I wager this is a long overdue status update. I can’t believe I’ve avoided writing anything here for six weeks. Part of the explanation is an utter want for something worthwhile to say. But the days bleed from one to the next. Most days, I’ve no idea what day of the week it is. Not that it would matter.
I was considering going out to a bar tonight. I thought it would do me good to go out and at least attempt to socialize. But I’m feeling a bit melancholy. Now I’m torn between the benefits of getting out of the apartment and the dangers of drinking when I’m in a sour mood. I should have known better than to re-watch the finale of Penny Dreadful tonight. It’s always been a bit of a tear-jerker.
Save for Halloween, holidays have no greater significance to me than a day off from work. And yet being unemployed, that little bit of significance is insignificant.
Nevertheless, I do have a few plans for this time of year – mostly having to do with the changing season. As I did last year, and now that snow is on the ground, I will likely go back to Nicolet National Forest on Thanksgiving. That will be my fifth and final trip to Nicolet this year. There will be little point in returning there again until spring. I also have a tradition of watching the movie “Miracle” and following it up with a viewing of the actual 1980 hockey game between the USA and USSR.
I’m also a fan of driving at night in blizzards. My truck performs very well in snow. And during a storm at night, I generally get to enjoy having the road to myself. So as much as I generally despise the snow, I do know it is inevitable and I eagerly await it so I can do my customary joyride through and around Green Bay. I also intend to take a stroll down State Street in Madison during similar weather, and to visit Minneapolis in early December.
I’m strongly considering going to Europe next spring right after TransWorld. I’ve discovered that I can get a flight from Chicago to London for a ridiculously cheap price. The question is how much it will cost for all of the hostels, trains, buses, and more to get around Europe. I can only guess that I can afford it. It’s far too big of a trip for me to plan out in much detail.
Beyond costs, I am deterred slightly by the recent travel ban to Turkey, and what I’ve discovered are complicated visa requirements for entry into Russia. So I’ve tentatively set those destinations aside and I’ll revisit those plans later – hopefully the current administrations are ousted soon so we can work to repair diplomatic relations.
Russia and Turkey notwithstanding, this still looks to be another long trip. Given how quickly my road trip ended, I’m going to guess that a tour of Europe will be comparable in length. I’m guessing 6-8 weeks. I’m looking forward to exploring European horror destinations – castles, catacombs, and more. A lot of our horror culture has its roots in medieval Europe, so I see a lot of opportunity for education and inspiration. I also intend – quite frankly – to indulge in some of Europe’s more… liberal cultural oddities, especially in Amsterdam.
I figure it would be best to do this trip now while I still have the money to afford it and am unemployed. Every other trip I’ve got planned can probably be done in about two weeks, but Europe will require much more time.
My biggest hesitation is Remy. I need to find someone who is willing to take her for upwards of two months. Once I do that, I’m probably going to pull the trigger and buy my plane ticket.
Idle Present, Uncertain Future
I’ve done a pretty good job procrastinating and avoiding the tough questions… Where will I live? How will I live? How will I earn a living?
In my defense, my road trip was supposed to last six months. Just because my trip ended early means I have to rush back to work? However, I’m paying rent a lot sooner than I anticipated. And as I watch the money slowly drain out of my account, I feel guilty not looking for work. Especially considering how difficult it will prove to be.
Over the past two months, I keep inventing other things that I need to get done, which allow me to punt the more difficult questions. However, in the last week or so, I’ve succeeded in completing many of these tasks without the urge to invent even more distractions. I am optimistic that I will finally be ready to hunker down this Monday and start working toward a new future. In fact, writing this blog is meant to be one of the last things I need to do to clear my head of further distractions.
Also, a couple of weeks ago, I was able to complete an interesting exercise. I wrote down all of my values and goals on index cards. Then I created a sort of graph on my floor. One axis was for work type – from traditional employment, location independent employment, and self-employment. The other axis was for lifestlye – ranging from a traditional home to nomadism and feral living. Then I arranged the index cards on this table to get a sense of where I should focus my energy.
I won’t go through all of the detail and analysis. But I will say that I concluded that I should try for location independent work (whether that’s employment or self-employment) with a cheap but more traditional “home base” from which I can store stuff in between travels.
I will say that – as for living arrangements – winter weather has curbed my appetite toward feral living. But then I’ll see a picture of a crust punk, or I’ll see just the right picture from my road trip on my screensaver and I start to salivate for an outdoor life again. It’s strange – these contradictory forces.
Anyway, there will be more on this later, after I’ve analyzed my home and work options through this new lens.
I’ve not been completely idle. I’ve constructed six new corpses since I ended my trip, which is two more than I made total before the trip. I have two more skeletons at my disposal and I hope to begin construction with them in a “joint” project tomorrow. (Pun intended.)
Anyway, I mention that because it occurs to me that I have been most derelict in posting these corpses to my portfolio. Similarly, I’ve pretty much completed my battle jacket, but neglected to post photos of that as well. It won’t happen tonight, but I hope to get these pictures uploaded in the next few days.
Minimalism, Part ???
I’ve just completed another run through my personal possessions, getting rid of even more stuff. It never feels like enough. I look at my stuff and imagine having to move again, and feel like I need to be even more and more brutal.
The road trip had been a benefit. Having not seen much of this stuff in over four months, I realized how little I missed certain items. That made the task of pitching them easier.
I always try to approach minimalism by considering what items I need to survive. That’s good and well for new purchases and acquisitions. But it doesn’t work as well for possessions I already own. Things I’ve already sunk money into. Some things I’ve bought I can get rid of because I realize that I will realistically never use them. I recognize their continued burden. But take my desktop computer, for example… I have a smart phone, an iPad, and a laptop computer, to say nothing of all of the other electronics I own. I do not need a desktop computer, and were I to lose that computer, I would not purchase a new one. But it was an expensive piece of equipment, and I can get some use out of it. So I’m reluctant to get rid of it until it becomes broken or otherwise loses more value.
I guess I’m just wishing more things would break.
Speaking of Loss
I very nearly suffered a tragedy yesterday. And I would have deserved it, too. Remy took off after a pair of large deer yesterday morning. I realized I had a serious problem within just a few minutes when I could no longer hear her and she was not responding to my persistent requests to return. I hunted for her in the woods for about a half hour before retreating back home.
At my apartment, I called her vet, the humane society, and the microchip company. Then I went back out and continued to search for her. I feared that she was dead – not just because she could easily have chased those deer to the road and been hit by a car, but because I heard a dog yelping, and wondered if she had been kicked or attacked by the deer she had been chasing.
I must have made at least three full rounds through the woods looking for her, or blood, or hovering birds – any indication of where she might be. Finally, fifty minutes after she disappeared, she appeared behind me.
Needless to say, I am relieved. She appeared uninjured, though she was soaked in water – no doubt she went into a creek somewhere along the way. She was also very anxious for the rest of the day. I’m not sure what (if anything) happened to her during her adventure. She might well have been traumatized by the deer. Or she might have been distressed by losing contact with me and obviously being lost for so long. Or she might have thought she would be punished. (I considered it, but decided it was better to just be relieved at her return.)