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.