“Chasing Life” is entirely non-fiction and told in the first person present tense. It begins with the trails of high school, the pressures of conforming to norms and growing up in a culture of capitalism. But the adventure truly begins when the decision is made to run away. From hopping trains to witnessing a terrorist attack to robbing a store to getting gangrene to sneaking into the pyramids at night to jumping an international border, the action rarely subsides. More than a wild travel story, it is also a coming of age story. Each major event is supplemented with life lessons or what I refer to as crystal clear moments.
From the restless adolescent who desires the freedom and chance to evolve that only travel can afford to the adult who was once and still is filled with dreams of travel, this book is for everyone.
From the damp streets of Paris to the chaos of Cairo, from quaint Scottish shires to the slums of Istanbul, by trains, planes, ships, hitchhiking, and foot, with various enlightening and eccentric peoples, a plethora of perspective altering drugs, crystal clear moments, near death experiences, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, border jumping, and Bulgarian prisons all through the eyes of a penniless, curious, frustrated, adventurous, middle class, 16 year old New Yorker, searching…for himself.
This is a true story. Everything from the eccentric characters to the adventures and misadventures described in this book are authentic. Nothing has been embellished or exaggerated for entertainment. However, most conversations are not verbatim and have been constructed from memory as best as possible. Additionally, many events have been omitted in order to condense this book into a single year. Finally, this book does not encourage kids under 18 to run away from home. As you will discover, I suffered physically and mentally and nearly lost my life on several occasions. Please seek consult before you decide to run away from home.
“Pour out your poison that it may refresh us!
This fire burns our brains so fiercely, we wish to plunge
To the abyss’ depths, Heaven or Hell, does it matter?
To the depths of the Unknown to find something new!” Baudelaire
Book ExcerptThrough invisible cracks in the train door a cool breeze wisps through the corridor. I sit with my back to the train wall, my arms around my legs, my muscles tense against the cold. My body sways with the undulating train car and my heart beats steady to deafening ‘click clack’ of the steel tracks just a few feet below. The beat is calming and my batteries are drained, but my mind won’t power off. Ever since we departed Paris around 4 hours ago, the events that unfolded this afternoon won’t stop replaying in my mind. I can see my mothers face clearer now in retrospect and it haunts me. I can see the sickening worry in her eyes and the newly formed wrinkles of pain across her forehead. I can hear her crying out, the way that only a mother can. I feel like puking but I know there won’t be anything to throw up. Suddenly we blast into a tunnel and the click clack of the tracks amplifies ten fold. The pandemonium is soothing and for a moment I allow myself to forget. Across from me are my new friends. Their outlines illuminated by a single dim yellow light. They look like they had just had an orgy and then simultaneously collapsed onto themselves into a deep sleep. I can just make out Katie and I stare at her with longing eyes. I don’t really like her that much but it would just be nice to connect with someone and maybe even cuddle with against this cold. My eyes wander through the dark and up to an adjacent window. I can see nothing but a slight reflection and the endless black world beyond. I wonder where we are right now? Are we still in France or have we entered Germany yet? We could actually be anywhere, I think to myself. We could even be in a black hole or traveling through another dimension. We might all be dead and be traveling to a deeper level of hell. The thought sends shivers through my core and I squeeze my knees up against my chest. God I hope I’m wrong.
Timetable To Completion
I currently have around 40,000 words complete, or a little more than half the book. I expect to be finishing up the first draft towards the end of summer and self publishing the book towards the end of fall, 2015.