I won’t take it.
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION- I was in the south of Mexico with my wife and two-year-old daughter. I made a living off of a blog. We’d stay in towns for a month … two months … three months and then carry on to the next stop. We’d cycle through places in accordance with the seasons, living about as close as you can get to modern nomadism. I’d drink a big bottle of Corona with salt and lime each day when I finished work. We’d eat street tacos for dinner. We were poor. I was a nobody. We were happy.
This was in early 2012.
Then one day while walking in the hills around San Cristobal it occurred to me that I should go back to China and do something with myself. I had a head start on the country from the years that I spent there as a backpacker and a student … and even more than that was the fact that I knew that few people knew anything about the place outside the palisades of Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. There was a huge demand for information about broader China and a dearth of supply. I knew that there was a place for me there.
So I told my wife what I wanted to do … This was a big ask, as life could not have been more idea in Mexico. For some reason she agreed. (Admittedly, I told her the food was good in China and a bunch of other lies). She took the bait, got a job at a Montessori school in the middle of the Yangtze River development corridor, we tossed our flip flops into the trash … and I became Wade Shepard, China guy.
Today, as I sit here a little south of the border, that world seems so, so far away.
If you can’t go one way, you go another. If one road closes, you try another way around. If a country comes up with asinine immigration policies, you go elsewhere. If your personal little Shangrila gets tourist-ified, you just don’t go back. If one place becomes tiresome, you get up and leave. If you don’t like your girlfriend, you get a new one. You don’t accept defeat, but you don’t fight either — you simply change direction and carry on …
This is the creed of the traveler.
I sit here today and smile, as I know that I’m extremely fortunate. The first era of my travels — two entire decades from 1999 to 2020 — was during a time when the world was more open than it’s ever been before; when travel was never easier, safer, or, presumably, more enjoyable. I smile because I know I took full advantage of this blip in history. I took full advantage to the extreme. I went where I wanted and did what I wanted. It’s so rare in time when so many people were able to do this. I cashed in my chips as soon as I got them — I consumed my time rather than investing it in a future that is never guaranteed to materialize. People acted as though I was making a grave gamble, but I knew I was placing the safer bet.
In the beginning, I took this ease of travel as something ordinary, and like all things we feel entitled to, I didn’t think much of it. But at some point during my Silk Road travels (2015 – 2019) I began getting the feeling that this pax Gaia probably wouldn’t last for much longer — the world joins together just to break apart. I saw the fault lines in the system, certain entities were becoming too powerful, and a colossal rupture seemed inevitable. I had a lingering premonition that what I was accustomed to experiencing wasn’t going to last, and I did exactly what I should have: I relished every last minute of it. I pushed the limits, got the stories, and wondered how long I could keep it going … and then it ended.
In the summer of 2019 we moved to New York City, and this was one of the best decisions that I’ve made yet on this journey — but not for the reasons that I originally thought. I endeavored to use the city as a base of operations to access the world — I had already moved out of China and my area of focus was becoming more global, and NYC is the center of the world. My plan served me well for the few months — I was zipping all around the world — and then the “pandemic” hit.
I didn’t make much of it at first. I thought that all it would take was for the world to know the true death and hospitalization rates and we’d all come to our senses. I figured we’d be like, “So, most people have a 99.99% chance of survival and only 1% – 5% go to the hospital, and we’re locking down why?”
That didn’t happen.
Then when it came out that the report that convinced the US and UK to lockdown was severely flawed and thoroughly incorrect — dubbed one of the most influential and most wrong scientific publications in history — the dominant narrative still didn’t change.
Or a little later on when a parade of studies came out that showed that lockdowns, social distancing, disinfecting everything, and mask mandates were the stuff of pseudoscience — that bars, restaurants, and gyms were not prime vectors of infection — I imagined that we’d all read the data, revoke our compliance, and force our governments to give up their authoritarian shticks. But instead we just started wearing two masks instead of one.
There comes a point when you realize that this isn’t about a virus — at least not one of the pathological variety anyway.
The world is now being saved by the one thing that will set us free — the thing that will make the world’s most powerful corporations billions, the only thing that will allow us to get our lives back.
But I won’t take it.
There’s more and more data streaming in every day that validates why I won’t take it. Some of it is logged in government databases, some of it is first hand accounts of personal experience. Almost all of these inconvenient truths are subject to being ignored by the mainstream media, who knows what hand they feed from, or quickly scrubbed from view by tech monopolies who don’t want you reading them. Victims have no legal recourse — the manufacturers are immune from litigation. Accountability is nowhere to be found. Oftentimes, even acknowledgement is hard to come by … It must of been a coincidence that a healthy 18 year old suddenly …
But even more than that, why should I? Why should I take an unlicensed, uber-experimental substance with a dubious track record to lessen the symptoms of an illness that I have next to a zero percent chance of having severe symptoms from in the first place?
So you don’t spread it to others?
Because everyone else is doing it?
Because they will let you have your life back?
I won’t take it, my kids won’t take it, and I will live with the consequences of this decision. Yes, I understand that many countries will probably prohibit the free movement of people who don’t take it. Yes, I understand that my way of life will be significantly altered — my livelihood will be stomped out. Yes, I understand that I will become a second class citizen, a persona non-grata, an enemy of the obedient.
No, the government won’t mandated it — at least not in the USA. They will rely on the entities that give our lives pleasure to do their dirty work for them. They’ve already turned bars and restaurants into enforcement arms of the state, and it’s a small step for them to require a scan of an app for entry, which most will do with gusto out of fear of being arbitrarily shut down again.
No more football games, no more stopping in at the bar, no more dining in at restaurants, hassles, harassment, and perhaps … no more travel. They will wield the carrot and the stick until we all comply and then tell us that it was our own choice all along.
But to give up your biological autonomy — the most fundamental and inherent liberty you have — is to give up everything.
The State seized something that wasn’t theirs — your property, your livelihoods, your children’s future, your freedom of expression / assembly / religion, your medical autonomy — and is now acting as though they are providing a benevolent service as they incrementally give what is rightfully yours back in exchange for your continued compliance. But if freedom can be given it’s not really freedom then, is it?
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