How I talk to God by screaming into the ocean

This story isn’t about prisons, it’s just a taste of what it’s like to be hitchhiking in a Northern California winter:

I am a ball of rubber wrapped in plastic.

Seriously.

me, hiding in plastic

Inside my shoes it looks like an artistically-challenged four-year-old attempted to shape a pile of mashed turnips into feet.

And failed.

The rain won’t stop. My flesh is rotting.

And that’s what this story is all about: What it’s like to rot.

***

But let me back-up … more

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The reason why RVs exist

In every sense, fear and freedom are uniquely intertwined.

One cannot exist without the other. And we cannot exist without them both — like dry wood and oxygen to a campfire’s light.

America is a land of many freedoms. Prison reflects our need to protect them, our fear of losing them.

Hitchhiking is also a pure strain of this dynamic. It forces the participant to give themselves completely to the road, to embrace unmanageable wildness. Few things can feel freer. Few things can be more terrifying.

And if this project had a thesis, you would have just read it.

Here’s a remotely related video. It was taken in September of ’05 as I attempted to hitchhike from Alaska into the Yukon Territory:

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Showering with a hose out-back a gas station

In the “How To Hitchhike” section of VoJ, I’ll be posting regular updates documenting my journey. To get us started, here’s a short clip from northern Texas recorded during one of my last hitchhiking trips …

When hitchhiking just shy of The Panhandle, keep in mind that water is not inclined to fall from the sky:

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A little dirt in the soul never hurt anyone

I took this photo while hitchhiking the day
after this entry was written

This morning, my girlfriend was still asleep as I lay in bed staring at the ceiling. The bed was warm. The December air cold. I tucked the blankets around her neck and she shifted and whispered something about pancakes. I could have cried. For, despite the tranquility of the moment, a panicked spark was spreading through my stomach… I knew this was all about to end.

12 hours later, as I write this, I’m barreling through the rain-filled darkness of Northern California on a bus that smells like body odor and porta-potty juice. I’m headed to the top of the state with plans to hitchhike to the bottom. The wind whips hard against the Greyhound’s side, as if taunting me, “you can’t hide in there forever, boy.”

It’s been almost two years exactly since I last hitchhiked. And, frankly, I’m terrified to start again. I’m not scared of the things people usually assume I should be — like characters from bad horror movies — but there are other fears; standing alone in the rain, the looks of putrid disgust twisting across a misunderstanding drivers’ face, the nights spend hiding suspended between two trees, fumbling with swollen lifeless hands to spark a lighter and, above all, that empty, unyielding feeling of loneliness that burns and chafes so stubbornly against the lining of a lone traveler’s soul.

And yet, I have my reasons … more

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“Dog will hunt”

After a month spent living off borrowed bread in my friend’s kitchen, I’m happy to say that the Kickstarter.com fundraiser for Voices of Justice was successful! Thanks so much to everyone that contributed.

So… now what? Well, in short: Hitchhiking, that’s what.

Those who know me well are likely aware that I’ve spent a large amount of time hitchhiking as a journalist in the past (and that I vowed never to do it again). Well, after a lot of thought, I’ve decided to get back on that saddle one last time … more

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