“He did not travel. He journeyed.”

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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.

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Comic by Things in Squares. Used with permission.

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