It was early November last year, Justin and I were 2 days into an adventure that we had no plans or expectations for, armed with a 4Runner packed with a tent, sleeping bags and an excitement for the unknown. It was absolutely freezing outside and we had no where to sleep that night. Our mission was to meet someone, preferably some cute and fun ladies, who wanted us to stay the night, in their nice warm house. That city makes Las Vegas look quaint. You've got to fight just to get across the street. Sometimes you have to fight fights just to get around fights splashed in throw-up. You'll pass degenerates, high-rollers, artisans, elderly folks, people that look questionably young for such a place, die-hard Christians attempting to inform the masses of their sinful ways, you'll find all of this and more tucked between strip clubs and alcohol slushy machines. You'll have no idea what is going on and no way to make it stop. You have your mission and that's the only thing to hang on to.
It was about 1am and we were about half a bottle of Jameson and a few Vodka tonics deep when it started to dawn on me that we weren't having much luck. The chaos was all around us and time was running out. I looked at Justin and said, "We're fucked. We're not gonna make it." He looked me in the eyes with total bewilderment, "What the fuck are you talking about!?" I just shook my head and took another sip.
That trip was at the end of an 8 month long vacation. I had run out of money. We were floating almost entirely on Justin's savings. I brought a few paintings with me hoping I would make a few sales along the way.
Justin doesn't even put his glass down, staring at me. It's a fierce, intense look, as if you robbed someone of their purse and then just stood there to see the look on their face. I take another sip of Jameson. His eyes dart towards the bartender girl for a brief second then back to me," We're gonna die tonight bro. We're gonna fucking die tonight. You know what I mean? That's how we have to see it. Like there is no other option but succeed or we die. We're gonna die when the bars close. Then it's over. You got that!?"
It was the most profound concept I had heard ever. Or at least as far back as i could remember, having drunk so much that night. It filled my whole everything with a new kind of excitement. A zest for life unparalleled by anything before. What would you do if you knew you were going to die in a few hours?
We ended up unsuccessful in finding a place to stay that night, I think we ended up sleeping in the 4Runner in some alley for an hour before taking off towards Georgia. In those few hours, though, we really LIVED. Everyday after that we lived like we were going to die that night. Some nights we found places to stay, some nights we stayed out in the cold. Every day and every night was a moment worth being here and now and loving every minute.
You never know when it's all going to be over. Are you doing what you want to do with your life? Sometimes it means sacrificing everything to experience what it means to really be alive. We did it. You can too.
(Justin took the photo above in Pensacola, FL of me flagpoling on a flagpole that was fifty feet above the ground. I'm sure it's evident that I was feeling good that night too.)
Love, Jonny feelgood
PS. All that is, is all we have, it's what we make of it that counts.