Laying it all on the line

“There is nothing wrong with your [internet]. Do not attempt to adjust the [page]. We are controlling transmission… For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your [internet]. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to… [Yakima, Washington?]”

So, I’ve been a little MIA lately.

Part of the reason is because I haven’t done much in terms of seeing fun and interesting places. On Friday, I drove up to Post Falls, Idaho and only saw the University of Idaho’s stadium in Moscow. No pictures because I was completely unaware it was a dome. Yesterday, I drove to Yakima, Washington and only saw Washington State’s stadium in Pullman. And no pictures from there because it was rainy. I was trying to go to the Whitman Mission National Historic Site, but nixed that because of the rain. And honestly, I have no idea what it’s about (forgive my ignorance if it is of great importance). I was just looking for something in between Point A and Point B to do.

But the main reason I’ve been MIA is because life’s just a little too heavy right now.

Before I start rambling, I’d like to say I’m fine. So no need for a flood of phone calls, although I greatly appreciate the gesture. Instead of an entry today about my trip, it’s going to be more about me. I won’t make a habit out of it but I needed an out for this. So bear with me.

First, I’m probably not helping my case that I’m reading Into The Wild. Jon Krakauer documents the life of Christopher McCandless – a life that got him killed in the wilderness of Alaska. But along the way, he covers Everett Ruess, Gene Rosellini, John Waterman, and even himself. Almost all are stories of people looking for more. Looking for answers. Most of them are fed up with society and head off into the wilderness of some sort. Most of them don’t come back. And a big part of me can relate to that right now. I left on this trip not only because I was tired of a dead-end job in the booming town of Chapin, SC, but also because I wanted to find answers. I’m tired of South Carolina, as it’s all I’ve known growing up. I want something that’s mine, but where did I want to live? I didn’t like doing a job that required a high school degree and maybe some technical experience when I had my masters. But what did I want to do? What makes me happy? Who am I? I had a laundry list of questions I thought a trip like this would help me answer. On some of them, I’m maybe a little closer to being in the same ballpark that the answer’s in. But on most of them, I’m still as lost as when I left. And Krakauer blatantly pointed that out to me yesterday when reading…

“I thought climbing Devils Thumb would fix all that was wrong with my life. In the end, of course, it changed almost nothing. But I came to appreciate that mountains make poor receptacles for dreams. And I lived to tell my tale.”

Second, today’s Halloween. And my birthday is Thursday. There’s part of me that will enjoy spending today alone and wishes Thursday would be the same. There’s also part of me that will welcome my dad and his company onto my trip Tuesday with open arms. But there’s also the part that knows none of that is a solid substitute for dressing up and going to some lame party and goofing off with friends on Halloween or being somewhere solid and sound for a birthday celebration instead of bouncing around from town to town. There’s nothing that turns a birthday into any other ordinary day quicker than when there’s no answer to the family asking the question “What do you want for your birthday and how do we get it to you?” I enjoy being alone. I loathe being lonely.

Third, as another poor choice of reading material, I read through a journal my mom kept for me. It was during my senior year and recounted the ups and downs by her getting used to a kid leaving the house for college, me as said kid gearing up for college, my brother, the issues, the girlfriend, and everything in between. A lot of things made me smile (“Played putt putt tonight with some girl friend from Irmo HS” on July 12, 2001) from either the memories they brought back or the fact I had completely forgotten about the events. Some things are just eerie in their foreshadowing (“And if your life isn’t what you like – then do something about it. Change what you are doing or change your attitude about where you are. Either makes your life better” on June 15, 2000). And some things made me realize that I’m older, smarter, and more experienced than ten years ago, but still searching for the same things.

And last, I’m starting to have to fight the urge to bolt back to South Carolina. Not because I feel I can’t do the rest of the trip, but because I’m Washington, about to turn south down the Pacific coast, and start working my way back east. It’s going to be a real struggle to make myself slow down and enjoy the things in the states I’ve passed through so many times before going between South Carolina and Arizona several years ago. I’ve got some good things lined up like the Grand Canyon, the Arch in St. Louis, and other stops. But on the days when there isn’t something big to do, I’m going to have to stop myself from just putting in a 400 mile day on the road. I do miss the luxuries and comforts that home brings. But I don’t miss the rut of a monotonous, dull schedule that will be so easy to fall into once I’m back. And in a place like Chapin, South Carolina, that’s all but inevitable.

So how’s that for different? Just a bigger peak through the window into my life on the road. And the main reason for my seriousness and disconnectedness (I’m kind of surprised that’s a legit word) for those of you who have been in touch the last week or so. I also toyed with the idea of taking comments off of this entry, but after second thought, I’m going to leave them on. Just don’t get your feelings hurt if I’m a little tighter on the control of what shows up and what doesn’t. But please still post your thoughts or questions! It’s good to know people are still following along. And given how people love a good train wreck on reality tv shows, I’ll be curious to see the kind of spike this entry gets 😉

With all of that said, I hope everyone has a fantastic Halloween! And a great start to November, as its the best month on calendar!

P.S. I also hope the people in the room next door to me had a great time. The squeaking of the bed for 30 minutes was great rhythm for staying focused on getting this entry finished. But, for some reason, I’m not sure that was its intended purpose. Enjoy your shower, you two (or three? or four?)!

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2 Responses to Laying it all on the line

  1. You never know when you are writing dumb, spur-of-the-moment words in a journal whether they’ll ever be read again – or mean anything when they are. That’s why I suggested you keep a journal. When your child hits the road one day, trying to find himself, you can pull our your NanusNation journal and recall what he went through.

    Heading out on a finding-yourself trek doesn’t bring sudden discovery that comes from finding a town or meeting a few cool people. It makes you discover yourself – that you are the one empowered with molding yourself, no matter where you are. And that’s what I hoped you’d find on this trip.

    Love you. Continue to have fun while you are out there. You’re in the midst of it. Take your time and make it enjoyable.

  2. Rena Jarvis says:

    Just remember to keep your head up and enjoy the rest of your trip. Oh Happy Birthday!

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