The following was written at Vesuvio's Cafe in San Francisco, California, 7/20/14.
- - - - - - - - - - -
What happens next?
To me, #TeamStrub is the ultimate leap of faith.
A leap from a cozy perch in upstate New York into the great unknown.
But is it truly unknown? Is a cross county roadtrip truly filled with genuine revelations at every turn?
Yes and no.
The last couple of weeks have proven this to me: that in Portland, Oregon, 3,000 miles from that so-called comfort zone, my childhood friend Ken Wood's illogical passion for his New York Mets is the same as it ever was.
In Oakland, my old friend Matt Sobin's pragmatism and generosity? Same as it ever was.
In Seattle, my old friend Amanda Mohlenhoff's coy smile and uniquely clever sense of humor? Same as it ever was.
And so on.
Today, at Vesuvio's, I'm coming to the same realization:
No matter where I am, I'm the same as I ever was.
Do I miss Binghamton? Of course. Do I miss Huntington? Definitely.
For better or worse, I am me -- I am who I am.
Whether they demonstrate it or not, I feel strongly that people are who they are ... but, unfortunately, certain people let circumstances get in the way.
For seven years, I let circumstances get in my way of being who I am. For seven years, I felt comfortable. For seven years, I treaded water, adding crooked numbers to my age, notches to a bed post, Tweets to a digital abyss.
Many men will wake up at 58, or 68, or 98, and come to a realization about the man they've become.
I was lucky enough to find it at 28.
And I realized, job or no job, apartment or no apartment, money or no money -- I am who I am.
But I was letting circumstances get in the way.
Fortunately for me, within its confines, my job offered a broad variety of positive qualities. Creative freedom. Travel. Authority. Camaraderie.
But, by necessity, all of those qualities came with confines, with limits.
And so the man I was becoming, was limited. Was confined.
So what happens next?
I want to be free. I want to be the person I know I am, and know I always have been.
I want to inspire people to be themselves, and not be confined by circumstances.
If that inspiration proves disruptive, so be it. Because just because somebody is somewhere, or works somewhere, or is dating someone, doesn't mean it's RIGHT.
Let me reiterate: just because you ARE doing something, doesn't mean you NEED to do something.
When you take time to explore, to think, to dream, you realize that the only person holding yourself back is YOU.
So, let me flip the script.
What happens next for YOU?
I urge you to draw inspiration from my friends Ken and Meg, who quit their jobs to trek across the United States not knowing where they'd end up (Portland), or what they'd end up doing.
I urge you to draw inspiration from my friend Matt, who weathered an extremely difficult circumstance in his personal life to settle with a beautiful, bright young woman in Northern California.
I urge you to draw inspiration from my friend Amanda, whose personal quest took her to Korea for several incredibly enlightening years before she settled back in the Pacific Northwest.
All of these great people decided they were not going to be victims of circumstance, and made incredibly positive changes in their own lives to let themselves flourish and shine.
And what is the one thing all these individuals have in common? Moreso than any of us ever realized in high school, they have all been true to themselves -- and, even in just briefly conversing with each of them, I see their happiness is tied directly to their decision to unshackle themselves from various circumstances.
My faith on this trip is certainly in America, and Americans, to prove the beauty and character of our great country.
But even more important right now is my faith in myself. The lessons I've learned in the concentric worlds of journalism and advertising, sure, but more importantly the character that my parents installed in me from day 1.
I believe in what I'm doing, I believe in what I'm after and I believe in me. And for me, time is much too short to let circumstances get in the way.