About: Start Here.


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“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive. – Howard Thurman

Watch the video above for a 3 minute explanation of my trip with some of my best photographs.

Welcome to Create Our World!

 Hello! I’m Benjamin Jenks and I have been hitchhiking around the USA since May 0f 2009.  I am a writer, photographer, counselor, and ‘Life Artist.’  Every day, I share stories about people, travel, art, and personal growth.  

All my content is free and without advertisements.  This is my gift to you!

Let’s Create Our World.

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Read on this page for all the details, if you want to jump ahead click the links to your interests.

Read what the Chicago Tribune has to say about Create Our World.

Here is an overview:

*What Create Our World is?

*The Story of Benjamin.

*The Journey… So Far.

The Bests and Worsts of the Journey… So Far.

*The Beginner’s Guide to Create Our World.

*Frequently Asked Questions.

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Michigan.

What is Create Our World? 

Create Our World is my adventure travel blog and inspirational website. In May of 2009, I started hitchhiking and chronicling the stories of people I met along the way.  I want to share stories of the goodness of people and inspire others to go after their dreams.  When I started the project, here are the guidelines I put on myself.

Guidelines:

1. I will not pay anything for transportation.  (Public transportation in cities is okay and so is a two way trip)

2.  I will not pay anything for lodging.  

3.  I will write an article and post a photograph or video everyday for a year.

4.  I will meet as many people as I can and learn from them.

5.  I will leave everyone I meet and everywhere I go, better than I found it.

6.  No begging or soliciting money from anyone. I accept gifts but only from those whom initiate, are able, and whom feel good about giving.

My Beliefs:

1.  All people are innately good.

2.  Everyone is unique and exceptional.

3.  Everyone can live the life of their dreams.

I am putting these beliefs to the test everyday as I ride and stay with ‘strangers,’ while pursuing my own dream life.  Along the road, I want to help as many others go after their dream life and lead others in the importance of being good, kind, and following your heart.

What I write about.

1.  I share personal stories, photographs, and videos from the people I meet along my trip to share the unique wisdom that every one of us possesses.

2.  I share practical budget and adventure travel tips to help you travel easier and happier.

3.  I share anything I can get my hands on about personal growth.  Inspirational quotes, articles, websites, blogs, movies, books, or any type of media to encourage and motivate others to be good to other people and go after the life of their dreams.

4.  I share art that is unique and touching.  I love photography and I have started making Youtube videos to share my own vision with the world.  I also search for other artists and creators whom are producing art that is different and remarkable.

My Travel Style: Follow my Intuition. 

I resolve to follow my heart everyday!  I am not trying to make it to every state in the USA or set any speed records on how fast I can hitch.  I try every day to remain open to new possibilities, new people, and new opportunities to learn, grow, and challenge myself.  Therefore, I have a very fluid schedule and plan.  My plans can change at any time and often do.  I prefer it this way.

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Me & Sam in New York.

About Benjamin (Me!): The Short Story.

I am an artist, traveler, and lover of people, whom wants to help our world be more connected to each other.  I grew up in a small town in Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Psychology.  I worked at a wilderness school in Virginia helping troubled teens for 6 years, where I learned much much much about people, myself, and what I want.  I am on a mission to learn and share wisdom with others, while doing what I love!

Benjamin: The Long Story.

I love learning.

I grew up in a teeny, tiny town in the middle of Michigan.  Carson City has one blinking light and no Wal-mart.  A McDonald’s moved in when I was a sophomore in high school.  However, my grandparents lived near New York City and my Nana is an avid traveler.  I was fortunate enough to wander the streets of New York City and visit Portugal before I entered high school.  My Nana’s stories of far off lands sparked an unsatiable thirst for knowledge and wisdom.  

I love traveling.

I went to Michigan State University, where I eventually settled down into the field of psychology.  After a trip to Australia and the Netherlands, I realized (sometimes painfully) how large and different our world is. I learned and had to grow in ways I had never experienced.  I was hooked.

I love people.

After graduating from Michigan State, I was ready to explore our world.  I looked into teaching English in other counties, but eventually settled on becoming a counselor at a small school in Virginia.  New Dominion School was a residential school for at-risk youth that was set on 550 acres of forest in Central Virginia.  The kids were from a variety of backgrounds.  Some rich and some poor, some angry and some sad, some cocky and some terrified.  The kids spent over a year here learning to ‘turn their lives around.’  I lived there 5 days a week for over a year and learned much about myself and other people in the process.  I had planned to stay for two years but that turned into 6 years.  

I love growing.

I didn’t leave because there was always another challenge and I felt compelled to help the kids and the school.  I became accustomed to taking a hard look at myself everyday and pushing myself to grow.  I learned to lead at New Dominion by being an example to the kids and the other counselors.  After directing the school for a year and a half, the time to leave was coming closer and closer.  It was an exciting time, but it was also a heartbreaking time as the school was in a tail spin, partially due to the economic crisis.  When I left the school, I was emotionally spent and very ready to devote myself to my other passions, which I had neglected as all my time and energy went into the school.  

I love art.

Since college and my first digital camera, I have loved photography.  This love and practice spread to other forms of art.  But I have always been drawn to unique forms of art.  People whom dared to do something different.  People whom dared to express the world as they see it.  As time passed, my thoughts and direction towards what was next became clearer and clearer.  

I love hitchhiking.

Create Our World was born from throbbing stew of all my passions and my desire to live my dreams.  To really go after a life that would fulfill me on all levels.  To no longer settle for what others thought I could have or thought I could do.  To go as big as I dreamed and see what would happen.  

I had hitchhiked a few times in the past couple years because of my old and tempermental Honda Accord.  I always seem to have a better time when my car broke down, than when it ran.  

The idea dawned to hitchhike around the USA.  But not just to keep the knowledge for myself or focus on having fun or cutting loose.  No, the goal was to learn as much as I could.  To learn about people, whom are much different from myself.  To learn why people do as they do and how I could connect with anyone.  I wanted to use my skills in photography and writing to share this knowledge with the world.  

My Philosophies.

1.  Be Good to Yourself and Others.  It is the best way to live.

2.  People are much better than they get credit for.

3.  You can do anything you want.

4.  You being happy makes our world a better place.

5.  Give because it feels good.

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10 Quotes that Influence Me.

“Whomever is happy will make other happy too.” – Mark Twain

“Spread love everywhere you go.  Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa 

A journey is best measured in friends and not miles.” – Tim Cahill

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive. – Howard Thurman

What I am actually saying is that we need to be willing to let our intuition guide us, and then be willing to follow that guidance directly and fearlessly.” -Shakti Gawain 

“Whenever you do a thing, though it can be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly. – Thomas Jefferson

Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly, and without expectation.  We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.” - Leo Buscaglia 

“Today you are YOU, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive that is Youer than You.” -Dr. Seuss

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank

****Like quotes, here is a link to the Top 50 Most Inspirational Quotes****

10 Books that Influence Me.

Worldwalk by Steven M. Newman

Living in the Light by Shakti Gawain

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

On the Road by Jack Keroauc

Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore

Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Way of Zen by Alan Watts

The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

Blogs that Influence Me.

Seth’s Blog by Seth Godin: Marketing and Spreading Ideas.

The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebreau.

Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pam Slim.

Problogger by Darren Rowse.

Postsecret.

Zen Habits by Leo Babauta.

The Happiness Project by Getchen Rubin.

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Nappin' in Orange County.

Nappin' in Orange County.

About the Journey, so far.

The Beginning.

I started practicing hitchhiking in May of 2009.  I lived in Farmville, Virginia then.  I would hitchhike to cities about an hour away and stay for a week or so before returning.  I would practice the basics of hitchhiking; catching rides, finding a place to sleep, and meeting new people.  I met some awesome and interesting folks: polyamorists, a street singer, and was given an iPhone.  A month later, with my house rented and my belongings all donated, trashed, sold, or crammed into my car, I hitchhiked out of town.

Family Time: New Jersey & Michigan.

The first two months I spent most of my time with family.  I hitched north up to New Jersey to celebrate my cousin’s high school graduation and spent three weeks with my Nana and Papa.  We sipped tea and talked about the world.  She tried to convince me not to hitchhike, but failed.  I then thumbed a ride to Michigan, where I grew up.  I spent over a month visiting family, old friends, and making new friends.  I danced at my friends wedding along Lake Michigan and helped move my grandparents to Michigan.  

As it was time to leave, I was torn between heading West and heading to the Northeast.  Do I see changing leaves or hit the mountains before it gets cold?  

Peepin’ Leaves: Northeast.

The Northeast won.  I hitched through Ohio, Scranton, PA, Oneonta, NY, and up to Burlington, VT.  Staying in the hometown of Dunder Mifflin, crashing on the couch of a rock band, and swimming in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.  Then through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, till I hit Portland, Maine for a week.  Boston topped out my Northeast experience.  Leaves of all different colors danced and jiggled, so did activist street bands.  As the temps started to get cold though, it was time to head south.

Wandering in NOLA.

It snowed when I headed back to Scranton to revisit some friends.  Ahhh!  To the South, it is.  Back through Baltimore,  Virginia and North Carolina, I am inspired to head to New Orleans for Halloween festivities.  A four day marathon hitch ended in Bourbon Street as millions crowded the streets in all sorts of costumes (check the video!).  I stayed longer than I planned and fell in love.  The colors, friendliness, and fun of the city drew me in.  But the West was still calling.

Go West: Austin, the Oil Capitol, and So Cal.

I spent a month in Austin, Texas sleeping in a broken down van at the Dixie Ranch and hanging with a smart and open group of folks.  Thanksgiving involved a lot of turkey with all the fixin’s with other Couchsurfers.  After Austin, I navigated the tumbleweeds of West Texas and on Christmas Eve met a bunch of folks, whom got me a hotel room.  We shared much different views on life and shared the night bonding “human-style” in the self-proclaimed ‘Oil Capitol of the USA.‘  After visiting my great aunt Betty in Yuma for a few days, I finished the year tipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean outside of San Diego.  Since then, I have been exploring Southern California.  Spending time in San Diego, the wine country of Temecula, and amid the mansions of Orange County.  I am writing this from Venice Beach now, but will be moving soon.  

I won’t update this to often, but you can keep up by Following my journey.

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Read on at The Beginner’s Guide to Create Our World.

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“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualist concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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  • Hey buddy,

    Love the site!

    Im hitch hiking from NY to LA in a few weeks… where you at?/

    Seb

    seb@100things.com.au

  • [...] the world for the better.  He’s definitely living life on his own terms and he’s got lots of heartwarming stories to share about people making a difference.  Watching the news these days you’d think we have [...]


  • Ray

    ya lil cunt…

    I noticed you removed comments after I wrote a somewhat critical and insightful comment about how much easier it is for you to do this, being a small non threatening white male. You wont see many minorities trying to pull this shit…I wonder why…is it because people are “innately good”??
    Let me be frank- you are selling yourself and blowing smoke up peoples asses. I esp like the narcissistic pics you made, trying to paint yourself as a modern day hipster Jesus. You are telling people what they want to hear, and intentionally minimizing the negative realities. You are not someone who values the truth. You see life through ridiculously rose tinted glasses… Since you are such a optimistic people lover, what would you think if I told you innocent people are being terrorized right in our country, by their fellow citizens? /that the mental health system is very much involved and complicit? It is happening, but none of these “good hearted” lemmings want to face it- theyd rather do something safe and trendy to increase their popularity like “free tibet”.
    http://www.thehiddenevil.com

    http://www.areyoutargeted.com

    Id be interested to know what you think about these websites, since you are such a “humanitarian” and everyone is brimming over with goodness and potential. If thats the case how do evils like this occur, unchallenged, for literally decades and decades? Maybe most people are stupid cowardly sheep that like to see themselves as good and noble and intelligent and talented… and you try to gain influence and power by telling them that they do indeed possess these traits??


  • Ray

    I didnt mean to call you a “lil cunt” I apologize, I had deleted that, but when my comment wouldnt go through, I used my clipboard copy and sent it before it had been proofread.
    I’m interested in what you think of the links I provided, as I have lived the hell of organized stalking for over 10 years as a native born US citizen. Feel free to email me.

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