Matt Forney
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Escape from New York


The first week of June. That’s when I’m heading out the door, never to return. I’d leave right now, but I have a couple of commitments I need to sow up. Once they’re out of the way, I’m gone.

I’m from Syracuse, New York. You might have heard of it. We’re the middle-of-nowhere city with the great basketball team, which had a pederast for a coach.

I was born here, and aside from my college years and vacations, I’ve lived here most of my life. I won’t say I hate it here. There are far worse places to grow up (like Buffalo or Rochester), and hating your hometown is like hating your parents; if you haven’t snapped out of it by the time you turn 20, there’s something wrong with you.

But there’s no reason for me to stick around here any longer.

There are no jobs in Syracuse, aside from menial grunt work with no prospects for advancement. The weather isn’t particularly nice, the local culture is a joke, and young people are fleeing the area like a hot chick from a Taco Bell Dutch oven. Taxes are too high and the city is slowly being colonized by the Black Undertow. In other words, it’s no place for a young man to be.

That’s why I’m leaving. I’m heading to Portland, Oregon to hit the reset button on my life.

But I’m not simply buying a plane ticket. I’m walking across America, on foot, with nothing but what I need to survive, amuse myself and document my journey this blog. Like Forrest Gump, except I’m not retarded and I’m doing it purely for my own self-aggrandizement.

Insane? Possibly. Risky? You bet. Why do it? Why not do something sane like swooping Russian girls or touring Italy?

Well, to begin with, I’ve always wanted to move to Portland. Everything I’ve read and heard about it suggests it’s the complete opposite of Syracuse. It’s a city that still functions, full of intelligent, creative people. Yeah, a lot of them are probably smug liberals, but big deal. I’d rather deal with uptight liberals then ghetto thugs. The perfect place to remake myself.

But it’s more than that. I’m walking across America because I need to.

It’s a primal feeling in my guts that I can’t fully explain. I believe it’s my calling in life to do something crazy, daring and courageous. I’ve wanted to do something like this for years, but I kept putting it off with excuses: “You don’t have enough money.” “You’ll get robbed and killed.” “You’ll end up poor and unemployed.” Resistance had me in her thrall.

I finally realized that if I was going to do this, I had to do it now. I had to stop making excuses, stop wasting my youth and leave my mark in history. Yes, there’s a sizable chance that I could fail. But it’s a risk I have to take if I wanted to accomplish anything.

And even if I fail, or I end up hating it in Portland and leaving, I’ll have emerged a wiser, stronger man.

So that’s what I’m doing, for better or for worse. In the first week of June, I leave this little burg behind for greener pastures. Wish me luck.

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