Welcome back to the my writings. I’m currently in Boise, Idaho. After over two years of not posting to this blog, I hope to find the consistency to share my thoughts in writing as I continue to grow up and figure out what it means to be and adult in this world. Hopefully these public writings will also serve as a community space and more selfishly a public record that I was here. I am alive.
Having wrapped up my job in Oregon almost a month ago, I have hit the stretch of my summer plans where outside of a few pre-planned trips I will be spending many of my travel days alone. And as someone who thrives inside of the communities that I’ve built around me, this definitely isn’t the easiest thing for me to do. And yet, for some reason, I keep being drawn to the road and the places it leads.
I’ve learned that while living out of my car, a 2002 Toyota Prius, life can feel very free.
Sometimes too free. Should I do this hike or that one? Drive all the way to this next town, but at what cost of gas? Oh also and I need to eat food at some point today what should that be? All of the freedoms this provides gets me into a type of decision paralysis that at my worst I’ve coped with by mindlessly reading the news, staring out the window wishing for a future or past date to come to me, or just “planning” without any actual results. When I was working and able to explore with coworkers on the weekends, the travels were enjoyable.
Otherwise I realized I was having a hard time being alone. I began to spend a lot of time thinking on how I could be better at being alone. I started journaling my ideas and reading blogs from other travelers but wasn’t finding any true answers that felt tangible in their results. Continuing my search for answers, I started to reread some of my old writings and to my surprise, I realized that I had written on this topic before.
The answers I needed were lost knowledge.
Connect with your community. Find your Routine. Express your emotions. Embrace being alone.
Having revisited my writings, I’d like to add more of observations into their meaning.
Connect with your community - This used to be solely focused on those that I had traveled away from, keeping up with the many people I love back in my various homes. It should be added that this also means the community that is around you in each new place you visit. Each city, local brewery/coffee shop, and especially campgrounds. Yes, we want to stay connected with many people in our life, but the reality is, it is harder to do that when you don’t see people. So don’t neglect the people that are right there around you. People in coffee shops have given me great recommendations for places to visit. People in parking lots have been a great conversation while we share a mango. And people at campgrounds have shared food, drinks and many laughs. Talk to people and connect with the many sides of humanity. Sure we may never meet some of these people again, but I believe that in someway we will see some of them down the road of life. So call a friend. Text a friend. Heck, run into a friend that just happens to be in the same town you are in. Anything that reminds you that while you are out here “alone” you have a large community around you.
Find your Routine - The wisdom of my friend Hannah still rings true. Build a routine that allows for flexibility to weave itself in. My routine looks a lot different now that I’m not based out of a house but at it’s heart there are a few key components to my routine that allow me to be as close to my best self.
Exercise - A trail run, a hike, a workout in the local park, trying the local climbing gym. Do something that moves my body and usually do this first thing in the morning after breakfast. It isn’t overly hot in the day yet and will set me up with good momentum to get moving in the day.
Learning/Try Something New- Currently I’m working on improving my Spanish. Reading, Writing, Listening, and hardest of all speaking the new language is a struggle. But each new word and phrase helps me feel like today I was able to accomplish something good. Also look at the local community event board and do something different. Go to a concert, a art gathering, a dance party. Just do something that will get you out into a new environment.
Connection to Community - (See above)
Fuel Yourself- While I’m on the road I can often forget to eat the amount I need to. Taking time each day to actually make a meal and not just snack means I am set up to perform in all the above activities at a high level.
Rest - When you live out of your car and are trying new things each day you must know when you have to just sit and rest and recharge. For me this could be finding a place to nap outside listening to some of my favorite music, reading a book, or swimming in some water. Yes there are many fun things to see and do in the world, but if you don’t have the energy, just rest. Otherwise, your body will make you rest at some other inconvenient time.
Create/Express - (see below)
Remember - Taking the time to journal is important to staying in the moment. Each night writing something small helps me ground myself in this experience and all that it has to offer me. Otherwise these memories will all fade into the montage of our life without any specificity saved to the memories the emotions and experiences that made each of these moments special.
Not all of these things will happen each day. But combining a few into the day can help me find a direction of where to take the day. Leading to many unexpected meetings with people and serendipitous joys around unknown corners.
Express your emotions - I think it is well known that withholding your emotions can cause you pressurize like a shaken soda bottle. We might think that all has been okay, but eventually, the cap will burst and soak not only us, but probably the people around us. So we need to express the highs the lows and all the in-betweens. Most of the time this is done for me in my photography, but as I continue to learn the guitar I find I also can express my thoughts musically. I have finally written a complete song and I hope to continue to do more. I also am starting to appreciate all the friends that are available when I just need to talk it out. Your attention and listening are appreciated.
Embrace being alone - Lastly I want to share a poem I came across recently in a video while trying to teach myself how to be alone. I’ll copy it here to read, but I recommend that you watch a lovely video put together by it’s author.
If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.
We could start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library. Where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books. You’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.
There’s also the gym. If you’re shy you could hang out with yourself in mirrors, you could put headphones in (guitar stroke).
And there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.
And there’s prayer and meditation. No one will think less if you’re hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.
Start simple. Things you may have previously (electric guitar plucking) based on your avoid being alone principals.
The lunch counter. Where you will be surrounded by chow-downers. Employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town and so they – like you – will be alone.
Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.
When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner. A restaurant with linen and silverware. You’re no less intriguing a person when you’re eating solo dessert to cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger. In fact some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.
Go to the movies. Where it is dark and soothing. Alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.
And then, take yourself out dancing to a club where no one knows you. Stand on the outside of the floor till the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching…because, they’re probably not. And, if they are, assume it is with best of human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating, and beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things, down your back like a brook of blessings.
Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.
Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there’re always statues to talk to and benches made for sitting give strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches might’ve never happened had you not been there by yourself
Society is afraid of alonedom, like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it. You could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. But no one’s in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.
Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from preschool over to high school’s groaning were tokens for holding the lonely at bay. Cuz if you’re happy in your head than solitude is blessed and alone is okay.
It’s okay if no one believes like you. All experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be releived, keeps things interesting lifes magic things in reach.
And it doesn’t mean you’re not connected, that communitie’s not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. take silence and respect it. if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. if your family doesn’t get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.
you could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it
If your heart is bleeding make the best of it
There is heat in freezing, be a testament.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have gotten something out of this. If you have anything you want to share or add I’d love it if you emailed me here. You can also sign up to my email list at the bottom of this page here.
I also will be updating my print store so It would mean the world to me if you took a look and possibly bought a print supporting me and my art. It’s also just lovely seeing my work out in print in the world. As a thanks for reading this use the code: ALONE for 10% off your order :)
This final image was taken just yesterday. One of the first times in a long time I have felt at peace alone out in the wide world.
Take care and love fiercely and without reservation mi amigos.