One Way to Stop Surviving…and Start Living

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” ― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

I smoked as I watched the Greyhound driver load up luggage of people migrating to other points on the globe. When it was my turn, I held my ticket open to him. Snubbing the last of the cigarette out on the toe of my hiking boot, I grabbed the handrail on the bottom step of the bus and easily swung my large frame into the waiting coach.

Settling into the first vacant seat I could find, my mind started drifting back to the last five days. The faces passed my mind in sequence then jumbleled, swirled and straightened themselves back into some order. Mostly faces of old friends played a kalediscope on my brain, but mixed in were plenty of new friends. It was a good visit and I was torn. Torn between wanting to stop the driver and let me off the bus and continuing the journey and adventue which is my life.
As the Greyhound Coach pulled out of the parking lot and onto Tunnel Road, I got to thinking about all the people in my life who “…live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation…”. They have not found out that the only real security comes from facing your fears and terrors and stepping out. Security which is rooted in people, places or things is not security at all, but rather an illusion of security that the majority of American marinate in – fooling themselves into believing that all is right with the world.

Road tramps have a term for people who seek a false sense of security – bubbleheads. You can always tell a true bubblehead because they get offended at the term being used to describe them. A bubblehead is a person who goes from the bubble of their home to the bubble of their car to the bubble of their workplace. Occasionally, they will detour into another bubble such as the grocery store, a concert or a play, but basically they live their lives tucked into safe, yet boring, bubbles of existence.

Only when some outside trauma happens do bubbleheads realize there is a world outside of the protective bubble with which they’ve wrapped themselves. When that bubble is burst – even momentarily – a bubblehead will start wringing their hands and cry that the sky is falling.

I live my life the way I do to challenge the “faux” security of bubbleheads. To show them that the world is a much bigger place that what they’ve come to know. I feel the adrenaline rush when I talk with someone who has been inspired by my photography or writing to explore the world outside their door and begin to challenge established ideas of safety and security.

I challenge you, today, to put aside the pseudo sophistication. Drop the illusion of the plastic society that we live in and get out there with me and live…LiveLIVE!

Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist and adventure photographer. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content and he is a regular contributor to The Huffington Postand OpEdNews as well as a weekly guest on a national radio news show. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great.

Nelson’s book, OccupyDC: As I See It has been called, “The most thorough photographic documentation of the Occupy Movement in Washington DC”.

CLICK HERE to see more of Nelson’s work or to hire him for a shoot.

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