Everywhere I’ve been, even at home, I always seen hitch-hikers with “Veteran Traveling/Hitch-Hiking” cardboard signs attached to their back. While I was at Mount Rushmore waiting for the lighting ceremony to begin, I came across one of these people. I was alone while my friend Ian took a walk and decided to approach this particular man pictured above. His name is Chad Ford and his story made me overwhelmed with inspiration, so much so that I felt a strong need to share it with you.
Chad was in the army working as a chef which, qualified him to work as a chef or sous chef wherever he could find work. After he got out of the army he began working at a Casino is Las Vegas, where he is from, and was married with kids. Also, its important to state that during this time America was going through the economic downfall in 2008-2012 because it helps explain his hopping around of work. Any ways, that job eventually didn’t work out and he began in less qualified restaurants. The last restaurant he worked at shut down unexpectedly because the owner was secretly taking money from the cash register and gambling with it, and not too successfully. He showed up for work one day and there was a sign on the door that said “closed for good” (or something around those words). He was out of a job and tired of the world he was living in. He packed his bare essential needs into a backpack and just started walking.
He ended up in Texas for a few months working a construction job but decided to get up and go again. In the winters he stayed mainly south but found his was to the north a few times in the summer. He has literally walked across the country. He mentioned to me the he was in Michigan not too long ago once after I told him thats where I am from. Chad told me he was too afraid to fill up his water bottle in Michigan because of the current contaminated water issue that has been going on for years now. That really impacted me. I tried to defend my beautiful state by saying that its only in certain areas that the water is undrinkable but the truth is, he was completely in the right. How unfortunate is it that the civilians in the state with the one of the greatest amount of fresh water lakes IN THE WORLD cant drink fresh water at all. Anyways, He goes on to tell me his spiritual life saying he isn’t too spiritual but definitely listens to the universe around him. I asked him how he isn’t scared of sleeping in a tent every night and hitching a ride with random people and he said “Well the universe hasn’t done me wrong yet so I know it must be on my side” How cool is it that he has so much faith in the world and the things around him that he isn’t afraid to do things most people would be terrified to do.
Mount Rushmore was his last stop on his five year journey and he is currently headed to Sedona, Arizona where he feels the most at home. He told me about the vortex’s there and how calm at and at peace you feel as you encounter them. I hope to meet up with him again while I pass through Arizona and also to feel the sensation of a vortex myself. Sometime in the next year or so, Chad plans to make his way to Boulder, Colorado and begin a place for travelers, lost people, or anyone who is looking to take a break from real life and chill out for awhile. He plans to teach people about living off the land and to love yourself so survival becomes easier in case, god forbid, anything detrimental were to happen to the world in the upcoming future. He plans to call this place HOUSE which stands for Home of Universal Spiritual Energy. I feel so lucky to have been able to have such an amazing conversation with someone so different from myself or anyone I know. It just goes to show that no matter what a person looks like or acts like, they have a story. I would’ve never been able to hear Chads story if I didn’t approach him the way I did. I can’t wait to visit his “HOUSE” myself one day. I challenge anyone who reads this to have a conversation with a stranger. Anyone. Ask them what their favorite food is or complement their outfit. Any conversation started is a good one because you never know where it may lead.
Rock and blues singer from Detroit, Mi