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.