Sunday, November 20, 2016

May 1995

It  was a turbulent time. My marriage had fallen apart that winter. I had quit my job and was freelancing. I was wanting to move away, move on, but I didn't know where.

Although the freelance gig meant a grinding commute through Southern California traffic, and although the company I was working for was an organizational mess and the project boring, it paid ridiculously well. I made the equivalent of a year's salary in two months. I could afford to take off.

So I paid two month's rent and utilities in advance and hit the road with a pile of clothes and a crate of CDs. Twenty-seven days and two speeding tickets later I had driven from California to Maine and back, corner to corner across the United States (and a little slice of Canada), wandering through the Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and the South. I wanted to see what my options were. What was out there? Could I be happy in, say, Iowa or Pennsylvania or Mississippi? Did some place speak to me?

I didn't get the answers I was seeking. But I learned I liked life on the road. A lot. When retirement came around it didn't take long to remember May of 1995 and to know my golden years would be spent wandering around.

The big breakthrough, though, was realizing I wouldn't need a home base, that I'd be happier without one. Not keeping a house or apartment meant more money for travel and less to worry about "back home."

In Up In the Air, Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) returned to his condo after a long period on the road. It felt alien to him. It wasn't his natural environment. It wasn't home. I understood.

I don't know if I could ever feel at home again in a building. My van is my home.

4 comments:

  1. But what if Vera Farmiga was waiting for you, family less of course?

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  2. Her character was happy with an away-from-home affair. Things blew up when he intruded on her home life.

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  3. Synchronistic! May 1995 I took a two week vacation from work and traveled the mirror image… from south Florida to Washington state.

    Loved it. Quit to do freelancing for awhile and built up funds (software development), then hit the road full-time in 2008. Never felt more at home than I do in my rig.

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    Replies
    1. We might have passed each other in Kansas.

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