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Humble tea

“All of the problems in world could be sorted out if we all just sat down and had a nice cup of tea”.

I have no idea what Englishman once quoted that (but it must have been an Englishman, right?) so maybe I should lay claim to it now, as it would seem that all the worlds problems can be solved with a nice cuppa, surely?

I started my Monday with a tea, and ended it with one. Somewhere inbetween I discovered my road trip car had been broken into, my main PC, Camera and Video Camera stolen to the total sum of $6000, and then I got very drunk on some Smirnoff, as sometimes … getting a little plastered also helps too.

Actually, that’s not all that happened. For somewhere inbetween that, the Greensboro cops finally bothered (several hours later) to call me back and give me an incident number. A lovely man called Ryan came out to report on the incident and wrote me up in the local paper here. My good friend and local Charleston blogger Dan called me, and kicked off a social networking whirl in Charleston on twitter, on facebook, and a little ‘help Geoff’ world suddenly sprung up out of nowhere. It was beautiful. To Ken, Chrys, Kathleen and everyone that got involved back in Chuck – it was weird to watch that evolve from a distance and online. Dan put me in touch with an well known local blogger Ed here, and his work got the local paper onto me. That felt good.

And then a whole bunch of people called me. And the emails. And then as the social networking whirl took a grip there were the @geofftech tweets, and the directs, and the comments on my facebook wall. And my phone beeped every 30 seconds as a new text message came in, and – overwhelmingly and most notably – the comments on my blog which finally made me realise how many damn lovely people there are out there that read, follow along, and wanted to do something to help.

And yet somehow, saying a humble “thank you”, just doesn’t seem to quite cut it, does it? At all. But perhaps you’ll realise how much thanks there was if I admit to pitifully how you all made me sit here at my laptop today and cry like a girl at the overwhelming response to my plight.

My plight – of course – is one that is totally self inflicted. I am a realist. At several times today I gave myself a healthy reality check and noted that I was course still alive. I’m still walking. I hadn’t been beaten up, or shot at, or had the car stolen. It could have been a lot worse.

But then I got angry just before the reported for the paper turned up, and I got Katie to shakycam-record me again on the tiny camcorder – and some if it will no doubt appear in a final edit one day – as to my overwhelming thoughts on the situation.

I was just trying to get out their to see some of the real USA. The magnificently overwhelming huge country with its mixed dialects and cultures and traditions, and just cram some of that into my short life and make me that little bit wiser, and perhaps smarter. That in some way I could perhaps impart the knowledge and wisdom of my travels onto others in the future. To regal tales of intrigue and wonder of crazy and lovable things that I saw around this fascinating country.

And yet … all I was left with was a notion that Real : USA right now was of some fuckers that took a chance on scoring a GPS system and (due to my stupidity) hit the jackpot with a whole load of other equipment too. Do the little shits that stole my stuff in the early hours of this morning want to get out and see their country? Do they want to explore the world and expand their minds, and educate themselves? Or do they just want to know where the next $100 from a pawned of item of equipment is going to come from to get their high.

At 10.30 this morning, right after shooting that painfully honest video (which, I admit, I had a hard time watching back today) I was all set for going home. A couple of hours later, when the new-media social networking-world has burst into life, I rapidly changed my mind.

If the irony should not be lost that I have in a very real sense witnessed Real : USA – yes folks, crime is prevalent in these recessed times – then it should also not be lost that my ‘tech’ angle of wanting to blog, twitter and video what I was doing did in fact come to my rescue today.

What do you say when someone sets up a ‘help Geoff‘ website for you? When ‘#helpgeoff’ becomes a Charleston hashtag of the day. Or most of all, when people are willingly parting with their hard earned dollars in these tight-times to cough up for me for new equipment and keep me on going some. Today I learned the definition of the word ‘humbled’.

‘Humbled’, of course, cannot begin to sufficiently describe how it made me feel. No way will “Thank you” go anywhere near towards really thanking you for you help, love and support.

By the afternoon, my mind was made up. I carry on. Because giving up would be … well … just giving up, wouldn’t it? And as another favourite quote of mine goes … “You can’t fail, if you don’t give up”, which means that giving up is not an option.

So love to you all. And at somepoint I’ll reply to my inbox that is now bursting at the seams. But right now, I gotta go put the kettle on and make myself another tea. Liquor may numb the senses, but Brittania bravely conquered the world on tea drinking alone, and I have 35 states yet still to conquer … and try to video it all too.

Wanna help?

Ken (my boss at TheDigitel in Charleston), put up this story about me. From there, are some links to donate a few bucks. The best one to use it would seem is the PayPal link at the bottom of the page. So go to this page and click on the big yellow ‘Donate’ button, and it’ll take you through to PayPal. I’m not begging, I’m just saying it’s there. I don’t want to look like a leech that is sponging off of you all.

If I get a decent camera again that I can document the rest of my trip with (and there is still two months – the whole of July and August looming ahead of me), then believe me when I tell you that you’ll know I’ll take that baby to bed with me each night and not be a dumbass again and leave it in my car.

25 responses to “Humble tea”

  1. geofftech says:

    Just to tag on. I’m still in Greensboro NC overnight Monday to Tuesday. I head for Raleigh on Tuesday, stay the night there at a friends place, then head south towards Wilmington SC for Wednesday/Thursday, and then head back to Charleston for Thursday/Friday.

    It was always the plan anyway to back in Charleston for July 4th weekend, so it’s slightly fortuitous that i’ll get a couple of days back home to recharge and re-strategise.

    I’ll then head off into the great unknown (you know… Georgia & beyond) on Sunday July 5th.

    Oh – and still looking for a companion to join me for the New Orleans -> Chicago leg, July 11th thru July 18th weekend. Come and me my bodyguard! 🙂

  2. leslie says:

    Hang in there Geoff.

  3. Raineth says:

    … and the crowd roared its approval until all throats became hoarse…

  4. leslie says:

    Glad they’ve taken off the tipjoy link. I couldn’t get it to work. PayPal accomplished though. Look after yourself, and email me if you get to Austin. I have a couch to sleep on, as long as you can handle two cats.

  5. MumTina says:

    I am SO glad you are alright, I had a sleepless night and went over & over it in my head, how could you be so daft. Yes it’s when you’re in trouble that you really know who your friends are. Give Katy a mention too please, it must have been hard for her to shoot the video of you, when she was probably very upset, she did well. Love to you both. Keep smiling, keep trucking 🙂

  6. Anthony says:

    He’s carrying on!!! 😀

  7. Alan Perks says:

    I’m pleased to hear that you’re carrying on. I’ve bunged you a few dollars too. Good luck. Looking forward to the rest of the trip.

  8. Henry says:

    My day was going so well till I opened up your blog. Waa – what a disaster! However, after my anger had gone (and it only lasted five minutes, ’cause I ain’t gonna let it spoil my day) I clicked onto your Paypal link and emptied my Paypal balance into your account. It may not be much but as a large supermarket chain in the UK says “Every Little Helps”. Come on everyone; let’s get Geoff back on the Road. Geoff – “Keep going, the trip so far is so well worth it and seriously, at the end of the trip there is a saleable DVD of this trip and at the very least, a programme suitable for showing on BBC3 or BBC4. I could say more but I’ll save it for another day as I’m sure you’ve much to do concerning the trip rather than spending time reading my blubbering’s from a very hot UK today. As my Dad used to say “Keep going boy”.

  9. Michael says:

    Glad to hear that you have decided to carry on, I hope the rest of your trip runs smoothly.

  10. tami says:

    Glad to hear that you feel better. I was worried about you and felt so bad. It was like being raped! I know when I was in London and my bag got nicked with all the money, passport, camera, gifts,police id, badge etc. I felt physically sick for days and I was just beginning my trip. It is like being violated. Of all people I should have known better. But you carryon.. I cant wait to see you and I guess if you dont get a companion I may have to be your bodyguard! Trek on, and I am happy to be your friend and a connected distantly to all your GOOD and CARING friends!!

  11. Kathryn says:

    It looks like you are going back to Chucktown on the eastern route, but if you change your mind, I can show you some interesting sights around Sodatown (Peachtree Rock? Maurice Bessinger’s original Piggie Park and Bible University) or my hometown Aiken. We’re leaving for Chicagoland in a week, so…

    and TipJoy is TipAnnoy…I’m going to my friend PayPal….

    And thanks for keeping on keeping on!

  12. Kathryn says:

    and if it’s a slow news day, I can probably get you on TV.

  13. Ambergre says:

    Hey Geee-off…
    Sorry about your equipment. These are the tough life lessons. But, it seems like things are working out, so I am happy for you! Most everyone I know has had their car broken into. Can’t really do anything about it. If some douchebag wants your stuff, they are going to take it. Unfortunate, but true.

    I think we already talked about this (can’t remember), but I am on the road too. If you could give me some sort of time line or schedule, maybe we could meet up and exchange road stories..
    I am heading to Austin today for a few days, then to New Mexico. Email me and I’ll send you my tentative road map thru Sept 15th.. Let’s try to meet up!

  14. MumTina says:

    Oh yes go on T.V., don’t you just love that. Look on the bright side, this incident will make your final film much more interesting! Everyone loves it when the hero has a set-back, and then he rises above it. Go Geoff!

  15. The Mrs. says:

    I saw an article about you online… I am from Greensboro and embarrassed that this happened to you! I hope you can carry on – looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  16. I’m glad that people seem to be coming together to help you finish out your effort.

  17. Caitlin Lee says:

    Geoff,

    I am so so so glad you are going to continue on your trip and haven’t let this stop you! MANY MANY MANY people would have given up, quite understandably, but you are prevailing and (looks like) going to have enough money to get everything back in order again. Conveniently you will be back in Charleston for the 4th of July which is a great way to relaunch your trip.

    You will rebegin in Charleston (a very American city). It is a city which has been ravaged many times throughout the past few centuries yet come through stronger. The character it has gained from these trials is marked upon the city, practically hanging in the air, and only makes it more intriguing and beautiful. You are beginning your journey again on Independence Day of all days. This date, the fourth of July, is when the signers of the Declaration were bold enough to say that they were capable of making their own way in the world. They did not want to be held back any longer by people who only wanted money at the expense of their wishes. These wishes were: to live however they wanted to live, travel wherever they wanted to travel, and drink tea without interference to help them solve their problems. They wanted to be able to explore the continent beyond the East when they were hindered by the Proclamation of 1763. Their wish was to discover the beauty and prosperity the rest of the continent held and also to be sure become ” a bit wiser, and perhaps smarter and that in some way could perhaps impart the knowledge and wisdom of [their] travels onto others in the future.” The signers did not let others stop them, just as you have not let thieves take away your means to pursue your dream or your freedom to travel. They may have taken your equipment but fortunately they didn’t mess with your tea.

    You were born British, like the founders of America, and just as Charleston still bear its name from King Charles II, you are leaving a lasting impact upon this place. You are helping shape America through your documentation. All the people and places you come in contact with will become better by encountering you and this will be further amplified by how you are sharing this on the web. You are proving that you are not only British but American by your fortitude and sense of “rugged individualism”. Although you may not be bushwhacking your way west, you have camped some. Like the creators of the Wilderness Road and the like, you are opening up America in new ways to those around you. You are presenting territory to many people that wouldn’t have been quite as available before you. Geoff- The modern day Trailblazer.

    Thomas Paine, a good British man turned American said “I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” By continuing your trip and not letting those Jeep looters bring you down, you are this man. Being American isn’t not being British, the two really can coincide and although it is possible to be just British it is less easy to be just American. Britain came before America just as you were from Britain before you came here. No matter where you are at the end of this trip you will always be an American and America will always be better because of you.

    I know that coming to America has not been easy for you in many aspects but I, and I am sure I speak for all your American friends as well, am glad to count you as one of us. All labels aside you are a fantastic person and as I have always said, are meant to do great things. This trip is just one of them and only the beginning. Being you is the greatest one of all. You are quite an inspiration. You follow your passions and interests and enrich those around you with them.

    So, turns out things work out in the end after all, right?

  18. CentralUser says:

    Geoff,

    Let’s get one thing straight. This was not self inflicted. You are not the one who smashed your car window and stole all your stuff. It was the local pond life who did it, not you. Get back on the saddle.. The last 24 hours will hopefully have replaced some of your faith in human nature.

    CU

  19. Mikey says:

    Geoff.

    It’s been quite a while since I posted on here. I used to follow the original 50p quest (Just searched and I was contributor 173), and for a good few years, I have read your evolving blog, which has brought so many emotions.
    As nearly everyone else has put, I felt devastated, watching someone I feel I know, nearly broken by the actions of individuals who probably do not grasp what repercussions they cause.

    You may not remember, but a couple of years ago, whilst I was at uni, you sent me a Caramel Tunnock, which I joyfully ate one bleary morning after lectures. It’s little acts of random kindness like that, which make me know you have touched so many lives with your quirky online presence.

    Here is $20 repaying the favour, so one morning soon, you can feel the joy as you wake up in another stop on your journey.

    Enjoy whatever comes next, and hopefully one day, we will get a photo of me handing my 50p over in person!

  20. Nuts says:

    Hey Geoff.

    I opened your blog this morning n was blown off!!! WTF happened!!. When i finally got over the initial shock, I read further and now all the angry feelings have transformed into enthusiasm and support and joy.Though I’m sad at yur loss but I’m really glad u guys are safe n sound n r continuing on yur journey. Look at yur support network!! So many ppl u dnt even know (including myself) are following yur journey n r willing 2 help, if not in cash then in words to urge u 2 go on…u must hav realized wat yur journey means to us all.

    All of us fight demons, cross bridges, conquer the fearsome unknown, fall down and get up again ON DAILY BASIS. It does make us a lil wiser, more brave in the end.

    I live in a country where ppl r shot down on streets, in broad daylight…only coz they resisted letting go of their cheap cell phones! Shit is everywhere Geoff!! but that doesn’t mean that that’a all there is……carry on yur journey, in the end when u tabulate yur gains and disappointments…im sure u’ll b happy with the results.

    Lots of love n warm wishes 🙂

  21. Actually, no, it WASN’T an Englishman. It was a German woman. Marlene Deitrich, to be exact.

    “The British have an umbilical cord which has never been cut and through which tea flows constantly. It is curious to watch them in times of sudden horror, tragedy or disaster. The pulse stops apparantly, and nothing can be done, and not one move made, until a ‘nice cup of tea’ is quickly made. There is no question that it brings solace and does steady the mind. What a pity all countries are not so tea-conscious. World-peace conferences would run smoothly if a ‘nice cup of tea’ or indeed , a samovar, were available at the proper time”.

    Sorry to sound cynical, but your car insurance covered the theft, did it not?

  22. Jon says:

    Sorry about the bad turn of luck…

    But you can’t leave America before you get out West… the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, Montana, the Grand Canyon, Arches… then the Northwest, the Pacific coast and all that good stuff.

    Just scrounge up a decent low cost combination still camera with video… like a Panasonic FZ7 and you can carry on I’d think.

    Have a great adventure… someday it will all be golden memories…

    :0)

    Go West, young man… go west

  23. “Let’s get one thing straight. This was not self inflicted”

    Oh, but it was.

    a) who left the stuff in the car overnight?
    b) who didnt insure his stuff?

    People need to stop proselytizing the culture of victimhood and start taking responsibility for their own actions.

  24. geofftech says:

    @exit,bear

    … so, the responsibility and actions of the perpetrators doesn’t mean anything?

    next time something bad happens to you… do you want all your friend and family to sit there and say “oh, i’m sorry Russell we’d LOVE to help you out, but you’ll just have to sort yourself out as it’s your own actions that have got you into this mess”.

    idiot.

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