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I remember the first day Fahad Asmat contacted me online and asked to join me on an adventure. He wanted to hike through the waters of the Florida Everglades, to trek across the swamps. Not knowing Fahad at all, I was skeptical, as I never really hiked with anyone else before. You see, I was used to traveling about solo, I was used to being alone with God and nature. I did not know whether or not I wanted to add someone else into that equation.
But the intuitive voice within me said yes, it told me that I should, so thus I allowed him to enter my life. I do not have many real friends, and this is why I keep my guard up at all times. I have been bitten by the vipers of false friendship way too many times. I have felt the pain of such emotional wounds, a pain that left a scar upon my heart.
I remember telling him yes on the phone, but only if he bought a pair of anti venom snake boots. He happily agreed, and did so. I recall meeting him and driving with him to the trail, there was something about him that intrigued me. He was well mannered, a fellow photographer, but above all else a kind and gentle soul. I knew from that first day that we would become great friends, and I was not wrong nor disappointed. Pure friendship, no competition, no drama, no bull crap.
Looking back to those days and all the adventures we have taken across numerous states. Through valleys, caves, mountains, waterfalls and forests, thousand of miles we have covered and so many yet to be. I can honestly say with all my heart, that I am forever blessed by his friendship, his love and support. I am forever enriched by his humbleness, his caring and his passion for the wild and for his family.
To think that some people wanted to sabotage our relationship numerous times, spiteful people who knew not the bond he and I have. For it is a special bond more powerful than mere friendship, but it is a spiritual one. A bond that was gifted to us by God, a bond that has allowed us to grow from best friends to brothers. I bond I cherish with all my soul, as does he.
Let no man nor woman ever have the power to break such a bond, for such a friendship is eternal in the heavens as is on earth, and I would fight tooth and nail to protect it.
– George Mercado