Not Broke, Not Even Broken...
A blog about...a motorcycle trip from North America to the tip of South America, but about So much more....Life! If you are between age 45-whatever and you thought the financial chips would fall in a different, more lucrative way, then you just may find this enriching, refreshing and inspiring!
It is about how to define or redefine our sense of “purpose”, “happiness”. In our world, when things appear to be upside down, even twisted; there is a great “purpose” for each and every one of us. Our “purpose” and “happiness” is needed!
The other morning I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, Good Cup, doing my thing. Right before me I had the honor to witness an explosive display of spiritual light flashes or what I would also call spiritual brilliancy. I looked up and in walks a tall, well built, chiseled faced, well mannered, gentle marine type young man and on his powerful arm was an elderly, fragile, bent over older man, with a cane, wearing a green marine jacket heavily laced with metals of honor. Hand in hand, arm in arm the two figures (combined, the two of them made one powerful presence) slowly and gently move across the entry of the coffee shop and eventually approach the closest open table. Gently the large marine figure, assist the heavily meddled gentleman to his seat. He then takes his coffee order, gets his coffee ordered and delivered….all as if taking orders from a 5 star general. The two of them engage in a conversation and because the elderly man was hard of hearing, we all in the Good Cup got to be engaged in the rich aroma of topics.
My assessment was correct regarding both men. The older gentleman had been a Marine in WW2. The younger gentleman had also served our Country as a Marine, hence the bother hood and years between them melted into a union of fortitude. To witness the two of them walk in hand in hand and locked arms and the gentleness that the young man took to make sure his elder Marine was safely delivered to his seat, was powerful and touching. It was such a display of gentleness, loving kindness, strength and grace and yet at the same time it was so symbolic of two soldiers on the battlefield…covering for one another.
As it turned out, these two had only met moments before; only footsteps from the Good Cup doorway, but light years before in brotherhood bonds. It was a powerful scene that engulfed the entire coffee shop. When those two figures crossed the Good Cup doorway, it was literally as if the whole place just stopped in a vacuum of time. It was almost as if the two of them were the only two moving across the floor. Everybody froze to watch this remarkable and powerful presence. After about a half an hour of time and conversation, the younger gentleman patiently checked his friend to make sure all of his needs were met and all was in good order and then graciously said his goodbyes and departed….leaving his older gentleman friend alone with his coffee.
But the icing on the cake came shortly after the young Marines departure. A young UCSB college student, who had been sitting close by, got up and approached the older man. Within minutes she was sitting with him, heavily engaged in a heart to heart, deep conversation. Again, another visual before me of experience, wisdom, weathered, knowledge, life lived long…sitting within inches of youth, purity, smooth skinned innocence, thirsty for knowledge. Both engaged and locked in another world…one thirsty for experience and information, the other willing to debrief a past of richness and history.
When they were finished talking, I could see that this hero of our coffee shop was about ready to depart, so I got up and asked if I could assist him to the parking lot. He gratefully accepted and sweetly grasped my hand and the two of us walked ever so slowly to the exit of the coffee shop and to the edge of the parking lot, where his wife was waiting in their car. I got him in his seat and we said our goodbyes. When I came back into the Good Cup, the young college girl told me she is doing a documentary of how the military changes the landscape on the home front…in the home front. In other words, how the military experiences changes these men and how it affects their ability to love their love ones and fit back into former relationships. She grew up in a small Texas town and her high school sweetheart enlisted in the military. When he came back from killing a dozen people (including children) during war, he was not the same man and it greatly affected their relationship. It affected it so dramatically that they eventually went their separate ways and they hadn’t spoken to each other in over two years. I could tell that this young gal was so sad about what was lost. It made me think about a German Shepherd dog we once had, that had been trained for the German Army, but it just couldn’t handle it. They released the dog from their program. This dog was too sweet and sensitive and fortunately we ended up with him in our loving home. But you could tell, he had been a bit damaged emotionally by the experience. I think the same thing with people. Some can endure war and the military and know how to process what they have been through and move forward and others not.
This girl got the older marine’s contact information and was going to meet up with him again, so that she could add to her documentary story. What an interesting flash of life I happened to witness at the Good Cup that morning.
YOU LOOK LIKE….
Haven’t we all heard this? And then we internally say to ourselves, “Damn I wish I were them!” Especially if we look like Brad Pit or Haley Berry. I’m a guy and I wouldn’t mind looking like Haley Berry…well okay, Bad Pit would do too.
But what I have experienced through my life is morphing from one actor to another. In college I use to look around and think…we’re all adults…this is the way we will look forever. “Not sure why our parents and grand parents look so old?” You just think, that is the way they have always looked, because that is the way they have always looked to you….right? When you reach college, you think we are the way we will be forever…this is it!
Now what I have found, is that these look a-likes start out pretty good. I mean they are a real compliment. When we hear them it sort of makes us sit up and feel a bit prouder of who we are. But as time moves along these look a likes progressively get worse and worse. I mean, it is like a nice way of mother nature telling you…you have really gone down hill. But because they are still comparing you to a movie star or someone famous or rich, you get tricked into thinking it’s a compliment.
So who have I been told I look like? Well my kids have always said that they think (when I was younger) I looked like actor Ashton Kutcher.
Now I want you to know that actually, Ashton looks like Donnie MacKenzie. Because when this pic was taken, Ashton wasn’t even thought of yet….wasn’t even born.
And then I seemed to morph into MacGyver. Remember the guy who all he needed was some duct tape and a paper clip and he could get out of any life threatening danger.
My College of MacGyver…with my stunning wife, Nancy
And then I morphed into my Sting look…
Now remember when you I mentioned that the comparisons begin to lose flattery? Okay, here is where they start to go down hill. I mean how do you go from Ashton to MacGyver to Sting to…are you ready for this one? How about Ed Harris. Okay so for me that’s where the honeymoon stops. Ed Harris…I am sorry, but that is NOT a compliment!
I guess, I’ll have to surrender and say this is my ED Harris look. Unlike my friend, Steve…my eyes are open. We could never get Steve’s eyes open for pics. We even tried toothpicks!
Okay so the final nail in the coffin was yesterday. I was told I look like Steve Jobs. Now that is actually a promotion from Ed. Steve Jobs is not a bad looking guy, but do you see where I am going with this…Steve Jobs is dead!
Into my Steve Jobs Days…now show me the money!
I actually was born in the same hospital as Steve Jobs…15 days prior to him. Just think I had a 15 day head start on Steve.
I think Ashton would be the most fun. I like his creative slant toward the projects he does. And he makes people laugh…definitely a great quality!
MacGyver would be great to be if I got into a pinch and needed to save a few lives…kind of a Super Man kind of feeling.
Sting…well who wouldn’t want to sing like Sting? It reminds me of me pulling out all of the stops, when Tucker wanted to quit playing guitar and me saying…”Tucker, the women love a great guitar player! A guy who can jam on the guitar is a total draw…like having a cute puppy in your arms!”
Ed Harris, actually I really don’t know much about Ed, but he did do a movie called, “The Right Stuff” and I like the title, so I’m going with it. I have always wondered if I missed the boat on not being an actor? I think I would have been quite good!
And then there is Steve Jobs! Well who wouldn’t want to take the credit for changing our world? I love his eye for design and function! I am so glad he took time to drop by this earth of ours and make a contribution. And to think of all of the good I could on this planet with his available funds.
We may all be compared to celebrities throughout our life, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be any of the ones I have been compared to.
I don’t want to get into any negatives of any of my other halves…that wouldn’t be nice to them or to me. None of them have experienced the adventures I have. None of them know my friends. None of them know the virtues of life like I do…in my way.
I can be funny and make people laugh. I have saved people from tough situations. I sing well in the shower. I can act-out when I need to. I can design and start companies.
But the bottom line is, none of them are me! None of them have had the opportunities as I have had. None of them can take claim to be the Father of Taylor and Tucker. And none of them have lived life as, Donnie MacKenzie. There is only ONE that has that privilege and that ONE is ME.
This is a rough draft for producing my video. Normally I wouldn’t share this until if was more finalized, but because my blog is about showing the raw with the refined, here you go….
PURPOSE/MESSAGE: Just because the financial chips may not have fallen the way we envisioned, doesn’t mean life is over!
You have two options:
1. You can beat yourself up over the down turn.
2. Or you can look at your life with a clean slate, take your knowledge, wisdom, grace and do something creative, innovative, progressive!
This trip for me was to get a fresh perspective of life, our world and to prove that just because I may have hit financial bottom, DID NOT mean I had to close the door to living life to it’s fullest! I am writing and self- publishing a book, but not a self-help book. It is a collection of articles from my day today thought process of getting through all of my financial and spiritual turmoil. Some articles are serious, some poking fun at myself, some funny, some spiritual. My hope is for people struggling through similar challenges find inspiration, strength and purpose. That they take their new sense of purpose and redefine a way they can contribute to our world. I don’t expect everyone to climb on a motorcycle and ride all of Central and South America. But the point is to not shut our door to what our purpose, passions and…yes, fun in life may be.
DON’T LET OUR BANK ACCOUNT BE OUR BAROMETER FOR OUR HAPPINESS.
DON’T BUY INTO AGE DETERMINE YOUR BOUNDARIES.
DON’T BUY INTO DISCOURAGEMENT.
AGE IS SIMPLY DISCOURAGEMENT MANIFESTED.
TRUE WINNERS MEET UP WITH FAILURE MANY TIMES ON THEIR WAY TO SUCCESS.
Opening shot is on the beach of me in the far distance riding down the beach. The camera is on sand level. I am riding down the beach at a rapid pace…getting closer and closer…eventually ride right by the camera. As I continue on the beach, the camera turns continually…never taking it’s camera eye off of me….until I ride out of view.
Then the camera goes to a close up of me putting my boots on and my jacket and then a close up of my hands strapping my gear on my bike. Then checking my bike tires, oil, etc.
Maybe all of this is filmed in sepia/black and white so far.
Then we flash to me sitting on some rocks over looking the ocean, chatting about why I am writing this book and why I am doing this adventure trip.
During my beachside chat we are flashing to pics from my trip through Mexico and Central America.
The last shot scene should be of me chatting on my bike. The camera is facing me. I am however sitting right at a river bank. The last thing I say is, “sometimes in life one has to cross the river to get to the other side. That next step may not be smooth. It may not be clean. It man not be easy. It may get down right nasty!”
I then start the bike and ride into the river. The last shot is directly behind me going through all of the water and then with the visual of all of the water flying up….suddenly the image freezes. Then comes across the screen…left to right, the credits. Each credit enters the screen with a motorcycle sound…pauses in the middle of the screen….then reeves off of the screen, etc. On the last credit, it stalls out in the middle of the screen. You hear the kick starter over and over…finally a bunch of smoke rises and the final words ride off of the screen.
Inch by inch, which makes a foot…a foot turns into a yard…a yard? We all strive for a yard…a yard to build a house…a house to turn into a home…a home to feel safe…to rest our soul…to feed our spirit!
My goals are different than what I might normally be striving for. I love having a house I can decorate and turn into a home. I am happiest when I am creating and making my living space vibrant, soothing and comfortable. But this time my goals are different. Because I am preparing for phase 2…my adventure ride through South America, my objective is to spend as little on living, so I may save as much as possible for my SA adventure.
My exchange at my German friends condo of work …painting, etc for a place to lay my sleeping bag, ended last weekend. One angel to the next angel led me to my next opportunity of being offered a small, cute little room and bathroom at the back end of my new employer’s home. Karen graciously has offered me her tiny pad as a place to rest and shower. We are probably three weeks away starting up the ebike touring. Once that begins, I will be able to rent a small place.
The plan is to work for eight months and then ship a dirt bike to Colombia and begin the South American venture.
My Dutch friend and motorcycle mechanic, Taz went down to Nicaragua and pick up my bike and rode it back to Guatemala where he will do some repair work and sell it. Taz had to replace the clutch…probably damage done from my being stuck on the beach in Costa Rica with 800 lbs of weight. The idea is to sell it, replace it with a 450 Honda dirt bike and retro fit it for South America. The plan is to weld on a spare tire holder (two spares) on one side and a spare roto pak gas pack on the other side and holder for my back pack in the middle. However the combination ends up working out…this much I know…I will pack a tenth of what I took to Central America. The idea is to then ship the bike to Colombia, as my starting point and ride all of South America…then self publish.
“NOT BROKE, NOT EVEN BROKEN”.
I have completed my kickstarter (group funding for projects…allows friends, family, public to donate to this adventure) application, with the exception of the video. It is always fascinating to me that when one has a need and put it out there…it gets picked up and filled. So I know nothing about video production. One of the kickstarter’s requirements is to submit a video. I knew that if I just did all of what I could do, that the next door would open. The very next day, after finishing the written portion, I was at on of my favorite hole in the wall pizza joints, Gino’s Pizza…in walked two women. After ordering, they asked if they could sit at my table. As they were asking, I could pick up an accent. I asked where they were from and they said South Africa. As it turned out, they were a mother and daughter. The daughter Saskia is 38 years old is a student at The Brooks Institute Film and Photography School. Saskia is a fascinating woman…a designer and had five woman’s dress shops throughout Europe. She closed them down to come to Brooks. She graciously offered (even though she has a more than full schedule) to help me with my video production. So in a few weeks she is going to be a bit freer to help me with the filming. I am so excited about this, because she is so creative!
I GOT A JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yep, a JOB! I answered an ad on craigslist wanting someone to assist in launching an ebike touring company…electric bikes. This very cool lady named, Karen is a painting contractor who has had this dream of starting a ebike touring business and needed someone to help her launch it and run it. Who could be better than me? I wrote her and said, I am your guy! She has 25 ebikes and a bran new trailer and aToyota Tundra pickup. We are now looking for a place to base the operation out of. She is very organized, educated on ebikes and has a ton of enthusiasm and passion for this. She is great to work with! She has offered me 30% of the sales with is very generous. And she appreciates me thinking like an owner. I also told her about my South American venture and book and she was great about my plan in taking a few months off in the winter. Not only great about it, but supportive!
So there you have it! I’m the new ebike guy of Santa Barbara. Our website will be launched soon! I am very blessed to have walked into this incredible opportunity!
I was just listening to an interview with Kenny Loggins about why he loves living in Santa Barbara.
“It is great! I was just driving through an area by the mission, it was raining with blue skies ahead, it is so dramatic and beautiful. I was thinking this is the best of Northern California meets Southern California. The weather is beautiful and so consistent. And yet at the same time there is something about this climate and the vegetation of Santa Barbara that feels more like Northern California at times.”
He articulates exactly what I have always felt and feel about SB. Kenny couldn’t have said it any better….but I bet he could sing it better!