Day one began with a series of interruptions, delays, and inertia so much that I questioned my whole purpose of undertaking this journey. Am I an idiot? Am I just a petulant, privileged child complaining about the manacles of upper middle class expectations while comforted in the vessels of convenience and a safety net?
My first part of my journey had me meet a supportive friend who offered a solar powered gadget that charges my phone. When I left he gave me a donation and I literally cried when I walked inside my car. So much of an outpouring of love has come my way. I thought I’d be mocked and ignored when publicly stating my intentions but instead I received acceptance and support. The kindness and support I’ve received is immeasurable… it means more to mean than this trip.
Another reason that I almost quit is that on the way to my friend’s house, I only used a GPS. It took my car through all sorts of side streets and corridors in the dark night; I finally let the GPS lead my vehicle to his complex. It was an estranging event to be led into different corridors without any idea or vision of where I was. Also, knowing that I did not know where I was sleeping tonight, where I am going tomorrow, and what I am doing tonight was frightening. In addition, I lost the inspiration, panic attacks, and euphoria that characterized this week and instead found anger, neurosis, and a perfect look at my demons and somewhat horrible personality.
My friend gave me the best pep talk including his experience with the Habitat for Humanity Project in Japan that almost fell through (and he was almost abandoned amongst the locals) and his experience in the “Urban Plunge” (not showering for a week, and stepping into a guided world with actual homeless individuals for a weekend). He told me to get through the first few days and I’ll be okay. I was so scared and insecure that I wanted to “Hobbit” the situation and go back into my home and get a warm bed and a predictable kitchen. Why has my path taken me into this strange situation of insecurity, self-doubt, and cognitive dissonance? I held back tears but did not hide my dissonance and fear. My friend said that life, regardless of stability and safety nets, has no guarantees and that success is built upon risks and “jumping” (off the cliff as Steve Harvey used that comparison). He reassured me and said he “wished he could go on the trip.” This is a friend who toughed out 10 years in a computer career that he despised to switch over to his side film business full time in his early 30s; the only career shift or one of few career shifts that I know of from my 30 something friends.
Now, without glorification nor romanticizing, I lie in the shadows between total vagabondness and the neat order of society. I started driving late today (around 6pm) and did not sleep much last night. After hitting the road on I-95 south (to North Carolina, and then I-40 west as a straight shot to California where I hope to stay for 3 months of writing by the ocean) I began to get sleepy and turned into some shopping center parking lot in or near Manassas (sp?), VA and slept. There were other cars there and was surprised I was not harassed by any policemen. I was left alone. Also, I kept hearing voices in my semi-waking state in which blue collared workers were saying to leave me alone, that they wondered what I was thinking, and that essayists offer opinions and perspective for society so that they should be respected and listened to. It was strange, as this theme continued during my 2-3 hour doze.
Then I ate an apple and some potato chips (healthy! at least vegetarian). I bought a lot of can foods including: mushrooms, crushed pinapples, beans, green beans, split pea soup, lentil soup, spinach, Sphaghetti O’s, Moon Pies, cream cookies, and a two loaves of bread. Each item was around or less than $1. $80 will provide for 4-6 weeks of food for me by my estimations. I also purchased a tent and sleeping bag at a friend’s suggestion in case I need to camp for a night and save money.
I deposited my final paycheck from my last job that I quit at the local Capital One Bank – it felt symbolic (a sendoff from modern society or my old life) – and parked in front of a Panera at 3am and began using Facebook and blogging on my laptop. Still have not been harassed by anyone – God Bless them.
I am alive and well! In fact, I plan on driving for some hours now that I am refreshed. My phone is charging on the automobile car charger.
To save money, I’ll try to push and only enter a hotel every two days. I feel strangely blessed now despite the future being uncertain. Will I get used to this traveler lifestyle? Only time will tell! 😀