I’m pleased to report that my head is in a slightly better place this week than it was last week. Last week, I was severely depressed – nearly suicidal, even – mostly because I was back in Green Bay and was unable to see a clear path back to the happiness I experienced on the road. This week, I’m still depressed, but not as much. A lot of the credit for that goes to a friend of mine – Jimmy – who has visited me three times in the past six days. His company and empathy has gone a long ways to helping me gain some clarity.
I’m looking forward to yet another trip back to Nicolet National Forest – most likely the middle of next week. It will be my third trip there in the past two months, and my fifth trip up there overall. I’m looking forward to seeing the autumn foliage in the dense forest. I’m also looking forward to a much-needed recharge of my batteries and some peace and quiet to get some productive thinking done.
A Tentative Plan
I seem to have recommitted myself to the idea of buying a travel trailer and living in western Washington. There are still logistical obstacles to overcome. But for some reason, I seem to be dismissing them as unimportant. Either I’ve decided that “moving somewhere far away” shouldn’t be as scary as I’ve allowed myself to believe, or I’ve just become exhausted at the idea of avoiding mistakes and creating a perfect plan. It feels like I’ve decided to throw in the towel and just do what instinctively feels right.
There are two notable differences between my plan now and my plan while I was still on the road. First of all – I can spend the next 11 months looking for employment in Washington so I have work waiting for me before I move. Second, I’ve pretty much got myself talked into buying my own land to park the trailer on. It’s an added expense, but if I can find a trailer for cheaper than retail price, it might be doable. And then I can rely on municipal water and electricity.
Conceivably, I would still need income to pay for things like electricity, water, food, and gasoline. I wouldn’t need as much money as I do now, but I would need more than none.
Although none of that is certain. For a minor investment, solar panels might be able to supply me with the energy I need. If I find land near a clean body of water, I may have no need for municipal water. If I could learn to hunt and forage for my food, or even grow my own garden – I may be able to wean myself off of groceries. And if I can get rid of all these needs, I may have no further need to buy gasoline so I can drive into town for my other needs.
Failing that, however, I would need to figure out income – either employment or my new business.
Rapidly Dwindling Funds
Should I fail to earn any money while I’m here in Green Bay, I have plenty to live off of. However, I do not have enough money to live off of AND buy a trailer AND buy land. So one way or another, I’m probably going to need to find a job or sell some corpses either now while I’m in Green Bay or later, after I move to Washington.
As I stated in my last post – it probably makes sense to focus my energies on my business. But there are logistical and marketing issues that I haven’t found solutions for. Those issues will only compound after I move to Washington.
Continuing a haunt business necessarily means paying for electricity. Solar panels won’t cut it. Fuel will be unavoidable, since I’ll need to travel to buy tools, supplies, and deliver packages for shipping. And then there’s the tools and supplies themselves. In short, I can’t run this business without spending money. Of course, I’ll be earning money. But the amount of money I’d have to earn to sustain the business will be higher. In other words – running this business makes everything harder than it would be if I don’t run the business.
In March 2016, I made a decision to sell my house when I retired from law so that I could afford to do work that I enjoyed. I knew there was no way I could do haunt work and afford my existing lifestyle. As much as I loved that house, there was very little internal debate. I made the decision to sacrifice the house immediately – almost as quickly as I recognized the conundrum.
There’s no doubt in my mind that building props and corpses is my passion. I still love it. I still want to do it.
But ever since I became a minimalist, I always knew that the logistical requirements of doing these crafts would always be at odds with my minimalist tendencies. I hoped I could compromise.
Now I recognize a second passion. To live simply, cheaply, and in a manner where I am connected to nature and the Forest.
The old me would dismiss this as a passing fancy – a fad that will go away over time.
But I don’t think that’s the case here. I need only look at how depressed I am here in Green Bay and the rejuvenating powers the Forest holds over me. That’s why I said the road trip “ruined me” in my last entry. This isn’t a novelty. I feel like a caged animal in this apartment.
A year and a half ago, I made the decision to sacrifice my home to do haunt work. Now I’m wondering if I’m willing to sacrifice haunt work to get my dream home.
Of course, I am assuming a few premises…
- Haunt work and living in the Forest are my two passions. (I feel this premise is pretty solid.)
- The Forest is my dream home. (I only drove through the Olympic Peninsula. I didn’t spend a length of time actually living there. Based upon my visit and subsequent research, I believe it would be a great place to live. I could get there and discover I was wrong.)
- Haunt work and living in the Forest are mutually exclusive passions. (I’m sure this premise is false. I’m just not sure I’ve got it in me to figure out how to make it all work.)
Where Do I Go From Here?
So many questions. So many obstacles to overcome. And so many potential solutions. More than anything, I simply feel overwhelmed. It’s not that I lack courage to make big changes in my life. The past eighteen months prove I’ve got the courage. I feel that I cannot afford to make many mistakes.
Ironically, when I committed to the North American Road Trip, I only figured on having $8k socked away for a six month trip. I had no residential or occupational plans for what I would do at the end of the year. But I was still ready to pull the trigger.
It wasn’t until a couple months before I departed that I knew my house would be selling for as much as it did. Now I have much more than $8k, and I find myself more nervous now than I was a year ago. Of course, I’ve learned new things in the past year, and my long term plans back then were different than they are now.
It’s true what they say… Money makes you cautious. Maybe I need to run myself broke again so I have the courage to do what I want to do.