When I finish my tour of North America at the end of this year, not only will I have to find a new job, but I’ll have to find a new home, as well. Although I believe finding a home will be relatively easier than finding a new job, the hunt will not be without obstacles.
The Chicken and the Egg, and the Predicament of Choice
Trying to find a new home and a new job at the same time is going to be pretty stressful. First and most obvious, I’m going to be making two major life decisions at roughly the same time – that will be emotionally and physically draining. Then there’s the problem of which to do first. Finding a home first means I can shower and clean up before an interview, plus likely have internet access to be looking for work. But finding a home first also means either limiting my job search by geography, or forcing myself to move shortly after finding a home.
Another major factor will be the weather. If this trip wraps up toward the end of December, I can’t be without proper shelter for long unless I elect to remain south.
But the biggest problem is my conundrum of choice. I’m not obligated to return to Green Bay. Nor am I obligated to return to Wisconsin, nor to remain in the United States, for that matter. I can settle down anywhere I choose. Of course, some places are more attractive than other places, but in general – I can go where ever I choose.
Unfortunately, this predicament of choice cuts both ways. It’s even more difficult for me to limit my search for both a job and a home into parameters that I can reasonably sift through. If I were beholden to one or the other – a particular line of work or a particular geographic area – I could manage a search for the other.
I’m quite content to live in a small studio apartment. I don’t need anything big for myself. But my biggest regret about selling this house is that it has been an ideal environment for my dog. She’s got a decent-sized and fenced-in back yard to run around in. The house itself is pretty spacious and comfortable.
Of course, it’s not impossible to find a place to rent where dogs are allowed. But it sure isn’t easy. Having a dog easily eliminates 90-95% of the available apartments, and I’m sure a fair percentage of residential homes, as well. And even once I find a dog-friendly home – there may be obstacles with taking her outside that I don’t have to contend with here.
Moreover, if I wind up with a full-time job that I can’t bring Remy with to my job site – that will mean leaving her home alone for long stretches of time. There are ways around that – finding part-time work, outdoor work, or running my own business again. But I think the best solution will probably be to find a place with roommates so I have some live-in help in caring for her.
What spawned the North American Tour in the first place was a desire to go nomadic full-time. There’s no rule that says I have to find a home and have a permanent residence. I could be perpetually itinerant. In a way, this six month tour is an audition for that sort of lifestyle.
But if I’m being honest with myself, I don’t imagine I’ll actually go for that option. I believe I will eventually want to return to private bathrooms, running water, heat and air conditioning, readily-accessible electricity, and a locked door.
I’m not big on nationalism and patriotism. Given the current state of affairs here in the United States, I’ve given serious consideration to the idea of immigrating elsewhere. I was seriously considering it even before Trump won the GOP nomination, on account of what our culture has devolved into.
The biggest problem with immigration is the bureaucracy. Even if I had a job and a residence, I’m reluctant to go through the headaches and hassles of trying to move permanently overseas. I would be more inclined to do so if I had a partner – romantic or platonic – so that I wasn’t doing such an undertaking all on my own.
Also – I haven’t been outside North America yet, so I don’t know what other places are like.
The more likely scenario would be departing for a European trip right after I’m done with the North American Tour. Backpacking around Europe is my next travel goal for 2018 and beyond. I’d be able to add a lot of new countries to my passport in a short period of time. Because of the sale of my house, I should have enough money to do the trip without finding new work first. And of all the continents, a trip to Europe will have the least amount of culture shock, which makes it an ideal to ease my way into overseas travel.
That said, I’ll want to spend a lot of time planning out a Europe trip, and that’s not something I’m likely to accomplish in 2017. So while a European tour in early 2018 is certainly possible, it’s also quite improbable.
For the reasons I cited earlier, I think it’s pretty likely that I’ll be looking for a home where I have roommates. Not only would it make it easier to care for Remy, but there are quite a few other potential benefits.
Housing would be cheaper. If I can split the rent with 2 or 3 other people, I can live a lot cheaper than I can live on my own.
The presence of others could mean a support network for finding a job. Having new people in my life could also mean expanding my network for a potential business, travel partners, an immigration partner, or even a relationship.
More importantly, I’d like to become more social. Meeting new people and making new friends is one of many things I hope to get out of my travels. But the nature of a road trip tour is that I will be pretty isolated. I’m not expecting to make a ton of new connections on the road here. A trip to Europe would be different, because the travel infrastructure over there is more social – public transit, hostels, etc. I perceive there to be a bigger sense of community with European travel than I’ve experienced travelling in the United States. Finding a home with roommates could help better prepare me for European hostels and trains.
Climate is not likely to be a huge factor in my decision making process, just because I doubt there is an ideal place on this planet. But having lived in Wisconsin for the majority of my life, I must confess excitement at the prospect of leaving behind the frozen tundra.
The irony is that my current list of top prospects are all north of Green Bay. Internationally, I’ve been considering Canada, Norway, and Sweden. Domestically, I’ve had my eye on Sioux Falls and Missoula. But for Sioux Falls, which is only about one or two degrees of latitude to the south, every other place is to the north.
Room to Work at Home
Whether I start my own business or not, I’m going to continue building corpses and props, which means I’m going to need some space for a workbench.
One idea I’ve toyed with is finding some industrial space to rent. Residing in a warehouse would be a decent compromise between having a home and living in a nomadic, minimalist, and rustic manner. Although it can be cheaper to rent per square foot than a proper residence, the trick is getting a small amount of square footage. A lot of places I’ve looked at are renting out huge spaces, which make them quite expensive.
Return to Green Bay
In light of everything, I think there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll wind up returning to Green Bay. I don’t really want to. It’s a boring and cold city. There’s not much here for me. And to be blunt, I’d like to put physical distance between myself and my old life.
That being said – most of my friends are here. Most of my professional contacts within the haunt entertainment industry are here. It would be wise and easiest on me if I relied upon one of my friends up here to either help me out with a place to crash (even if only temporarily), to help hook me up with a job, or both.
Unless something unexpected happens while I’m on the road – unless some opportunity presents itself – it would appear that the road will ultimately bring me back to Green Bay. At least for the time being.