“I think it’s more about just holding onto yourself and your energy, just to keep seeking out life and getting new experiences. The day you become old is the day you’re not looking for new experiences anymore. You need that; you need to do things that keep you alive.” -Billie Joe Armstrong
It was a warm, summery day in May at Carowinds. He was sitting on the wall of a carnival game with a thousand others just like himself. Small, overstuffed, with a little black drip mark on his nose that made him a little less than perfect compared to the others. All it took was a glance. I knew I had to have him.
I spent more than any sane person probably should to win the little guy. Immediately afterward, I started taking pictures with him. I’m not a huge gamer. I’m not even a huge Pokemon fan. I just liked this Pikachu. Something about his face made me smile. It still does.
The pictures we took that day were too much fun not to share. I had no idea they would spark a strange sort of trademark in my life. Pika is my travel buddy, and since I “adopted” him, he’s tagged along with me all over the east coast. I make it a point to be creative, posing him in difference places and meeting people who are willing to share a part in his photo documented adventures. I’ve met new people through him, had amazing conversations, and in a way he’s made my life brighter.
There’s a strange courage behind walking around with a stuffed animal – particularly one so bright and obvious – and doing something out of the ordinary. In doing this, I’ve found a part of me willing to set aside what other people think for the sake of happy. It’s a liberating thing. People will stare. Some smile. Others look at you like you’re slightly off your rocker. But there’s a life lesson in there.
Sometimes in life there will be things you want to do that aren’t popular. People will say things to you about it, or look at you funny. Maybe it’s a dream you have that no one else believes in. Or perhaps it’s something else… perhaps it’s doing the right thing when no one else is willing to do it. Or believing in someone when everyone else has given up. The hardest thing in life it seems is the one thing that should come the easiest: trusting your gut.
Pika’s been a teacher to me in that respect. I follow my heart and my dreams so much more now than I once did. And you know what? I’ve found more joy in that than I’ve ever experienced in almost 25 years.
Below is a taste of some of our adventures: