2018 Resolutions and the Ever-Elusive Europe Trip

Resolutions I made to travel more in 2016 made me who I am today. Accordingly, I take resolutions a lot more seriously now and I try to hold myself accountable for them. In that spirit, I’m going to lay out some of my ambitions for 2018.

The Europe Trip

EuropeAs I write this blog entry, my Europe trip is NOT one of my resolutions. Since I cannot afford to board Remy for up to two months, I need to find a sitter. I thought I had a prospective sitter last fall, but after Thanksgiving I realized that they would not be an option. I resigned to the fact that I would have to put Europe on the back burner until I attended a Christmas party.

At the party, I was given renewed hope that I might have found a new sitter for Remy. I was excited, making plans, and hoping to write a blog post outlining my intended trip. But – as of a few days ago – I realized that the second prospective dogsitter is also not going to work out. I have two other people I would consider asking, and I may do so after the new year. But I am not expecting “yes” answers from either one. That means I’ll be punting the Europe trip to some point down the road.

Unreliable Friends

I love my friends. When I keep asking myself why I returned to Green Bay after the North American Road Trip, the honest answer was that I’d miss my friends. But I’m sad to say that I’ve got the least dependable friends on the planet.

To be fair, some of my friends are dependable, but I know – because of their living arrangement or occupation or other reasons – they simply can’t take care of Remy for me, even if they wanted to. But some of my friends would be able, if only I could rely upon them. I probably wouldn’t be so bothered by this except for the fact that when it comes to doing favors for other people – I’m the dependable one. Just once, it would be nice for me to be able to rely upon someone else for a change.

It’s partially my fault. I’ve alienated a large group of people – my family – who I could have asked to watch Remy. And as far as my friends are concerned, I’m not exactly the most socially-outgoing person in the world. I’ve always been independent and shied away from asking for help from other people. If I weren’t, I’d probably have a bigger pool of friends to choose from and comfortable asking more of them if they could do me this favor.

Silver Lining

I’m still going to try to make Europe happen. Backpacking in Europe is a young man’s game, and I am… not young. And I am getting not younger by the day. Plus, it’s pretty easy for me to take off for Europe right now since I presently have no work commitments. If I get a job, it’s could be a hell of a lot harder to keep traveling, depending on what I do for work.

But I’m trying to look on the bright side. Travelling to Europe would make me happy, but only for the short period of time I’m there. I think at this point in my life, it’s more important for me to figure out how I want to live when I’m not travelling. I need to figure out where and how I want to live and how I want to earn a living. And it’s important that I make good choices so I don’t repeat the mistake I made this past fall. If I go to Europe now, I’ll exhaust most of my funds and be pressured to taking whatever job and whatever apartment I can find.

Resolution to Continue Travelling

Failing Europe, I still intend to travel this year. I’m sure I’ll continue to make many more return trips to Nicolet National Forest. I’m hoping to knock off a few more domestic places in North America. New Orleans, Miami, Boston, and New York are all options. A return trip to the Olympic Peninsula might happen, as well as a return trip to the Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante. I also have a handful of states that I’ve never visited; I could knock some of them out with a few well-planned road trips. A short vacation to Jamaica isn’t out of the question, either.

Resolution to Start a New Chapter of My Life

My lease here terminates at the end of August. I do not want to stay here. I’ve got eight months to figure out a new place to live and a new job to do.

Resolution to Ignore Donald Trump

Trump did what?!
Who cares? Look! A puppy!

I made a similar resolution in 2017 – to not get so caught-up with “first world problems” and to stop allowing myself to become ensnared in political and religious drama. I think the main reason that resolution failed is because I made the resolution too vague. So this year, I’m deliberately planning to wean myself off of Facebook entirely (I’ve already begun to reduce my usage). I also unsubscribed from news channels on YouTube.

Disengaging from bullshit is – I believe – critical to my happiness (and sanity).

Michael Schmidt of the New York Times landed an impromptu interview with Donald Trump. In this interview, Trump asserted that the news media needed and wanted Trump to run and win again in 2020 because of the ratings. Trump knows that his controversial nature has everyone tuning in to the latest insane drama playing out in Washington. I’ve been one of those people. I’ve been outraged after firing Comey, endorsing Moore, and defending Nazis in Charleston.

What has it gotten me? Headaches, elevated blood pressure, and frustration at a Congress that doesn’t have the balls to keep the Cheeto Dictator in check.

My Conundrum

Many would argue that it is my civic duty as an American to be aware, to be informed, to debate, to engage, to vote, and to participate in my government.

But the New York Times interview makes it abundantly clear (as if it wasn’t obvious already) that Trump is an attention whore. He is a ratings whore. He’s like Vigo the Carpathian in Ghostbusters II – hate just makes him stronger. And it makes me sick to my stomach thinking of how much of my time I’ve devoted in 2017 to paying attention to this narcissist.

If I pay attention to him, I’m a bad person because I’m feeding the dragon. If I ignore him, then I’m a bad American for shirking my patriotic responsibilities.

Well, fuck it. I tried it one way in 2017 and it didn’t get me anywhere. For my own sake, I’m trying it the other way in 2018.

Inaction Is the American Way

It seems to me that political activism in this country is futile.

Tax reform is wildly unpopular? Congress passes it anyway.

Gasoline prices skyrocketing? We continue to consume as much as we ever did.

Little kids shot up in schools? #NeverForget. #JustKidding. We assume that eventually, one of these shootings will be the straw that broke the camel’s back and finally prompt Congress to do something. Yeah – apparently fucking not.

Look, there are a lot of reasons why our country is fucked up the way it is. Money and power has a lot to do with it, and that’s a topic for another day once I can get my thoughts organized.

But my point is… The pundits have said – more times than I can count – that Donald Trump has crossed some sort of line that the country just will not stand for. And yet, we’ve stood for it. Maybe not all of us. Maybe not even a majority of us. But at least 33% of voters and the overwhelming Republican members of the House and Senate certainly have stood for it.

If we didn’t take to the streets after Sandy Hook and if we didn’t take to the streets after Charleston, why should any of us believe that anything will ever change?

I’ve only got a finite time on this planet, and I don’t want that time consumed by trivial bullshit. If I can make myself happier by living in my own little bubble, then so be it. That’s what I’m going to try in 2018.

Someone wake me up, though, if Donald Trump dies. I wanna dance on his motherfucking grave.

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