Hello, my name is Pako, and I travelled with Andy for a few weeks, supporting the Focallocal Community and Movement, and helping as much I could. He has asked if I would write an article about a Free Hug activity we did in Paris to share with the Focallocal community my experience and feelings, and how people reacted to us, and I was excited to share this, but I really don’t know what I could write…
A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I changed on my travel, and the person writing this now is very different from the person at the start of my travels. So I decided to write and share much of the things I experienced on the Focallocal Road Trip. We arrived in France early in the morning from London, so Andy drove the whole night he and he really needed to rest when we arrived. Ainara, a Spanish girl who came with us stayed with him but I decided to go to busk in Eiffel tower, the place we were meeting later for the Free Hugs. Busking didnt go great and the police chased me off, so I took the tube to anywhere, “I was in Paris! I just wanted to be totally lost with my guitar and my banana costume!” I met a Klezmer Jewish band inside the tube, who gave to me the energy and hope I needed to play, so I went out from the tube and I set on my stuff in the first street I saw. It wasn’t for the money, I NEEDED to, play my guitar and see what happened inside myself.
Half an hour later, I realized that one guy had been watching me play for more than 15 minutes, so I started to speak with him. His name was Pietro, from New Zeland, and he spoke me about the way of how to live the life with energy, and he gave to me a jet black lucky stone as a gift – that unfortunately I lost in Madrid …but maybe now it found someone else who needed its luck. anyway, he told me something’s that I thought about for the rest of the day, here are the 3 rules of Pietro:
1. Whatever I’m going to do, before I do it I have to ask “will it make me happy?”
2. The only thing where we can act is in THIS MOMENT, not before, not after, so you don’t have to be worried about the past or the future, but remember that you have to keep following your dreams and improve your skills
3. Be spontaneous, don’t be afraid of new things, and eventually you’ll gain everything you need
Our conversation filled me with happiness, and I decided to try out living by the new rules that my friend gave to me. Just 2 minutes after he went away, I met a young group of German guys and tried being spontaneous with them, we sang and danced together everywhere and anywhere, without a care. They told me that I was a person who spread happiness – for me it was just giving back the energy I gained in the journey.
Then I saw my clock and I realized that I had to rush and meet with Andy and the others for Free Hugs We made the Hug signs together underneath the Eiffel Tower the huge tower in the middle of Paris, I thought I had no power or energy to give hugs, I was really tired tired from the travels and experiences of the day and my journey. I thought of Pietro’s rules and how I felt; I didn’t feel like I wanted to give people the hugs ..but then something magical happened! People began coming to us, curious about our signs and glad to speak and share hugs with us. We didn’t do anything! just stood there, but we spread happiness and good vibes to many, many people – its something that you can control!
I realized that day that people become happy or sad depending on where they are, or how is the atmosphere in the place and that happiness is like a spiral, if you fall down, you can sometimes get stuck down there.
For me Focallocal is a tool and Andy reaches out to give the opportunity to people to get involved of this powerful moment that seems like nonsense but it gives happiness, and creates this feeling inside others around. So I hope they’ll take the strength to join in and use this tool to lift people up this spiral inside. Happiness is like activated bomb, you cant stop it from spreading once it is given out with a tool like the ones Focallocal use because all humans aspire to be happy!
We just have to teach our experiences to each other and wait… wait till people like Pietro, Andy or all that guys who work to give to out happiness to each other around the World reach us ..or become that person ourselves and create shock waves of happiness. Then the world will become better for everyone, and just one person, like you can reach so many!
Follow your heart, don’t be afraid, be spontaneous! Pako Portalo