I’m at a house party and everyone is going around saying their name and what they do and when it comes to me it’s the first time in two years that I don’t get to say, “I’m Dave and I’m a full time travelin’ wanderin’ soul-searcher and I hitchhiked here from five hundred miles away this morning.”  Now it’s, I just moved here and I’m looking for a place to live and a job.  I no longer get to be the Most Interesting Man in the Room, which is great for my ego, but it’s interesting, I’m starting to realize that I’ve always sought that out in different ways, first it was breakdancing, the first thing that elevated me from torturously shy anonymity to confident presence.  I thought it was my skills as a dancer that gave me worth and value as a human being.  Then I was known for my skills as an artist, in high school, and then for yet other reasons at boarding school.  As of four years ago it was my dreadlocks that set my apart.  And then finally my entire lifestyle was a revolution of identity, I began to define myself not by a craft but by the entire way I was living, which I of course thought was the truest identity yet.  But now that is gone, and once again, by defining myself by something outside of myself, when it’s gone, I lose my sense of identity in a way.  It triggers all of the old adolescent insecurities.  Why should people like me or want me around, what do I bring to a room of people now without my story to catch people’s attention, where does my worth come from?  Good.  Stripping away yet another layer, striving to know myself more deeply yet, letting go of externalities and learning to accept myself for exactly who I am and that alone.

The search for a place to live has been tough.  I spend hours staring at Craigslist waiting for something to appear.  I neglect emails and phone calls and writing blogs.  There’s so much to speak to, but nothing to say.  I just need a place to live.  Whenever I stay in a city for too long, I start to feel homeless.  This time I also feel homesick.  The last time I actually lived somewhere, had a place that felt like my own, was in September of 2010.  That’s over two years ago.  So I sleep on Leigh, Aneliya, and Trevor’s couch and keep searching.  I feel like I’m being way too picky.  I want to be walking distance from downtown, not pay very much money, live with people who inspire me, and not be more than ten or so blocks from this house I’m staying in now.  That’s sort of a tall order and I know it.  And as for work, I feel even pickier.  I design a resume for the first time in two years.  Nothing on it is a paying job.  It has graphics and bar charts.  The thing is, after two years of spending 24 hours a day doing exactly what I will, I am unwilling to take any job doing anything that I wouldn’t still do even if I wasn’t getting paid.  I tell this to some people over beers at Boulder Café one evening.  They roll their eyes, like everybody I’ve said this to.  “Well,” Trevor says after a moment.  “It sounds like maybe you’re not ready to end your journey and settle down.”

Exactly.  I am not ending my journey, and I am not settling down.  The journey continues, only, I will be staying in one city for a little longer than usual (indefinitely).  This is what I decided to do, and now I’m seeing this through.  Even if some days it’s hard to remember why.  I just almost fit in enough here not to be noticed.  Boulder means the dreads don’t stand out.  The ragged stack of left wrist bracelets hides under sleeves.  My feet are still black—I think it’s permanent, because it doesn’t matter how much I scrub.  But they’re in socks now.  And I’ve been here too long already and still haven’t found a place to live, still haven’t found a job, still can’t understand how people could voluntarily spend their entire lives this way, spending so much time doing things they’d rather not do, compromising so many things that maybe shouldn’t be compromised.  Remind me again why I’m doing this?  How can a person live inside after being encased in forest and root and naked sandstone?  Trade stars for roof, trade the wind through leaves for these walls, cold is sacred, our way of touching the vast emptiness of everything beyond ourselves, mortality and immortality, trade the cold for a stale warmth blowing through moldy metal vents, the fire for the stove, the ash on my face and the dust on my palms for lavender scented soap, chemicals, sunrise for tinted blinds and alarm clocks, I already feel the impulse to run.

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6 Responses to Chemicals

  1. Liz and Cat says:

    Sounds like you finally turned the journey inward… now you’ll experience the wilderness and, if things flow as they should without fears getting in the way, you will live freely. I think we said it before, home is where you are, it is the ground that shifts beneath your feet… So what, if the ground has stopped moving for a while… You are still home. We love and miss you. 🙂

  2. Janna Wagner says:

    I love that you said, nothing to say but so much to speak too. thats why i have stopped writing my blog – i have SO much to say but nothing. nothing i want my family and the world at large to read. what do i say – haven’t written for 2 months because was horribly depressed and isolated and got physically addicted to ciggerettes and drank too much and now i have a 9 -5 job? but i’m glad you found a way to write it, i’m glad you are still blogging. don’t stop like i did. always great to read your words. you are a fantastic writer. and who cares if your story isn’t in anyone’s face anymore. your still the same, you still lived all those experiences, you just aren’t advertising it in flashing neon. someone will have to dig deeper and then bam they will be blown away. strive to make your connections fewer yet deeper. hang in there.

  3. Randy says:

    Do you know the song “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd? The last three lines in your recent post titled “Chemicals” reminded of that song. It is good.
    Thank You for continuing your posts, David. Deaét and I still look forward to reading them. We feel blessed in a small way that you visited us for a little while.
    Good luck finding that job. I think I can relate to wanting to “run”! I don’t feel like I’m stuck in a rut. I like my job and I love my wife and home. But I NEED to be in the wilderness! I NEED to see stars without city lights blotting them out. I NEED to feel wind and dirt, I NEED to walk slowly, with no particular destination, through the woods. I NEED to hear silence! And I will, again, soon.
    Thank YOU again, David, for your posts. You make me smile inside.


  4. Shawna says:

    Hi David, I just stumbled across your blog a few days ago while searching for inspiring stories from fellow travelers. Thank you for writing. Your words stir up my desire for freedom and reflect many of my own emotions. I understand your feelings, but I can tell you that it can be humbling to live like a “normal person” for a small amount of time and it will, as it already has, draw you inwards. This is obviously what you feel you need. You are facing your fears, just as you were facing your fears when you started wandering. Recreating a nest is just as uncomfortable for you now as leaving the nest was before. We become complacent in our lifestyles and when that happens it’s time to change. I understand your fears.
    I live in Carlsbad, NM currently. My partner and I traveled here from southern California by hitchhiking the long route, North along the California coastline and then horseshoed to NM through 5 states. That was my first taste of freedom, it was only three months, but it was wonderfully liberating. When we got here, I took the first job I applied for at a random privately owned pacnmail business. This was the first job I’d taken in a long time that I had no passion for ( I always worked with animals, humane societies, training, etc.). I justified it because I was working for a small business. I worked there for a year and to be honest I felt so insignificant inside every time I had to answer “what do you do for a living?”. It hit me the hardest when we went to Burning Man last year and I had to answer that question upwards of 50 times. What this made me realize though was that we judge each other off of our role in society, how we contribute to the economy becomes our label. I did get another job, I cook now which is something I’ve wanted to learn to do on a large scale for a long time, It’s challenging, and it ignites passion in me. But overall I feel that the mundane job that I took was necessary for my ego, to not be the traveler or the animal whisperer or anything that got me talking and centering around me in conversation. It was a chance to not have a job be the center of my life.
    We are going to give up our domestic lifestyle again in the spring and travel around wilderness areas and hot springs, living out of our jeep and on the land. Thank you for being an inspiration and encouraging me to analyze my reasons for this journey. I look forward to reading your blog as you begin this new chapter in your life. And sorry for the long post, but apparently you inspire me to write as well. Much love to you.


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