Hello, I bet you've wondered where I've been, or perhaps you didn't notice I was gone...nevermind. A new life transition has taken place. A new order, a new way of doing things, and a very stark contrast to my previous living quarters. Previously, you see, I lived in a wofati, a hobbit hole of sorts, which resided not far from a stretch of shops and cafe's, the dwelling itself was nestled in a patch of woods. This was home for a year once I had returned from travels on the other side of the world in Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. Life never felt the same afterwards. My year back home was filled with restlessness and questions. By the end of the year, I felt like I finally found a home with the Schroth family, but as is my nature, I hit the road and got on the move. This time, I remained in country, headed out to the west coast in my 'new' toyota corolla. This trip would prove to be another big step in my journey, and one that would be a turning point as far as my restlessness. I've found great freedom and joy on the road, never looking back since I left. Missing the friendships of course, but not questioning the trip, because i've already seen so much fruit from it. This instilled a confidence and a new stride in my walk.
Far from hunky dory all the time, no, there's been plenty of hiccups, but those come no matter where you are. It's the hippie lifestyle that people smirk at, that people talk about but with a voice that is distant, like they'll never get the chance to live so free. It's sad and strange in a way, because most people limit themselves so much in life, to an extent where the best they can muster is dreams. Dreams are great, but one of my favorite things is putting something into action, even (especially) when the outcome is unknown. I'm not saying i'm the best at it, no, I struggle to make things happen too. We spend too much time watching other people live or thinking about great styles of living for ourselves, that when it comes to actually making decisions, we freeze up like an old laptop that's on its last leg. Well, I love my old laptop that has lasted me all these years, but I certainly don't envy it.
It's the character of LA. It's the smell of Korean BBQ, contruction, weed, lattes, smog, and urine. The faces of the Filipino, the Mexican, the Hispanic, the Korean, the Native American, and even the occasional American. The ten minute regularity of the train coming to and from each station, always moving forward and taking people places. Everyone has somewhere to go, everyone has something to do, and the town operates day in and day out. People drink they're coffee, they're bubble milk tea, and eat a variety of foods to fill their stomachs and take on the day. They talk business, politics, social media, relationships, and weather just like people in another section of the world. We're all the same really, but each place has something to offer, it has character. I'm becoming more familiar with 'the character' of the world. Hardly an expert on worldy affairs or missiles or refugees, but i'm seeing things in person on a daily basis that I will never forget. Two young guys spitting raps to a homemade music track playing off one of their phones. Watching through the metal fire escape bars I see opportunity, and I see talent in everybody. The homeless population carrying all that baggage, searching for the smallest bit of shade while others of us soak up the incandescent lights. I feel hopeful and sick all at once.
This is not a bragging statement, simply truthful...I've come a long way. Through mountains, crossing rivers, highways, gravel roads, dessert, plains, and everything in between. I've experienced the midwest culture which I can't help but be completely intrigued by. Plain and simple, when you're out in the middle of nowhere and have got nothing to do, you turn to three things: Beer, guns, and church. Sometimes all of these things make up one afternoon. It's far beyond anything i've witnessed before, truly being out in open territory with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I could make judgements on their choices, but who's to say I wouldn't do the exact same thing if put in their position. Besides, the whole "judging people" thing completely contradicts my "we're all the same" statement. When on the road, you encounter many crossroads, and it's up to you to make a decision in that moment as to what direction you will head. My direction has been 'west!' for a while now, and i've settled in a new way that is hard to describe.
Maybe it's the people that were put in my way as I traveled. If I learned anything from my previous travels, it's that I don't want to plan another trip with just me, myself, and I. This time, my adventure took on a whole new complexion, and has involved others at each destination point. First off, my best friend Justin rode all the way out to Montana with me, which made the road trip more epic and memorable. He had to buy a ticket back to the east coast to make it back for his job starting up in the summer, but he had a perfect week-long window which we made the most of. I will never forget each state and the corresponding challenge given to us from friends back home. Old school mix cds, frequent dairy queen stops, and camping in the woods each night, now that's a road trip. Saying goodbye to Justin was sad, but now began the next chapter which I spent with my brother and his family. I had a niece and nephew i'd never met before for crying out loud. Taking a trip to see them was a no-brainer, and once again an experience I will never forget. I got to play with the kiddos. I got to know my brother's wife, Jenny, a lot better. And I got much closer with my brother, more than I could have imagined. It was pure bliss.
This is just a halfway point, or just a point, as if life fits into the timeline that we restrict it into. Did I mention the Montana scenery? Beautiful. Stunning. Amazing. Especially making your way southwest from Great Falls. The drive was hardly by myself as I had so much nature to accompany me along the way. Knocked out eighteen hours in a couple of days, sleeping in my car along the way, and arrived safely in North Hollywood where I would stay for the next week. This is where I met up with my next travel companions. My cousin and her roommate had flown in a few days earlier from Melbourne, Australia, and were ready to explore and live it up. I, of course, was looking to do the same, and we didn't have much trouble on that front. Ultimately, we made it up to San Francisco and all the way out to the Grand Canyon (which I had seen once before, but seriously, it's the grand canyon). We rocked up back in Los Angeles to drop my cousin's roommate off at the airport, and that's when reality set in. We didn't actually have a plan at this point. Or better put, I had only planned up to that point, and didn't really bother to go further. My cousin technically had a plan, as she was scheduled to do a semester at Stella Adler, the acting school in Hollywood. One week spent in a walmart in Burbank kept us on our feet financially and allowed us time to search both for living arrangements and jobs to afford the arrangements that we hadn't made yet.
Despite the various so-called predicaments, one including my debit card being compromised and cancelled, it all just added to our adventure. Honestly, even in the moment, in the nights chilling in the parking lot, we experienced a joy because we had each other and we were writing our own stories. No longer living off of our mother's milk as it were, but working to get by and learning how to do with very little. It was, and remains to be, great. I'm lying on the floor of our new apartment, as we don't really have any furniture, and i'm enjoying the fan blowing in my direction on this hot summer night. In my sights are job opportunities, new locations to explore, and music venues. But it's hard to think far beyond this moment in time, what we call the present. Each day I wake up and meditate on how beautiful a new day can be if you're open to it. I'm open, i'm broken, and i'm expecting the unexpected. Welcome back.