Jacksonville. That was the first thing I thought of when I achieved consciousness. I threw my things in my bag thinking of how grateful I’ll be to no longer live out of these four smelly packs. The methodical nature in which I place every item in its assigned place has become a reflex. I reflect on my reflexes. I reflect on my reflexes. I reflect on my reflexes. Something feels right about saying that aloud repeatedly.
I wanted to ride my bike to Jacksonville. So I did. I set a task for myself and I accomplished it. Sometimes you have to stop and admire the will power it takes to achieve a simple task. Fortunately for me, I had someone waiting for me in Jacksonville. I had arranged a Couchsurfing meetup with a guy named Dimitry. Dimitry is an accountant. Well that’s not true. Dimitry makes a living working as an accountant. He’s not an accountant. What he is, is a kind hearted, centered guy. After we got the inevitably awkward “hey I just met you online and now I’m in your house and later tonight I’m going to be sleeping on your couch” conversation out of the way, we were able to get to know each other a little better. Dimitry lived in Moscow until he was 14 and moved to Florida. At times his Russian accent surfaced a bit which reminded me of Yaris. I miss that kid.
Dimitry and I decided to check out downtown Jacksonville and grab a bite to eat. He mentioned an event taking place called One Spark. Basically, One Spark is a four day event in which artists, musicians, and creators of all types gather together to showcase their ideas in order to receive a $250,000 crowdfund for their project. I thought that was an absolutely incredible idea. To have an outlet like that where creators can showcase their ideas for the public to see is a phenomenal idea in my opinion. Plus each display is open to the general public for voting, so the democratic aspect meshed with the idea that private investors can at any time fund an individual project was exciting to say the least. I don’t think either of us anticipated the electricity which was taking place in downtown Jacksonville. Dimitry kept emphasizing how this night was an anomaly for downtown. I guess I picked the right night to visit.
Over some late night burritos, Dimitry and I talked openly about politics, religion, and the struggles of your average twenty something in the cosmos. I asked him about life as an accountant and once he started throwing out words like derivatives and insurance, I realized how content I was with not being an accountant. However, I can safely say that for the first time in what seems like a long time, I felt connected with another human being. That’s always a refreshing and uplifting realization. In a couple of months Dimitry is going to move to San Francisco. I think once there, he’ll find his groove. Jacksonville is the largest city in the United States in terms of land. It’s way too spread out for me. The transition from Jacksonville to San Francisco will certainly be an interesting change of pace, but if anyone can handle that it’s Dimitry. I’m thankful I stayed with him. Not just for the shower, but for the connectivity.
Sometimes I feel invincible. Well, it’s less a matter of feeling invincible and more of a detachment from my morality. I think those are completely opposite. The latter is much more humbling. I think when you lose sight of your morality you are truly alive. Carefree, but not careless. That is what I strive for everyday on this trip. It doesn’t always happen, but today it did. Not everyone feels the effects of Mercury Retrograde. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel.
Total Ascent: 469 ft.