Passing gas. Kicking ass. Walking the roads less traveled. All for positive change.
Hi my name is Georgiy Treyvus. Welcome to the blog. What’s this all about? I wish I had a one sentence answer but I don’t. The closest you’re going to get to that is the blog’s title, because for me that’s what these expeditions are about, walking for all that’s good in the world. Yes I realize that’s not too informative but it’s the best I can do with one sentence. If you want to know more read on.
To better understand this and flow into everything else a small about me section is in order. Now I’m sure you’ll agree that if something is worth doing it’s worth doing right and well. By logical extension if life is worth living it’s worth living right and well. That pretty much sums up my main philosophy nice and elegant.
As for a bit more of what I’m all about while I have many life goals here are the four from which the rest stem.
- Seek truth.
- Experience the richness of life.
- Align what I think, say, and do.
- Make a positive difference.
I’m a dropout both from school now in pursuit of real education and more generally from a culture(many including myself use “the system” for shorthand) which pushes me to do things which exploit both me and others. I like to explore, learn, and have fun taking things apart. I’m idealistic and have resultingly been called naïve and stubborn. I’m crazy passionate about life and easily excitable. I’m a math/science/technology enthusiast mostly interested in programming and computers. Quite fanatical about open source . Use Linux(current distro is Debian) and run mostly open source software. Hope to contribute as much as I can to open source.
My main driving force though is these walking expeditions. In comparison nothing else matters. For me this is a mad burst of passion to save my life, achieve dreams, raise awareness for causes important to me, and make a positive difference through action.
The goal here is to finish my training expeditions, walk coast to coast, New York City to San Francisco and later possibly beyond to wherever the urge takes me. Now at this point you may be wondering what I mean by training expeditions and thus to learn more check out the Done And To Do page. The destination is San Francisco because it’s an amazing city and because Silicon Valley being paradise for people like myself is essentially next door. It’d be awesome to settle down for a bit and work there for a few years. And after that I just might do it all again and again. In fact I probably will.
The expeditions I did thus far were simply amazing, educational, and life changing enough that they warrant several pages of writing. And even then that would be a crude echo of what I experienced because the meat of the things you feel and experience on these things is simply beyond your ability to describe in language and possibly beyond the limitations of language altogether. The places, the people, the connection you develop with the land. Just no way to describe it. The only way to understand is to do things like this yourself.
I need to do this. In this point in my life I’m at the end of my rope and I know things need to change. Back when I dropped out I knew that I was in a bad place and that what I did was the right thing to do. However I realized that to get anywhere in life avoiding what’s wrong for you isn’t enough. I realized that I also had to go and find what’s right. I need to do something real that helps both myself and others. The hard part is getting out there. While it hasn’t entirely taken over, the system has still acquired control over a big majority of the world. There is an unwritten law that says that you must be 22 and have the right paperwork if you even want to hope to be allowed to exist let alone live. It’s also rather well enforced. Thus if you drop out you aren’t really left with many options.
One possibility is going back to the where I came from. Assuming a sufficient supply of antidepressants I can go through the motions and finish college. However since everyone and their dog goes to college these days I’ll be one of millions with the same bachelors degree and in no way stand out. I will not be guaranteed a job. Some people do wind up with decent jobs which pay them their worth both financially and psychologically. I’m truly happy for them. However many more people don’t. Likely even if I get a job after college it will be an exploitative job I could have done as a high school dropout which I already am.
The only thing that college guarantees is a hole in my parents bank account and maybe some debt. If I want to try to get success by chasing degrees these days I’d have to go for at least a masters. Once I have a masters I begin being competitive. The key word here is begin. Also frankly a masters costs two more years of pain and grunt work and a substantially large amount of money possibly larger even then the bachelors.
Now doctorates are where you start being competitive especially the PhD which is arguably the only degree I actually respect because real brains are required and its almost impossible to bullshit your way through. Frankly crazy as this may sound a few years ago I had and possibly still have a dream of getting a PhD in math. This is not so much because of the prestige society places on the PhD but for the reason people conquer Everest. Because it’s there. At some point when my brain is kicking properly again assuming I can get admitted directly to a PhD program that will be the only degree chasing I may possibly do. Now as far as looking at doctorates in terms of getting jobs now we’re talking competitive. The only nontrivial drawbacks worth mentioning are the absolutely massive cost and the issue of possibly being overqualified for many jobs. Many a boss isn’t going to want to hire you if there’s a risk you’re going to be sitting in their seat soon.
Going to college can be a good thing if you go for the right reasons and have the right mentality. However most of us don’t including me. Going into college with the wrong mentality won’t get me anywhere in life. If I go to college it will be because it’s the best place to learn whatever I’m interested in, not to chase papers. As I said before degree chasing isn’t really on the menu. I’ve taken specific classes which interest me(being there because I want to be makes a world of difference) and when my head clears up intend to take more if possible(schools seriously need to become more open).
Neither can I stay where I am, backed up in this corner. I’m absolutely sick of it. Being able to focus on studying what I actually cared about things went very well for a good while after I dropped out. But I can’t stay in the books any more. Also a disturbing point is that I’m going insane over stuff I care about. How the college people do it with all the garbage forced into them I don’t know. I certainly imagine alcohol helps in some cases but still…
Change is necessary. Staying in this limbo is death. Following the college path the best case scenario gets me admitted to the rat race and the worst case scenario leaves me screwed without hope. But what then doesn’t? The commonsense fact that gets knocked out of our heads by conventional propaganda is that in the end it’s what you know and who you know. And thus we have hit one of the critical points of what it’s all about for me. This is about using exploration to reach out, to further educate myself, to better myself, and to meet people. I know that I have value. I know that I can simplify, downsize, and live a better more natural life. I know that I can survive. I know that I can thrive. I know that I can make a positive difference.
I know with every bone in my body that I must do this because the alternative means dying a pathetic excuse for a human being, ignorant, single, lonely, pathetic, unemployed, dreams unfulfilled, potential unfulfilled, and having done nothing to help myself or anyone else. There is no better time than now. The prescription for my glasses isn’t getting any weaker. The ringing in my ears isn’t getting any quieter. My tendons aren’t getting any stronger. My feet are only getting flatter. And my sanity is at its absolute edge. From my previous expeditions I know that there is beauty and goodness in this world and that I can connect to it. I know there are places in the world for me. I know that if I meet the right people the lives of all involved can be bettered through positive exchange and collaboration. I know I can do this. I will walk across America, coast to coast, New York City to San Francisco or I will completely bust my ass trying.
Up until the big walk itself the ground rules for the Walks For All That’s Positive are simple.
- I must do at the very least one expedition a week. As my expeditions get longer they may take a week or several. That is OK. After each such expedition the counter is reset and I must do another one within the next week. Maintaining momentum is important. Otherwise I will again be brought into the rut where I am now. That first walk to New Jersey started it all. After that a huge wave of expeditions followed. I managed for a while to maintain a continuous flow of work and progress. I’ve had downtime and been held back due to just about anything except being kidnapped by Somali Pirates. Injuries. Blisters. Extended periods of bad weather. Helping take care of my grandpa because he had severe nosebleeds. Helping take care of my dad when he had health issues. Health issues of my own including a fairly large hemangioma in the very bottom and back of my left quadriceps. (Got that removed on September 22, 2011. Currently recovering from the surgery thus a temporary hiatus. This rule goes back into effect soon.) Negativity and absolutely no respect from my family. Poor funds. Dealing with the psychologically crushing possibility that due to problems with my legs I might not be able to walk without destroying my body. Luckily that turned out to be a false alarm. I’ve overcome a lot but I guess at some point things overwhelmed me and brought me down in their shear berth. When enough things try to weigh us down even the strongest of us can’t go on. And I’m not the strongest of us. Even when things get a bit better externally I was and still am dealing with internal garbage I can’t even properly understand myself let alone explain to you. The point is now that I can walk I will. And I will not stop because if I do I’m fucked plain and simple. Writing about this all and accounting this here will keep me motivated and on track. Also hopefully some of you guys will keep me in line. Your support in this matter is appreciated.
- In addition to the many people I will invariably interact with due to the sheer nature of these things when I come across an interesting person I will attempt to engage them at the very least by saying hi. How many interesting experiences, amazing people, and lifelong friends have we all missed by not doing that and letting the walls of social repression and fear win? That’s not even mentioning chances to meet romantic partners/find true love. Thusly also if I see an attractive woman I will say hi. It’s better than cowering in my shell and watching them pass me by. It’s also not catcalling. It’s nice and neutral. If things go anywhere great. If not we can both walk away no hard feelings. Point is in all the good couples you see someone had to have made the initial jump. It may as well be me. This rule will aid me in the social skydiving and rejection therapy aspects of this walk because frankly I’m a wimp and I need to develop more social skills and confidence. I absolutely need to meet people and try to form positive connections. In school I may have been drowning in people but simply being packed in a can of people isn’t enough as many people have learned first hand. Maybe I was too shy. Maybe I was too loud. I’ve certainly been both. Maybe I was too different for people heavily obsessed with brand name clothes and whatnot. Or maybe since I’ve certainly been an asshole at times in my life, not many, but they were there. Maybe I was too hyper. All I know is that while being packed in a large institutionalized box of people can be a way to network I doubt that it’s optimal and in my case it didn’t work. As a dropout I went into a state of semi-isolation and that hasn’t done wonders for me either. I need to reach out and this is my way of doing that.
Finally as I said before these walks are about positive change and with them I hope to raise awareness for many causes important to me. I could probably go on a very long rant about lots of them. But in the end it’s all about walking for a better, freer, more open world where people can exercise their rights and fulfil their responsibilities. It’s about helping make a world where it’s ok to be different in a nontrivial way so long as it’s peaceful. It’s about a world where we can openly share our problems and concerns and work on solutions. It’s about living more naturally. Being outside of harmful rules and traditions with no logical base. It’s about living a lifestyle that helps both me and others as opposed to one which doesn’t. It’s about inspiring others to do the same. That’s it in a nutshell. Now of the many causes that drive me I will end this by discussing very briefly the two that I feel are most important breaking borders and freedom(as in liberty not necessarily price, though of course price too if possible) of education. I’ll try to keep it short. Perhaps this will be moved to a separate page and properly elaborated on.
For a start as far as borders are concerned I’ve always been bothered by the concept of countries. It’s not right that we can’t freely travel across public territory. Borders and countries are yet another way of separating those who have and those who don’t. They isolate and divide us helping propagate bigotry and hatred. It’s not right. We are all human, all have the same rights, and all have the same responsibilities towards each other and the earth.
For raising awareness about and breaking borders walks like these are the perfect form of activism. These expeditions have pushed me both physically and psychologically to places I never thought I’d go. I can’t break some of the borders out there, I stand no chance against hundreds of armed gunmen, but I can break the borders in here, and one less ignorant moron populating the earth is an accomplishment. When you’re alone circumnavigating Manhattan going down the east side about to be cast off the nice walkway extended from High Bridge Park onto the streets of East Harlem for a few miles your stomach does some amazing gymnastics just let me tell you. It’s all quite the experience.
In addition to the borders broken and understanding obtained from exploring places and meeting people these walks break other more subtle borders. An example where this becomes most evident is when your walks become sufficiently long as in the case of other coast to coast walkers. You will eventually have to start walking alongside highways usually only meant to be crossed by cars. You start crossing public territory in ways that weren’t intended and you start breaking borders you didn’t know were there. There’s just this cool hackerly(to those unfamiliar with the proper use of the term hackers are the good guys crackers are the bad guys) feeling that comes from that. I feel it’s very important because this helps keep the borders from locking us in tighter while further dividing us.
Finally when I say I walk for educational reform I mean real education in the truest sense of the word and real reform. None of the usual political mumbo jumbo here. Educational reform is in my opinion arguably the most important kind of reform we can do. There are deep ties between education, oppression, poverty, misery, and life in general. Frankly while there are a lot of activists working on changing many problematic issues I must remark that it boggles my mind that so few work on educational reforms. Most of us before we really know what is what are thrust into schools. Most of us don’t like them either because of a lot of the bullshit that goes on there. For many of us this is the first major problem we experience. And we’re stuck there for more than two decades. This is about 1/4-1/3 or our lifespan and arguably the first major part of our life. So again I just marvel how few of us both during and after the experience question what of it is right, what of it is necessary. Usually when we run into a bunch of problems we try to solve the first then second and so on. Here however we sort of skip major problem one and go on to two. This break in the usual pattern of human psychology absolutely boggles me.
The school system is an extraordinarily diseased abomination crushing our natural curiosity, our life, our will, our free agency through endless arbitrary orders and gruntwork to make us obedient cogs. I’ll just stop here because if I start ranting there’s no stopping me. The better question is how to solve the problem. I know that self directed learning(sometimes also called unschooling) is the solution. But sadly the system has other plans. The world in which we live is sadly largely controlled by the system and isn’t all to friendly to any who try to take their life and education into their hands. Hopefully this will raise awareness about some of the issues we face and will at least encourage dialogue.
The discrimination we face is just ridiculous. All dropouts are treated like second class citizens. Like the drug dealers and etc. is one thing but many people leave for other far more legitimate reasons including actually getting an education. One size does not fit all and those who can’t/don’t mix with the system are left to pay the price. In all fairness I don’t think the system is right for most of us and a lot of us just adapt to miserably slaving away therein. Frankly too much of us. Human adaptability in my opinion while being our biggest strength is our biggest weakness as well. Back to the main point some of us cannot mix with it period. Those of us are left with no options. Our families often constantly attack us. We are hidden from their friends and other parts of the family. When visiting doctors we have to lie about who we are like we’re some sort of criminal or wrongdoer. Oh and that’s if some of us can even see a doctor but more on that later. Many other examples come to mind…
Like one thing which really hit me happened when I was on my way home after studying in the library. I needed to get some stuff for my dad on the way back. Anyway as I’m walking along Kings Highway to one of the stores and I see of all people one of my old Spanish teachers from middle school. Best foreign language teacher I ever had period. One of the best teachers I had. Many good memories of his class. I didn’t even recognize him immediately. Perhaps it would have been better if I hadn’t. I’m not the surest he recognized me either after all this time so we could have just passed each other by. I was looking at him thinking is he really… Then I stop and I see he now also is having the moment of recognition. We say hi and start talking. I wish there was more time to talk. He looked in a rush. Here I may of course be woefully wrong but that’s the impression I got. At that point I was trying to just end the conversation as quickly as possible. If the question of what school I’m in now arose… Like if I could have had a good long proper conversation with him I’m pretty sure that he would have understood but sadly circumstances didn’t seem to permit that. Anyway to end the conversation before the potential sticking point I basically said that I have to get some stuff for my dad and that I’m in a bit of a rush. The first part was perfectly true but the second… Like the nerves were really getting to me at that point. There was undisguised panic in my voice and I knew he smelled a rat. Somehow I managed to get the conversation done with him saying email me on the school site. That was in a sense a relief because then I could hopefully get some dialogue going and when the timing is better tell all. Sent an email trying to start a proper conversation. Got back no response. Don’t know why. Perhaps he was busy. Perhaps when I said that I’m in a rush he felt brushed off. After all not having seen him for years the least I could do is stick around a minute. If he felt brushed off or offended in any way I can’t blame him either.
I don’t even know how to describe how that whole thing felt. You have to have the same experience to be able to relate. It’s just sick how we have to hide ourselves like we’re some sort of wrongdoer fugitive. Even from understanding openminded people at times. Because when one says they’re a dropout the other individual instantly gets the impression that you’re a bum that left for the wrong reasons unless there’s time to explain why.
Intellectualism is far broader than simply academics but nobody seems to acknowledge that. A four year degree has for no valid reason become a prerequisite even for the common grunt job which a reasonably bright ten year old could do perfectly well with a week or two of training. Of course I’m not naive enough to believe that employers require a degree for indicators of capability. It’s just a test of how willing you are the submit to arbitrary orders without question. But there are other more humane ways to determine work ethic and reasonable compliance to regulations.
The point is if we drop out of school at any point even after completing high school we are essentially given the death sentence. I’ve talked to many people and even a lot of the conservatives agree that college isn’t right for everyone. But again does the system offer mercy? Here’s a hint at the answer. Those who don’t go to college lose their medical insurance whereas otherwise they’d be allowed to keep it until they’re 26. So you have to choose between being uninsured or driving your parents broke if they buy you insurance or torturing yourself in a place that’s not right for you while still getting your parents extorted by the obscene tuition prices of today. The likelihood of getting a job with insurance or one that’ll at least let you buy a policy to take that particular load off your parents… Lovely eh? Luckily due to the recent healthcare reform I didn’t have to face a choice between very bad and very bad. Due to the reform I got to stay under my parents’ coverage until 26. If I were just one year older however I would have lost my coverage and there wouldn’t be any parents coverage I’m allowed to keep staying under for a couple of more years. At least that’s the law in practice. On paper so long as your parents have coverage your insurance gets reinstated. However if you’ve been uninsured longer than 3 months it becomes harder to do it. I know people who unfortunately weren’t able to. I also know a few other people who had to face that decision and have gone both ways. Just let me tell you it’s not pretty. There is no smart choice in that one. I’m lucky but many others weren’t. And even then the law may be overturned at any time. Probably will be come the next presidential term. So I don’t know how much longer I am safe in that regard either.
Hopefully this gives you a bit of an insight into just a few of the many problems self directed learners and dropouts face for actually trying to learn, to be real working people and not slaves selling their very being, and to make something of themselves. Things need to change and it’s about time we get talking, thinking about a sensible way to solve this, and then acting on it. There are no easy solutions to problems of this magnitude. Furthermore these things are complicated by the fact that with the right to educational freedom many other rights are implied and of course more change means more work. Take as a small example the issue of eliminating diploma fanaticism/credentialism and replacing that with a meritocracy.
If I could solve this on my own I’d do it and become an international hero overnight. Sadly I’m just one person and I’ve done just about all I can. Positive change is hard whether from the inside or outside. The only way change can succeed is if we all work together simultaneously. The one last thing I can do with this is hopefully wake people up and help them achieve the mass simultaneous coordination necessary to make a difference.
Though the above points were very brief and inadequate considering the scope, complexity, and magnitude of the issues I’m trying to help reform hopefully this at least explains a bit more of the activism portion that drives these walks. On one hand it feels like a rant on the other I know I only barely scratched the tip of the iceberg. Hell this about page also feels like this. But I hope I’ve given a pretty clear if rather incomplete understanding of what drives me to do this.
Even if I haven’t this page has still taken me months of hard pushing to write due to the sheer amount of stuff I’m trying to let out. I don’t even know if an adequate about page can be written for something like this. I also kind of feel like people should understand all of this without me needing to say this. Some just get it. Others never will. For those between those two extremes I hope this does its job. Furthermore complicating the writing process was that a lot of this also was rather uncomfortable/personal to write but at the same time these are important to show a glimpse of the sheer desperation, raw passion, and unrelenting determination that motivates these walks.
As I said from the start these walks are about everything and a half to me. They are for everything thats positive and in the face of all the bullshit trying to eat us all alive. These are about being free and helping anyone else who wants to do likewise. As can clearly be seen I meant what I said back there. Hopefully this blog documents these expeditions well.