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  • Daniel Rangel

Journal Entry #1: Adios Los Angeles

Updated: May 3


PART 1: TAKE OFF.

ENTRY #1. YEAR 2013

Once I board my plane, I will be checking the last thing on my to-do list to get rid of the life I was born into. Most of the other travelers here at the Los Angeles International Airport, I assume, are off on business trips, anxious to reunite with family, or starting long-awaited vacations. Not me. Once my plane goes airborne, the only things coming with me from my previous life are tightly packed in a single carry-on backpack and a wallet with $300. That’s it. No cards, debit or credit.


I am off to Mexico City with no return ticket and no plan, only the delusional idea that I have to be creative to survive and to create something successful. What’s this successful “something” going to be? I have no idea. A service, a product, a movement, a religion, a prostitution ring? Who knows? All I know is that I will be keeping a journal of whatever happens. This is the first time I have felt compelled to document my life, which I guess says something about my past.

In the days leading up to today, what I am about to do seemed totally right and worthwhile. The uncertainty, the possible danger, and the lack of direction that awaits my future seemed like the perfect ingredients for a life of freedom and adventure. In the mystery of my future, anything and everything seemed possible. Maybe, like in the movie The Beach, where Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of a backpacker, I’ll end up joining a self-sufficient community of travelers, in some secret paradise island, make love to a beautiful French girl, and survive an attack by drug lords. In the end, it will all make for a great experience to bring back to Los Angeles, a funny story to tell at a bar someday. At least, this is how I saw things prior to today.


Now, I’m having a hard time seeing the allure in what I’m about to do. It has just occurred to me here at the airport, of all places, how crazy this is, how real it has become, and how scary it is too.


Although I have a Mexican background, I’ve never been to Mexico City, and I don’t know anyone there. The warnings people gave me about the dangers in Mexico—of the cartels and people disappearing and bodies being hung off bridges—the same warnings I thought stupid and naïve before, are now taking a serious tone in my head. The questions I should have been asking before are finally coming to light. But crime aside, what if I get seriously sick? What if I can’t create something? What will I do when I run out of money? Will I give up and go crying to my parents? If I make it back to the US, what will I make of my life? What will I do for work? How much of what I had am I throwing away by doing this? Then I wonder, how many homeless people started their stories like this? For how many of them did adventure turn into permanent misery? Can people’s lifelong tragedies be traced back to some stupid, delusional, and highly idealistic idea they acted on when they were twenty-four?


To the outside world, I might seem calm as I write this journal entry, just someone passing the time, waiting for his scheduled flight. But inside, my thoughts are racing no more slowly than the planes taking off.


Unfortunately, or fortunately, it’s too late for second thoughts. It’s last call, and having burnt my bridges to get here, I feel forced to board. One thing is for certain, though, for better or worse, what awaits me will definitely be an interesting chapter in my life. I’m curious. Perversely, I am curious to meet the person this will turn me into.


ABOUT: This is a memoir, structured as a journal, meant to read like a novel. It’s a free book with new entries published regularly. It’s is the story of how I traveled the American continent, from Mexico to Argentina, starting with two-dollars and a string and a button. Subscribe to be notified of new entries.


This free publication is a small token of my appreciation to the thousands of people I met in the streets who made my journey possible. I might not be the best person to write this story, but here it is. It’s yours. Thank you. From the USA to Argentina, Thank you!

FREE BOOK.

A TRAVELER’S JOURNAL:

CROSSING LATIN AMERICA ON A STRING & BUTTON.

PUBLISHED WEEKLY, CHAPTER BY CHAPTER.

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