The days plod along. I still don’t feel settled at all. Have I actually moved in? I took everything out of my car and unpacked most of the boxes, I’ve hung clothes and bought toiletries, but I still feel like a stranger inside these walls I inhabit. And as for work. After that first week at that office I never went back, I couldn’t do it, I felt I needed instead to spend the time settling in and looking for a real job. But I make contact with another guy in Boulder I used to do transcription work for—he is part of a market research company that gets hired by corporations like Coca Cola and Samsung and Chick-fil-A and holds focus groups around the country to help them design more effective propaganda campaigns. The focus groups are recorded and he sends me the audio files, which I listen to and transcribe. It’s incredibly tedious and actually pretty awful at times, but it pays well and I can work in coffee shops and it’s sort of interesting to see how people think about brands and marketing. So it’s good in a sense, because it’s giving me the money to actually afford living here, but the flip side is that I am really not doing any of the things that I came here to do, at all, in any way. So much else is coming up. I haven’t written anything since arriving. (I am now writing and posting these blogs two months later; all this that I’ve been describing happened during my month or two of silence in October and November.) I’m not doing what I came to do; instead I’m doing chores and taking care of things. I go to the hardware store to make a copy of a key. I go to Home Depot for more paint samples and tape. I go to the thrift stores for a hammer and nails. Another thrift store for a mirror. Then for silverware, etc. Running errands is weird. Working and running errands. This is not why I came here.
Over the past weeks, I have been reflecting on why I did come here, how I wanted to use this period of time. My intention was to craft this lifestyle in a deliberate way, trying to acknowledge all the different things that matter to me and find a way to incorporate them all into this new life. Writing was supposed to be the centerpiece of it all, and I was also especially interested in the things that I couldn’t or didn’t do on the road, new things that I wanted to bring into my life like exercise, meditation, yoga, climbing, volunteer work. I reread old notebooks to revisit past intentions and I outlined the ways I wanted to spend my time. But I haven’t been doing any of it.
I really don’t know how to operate in this setting. I hang a map on the wall and trace my journey in red pen. The lines crisscross the entire damn thing over and over again and it’s amazing. And my daily routine for the last two years has been more or less some variation of waking up, cleaning up in a bathroom somewhere, driving or hitchhiking to the next town, setting up shop in a café or on a corner with a guitar, busking or writing, meeting people and conversing, letting the day take me where it would, finding a spot to sleep, eating whatever food happened to come, sleeping when the sun fell and waking when it rose. Now, I’m at a loss. Feeding myself, for example, is difficult. I’m so used to just allowing meals to come when they would, and now that it’s in my hands, I don’t know what to eat or how to prepare it. I can build a mean fire and cook over it even through the rain, I know how to set up a portable stove in the wind, I can use the dashboard of a car as a microwave, I know how to chill drinks in a river, but in a kitchen with a stove, oven, refrigerator and sink, I’m lost.
I don’t know how to arrange my days. I see the travelers in town and I envy them in a way, I miss so many things about it, I miss waking up and letting the day unfold, but that’s not what I want right now, there is so much I want to do, create, give, receive, so much I want from life and I just don’t know where to begin or how, how to get from here where I am now to where I want to be, I just don’t know.