What has all this traveling amounted to? Currently I have a beautiful view of the Black Mountains, the Seven Sisters in particular, through a bedroom window I’m currently calling home. Two weeks from now we’ll be hopping states like chalk on a summer camp’s pavement, but for now it’s Friday night and the same old sun is making its daily preparations to fall behind a mountain peak. I’ve become quite familiar with the local population, from baristas to bartenders, soccer moms to band members. I like it here. I don’t love it. I have felt the same way about five dozen towns across this nation. There are a few I would even consider calling home someday, but not today, not even this year.
I’ve been bitten by the sensual lustress that is being mobile. I find owning an Airstream and a van more secure than any physical home, both financially and from a perspective of what actually, literally makes my skin feel comfortable. I find new places and immediately want to walk their streets, drink their coffee, sit on their sunny porches and smoke over their local beers. I make every effort to do this night and day, morning and mid-morning, all through the noon time and well into the after, until my mind is a GPS and my mouth becomes a walking Google Maps, free to any who might bother to ask a human rather than nod off into their phone.
I am blessed with having many friends all around this country, from guys I’ve known since I was fifteen years old and riding skateboards in a heavily mullets mid-90s town to families on the road who though our acquaintances were brief, proved to be the always there for you kind of friendships a man wishes people spoke about at his funeral. Even still, while traveling I have no friends. I have a spectacular family, and I can’t stress enough how everyone of my boys and the two fine women in our lives (I should mention that one of them is grandma, nothing polyamorous or multilingual going on here), but as for friends, for the occasional new idea really fleshed out over a campfire or couple of guys trying to prove they can each walk up a steep hill as well as the other, it eludes me. No violins required, but it’s a price to pay for sure. Luckily, my lady is as entertaining around a fire as she is quick up a mountain slope, so my burden doesn’t exactly weigh quite as heavy as that.
A fella by the way of calling himself Mark Twain said something about how travel is the cure for what seems to ail all too many of my fellow Americans, and I couldn’t agree more. On the other hand, I seem to have come out of the womb a liberal dirt worshipper, and so I’m not sure what progress travel has given me there. Everyone have a good time and leave me alone, unless I want to chat with you, then please don’t walk away. No, while I agree with Mr. Clemens, I must say that as well intentioned as my democratic mind initially set forth to be, I am definitely, less slowly than not, becoming a grumpy old man, of Rumplestiltskinian proportions.
So what is it all good for, then? Well, I’ll be honest. Apart from the thrill of exploration, of having your eyes as the only device between you and a Saguaro or some Old Faithful Grand Canyon Lassen Volcano morning realization, or maybe having debated the artistic worthiness of each and every state license plate design this side of 1997, I honestly can’t tell you. It feels like an addiction now more than anything, and like any good, true and faithful addict, I am heavily in the throes of a stage of denial right now.