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It was already decided. I was going to do it.
“But what if I back out when I get there? What if I’m halfway through and I want to quit? No, you can’t think like that, just do it. Live life on the edge. Do something to make a difference in your life. Don’t chicken out. DO IT!”
The thoughts were racing through my head, I couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning didn’t help my situation either. I tried to clear my mind, but nonetheless new thoughts would flood my brain, making my decision even harder.
My name is Joshua E. Walker, and I aspire to be the first man to single handedly walk through the Amazon Rainforest. My mom used to say I was exploring things at two weeks old. In my mind, that’s a sign I’m destined to pursue this dream of mine. Then again, my mother was a little nutty sometimes. But never mind her, this is about my journey to find new places, and discover myself along the way.
I was with my friends one night, “hanging out,” as most people would say today. Parker, one of my closest friends, maybe had a bit too much to drink before coming out with us. (He was always the type that liked to party).
“Haha, you know what would be fun guys? If we…if we went on a trip. Ya know? That would be fun guys!”
That sparked the idea in my head to take this journey. Parker had always been the smartest of the group, even when he was a bit intoxicated. Since I’ve known him, Parker has been the adventurous type.
After thinking for a while, I said “Excuse me gents, but it’s getting late. I’ll see you later .”
So now I’m stuck. Again. As of now, the pros are outweighing the cons, and I AM going to go. I’ll pack tonight and head off tomorrow so I can’t change my mind. Since Parker gave me the idea to go, I decided to ask if he would like to accompany me on my trip. Our phone conversation made my mind spin with confusion and worry.
“What? You’re crazy, thinking you’ll survive out there. I’ll be surprised if you actually
end up going.”
“I will go! And you were the one that came up with the idea to go on a trip anyway!”
“I know what I said. I’m just concerned about you. Your mind likes to wander and come
up with crazy plans like that. I just don’t want you to risk your life because you think you can do something. I mean Josh; do you honestly think you’ll last more than one day? But I’m not going to worry, because you and I both know that you won’t really go through with it. Look, I gotta go buddy.”
“I’ll go! I’ll prove it to you. Just watch”
“Look, I gotta go. Talk to you later. Just don’t make any hasty decisions thinking you’ll prove yourself.”
“Just watch! I’ll prove you wrong! You just wait! You’ll see. You’ll see…”
“How dare he! The nerve of him, hanging up on me, saying I can’t pursue my dreams!”
My friend’s disbelief in my ability pushed my nerves down to my feet, and I went. Went straight to the airport. Marched right through all the security, and boarded the next plane to South America. Not a thought crossed my mind.
October 13, 2005
“I have just boarded the plane. No nerves yet, but I’m sure some will set in once I’m closer. Just for the record, Parker was the one that pushed me to do this. I haven’t yet decided if that’s a good or bad thing. I just hope I packed enough, I did rush out of the house on pure adrenaline…”
I’m hoping to keep consistent journal entries throughout my trip, good or bad. If I make it back, I would like to document my progressions and prove to everyone that I made a difference. My plan is to stay in the forest for approximately 16 weeks, or 4 months. Although, I do keep in mind setbacks, or troubles that I may have may push my returning date back a little.
I’m deciding whether or not to document that we just landed in a quiet little town called Manaus, and the people are quite friendly. I’ve already been offered a fruit basket and a home to stay at until I start my journey. As of now, this place is nicer that New York in every way, although some of the accents are a bit tricky to understand. People are so considerate and understanding. I’ve told many folks about my plans to trek through the rainforest and four people have volunteered to accompany me. The helpfulness strangely made me think about Parker’s disapproving message to me. “You won’t really go through with it…mind just likes to wander…”
October 16, 2005
“After spending a few days in Manaus and meeting some potential partners, I believe that I’m ready to start my trip into “The Unknown”, as some of the villagers called it. I’m packing my backpack, trying not to make it too heavy for my back as I will never let it out of my sight. If I lose this backpack, it might as well be saying that I will lose my life. I have water, food, a very small tent, in case of bad weather, and several other tools that I might need to survive.”
October 17, 2005
“The nerves got to me yesterday and pushed my departure date back. I will be going today, rain or shine, sick or healthy, believe me when I say that I WILL leave today. My gosh, if Parker could see me now. If only he could see me walking out of my front door right now. Seeing all those people waiting, watching, and waving for me. Me, Joshua Walker. For once I’m not in the crowd. I’m the attention; I am going to be the one to make people proud. If only he could see me now…”
We had to take a small bus to the closest spot to the rainforest. Magnificent trees of all shapes and sizes grew for miles around. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I heard several types of animals creating music that sounded magical.
October 17, 2005
“What a breathtaking view this is. I must have taken up at least forty pictures already. The inside of the forest is filled with sounds from little birds, to giant roars, but I’m ready for any challenge. My partners and I decided it’s time to head in, well before it gets to noon, the peak of the day for this natural beauty. Temperatures can reach 120® and drop to -10® at night. I’m ready to begin…”
I pause for a moment, and think to myself “Is this what I really want to do? Or am I just trying to prove myself to Parker? Will I really risk my life, just to prove someone wrong? But think, this could be a huge milestone in your life, Josh. Since when have you done anything exciting? Go for it. This is your chance to shine.”
One more minute. One more picture. One more entry. That’s sometimes all it takes to make a decision. Just sixty seconds could ultimately decide someone’s fate. I thought to myself for a while about the butterfly effect, how everything you do leads to another. And that change influences other ideas.
“Ok, if I do this, my life could be changed drastically in a good or bad way. I could become famous for my discoveries, or I could lose my life in this beautiful jungle…”
I couldn’t make up my mind. Two of my colleagues had already began to chop some branches out of the way to make a path for us. They were waving their hands in my direction. As if they were saying to hurry up. I needed to sit, walk, jump up and down, do anything but just stand here. My brain has a capacity of about four thoughts, total. I couldn’t function, I didn’t know where I was, or who anyone was. “Gaan sit,” I heard from a distance as a cold water bottle was placed on my forehead and neck. I stumbled to a tree stump nearby, and things started to clear up. The words in my head became clear again, it was like looking through a glass window into an perfect, grassy meadow. It all made sense now. I knew what I was going to do. The decision was made. No doubts. The men stare at me, waiting for the sign to go. I look over, and I see. They already know.
My name is Joshua E. Walker.
First man to cross through the Amazon Rainforest.