Wanderlust Remedy

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Category: Getting Ready

I like spandex now.

With each stroke of my pedal the endorphins surge from my stinky feet up through my frizzy hair.  Riding my bicycle is better than popping a milligram of Xanax.

Tomorrow I take off for my next little jaunt, cruising down the coast of California.  Although this isn’t nearly as adventurous as embarking to an exotic locale solo or as physically rigorous as the cross country rides some of my friends have taken, I am damn tickled pink to experience the next month of my life.  I plan on meeting many other folks who are playing the same game.

I fucking love riding my bicycle.  This isn’t a secret.  This isn’t anything new.

My friends are fucking awesome.

Chamois padding ballz shaft

Beals Point, Folsom Lake

County Road 32A leaving Davis for Sacramento.

Travel Purgatory

It’s 4am. I can’t sleep. Too much is on my mind and weighing on my heart.

Changes can be painful. I’m not necessarily saying this Is bad. Currently I am in a transition point. I didn’t recognize how much my little time abroad changed me. Coming back hasn’t been easy. Many lofty goals had been assembled in my head. Many of these dreams will have to be deferred.

My heart tells me to move. Part of me has stayed with my travels. What doesn’t translate well is living daily life like I’m traveling. I’m caught in a transitory period of my life. I know where I will be settling in a few months (SLO), but for now I am poor and stuck at home waiting for the next bit of money to come into my pocket. There are many projects I’ve undertaken at home namely gardening and junk removal but both have been slow moving because of opposition from my parents. Emotionally taxed I have decided to move forward and take care of my heart.

In high school I read Jack Kerouac’s seminal mescaline (edit: was it amphetamines?) driven piece of work “On the Road” for a book report. This changed me forever. It took me 26 years to finally really travel. I can’t stop. Until I can buy my next plane ticket, hopefully after I start school and work in the fall, I need to heed the call within. I need to just fucking go.

Poor and without a car my options to travel are limited. This is where my bicycle comes in. I’ve had my bicycle for almost 7 years. I’ve been commuting by bike for 8. Before I left for CostaNicaRicagua, I did a 45 mile loop with friends in the Santa Ynez Valley which involved climbing. With a little guidance and help from my friends I learned I am capable of riding up hills, something I had feared and not been able to do successfully.

I’m not sure where or when the idea was birthed but I am riding my bicycle from Sacramento to SF and back down the coast. Simple enough. I just said it and now I’m just going to do it. Time to be fucking proactive.

Live the life you love. Love the life you live. If your life is bringing you down, do something to change it!

Training rides fill my days at my parents house. Since I decided to take this trip many of my friends in the bicycle community have donated time, parts, and support to help me get on my way. I can’t even begin to say how much a rack and panniers have revolutionized my life and back. I am an idiot for not putting that shit on sooner!

So I’ve been logging miles and fixing bike problems (or having awesome friends fix problems) along the way. Just like getting ready for Central America, I don’t know what to bring with me. What is necessary?

Bringing the hammock again. Cross my fingers for no rain.

This bike touring idea is also rad because it’ll give me an opportunity to visit friends all over Cali. Im starting to see this trip as my love letter to California. I am a proud Californian. We have the sexiest people and the most beautiful landscapes. It’s time to take in both.

So I’ll be taking off on June 3 or 4th depending on how hungover I am from my friends wedding. I hope to get some good mileage in my first day and get to SF or the bay area from Sac. After that the only timeline restrictions are Monterey Beer Fest and catching my friend in Santa Barbara before he leaves for Indonesia.

Next week I’m going to do a couple test rides before I head out. I’m thinking my parents house to Oceanside. I miss the ocean. The developed inland empire is an armpit. Going to get my festie on in Joshua Tree this weekend.

Love you friends. Can’t wait to give everyone big sweaty hugs.

Xanax and Cocktails: or how The bag lady learned to stop worrying and let go of her crap

So I retract the two prior posts I was going to write. I’m on the LAX flyaway bus on my way to the airport in what has been a hectic, to say the least, day. Sorry if the posts have typos or errors. I’m writing from my iPhone. In pure Joanna Kaufman fashion I have been wandering on public transit all day to get to…Xanax and cocktails.

I’m just here in the now.

I could die in a plane crash for all I know. In fact this is all I know, which is where the Xanax comes in handy. This is the time to surrender control and let whatever happens just flow.

I still have to find an envelope and a mailbox to send off a couple of important items before I go into the terminal. I’m just glad I have that extra chromosome making me able to stay sane in days of long travel. At one point today I transported a full xl messenger bag, a full tote bag, a full pillow case, and two skate decks from Riverside to my parents house by bus. I still have bits of my material belongings floating around different parts of Southern CA.

I left my room a mess.

I never told my parents about my trip or moving back in.

Fuck it.

Drunken Boo Boos

Party hard I did.  Too hard.

 

Fueled by a combination of mescal (who got the gusanito?), vodka of the gods screwdrivers, and skinny girl margarita, I managed to tarnish some friendships my final night in Santa Barbara.  Or so I think.  Once I managed to track down my backpack with my wallet and phone on Sunday morning it was clear I had made a big mistake.  My call log revealed an evening of making an avalanche of drunken goodbye calls.  Some people I called back multiple times.  I apparently told one of my friends something “inappropriate” but would not be made privy to what I exactly said.  So to those whom I harassed, I don’t know what I said, I’m sorry.  The devil inside made me do it.  I’m most certain whatever I said it’s not what I think.

 

Other than blacking out and making an ass of myself by calling a bunch of people drunk and stealing some stranger’s burrito (so I was told), I had an incredible weekend.  I got to spend precious time with some of my favorite people riding bikes, sailing, hiking, and doing some general joyous gallivanting.  I promise that I will be careful and not do what I did Saturday night wherever I end up!

Note the phone by my hand.

My final hour in Santa Barbara was whirlwind.  I made the spontaneous decision to head up to Monterey to visit my friend’s new house while I threw the final bits of crap into my other friend’s trunk to be taken down to Riverside.  The thought struck me:  I am an adult.  I can go where I want to!  No longer am I bound by responsibilities.  The only constraints are my finances and the fears I create in my head.  I could become homeless if that is what I want.  Anyways I slept for most of the way up to Monterey, woke up and commented on how posh KG’s new accommodations are, and passed out.  Since KG had to work for most of my day in town I took the opportunity to explore Monterey on my own.

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.

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