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Follow Your Heart

By Scooter Tramp Scotty

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This is a piece I feel compelled to write. It is about my own struggles with the idea of following only the true call of one's heart. For this I will have to talk of my own dealings with God. But don't worry because I am not, nor have ever been, even slightly religious, although I have plenty of friends for whom religion works very well. But it would seem that the vast majority of folks have some idea of a Creator. This idea just seems a natural part of the human condition.

Giving in to the drifter life that I love so much did not come easy or quickly to me. It took time, perseverance, practice, courage, and quite a bit of desperation.

As some know, I was once a small roofing contractor with a big house, two cars and a truck, beautiful H-D Softail, nice furniture, cable TV, washing machine, etc. For many of my friends this worked, for me however it did not. In fact, all of that stuff made me very poor, for over time my idea of what true wealth is has changed dramatically. For me real wealth is when one finds that he likes himself more often than he doesn't, and even thinks himself a really cool person, maybe one of his favorites, much of the time.  And secondly when one also finds that he likes his life more often than he doesn't and is even ecstatic about it often, even thinks it's wonderful, then that is true wealth. For nobody has these things all the time. Nobody. We all have our tough times. But if one does not experience these attributes at all then it matters not if he's Donald Trump, that man is indeed poor. The suicide rate among monetarily wealthy is identical to that of the poor. This statistic says a lot. So if one truly does have these things often then who cares how he achieves or maintains them. He is truly rich, at least that's how I see it. So, in my case, the big house and all its possessions brought only poverty.

In time I left the house and everything in it behind then bought a rather old 18 foot Airstream trailer for $1,100 (small, but still offered most modern conveniences) and parked it on a friend's property for $150 a month. 

If this seems like an easy transition then think again! A person is a product of his or her conditioning and I was conditioned to a big house with all its amenities. At that time it had never dawned on me that man had been living without these luxuries for over a million years and not once had he missed them. Still, the move to an 18 foot trailer with its little toilet stuffed into a corner was, at first, almost unbearable. Oh, how I used to love using a regular john where one could sprawl out on the commode. But I soon listened to the woes of a few friends who'd been having big headaches with their housing situations for quite some time. I looked to the little Airstream and thought, “Well, at $150 a month this place isn't going anywhere and it certainly offers a tremendous amount of ease and security.” Easy living, what a wonderful new luxury that was!
So I installed new carpet, bought a $450 TV with built in VCR (state of the art at that time), and settled in. Within six months I'd become so completely acclimated, or re-conditioned, that the little Airstream seemed nothing less than perfectly normal. For man is the most adaptable animal on earth. We live everywhere from the Sahara Desert to the ice covered northern hemisphere. And the trailer brought SO MUCH freedom. It felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders! The balance between pamperings and easy living was now tipped so far into the green that never again could I imagine going back.

Next went my big GMC truck. I then purchased a used Toyota mini truck for $1,640, fixed a few things on it, and drove that sucker for five years. This simple living threw me immediately into a state of semi retirement. For now there was more money than needed and it made no sense to keep working all the time. Cutting the workload back, I began to labor a short two to three weeks then take two months off.

Boredom soon caught up and I began trying a lot of activities. Many did not prove to be the call of my heart's desire and were weeded out. But I’d begun to take longer motorcycle trips and these seemed far more important. At first these rides were made mostly with friends. But if I waited on them always, I’d certainly not be traveling much. So I began to take off alone as well. Being from southern California, some of these excursions were made north, but most went east into the nearby state of Arizona. These rides began to last longer and longer. With no excuse at all I’d simply pack the bike (an easy routine by then) and fly across the state line for 10 days or two weeks. The adventures began right away.

Then one day I crossed the mountains and was soon flying across the open desert on a beautiful day. All of a sudden I just knew, with crystal clarity the conviction came that this was where I belonged and what I was supposed to be doing. My heart told me and there was no denying.

Seeing my great passion, my then landlord and best friend allowed me to turn the trailer off and pay a simple storage fee of only $30 a month when gone.

Saving money by winter, I began to stay gone for entire summers while traveling to much more distant lands. Dreams of leaving forever started to haunt my thoughts, and the search for a way to make this happen began. Desperate for knowledge now, I became the attentive pupil who took lessons from every biker, traveler, vacationer, freight train hobo, hippie, homeless person, or boy scout that came along. I looked into trucking and even tried working carnivals for a while (I'm never doing either one again). But the majority of what I learned came mostly from simple trial and error. 

Still, back then I’d met no one who lived off a motorcycle and was unsure if it was even possible. I began to question my own sanity, this was a real problem. I mean, try choosing a completely different direction from that which everyone seems to be moving and see if you don't wonder the same thing. But there was no turning back.

After a few seasons of starting the summers pretty flush, then came the year when it was time to leave and I had only $500. Obviously not nearly enough to travel on, let alone get home with. Having never been to Florida before, I’d committed to attend the Daytona rally. But only $500? I was scared to death, terrified actually. But my heart was pulling, no, SCREAMING, that the road was where I belonged. So, much inspired by the book “The Peace Pilgrim”, I looked to the sky and said, “Okay God. You know my situation. I'm gonna leave on blind faith this year and we will soon see if you can keep a man and motorcycle going across this big country.”

That trip lasted the whole of nine months, which included the entire east coast and some of Canada too. At that time I'd not yet learned the arsenal of methods and road tricks that bring such ease, security, and comfort to my nomadic life these days. Instead, I was simply willing to fly by the seat of my pants and accept whatever came down the pike. Money ran down to $50 on two occasions that year, but it never ran out and my needs were often met in the strangest and most unexpected ways. I won't bother telling those stories here but will say that, after leaving California with only $500 and traveling for nine months, I rode back into Cali with $550, something changed in me that year.

For these longer excursions, and as it had been with the trailer, it would become necessary that I acclimate to living in camps. I think this was even harder than learning to live with the trailer. Oh how I used to look forward to meeting a woman who'd let me stay at her house! But in time, and as I learned to improve them dramatically, these camps would simply feel like my home. Once this re-conditioning process became complete (camps compensated me with far more freedom than the trailer had ever offered) it would be more often that she'd be invited to my place. For in time I no longer cared for houses at all. I've seen this transformation happen to everyone I know who live such lives. 

Next I began to hate coming home. Then I began to hate being home. All of my time there was now spent only in the desperate desire to again leave. 

I decided to see if it were possible to stay gone an entire year. Of course I would again be leaving without enough money and was deathly afraid!! But again passion was calling. For the last few years all the things I'd needed to make these ventures (like the $30 a month trailer deal) had been coming along almost by themselves. And still I was afraid, terrified actually, and once again I appealed to God.

Rather than rewrite what happened at this time, I've decided to simply include an excerpt from my book, “Josie's Journey”, because Josie experienced the exact same thing. But his heart did not call to the road as mine did, instead it called him only to the land, and in time he would give in to it.
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Reader Comments

This article is exactly what I had asked Scotty to tell me when we shared time at the Smoke Out. It gives one his view, but through the eyes of others.

Brandywine, MD
Monday, January 12, 2015
Beginning to understand.

chadron, NE
Monday, January 12, 2015
Editor Response Sometimes it takes awhile.

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