When I hiked the Appalachian Trail back in 2014, I experienced a lot of synchronicities I couldn’t quite explain. If you read my book “Lost on the Appalachian Trail,” then you have an idea of what I’m talking about; unexplained meaningful coincidences whose only common thread was was recognizable to me. They happened time and time again to varying degrees. Some of these coincidences I could share with others, while some of them I could not. Many of the experiences were so deeply personal and nuanced, they could only make sense to me. There was no reason to share them with others, as they would make no sense; even if they did, they would hold no value to anyone but myself.
I couldn’t explain these occurrences while out on trail, so I chalked them up to the common saying out there, “The trail provides.” However, when I rejoined society at the conclusion of my Appalachian Adventure, I found myself deeply curious about the many personal events that transpired out there. I didn’t know what to call them, so I didn’t exactly know what questions to ask in order to potentially learn more. Well, out of my dozens and dozens of random descriptions/questions I typed into Google, desperate for a shred of anything pertaining to what I experienced; two new terms popped up that fit the bill for possibly explaining what I witnessed and felt. Those terms were Synchronicity, and Conscious Creation. I’d never heard of either of them until after the trail.
So I began to do more research into these two new concepts, and the deeper I delved, the more I found them to be exact definitions to what I experienced countless times out there in the wilderness over the course of 195 days. I now knew what to call my experiences, but I didn’t quite understand why they happened or how they worked. I was especially curious as to why they happened so much out there in the beautiful isolation of the wilderness, but hardly ever in the great big neon distraction that is modern society. Driven by this curiosity… I began to read. I read multiple books on both topics, many rooted only in theory and personal experiences. While some of the material might seem farfetched to most; it may as well have been hard fact to me. Since I had experienced these things first hand, almost on what could be considered a “divine” level in some instances – many of the things I read hit home for me, hard. One book in particular (which I will not mention. Sorry) hit the nail on the head so hard, it scared me. Not only did it scare me, but it changed my life in a way so real, nothing has ever been the same since. Not only did this book describe exactly the types of experiences I had, but it explained the “why” and the “how” they were taking place. It theorized on how to tap into these experiences to make them less random, and more of a personal manifestation, i.e. “Conscious Creation.” That wasn’t the biggest kicker however. The individual in the book had figured out how to manifest the things they wanted in, as well as out of their life. They had figured out the main “key” to a degree, but they didn’t peg it down 100%. There was still something missing; what was the “something” that made the key work, and how could you tap into more of that “something?” I connected dots and put the puzzles of my experiences together and compared them to this other individual’s theories and experiences. I discovered/theorized the crucial ingredient needed to increase the frequency of these synchronistic occurrences throughout day to day life in the modern world. It was glaringly obvious to me, because I had been fortunate enough to see the contrast of a lifetime spent in a bustling society versus six months of solitude immersed in nature. Everything clicked, and all I had to do was put this other person’s theories and explanations into practice with my own, in an attempt to recreate what happened to me out there in the wilderness.
Without going into crazy amounts of detail, I’ll tell you a short story that will help put into perspective some of what I’m talking about. As with most synchronicities and conscious creations, they hold the most meaning and sense to the individuals experiencing them. For a very, very, very over simplified explanation of what I put into practice, I’m going to reference the Jim Carrey movie, “Yes Man.” I changed my entire perception of the world (as Jim Carrey did in the movie) and began to open myself up to everything. I said “Yes” to every single little opportunity and experience that came my way; even the ones I didn’t like, or normally wouldn’t have gone for. This new way of living coupled with a newfound inner peace and positivity generated nearly supernatural results. Everything in life began to go my way. Literally everything.
Now here comes the story. I had already began writing my book about my Appalachian Trail experience, but had also just recovered from my ankle reconstructive surgery. I was walking and running normally again after many months of rest (writing, reading, and researching about the above mentioned material). It was early spring of 2015 and time to find a job to begin saving for the next big adventure (the PCT). I was determined not to settle for anything less than a well paying job outdoors, doing something physical and exciting, on the beach or on the water. I wanted every aspect of my life to be an adventure. A job on the offshore fishing boats would have been easy enough to attain with my past connections, but I wanted something different. I wanted to work on a parasail boat, or as a beach attendant. The only problem was that I didn’t have any connections to either of those industries. Scouring craigslist, I found tons of listings for local beach attendants and sent resumes out to all of them. Randomly, I found a single listing for a beach based parasail company who needed an attendant on the shore, getting people ready to shuttle out to the parasail boat. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for, but it got my foot in the door for parasail. I sent them a resume.
Within a week I’d gotten requests for more than a half dozen interviews, including the parasail beach attendant job. I went to all of them and was offered three regular beach attendant positions, as well as the parasail beach attendant position. Most of the normal beach attendant jobs were within ten to fifteen minutes of where I lived. The parasail position was nearly an hour and a half away through some of the worst tourist trafficked areas around me. It paid the same as the other beach attendant jobs, so it was a no brainer that I should take the closest one. Nope. I wanted to get my foot in the door for parasail, so I took the long commute against all better judgments. I said “Yes.” No sooner did I show up for orientation and some training, I soon realized this was a very shotty business the owner was running. Any other time, upon realizing this, I would have dipped out and moved on. Instead, I stayed. Then the owner asked if I could pick up the shuttle boat captain every day on my way to work. This was a huge inconvenience to an already inconvenient commute. I said “Yes.” For weeks I picked up the shuttle boat captain whose name was “Gabe,” every single morning, then took him home every single evening. Gabe couldn’t drive because his license was suspended. He also had an alcohol and substance abuse problem, and picking him up and dealing with him on an every day basis became a strain. He was always late to get ready, and our drives and interactions at work were almost always awkward. On top of all of this, the owner of the business wasn’t paying us. The entire situation was turning into a majorly negative experience, and seeming mistake. I was spending a small fortune in gas to get to and from work every day, and I hadn’t been paid a single dime; not even my tips, which the owner was keeping to himself. Everything inside me was saying, “Move on. Get out of this. You’re getting screwed.” I decided to hold out. Based on my new philosophies, if I stayed upbeat and stuck with it, these negatives would flip to positives, somehow, one way or another. I stuck it out.
Six weeks went by without making a single dime from a job that had me sweating in the sun all day, running up and down the beach, and swimming through the sometimes rough break. I enjoyed the hell out of the work, but it was eating up all my time and money, and I had nothing to show for it. Then Gabe suddenly quit without notice at that six week mark (I couldn’t blame him), but in doing so, he royally screwed me and the parasail boat captain over. Gabe never said a word to any of us. He simply disappeared with no phone call, no notice, no nothing. I stuck it out another week on the beach without a paycheck before I finally had no more money to pay for gas to get to work. I informed the owner I was done, and to let me know when the paychecks finally came in so I could pick them up (his reason for not paying us was that the paychecks simply weren’t showing up in the mail, despite us filling out all the proper forms; he didn’t do direct deposits).
I was once again unemployed, and every day for over a week I called up the owner to ask about my paycheck. He owed me well over $2,000 based on my hours worked. Not to mention the tips he’d kept from me. I wrote those off. Finally the owner stopped answering my calls or responding to my texts. I felt discouraged. Like everything I had put into practice had backfired. Still, I maintained a positive outlook. “Something good is going to come my way” I continued to tell myself.
After almost two weeks since quitting the job, spring was in full swing and all other beach, parasail, and fishing positions were basically filled. The window of opportunity had closed. Completely out of character, I decided I was going to confront the owner face to face at his home, unannounced, and see for myself if my check had come in. I’d tried to confront him on the beach several times, but he had never been present with his new employees (who were also not getting paid). I got in my car and began the even longer drive to his personal residence on a day of bad weather when nobody would be parasailing.
On my way there while driving over the Destin Bridge, my phone began to ring; it was Gabe. I hadn’t seen nor heard a word from him since he’d disappeared. I felt a surge of annoyance at seeing his name on the screen. I hate talking on phones as it is, let alone talking to people I don’t care for; ESPECIALLY people who have screwed me over in the past and only call when they want/need something. Immediately I assumed he probably needed a ride somewhere and I was the only person he could call. It was seconds away from ringing all the way through (I don’t have voicemail, so no one can leave messages), when I remembered my new ethics for life. I said “Yes,” to this seemingly unwelcome phone call, and answered it.
Gabe was drinking at a bar. He had begun chatting up a husband and wife only to find out they were the owners of their own parasail company. Only the day before they had fired their parasail boat deck hand and were now looking for a new one. Not only that, but they also needed a shuttle boat captain now that the season was getting busy. They offered the position to Gabe, and he in turn mentioned me as a possible deck hand option, even though I had no experience. He stepped up and vouched for me, some guy he didn’t really know and mostly had awkward exchanges with. The real kicker in all of this: the bar he was at was less than half a mile in front of me when he called. When he asked how quickly I could be there to meet and interview with them, I was quite literally pulling into the parking lot. This was scary strange timing and an unreal coincidence. I was right on time for the interview I didn’t even know I was going to have…
Long story short, I met the couple and they hired me on the spot to begin training the very next day. BOOM, I was employed again with better pay, much closer to home, and in the position I originally always wanted. The entire series of unfortunate events had led me to this opportunity. This doesn’t end here though!
After getting hired, I continued on my way to confront the other owner who owed me a lot of money. Coincidence struck again. When I was perhaps fifteen minutes from the man’s home, I suddenly noticed it was him in his big white pick-up truck I had been driving behind for some minutes. I followed him. He didn’t go home, and he didn’t go to the beach. He went to a grocery store. As he got out of his vehicle, I got out of mine in another part of the parking lot and confronted him. When he saw me walking towards him, he looked as if he’d seen a ghost. “You’re a hard man to get a hold of” I said as non threateningly as possible, but with very serious overtones. The next words out of his mouth were, “I have your paycheck right here in my truck!” “This was good timing then I guess,” was my reply. And so the man paid me right there in the parking lot of Publix. My paycheck was only $600, and I never saw the rest of what he owed me. I didn’t care. I washed my hands of the man and his business and considered the $600 a bonus for the good fortunes that enduring all of his BS and negativity had led me to. All of it had paid off. Funny enough, if Gabe wouldn’t have called and I wouldn’t have had that interview, then the timing never would have worked out for me to end up behind my old employer on the highway, and I probably would have missed him at his home and the beach. The coincidences were compounded. Every little thing happened exactly as it needed to and paid off in a huge way that paved the way for nothing but more positive and fortuitous experiences I don’t have time to go into detail about.
After the way all of this worked out, I was completely sold on my new outlook and approach to life. I had done so many things out of character and endured so many easily avoidable situations and predicaments; only to have them turn into what I can only describe as one of the most positive experiences of my life. My job that summer on the parasail boat was a complete BLAST! I was making money hand over fist while enjoying my work out on the water, staying active and meeting new and interesting people every day. I worked from sun up to sun down, then went home and worked on my Appalachian Trail book at night. Within a couple months I had enough money saved up to make my Pacific Crest Trail thru hike possible. Then later that summer I self published my book through an avenue that all my friends and family advised me against. I went with a gut feeling and the confidence of knowing that if I envisioned my success, as well as the way it would FEEL to succeed… then I would. I had been doing it over and over and over again all summer long. Every negative eventually turned into an even greater positive. Everything I did worked out in my favor, one way or another; even when it seemed like it wasn’t. I kept saying “yes,” and continued to ignore and brush off the negative. I fell into a state of what I can only describe as a positive Zen of happiness. It was incredible. Then, within weeks of self publishing my more or less self-edited book, it rose to best seller status and continued to snow ball; just like I’d envisioned and felt it would in my mind. Another long story short: since the conclusion of that parasail job in October 2015; I have not had to work a single day since. The royalties from the book have paid my way through the simple life I’ve molded for myself since completing the AT. It’s paid for all my hikes and all my travels. It’s been an incredible blessing and I’m very fortunate; however, I attribute all of it to this newfound perspective and way of interacting and “doing business” with the world around me.
On a side note: that year I worked on the parasail boat was a year that I fished less than I ever have (due to working so much). Even still, despite a mediocre fishing season overall, I had the greatest personal fishing year of my entire life. I hooked and landed a cobia on eight pound test. I caught more than two dozen Mahi Mahi off the pier, THRTEEN OF THEM IN ONE DAY! This was unheard of. I caught two King Mackerel over 40 pounds, two days apart. I had never before broken the 40 pound mark in 25 years of life, and most people who fish out there never had either. Most people never break 30 pounds. I broke 40 twice in one week. The cherry on top… I caught three out of the five sailfish even hooked that entire year (two of them three days apart). Of the thousands of people who go out there to fish throughout the year, a single person caught 60% of a single species of fish that is incredibly rare to see, hook, and catch off a pier; all the while fishing less than I have in years, and working full time at a job I was in love with. What was different? My entire mindset. I saw and felt the success before it happened. Believed in it; really, truly believed in it, as well as myself.
All of the above is the biggest and best example(s) I could think of that would make sense when recounted to a total stranger. It can’t be measured or quantified; only trusted in and felt. I figured out a way to recreate and reproduce the synchronicities and manifestations that I and so many others experience while on long trails. It is not a unique phenomenon to me. Talk to anyone who has spent any length of time on the long trails and you will hear the same phrases pop up; “The trail provides.” “Just when I needed something most, I got it.” “I manifested this event, or this experience, or this thing I needed by simply thinking about it.” You hear these sorts of things from hikers ALL. THE. TIME, but nobody ever seems to know how or why things like this continue to happen to us out there. I do, now. I don’t only have to wait for them to happen while I’m on trail, but can now consciously create them in any aspect of my life, instead of unconsciously creating them on trail at seemingly random intervals.
I’m sorry if all of this comes across as extremely far out, as I’m sure it does; but the results I’ve seen in my own life don’t lie (at least to me). This isn’t something that randomly happens and can’t be explained anymore. This was an idea and a theory put into practice in my own life… and it worked to spectacular results. It’s still working. There is a lot to it that I find I can’t easily put into words that will make sense without someone already having a firm grasp or personal experience with what I’m talking about. This is why I won’t mention the book that made it all finally click. There was a lot in it that seemed extremely far out even to me, but the stuff I could relate to was spot on. So I reasoned, “If he’s right about X and Y, then perhaps he’s also right about the slightly more farfetched Z.” While I still can’t agree or relate to absolutely everything in the book, the stuff I did understand and eventually agree with… completely changed every aspect and perception in my life. I no longer worry or dwell on any negativity that may creep into my life or thoughts. I live with less apprehension and hesitation. When I want to do something, I throw myself into it; even when I may not have all the kinks worked out, or even the resources I may need. This is because I know that if I stay positive, envision, as well as feel my success, keep saying “yes,” and keep moving forward while opening doors… everything works out.
I think this is about everything I wanted to share with you in this post. There is so much swirling around in my head that I didn’t write down (didn’t know how to write down); that my only hope is that what I did write, was laid out in a way that makes some kind of sense. That the point I was trying to make was not lost.
We have more power and control over our lives than we know, or give ourselves credit for. There is an energy surrounding us every second of every day, connecting us to everyone and everything we come in contact with; we are more than capable of tapping into this energy consciously. Unfortunately, this energy goes mostly unnoticed to the majority of us, and when we do tap into it favorably… we are usually unaware of it. We chock things up to “good luck,” or “coincidence.” Well, there is no such thing as coincidences; only meaning. We may not understand or even be able to pin point the meaning, but so long as you acknowledge it exists and continue to look for it… it will eventually reveal itself to you in some shape or form. This way of manifesting is happening to us all the time, completely unbeknownst to us. It works in the negative ways just as easily and as much as it works in the positive ways. When you see your fortunes changing in whatever direction, and for whatever reason(s); you can just about always trace every single occurrence back to a certain action(s), or thought(s), or feeling(s) you’ve been having. Cause and effect is not only limited to the purely physical or even verbal…
I think I’ll stop here before I make myself seem any crazier than I already have. However, I know this post will hit very close to home for some of you and possibly make more sense than anything else has in a long time. It may even be the catalyst to you finding answers to some of the more unexplained occurrences in your own lives. Keep opening doors. Keep saying “yes.” Keep connecting the dots…