What is so romantic about running away?
When I’m overwhelmed, restless, weary, confused, numb, there is such solace in the idea of just taking off. Go. Leave. Flee. Lost and never found.
The freedom that comes with feeling like you’ve wiped your slate was appealing to me long before burying denial, betrayal and failure joined the draw of the open road.
When I was 16 I had detailed plans to run away with my hippie boyfriend Jimi (yep, real name). We were Cali bound, of course, and intended to open a surf shop, because who needs college degrees and business licenses when you have dreams?
I’d never surfed, I didn’t mind school and I found my parents to be as fair and decent as a teenager can. My desperation to leave came from this conviction that once you’re an adult, you will never be able to run away, truly run away, ever again. I figured grown ups were allowed to do whatever they wanted, so running away as an adult wouldn’t involve the same level of defiance and guts. I was sure if I didn’t take off before turning 18, the opportunity to be a pure runaway would die with my youth.
But me and Bobby McGee didn’t find freedom in California. We broke up, I went to college, got a job, got some bills and turned 23 and a half last week. Welcome to present day.
I’m much less dramatic now. And never ironic.
Though your tax dollars were not spent on police hunts for me, and my mother made it to 50 without an ulcer, I’ve never let go of the notion that whatever happens, I can always up and leave. I can go somewhere new and start over.
After college I backpacked around Europe for two months, where I “started over” in a new country every three or four days and fell in love with anonymity. You can read about those adventures in my book, Street Beer. It’s not quite published yet. Or written. But get excited.
After Europe I moved to the middle of Texas with my fiance, because far away and new equals fun and feeling alive. Over the past year and a half I got a job, left my job for a new job, and left that job. Both were good jobs. I worry I’m just restless and dissatisfied – a poster child for the selfishly existential millennial.
I tend to get on myself’s nerves with all this over-thinking.
That means it’s time to go.
So I’m embarking on a two week road trip West through El Paso, Roswell, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder and Amarillo.
The above mentioned fiance will be joining me. Garrick doesn’t leave jobs, always remembers to roll the trashcan down to the curb on pick-up day and comes to complete stops at stop signs. He comes across as quiet and serious, but is actually the person you’d want to stand next to at a boring event for a running stream of hilarious, monotone comments. He has nothing to prove to anyone, ever. He does what he wants and who he is never wavers.
We’re yin and yang, I’m the in to his sane.
In conclusion, I’m not about to venture into deserts and mountains to go looking for myself or to find my life purpose or whatever. My priority is to see some Rockies, pueblos and maybe an alien or two. Travel simply feels like chiropractic realignment for my soul. It makes me confident and sure about who I am and what I want out of existence. Travel is reaffirmation. Then again, what’s a day without some discovery, too.
So it’s time to hit the road, Jack, Kerouac, won’t come back until I know more know more know more.
Or, you know, until the holidays are over and we have to go back to work.