February 22, 2011

Week of Weirdos Part II: Jason Schibby VII

It was well past midnight when a drunk and stumbling Brit grabbed my blackberry and typed out his name into a blank text screen. Jason Schibby VII.

"Add me to Facebook," he said.

"Wait, there are seven generations of you?!" I replied.

"Of course there are, my love. We're legends." 

The seventh generation Schibby looked like he was born on a beach. He had long blonde hair topped with a grey herringbone flat cap, a loose razorback sleeveless shirt with a Thai beer logo, and cropped linen pants covering his very tan body, lean from spending so much time on his surf board. He had a love for travel, parties, and socializing that few people can match.

His magnetism for meeting interesting people on the road has prompted him to find a way to make sure he never forgets some of the people he meets. The night I met him, he was collecting signatures from a few people he had been hanging out with for the past 10 days. 

"Are you really sure you want to do this?" Evan asked.

"I mean, this is permanent... do you really think we're cool enough to be added to the list?" Kat, Evan's girlfriend, added.

"No man, you guys have been great. I won't forget you, I swear," he said. "Hey, do you think I should get the name of that one girl from the other night? She was like the most beautiful girl I've ever seen..."

"Dude, you talked to her for like 24 seconds. Do you even know her name?" Evan asked.

"No, but I mean, she was hot. Probably the hottest girl in the world," Jason replied.

"It's permanent. That would be creepy," Evan said. 

I asked what they were talking about and Jason promptly pulled down his loose linen pants. Across both cheeks were lists of names of people he's found interesting. There were more than a dozen signatures. I didn't look too closely, but I swear some had been crossed out, others were written  vertically. His ass was literally a register of the most influential people in his life. That night he added "Babs" to the list and promptly returned to the bar after he had been stamped.

I don't think I've ever met more of a free spirit. He's from England, but has been traveling around southeast Asia for a few months. I think by now he's made his way to Bali, where he will live for the next few months. We ran into him at the Ho Chi Minh airport a few days after we had left him in central Vietnam. 

He was still wearing the same clothes, but had changed his flat cap for a basic black baseball camp. "I don't know where the f*ck that cap went, I'm a bit pissed off about it, but I mean, this works." He was carrying a satchel and a backpack. When we had met him he had a guitar, but over the course of a few days he had to sell his guitar to get money to leave the country.

The people he had been traveling with took most of his cash and left him in Vietnam. He had been traveling with old friends from home and some sort of horrible went down during the trip and the group separated, leaving Jason with few options other than to sell his guitar and waste his anger away on alcohol.

He was sad to leave his guitar, but he didn't seem too concerned about where his next meal, beer, or cheeky tattoo was going to come from. He'd figure it out and find the cash to keep living the dream. I wouldn't doubt if one day I'll run into him in some obscure location, like the island of Kiribati. He'll own a surf shop there that sells fruit shakes on the side and he will probably be the happiest person on the planet. 

-- Weirdo Disclaimer -- 
The people we met are far more interesting than the places we visited, so I feel like I have to give them a little credit for making my travels even more memorable.  In some cases, I'll use "weirdo" in a positive and quirky way, other times I'll use it in a "dude, you are legitimately strange," sort of context. I've got full confidence you'll be able to decipher between the two. (Also, I've changed a few names).

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