Journey of Fear

Journey of Fear: An Introduction

Benjamin D. D'Amico

WOW. That is one egotistical photograph.

24-years-old. Clean shaven, dapper hair, tight-fitting shirt. Edgy and bold. That’s actually a black bed-spread behind me. I remember hanging it from the track lighting in my bedroom, and then using a singular bulb as my photographic light source – hence the delightfully misleading shadow effect.

Well, the year is now 2024, and I’m attempting to revamp my entire life. Which would include defibrillating this long forlorn blog. A large, experiential chasm has formed between my 24-year-old self and this current, slightly-weathered 32-year-old version. Thus, I’ve felt that I should add a contextual aside to this first post – as well as an updated photograph (which can be seen below) – before I begin writing again.

There is a 7 year divide spanning my most recent string of posts and the one that preceded it – and it was 8 months before that when I last wrote an entry pertaining to my “Journey of Fear,” so to speak. You can read on below to uncover the meaning behind that title. I firmly believe that the past should be presented without filter. I certainly could have gutted and rewritten this introductory post, and then gone on to edit all other posts to suit my current tastes and perspectives. But I feel that this would be a bastardization of my own personal story, and a betrayal to both myself, and any readers who may eventually stumble across this forgotten site. You wouldn’t tear down or alter a piece of art, just because the subject or its creator held views that no longer fit the zeitgeist, would you? Of course not. And thus, I’ve elected to leave my posts unedited. Instead, should I find a need for an addendum to the information relayed previously, I’ve opted to simply tuck it into the existing text, formatted as you see here.

Should I ever choose to finish writing this story, regarding this Journey of Fear, and should you choose to read it, then I would like for you to clearly understand something which has heavily weighed on me throughout these years: I am not the same young man that you see in my original photograph above. He was the 24-year-old “writer,” who was detailing the learning experiences that he had just undergone. But even he was not the same boy who had actually lived those experiences on that road trip, in the moment – he was the one who was trying to digest all of the lessons that had just been presented to him. And as time progressed, and his digestion continued, his understandings of life would only further be changed by the new lessons that were being thrust upon him in real-time.

All of the beliefs that I held back then have since been fired and quenched – cycled through abusive heat treatments that have allowed me to understand which were worthy of wielding, and which were doomed to shatter under real-world pressure.

This road trip that I once embarked on has proven to have merely been the starter pistol to what I can assume will be my life’s most formative years. And as such, I cannot promise – or even suggest – that my ongoing posts will not be heavily colored by the experiences that I’ve lived since then. I’ve witnessed many miracles, and have pushed myself through much pain. The last six months alone have proven to be the most painful in my life to date – deaths, discomfort, transience, and a cyclical dismantling of all mission and meaning to my life have left me in a state in which I am forced to replace my lifelong question of, “What should I do to succeed?” with a new one, “What feels meaningful?”

And so please understand that, while I will do everything in my power to research and remember the thoughts and perspectives of my younger self in my upcoming writings regarding this Journey of Fear, my style and perceived purpose will exhibit a sudden shift in all posts dated after 2017. This will eventually prove, I’m sure, to be neither good nor bad. Art simply is. And my sense is that some of the most important photographs are the ones that we elect not to take, instead allowing memory to impart its artistic license. So while time may have wrenched from my hands the ability to accurately detail the thoughts and internal experiences of the 24-year-old traveling boy, it may have given me something even better to offer to you.

And so now, I must ask myself, “What does feel meaningful, in this moment?”

To write. And then, to live. Nec Spe Nec Metu.

-Benjamin D’Amico 2/22/2024

My Name is Benjamin D’Amico.

I’m a 24-year-old writer from Pittsburgh, PA, though I’m currently writing from…well, I really could be anywhere by now. How did I get to wherever I am?

I’m on a Journey of Fear.

Though the name might sound daunting, I assure you that this journey is far more positive than you might think. A little over a year ago, after being financially forced to move back home with family, I began to become aware of an uncomfortable truth about modern mankind:

Human beings fear things that no other species on earth do – we worry about our health, our finances, and our futures, as we mull over the negatives from our pasts. We worry about our outward appearances and whether or not we’ll ever achieve our goals in life. We constantly listen to horror stories about violence, hatred, pain and despair, and yet rarely ever stop to observe the incredible beauty that this world has to offer.

Good Questions Require Good Answers

I began to question the way that I had been raised to look at life.

Should I really be spending my time concerning myself with how to keep bad things from happening to me, when I could be focusing my attention on the good that enters my life? How many of my daily thoughts, actions and desires are really rooted in my deepest, darkest fears?

And then, there was my biggest question of all:

What kind of life could I live if I were to stop thinking about the “dangers” that we were all told to fear? Where could I go and what could I do, if I were to live day-to-day with my mind entirely devoid of these worries?

Would it lead to true happiness, excitement and joy? Or was this merely a fool’s dream?

I wanted to find answers to these questions. But I realized that I couldn’t do so while living in the comfort of my own home.

I understood that, in order to release my fears, I would have to embrace and come to terms with them – and doing so would mean going out into the world and facing them head-on.

And so, when I got the strange and sudden urge to go for a little road trip across the country, I realized that it was the perfect opportunity to find my answers and put the theories that I’d been formulating to the ultimate test.

I Went West

And so, like any logical individual might do, I decided to Transform My Car into a stealth camper/micro-RV – since paying for hotels at every point in the journey was well beyond my budget. Then I said goodbye to my loved ones, and drove off without any sort of destination in mind.

This experience has become so much bigger than I ever could have expected. Not only have I learned more than anticipated, but I’ve realized just how fascinated others are with my insanity Journey. The interest I’ve received has inspired me to create this blog.

In the ensuing posts, I’ll be relating the many life-changing experiences I’ve had whilst traversing the continent – living in my transformed RV4 on nothing more than blind faith and a newfound love for life.

A Simple Goal

My hope is to pass along the lessons that I’ve been learning, so that you too might grow as I have along this odyssey. And perhaps, for some of you, this blog might serve as a guide to what you may discover when you, too, embark on your own Journey of Fear.


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