Thursday, May 28, 2009

10 cents of goodness

beat that alex vercio.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


His name is Gerald.

He's been a traveler since 1998. Before this he was in Europe for a couple years, livin' the life on the Isle of Man. "Those people sure know how to party, I'll tell you what," he said. The party stopped, however, when Gerald became part of a messy love triangle...and got deported.

His motto is "go with the flow." Which explains why, when we picked him up on the side of the highway and asked him where he was headed, he replied with "oh's all good you know?" And so we went, from Bend Oregon to Walla Walla Washington, with Gerald in our back seat.

Gerald's life has been pretty intense. He's been run over by a truck. Yup. Run over. He was laying in a field...just mindin' his own business...and a TRUCK ran over his body. He spent 8 days in the hospital. They put a pin in his hip, and sent him away to recover. After that he realized that he wanted to make a "claim to fame." So he walked from Florida to Louisiana...bare foot.

He does a lot of walking, actually. He doesn't hitch hike much. In fact, when we picked him up he wasn't even sticking his thumb out (To be honest, I thought he was a woman when we passed by, so I told Alex that we should stop and pick her up. When we turned around and found out that he was not, in fact, a woman...there really wasn't a whole lot else to say other than, "Hop in, my name is Tara." I know this could sound pretty irresponsible...but Alex was there...and he looked pretty harmless). He told us that he had been walking north from California since March. MARCH! It's the end of May now, in case you were wondering.

Spending that much time by yourself, with only your thoughts to keep you company could make any man go insane. But Gerald keeps himself entertained. Did you know that the next Friday the 13th is in 172 days? And did you know that there will be 3 in the year 2010? Gerald does, and he knows the dates of each. He's really into math right now. He tried to explain this mathematical theory to Alex on the way. That's the point that I stopped listening for a bit...and Alex started saying things like, "uh huh" and "really?" Gerald is really smart. He reads a lot, spends a lot of time in libraries he says.

Oh, he's a college graduate too. Graduated from University of Arizona with an English degree. Creative writing, to be exact. He doesn't write anymore, hasn't for a long time. But believes in its wonderful power to bring people's thoughts to life.

"So how did this become your lifestyle?"

"Oh I just came back from Europe and didn't know what to do, so I just started traveling."

"Do you ever get lonely?"

"Oh sometimes, but I like the solitude. I like being in the open land, able to do what I please."

We asked him if he was ever planning on settling down. He said that if he ever found a better life, he would, but he didn't see that happening. We asked him about his family, he hasn't talked to his parents since 1994. But they're still alive, as far as he knows. He said that there wasn't any conflict, nothing happened to break the family bonds. He believes in treating everybody equally, and the special ties that come with family aren't any more special than the ties you form with people you come into contact with.

I've been thinking a lot about Gerald since we dropped him off and I watched him walk away, off to find somewhere to sleep for the night. Gerald didn't ever ask for anything. We had to convince him to order food at Subway, and he really didn't care where we dropped him off (my parents wouldn't have appreciated a visitor, and Alex lives with his mom). So many things about my experience with Gerald surprised me. He was educated, he was socially pleasant, he was smart, he was so dang chill, and he was content. He broke the mold that my naive little brain had formed about these people that I see on the side of the road.

I wish I knew his story. The whole story. I wish I knew how he became a traveler, and what happened in his life to make him prefer a life of solitude over a life with companionship.

Was there a specific instance? Was it a broken heart? A lack of love? Was it a string of bad choices that made his choice to wander inevitable? Or did he really just choose this lifestyle? Is this really what brings him joy?

I'm not really sure what to think about everything he said. It is so contradictory from what I've ever understood to be a full life. We asked him what he liked about being alone. One of the things he said was, "I like knowing that I could go into the woods and die and nobody would know." Now, in my mind, that would be the absolute worst way to die. Alone. Without anybody knowing or caring that you're missing. But he actually thinks that. This whole thought process rocks my world. And I wish I knew what to do with it. Maybe nothing...

I'm having trouble wrapping this would think that I could find some spiritual application,and then really bring it home with a moving bible verse. But it's not comin', and it's getting late.

So I'll just say this...

Life is so crazy. I hope I meet more people like Gerald in my lifetime. Friends from different walks of life help me understand this world that much better.

Thank you Gerald, wherever you are, for broadening my understanding and giving me the opportunity to love. You are one awesome guy.


This may be it.
I think this is the cause I want to give my life to.
Watching these videos stirs up something in my soul that I've never really felt before.
I think it's passion.
I think I'm really excited.
I think I need to pray a lot more about this.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Alex and I road tripped to California this weekend. It was a long trip...but really awesome to reconnect and have some adventures. Old friends are awesome, old friends that think a lot like you are even awesomer. You were missed on this trip Emmaline Shine. There's some funny stuff of Alex I gotta show you when we get back....

When Emily and I went on our road trip to Tennessee we each ate a melted candy bar...with no napkins...and no regard for what what was getting all over our face. It was liberating. Alex just so happened to have a melted candy bar on our road I challenged him to do the same.

But the best part about this picture...the very best that Alex looked like this when I got pulled over. You see, Alex's speedometer doesn't work, among many other things in the I wasn't super surprised when I saw flashing lights behind me. What was going on inside the car when this happened was pretty hysterical. Alex and I were rocking out to some Michael W. Smith...Alex was dancing and singing at the top of his lungs...and I was thoroughly entertained...and not really paying attention to my speed.

When we tried to explain this to the cop...after his pressing questions as to why we were speeding...he didn't seem super sympathetic. We even asked him if he knew who Michael W. Smith was...he just looked at us. I'm sure we looked ridiculous...Alex's face was covered in chocolate, and my hair was frizzed to the max because we'd been driving with the windows down the whole time. I laughed a lot at Alex after the cop left...I laughed a little less when the cop came back with my first pricey ticket. Oregon is so stupid. Who goes 55 on a freeway anyway?

give up your SOLE

This is a SOLE tree. Alex and I found it on our way to California, out in the middle of nowhere. I had never seen one before...but it's AWESOME.

There are so many different kinds of shoes, that represent different kinds of people.

We didn't contribute any shoes...but we did think about taking some...

Monday, May 18, 2009

roasty toasty

Aloe Vera: a very short-stemmed plant with thick leaves with soothing mucilaginous juice; leaves develop spiny margins with maturity; native to Mediterranean region; grown widely in tropics and as houseplants.

I was excited about laying out in my pool this afternoon. Now I'm a little less excited.

I'm not a very patient tanner...I've discovered...cause this seems to happen every year.

Let the tan-off begin Nate Dubs.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


It happened today.

In the middle of Macy's.

It was probably a combination of things that brought it to the surface. I hate shopping. And more than that, I hate seeing shirts that cost $50 and jeans that cost $100. I hate materialism and I hate that sometimes (ok a lot of the time) I find myself getting sucked into it.

I'm different than I was when I left. Things that mattered before, don't now. And things that do now, didn't before. I feel these differences in my soul, and see them come out in my interactions with some friends. I love the people here, love them. It's just different, I'm just different.

Today, I missed Southern.

Today, I missed being understood.

Today, I missed the people who watched me grow and helped me do it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Piggly Wiggly get better!

Today my dad told me that you don't get the Swine Flu from pigs...the reason that it's called Swine flu is because pigs can get it from US when we have it! Did everybody already know this?

So...people have stopped eating pork, for no reason... maybe Adventists are behind this epidemic.


Nothing has changed.

I don't know why I thought that it might.

Emily picked me up half way from Spokane yesterday to take me to Walla Walla. It was awesome. The reunion has been LONG past due. On the way home we attempted to catch up, but there's still so much more to say and share...we'll get everything out, I'm sure...

What a beautiful thing friendship is. What a beautiful thing CONNECTION is. I've missed this girl. Tons. We've both changed a lot, our experiences this past year have changed our souls...but not really who we are. We are still the same people at the core.

Emily still forgets that she's not wearing shoes when she leaves the house. Alex and I still gang up on Emily and see who can get the best reaction. She still shoves her feet in my face, and I still brutally retaliate when she does it. We still stay up late talking, and sleep in the same bed because we don't like to sleep alone. Aw the good ol' days...thank you God that they aren't over.

Friday, May 8, 2009

it's a combination of things...

I haven't posted anything in a long time...and right now I kind of feel like posting, but I don't have the energy to write something insightful and meaningful. But here's an update.

School is out. It's summer. For the last few days I've been staying in the Foote's basement. Which has been absolutely....awesome. This place has become the new Dogwood 8, essentially. Everyone comes here to chill, laugh, play futilism, and

Amanda just made enchiladas, she's amazing. It's a wonderful thing to make such a close friend in such a short amount of time.

We watched a truck drive into the river today. On purpose. There were 8 cameras recording it...and two dummies in the front seat. It was for a movie, obviously. That MY friend wrote! I felt so proud watching him do his friends are awesome, I realize once again.

I've been presented with a couple tough scenarios this week...some tough issues about our school that need to be addressed...but mostly I feel helpless, because I can't do much about it. These things seem so obviously unjust, so obviously frustrating. So why don't people see it the way I do? The administration is filled with well-meaning, Godly why does it seem like they are getting it wrong sometimes? I think I've mostly just realized that it would be so hard to be in big leadership positions. Decisions are hard, and not always black and white. I need to remember that.

I am going home on Monday. Home...where everybody knows my name. Did you guys ever watch Cheers? Did you guys ever watch Friends where Joey is in England and watches Cheers? Anyway, home. I'm getting pretty stoked about it. I'm making a mental list of all the people I can't wait to see and hang out with when I get there. The list is long, and promising.

This year has been amazing, absolutely incredible. But I'm feelin pretty ready for the next step. Pretty ready for Walla Walla, camp, maybe California, then ROAD TRIP back to Southern for another awesome year.

God is really good. really really really gotten good. (I'm gonna miss you this summer J Jones)