Stories of Gumption is a regular column that profiles individuals who admirably demonstrate Gumption as we define it. These are the stories of real people who exhibit gumption in overcoming personal challenges, and validate the spirit of Gumption during their journey. Let’s take inspiration from those who seize 100% personal responsibility and show us how to live a life that exhibits Gump-like character traits worthy of applause!
Last year at the Celebrity Impersonators Convention (CIC), I met a photographer. We friended each other on Facebook, and I started seeing the interesting photographs he’d post regularly on his wall. First he posted the pictures of the celebrity look-alikes he shot at the 2010 CIC. Next he posted pictures from a trip to Alaska and I saw the very same train depot in Anchorage that I visited almost 20 years earlier. Then I viewed pictures from the roads of America with highways, bridges, and road signs. A few weeks later I saw pictures from Bosnia, Graceland, the Guadalupe Shrine in Mexico City, and finally Old Jerusalem. This guy seemed to be everywhere.
Do you remember the scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when Butch and the Kid are being chased by the six lawmen? Every time the duo thinks they’ve outsmarted the lawmen, they’d rediscover the outlaws’ trail. When this happens, Butch repeatedly marvels, “Who the heck are those guys?”
Well, that is how I started to feel about this photographer. I’d see his pictures from both really exotic and simply ordinary places over and over and over again. I started to ask myself, “Who the heck is this guy?” How is he traveling to all these places? Doesn’t he work? Or have a job? Or even spend any time at home?
Last week I saw Glenn Campbell again at the 2011 CIC. I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass. I asked, “Glenn, who the heck are you? How do you manage to travel from interesting place to interesting place, taking all these great photographs??
Here is what Glenn told me.
About two and a half years ago, Glenn was furloughed from his job working for an airline. As part of his compensation package, he was given three years of free air travel.
Next, Glenn got a job transporting people’s cars across the country. He’d drive a car from point A to point B … and be paid for it.
So Glenn drives all over the country (getting paid) and travels all over the world (for free). He told me he enjoys the ample time to think and ponder life. It gives him the freedom to stop and take interesting photographs along the way. And he has the ability to strategically travel to places he’s always wanted to see.
So, who is Glenn? On his website he describes himself this way: “I am a writer, philosopher, photographer, songwriter, former Family Court Guy, and former Area 51 Guy currently living a gypsy lifestyle in no fixed location.”
Glenn is a philosopher. He gives an eloquent video interpretation of celebrity impersonators, how we all are impersonators in one form or another, and how he’s grown more comfortable with his own body and persona since meeting with the impersonators.
Glenn is a writer. By his own admission, one of his best essays from 2009 is entitled, ‘Quality vs. Crap: The Enduring Struggle of Life.’ It’s an interesting look at short-term satisfaction (crap) versus long-term impact (quality).
Glenn is a gypsy. He travels constantly, taking photographs, writing, making philosophy videos, and simply living.
After Forrest Gump ran across America, Forrest said, “My Momma always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on. And I think that’s what my running was all about.” Now I’m not suggesting that Glenn is running from anything in his past … that I wouldn’t know.
But I do know this: Glenn is on a journey that most people only dream about taking. Most people have circumstances that prevent them from dedicating three years of their lives to pursuing such an adventure. And most people don’t have the gumption to actually do it.
Glenn Campbell has gumption. Glenn Campbell is living his life with Gumption. Glenn Campbell is on a mission … a mission of discovery. Glenn Campbell has taken the rulebook of life and thrown it out the window.
As Forrest Gump inspired others to follow him during his run across America, Glenn inspires the people he meets during his travels. And his photographs from both exotic and ordinary places around the world inspire his friends. And just as Forrest Gump ran to exorcise his own self-doubts, Glenn Campbell is traveling the world for his own self-discovery.
So, am I jealous of Glenn’s gypsy lifestyle? Not jealous … but I do find it extremely interesting, and I’ll admit to being secretly envious.
I’m glad I met Glenn. I’m glad I now call him friend.
Are you a person who could give up everything for the adventure of a lifetime?
Would you trade your job and home for a life-altering experience?
Are you willing to sacrifice security for your passion?
Next Blog Title: Silence is Golden
Next Blog Date: March 7, 2011