But, that would be giving him a hell of a lot of credit, and I'm far too prideful to be doing that.
Patrick is incredibly resourceful and inspiring. His website, PatrickFisherProject.com contains his blog about traveling, Miles To Go chronicles his adventure of attempting to pay off his student debt while traveling and living in the Sunrader. He's far better than I am about keeping up with it and I've been loyally reading it nearly every day since he left Fairbanks in July. (Clicking on the links will take you to his pages.)
I decided to take Patrick to the island I grew up on, Fernandina Beach, or Amelia Island. I'd told my grandparents that I would come for lunch and tell them all about tour and asked if Patrick could join me. I've never (ever) brought someone to the island and was excited to see how awkward I was going to be about it.
Before we arrived, we stopped at the grocery store so Patrick could buy food for himself. No, my grandparents aren't jerks, he is a vegan and also obtaining from carbs and sugar during the week at the moment. He decided on a very enticing meal of avocado and vegan sausages. I secretly couldn't wait to see their faces when he pulled those sausages out. On a recent family gathering, my brother had convinced them to taste seaweed for the first time and I was lucky enough to have my camera handy.
My grandparents are very traditional. They are southern baptists and let's just say, there were manners that needed to be adhered to when visiting as a kid. They still call northerners, "Yankees" and have lived on the island their entire life and know everybody. Patrick, upon first inspection can be a little jolting to them. He is covered in tattoos and is currently sporting a handlebar mustache. At first, my grandma actually called him "What's his face" right to his face and hovered over him as he unpacked his sausages, head tilted back away from it like it might bite her.
After about 30 minutes of conversation, it became clear that Patrick was not a psychopath and they opened up about their lives, and the history of the island. Patrick talked about what he did for a living and where he was from and I sat there, grinning from ear to ear, thinking, "This is incredible". They asked a lot of the same questions to me about being on the road and when and where I am and will be. I know it get's confusing. It seemed a bit cruel to bring Patrick, who illicit those same questions and confused head nods. I'm just glad he was there to defer the always hilarious "Do you have a job?" "I am already doing my job" exchange.
As Patrick and I walked out the front door, I had the thought, "I guess they aren't going to.." which was quickly interrupted by my grandma's voice behind me, yelling, "Let's take a picture!" My grandpa decided just to take one of us to make it quick. I couldn't help but giggle at the thought that Patrick would now forever be a part of my family's history and included in the network of pictures that get emailed out to cousins and aunts and nieces all over the country.
My phone was dead, and I wasn't able to take pictures, but I kind of liked it that way.
So, I'll just steal his photos.
I felt like a proud mom, pushing my little girl out onto the stage for her first pageant. It was pathetic.
But, I'm thankful Patrick humored me throughout the day. He was so gracious with my grandparents and so patient with my talkative tour. We talked about life and traveling and what it's like to live the way we do and have family that doesn't understand. It was good to be able to share that with a friend I've known for years and is living the same way.
We returned back to Jacksonville and did some grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, my favorite store on the planet. He said hey to the girls, whom he met when they all came up for my graduation in May.
I just realized this post reads like it should be dedicated to Patrick and I want to take a second to clear up any confusion.
Thanks for being a voice of reason and encouragement for me and politely smiling when my grandma called you "What's his face" and laughed at your food.
Follow him on Instagram: @patrickfisherproject