- March 21, 2016: I celebrated my 22nd trip around the sun by enjoying a cozy dinner in Carrboro, NC with good beer and great friends.
- March 21, 2017: I rang in my Jordan year in Pai, Thailand with a day of exploring via scooter and a night of serendipitous festivus via bar crawling.
- March 21, 2018: The donning of 24 was spent boarder hopping between Swaziland (now eSwanti) and South Africa, cruising the Kruger National Park with a crazy gang of part time gypsies, and putting in a solid group effort to polish off 100 bottles of beer that don’t belong on a wall.
- March 21, 2019: Who knows how I will recognize making it to a quarter of a century but knowing my love of puns it will probably involve a lot of quarters.
I devised two time lines parallel in reality yet divergent in perception. The top, a quantitative timeline which depicts how much time passed between each birthday. Like little pink houses, every year is equadistance apart.
On the bottom, a metaphysical timeline depicting the speed time seemed to pass between each birthday. Living hour to hour day by day keeps old age at bay. At this point I don’t think I will turn 25 for at least another three years.
What I’m trying to get at in a roundabout Rita way is that time is a funny concept. It’s one that just makes you LOL (that stands for languish out loud right?) Man constructed time, then decided to live by it, but now largely swears at it. Why? Time is just relative, so I say treat it like your eccentric uncle who’s slightly out of touch with reality after taking one too many acid trips at Woodstock. As for me, I stopped marking my years within the parameter of March 21st to March 20th, nor do I consider January 1st to December 31st the bookends of a year. Instead my annual fare begins on October 11th and ends on October 10th. Why? This was the day I started traveling.
On this most recent birthday (and the following two weeks) I was blissfully sequestered from WiFi. When I finally booted up the old Facebook machine, I had a slew of birthday wishes waiting for me.
One read, “happy birthday legend.” Which got me thinking, why am I a legend? Because the ledge’s end is my beginning? Maybe.
Another said, “keep doing all the things I wouldn’t do.” What does that entail exactly? Not being privy to knowing where I am going to sleep 24 hours from any given night? Probably.
Many people wished me happy and safe continues on my travels. Altruistic, but is this realistic? No. (I promise I do my best.)
Among all the warm, well-wishes one got me rolling with laughter. It simply said, “congratulations.” It was a sincere recognition I survived the past year. After some reflection this unconventional “happy birthday” felt superbly fitting. Because when I think about my life between October 11, 2016 and October 11, 2017, boy was it a doozy.
Here is “my year” in review in 16 beats per time:
Set a background beat and the rhymes begin to flow, a few more hits
Let’s the built up unsounded rhapsody unfold, at first in bits
All these memos stamped return to sender stockpiled in my head
Trying not to commit blasphemy as I shuffle to and fro
But no such deed I can guarantee because this could ebb and flow
Between sheer revelry or borderline on rivalry with all
These wide screen irises blankly staring at me for a recall
Sometimes I don’t even know the point of view which I’m looking through
Receptors for deflection or just reflections of deception?
In voices won’t be found in a fax bin or on a motherboard
No they’re lost in the void of a cross wired mind so here goes a
Precocious preamble to what’s sure to be unperturbed paddle:
There is a part of me that wants to live in a total state of
Annihilation of animosity in autonomy
Go off grid in order to outwit all the ghosts who troll my soul
Erase my blinking blue dot from the jam packed maze-merizing map
A labyrinth of just right angles feels all wrong for a path man
The Apple taunted Eve but googles just as bad to give a damn
About now the ringleader of my totalitarian state a
Mind named ego says no you must share all your experiences
With the folks that share a stake of humanities inheritance
Do I eliminate the space that lies in between A and P
A part or apart which confabulation do I dare to be?
Just need one from the top shelf and I’ll take a shot at the former
Before I take a second thought here’s what the winding road has taught:
1. Life ain’t all roses and sunshine sometimes it’s coffee and makeshift good times
2. A hostel full of strangers won’t feel hostile until you wake
To a message that instantly induces a churning pile of
Abdominal bile upon learning there’s another filled urn
When it’s finally cemented all that remains of a dear friend
You really thought you’d see again are illustrious memories
The shower is the best place for boisterous lamenting
Doesn’t matter the actual color the sky is presenting
The following blurred wave of days will be a dazed blueish-grey haze
Always carry a pair of sunnies to hide the sporadic tears
Amplified with quivered lips which follow a noteless suicide
3. Mad about traveling until it might make you go rabid
Fixing life threatening medical dilemmas in lands where the
Health code isn’t infringed when a few felines walk though the kitchen
Is the epitome of a less than an ideal situation
It will make you cringe when the doc tries eight times to load a syringe
Obtaining vital medication past visa expiration?
Rather tall order, damn that monkey bite to the head and shoulder
4. Renting a lil scooter in Indonesia will allow ya
To feel the freedom in your bones until a man drives panic home
Revoking your elated emotion deflating your sense of
Forward motion because when you’re rolling in a one woman pack
You have no one to watch your back, why must this impede my freedom?
Followers aren’t much fun when we ain’t talking social media
5. Between currency exchange and time zone trades mental math is
A daily numbers game they say it’s fact you’ll win some, lose some but
Once you lose three compadres while being two continents away
Between December and May a great aunt and pseudo grandpa too
You’ll begin to feel like some sort a 666 wheeling dealer
Tied an obscene string to the arm of the slot machine, best you fit
A few mini bottles a Jonnie Walker in the first aid kit
To self-suture all the wounds that will never ever get closure
6. When you have to wake your friend from snoring because a midnight
Wildfire has come roaring creeping ever closer in sight
It becomes key to evacuate with haste to an unknown fate
Watching the world burn in your review is no nightmare I’d wish on you
Living on the road can get to feeling like your carrying a
Backpack full of woes, life for ramblers, travelers, doers and dabblers
Isn’t devoid of sorrow and pain the highs will become higher
But the lows are lonelier along the personal life cycle
The company at times might be more finely tuned on the dial
But life on the rode is still a ride with some hurdles and curveballs
Constantly conspiring to bellow the sails of bliss in ‘n out of
Your favor forever betting with the north wind if you’ll waver
Sure the spoils are greater when you cut societies tether
But negativity will still prey on you and assault your soul
Attaching like a wayward patch you never intended to earn
Free or caged nobody gets through life unscathed
In addition to all of these woes; all of the freelance writing I submitted to various publications was denied, I had my heart broken a few times, we had some serious health scares in the family, I missed one of my best friend’s wedding whom I’ve know since first grade, and had a few other encounters with gross, pushy men. All (of these things) considered last year was the worst year of my life. However, when I look back on it I remember it as the best. Why?
This was also the year I; discovered the wonders of a new continent, defied gravity with a single bungee jump, saw Aerosmith on their farewell tour, spent seven months in countries where I couldn’t speak the local language, bathed an elephant,
swam with giant turtles, put nearly 20,000 miles on my car’s speedometer exploring the states, meditated in pools of waterfalls located on majestic island mountaintops, climbed in an active volcano,
visited eight new countries, found a dream job in California for a month, roamed ancient temple grounds with utter awe, visited a plethora of quintessential classic rock sites, made worldwide friends who feel like family, pushed the limits of my comfort zone, and threw caution to the wind. Most importantly, I lived by my own accord and proved to myself I’m fiercely independent and the only thing capable of stopping me is me.
I’ve been living in the dog days of an endless summer for 1 year and 7.5 months. This would make me ruffly 12 in dog years. Right about the age us exuberant youth think we know something about the world, so here’s what I no:
- Giving in to the times when tears are spilled
- Giving up in times of extreme stress and anguish
- Calling it quits in times when the days are filled with pain
- Throwing in the towel in times where all I want is to be home in my own bed
Now here’s what I know:
Last year was a calamity of a duality. All of my woes could have (and most still would have) happened had I been living in a city with a permanent address. Conversely, none of my amazing and equally-defining, positive experiences would have happened had I been living in a city with a permanent address. So what do I make of this?
Per usual, I find my answer in a song. John Mellencamp said, “life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone,” so the trick becomes; don’t let the thrill get gone.
It’s imperative to find a reason to remain excited about the rest of your time on this wonky, wobbling ball we call Earth. Everyone’s thrill is different, for me it’s connecting with people and living about as sporadic as these blog posts.
A few months ago a friend gave me the title of, “disgustingly positive” which is one I sport with pride. Even broken and cracked, my glass defies physics always holding half. I realize not every day is going to be bright ‘n sunny. There will be patches of time eclipsed by dark clouds. However, this is life. To get through the bad times I focus on all that is still good, all the reasons I have to still be thankful. If there is but one lesson the road has taught, it’s respect your emotions. Take the time to feel sorrow or frustration, but don’t let it consume you. In times of trouble it’s imperative to find a way to carry on. Maybe it’s calling on mother Mary or maybe it’s calling your best friend to get tacos and Margaritas just do what works for you.