I’ve been on the road for a little over a month now. That’s not entirely true. I left NY at the end of September, spent a week with my family in MA, then drove south and west for the next two days until I got to Durant, OK (always pronounced DOO-rant in my head) where I’ve been posted up at my best friend’s house for the past month.
My first two weeks in Oklahoma were spent housesitting and managing my friend’s husband’s law firm while they were away on their honeymoon. And yes, I do realize that quitting one soul-sucking office job at a law firm only to immediately start working in another is rather ironic, but the fact that it was temporary and helpful to people I love makes it okay.
Speaking of things that I love…
I LOVE not having stuff anymore. I love that I don’t have to worry about getting my broken toaster fixed, or replacing the hallway light bulb that blew out eight months ago, or the fact that the number two express cook button is the only one that ever worked on my microwave – because I no longer own any of those things!
I really do think about all of my possessions in terms of weight now. I’m constantly asking myself if the value of a particular item is worth the weight of carrying it around. The answer is typically no. Hence, I’ve lost a ton of weight lately and it feels fantastic.
Unencumbered as I am with the burdens of everyday things like a home, possessions and a steady job, you’d think I’d be starting my journey from a place of ease and complete freedom. But that’s not the case. I’ve discovered, much to my chagrin, that my new lifestyle is fraught with its own complications, like…
– Crafting a pithy response to seemingly mundane questions such as, ‘Where do you live?’ or ‘What do you do for a living?’
– Figuring out what day of the week it is.
– Creating a budget and sticking to it, so you can postpone your inevitable return to the real world.
– Learning the best methods to avoid getting stabbed to death by a drifter.
Or, wait. Since I am a drifter, am I supposed to be the one stabbing people? Ugh. I have so many questions. Who knew being a shiftless layabout was going to be so much trouble? I mean… I don’t even know how to tie a proper bindle yet! How am I supposed to survive?
Seriously though. Removing all of life’s difficulties doesn’t automatically solve your problems. Seems obvious and yet, I was oddly floored by this realization. Simply eliminating the things that make you unhappy doesn’t guarantee that you’ll necessarily be happy with what’s left.
You still have to ‘do the work.’ I apologize for the therapist-speak, but it’s true. Take away the distractions of everyday life and you’re left with a vacuum. You need to fill your time and space with something, and it’s really tempting to choose the wrong things. It’s all too easy to let the days slide past in a haze of television, Facebook, or booze if that’s your thing.
So here I am, in Oklahoma of all places, trying my best to value this time like the gift that it is. Here’s a brief recap of what I’ve been up to:
I’ve driven nearly 4,000 miles. In this car…
With this much mileage on it at the start…
This is some of the stuff I’ve seen and people I’ve met…
[Austin, TX – with my favorite podcasting duo, Seth and Jonathan, from Uhh Yeah Dude.]
[Fenton, MO – with author and all around great guy, Patrick Rothfuss.]
I also ate what could quite possibly be the greatest meal of my life at a cattle ranch in Soper, OK. Fried okra picked from the garden that morning, fresh baked cornbread, brisket you could cut with a spoon, and the most perfect homemade fried chicken I’ve ever encountered. I’m telling you, this chicken was a revelation. My friend’s mom said she’ll teach me how to make it the next time I come back this way. That alone would make it worth the trip.
When I’m not actively adventuring, I am writing, singing, reading, cooking, eating, laughing, spending lots of time outdoors, getting exercise, helping my friends around the house or at the office, and trying not to waste too much time staring at a glowing screen of any kind.
Most importantly, I’ve gotten to spend a ton of time with my best friend. That’s been the best part. Luckily, she and her husband don’t seem to mind having me around, which has been great for me.
Though I’m loath to leave, it’s getting to be about that time. Time to keep moving. See what else is out there to see. I’m going to take one more week to enjoy the comforts of home while I figure out what comes next.
Drop me a line if you want a well-behaved house guest!