For the past several weeks, a single theme has occupied my thoughts. How to survive on the road with nothing. Every time something in my home or work life annoys me, I think about how I won’t have to deal with that when I’m on the road. Every time I spend money, I think about how I won’t have to buy certain things when I’m on the road. Whenever I use, pick up, or even look at any of my possessions, I imagine what my life will be like without them.
When Will I Actually Pull the Trigger?
It’s really hard to say what I will or won’t do. I feel like I’m in limbo. Part of the fuzzy feeling comes from not having a definite timeline like I did in 2017. Back then, it was (1) pay off student loans, (2) announce retirement, (3) wait 90 days, (4) retire, (5) get the fuck out of Dodge.
What’s holding me back now? Well, winter is the obvious answer. To go out and live on the road now – right now – would be suicide. I’d never make it far enough south fast enough before I freeze to death. But winter doesn’t have a definite end date like my retirement did. It’ll gradually warm up in March, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get socked with four feet of snow in April.
Then there’s my lease. It ends at the end of August. I have little compunction about breaking the lease early. After all, I will literally be uncollectible if I do what I’m planning to do. But the legal and financial ramifications of breaking the lease would haunt me for years, in the event I change my mind and try to return to civilization. So mostly, I want to wait out the lease so it’s one less headache to push through.
Part of me also wants to stick around long enough to finish some final haunt projects while I still have the ability to do the work. To that end, I’ve been trying to rush production of a series of corpses so I have one less excuse hanging around my neck.
And finally, there’s the preparation – both mental and logistical. Logistical means figuring out how I’m going to survive, acquiring the tools I need to do so, and getting rid of the stuff I don’t need. The mental preparation is… a paradox. On the one hand, I feel very VERY committed to the idea of dropping off the face of the earth for good. On the other hand, I’ve felt very VERY committed to this idea twice before. And twice before, I chickened out and remained in Wisconsin.
My friends seem to be more confident that I’m going to pull the trigger than I do. I wonder if they observe something in me now that they hadn’t observe before. Maybe after 3 years of talking about this lifestyle, they’re convinced I’m finally gonna take the leap. Or maybe they just don’t appreciate the hesitation going through my head.
Ironically, my friends are why I have twice before decided to remain in Green Bay. Should I abandon this idea a third time, I’m confident that my friends will be the reason again.
I wish I could just take my friends with me. I wish life were that simple. It’s an impossible decision, trying to choose between loved ones and getting out of a lifestyle that simply doesn’t work for me anymore. Of COURSE I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) ask anyone to abandon their family or friends or their jobs or their lives to join me on my adventure. And even if I could or would ask, no one would agree to it. Even though my friends share a lot of my same values and outlooks on life, one must admit that the extremes to which I’ve followed these values is… dramatic. Some would say “radical”. And doing something radical almost always means doing it alone.
I just wish it didn’t have to be that way. If nothing else, I feel like I’m sending a terrible message – that the lifestyle I want to live is more important than my friends are. It isn’t. They’re both equally important to me.
It’s a 7-10 split, and I just don’t know how to pick up the spare.
A Nomad Pack
Obviously, there are other people like me out there. I’ve already met a few of them. No doubt, I will meet more, befriend more, and perhaps some day, even travel with some of them in a sort of pack.
Doing so would alleviate a number of logistical concerns. Chief among them would be having someone who could watch Remy and my belongings while I run into a store for provisions. It’d also be nice to have others around to teach me more survival tricks at a point when I could really use a crash course. And it would be nice to travel in a pack just so we could all have each other’s backs when things get rough.
But it could take me weeks or even months before I find a pack to travel with. One more reason I wish I could just take my friends with me.
Through the Looking Glass
Sometimes, I wonder what other people have observed in me over the past three years. Of all of my friends, no one been closer to me during this entire three year period than Kyle. He knew me before I retired. He knew me before I began travelling. Hell, he even knew me before I made those fateful New Years Resolutions in 2016. (I gotta remember to work on those for 2019.)
My point is, although a lot of people have been close to me over the years, he’s been the closest during this time frame. I don’t really wonder what he thinks of me. I more or less know. I’m just curious what it must have been like – on the outside looking in – observing me as I went through all of the changes I’ve gone through since 2016.
Logistical Concerns of The Oogle Lifestyle
One of the nice things about being a rubber nomad is having a fairly secure location (my truck) where Remy and my belongings could remain relatively safe when I run into stores. Without a truck, I’ll have to invent new ways to secure things and – simultaneously – take bigger risks. I figure I might implement some of the protocols I had planned on using for my bags when I went to Europe. I’ll probably also invest in a tent and a few other pieces of specialized gear.
Showers were an issue in 2017 and they’ll continue to be an issue if I become a leather tramp. Though I’m guessing the lifestyle will necessarily require me to get used to a different level of hygiene. Also, if I’m being honest, showers really weren’t an issue until I returned to Green Bay and was doing hard, sweaty work at Green Bay Fear in a hot and humid Wisconsin summer. So bathing might not be the challenge in the future that it was in the past.
in a hot and humid Wisconsin summer. So bathing might not be the challenge in the future that it was in the past.
The toughie is gonna be pooping! As a rubber tramp, I was only ever a few minutes away from a gas station or highway rest area. The two times I got into trouble were when I got sick in the middle of national parks. Those were unique circumstances. But pooping is a near-daily activity. Leaving Remy alone once every one or two weeks for a few minutes to get provisions is not as scary as leaving Remy alone every single day. Or the fact that a restroom won’t always be just a few minutes away on foot.
Finally, the other big concern is intellectual stimulation. I’ve often said that people who fear retirement because they equate it with boredom simply don’t know how to live life. And I firmly believe that to be true. I don’t think I’ll get “bored” on the road – not in the traditional sense. I didn’t get bored in 2017.
On the other hand, in 2017, I still had a laptop, this blog, and a cell phone. I could still get on Facebook and YouTube and get a little intellectual stimulation. Plus the physical act of driving was a light form of intellectual stimulation. But if I do what I plan to do, I won’t have regular internet access anymore. I’ll keep my phone and check e-mail when I get near WiFi. But no more checking Facebook and YouTube a million times a day. No books. No DVDs. Probably no music (unless I buy a harmonica). It would just be me, Remy, nature, and living inside my own head. I’m not sure if I’m ready to handle that. What do I do? Pack a Rubick’s cube?
I’ve got the day off today, so I’m hoping to polish up my book outline. Writing to commence on Christmas Day.
Last weekend, I stayed at a Motel 6. There’s something about staying at a Motel 6 that makes me feel like I’m on the road, even if I’m not. The motel was less than a third of a mile away from home.
I learned that I can’t sleep in a bed anymore. Too soft. But it was nice to finally cuddle with Remy at night instead of her sleeping in a completely different room. I also learned that sometimes a room gets hot and you have to run the air conditioner in the middle of fucking December. Maybe that had something to do with why the building was condemned. Yeah – that’s something else I learned. Apparently, a motel can be condemned and remain open for business.
Anyway, I got all my notes done during our brief stay there. Now I just need to get them organized and trimmed a bit.