• Richie Crowley

Can I Help You?

Twice, I’ve lived out my dreams, and now I want to support my peers in reaching theirs.

On Friday, I flew across the country, from Los Angeles to Washington D.C., Reagan National to be specific, for a friend's wedding. I was a groomsman.

I flew Alaska Airlines. An aisle seat with a 12:45 pm departure. I slept in, made my breakfast, wore sweats (I get cold on flights), and made sure my personal item had all my in-flight necessities: headphones, water bottle, USB i-phone charging cord, almonds, book.

The flight had no seatback televisions, for the price I paid for the flight I should have guessed this, but I wasn’t as upset as the man in the row in front of me who was demanding a free media tablet. They rent for $10. (And they say my generation has a technology dependency!)

We took off on time, a smooth lift, and before reaching cruising altitude I had dozed off. I woke up moments before the beverage cart reached my row. “Tea, please. Black. Thank You.”

It’s difficult to hold and cool tea at the same time, so I twisted my tray table down to allow my tea to cool on a trusted surface and queued up my three favorite songs at the moment: Quiet — Stripped by MILCK, Land Lines by BOII, and 6’s to 9’s — Analog Sessions by Big Wild & Rationale. Now, I had a 9-minute window for my tea to cool. After the final chorus of 6’s to 9’s the temperature of my tea must have cooled. I sipped it to confirm. Drinkable. Success.

I brought two books with me on this trip, a trip that will keep me on EST for the next two weeks: The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh and Hippie by Paulo Coehlo. I’ve yet to open The Miracle of Mindfulness, my bookmark is resting in Hippie. Hippie chronicles the life experience of Coelho when he traveled a known hippie trail with a new friend of 24 hours, Karla, from Dam Square in Amsterdam to Nepal, aboard the Magic Bus.

The Magic Bus, a $70 ticket (~$334 in today’s USD) that covers only transportation, the reader is informed, is a converted school bus that brings the passengers through Austria, the former Yugoslavia, Istanbul, where they stop due to regional conflict, India, and delivers all passengers to Nepal. Narrated in the third person, the story is a window seat into Coelho’s life of least resistance as he rides through the ever-changing landscapes of Europe and Asia, with a group of like-minded individuals. Like-minded, not in their motivations to travel, but simply that they were all together on this bus. Like-bodied.

Most readers would be warmed by this adventure. First, envying Coelho’s boldness which appears careless, then dreaming of being able to take a full year off to travel, only to then confirm their commitments wouldn’t let them.

“Oh, sure, I’d love to travel the world but I don’t have the time, money, or I have something called work."

As someone who for most of his adult life has been spent traveling, living abroad, and resisting traditional employment, these are the three most common reasons why one doesn’t, launch. So I’d like to remind you, that you can do anything, you just need to begin thinking in abundance and begin seeing life as a set of choices, not sacrifices. If it’s money, spend less or spend wiser, if it’s time, identify where you are wasting yours, and if it’s work, then have the necessary conversations.

Ah, yes, the book — Let’s get back on track.

Reading Hippie though, I had no envy. I was nostalgic. For three years of my life, this was my story.

From 2013–2016, I lived in Europe. First in Briancon, France, then Bolzano, Italy where I mistakenly introduced myself in Italian, and then in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, home to the 2026 winter olympics. During this time I took advantage of the affordable flights, buses, and trains, my Italian passport, and my weekends off. I saw the sights, I discovered the seas, and I indulged myself. In all categories.

I made fast friends, sharing scooters before sharing names. I stored cash in several places. I kept the casual sexual encounters one hears of that backpackers boast of, lasting no longer than an evening with all names forgotten, or never even exchanged. I learned how to analyze risk in seconds, and for most of these years, I lived in the moment. The next day’s taxi strike or weather would not decide my itinerary for the current day. I was focused only on the latest invitation to experience.

So, I read Hippie nodding in agreement for most of the pages. Agreement that his words are printed in truth. Agreement that everyone and anyone should experience adventure. An encouragement to experiment with living life the way Paulo did in the 1970’s. Liberated not from judgment, but from allowing outside input to influence your decisions and shift you from alignment with your dreams. True freedom and embrace of the autonomy of the self.

So, if you’ve read the book, a similar book, an article, an Instagram post, or even simply the paragraphs above and felt a sense of jealousy or envy, please don’t allow these words to sound accusatory or received as an indictment on your life. Rather, flip this script and feel empowered that this dream, or any dream of yours is attainable. There may be obstacles, but still, they are attainable.

Our dreams are unique. Our dreams differ in size. They are ever original, a product only of the dreamer. And each pursuit has a different starting point, but please believe me that every dream is attainable. This is as much a mindset as it is a truth. First, one must believe the dream is attainable, then they must create a strategy and pursue it with an unaffected resilience. That’s where I want to help.

Several minutes ago you clicked on an article that asked if I could help you. Then you read about a cross country flight, a book, living in Europe, and the redundancy of the word attainable in relationship to your dreams. But, you’re here. So let me get to the point now.

Twice, I’ve lived my dreams. Once when I became a professional athlete, for three years I played professional Ice Hockey, and again when I rode my bicycle across the United States alone. The experience of realizing a dream and ushering it through the stages of strategy, implementation, and execution is the most fulfilling process I have ever gone through, and I’ve done it twice. Now, I want to replicate it for others. It’s why I opened RICKiRICKi, it’s why I am loud on social media and in emails, and it’s why I choose a language for my conversations that will never doubt someone. During the process of achieving my dreams, I wasn’t alone. Whether it was in the form of a cheering section, publicly or privately, or tangible help that accelerate my process, I had the help of others. For that, I am eternally grateful, and now I want to return the favor, in a proposal that is absent of ego.

I have one copy of Hippie ready to be mailed to the first person who wants to read it, and I have infinite time to engage in conversations with anyone who has a dream. Leave me a note on this, in the comments, or send me some words via RICKiRICKi, as I’m happy to share strategies or directly support your pursuit. My truth is that the greatest personal tragedy is that of a dream deferred, so consider me across the intersection from you, holding a poster board that covers half my body, with the words “How Can I Help You” printed across it. With gratitude,

Richie. Human.


The difference between Seth Godin, The Morning Brew, and me? I respect your inbox, curating only one newsletter per month — Join my behind-the-words monthly newsletter to feel what it’s like to receive a respectful newsletter.