To Shake the Sleeping Self

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by Sam

BOOK: To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life With No Regret by Jedidiah Jenkins (Amazon)

CATEGORY: Memoir

RATING: 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

SUMMARY: A restless 30-year-old man decides to shake up his life (and sleeping self) on a 16-month bike ride from Oregon to Patagonia.

READ THIS BOOK IF: You love a good adventure story, if you could use some inspiration to shake up your own life, or if you will do anything Adele tells you to do (she posted about this book on Instagram).

When you are a kid, everything is new. You don’t know what’s under each rock, or up the creek. So, you look. You notice because you need to. The world is new. This, I believe is why time moves so slowly as a child – why school days creep by and summer break stretches on. Your brain is paying attention to every second. It must as it learns the patterns of living.
— Jedidiah Jenkins

That thought had never occurred to me before. Why, as an adult, my days fly by in a blur.

My parents had always warned me of that phenomenon as a child but I didn’t understand then. My days were filled with exploring the wild expanse of my backyard, playing with Barbies and getting lost in the pages of books. I would dream about what I would be when I grew up. Maybe a figure skater (LOL). Maybe a doctor (wow, even funnier). But back then, adulthood felt like tiny dot on the horizon.  

I turn 30 this year and when Jedidiah Jenkins wrote about his itch, his feeling of restlessness, his desire to break free from the hamster wheel of death that is adulthood - I totally understood how he felt.

The difference between me and Jedidiah Jenkins is that his 30-year itch drove him to quit his job and ride a bicycle all the way from Oregon to Patagonia for 16 months with ZERO training. If you want more context on the distance of that ride, it’s 13,990 miles.

I’ll be celebrating my 30th in Myrtle Beach. So…pretty similar vibe.

What I appreciated most about Jedidiah’s retelling of his bike trip was his honesty. Each chapter drips with authenticity – the good, the bad and the ugly. Every popped tire. Every time he hated himself and wanted to give up. And every time he felt pure joy in seeing something new and awe-inspiring.

A central theme of the story is Jedidiah wrestling with his very Christian upbringing and trying to reconcile that with the man he’s become. Drawing from a similar upbringing, I really connected with these moments of vulnerability. It’s rare to have someone write about faith in such a raw and sincere way - and in a way that isn’t so black and white.

For his debut book, Jedidiah is a masterful storyteller. To Shake the Sleeping Self was an inspiring, fun ride, for me especially since I was sitting and drinking wine the whole time.

I think everyone can take away something important from his story - just because we’re all grown up doesn’t mean we have to let our patterns of living lull us into a dull existence.

There’s a poem I love by Charles Bukowksi called “The Laughing Heart” and the opening lines read “Your life is your life, do not let it be clubbed into dank submission.” It’s up to us to wake ourselves out of our slumber. To look under rocks, and up creeks. To seek wonder however we can.

Personally, I will try and think of other ways to shake my sleeping self that are more forgiving on my calves.