I just wanted to touch base with myTR family
It's getting late into April and I wanted to let everyone know that I just can't finish the journey this summer. I would have posted this sooner, but as you can imagine, I've spent a lot of time agonizing over the decision. I wanted to be 100% sure before I posted this.
I had to make an extremely difficult decisionâ€¦finish the journey or go to school and get a degree. I want to be a robotics educatorâ€¦and without a degree that's virtually impossible. I applied for dozens of technical teaching positions and nobody would accept me without a bachelors degree. My extensive resume (heavy on robotics experience) did not mean much without a degree behind it. So I made the decision to get a formal education.
With that said, I would like to talk about what the journey did for me. I've had 8 months to reflect on this and I've come to some realizations.
One thing I realized a long time ago is that I was "frozen" inside at age 14. I never was able to emotionally mature past that age because of the abuse. It's strange being in your early 40's on the outside and being a 14 year old boy on the inside. It causes a multitude of issues in your daily life.
I was speaking to my trauma counselor a couple months back and she had commented that I seemed different since the journey. She had the foresight to ask me "Tom, how old are you"? (knowing that my previous answer had always been 14). I thought about it for a few minutes and had a profound realization. I said "Tina, I am an 18 year old man". Hearing those words come out of my own mouth was a massive step forward in my life.
What I realized is that the Journey broke the chain of that anchor that held me back. I think about the Journey every single day...and it has largely replaced the traumatizing thoughts with extremely uplifting moments of healing that I experienced those three months on the road with all of you.
I have said it a thousand timesâ€¦but I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS JOURNEY WITHOUT ALL OF YOU. The good people on Total Ruckus made this journey possible for me. I knew I had a nationwide support network behind me and THAT is one of the major reasons I found the courage to do it.
It feels exciting and wonderful a little scary to finally be an adult. I'm in uncharted territory nowâ€¦finally able to "begin" my life as a grown man.
Funny that I am 18 on the inside and starting college in the fallâ€¦college seems like a completely appropriate place for me to be.
Alsoâ€¦I have the option to finish the journey anytime I choseâ€¦maybe after school (two and a half years from now), maybe if I get laid-off in a future job, or maybe when I retire. Who knowsâ€¦the option will always be mine.
AND - I am in no way finished with TRâ€¦lol. I will be selling my Ruck and cart but am keeping my Metropolitanâ€¦and I am continuing to work on my scooter cargo trailer idea on the side. So lots more posts in the future.
If I could ask ONE THING from everyone on TR is to keep this miracle rolling in your daily lives. Think about my act of climbing on to a Honda Ruckus and trying to ride 10,000 miles to effect change. One small act of goodness can snowball into a powerful force of LOVE and CHANGE. This whole thing has it's roots in Wan's original journey. WAN, YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO US ALL!...thank you for showing me that one small person can change the world.
As far as the donations that were collected from the Journeyâ€¦I was able to raise a total of $1,500. So each of the three charities will receive $500 (Stop It Now, Joyful Heart Foundation, Horry County Rape Crisis Center)
I LOVE YOU GUYS and thank you again for your kindness, hospitality, and support throughout my journey. If you'll remember, my original map was in the shape of a heart...I just looked at the map again, and realized that the distance I covered makes a 7,330 mile "V" for VICTORY.