I’m still trying to figure it out. Take the ‘day off’ idea from above. Sneaking away for 8 hours without disrupting your normal life is relatively easy to do without anyone suspecting you made a prison break (unless you’re actually in prison). Multiply that times 3, then by 175. That’s enough freedom to fill a decade of adventure (and vacations), if not more.
It’s easy to overlook the stress, frustration and confusion, the financial implications, discomfort and adversity that accompany freedom, though. I cope with stress better than I do boredom, so that’s not a big deal to me. The frustration and confusion take their toll, as does uncertainty and overall discomfort, isolation and difficulty.
An inmate sent me a message just a couple days ago asking me about what I’d sacrificed to be on the road for so long. His inquiry came at the same time I was trying to figure out the answer to that very question. It’s easy to look at the practical sacrifices, but what’s not as clear is just six months changed me. The impact to my life was poignant, the effects catholic. What I don’t understand is the mechanism. There’s been a long-lasting, perhaps permanent side-effect of this sojourn had on my ability to function ‘normally’. I experienced tremendous things I never expected, things I wouldn’t trade for anything. Just not sure how it disrupted my sense of balance ever since. It’s an odd effect—and I can’t say it even bothers me, but it’s strange. By the end of such a long trip, after forging friendships and learning about 16,000 miles of North America and myself, I expected to have a sense of certainty, of clarity. But just the opposite happened. It was as if someone very close to me had died when I made it back to the Pacific Ocean. I mourned for a couple days, then hit the road again. The dead rose, severe withdrawal was over. I’d end up in places like Marfa, driving by suspicious border patrol agents as I searched a 20 mile stretch of road for a particular location.
And one location would lead to another….
And another. Seems easy to think that perhaps I was searching for something, but from the subjects of my photos I think I was looking to be lost:
The time of ‘day’ I visited the Alamo seems to indicate the same:
Those days were a blur. Time deformed, places bled into each other like days easily do. But the ‘blurdom’ isn’t like a haze. It’s more like that picture of the Lochness Monster or Bigfoot…the details may not be crisp, but the impression makes a huge impact.