MoboReader > Adeventure > Ria, are you ok?

   Chapter 3 No.3

Ria, are you ok? By Bruno Maiorana Characters: 5824

Updated: 2018-04-10 12:02

Some people say they are afraid of getting murdered by the hitchhikers but I don't think they are. I think what they're actually afraid of is leaving their comfort zone, in the one they aren't supposed to pick up hitchhikers. And in a country where the media tells you everyone's out to get you, it wasn't hard to see why people are so afraid of strangers.

"Alright." I unlocked the door for her and watched her gracefully slip into the car and fasten her seat belt, all in one swift uninterrupted move. "Are you in high school?" I asked her, just to get that off the way.

"No, " she said, relaxing her arm on the rolled-down window frame. "But thanks for that I guess. I'm actually twenty-three."

"But your clothes... You're dressed as a high school student. And your hair... Your hair looks nice by the way, " I said, embarrassed, as a way to move the subject away from her age.

"Do you believe in magic?" she asked abruptly, ignoring my compliment.

"I'm not sure, " I said, as I drove past a gigantic lorry, its rumble drowning my words, making them inaudible. I waited for it to go away and continued when I was sure she could hear me. "Do you mean magic tricks?"

"No, I don't mean magic tricks, " she held her book with both hands and looked in the rear-view mirror. I followed her gaze and felt a needle-like pain in my heart when I noticed there was a third passenger sitting in the back seat of the car.

5 - Ria

After finishing high school, I could have easily gotten into any college I wanted to, but as much as I tried to imagine myself being social, going to parties, and following the protocol of a structured education, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

I wasn't all against the rat race though, I thought it was cool for some people, just not for me. I couldn't see myself following orders or working for someone. I needed to do things my way even if that meant becoming a social outcast and breaking a few rules. Doing things my way became the natural way of living my life, and I was satisfied by it. I'd never really enjoyed socializing anyway.

Finally, I decided against going to university, so I took the money out of my college fund and instead invested it in learning everything I needed to know to be a professional treasure hunter. Taking as many courses as possible, I mastered a few languages, a few martial arts and got my Open Water Scuba Instructor certificate. I learned how to sail, how to parachute and how to survive in the wild. I taught myself about drilling techniques and how to crack open safes. I learned about off-road driving and how to work magic with computers, but the main turning point for me was being part of an acting group. Suddenly, a whole new world had opened up for me. I was able to put everything I had learned together. That was when I realized there was nothing that could stop me from achieving my dream. I could be whoever

I wanted to become, on cue.

Last month marked twelve years since mom passed away, and ten months since I got my private pilot license and became a full-time treasure hunter. Ten months may not sound like a lot, but it was the most intense time of my life. Truth be told, it was not as fun as I thought it would be. Ninety-five percent of my time and energy went into planning, researching, finding sponsors, organizing logistics or preparing supplies. Only about five percent was the actual time I spent looking for treasures.

There were just too many things to take care of before a hunt. It would usually all start with a few days of online research in forums, mostly on the dark web and some obscure IRC channels. Then I usually had to make some phone calls to acquire as much information as I could, often pretending to be a government official, a journalist, a researcher or a writer gathering information for my new book.

Then there was the legwork, which usually included a trip to the library, newspaper archives, universities, museums and at least a few old people's homes.

After collecting all the information about where the treasure was and how I could obtain it, I had to formulate a plan.

It was a bit like telling a story, for example, sometimes I dressed up as a traveler and pretended to have lost my way. Sometimes I would use a fake accent, taking advantage of my Asian descent and pretend to be doing research for a foreign university. Other times I would book a nice hotel, dress up nicely, speak slowly and impersonate a millionaire's daughter, representing my father's interests and looking for some investment opportunities in the area. They were all excuses to get closer to the treasure and it was fun to see how shallow people could be and how they would treat me much better when they thought I was rich, or thought they could get something out of me.

Once I had a plan, I needed to forge all the necessary paperwork to back up my story and grant me access to where the treasure was. This was the most relaxing part for me, as it involved nothing but my laptop, a hot cup of coffee and sometimes a small trip to a printing shop.

Then I had to find a sponsor. The usual way most people go about finding sponsors is by creating different sponsorship levels for their cause, and then spamming every company they can get email addresses of, with a copy-and-pasted letter. My approach was different. I needed to meet the sponsor face to face, so they could see what I was doing and that I was the real deal. I needed them to look into my eyes, feel my passion, and I couldn't do that over emails. I would cold-call top executives from different companies I thought could be interested in treasure hunting, and ask for five minutes of their time. I've met up with GPS, outdoor gear company owners, news outlet representatives, and it had all worked out well for me.

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