Posted 1 hour ago

A Craigslist Ad for 5YJ and the Responses I Get


Just finished up posting my normal usual Craigslist ad looking for people to meet and places to stay. This one was for the Miami area (the stop after Orlando). Jun Yuan (in Chicago) just recently bought a Mega Bus ticket to make sure I could make it to Miami from Orlando (it cost $1 plus $1.50 processing fee- $2.50 altogether..the first $1 ticket I’ve had through Mega Bus so far.). So, I figured it was time to go ahead and make a post for people to meet in the area. I will be in the area from September 16th - September 25th, so a couple weeks out from now I will be arriving. 

I dread making these ads, because I know that some of the responses, regardless of how much I make it known in the ad that I am simply looking for friends or the fact that I post it in strictly platonic, will be sexual or looking for more than friendship right off the bat. It’s something I can’t and won’t provide and I usually just ignore those responses. 

Now, I do have to admit that I do sometimes get responses from people that I could see more possible with. It’s not something I go out looking for and it’s never for sure until I meet the person in person and that attraction would have to be shared. However, the main purpose of the ad is to continue the journey and to meet great people along the way to have experiences with and create stories together in the short while (or long while - see Chicago..haha) that I am in the area. Some people get it (thankfully) and others don’t (sadly).

For instance, someone responded to the Orlando ad. He mentioned being a fan of my work and having had read my books and said he was an avid follower of my journey. I thought “Great, this guy really gets it.”. He added me as a friend on my personal Facebook and we started talking. He mentioned that he had read about me coming to Orlando and that he not only wanted to cover the ticket to get me into Disney on my birthday, but he also wanted to get me a two-night stay in a hotel room nearby AND take me clothes shopping to replace all the clothes that I’ve had for the journey so far. I know, this should have been a huge red flag. I kept saying “No” and that I didn’t want him to do any of that. He reassured me that everything would be okay and he was doing it because he loved my work and that I had inspired him. Okay, that’s fine. I’ve been prideful in the past and I’ve stopped people from helping or buying me stuff because I didn’t feel good about it. I hate asking for things and I am not always open to accepting gifts. I worry that it will put someone out or in a financial strain and I worry that sometimes that giving might have some other unspoken expectations from me in return. An expectation that I meet someone or spend time with someone is one thing, the expectation of sex or being open to love with a person that I don’t have an attraction for is another. It’s something I can’t and won’t do. There are people that can do that and I don’t judge or disrespect them, but it is not something I can or will do. In the past, I’ve been offered a life of comfort and basically anything I would ever want in return for marriage. I rejected the offers. There are more important things than money and there are correct and incorrect ways to go about things. 

Anyway, the guy finally convinced me to let him do these nice things for me. Everything was going smoothly, then came the “jokes”.  He mentioned marriage and me being a man after his heart and how I might be the right one for him. It was one “joke” after another. I didn’t know what to think. Should I take it as joking or was there something more to it all? I didn’t know, but I did know that I, personally didn’t find the guy attractive. Like I can see where he would be attractive to others, but not something I would be into. That’s not saying that I’m better than him or anything along those lines. I had to make a decision. Should I just let it go on or should I say something and draw some lines to makes sure that he wasn’t offering to help me with the journey with some other expectations in mind. It’s a tough decision to make, but it needed to be made. I have some responsibilities in this and being clear and honest is one of those responsibilities as hard as it is sometimes and at risk of hurting feelings, but in hopes of saving much more hurt later on. 

So, I brought it up to him and explained that while I thought all the things he was offering were nice and I was thankful that I needed to make sure there weren’t any other expectations - sexual or emotional. He exploded!

He mentioned (for the first time) being in a 6-year long relationship and then attacked me for being “narcissistic” in thinking that people want me (not something I think, but have to be cautious of…and something I explained to him). Then he went on a tyrant about how I was just “putting up walls” to prevent myself from connecting with others as more than friends (something that I wouldn’t think would matter to him, especially since he’s in a 6-year relationship..but whatever). Then came the questions about how I could be so sure that I wasn’t attracted to him since we hadn’t met (First, why would it matter if your in a 6-year relationship. Second, I am a 30-year old man and I know what I’m attracted to and not attracted to and sometimes I can make a decision on that prior to ever meeting just from photos and discussions. I would imagine and hope that anyone could and would do be able to do the same.)

Anyway, I tried and tried with the guy to be friends, but the fact that I wasn’t interested in more with him kept coming up in conversation and Disney ticket and hotel stays and clothes isn’t enough for me to have to keep being questioned on my decisions and precautions on how I do things. It’s just not. It became evident that there were other expectations. I’m not sure exactly what they were, but the controlling attitude was enough to convince me that friendship wasn’t even a possibility, sadly. I hate that. I absolutely hate it. It’s a reality tho and I will continue to have to face instances like this as long as the journey lasts and probably long after, sadly. I wish it weren’t the case, but it is. It takes away time that I could be spending on other things - writing (both fictional and nonfictional), taking and editing photos, meeting people and having experiences (without additional expectations), planning future stops for the journey, etc. It’s sad that I instead have wasted time on stuff like this. I get bad gut feelings and should probably just learn to trust them from the get go so I can work on something more positive and fulfilling. 

I find myself here writing this because it’s a personal struggle for me and writing about it helps me think and figure out better ways to handle similar issues in the future. I think that I need to trust my intuition more and that addressing physical and emotional attraction from people that I might not feel the same attraction for when it comes up (or even if I do feel the same attraction for), is best. Honesty and being forward in those situations will help keep the situations from going too far and people getting their feelings hurt.

I’m not saying that this is how it always goes or that this is the only type of response that I get and I’m NOT in any way saying that I am god’s gift to earth, I’m not. I’m also not saying that I am a better or worse person than anyone else, we all have value. What I am saying is that I am attracted to certain people and not attracted to other certain people. It’s not a choice and I can usually tell pretty quickly. However, just because I am not emotionally and/or physically attracted to a person doesn’t mean that I am not open to friendship, I am. 

More than romantic or emotional expectations that are revealed usually in the first day or so of talking, I get sexual responses or requests. Regardless of city that I am posting in or how obvious I make it that I am not seeking out sex and that the journey is not about that, I get them and usually more than just one. Again, I usually just ignore them, but they are almost always entertaining and sadly they usually come off as desperate. Sometimes they don’t directly mention sex, but they still make me feel awkward enough to not respond. :-/ 

Below are some of the more recent responses. How would you respond? Would you respond? 











Posted 4 hours ago

And sometimes, if I’m feelin it, this happens…

Happy Monday! ;-)

#5yj #5yearjourney #goofy #videos #goodtimes #music #dancing

Posted 5 hours ago

We aren’t Strangers, We’re Potentials - Smyrna, GA - August 29th, 2014


We aren’t strangers. We’re potential connections - friends and if that bond if strong enough, family. 

I see everyone as having a potential to be a connection, to be a friend or possibly more. Smyrna, Ga and the people living in the Atlanta area have helped me realize that even more. This place is something else. I woke up on my first day here, got ready and headed out to find a place that had wifi so that I could get some writing done and photos uploaded. I found a huge Kroger grocery store with a Starbucks in the front. I thought it would have decent wifi (it didn’t have wifi at all). I stuck around anyway and worked on some writing and photo edits that didn’t take wifi to get completed. While I worked, I put in some earbuds to listen to music. Music is essential when I’m working. And if I’m listening to music, most likely dancing in my seat is pretty essential. They go hand in hand and honestly I don’t care who sees. I’m one happy fucker..it’s a part of me, a part that isn’t changing anytime soon. Too much to be happy about in life.

Anyway, when I work and listen to music and dance, people usually notice and I usually notice them noticing, but pretend not to. it makes things more fun for both of us. They feel like they’ve discovered comical, entertaining treasure and I feel like they deserve to enjoy that, so I let them. 

Well, at the Starbucks at the front of that oversized Kroger grocery store, there was an older lady that caught me and my happy self, well, being happy. She loved it. She loved it enough to ask if I had eaten yet and when I said that I hadn’t, she offered me part of her breakfast. Happy people are magnets that attract other people, noted (you should probable take not too..just in case, you know? yeah?). 

Then another guy saw my camera and came over and had a conversation with me about visual and audio arts. I told him about 5YJ and he in turn invited me to a concert and to get me in for free. Sweetness. Score! (or whatever the cool kids are saying these days, have no idea..as you can probably tell.) ha.

After getting done with what I could do without wifi, I set out to find some place that would have reliable wifi. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s 2014, and across the streets was a Dunkin Donuts that of course had wifi. Hola! (when I was growing up, we had a holler behind our house…pretty similar sounding, but not the same thing…lol).

I walked over and got in line to get a caramel latte. I felt like I deserved it. Well, I might not have deserved it, but I know I wanted it and that I had a little bit of money, so I ordered one and I did so with a smile while asking the guy how his day was going. He gave me the drink for free and then later came out and had a conversation with me that led to us talking about 5YJ. He had lived in Jamestown, NY (stop #4 for the journey) and about how Lucy’s (Lucile Ball) face was all over the place (it was were she was born and buried…just a fun fact, you’re welcome.). 

Also while sitting there, I was on social network apps while taking breaks between writing and working with photos. A guy wrote me and we talked for a bit about my journey and what it’s like living here in the Atlanta area. And before I knew it, we set it up to meet. He drove for Uber and things were slow (or something) and so we agreed to meet. I told him that I had made arrangements with my host, Lindsey for dinner, but that after that we could try to meet…but that he would need to wait until I was back around wifi later that evening for me to let him know and if I didn’t write him soon enough and if he needed to make other plans, then to go ahead and do so. Yay! And like that, I was set to meet a local AND he was cute AND he was a 5-star Uber driver (I tease him about it because it came up in conversation and I think it’s great..lol) AND….AND…..AND….

Anyway, all that aside, I was excited about meeting a local in the area and maybe making another connection and potential friend here in Atlanta. But that was going to be later. I needed to get done with some work and then get ready to meet Lindsey at Kroger to get food for dinner that night. 

Got to Kroger and found Lindsey. We decided on pizza for dinner and I told him about the guy, Heiko, that I had met on the app. His face kinda changed. He told me about how I should be cautious about meeting strangers online and going with them anywhere. Yeah, he told me, the guy that’s traveling all over the place staying with new strangers every week that I should be cautious about meeting a guy from an app..haha. It was cool though, he was just showing me that he cared about my safety and that means something to me. 

We went back to his place and hung out and talked. He told me how impressed he was with my life story and my artistic work and that I needed to know that even though my family had walked out on me, that I could consider him family. That he would be like a big brother to me and that if I ever needed anything in the future or a place to go that I could contact him and he would do whatever he could to help. 

Something about this journey is that every person that I meet, every connection that I make-they all have value beyond monetary. I feel like most of the people that I meet actually care and I genuinely care about them. That’s what makes it so hard for me to leave a place once I’v been there for a while. I connect with people. I listen to what people have to say. I open my ears and my heart to hear and feel what they have to say and we connect in it in very special ways. The people that I meet aren’t just strangers anymore and the people that I stay with aren’t just hosts, these people become friends and they become family. That is valuable. 

After we ate and had our discussion and he made sure that I knew that I could contact him if I needed anything while I was out and told me that if I was going to stay out all night to let him know so he didn’t worry, I headed out back to the Dunkin Donuts to message Heiko and let him know that I was ready to meet if he was. He was and came and got me. :)

It was late, so we had just planned on going over to his place and hanging out, maybe watching tv, and talking. We ended up mostly talking about our pasts, mine and his life, and really connecting. He’s great at leading the conversation and keeping things going when they slow down. He’s a great conversationalist, stable in life and working towards even more stability while going to school and taking care of family (he loves his grandparents, siblings, parents and friends…I love that in a guy), intelligent, confident, balanced, caring, genuine, real, happy, appreciates art…and he’s Asian (I have a think for Asians, I think..lol)..

Okay, it sounds like I’m convincing myself that I need to proceed towards the alter with Heiko, but I just really appreciate him as a person. Not pushing or even thinking about love, labels, or “more” with him. I just feel comfortable with being myself with him. I won’t lie, the list is what I find attractive in guys, but I’m not certain that there is anyone ready to deal with me and me being on this journey and I’m not sure that I’m ready to put anyone through that struggle.

I will say that Heiko is the kinda guy that I usually meet later on after they mature (into 30s or early 40s…Anything older than that i’m not really into…I don’t have sex just to have sex, there has to be an emotional connection..and, I can’t don’t get an emotional connection with much older than me because I just don’t relate and I fear there being more in the long run and ending up losing them and being left alone for the last part of my life. I’m open to about 10 years either way- Up to around 10 years older (40) or up to 10 years younger (20). That’s just my preference. I think everyone has preferences. Some people like much younger and some people like much older and some people have an age range they stick to that’s relatively close to their own age. And then there are other attractions of course…that’s for another blog some other time..lol)

Anyway, Heiko so far seems to be everything I would look for in a guy while still being someone that I have respect enough to take time and get to know instead of rushing to the thought of a label or “love”. I’m not out searching or digging for love or a label. I’m completely fine with being single and just enjoying my journey and meeting people along the way. I’m just glad that we’ve met. I will leave it at that. 

Anyway, We stayed up talking most of the night and he introduced me to the Archer tv show…This show is the kinda comedy that I love. I don’t get to watch a lot of tv, but Archer had me wanting to watch more. lol.

So yeah, I wound up staying the night with Heiko (And yes, I text Lindsey to let him know so he wouldn’t worry. :)) 

 

Posted 21 hours ago

Just an Old Sweet Song Keeps Georgia on My Miiiiiind *sang as I sway back and forth in my seat like a dork* - August 28th, 2014


I arrived here in Georgia on Thursday evening. I got off the Mega Bus and went out to find a starbucks to use the wifi to connect my phone and reach out to my host to let him know that I arrived. He wasn’t going to be able to meet until 8 and I still wasn’t sure exactly where he wanted to meet. It was nearly 6pm.  I ordered my usual grande dark roast coffee (the first coffee of the day and it was already 6p…not a good thing..haha) and found a seat only to discover that that particular Starbucks closes at 7. Don’t ask me why. I feel like by this point all Starbucks should be open 24 hours..haha. 

Anyway, so I quickly connected with people that I’m close to and let them know that I had made it into Atlanta. Then quickly updated my social networks for anyone that I may have missed or anyone that might be following the journey close enough to know that I would be traveling that day. 

Then, I had to find another Starbucks that would be open later. This is when I figured out that Dragon Con was going on downtown. Dragon con is and event that seems similar to Comic Con in San Diego. It’s something that I would have loved to experience had I known about it before arriving in Atlanta…maybe some other year, yes? lol

Anyway, found the starbucks and got an email from my host telling me where I needed to meet him at - a station 2 miles away from where I happened to be. I had around an hour to get there at that point and was a little worried that I might not make it in time, but thankfully, I did make it in time to meet him at 9 and take the bus to where he lives in Smyrna. 

Lindsey (the 5YJ host), got me back to his place in Smyrna and I did the usual adjusting. We shared some life stories and I got to have the first bologna sandwich that I’ve had in a really long time. Bologna and chips hit the spot. Again, some people would be surprised with what I like with food (pretty much any and everything). I could live on off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or cinnamon toast crunch or sushi or just about anything else. I’m not that picky about food. 

I stayed up sorta late that night thinking about the day and taking in the new setting and adjusting to not having wifi (he doesn’t have wifi, but it’s not an issue and kinda freeing..it forces me to get out instead of sitting around in one place..I like that). Seriously, it’s not that big of an issue. It gives me a break from feeling the need to be on social networks or responding to messages non-stop. I can keep a better focus. 

 

Posted 21 hours ago

Just an Old Sweet Song Keeps Georgia on My Miiiiiind *sang as I sway back and forth in my seat like a dork*


I arrived here in Georgia on Thursday evening. I got off the Mega Bus and went out to find a starbucks to use the wifi to connect my phone and reach out to my host to let him know that I arrived. He wasn’t going to be able to meet until 8 and I still wasn’t sure exactly where he wanted to meet. It was nearly 6pm.  I ordered my usual grande dark roast coffee (the first coffee of the day and it was already 6p…not a good thing..haha) and found a seat only to discover that that particular Starbucks closes at 7. Don’t ask me why. I feel like by this point all Starbucks should be open 24 hours..haha. 

Anyway, so I quickly connected with people that I’m close to and let them know that I had made it into Atlanta. Then quickly updated my social networks for anyone that I may have missed or anyone that might be following the journey close enough to know that I would be traveling that day. 

Then, I had to find another Starbucks that would be open later. This is when I figured out that Dragon Con was going on downtown. Dragon con is and event that seems similar to Comic Con in San Diego. It’s something that I would have loved to experience had I known about it before arriving in Atlanta…maybe some other year, yes? lol

Anyway, found the starbucks and got an email from my host telling me where I needed to meet him at - a station 2 miles away from where I happened to be. I had around an hour to get there at that point and was a little worried that I might not make it in time, but thankfully, I did make it in time to meet him at 9 and take the bus to where he lives in Smyrna. 

Lindsey (the 5YJ host), got me back to his place in Smyrna and I did the usual adjusting. We shared some life stories and I got to have the first bologna sandwich that I’ve had in a really long time. Bologna and chips hit the spot. Again, some people would be surprised with what I like with food (pretty much any and everything). I could live on off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or cinnamon toast crunch or sushi or just about anything else. I’m not that picky about food. 

I stayed up sorta late that night thinking about the day and taking in the new setting and adjusting to not having wifi (he doesn’t have wifi, but it’s not an issue and kinda freeing..it forces me to get out instead of sitting around in one place..I like that). Seriously, it’s not that big of an issue. It gives me a break from feeling the need to be on social networks or responding to messages non-stop. I can keep a better focus. 

 

Posted 1 day ago

This I Love : Instasize App


An app that I discovered and have used on a daily basis since is Instasize. It’s a great app that helps prevent instagram from cropping your photos, allows you to add borders, filters, or even make a collage out of your photos before posting them to instagram or many other apps that you  can share your photos on. I used to get so frustrated with Instagram cropping and cutting off important details in my photos. Instasize app has definitely helped prevent it from happening.  I highly recommend downloading it.

Be sure to follow me and my 5-year journey on Instagram: JerJohns.

Posted 1 day ago

Yes.

#5yj #5yearjourney #inspirational #inspiration #journeys #quotes

Posted 1 day ago

My Personal Life - The Boundaries


I have been in thought over writing this or not. I hate that I need to write it, but I do feel the need at this point to write this and discuss some struggles that I’ve been having. It’s a part of my journey that I don’t like discussing because I chance hurting feelings and I hate that, nevertheless it’s something that should be put out there. 

First, I need to say thank you to everyone that has helped make this journey possible. It’s not something that I have or could have done on my own. People have seen something in me and what I am doing and they wanted to be a part and have been a part. I’m thankful for that. It inspires me more than anyone could or ever will know. There have been times that I, a human like you, have wanted to stop the journey because it was overwhelmingly challenging and then I though about what other people have invested into this thing with time and finances and just all around love. It’s impressive and inspirational, so much that I continue moving forward on the journey. You are most likely a reason for that. This journey has been a blessing. I and others have grown in it. I can say that with confidence and so anyone that has invested in it, thank you. I hope that you are rewarded in ways beyond anything you gave to making the success that I think that it has been. 

When I made the decision to pursue a life in my passion of creating, living, and sharing both my creative art and my life, I knew that I risked being criticized. I knew that my personal life would be a part of what I do. I was and still am okay with that. I didn’t draw any lines to keep people at distance, I didn’t feel the need. My thought was that people would respect my personal decisions. They might not always agree and they might criticize, but it wouldn’t become something personal for anyone but myself (after all it is MY personal life). I was wrong in making that assumption.

If I, like you, say that you are not attracted to someone. You and I both deserve the respect of that being left where it is. Sure it hurts. I’ve been hurt and let down with rejection. We all have. That’s a part of life. But there is another part of life, that part is where we can accept it and try to move forward as whatever the next thing is (friendship, etc.). If that isn’t a possibility then we should remove ourselves and move on in whatever healthy way that we know how to. Some people are just not meant to have a personal connection. That is okay. It, too, is a part of life. 

I have made a mistake. I have told people that I wasn’t attracted to that sex and romance wasn’t a possibility, that it wasn’t something I was interested in. Maybe my wording is wrong. Maybe being on the other side of rejection and letting someone down easy, isn’t so easy for me. 

I am in a place with 5YJ where I feel the need and responsibility to let people be a part where they want to be a part. This journey means a lot to people beyond myself. I didn’t realize that from the get go, but I have caught on. I was selfish and would tell people that they couldn’t help with whatever they offered to help with because I was either prideful or I was scared that there would be some other motives or expectations behind their giving. So I would automatically say no, because I can’t meet expectations that I don’t know what are. I have had instances where people gave or helped and did expect something in return without being clear about what they expected and when I didn’t deliver what they expected, I felt horrible for it. So, now I am upfront with people that I don’t see certain things possible with. If I don’t find the person to be what I personally find attractive, then I am up front about that from the get go. It’s not to say they aren’t attractive or that someone else might not find them attractive, I am just one person of billions. I am not the final say on what is or isn’t attractive, trust me. However, I am 30 years old and I know what is attractive to me. That hasn’t and won’t change. I sometimes wish I could force attraction and proceed with fulfilling requests or expectations that some others have for me (trust me, there have been some extremely tempting offers from people to take me in and take care of me for the “rest of” my life) as hard as I try I just can’t do it. And, I get shit for it. I get hardcore, hurtful, and sometimes down right cruel shit for it. 

The person that I have to tell this to, sometimes will accept it and work with me towards friendship (which in my opinion is as valuable). I would rather find out that someone wasn’t attracted to me from the beginning than to have to wait to find out and feel like I wasted time that could have been used to developing a long lasting friendship together, but maybe that’s just me. 

Then there are sometimes that that just isn’t the case. The response is usually “I wasn’t attracted to you either” or “I didn’t want that either” or “get over yourself” or “you’re narcissistic to automatically think that everyone wants you.” or “you’re just putting up walls” or “you don’t know what you want” or “you’re too controlling”. These are real responses that I’ve gotten when I sensed that there may be an expectation for more and tried to be upfront with that not being a possibility. Then, it’s usually followed with some sort of put down in an attempt to “bring me down a few notches” or maybe it’s people’s ways of dealing with rejection. I dunno. What I do know is that having to have this discussion, sucks ass. 

Yes, it is a wall. I agree, but it’s not a wall that says I can’t get close to people in general or that I can’t and won’t have sex. It is a wall that says, “yes, I am attracted to certain people and will even have sex with certain people when the time is right and after we’ve had a chance to connect emotionally, but sadly that person is not you.”. It sucks having to put that wall up for certain people, but I’m not one that can or will lead someone on. I would rather them know in advance that I am not attracted nor am I open to pursuing something with them. I feel like that is fair. 

This has happened numerous times with numerous people and YES, I am a picky person. I love the freedom of being single and living my life the way I want to just give that up to and for anyone that I don’t feel would be the right fit for my life and me for theirs. I refuse to waste people’s time that they could be investing elsewhere into someone else that would be better for them. 

Are there times that I get it wrong that someone might be seeking more (sex, romance, etc)? I’m sure there are, regardless I would rather be safe than sorry. I am human and I know for me, I don’t like being hurt and I know that the chance of being hurt becomes greater the longer that time goes on with someone that I have interest in and there is more and more potential of me being hurt worse in the long run….I don’t like that and if I can prevent it for someone else, I will and as early on as I can. 

With all that being said, I am sorry if I have hurt anyone (and sadly, I know I have). It was never my intention. Sometimes with my life and how I live it as openly as I do, it gives the impression that I am there and that the person on the other end knows me and sometimes that impression makes some people feel as though they have an emotional connection before ever even talking to me. Then, they talk to me and that connection isn’t there for me on the same level it is there for them. It’s like we’ve been dating for months, but I wasn’t actually there for it and I didn’t develop those same feelings and when the news comes out that I don’t feel the same, anything can happen and usually what does happen is not that pleasant.

I am pre cautious because of my experiences. I don’t pre warn that I don’t have attraction for the person just to brag about how sexy I am or how great of a person I am. I am no better or worse than anyone else. It’s a realization that I came to living on the streets of New York. I pre warn to make sure that boundaries are set. Those boundaries are usually open to friendship. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. In fact, friendship is a beautiful thing. There are even instances where the person becomes like family to me. That’s amazing. It’s better than sex ever could be, but sadly, for some the hurt and selfishness in the situation prevents that from happening. I hate it, but it’s a reality.

I never in my life would think that anyone would ever tell me that I didn’t know what I was attracted to. I never thought that someone would go as far as to say that because I wasn’t interested in them, then I couldn’t be interested in anyone else. Quite frankly, I feel that it’s not anyone’s place or business to try to control my personal life. Yes, it’s out there in the public, but that does not give right or free reign to try and take control over it or to try to pressure way into it. It won’t work. If I say I am not interested, I mean it. Once I realize that we won’t work and if it even seems in the slightest like that might be something the person is thinking is a possibility, I say something about it to make it clear. I don’t do this because I am an asshole (which I do consider myself to be an asshole), I do this because I don’t want to mislead and potentially hurt the person. If there was never any thought of there being more and there wasn’t any interest in pursing more with me, then great, we can move on, but I like to be clear about my intentions and I feel that that is the correct way to go about things. 

There are certain things that I am willing to and have shared. I have sometimes shared way too much about my personal life. That is apparent. I am not looking for love. I don’t go out in search of it. Like I said, I love being free and single and living my life the way that I do. It’ll take someone special that is understanding of who I am and that I am both physically and emotionally attracted to for me to be willing to give up being single. I love myself, I love myself enough to not put myself through the hell of being in a relationship with someone that I am not compatible only to just be able to say that I’m not single or that I have someone. That’s bullshit. It might work for some and to each their own, but it doesn’t work for me. I want something real and genuine, something that is fulfilling for both people involved. Not just a bullshit label so that I feel that I fit in. Fitting in is not a desire of mine.

I’m not just writing this for myself, but for all of us. We have all had people that we didn’t “feel it” with try and pursue us. It’s a part of life. We should try our hardest to step into their shoes and as hard as it might be, we should try to understand that they aren’t attracted to us romantically or physically or both. That’s fine. It most likely doesn’t mean you can’t be friends (unless that’s too hard to handle for you) and you should probably see if that is an option for moving forward. Life is too short to worry about the people that aren’t attracted to us. As you know, we have no control over who we are and aren’t attracted to, so why punish them for something they have no control over? 

Sorry about venting about it, but I needed to say it. It was bothering me a lot. My life is open and I don’t mind sharing so that others might be inspired, but my personal (romantic & sexual) life is off bounds. I am attracted to who I am attracted to and that’s that. I am 30 years old and the last 30 years have helped me understand who and what I am attracted to. Me saying that I’m not attracted is not a wall that says I can’t connect with people on that level, it’s a wall that says I’m not attracted to that particular person. I have that right, even with my life being public, I have that right.  I can’t and wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s a part of my individuality. I, nor anyone else should feel bad about doing someone the favor of letting them know that there isn’t attraction in the beginning. It’s to prevent hurt feelings in the long run, and I feel that’s the right thing to do. That’s from the experience of seeing people in 20, 30, and 40-year relationships with people they don’t (and never did love) and weren’t attracted to and all because they didn’t say so in the beginning. That’s a sad place that I choose not to be. 

That’s that. 

Thanks for letting me vent. :) 

 

Posted 1 day ago

Where You Are, You are Home! - Nashville, Thanks for Bringing Me Back Home


Where you are, you are home. 

In that moment, where you are, in that space you are in, you are home! 

I used to think that home was a place. My life experiences have taught me otherwise. Home is not as much of a place as it is the moment that I am and the reality that I have created for myself. I can find “home” in every moment that I have in whatever place that that moment is taking place in. I am home. I can be sleeping on a bench in Chicago’s Lincoln Park or kayaking down the Buffalo River in Tennessee or rock climbing in Baltimore, regardless of where I am or what I am doing, I am home. 

So, I must say it was nice to go home to Nashville. 

My time with Nick in Franklin, TN (right outside of Nashville) brought me back home, back to my roots. The country music, the great outdoors, the country cooking, the ice cold sweet tea, the country boys with their baseball caps and scruffy faces (ummm, hell yeah!), the southern hospitality, those cute southern accents….Yes, I was home!

The last few days in the Nashville area were spent hanging with some locals, checking out some of Nick’s landscaping work (it’s good stuff, If I ever settle down and get a place I hope he’s the one doing my landscaping.)-Check it out at Wynncrest.com, visiting some of the local restaurants (I love food especially in the southern United States, of course!). 

The last night we went and had a unique experience at a restaurant called Monell’s restaurant. What makes this place so special besides their country cooking? Well, you get to connect with strangers in a way that I haven’t experienced with any other place. You enter in and they take you to the dining room area where you take a seat at one of those big tables with like 12 seats or something insane like that. Then once you are seated, either others are seated in the other seats or there are already people seated there and the waitstaff begin bringing out food. It’s like a buffet but at the table AND you’re sitting there with strangers. It’s awkward at first, but eventually the awkwardness starts to go away and you start sharing conversations and stories. Yes, stories! I didn’t know how to take it. I know that sounds odd coming from the guy that travels around meeting and staying with strangers all over the place, but I still struggle with meeting strangers in this way. With what I do on 5YJ, I am able to use the internet, social networks, apps, friends, etc as a buffer. But this felt good after the awkwardness went away and everyone started opening up with one another. This place is something special. It was like sitting down at someone’s dining table. It feels like home or at least how I would want home to be.

With that, my time in Nashville drew to an end. The next morning Nick and I went to Waffle House, which seems like maybe not that big of a thing, but when you’ve been in New York City and Los Angeles for the last 4 or 5 years…Waffle House and Cracker Barrel and the southern restaurants are kinda big things for me.

It funny for me, Nashville and Los Angeles connect in a way. Downtown Nashville reminds me a lot of Hollywood just with a country twist. It was a good time and a great welcome back to “the south”. 

Not just another city and not just more connections made, I’ve been on this journey for nearly 8 months and regardless of where I am, I am home! People in each of the places that I find myself in have gone out of their way to make me feel at home. For a few days or a week or sometimes weeks, people are taking me in and in that time (and this is amazing to me), people are opening up to me and sharing parts of their lives that they sometimes haven’t ever shared with anyone else, ever. For the time while I am around, people almost always embrace the moment and open their lives up to me. It’s scary at times. I don’t always know what to say or that there is anything to say, but I lend an ear and I open up my heart in a way that isn’t judgmental or insensitive. I give advice when I have it to give and feel that it’s right to give. The things that I’ve experienced through life and my willingness to be open and vulnerable where so many others refuse out of fear of judgment, has helped me continue this journey in the way that I have. 

The things that I hear, the stories that I’m told about other people’s life experiences helps me gain a better understanding about humanity and where we are right now. I have a better understanding of struggles that I might not have faced myself, but that I know others have. I learn how people handle those struggles. I take what I learn and while I don’t share about that individuals experiences (it’s not my place), I can and do share what I learn from it when the time is right and without ever revealing the person’s or people’s identities where I learned it.

Nick helped me come to this realization of what I do on this journey. It’s not about some dude just traveling around and taking advantage of others in order to grow and find himself. It’s about growing, helping inspire others to grow (I can’t make people grow, but I can inspire others to find what it takes to experience personal growth), it’s about connections and hopefully long lasting friendships, it’s about experiences that I have along the way that I can share and maybe inspire others to get out and experience their own worlds, it’s about taking on the challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone on a daily basis, it’s about seeing others step beyond their own comfort zones….there’s more to this than some dude traveling around if you can dig deeper into, if you can try to see it as what it really is instead of just how it appears at first glance, you like I have can walk away from 5YJ having grown from the experiences and stories that I have the honor of sharing along the way. 

I don’t say that to get validation. I don’t say that to brag. I don’t say that to show how fucked up we all are or aren’t. I say that because my hope is that people will look deeper than the surface not just with 5YJ, but with the people and the world that surrounds them. We all need practice at listening as much and more than we talk and trust me, there are people that need to be heard and as much as you need to be heard. If you can learn to listen, if you can open yourself up to hearing what other people are experiencing in life, you will grow in the process. Then if you can take that growth and help others grow with and in it, you’ll grow even more and even better, we grow together. AND it all starts with listening.

Big thanks to everyone who made Nashville and Franklin possible. Love ya! 





Posted 1 day ago

This I Love: Brown’s Diner in Nashville, TN


On Tuesday night, my 5YJ host for Nashville area-Nick, asked me what I wanted to eat. My answer was one of my favorite things - A Diner. I love experiencing diners. They usually have a great variety of food, are a relaxed setting, and are most usually places that local frequent. So, diners are right down my alley. 

Anyway, he did quick look on his phone to find local diners and came across Brown’s Diner. He had never been, but it had great reviews and so we figured we would find it and give it a try. The photo above is what we walked up to once we arrived-what looks like a trailer bar with beer and liquor neon lights in the window. We debated even entering and eventually went in. Haha. I’m glad we did. 

Brown’s diner is a restaurant that is two old trolly carts pushed together. It’s much larger than the photo depicts. You enter into the bar area, walk around the corner to the dining area. It is everything you would expect from an old country joint or “hole in the wall” restaurant. It reminded me of being back in Kansas, Oklahoma. There was this restaurant-The Harvest House that was a local favorite (it was just about the only restaurant in town)…anyway, it had the best damn all you can eat catfish on Friday nights. The line out that door to get in for the catfish, you’d think they were giving away cash or something. I dunno, something. It was good catfish and the restaurant was an old country joint. The locals love it. Brown’s Diner reminded me of that place. 

After we finished our meals (I had catfish, Nick had “the best burger in Nashville” per the waitress advice) the waitress spent a good 20 or 30 minutes telling us about the history of the the place.  She had worked there for 20 something years and wasn’t one of the owners. She just loved the place, the customers, and her coworkers. She told us about the different country music stars that had come in (Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, Amy Grant…among others). Nashville is like a country Los Angeles, seriously. 

Anyway, everything about this place was on spot. Ignore the fact that the front looks like a trailer home and that you walk into what seems like an old country bar in order to get to the dining area, but it’s actually part of what makes this place so special. If Nashville, it’s a must! That’s all. It’s a must!