It's Time To Feel The Bern!

I made the spontaneous decision to visit Los Angeles after receiving a free ticket from a friend to attend Social Media Week. I’m currently sitting in a top-quality hostel in Santa Monica typing this short memoir. I flew into Long Beach Airport and my elderly friends picked me up. They have a condo downtown overlooking the port city. I’ve visited Long Beach more times than any other place in this country. I can’t help but ask myself why California keeps drawing me in like a siren song when I already feel at home in Austin. After all, the people are more authentic and friendly in Austin! I have an irresistible urge to travel the world in order to find myself. My next step in this direction is a trip to Costa Rica in just over a month. But first I must discover what this social media conference has to teach me, aside from the obvious networking opportunity. My expertise in the area of social media is growing all the time and it’s encouraging to have a fair share of success with my latest viral video. This constant quest to be successful, which means something different to everyone, is only half the battle. You must first be in touch with your true self; inner being.

Last night was a scary and exhilarating adventure. I was staying with friends in the art district near downtown LA. The environment was unusual and paranoia eventually set in, so I ventured outside to hail an Uber. I waited for 10 minutes and a black Prius pulled up. I opened the door to be greeted by an attractive young girl. Room for one more… Apparently this was not my ride so I reluctantly turned down the opportunity. My phone is dead at this point, so I continue the walk downtown taking photos of art along the way. This isn’t anything I can’t handle, right? The self-assurance is less encouraging as the surroundings get worse. Regrets about leaving the safety of my friend’s apartment loom over my head, yet my thoughts are focused on finding a hotel. I certainly can’t afford the JW Marriott or Ritz Carlton. I believe beauty can be found in the most unusual places. You just have to know where to look. Being a photographer has helped train my naked eye to recognize these moments. It’s always important to focus on the positive in life even if you’re in dire straits. There’s nothing you can’t rise above with the right attitude! I try to make little eye contact with passersby or simply nod in approval. My camera hangs like a monkey by my side. I’m strangely fascinated by the dark, disturbing sights that surround me. A homeless man is muttering to himself and coughing up a lung. Another guy approaches me on the corner in a wheelchair, holding out a tin can for change. I can’t resist the urge to take a photo and give him two dollars in exchange. It’s not enough. I continually glance up at the tall buildings and think of the undeniable dichotomy between the haves and have-nots. No man with a prosthetic leg should be relegated to sleeping in a pile of trash. It’s just not morally right! So, what is the best way to help those in plight? If money makes the world go ‘round (looking up at the skyscrapers), I must get enough of it to help those in need! And I certainly can’t accomplish such a daunting task by myself. I must build a team of intelligent, caring people to help the business grow! The majority of my talented friends are currently in Austin. It will remain my home base for many years to come! I don’t like to see so much poverty in a city of over 20 million people anxious to get their seat at the table with rich celebrities. There’s so much more to life than the quest for fame, money and women. We must all work together to make this world a better place, not just for the wealthy businessman but everyone! It doesn’t matter the color of your skin or the size of your bank account, we each have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The only thing I know how to do is keep walking as the time passes like a chore. My attempts to ask for help are often unsuccessful. I try to hitch a ride in another guy’s Uber. No such luck. Hollywood is a very long walk from downtown LA, and why do I want to get there anyway? It’s just a bunch of artificial people clawing their way to the top of a rigged system. That’s not me, that’s not where I belong! My best option is to catch the next train to Long Beach and find a cheap hotel. Or find a way to charge my phone. This is all part of the entrepreneurial journey… Appreciate the trials and tribulations along the way because someday you will look back on them and nostalgically laugh. I often find myself thinking this whole journey that is life would be easier with a supportive woman by my side. Or is my personal freedom more important? And why can’t I have both? The highest knowing is already within yourself. You must first have the courage to stop looking for it and it will appear! The same goes for women. I believe my soul mate is out there somewhere and I will never stop searching for her! Maybe she’s already in my life and I’ve yet to realize… Time passes by slowly as I wait alone at the metro station. This seems like a metaphor to life. I’m just waiting for my train to come but it never does. I eventually grow impatient and walk to the next destination. It’s a large tree with thick roots into the soil beneath. It’s almost 4 o’clock and this seems like the best place to sleep for the night. I nestle in between two roots and rest in a silent meditation. I Am Groot! ;) The tree is keeping me safe and warm, yet my anxiety continues to arise. I must find a more sustainable place to sleep! All of a sudden, I hear my train a’comin’ signaled by a distinct bell! I take this train all the way to Santa Monica. End of the line. I ask a nice gentleman if there’s a nearby hostel and he directs me one block away. The checkin time isn’t for another eight hours so I hop on the next train back to Long Beach where I buy a phone charger and make contact with Neli and James. I reserve my spot at the hostel, take a quick nap, they graciously give me a ride to Santa Monica and that brings us full circle! Now I really must get some sleep since I’ve been awake for 30 hours straight! Tomorrow is the first day of Social Media Week and I must be on top of the game! Wish me luck.

Sincerely,
Mike Holp