3mules.com & the people on the road: a different lifestyle

They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww! ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

3mules.com, it reads in white paint over a green box loaded on one of three mules. Ahead, leading the three mules, is a man from humble demeanour, his face marked by the sun, even from a distance you can sense a kind soul. It seems to come straight out of a Hemingway novel. Unfortunately, I am in the car with my host in San Clemente (Orange County, California) and I cannot stop to learn more but shortly after returning “home” caught by curiosity I am typing the address: 3mules.com and I find myself to this message of Welcome:

Who are we? Where are we from? We are mules. We are from the outside. We live outside all day, every day. Where are we going? Nowhere. We’re here: the outside, the web of life, the beautiful earth, a place like no other. We have come to this place, a place of golden sparkling light, a place for anybody and everybody. Give your faith, hope and energy to this place at which time you connect to it and receive the magic and endless possibility of infinity. As you walk in this place with these mules you spread the awareness that this beautiful earth, like no other, can only be protected by the way we live one day at a time.

I cannot help thinking I would have liked to know the 3mules otherwise the community formed by three mules and a man that for 31 years have been wandering plowing the streets of America. Once more I find myself pondering and saying to myself as a dear friend of mine would say: I’m nobody! And I become overly preoccupied when the sun is going down and still do not know where I will sleep, who knows if the 3mules are preoccupied by such things? Who knows what their mood is at sunset and still haven’t found a place to camp, or when a storm begins.

The next day after a few hours I was riding and having found a way to leave San Clemente, past the San Onofre nuclear power plant, I found myself crossing a park along the coast with a bike trail and towards the end of the park just before entering the military base of Camp Pendleton, I see from afar the 3mules.

I would have liked to stop them, chat with 3mules and ask them a lot of questions but I have learned that not all travellers I meet along the way are willing to stop and chat and opening up and linger, some are loners and not unbutton easily. Wanting to be respectful of 3mules I approached them and asked if I could take a picture, the 3mules have kindly stopped and put posing and then they started asking me about my trip, where I’m from and where I go. After exchanging a few words and telling a bit of my trip the 3mules have asked me if they could take themselves a picture with me. The 3mules are simple and modest and I did not want to disturb them further but I would have like to stop and spend a night with them. In retrospect, I regret not having asked permission to share the road with them.

The 3mules were genuinely interested in my journey and even made a post is in their blog (http://3mules.com/davide-travelli-riding-30000-miles-from-alaska-to-patagonia/) but also in their Facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/3Mules/photos/a.391672860925195.97340.388535314572283/930661693692973/?type=3&theater ) and even in their video blog (https://www.facebook.com/3Mules/videos/932504243508718/)

The same night camping at San Elijo State Beach (Encinitas, California) I met a quiet bloke who has been touring around the Californian coast for 6 months and a gentleman just over fifty who has been on the road, with a bike like mine but with a luggage much leaner, since 1999.

This gentleman has been on the road for 16 years and the 3mules for 31 years, but I met other people alike. These are ordinary people who have simply chosen a lifestyle that differs completely from that imposed by our society. By choosing a wandering life they have acquired a new freedom but have given up many certainties or maybe that’s just my feeling because all these people seem to be satisfied with their choice, they seem happy and fulfilled. I’ve been wonder if our modern societies are not built backwards. Are we sure that the famous “rat race” is what we really want? Have we ever stop and made a conscious choice? A job, a car, a house, marriage, children, a wage increase, a bigger car, a bigger house, a bigger mortgage, another salary increase, other things to buy to fill the house, the lease of additional storage space to cram a lot of things we have at home but we do not use but which do not want to separate. And so on.

For a few months, perhaps a year, yet I will be a wanderer but then what? Who knows what I’ll want to do or where to live once arrived in Ushuaia. Certainly the people I meet on the street are very satisfied and more interesting than those I met in the offices in my “past life”. In my small way I can only say that spending so much time outdoors, do a physical exercise for most of the day, waking up at dawn and going to sleep shortly after sunset made my body stronger and resilient as well as my mood it is more cheerful. Who knows… in the meantime follow the adventures of the 3mules! Do like their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/3Mules)

And for a laugh, remember what the “hero” of Trainspotting had chosen:
Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suit on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life… But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?


Capturing my meeting with 3mules.com

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