The 3rd scariest moment from “A Journey for Happiness”

So, what did happen just 30 minutes after the video below that I shared in my last post?

As I mentioned in the previous post, it was probably the 3rd scariest moment of my entire 18-month journey for happiness. Below is an excerpt describing the scene from the end of chapter 11 titled “A Wilder Space”. It is a chapter mostly about the importance of nature for our happiness and wellbeing, but I thought it was a good point to get in a couple of somewhat related stories.

Note, that this was the “2nd encounter” – the 1st encounter was my 2nd scariest moment. You’ll have to wait for the book to read about the scariest part of my journey to Bhutan – and it was actually quite a life-threatening one too.

Don’t worry though, there were plenty of blissful moments on the journey…and as you will see when you get the book in your hands, the book begins with two very beautiful ones.

“My second encounter with a gun in the desert was later in Arizona. This time, shots actually got fired. In this second gun encounter I had been riding some solid 60 miles a day through Arizona. I’d passed by the Grand Canyon and ridden along parts of the iconic Route 66. I was feeling physically strong and confident, but it was time to camp up before entering Nevada the next day. I found a beautiful spot about ½ mile from the highway and there were no buildings in sight. I did a small video in which I pronounced myself a happy man. Sunset was some time off yet, and so I sat, watched, and let the beauty of the moment envelop me. I started cooking my dinner.

Not long after I heard a car coming up the same track that I had taken to get to where I was. I couldn’t see the car, but I was well hidden behind a few cactuses and I doubted they could see me. I then heard someone get out of the car and close the door behind them. I kept cooking but like an happiness journeyman I remained attentive and curious to the world outside. About 5 minutes later there was a shot and panic kicked in. In my mind I was imagining someone squatting down out there with their sights on me.

My instinct was to stand up and fully reveal myself. I stood up and I could see a man standing on his own with a small handgun in his hand about 100 metres away. He appeared to not know I was there. Either I needed to stay hidden and hope, or get his attention to let him know I was there. I listened to my gut and approached waving my hands and shouting. Yet, though I was close enough to be heard, he neither seemed to see nor hear me. He suddenly fired off two rounds at what seemed like a random spot on the desert floor. I questioned to myself whether he was sane and that I might be better off retreating and staying hidden. But I didn’t, I kept approaching and waving to get his attention. I’m glad I did. If I hadn’t got his story, I’d never have slept that night, or maybe ever again in the desert. It turns out that in Arizona you have a legal right to drive out to the desert and pop a few rounds off. This, the man casually explained to me as part of the 30-miute conversation we had once he’d pulled out his earplugs. He had been shocked that I was there camping in the middle of nowhere. Once we’d both got over our mutual shock at our meeting, he told me about his wife and family and his very regular life. A pleasant guy. Getting his wild I suppose.”

To pre-order a copy of A Journey for Happiness go to this crowdfund page.

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