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Friday, May 28, 2010

Man Quits Job To Realize Dream

Matt Green is an inspiration.

Thirty year old Matt Green worked as a civil engineer, a roadway designer, ironically, to quit his job to walk across America, a roughly 3,100 mile journey to a destination in Oregon. For Matt Green, there's just something about the act of walking that makes him happier than he ever would have been in his workplace cubicle in New York. In that cubicle, he used to daydream about doing something epic like this.

As he pushes his cart full of clothes, food and other gear, people often stop to ask him during his trek why he's doing it. Is it a fundraiser? Is he looking to break a record? Is it for any particular cause. The answer is no to all of the above.

"Good questions," he has replied.

Reflecting on his mundane life in Manhattan, inside his workplace cubicle, Matt says, "Playing it safe isn't really that safe. If you do that, you miss out on a lot of the great things life has to offer."

For months, Matt lived frugally in order to save up enough money and buy the supplies need to make his simple quest a reality. Along the way from Rockaway Beach in New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon, people have offered him shelter, meals and money to realize his dream. He has seen many remarkable, beautiful sights and has met many charitable, interesting and kind people during his trek so far.

For the record, he has been walking his route for 63 days, thus far- with about 7 more months of walking to go.

You can check out his website, I'm Just Walkin', to read details of his experiences and to look at the photos of the people and the scenes he experiences every day.

How many of us would dare to walk away from our routine lives to live out a dream that we have only mused about in our normally stagnate existence? I know I've thought about doing something so grand and adventurous.

While working horrible jobs in hot, uncomfortable factories and filthy warehouses in the past, I would often search for a window to look out of for a chance that my mind could escape to somewhere I could call sanctuary for just a moment. Many places I worked at, there were no windows. As well as no air conditioning or reprieve from the hectic pace we were all expected to move at.

One such place, Mubea, was an automotive parts factory/warehouse. They manufactured stabilizer bars, suspensions and other similar parts for cars and trucks. It was the hottest, dirtiest and most unsafe place I've ever worked at. You would work next to dangerously hot ovens and assembly lines, receiving only two ten minute breaks throughout a nine and a half hour work day. After working at Mubea for five years, if you survived that long, you would be awarded a twenty minute lunch break during your working days.

Glowing red parts would pop out of the huge steel oven doors and you would be expected to grab them off of the above hanging assembly lines, wearing lightly protective gloves, to hurriedly put them on metal racks to be later shipped off to god knows where. The stench of the place, no matter where you were stationed, was overwhelming. A true sweat shop and hell hole with no windows, open or closed, to peer out of.

Everyone working there carried an expression on their face that seemed to be begging for a means of escape or quick death. Nearly everyone working there smoked and smoked their cigarettes until they hacked up black phlegm and gasped for air that was filled with paint and metal fumes. This often caused me to wonder if they were intentionally trying to kill themselves in order to leave anyway they could, only bound there to feed their families.

I withstood all the chaos and the inhuman environment that Mubea offered for roughly two months and left, never looking back.

When I could, while there, I would fantasize about being somewhere clean and a destination, whether in my mind or actual location, where I could feel at peace. A place like the Caribbean Islands- my destination this summer.

There was a scene in the movie, "Joe Vs. The Volcano" with Tom Hanks, that actually inspired me to take this upcoming cruise out on the ocean waters.

If you've never seen the movie, I'll give you a brief description of the scene.

Hanks' character, for almost the entire movie, mistakenly believes he is dying. Later we find out he was tricked by a greedy businessman in order for Hanks to willingly throw himself into a volcano. This movie is a comedy but it also has a lot of life's truths in it. To this day, I have no idea why this movie got mixed to bad reviews by the critics.

Anyway, the scene is this: Hanks is on a raft made of huge suitcases, out in the middle of the ocean. It is night time. He has been slowly dying of thirst for days. Meg Ryan's character is unconscious, lying off to his side. He has kept her alive by giving her small cap fulls of water each day. Suddenly the moon, huge in scope, is seen rising above the horizon of the water. Tom's character stands up, completely in awe of this wondrous sight, at complete peace and serenity with himself and the world around him. It's one of the most goddamn inspiring scenes I've ever witnessed in a movie and it's always been a secret fantasy of mine to see such a sight on the ocean waters.

Hopefully, I will. Hopefully, everyone can be taken in and enchanted by such an experience sometime during their lives. I think Matt Green, from New York, has the right idea. I wish him nothing but the best.


Mr. Stupid said...

I am glad you're out of that job. Nine hours of work and just two ten minute breaks? That's crazy.

Matt sure is inspiring. He might have realized his dream but not many are brave enough to do what he's doing!

Have a good day, Kelly...:)

bazza said...

Hi Kelly. Thanks for bringing that to our attention. I went to the site and left a comment for him.
Some times very humble people are completely inspiring. Do you think he should have raised some money for deserving causes? Or am I being too cynical?

Kelly said...

Mr. Stupid- I am, too. I've worked a lot of shitty jobs in my life. That was the worst.

I agree. Not many are brave enough to do something like this. To think beyond what is expected from society and pursuing your own dream is admirable.

Take care.

Kelly said...

bazza- You're welcome. That's great that you went to his site and left a comment. Cool. As you could see, he has met some really nice folks on the way. Very true what you said about humble people.

No, I think that Matt is doing what he's doing for the right reason. I don't think he wants the added attention that his quest would bring by walking for a cause. Somehow, I respect him more for doing exactly what he wants, in that regard. Anytime anyone goes against the rigid expectations of society of what is "supposedly right", I have to applaud them.

Thanks for commenting. So did you have fun on your trip to Bruges? *hic* :-) Take care, bazza.

Crazy Brunette said...

So kinda like Forrest Gump???

klahanie said...

Hi Kelly,
This dude is to be commended. Matter of fact, I can relate to what he did.
I may not have walked across the USA but I took a real chance and told the 'rat race' to kiss my ass.
I gave up a mundane life with all the mundane jobs and took off. Yeah I moved countries and it hasn't all been a bed of roses. Yet, I am now living my life, the way I want to live.
My ex-wife knew a guy named 'Rick Hansen. She worked at the hospital where he was getting rehab for his injuries in Vancouver.
Now Rick, like Matt, is one hell of an inspiration.
Take very good care and have a peaceful and positive weekend.

Qelqoth said...

There's no way on earth that I'd work nine hours with only two ten minute breaks. I'd need ample time to get a cup of shit coffee from the vending machine and to also enjoy a cigarette. Kudos to Matt Green for sticking it to the man.

coolingstar9 said...

He brings inspiration to people. It is good to dream something extraordinary.
I hope he can learn many experiences in the walking.
Good story indeed.
Have the nice day.

Static said...

Good luck on your journey to get lost out in the middle of the ocean!


Kelly said...

Crazy Brunette- Eh, not really. This guy isn't as slow in the head. :-) You're bad.

Kelly said...

Klahanie- You have nothing but my admiration for being brave enough to venture on a course that took you from one country to the next, my friend. And Rick, and you, for that matter, are to be commended. I believe most people, when they take a chance like that, know there will be problems in the undertaking, but I'm betting most find that it is worth it rather than live a mundane, risk-free life.

Like Matt said... "Playing it safe isn't really that safe. If you do that, you miss out a lot on what life has to offer."

Take care, Gary. Hope you have a great day.

Kelly said...

Qelqoth- Yeah, I know what ya mean about needing that cup of java in the morning. Without it, I can't jump start my brain or my body. And yeah, kudos to Matt for stickin' it to the man. Take care, friend.

Kelly said...

coolingstar9- I totally agree with you. He is inspiring and I wish him nothing but the best. I went to his website and told him that and that I also wrote a post about him.

Take care. Thanks for commenting.

Kelly said...

static- Gee, thanks, man. :-) You have a good day, too. lol.

Static said...

Hey, don't mention it. It's all good, Kelly.

I've got room for one more on my raft, so feel free to climb aboard whenever you're when the sharks start to nibble.

p.s. I like to spoon.

Kelly said...

Static- Me can't wait. Is tomorrow good?

p.s. I like to fork.

One of The Guys said...

I just saw Forrest Gump a few weeks ago and this reminds me of the scene where he just runs for years and people follow him around. I wonder if Matt got the idea from that. Either way, I love it! People need to take more risks and just go for it. No one ever looks back and says, I wish I had worked more. But of course there are those things like bills that just suck.
Nice post my man!

Kelly said...

One of The Guys- Yeah, the bills do suck. And when you have kids, I realize, it's harder to take risks like Matt has and is doing. I love what he's doing, too. And people do need to take risks that are the equivalent to this feat... in order to REALLY LIVE. Thanks for the compliment. Take care!

Static said...

@ Kelly - I like to knife while spooning.

Kelly said...

Static- I like to eat pudding with a spoon while stabbing someone with a knife.

It just tastes better that way.

Static said...

Kelly, you're my kinda guy. You're just a big mangina tease. I mean that in the most heterosexual way possible.

Kelly said...

Static- I farted.

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