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A message from a friend

Hangzhou, China

I just received an email from an old friend that shook me up a little.

He is a real strong farm kid whom all other men just inherently look up to. He is seriously an archetype of the modal man regardless of what cultural lens one is using- I mean this in the highest sense possible. The fact that he would probably frown on me saying so just makes it all the more true. He embodies the myth of the hero in the flesh- he knows how to stand on his own two feet, when to step forward, and when to stay still. Just being in his presence is to be inspired. He is a man who has the ability to make other men feel good within themselves, his righteousness becomes contagious. He just has it. The Chinese have an old story called, “The Outlaws of the Marsh,” which is essentially an instruction manual of what constitutes a good man written out in over a thousand pages. I have been reading through this book for years and trying to incorporate its lessons within myself. But Johnathan has no need for such folklore…..he just already knows it, lives it. .He is a true Hero of the Marsh…..yes, Song Jiang would bow to him, as would I.

Well, Jonathan just wrote me a message to tell me that he appreciates our friendship. I am floored. It just feels really good to have a deep connection that I have always cherished with another person actualized. Spoken of. Shared. I just appreciate that he would make our friendship a point of celebration.

My old travelling companion Stubbs once told me in a Kunming teahouse, “There is no closer friendship than that between two men,” and I believe that this deep friendship has been eroded a little in America; where every man tends to act as a floating island…….Sometimes I feel as inanimate as a kitchen table. In the Outlaws of the Marsh story there is such an emphasis placed upon brotherhood, the joy of having a connection with others, the celebration of friendship.

Thank you for that call to Brotherhood. Thank you for waking me up.

So little do I tell other people what I think about them. It is rare when I find the courage or the impetuous to tell someone that I really do enjoy their company- that I cherish the time that we have had together. I just feel too distant, like I am perpetually walking away.

Johnathan, I truly admire you, Brother.

I rejoice in the thoughts of our past rampages.

On to more!

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Filed under: Friends, Other Travelers

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3161 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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