Top 100 Things I’ve Done – #24

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Quit a job.

This wasn’t easy to do, but it was definitely one of the all time greatest things I’ve ever done. My first full-time, salary job out of college was as an operations manager at a dot com call center. We expedited passports for people and my job was to make sure all the expediting was expedited. It was fun at first, but like most things new, the fun faded.

I’m sure there were jobs out there that would have stayed exciting to me, but the job wasn’t the problem. Before I’d taken this position, I’d had a sneaky suspicion that the role of employee was not one I was designed for. As the working weeks wore on, these suspicions knawed at my conscience.

Working for someone else gave me a very closed-in and uncomfortable feeling. It always had growing up, but now, being done with school, the visions of a subservient future depressed me heavily. I just couldn’t wrap my head around trading my freedom for anything. Having someone tell me when I could eat, who I could talk to, where I could go was absolutely horrible. It felt like 1000 tons of bricks were crushing every positive spirit inside of me. I was worried the crushing wouldn’t stop until I accepted that that’s just the way things were. I didn’t want to accept it. I wouldn’t accept it.

Two months into my first real job, I sat down in my first real bosses office, and I quit. It was hard to quit that job, not just because I was quitting, but because I was quiting forever.

During the following months, I took a couple other jobs, but I knew they were only temporary. I knew I was already done.

I knew I was free.

Top 100 Things I’ve Done – #23

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Skydive.

I was standing on a grass field, wondering where the runway was. I spotted a small plane, at the mercy of the wind, coming towards the ground. An instant of fear hit me before I realized that the field I was in was the runway.

It’d only been about 90 minutes since I stepped off the 747 I’d taken from Sydney to Christchurch, NZ. And now I was ascending back into the sky, with four uncmfortably calm tandem coaches and three other uncomfortably nervous backpackers. I was amused at how quick the coaches were to strap a complete stranger to their chest. However, the awkwardness disappeared as soon we hit altitude and the door opened. The wind was rushing so loud. Maybe it was the wind…maybe it was the fear, but I couldn’t hear anything. I had nonchalantly found my place last in line when boarding the plane. I didn’t think about the fact that it would work like a pez dispenser. Last one in is the first one out.

So my coach is yelling things at me, probably repeating the instructions he’d given on the ground. All I could think about was is this guy strapped to me tight enough. What if he missed a strap? Would that make all the others come apart? That went quickly though. As soon as I started to second guess what I was doing, I was flung into the sky.

The falling was like on a rollercoaster dive, but longer and harder. I couldn’t breath, nevermind scream. Then, after a few seconds, the air governed our speed and the sense of falling faded.

The wind was loud, but otherwise the sensation of falling had gone away all together. We were so high, that the ground did not even appear to be rushing towards me.

It was like the dreams I always have of flying. Seeing a 360 degree horizon, the curve of the earth, the start and finish of mountain ranges, entire lakes…the world was so expansive.

Eventually, the ground started approaching. We opened the chute and then everything slowed again. The flying had returned and was quiet this time.

I took my camera out of my pocket and shot from the hip, not wanting to waste a second of my first skydiving experience looking through a plastic viewfinder.

As things on the ground came into view, so did the reality of my height. I imagined the sensation of falling again. What if the straps snapped and I fell now? The ground would rush at me so fast. I wonder if I’d feel it. Probably not I thought, which somehow made the worry go away.

When my feet hit the grass, I couldn’t believe it was over. I wanted to go back up right away, but cash was getting thin. So I settled on reliving the experience as I laid my head each night of the days and weeks following. Still today, when I close my eyes, I can see everything in detail.

Overcoming fears and the intense falling sensation were pretty great. But mostly…the feeling of flying is what I’ll never forget.

Top 100 Things I’ve Done – #22

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See a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico

In case you don’t already know…Roswell, NM is where the proported alien spacecraft crash landed in 1947. The UFO Museum and Research Center provides surprisingly convincing evidence that something other worldy landed on American soil have a century ago. More importantly the town is a sight to see. The whole place thrives on tourism from alien enthusiasts and curious travelers on their way through New Mexico’s deserted landscape. The street lights all have alien eyes on them. The restaurants serve things like”alien eggs” and the “extra terrestrial sandwich”. It’s pretty funny.

The part that made the aura of the town more interesting for Mike and I during our two days there, was what we saw on our way into the city. We had been driving all day over mountains and through deserts. The night was pitch black, for there was no moon. But it was filled with billions and billions of stars. So it’s about 11pm and we’re still driving, hoping to see the city soon. As we get closer to Roswell we start conversation about the aliens and UFO’s. Do you think they exist? Do you think they’ve been here? Would our government cover it up…blah blah.

In the middle of this conversation, we come over a hill and the city of Roswell finally comes into view. I swear to you, the moment the city came into view, Mike and I looked towards the sky and saw the biggest flash of light we’ve ever seen in a night sky. It streaked at thousands of miles per hour across the horizon and then disappeared. I’ve seen shooting stars before and this was much, much closer. Granted, it was likely some large particle from space burning up in the atmosphere, but since I don’t know for sure, it remains and unidentified object that was flying like hell over Roswell, NM. So that’s my UFO.

Between my UFO experience and the evidence presented in the museum, I’m convinced there’s something out there.

Top 100 Things I’ve Done – #21

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Visit a Nuclear Missile Silo

I always talk about comprehending the massiveness of things. I can’t explain to you how massive a nuclear missile is. It’s truly overpowering. You know, it must not be only the physical size that gives me that overwhelming feeling. It’s probably the fact that this giant weapon, the size of a Manhattan high rise, exists entirely for the destruction of life.

Peering through the glass, down the barrel of humanity’s most powerful gun, I saw images of cities disintegrating in a flash of light. I thought about how much time and money is spent on developing ways to take life. I thought about the irony in how much time and money is also spent on developing ways to save life. We do everything in our power to stretch the human life expectancy as long as we can…while at the same time we strive and strive to create ways to kill more people, quicker, faster, cheaper, cleaner.

What exactly are we trying to accomplish?

Top 100 Things I’ve Done – #20

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Get a Thai Massage in Thailand.

I’d only had one professional massage in my life prior to visiting Thailand and I think it was close to $100 for 45 minutes. Well, as you might expect, you get much more for you money in Thailand.

When my friend Eric and I arrived in Phuket, the first thing we did was walk into a strip mall massage parlor and pay US$7 for 60 minutes of cheap labor bliss. They cranked our backs, twisted our heads, cracked our toes and slapped our butts. We left with a feeling good enough to make $7 per day a worthwhile investment for the rest of the trip. We tried many different places and surprisingly enough…the cheapest places had the longest list of services, which for some reason didn’t appear until the curtain was closed. It was kinda like a fairytale. By the end of the week my body was as relaxed as it’s ever been and my wallet wasn’t that much lighter.

i will see the world

Plans & Itineraries 1 Comment »

I’ve had a small change of plans concerning my around the world trip. It was going to be in a few years from now…but I’ve moved it up. As soon as I can afford to survive on foot, for at least a year, without working…I’m leaving. I’m hoping by next spring or summer I’ll be off. Probably starting in Europe. Right now I have $28…so it’s back to work…big time. As soon as the necessary cash is there, I’ll sell my car, put my stuff in storage, rent out my place and be gone. I plan to travel lighter than ever before, but this time bring a laptop and a GPS receiver. With this, I’ll be able to update my website with images and location a lot more often. Oh, I’m excited alright. Blamo!

Top 100 Things I’ve Done – #19

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Have surgery.

My mortality became most evident to me the day they cut my body open and changed something inside. It was only hernia surgery, but it was my first time being cut open. I use to think hirneas were hemorrhoids, so for those other’s of you that do…let me explain. Evidently I over-exerted myself while carrying band equipment and my ab muscles pushed my intestines into my balls. That’s a hernia. So they had to cut me open, put my intestines back and sew a little plastic cone into the hole in my intestinal wall.

I had elected for partial anesthesia. That meant I would be somewhat conscious during the surgery. They gassed me up a bit then gave me a shot of novicane in the spine. I couldn’t feel my legs and I could tell what was going on, but nothing mattered much. I had no concept of time, but I could tell what was happening. All the medical people in white were leaning over me. I had the classic view from an operating table. They had a sheet propped up so I couldn’t see them pulling and poking at my guts. Feeling it was still freaky. I couldn’t’ feel pain, but could feel the pressure and what not of things moving around inside me. I think I started to get a little too wacky, because I was asking werid questions. I even demanded they changed the music the surgeon was listening to saying “this music kinda sucks, can you change it”. I don’t remember much after that…so I think they turned up the gas. Hah.

A week or so on the couch and I started to recover. Laughing hurt the most, so visits from friends were good and bad. The whole experience put me in such awe of the medical world. It also left me feeling like my body was so separate from my essence of being. I have no control over what goes on inside me. I can’t fix anything that breaks, so I’m glad there are people that can. Living life, hoping something doesn’t break, which can’t be fixed is scary for me. It’s just another thing that makes it impossible for me to put happiness on hold.

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