Monument Valley in Utah. Me and my shadow.
It’s now been well over a month and 5500 miles since I left home. And while I’m conscious of how nervous I was when I left, I’m now well past that. I am, not to rub it in, deliriously content. As I write this I’m taking a break from some much needed admin work and writing towards the next deadline on Photographically Speaking. I’m in a hammock. On the Gulf of Mexico. In shorts. My Virgin MiFi is on Jessie’s dashboard and I’ve got wifi. In a hammock. On the Gulf of…oh, I mentioned that part? Sorry.
I’ve been on my own for only 4 days now and that part’s been hard; after traveling with friends Al, Dave, Jeffrey, and Corwin, I’d become accustomed to having company. But I’m also finally getting some work done, so there’s an upside to that. The trip, otherwise, has been fast. Too fast at times. I need to keep reminding myself – and others – that parts of this trip were meant to simply be an adventure, a getting from A to B, and while I don’t always have time to photograph, I’m having a really great time. I talk to people in restaurants and cafe’s, oddballs come talk to me about the truck (Is that your rig, boy? That’s a GREAT RIG!) and I’ve connected with some great people at some impromptu tweet-ups.
I’ve learned to embrace the anarchy of camping where I am not supposed to. I’ve learned to chill when Jessie has new smells and noises. Speaking of new smells, I’ve learned how long one can go without a shower before one can simply no longer tolerate one’s own self. I’ve learned to lean on strangers for local intel and that living on the road can be much cheaper than living at home if you do it right. Not that that’s the point, but it’s nice to be returning to a simplicity with which I was once much more familiar. I’ve learned that while Starbucks (despite the new book about it) has lost it’s soul, and no longer makes coffee I like, it has tea and free wifi and is practically EVERYWHERE, which is one reason I now loathe it. Homogeny and I don’t get along. But I’ll do almost anything for free wifi, apparently.
Umm, excuse me but I don’t think you spelled Home-made correc…oh…I see….Hmmmm….Suddenly I’m not hungry.
I’ve learned to be more creative about finding solutions to things. One of my big challenges was the desire for spare fuel cans, though I was frustrated by the total lack of a place to put them on the outside of the Land Rover. And then I found the Trasheroo – a backpack that goes on the spare tire and now easily carries two 2-gallon jerry cans of spare diesel and still has room for my trash, bags of ice before I get them into the cooler, and even a tripod when I’m heading out to shoot and want it accessible. I’ve learned that a fold-up sink from REI can be filled with ice, hung from the bumper, and hold at least 6 bottles of local micro-brew and/or some milk.
Working in “the office upstairs” and trying to get it done in half the time with twice the computing power. Doesn’t seem to work.
I’ve learned – or rather I am learning – to relax. Somewhere along the way during the last 4 years I got into a performance mentality and have felt a lot of pressure to produce. It’s not a mindset that’s good for me, and it’s not a mindset that produces art I am pleased with. And I think I am learning to stop listening to those voices. Of course my tent’s been an office more times than I can count and I am currently writing this on what’s meant to be a break from writing and I still have deadlines to meet, but I’m also in a hammock with a bottle of Anchor Steam, so I’d say it’s a fight I’m winning.
I’m in Galveston now, will spend the night here, then onwards. Tomorrow I’ll be in Louisiana and if I’m not eating jambalaya for dinner there’s going to be trouble! If you’re in Atlanta don’t forget to come hang with Zack Arias and me on the 12th. 7pm at his studio. Would love to see you.