Only this time was different. Silent, he sat there in the chair with his eyes glazed over, staring at my bookshelf. After a moment, he shoved a piece of licorice in his mouth and announced, rather abruptly,
“I think I’m going to do something crazy.”
Matt was going to quit his job and travel from Alaska to Argentina.
Fast forward three years later, to today. After riding for 22 months and 17,500 miles, Matt is back. I saw him on Monday and he looks so different. Yes, he is skinnier and tanner, but it’s more than that. It’s like he saw something. Something big.
Our local PBS station interviewed him yesterday, and as much as I love the show, you could tell Phil Ponce (the Interviewer-Slash-Kindly Latino Hotty) wanted to hear him complain about being mugged, or stranded, sleeping in the rain, or running out of food ....you know, something sensational. Something scary. Something made for TV.
But Matt didn’t bite.
He just told one story after another of total strangers taking him into their homes and communities, treating him as one of their own, and showing him the same kindness you or I might show a member of our own family.
Look, I know am am bias here, and perhaps that isn’t a sensational story, but in my book, that’s pretty effing profound. Most days I turn on the news and see people suffering, starving...crazed dictators killing thousands in their wake...snookies showing their hooch to anyone who will watch. It’s not a pretty picture. It’s enough to make you second guess yourself and humanity in general.
But then there is Matt.
My friend, a guy who traveled to the furthest corners of the Earth, saw every sight and walk of life, only to return to report the simple truth: People are innately good. We are more alike than we are different. No barriers of race, language, or economics need stand in the way of connecting us to one another. The world is a huge place but it's smaller than you ever imagined.
Click hereto watch Matt's interview on WTTW.
Click here to read Matt's blog.
Click here to see Matt's amazing and extensive photographs from his trip.
Click here to see Matt's amazing kite flown aerial photography from prior to his trip, that I thought he really should have taken on his trip but he said the kite took up too much room and I thought that was a poor excuse but now I see his bike loaded up like that gear and wonder, Damn, where was he going to fit the kite?
Oh well. Next time.
Welcome home Matt!