Day 28 / May 1, 2012

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On day 28 I woke up and the first thing I did was check on how my feet were feeling. That was the biggest factor in my moving forward from here as of now and was really hoping it would not be a big issue. But it was bad news...
      My feet hurt worse today and I hardly walked the day before. The bottoms of my feet were very numb and my toes were also. When I stood on them or walked around that morning there was a painful tingle that ran through them as well. I was not happy to wake up to this.
        I immediately got onto google and began searching my symptoms. I also got into contact with a friend on the Internet who is a health professional and sent him a message. From what I looked up and what he told me it looked like it could be damaged tissue and may result in nerve damage. This was pretty scary news and I for sure wanted to give myself a fair resting time where I could do what I can to let that heal.
        The next church ahead was 12 miles up the highway and there was a gas station on the way where my buddy recommended getting some good sources of protein for the process of healing possible damaged tissue. So even though my feet were hurt and needed rest, I figured that was going to be the route for the day and then I could take a couple days to rest and heal.
        I headed up the highway and it was about 6 miles to the station. I took my time and walked slowly. I took a few breaks also, more than normal, just to be careful. When I was about 2 miles from the gas station a car pulled off and it was a lady and her daughter. They asked if I needed a ride. I said no and that I was walking, but I said I could use a snack if they had anything. The lady said she didn't but she did have some change. So she gave me about a dollar in change. I was very thankful and I could use it for a snack. The lady also said she used to hitchhike and she was hit by a big rig once while walking along the highway in high heals. She said she still had damages from the incident that was over 20 years ago. It made me think to be sure and be as careful as possible when walking on the edge of the road.
         I finally reached the gas station. I went in and first bought some food to eat right away to get some protein in me. I bought some chicken they had there. It was really good and even though I was spending more money than I liked I needed to take care of my body. It almost felt like an excuse to buy more food and splurge but I actually had a legitimate reason haha.
       As I sat outside on a bench and ate the chicken a man sat next to me. I tried to make small talk and asked him how soon it is going to get real hot? He said soon. He was short and I figured he didn't want to talk. After about 3 minutes he said, "u not from around here?". I told him no, and that I'm from CA. He said "you just drifting through?" I said "ya, something like that." I had a vibe that he didn't like me or any travelers for some reason. I don't know why I felt that but I did.
       He asked where I'm coming from and I told him. I was hesitant to tell him the details of what I'm doing just because I didn't want to seem prideful as I just sensed he would not like it. So I just said I was searching for myself and traveling taking time away from my life in society to find a better appreciation for things in this world. That is part of what this journey is. I think that had really given him a clue that I was out here wanting to be a better man and I think he liked that.
        He then opened up and told me a little about himself. He had worked his whole life in a paper mill thinking he was setting up his life in the later years to do things he wanted to. When he retired they cut most of what they had promised him his whole career. 30 years of hard work and he gets 298 dollars a month out of it, that's it. He was almost 70 and he has to work his ass off full time still hauling material in a dump truck and loading/unloading it. He said he's always in pain and he resents the life he lived and feels like it was a big scam. He wished he would have just said screw it early and done the things he wanted too while he was healthy and young, and that he would be in the same spot he is now anyways. It really was upsetting hearing that. He told me to travel and enjoy the life while I'm young because you never know what tomorrow brings. He said don't live like he does and regret never doing anything in life, and now having to live with the fact he's done nothing and is just tearing his body up working to make ends meet.
        It was an interesting encounter to meet him. I know plenty of people who worked hard and now are retired and get to enjoy life. But this was a different story. It was weird that I met him and he told me that. It seemed to really make me think about what he said and the emotion I could see in him. I could feel the resentment and I would never want to live with that.
       It was getting late and I needed to get to the church before dark to make sure I had a good spot to make camp for 2 days. I went into the store and got enough snacks for a decent diet for 2 days, plenty of protein also. I came out and said goodbye to Ray. Before I left he said this to me, "if you can take anything from our talk, enjoy every moment. Don't feel bad for me. Il be fine. Just take each day on your travels and appreciate what you are doing, especially the time." this stuck with me. As I walked away I couldn't help but imagine the moments he had that crushed him. Finding out all he thought he was working for was taken away. What did that moment feel like to him? Worse than any bad moment I've had out here. But I remembered what he said and tried not to dwell on his misfortune. I looked ahead down the highway and saw the beauty of what was in front of me to experience. If anything I will know this is the type of experience Ray thinks about all the time. This is what he wish he would have done, and I get to live it. I am lucky.
         I walked the 6 miles and got to the church. It was big and there were cars there. I had to be careful as this was the last place for a while and I needed to rest. I walked behind the church and in the back of the property there was an old coral with a bunch of things stored in it. It was just big enough to put my tent up behind it and stay hidden. So I made my camp and laid in my tent. My mind was full of mixed emotions from meeting Ray and hearing his sad story. I was trying to stay posative but it was stuck in my mind.
      I fell asleep around 10 that night.

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