Thursday, May 14, 2015

Vagabond

What about to tell you makes it real. Not that I haven’t been thinking about and talking about it and figuring it out for months, but this, in writing, is oh-so-real. As I mentioned in the last post, my Seattle girlfriend is baking an unexpected bun (because life is minxy like that) and has since moved back to the east coast to be closer to family (i.e. a necessary support system). So when I went to Phoenix and I really liked it and eating ice cream outside in 70 degree weather in February, I thought “THIS IS AMAZING. I could totally live here.”

Phoenix was an attractive place to live before Walter. And then I assumed Walter (who offered to help me move – huge for a girl looking out for any signs from the universe) was a sign and BOOP! decided Arizona was it. And then Walter ghosted and burned, so I was really distraught. I was distraught not only that this guy I was interested in disappeared, but, moreso, (I realized as time when on) I was distraught that I had this total sense of direction again after abandoning Seattle – and that was suddenly ripped from me too.

And thus, again, I was directionless; (new) homeless. And frustrated. For years I’ve wanted to move, but I’ve stayed here, unsure of where to go. And it is best, I thought: if you haven’t a place to go, stay just where you are. But I’m done staying; the time is up and I don’t want to live here anymore, despite lacking any solid direction of where to go. Which brings me to my latest plan - the one I'm making real. My new plan starts with a sabbatical. (Or freelancing for work, if they allow me.) It’s foolish and financially irresponsible and tricky and terrifying and awesome, but I’m going to travel around the country shopping for my new home. I'm going to become a vagabond, to shop for the city I've been hoping to have found by now.

Now, you might say: Well why not just continue with your plan to move to Seattle? And, as a girl with such an inclination to pay attention to “signs,” everything in the past nine months has motioned to me and waved me away from it. Starting with the Turk. Plus, my Seattle gal – once discovered she was moving back east – admitted to me after I regaled her with my Phoenix tale, “I don’t think Seattle is sunny enough for you.”

In my months of mental planning, since I made this sort-of ridiculous decision, I have figured out the very small logistics of how and what. I will pack up all of my things and store them at my parents’ house. I will have a limited number of necessary items in my car, which will also serve as my bed part time. (Thank you Wal-Mart parking lots and KOAs.) I want to keep an open itinerary, but drive all around the country. I’m hoping facebook and connections will earn me free places to stay and lots of advice. While I am on my country-wide city walkabout, if I like a city, I will stay there for a couple of days, applying for jobs (and maybe even interviewing) before I move on to the next city.

The choice to do this – thankfully, is supported by my mother. I feel like that is very important, because I’m entirely nervous to make this step. It’s an incredibly calculated risk. But I realize I have only one life and it has been a decade long dream of mine to be a vagabond, so what better time and way to discover a new home, than to become a homeless vaga to do it? (I hope.) That support gives me courage.

Friends and strangers have also begun to come forward and give me the courage to do this. When people ask if, when, and where I’m moving, I tell them my new plan and they give me high-fives. Internet strangers have commended me for my "bravery." Real life strangers have also given me votes of confidence. For, for example, I was in a restaurant of the airport two weeks ago in Atlanta (on the way back from Mexico) when I was telling the stranger next to me my plan. A man sitting at the bar, turned around and mentioned that when he was 30, he quit his job and spent six months traveling the world and it was the best thing he ever did. Thirty minutes later, we boarded (that same guy happened to be on the flight) and while we loaded in I came upon this article. We were flying back from Cozumel where I never wanted to leave. (That’s the first time I’d been to a place and understood the sentiment of “I want to retire here.”) Mid-air I read and realized I was reading about myself. (I’m pretty sure she and I could be best friends.)

I want a life more fulfilling like the girl in the article. I am completely uncertain what that means or where it is, but that piece, and the man at the bar, and the encouragement of friends and strangers, and support of family, it makes me realize that sometimes you have to drop everything and put your faith into the things unknown. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m on a quest to ensure my life is entirely fulfilling, and while I’m not sure what it means, I am ready and determined to do my damnedest to find out. And calm my fears with excitement.

Finally, I'm leaving. It's time to say "Fuck it." I'm going to live.


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