Hello traveler. Hello dreamer. Hello reader. Hello fellow human being. Most importantly, hello friend — old or new or hopefully in the future.
If you subscribe to my newsletter, some of this may be old news given the update last weekend, but I will be expanding on some of the things I talked about and it has been too long since I posted a personal update on the blog. A lot has been changing, not specifically for the better or for the worse — just change.
But honestly, I’m feeling a bit rusted, grinding to a halt and breaking down. Not mentally, but motivation wise.
There is much that happens when I return back to the United States after an extended period of travel; highs from seeing friends and family, and lows from trying to find an apartment and job hunting.
Then there is “normality” that slaps you in the face. Or what I refer to as the boring life. It is always a struggle to fight against those lows, because even with all of the stresses of travel and the uncertainty of a new environment or adventure, it is never like the silence of an empty apartment. That hum of the refrigerator, that ticking of a clock that is now always set to wake you up at the same time for work every day, or the doldrums of lying in your bed wondering why you aren’t in another country at that moment.
You know when you start waking up before your alarm clock goes off that repetition is becoming a daily affair.
One of the biggest challenges while being back in the United States is staying motivated. I am always in a constant state of inspiration while traveling; taking in all of the sights and sounds and smells with my spirit and senses amplified. I am always better at writing daily or working on some creative project while on the road. Though, on occasion, I do get caught up in the exploration and get far behind in the writing, but that the important part — to be present. Yet, when I return stateside, it always seems like the energy is sucked right out of me.
I have to fight to stay motivated, and usually I lose that battle to moping around or sleeping in or just gorging on static distraction like movies and video games. And I’ve been wondering a lot about why I can’t just get shit done now that I have plenty of free time on days off from waiting tables.
I’m never very present while back in the states. My skull cracks open and my brain grows wings and my mind flies away each day to a far off place, leaving me sitting here wondering what to do until I can take my body to where my imagination has drifted to.
I think it is because my heart yearns for the journey, the perpetual motion through mysterious places. Even on long buses or trains, that part of it is enjoyable to me. Some people dread that part of the journey that actually is the journey, but the click-clack of a train car or the wheels on the bus going round and round (sorry, I had to) is the an integral part. Unless of course there are snorers or crying babies or pencil tappers that make you want to leap out the window. I guess they are a part of it too.
But when I am stateside working to save up for the next adventure, everything seems stagnant. There isn’t that intimate feeling of connection with the world around me like I do when I travel. No more movement, unless the movement is a part of the job I am working at that time. Here, in Washington DC amongst the starched suites and the status-quo which consists of cold shoulders, ignoring your fellow human being, and conversations which don’t move past “what do you drive and how much do you make?” I am encumbered.
It isn’t always like that, and Washington DC can be an exciting place, though spending 20+ years of my life here has engrained in my mind that is a state of idleness and a place of routine.
It is time to get back into gear and look to changing this.
Why do I always come back then?
As it turns out, I always find myself returning to Washington DC after a long trip because it’s very easy to. Since I did grow up here, I always have places to crash and friends to see and potential jobs to come back to. It is comfortable and familiar, which is oddly enough some of the reasons I don’t want to live here. And there are still pieces of me, and my heart here — some painful, which always makes it difficult.What irony that is; I return to the place for the same reasons that I leave it. A place of nostalgia.
The main thinking behind my return is that I will be able to save up money quickly and leave again. And that is usually the case. But it has been weighing on me a lot lately. I love my friends and family, but I can’t keep coming back just because it’s easy, since one of my own core values is that anything easy isn’t worth doing — and chasing your dreams definitely ain’t easy.
Something has to change.
Even though I have been enjoying hanging out with friends and family, I had goals coming back to get in shape, eat healthier, write a book, keep blogging, and discover more about the United States. And that hasn’t been happening. All of these goals would make the return much less mundane and quite a bit beneficial for my mind, body, and soul (as it turns out besides hikes or walking with a pack, I don’t work out while traveling.) But I have been letting the negatives sap my spirit which in turn makes me not want to do anything.
I have to turn that around.
Previously, when I returned home from my first big trip to New Zealand, I fell into a deep depression; I was miserable and feeling like a failure for not being able to continually travel. I let myself go and drowned the disappointments in partying and drinking. Before this last trip to Thailand, I spent a good year repairing myself from this detrimental state of being, and was feeling better than I had ever before. And I cannot let that deadly nature take hold again. There is no reason I cannot accomplish great things while being back, unless I allow myself to hold me back.
I’ve been holding myself back lately.
There is also no reason my I should allow myself to be held back by some notion that a place is “boring“. It is not a place I associate with traveling, but I can start going deeper into the region and finding a way to make it exciting. Also, I am hoping to connect with close friends and family more, something I have always struggled with in the past with the feeling of not belonging.
As I work to save up more money, I will be thinking hard about what my next big trip will be. Given that I am tired of always returning to Washington DC because it is easy, I may be looking into setting up a base somewhere else in the States, somewhere I wouldn’t mind returning to that is filled with an open-minded and creative culture. Maybe it’s time I give California another try?
Keeping the spirit alive!
Though I have a troubled time enjoying Washington DC, one thing I will say is that autumn in the east coast is my favorite time of the year. Everything about fall I love; the smell and color of the leaves, the foods and baked goods, the festivals and Halloween themed events. And how a blanket or a hot drink suddenly become the best thing of the day.
Lately, I have been going out every week with a friend, Patrick of History Things With Patrick, who is a huge history buff/ex-civil war re-enactor/blog newbie. Every Monday we get together and explore places around Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia/Pennsylvania including battlefields, historic towns, and even abandoned buildings. That has been a huge help in keeping the spirit alive. It is also helping give me some semblance of exploration and has shown me how little I know of the place I grew up in.
Here is a video of some of the exploring we have been doing:
Trust me, going out and partying slows down the rate of which I can save for another trip, but it also makes me not want to do anything — especially explore. Now that I’ve caught up with friends and celebrated birthdays, it’s about time I hunker down.
Big blog changes!
I also wanted to touch upon the blog and newsletter, because there has definitely been far fewer updates and articles. Along with the return home draining some of my creative energy, I will also say that I am sending a newsletter only every month or so, and posts on the blog are few and far between because I am completely redesigning the webite in all aspects. From the layout to the reading experience and of course the design, much is going to change — but it will still keep that quirky creativeness I think many of you love.
The new blog with be much more design consistent and simplistic, while at the same time having a fresh feeling. I am combining my new-found love for collage and surrealism in parts of the design, while making sure distractions when reading articles are eliminated. Writing has definitely become my main passion and creative outlet, and in the age of in-your-face marketing schemes and annoying pop-ups (you know who you are) I will be taking it all away to give a pure reading experience. From handwriting to polaroids, real books to typing on a typewriter, I still have much move for the purity of art forms that are gobbled up by marketing schemes. It will show in the new blog.
Speaking of new, there will be other changes in terms travel blogging. I have a stockpile of hundreds of hours of video from the past adventures, and as I redesign the blog, I will also be releasing a lot of travel videos. I promised this in the past, but I always wanted to roll it out with the new blog, and I am finally in the later stages of the design.
The design itself is something that I am so excited to reveal to you all, but given that I will have to comb through hundreds of articles and pages to match them to the new design, while also going through every code nook and cranny, I am holding back on posting too much. I want to produce quality articles that I feel speak from my soul, so until the new blog launches there will be fewer articles per week.
It’ll be worth the wait, I promise!
The book announcement!
Another creative endeavor (which will be a HUGE undertaking for me) is that I am participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. This event held each year during November is a challenge for writers to complete a book of 50,000+ words between November 1st to the 31st. I will be writing a book of memoirs relating to the personal stories I have shared in the blog on occasion, the stories that helped me regain my life after years of living in darkness.
Writing these memoirs on the blog have been my own way of counseling myself through my past and what I never dealt with, the things that haunted me and held me back, and the things that made me even consider why living was even worth it. Writing it out helped revitalize my heart and soul, and gave me a sense of purpose. It will be mainly a collection of personal stories from childhood to adulthood; some of facing depression, darkness, and violence — until the point where I fully began living for myself and chasing my dreams. It will be dark at times, because I will be sharing the raw accounts, but it will also be steering toward repairing myself and what I had to do to truly realize my purpose and dream in life.
In the past, I have had the honor of receiving emails or comments from people who had been through similar hardships, or in general something that crippled their belief in life, and those of you who shared your own stories seemed to find some sort of inspiration in my story. That is what I am sharing this memoir for, to recount life and the hardships that try to break us, and to show anyone who needs the motivation that life is yours to make. You just have to take control.
It will be going to places that I, even after facing it, still get nervous about. But it is something that I think will be an important chapter in my life. And ultimately, I hope it helps others find a reason to live. To look to the light again with hope.
Oh, and did I mention I will be completing the first draft on my newly purchased 1940’s Royal Aristocrat traveler typewriter? Currently it is in the shop for a tune-up and cleaning.
Meet Fievel, named after the movie “Fievel Goes West” which was one of the movies as a young boy that helped me disappear from what was happening at home.
It will be a busy couple of months for me, but these projects are really beginning to help me get my creative mojo back and they are something I am proud to be taking on.
During the month of November while writing the book, I am considering keeping a daily video log of the progress on Youtube, so if and when that happens I will be letting it be known, but as always I am active daily on the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Vine, and Instagram so I hope you will connect there as well.
Live gnarly my friends, and thank you.