At 19, Patrick Joseph Falterman left his life in Houston to realize his dream of exploring the Amazon.

Falterman sold everything he owned to purchase gear and began hitchhiking to the Amazon on an incredible journey. It ended up taking two years to complete and changed his life forever. Along the way, he saw unbelievable things, met fascinating people, and yes, got into some trouble now and then (which he freely admitted). The point is that he took a chance and was rewarded with a life entirely different from the one he left behind.

In turn, he rewarded the world with an account of his adventures, complete with hitchhiking guides and detailed anecdotes that read more like a thrilling novel than a blog.

Unfortunately, in September 2016, three years after achieving his dream of reaching the Amazon, Falterman was killed in a plane crash, leaving only the stories of his travels behind.


Below is a powerful illustrated tribute to Falterman's life and memory drawn by his friend Cale:

Many of us have had moments where we’ve said to ourselves: “If I stay in this life situation, I'm going to have major regrets in 10 years. I need to get out." Maybe it's not so dire for you. Maybe you've just felt that occasional pull to drop everything and jump on a plane to a remote destination because life's gotten a little too monotonous. That compulsion to adventure is inherent in roughly 20% of all humans. It's actually in our genetic makeup.

You don't have to follow in Falterman's footsteps to set yourself free. This is just one man's unique journey. There are many different paths that can put you on the road less traveled.

It's about deciding to do that thing you've been putting off — taking yourself to a new place (literally or figuratively) if only for a day, an hour, or even a moment.

"The point is that time is fleeting, so be who you want to be, now," Cale writes in a message. No one understood this better than his friend Patrick, who had only 26 years on this Earth but always grabbed hold of each moment and lived the hell out if it.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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