In 2003 when I was 19 I saved money, working two jobs during my gap year before university, and went to America for three months. After discovering RC Racing I realised that the coolest tracks were in America, and many of the best drivers too. Something clicked one day and I went from “I wish I could go there” to “I will go there”. It really was as simple as that. I feel like most people never make that connection. For some reason I did and it changed my life. Since then my default way of thinking is “I will”.
I had this tiny Suzuki swift death trap I rented because it was the cheapest car available from “Super Cheap Rental Cars”! Also the only place I could rent a car at 19. It had a cassette player and I recorded the above Sum41 album on a tape, and played it over and over driving mostly to KZ Speedway. Still an awesome album! I just saw Sum41 are finally releasing a new album after years, can’t wait.
Since I listened to that album for 3 months straight, every time I hear it, it brings back great memories. Stuff like:
- I stayed at a youth hostel in Huntington Beach. I went to the beach once. I shared a room with a Japanese surfer and a German guy training to become a lifeguard. I wondered what’s that smell in the hallway? Smelled weed for the first time. I met Robban Gus and John Jesus Sandberg on the front porch on the first day at the hostel. I arrived there with Timo Blonde Jesus Jalas. After a couple of weeks of the 4 of us, and another 2 weeks with the 3 after Timo left, I was left alone. We had stayed at motels together, but now I moved back to the hostel. I have never ever felt as lonely as the first morning I woke up and stood in the shower looking out at the sunny weather, thinking I’m in heaven, but I’m all alone. I could have cried, seriously, it was bad for a bit.
- I didn’t have a cellphone, or a navigator, just a map, and quarters for payphones. I didn’t call my parents for 2 weeks, and when I met Jukka Steenari the first thing he said to me was call your mother now. She had called him. I’m such an asshole. Luckily the freeways in LA are simple to navigate. I can’t believe all that I did just with a map.
- I went to the local library to check my email and post shit on sgrid. I went to Kinkos to print stuff I needed, and get online too, and I met Ralph who worked there, who thought what I was doing was so cool that he would let me do everything for free. Ralph was cool.
- I went to the track almost every day, SoCal RC Raceway for 1:10th and KZ or Perris for 1:8th. I met Jimmy Pierce and Notch and they took me racing with them. I wasn’t alone anymore. Yay! I collected racebucks at SoCal by racing 4wd:-) and cleaned the tables and floors at night so I could race for free. I saw the first B4s being tested. I shopped at the 99cent store lol. The biggest burgers at burger king and Mcdonalds were 99 cents too.
Because I was willing to step out of my comfort zone, because I was willing to put in the work, working in a warehouse, and then taking the bus to McDonalds for the night shift there, because I thought “I will” instead of “I wish”, I had 3 of the best months of my life, which kickstarted my journey which has taken me to where I am today. 34 countries visited, my own RC car brand, and worldwide sales.
I still don’t have much, I’m a single 33 year old with no money, living in my parents basement, but I do still have that same determination. That determination will either take me to a lonely grave or unreasonable success. Time will tell which it is. In any case, I will have lived my life, not existed through it.
“Most people are reasonable, that’s why they only do reasonably well” — Paul Arden