His name is Peter. He is 60 years old, a restaurateur, an expat living in Belize, a traveling jobs master, and has a girlfriend 20 years his junior – but most importantly, Peter is the real McCoy when it comes to travel jobs, traveling jobs, odd jobs, or any other type of job that involves hustling your way around the globe. From oil rigs in the North Atlantic to prawning (shrimp boating) off the coast of Australia, to mushroom farming in San Francisco, Peter spent 8 years of his late 20s and 30s seeking the holy grail of holy grails: to have traveling jobs and live an incredibly interesting existence all the while shrugging off living in a cubicle. Some days he didn’t know where he was going to sleep or even if he had enough money to eat, but resilience and his love of trying new things proved unwavering allies in his quest for excitement. He found himself teaching English in Japan and working as a deckhand on sailboats, despite having nearly nil experience to warrant such positions.
I hadn’t planned on writing this post, a post about another’s journey mostly because while I do encounter people almost everyday doing interesting things, I do not often meet someone who unapologetically and unwaveringly follows their heart in the pursuit of excitement even if it means goings into the weeds (*excluding underage drunken backpacker goons – which seem to be sprouting like weeds these days). While his journey isn’t for all, or even for most, it does strike a nerve with me. A reminder to get back on task of finding my joy abroad – instead of at the bottom of a bottle – and to help others find ways to make ends meet while pursuing their unknown, overseas path.
Do I wish to smell like fish and throw up over the sides of a boat? Not particularly. Do I long to find out the idiosyncrasies of mushrooms and best production practices? Depends on the type of mushrooms. Do I wish to live in squalor in some ex-Soviet industrial shithole and pronounce the same word 20 times as if speaking to a child to some pornstar-like, painfully hot, oil-oligarch’s girlfriend who has no desire to learn English? Most definitely – but what matters most is that if others have taken a leap of faith on an unknown path toward excitement and ventured off the well worn path, how could I cannot take the risk, especially if I could stumble upon Eden? Will it end in complete self-destruction or a glorious victory? Who knows – but that is what is so exciting about it, and maybe it doesn’t matter anyway. Or in Peter’s words…
“Have faith, be positive as much as possible, do what excites you – and it will work itself out”
Respect Pete, Respect