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Souled Out Europe

$1,135 of $1,500 goal

Raised by 18 people in 15 months
One year later. 

It doesn't seem that long ago, and yet it seems like a different person left Memphis bound for the West Coast last year. 16,000 miles, thousands of photos, and three months later, I returned to the city where it all began—and I've never quite been the same.

Every day, I think about that trip. I can see the mountains, the seas, the stormy nights trapped in the tent. Somewhere on the road, a switch flipped in my mind, and I realized that the road is where I'm supposed to be right now.

But with America behind me, new roads await. In December, it was Vietnam. Now, it's Europe.

With only a single passport stamp under my belt, I'll embark on a three week, solo journey across Europe: just me, a few cameras, and a backpack.

Vietnam was easy. In Southeast Asia, there were friends from home, and nearly everyone spoke English.

Currency conversion made us wealthy; the opposite holds true in Europe.

I'm headed for the ancient capitals of the old world, for a date with an active volcano, and an immersion in a world of languages that I barely understand.

Iceland, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, Sicily, and Italy await...all with the lingering temptation of Cairo—or will it be Croatia— only a short flight away.

This is Souled Out Europe. It's about pushing the boundaries, about grabbing your comfort zone and throwing it overboard.

It's about keeping the journey going, and I hope you'll come along.

-Joe
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Three days. That's all I've got left until I hop on the first leg towards Europe.

By this point, the first few weeks over there are booked. The AirBnB's are in line, transportation is mostly arranged, and an epic journey is beginning to unfold. We're talking English castles, Scottish highways, French coastlines and Welsh...whatever they do in Wales.

I know you'll be reading the blog while I'm out, but I wouldn't expect you to just sit on the sidelines, would I?

While I'm out, you can win Souled Out prizes by completing tasks in and around the base camp in Memphis.

What's up for grabs?

Shirts—for those who find a sticker of our logo, post the image to Facebook and tag me in it. There are 20 logos scattered around Memphis. The first person to find each one gets swag. Big thanks to Parker Prints & Ferocious Graphix for sponsoring this one.

Haunted Prize Pack— Soul Burgers for two at Earnestine & Hazel's, two tickets to a Haunted Memphis ghost tour, and a case of Ghost River beer. Optional digs for a weekend at the SouledOut HQ in South Main...within walking distance to Beale Street and Central BBQ. Anyone who donates to this campaign is entered to win!

Deuter Transit 50 Travel Bag— This phenomenal travel bag is identical to the one I'll be traveling with across Europe. It's a 50L bag that's specifically made for traveling wherever your heart desires. And, it comes with a day pack that attaches on-and-off, so you won't need to lug all of your stuff around all of the time!

To enter, you'll have to subscribe to the blog on our new website. Just enter your email address, on the right, beside any story at SouledOutBlog.com.

I'll be looking forward to your entries. In the meantime, I'll be packing!
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SOUTH MEMPHIS— We were Number One for a while. The Number One most dangerous zip code in America. At least that's what statistics told us. That's what the news said.

Everyday, for over a thousand days, I made the short drive down to America's most dangerous zip code. A few times, caught a ride down. Once, when my car was broken, I rode a bike. So for over a thousand days, I guess you could say I was in an unsafe place.

But the truth is that I rarely felt that way. You get used to the neighborhood over time. The bizarre sights—grown men with 6-foot pythons wrapped around their necks, toddlers wadding through thick weeds unattended, human zombies dragging their feet to the liquor store—they all become normal after a while. And they don't feel so dangerous.

I was happy working here. I loved South Memphis, and I felt like South Memphis loved me. I was a part of the neighborhood, a permanent fixture marked by a daily routine and a photo on the wall of Memphis' Best Soul Food, right beside Samuel L. Jackson. More than South Memphis, though, I loved the place where I worked, the place where I designed t-shirts every day for years: Parker Prints.

The people there are still family. They always will be.

During the long come-up back from the bottom, when I flunked out of college and scratched out a living delivering chocolates during the day and pizza pies at night—all the while trying to somehow grow a basketball blog—Parker Prints gave me the boost I desperately needed: a solid, $12/hour job where I could be a part of something. I could draw art for the Grizzlies, or the Tigers. I could work with big time musicians like Yo Gotti or Beale Street fixtures like Tater Reds Lucky Mojos and B.B. Kings.

I loved it there.

But when the bullets started flying, one summer day in 2012, the streets of South Memphis changed me. Forged in their fire, I finally decided that life in 38106 was hot enough.

Within a few weeks, I ventured out. I walked away from graphic design and back towards the world of writing. It wasn't glamorous at first—there were heartbreaks and pitfalls along the way—but, with a lot of help and even more luck, I made my way with a pen, a pad, and a camera lens.

That's how we arrive here, today. With a video look back at the place that gave me enough love to believe in myself again, and enough pain to venture out on my own.

This one's for you, Soulsville. Scope the video to see for yourself:

https://www.facebook.com/38913315/videos/10102943163608720/

"As I walk through valleys of the shadows of Parkway."- Gangsta Blac
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There's no way I could have traveled America or Asia without you all, the Souled Out family.

For the first time, I'm offering donation level rewards. $40 nets you a first edition Souled Outside t shirt in your chosen color. (Campfire approved and made of the softest cottons.)

$75 will earn you an autographed, Souled Outside printed photo from your choice of Souled Out America, Vietnam or Europe.

$100 will get you both the shirt and the print, and for $500 I'll book an in-continent flight to a city of your choosing and bring you home a souvenir, along with a print of that city and a thank you message from a random local.
Souled Out Volcanic Ash Tee
Souled Out Campfire Glow Tee
Souled Out Prints
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$1,135 of $1,500 goal

Raised by 18 people in 15 months
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$50
Kim Hocott
13 months ago
$40
Polly Watkins Dean
13 months ago
JM
$20
Jill Murphy
13 months ago
KW
$100
Kevin Wranovix
13 months ago
JD
$50
Jeremy Dowdy
13 months ago
AE
$50
Alex Edwards
13 months ago
LM
$50
Lance Mountain
14 months ago
TS
$75
Trisha Schulz
14 months ago
JS
$60
Jesse Simpkins
14 months ago
CA
$50
Conor Ashcroft
14 months ago
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