Benjamin Jenks - Saucing up Your Travel Adventures With Inspiration


Benjamin Jenks the animal!



So Mr. Jenks. You are a bearded hitchhiking backpacker. You have hitchhiked across the United States on only $40 dollars, make kick ass videos and run a supportive community of travelers and adventure seekers on Adventure Sauce. Why this passion for helping people travel adventurously?


Here is the short answer: It is my nature. 


Long answer: AND I have a vision for a world without war.


Here's the mini-plan: I help Thoughtful People take over the world by showing them how to take the Adventure Of Their Lifetime. 


They will be so chock full of confidence, brimming with wisdom, bursting with empathy, AND they will use this as fuel to create art, run micro-businesses, and build up their own Posse, so that we can take over the world.


There doesn't have to be war... it isn't a part of human nature. 



Benjamin Jenks - Thoughtful Adventurer



Thoughtful Adventurers understand this and can change it. 


The days of having to be a dick to be a leader are numbered. 


Wow! We got deep there, didn't we, Kurt. :) 


Basically, all of this is just easy and so much fun for me. This is my only option. It is who I am.


Your “slight hitchhiking addiction”, according to you site, has brought you in contact with thousands of people. With all these adventures and encounters would you say you have any insider knowledge on the common traits people share when looking to make social connections? 



People are 99% the same.


Within that 1% is the unique menagerie of humanity and I'm fascinated by it. 




The 1 percent is in the mullet!



I've noticed that we all have the same needs, we just go about it in different ways.  


What holds people back? Fear and lack of confidence?


People hold themselves back, because of the "story" we are told. The story of our culture says, "Don't talk to strangers." How many people tell you... "Be careful" or "Be Safe" or "Be Responsible." 


Tons, right?


But it is baloney.


People aren't dangerous. Strangers will be there for you. And you shouldn't be careful... Be Care Full. 


Go do the crazy dreams in your heart. The odds of you dying or going broke for a lifetime are like 0.6%.


Live your life based on what you want, not what you are afraid of... and your life will be more interesting that any Hollywood Blockbuster.



You claim to be a modern day Jack Kerouac. He was into booze, Benzedrine, spontaneous prose and crazy cross country antics with Neal Cassady. Is there any similarity here? Who's your Neal Cassady or do you role solo?



Haha... Yeah, I'm willing to exchange a few brain cells for an enlightening experience... Or maybe just to cut loose like a mad man in a new town with some new friends.


But drugs are not the Way. They are a shortcut to IT. They have showed me enlightenment, but I want the REAL THANG. Drugs have fucked up so many sensitive, world-changing artists... Kerouac included. 


I claim to be the Modern Day Kerouac, because the metaphor appeals to me.


I'm searching for IT too.


I've got a crew similar to him and I deeply respect how he created his art. His spontaneous style was so raw. I want my videos to connect with you, like Kerouac's words connected with my heart.


I want roll into experiences with my camera and capture True Moments. I want to be so skilled I can roll into a dangerous situation, film, experience, and capture the Wisdom of that Moment for the people of our world. 


But making sweet viral videos is just a smaller part of what I do... my true art is how I live.


If I can capture some hit-you-in-the-face videos to show the world (and my grand-kids), then that is gravy on top.



Kerouac was part of the Beat movement, which later influenced the 1960's counter cultural revolution. Do you see any similarities with what is happening now, perhaps in your adventures?





I'm watching other bloggers have a strong incentive to band together, help each other, give out all their wisdom, and share their masterpieces. I'm watching bloggers pour out their hearts, just like Ginsberg did in his wacky poetry. I'm watching bloggers challenge the story we have all been told and you can see how our world is changing because of it.


The "Lifestyle Design" movement has similar themes as the Beats and Hippies... but we have the most powerful tools that have ever been created.



You not only live adventurously and host a great community over at Adventure Sauce, but also coach people on how to break out of their shell. Do you have a single inspiring story about someone you have helped?



I have bunches... but I'll just tell you about Krista.







She was teaching English in South Korea and struggling to meet people. She told me a story of traveling and walking into the hostel bar to meet people... but being so shy, she just pretended to look for her friends and then hurried out, beating herself up for being such a "loser."


What solo traveler hasn't been in that situation, right?


I know I have.


Anyways, after 3 talks, she was hosting her own events and meeting people in bars. She said she felt completely different, even outgoing. Here are her words, 


"{For real – in Idaho a girl said my “outgoing personality made people feel at ease.”}


It usually doesn't take much. Humans are built to socialize, our brain is just a pain in the ass sometimes. 


I know I have some interesting hitchhiking stories. So to leave my readers with a great sounding off and feel for your adventure prowess, what is your single most interesting tale? The one that pops into your mind first at parties when your looking to spin a tale.



I'll tell you about Timmy Joe Thibodeaux. 


But this isn't his real name. I don't know his real name.


If you were from Louisiana, you would know that Thibodeaux is a popular name there. He chose it, so he could blend in and avoid any heat from the law. Earlier in his life, he had stole $30,000 in some sort of bank fraud. 


We met him on the shoulder of an on-ramp on the outskirts of New Orleans. 





Ragin' Cajun



Timmy Joe was a character from the start. 


Most cars that pick up hitchhikers will drive past slowly... look you up and down... then slowly pull over. But Timmy swung onto the grass at the start of the on-ramp as soon as he saw us. He skidded to a stop about 6 feet from our backpacks. 


He drove a shitty red Asian truck.


His mullet was a work of art.


Oh... let me take a minute to introduce Angela, my girlfriend at the time. She and I were deep in a mission to hitchhike across the USA... make a viral video series and a documentary. She is quiet, loves kids, and is beautiful with girl next door looks. Let's just say, she got us a lot of rides... but I was always on the lookout for the creepy dude looking for an "extra ride," if you know what I mean.


Back to the action...


I plopped in the middle, almost sitting on Timmy Joe's lap, and my girlfriend sat by the window. We sped across the bridge spanning Lake Pontchartrain and I tried to keep my camera steady at about 14 inches from his face. I filmed everyone we rode with. Timmy Joe told us the story of his daughter. She didn't know he was her dad. He'd knocked up a Spring Break Girl and she'd left for her home in Michigan to have his illegitimate child. 


He showed us a pic of her on his cell phone. She was cute with blond hair.


It wasn't uncommon to hear personal stories like this. Everyone wants to share their story. When you put a camera in a stranger's face and tell them you are making a documentary, most of the time they will tell you the most interesting story of their life.


Timmy told us about his "Camp" on the bayou too. 




Timmy's camp on the Bayou



Timmy was a full blown, Ragin' Cajun and told us how he had built his camp with scrap wood through his thick accent.


He had a small piece of property right on the bayou. Actually over the bayou. There was a trap door in the middle that he threw raw chicken down in the summer for gators. He offered to show us his Camp and we couldn't pass it up. 


As we pulled in, the place was definitely homie and it had always been my dream to hang with a Bayou Dude.


We went in and got comfy over a Budweiser and a joint. Timmy was jonesin for a buzz, after a long day of operating a crane... Angela and I were in the mood to relax too, so we joined in. Well... wouldn't you know it, before long we were eating pickled quail eggs (which I later puked into the bayou), hearing about how Timmy swims with the gators every summer day, and listening to dirty prank calls he had recorded on his cell phone.


Before long, the thought of hitting the road again seemed like too much effort.


We asked Timmy if we could stay the night and he was happy to have us. In fact, he was calling his friends to see if they would come meet us.  


We even ended up sharing his king-size bed with him. :)


No funny stuff went down... of course, and I was happy Timmy wasn't a cuddler, because I was in the middle.


You know though... at one point, I started to question everything.


I can tell instantly that some people are trustworthy or not. You hitchhike enough and you get really good at listening to your intuition. 


BUT sometimes you wonder if your intuition did you wrong.


It was 2 am-ish and Timmy came back from the bar with a girl friend and his cousin, another Cajun. Timmy wanted to show us off, sort of like you would, if you found puppies by the side of the road. 


Now... I trusted Timmy, but my gut instinct wasn't happy that he was wasted and there were two other people who were wasted. My mind was groggy from sleep, Budweiser, and weed, so I couldn't get a good read on this situation. Plus, I'd lazily left all my thousands of dollars of video equipment, my wallet, and all my belongings right next to the table where they had started snorting some kind of powder.


I knew it wasn't ideal.


Laying in a Ragin' Cajun's bed on the bayou next to my girlfriend and all my stuff exposed, I felt really vulnerable.




I trusted Timmy though, so I rode it out. If anything fishy happened, we would have bolted.


I slept with one eye open... and was happy when Timmy hit the sack. 


The next day... our brains were all a little hazy. Timmy couldn't get his boat started, so I missed out on a bayou tour, we had some Sonic chicken strips, and we watched 3 episodes of "My Name is Earl." Then, Timmy drove us back to the highway.


His Camp was probably demolished in the recent hurricane. 


I gotta give him a call.

About Author

Post by Kurt Trumble
The Low Down:

Kurt grew up on Long Island in New York. He spends his time learning emerging open source technologies and social media. He runs Travel With Drupal, focused on Drupal webdesign and blogging. ( Beatnik literature and The Beatles top his list of interests when not backpacking around.