Wanderlust Remedy

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Month: February, 2012

Come party with me this week… and packing lists

First I’d like to send a shout out to the US government for my tax return this year.  I knew the four jobs I had in the 2011 fiscal year were not in vain!  Hooty hoo!

Disclaimer:  I use the word shit a lot.  Shit is my favorite way of saying stuff.  Stuff is a word describing all the meaningless gewgaws, doodads, trivial pieces of belongings we as a western culture have collected.  Often shit serves no purpose other than to make you happy in the moment you buy it or to get you laid.  I own a lot of shit.  Dude this is some cool shit.  You get the point.

With each passing day the reality of my trip gets clearer.  There’s so much I don’t know and am not ready for.  I’ve never traveled so far for so long.  My family comes from the short road trip tradition.  We’d drive up to SF or the Grand Canyon, stay 30 minutes away at the cheap lodging, wake up, have McDonalds breakfast, drive to some tourist spot and a museum, eat a Subway lunch, drive back to the motel, and maybe, just maybe get lucky and have a Denny’s dinner.  Most of the trip would be spent in a car; my brother and I would endlessly argue over some petty issue, or I’d listen to the same album on repeat while looking out at the shifting landscape being pissed off I had to do this with my family.  Kaufman family vacations were road trips sponsored by America’s favorite restaurant chains and Honda.

Although the trips of my youth were far from luxurious, my parents always paid into consistency.  They wanted to know what they were getting.  This fanatical adherence to standardization and safety has made me seek the contrary.  Desiring the opposite leads me to say I am not prepared for what comes.  I guess who could be?  I want the unknown or the random.

I do know one thing; I shouldn’t bring a lot.  Every guide I have read and seasoned traveler I’ve spoken to highlights the prevalence of pickpockets and thieves preying upon unsuspecting gringos.  Furthermore, I don’t want to look like a shithead toting around a million bags.  I already look like this shithead in daily life, and I’ll be on vacation so I need to carry less bags.  Plus I am an idiot.  I leave shit everywhere.  I get even mildly fucked up, I’ll lose shit.  Solution:  Don’t have shit to lose.  All I should have to lose is myself.

Next Monday will be the start of the great purge.  I want to also start to clean out my parent’s packed garage.  I am dubbing it the garbage garage.  I expect my mother to freak out and come up with some delusional reason to hold on to all the bits of shit she treasures but never ever ever makes use of.  So my cleaning will have to be on the sly.  Less is more more or less.  Yes, yes, less is more.  Kind of scary for a lifelong hoarder to make the leap.

The shit I think will protect me will actually make me more vulnerable.  Being ultra-minimal seems like the way to go.  It makes me think of when I came back to Santa Barbara in September 2010.  I didn’t have much, but I managed to get by.  I’ll have even less on this trip.  It’ll be good for me.  Just like a spoonful of cod liver oil or getting stung by nettle.  Once I get past the initial discomfort, I will be better?  Healthier?  Happier?  Not sure.

I wish I could see my friends’ packing lists.

I just may cry this week.  No matter how happy I am to leave for this trip, I am not happy about not coming back to Santa Barbara.  Even walking down State St, which I usually hate, has grown on me.  For a long time I labeled myself a nomad without a home.  It’s becoming clear I do feel like SB is a home.  I hope to be back sooner than later a better human being.

I will party hard this week.  Come party with me.

Coming home

I just wrote painfully long post about being scared to move home and to tell my parents about my upcoming trip.  Then I deleted it.

Basically, my family has problems (mental and physical), I have to move back home for a couple weeks before the trip(because I’m poor) and marinate in the problems while trying to stay healthy and happy.  On top of all this I can’t bring myself to tell them that I am moving back home or that I’m leaving in less than a month even though all I want to do is be honest.  Breathe.  Exhale.

I know I can’t run away from my problems, but at least going to this trip will give me the opportunity to reflect on how I can best serve my family.  Now that I have this off my chest I will return to GRE study, travel guides, and getting stoked on my packing list.  I think I’m going to get one of those super compact eno hammocks and my sleeping bag.  I want to be ready to sleep anywhere.

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Step One

In almost a month I will do what countless other 20 somethings have done… travel to Central America.  Fortunately, I seek nothing out of this trip other than to not know.  I’m opting out of imagining or dreaming of colorful, lurid scenarios I could find myself in.  Real life has proved itself to be far too exciting already.  The past couple of years have proven to be highly educational.  I really could have never predicted how it transpired.  These last couple weeks in Santa Barbara will be emotion filled.  I don’t really know where I am going and I don’t really know what I am coming back to.  I really do love Santa Barbara, my friends, and my family despite the fucked up things that have happened in slash with all three.  I might come back to Santa Barbara or I might end up somewhere else dramatically gorgeous.  All I know is I need to be somewhere dramatically gorgeous.

So step one has been completed.  I bought my ticket, got my passport, sent in my grad school applications, and bought catastrophic healthcare coverage.  Knowing me I will probably get sick or fuck myself up somehow.  I also plan to spend a lot of time in the water.  AAAnd knowing me I will probably get drunk and so something stupid.  Good thing I know Spanish.

Anyways, I am travelogue-ing because I’m sure one person wants to make sure I am alive… and I want to work on my writing.  Hopefully someone will find some mindless entertainment.  Through the years I’ve mindlessly enjoyed everything my friend Eric has blogged.

So I guess the next step entails figuring out what I need to take with me.  On the advice of a friend I bought some travel guides.  Yay maps!  I just bought this cool daypack from REI (Flash 18 ultralight technical daypack) that all my friends have been raving about.  Good thing the thief who stole my netbook didn’t have the savvy to loot the daypack.  My win.

Signing out from a cubicle in sunny Santa Barbara, con mucho mucho mucho amor,

La Juana