The countdown to my retirement now sits at 7 days plus 7 hours. And merely four days later, I bid adieu to this house – this house that has been my shelter, my security, my refuge, my comfort, my familiarity. I’ll officially be both jobless and homeless.
And not because I was forced out. But because I made a conscious decision to take my life in this direction. So when the shit hits the fan, there will be no one to blame but myself.
All Part of the Plan
I’m scared – I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. But don’t feel pity for me. Not only did I expect to feel this way, but I intended to feel this way. This was always part of the plan.
This is about more than just a change in career and a change of scenery. I want to take my life in an entirely different direction. I want to meet new people, be exposed to new cultures, experience new things, learn new skills, set new priorities, and have a new attitude toward life in general.
None of that was gonna happen if I played it safe. None of that was going to happen if I stuck with what was comfortable and familiar. This… all of this sacrifice and uncertainty and radical change – that’s the only way this was going to happen. If I wasn’t scared shitless right now, then I would have known that I wasn’t taking drastic enough steps to accomplish my goals.
But knowing that I was going to feel this way and intending to make myself feel this way doesn’t make feeling this way any easier to cope with.
This is the day I’ve been waiting fifteen months for. It always seemed so far off in the distance. But now it’s just days away. The wheels are in motion – they’ve been in motion for some time now – and there’s no turning back anymore.
The 3 to 21 Problem
From every other long-term traveler I’ve talked to or heard from, it seems that there’s a common pattern of dread. The first two days are usually filled with excitement. By the third day, the reality of your new life really starts to sink in. This is the oh-god-what-have-I-done stage. And most people take about 3 weeks to kick that phase and adjust.
I expect to go through a similar phase. These next few weeks are going to be incredibly tough. Please forgive me if my next few blog entries are a bit grim. I hope to be snapped out of my funk by August.
First Leg of the Trip
My route is not carved in stone – I may find cause to deviate from my plans. Even more pliable is the schedule. As I’ve said many times in previous blog posts – I have budgeted six months for this trip, but it could be done much faster than that (with pros and cons to taking it slow or fast).
The first leg should last no more than two weeks. Barring any unexpected changes, it will cover Wausau, Eau Claire, Minneapolis, Mankato, Sioux Falls, Badlands National Park, and Wind Cave National Park. Since this first leg re-traces familiar territory, it will be difficult to justify going at a snail’s pace. I imagine I’ll zip through it in just a few days.
Physical and Emotional Health
It has always been my hope that this trip would mark the beginning of improved physical health. I won’t be confined to my sedentary job anymore, I should be getting a fair amount of exercise, and eating food will be both expensive and inconvenient on the road.
That being said – I am acutely aware of how critically important it will be for me to keep myself healthy. I won’t have a comfortable and private home, warm bed, running water, etc. to come running home to if I get sick. Hotel stays and hospital visits will be expensive, so I hope to avoid them altogether. That means I’ve got to be careful to stay hydrated and well-nourished.
To say that I’m anxious about being both jobless and homeless is an understatement. In 11 days, I’m not going to have a safe place to retreat to except for my van. I’ve got some rough days ahead of me, and no doubt there will be bouts of depression.
A Message to Friends
This message goes out to all of my friends, but with special emphasis to those I’m leaving behind in Green Bay. I’m going to miss the fuck out of you all. Parting ways is definitely going to be the toughest aspect to this trip.
And to my haunt buds – I truly regret that I’m going to miss haunt season this year. It’s not likely I finish this trip before acting season is over, to say nothing of the fact that I’ve already missed a big chunk of build season.
Beaker, Kristie, Kyle, Cole, Macy, Ethan, and everyone else – kick some ass this year and make me proud. I hope to catch up with all of you in St. Louis next spring.