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Old 10-15-2013, 06:19 PM   #49
Water Bear
SeanPNW's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Somewhere in Latin America
Oddometer: 490
Originally Posted by DyrWolf View Post
I think the dogs are Peruvian Hairless dogs. there are Mexican hairless, Xoloitzcuintle, but I think you saw the Peruvian dogs.

Ok, I will ask. Do you want to tell us about the cancer?
Innnnteresting, they are rad dogs. Can't get over that they don't have any hair though. Feel like it would be similar to petting a pig, just not as...porky.

Oh and I don't have cancer, just want to make sure that's clear (just in case that was what you were wondering). At least I hope I don't (?), I guess we never really know until we do. In either case though, the quote at the beginning of this ride report is from a very important guy that I met while on my last trip (Tanning A Ginger Tip to Tip). Here's a link to the post where I met him: 10. Little Chicken, Big Character

And here's the part that actually talks about him:

As exciting as the characters of Chicken and the panti-cannon were, it was another traveler that captivated my interest the most. He was guy in his late 70's probably, traveling with his wife in an old pick-up with a camper on the back. He didn't seem like the RVing grandparents type though and at first I had him pegged as a local, or at least a local an Alaskan, he didn't seem like a tourist or a traveler in the same way that we were. He seemed at home here, or at least in this sort of traveling lifestyle. He had a fairly quiet demeanor and spent most of the initial evening time just sitting and enjoying other peoples conversation, sipping on his beers. He had a warm look on his face and a smirk-y grin, I got the impression that he seemed like a chill guy and one of those people that has stories under his belt, and that's why he's so quiet and content to just sit and enjoy listening to other people tell stories. Me being me I got to chatting with him and that was that. With some intrigued questioning and nudging of conversation he eventually over the course of a couple hours and several beers told me all about the things he had done throughout his life, his life story was by far the most varied and extensive history I had heard from any stranger before and I found him absolutely captivating. Sort of like when you get a bit older and you realize just how fucking cool your grandpa is and how it's fascinating hearing all the things they have experienced in their long life. Everything from winning the famous Omak Suicide Horse race, sailing in St. Marks, flying bush planes in Alaska, to getting bored and deciding to train to do the famous Iditarod sled dog race at the ripe and spry age of 63. When he decided to try and race the Iditarod he moved to Alaska, built a home himself to train out of in the boonies, and 3 years later successfully completed the Iditarod race (he broke his neck the 2nd year so it took him a bit to rehab before he could successfully race it to completion).

Through talking with him I also learned that his name was Jeanne. I also learned that he was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer 2 years ago. He was very frank about his prognosis and outlook and he openly said that he would be surprised if he was still around in 2 years. He still had such a sense of calm about him when talking about this though, and his spirit was just as perky and happy as when he was talking about the other things that he had done in his life. I knew that I had to ask him more questions as it's rare that you meet someone like Jeanne. I asked him "For a guy that has done so much with your life already and always lived with a drive and passion for doing what you were interested in that moment and flying by the seat of your pants, is there anything that you know you really want to do before your time is up?"

He thought about the question pensively, but only for a moment, and then laughed and smiled with the same smile he had so easily brought forward throughout our long conversation, and said that "If there was anything left that I desired to do I'm sure that I would get out there and be doing it already!" (he was still actively traveling the world and flying his plane regularly) I drew from this that the thought of "What do I do now that I know I'm going to die soon" never really crossed his mind because he always did the things in life that he wanted to do, he never back burnered anything. Living his life up until this moment in that way allowed him to - now knowing that he doesn't have much time left - live out the last of his time in comfort about what he has and hasn't done because he always lived his life to the fullest.

In the morning I walked over to where him and his wife were camping and talked with him again over camp breakfast. Before we parted ways he said that after we had all gone to sleep he had thought more about my question that I had asked. He said that although he hadnít come up with anything that he has yet to do or wished he'd done differently, he wanted to explain that he did understand why I asked the question. He understood that I was asking the question from a place of interest being that I am young and (hopefully!) have a lot more living to do, and was seeking any wisdom from a man who had so obviously lived his life to its fullest.

He said that if he can impart any wisdom that he has learned through his his long list of life experiences, it is that:

Ē there is no point in spending your life doing things you donít want to do and that donít give you joy. You can make all the money in the world but you need to learn how to have fun. You MUST learn how to play. Since I was diagnosed with cancer 2-years ago I havenít had a single bad day. I simply donít have time for bad days, so I make every day a good day. Life is short and if you can get started with that mentality young, youíll do just fine.Ē

With that he ended our conversation and left me to digest. With his joyful attitude, piercingly insightful eyes backed by many years of a life well lived, he looked at his wife with a smile - who had been sitting next to him quietly sipping her coffee mug held with both hands for warmth, and said simply that they should head out and get going, saying "We have things, to go do."

If I had any question about finishing up my work in Seattle and heading South in the fall, Jeanne and his wise words sure stomped them out.
He'll probably never know, but he was pivetol in helping me answer some of the questions I had about my life at that time, what I wanted to do next, and how I wanted to do it. I tried for quite a while to find a way to get in contact with him again but was not successful. I would love to have had a chance to spend some more time with him, but unfortunately I fear this is not in the cards.

One of those people that you meet randomly, and only for a very brief moment, but that you never forget.
"In life sometimes you just need to value adventure above security and comfort."
No-Moto-Boundaries, Tanning A Ginger Tip-to-Tip, '04 KLR 688
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