip freight living off very little.  In a perfect world, I would want to spend as much time as I could with the wife, but our lifestyles make that both difficult yet beautiful.  A combination of work, travel, and my wife get me closer to nirvana while simultaneously achieving my opus to my family and her needs, above anything else.  

Kelly is most important to me, travel is secondary, merely a therapeutic escape to cope with my insanity when Hyde takes his course and I can’t deal with work, people, society, and the crisis we call the system; they all aggravate me after a while.  Drugs, booze and medically prescribed pills will not change that so I ride trains.  I travel.  I try to ignore responsibility, to block out the negativity on social media, in the news, and everyday life especially at work; it’s mentally debilitating listening to the world complain yet go through the same habitual motions without changing.  Instead, I live my own way and ignore it, striving for happiness through sobriety, and adventure, shared and alone.

My wife and I share so much happiness together and through our bouts of independence, when I am on temporary hiatus from life and its responsibilities, we share it virtually; it’s my coping mechanism to keep myself from going insane inside those four walls.  Our bond is one which I can’t explain to the masses, to friends, family, or strangers, nor do I really care to.  It is often misunderstood, and quite frankly, it is no one’s business anyway.  Our happiness is shared and the way we live works for us and it has for many years and will for many years to come.

Ah, 2020, the year of “the vid,” “ronas,” whatever you wanna call it, mass hysteria, a victory for “Bye Don,” and sore loss for  the antiquated Republican party, dumping Donald for good, “Trump ja fired!”  The year of multiple protests across the nation for the equality of blacks, a much needed and necessary act of solidarity bringing Americans of all colors, shapes, and sizes together to fight for the end of police brutality.  Quite frankly, this is a year that will go down in history.  Hopefully, we will all look back at this as the year America got off of its ass, started fighting back against fascism and unjust discrimination, affecting our civil liberties.  

I have never witnessed such mass pandemonium and trepidation.  As a pessimist, this is up there with one of the worst years of my life, but, as an optimist, in many ways I persevered and used the pandemic to strengthen my relationship with my wife, pick up a new hobby foraging wild mushrooms together, and expand my writings to science fiction.  I traveled extensively around America, fought, and overcame COVID-19, traveled with a long time friend going through crisis, soul searching and looking for his purpose in life as we wandered the Upper Peninsula.

I spent months fighting the government to rescind its testimony regarding repayment of my unemployment benefits.  Their negligence and mistake cost me much stress and aggravation due to an antiquated system coded by a programmer living in the 90s.  It auto-approved every application in its system without looking at cause, but with persistence and honesty I won my case, and shortly thereafter I picked up a new trade as an arborist in training, riding the train to and from Mass for work.

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Brian Cray is not a cyclist. He’s not a hitchhiker. He’s not a train hopper or an adrenaline junkie. He’s just an ordinary man with gypsy blood in his veins, who can’t seem to settle down. Nothing defines him. He goes wherever this world takes him on this journey we call life, roaming the world, at will, by any means. He aspires for a life of indefinite travel, a tiny home in the woods for him and his wife, and any work that keeps him wanderin’. Brian Cray is a travel writer at heart, sharing his stories with the world one keystroke at a time.

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