Wanderlust Remedy

Just another WordPress.com site

Category: Hangovers

To this Valentine’s Day

I have a piece of shit van that only runs because I think it will.  Over the past couple months, it’s been a shortcut to trouble.  It’s also a keen accessory.  Both in fashion and crime.  It helps me run away from the fear factory of age, poverty, loneliness.  It’s a hangover haven.  Just me in my little sunroom.

As the wrinkles set into my face, my skin gets discolored, and the circles around my eyes darken, I look into my rearview mirror less and less.  I don’t want to see myself.  I don’t recognize my face anymore and there is no need to look back.  Like Dylan in the movies.  If I only move forward I don’t need to look in the rearview mirror anyways.  So I try to only move forward.  Get myself straight.

Over the past couple months I’ve driven from Joshua Tree up through the Sierras finding lust and love.  Every weekend is an adventure.  There is a tribe out there.  A wandering traveling tribe whom serves as a reflective surface.  A fucking rearview mirror.  The lives that I envy.  The beauty that I envy.  I need to tear that damn thing off.

If only I had never gone to college and gotten into debt.  I could be here or there doing this and that… all the time…

But the great bodhisattva, guru, teacher (whatever is en vogue) that is the pacific ocean has taught me to let go.  These ionic bonds will break.  I will become a breath of air and and drop of water along with everything else that has ever and will exist.

Take the bottle of whisky and swig.  Take the bottle of tequila and swig.

So I drive forward drinking it all up.  The strange places I’ve woken up in.  Nature is beautiful but so is dancing to amplified music under flashing lights.  I drove to Joshua Tree to take some photographs alone and dry out for a few days before the New Year.  I wandered down a trail with my heavy bag and awkwardly climbed up some rocks to watch the sunset with myself.  The wind roared it’s dragon breath against my ear drums.  It’s easier to climb up then to come back down.

photo copy 2

Among the rocks I find the feeling of home.  I want to embrace them (similar to the feeling I have towards the ocean) with such strength and intense passion that it melts into my being, I cease being human, and I am one with it.  You always have to come back down.  I drove forward.  My discomfort sets in.

The camp was full.

I went over to Pappy and Harriet’s to get human again.  Rejoin a bit of civil-lies-ation?  Civil-libation?  My van is a bar next to the bar.  I swig on some cheap tequila to get warm.  I step inside and move towards the band.  The music and the heat of the alcohol put everything on autopilot.  Oh fun.  Oh here I am.  Next thing I know I am just being in the Tree of Josh for the next few days not thinking and smoking some spliffs.  The secret is that if the camp is full, the camp is not really full.  That’s what they want you to think.  Don’t get discouraged.  Nothing is permanent.

photo copy

There was a lot of sunbathing on rocks.  Looking up at the sky.  There’s not a lot of words I needed to say.  I just let my body feel what it needed to in the absence of an analytical mind.  I drove on.  Don’t look back.

Then I straddled my thighs around Big Sur and let all it’s majesty pour into me.  I sweat my way to the top of something big.  A panorama.  There I was in silence again.  Feeling peaceful.  Then you have to always come back down.  And I drove forward.  And the discomfort sets in.  And I found wine and music to commiserate with my homo sapiens in the strange misfortunes we have experienced.  Lots of weird shit.


I love the weird shit.  Some risks must be taken.

In between it all I’m over carpeted floors and between cubicle walls.  Dry as a bone.  But that is OK.

Nothing is permanent.

These are just words.  I need to let go of my fear of their inadequacies.  Sometimes you have to censor the true story.  It’ll get told another day.  Trust me it’s much more interesting.

This Valentine’s Day I am in love with the pain as much as the joy.  To all the lips I have kissed.  To all the bodies I’ve held.  To all the words of lust and love exchanged.  To all the promises kept and broken. The truth and the lies.  I let it all go.

I drive forward.


Regaining Wanderlust

I apologize for any grammatical and or spelling errors.  This is a hastily composed hangover post.

I haven’t posted very regularly since moving to San Luis Obispo over a year ago.  My wanderlust has been suppressed and somewhat lost because of three factors:  work, school, and romantic relationships.  Sometimes I feel like I have shot myself in the foot by going to graduate school.  Now I am stuck in one place, piling up debt that I cannot run away from.  As much as I fight it, I have a hard time being “stuck.”  Being “stuck” either results in getting into relationships that could never work out or being a boozehound both to fight loneliness and boredom.  I want to be in transit.

Occasionally a drastic event will wake me up from my self complacency.  There has to be some type of escape from the rat race, right?  In my attempts to free myself from debt slavery I have started to think outside of the box.  Two-thirds of students will graduate with some form of debt.  The average amount of debt is $26,600 per student.  My debt is greater than this total.  There is truly a student debt crisis.  Education goals have propelled the youth of America into indentured servitude.  I stay awake at night imaging myself sitting in the office daily, toiling away to show nothing for it except carpal tunnel syndrome.  I will be the first to say that college is not for everyone.  There are numerous alternative methods to gain skills and education.  For me not going to college was never an option.  My parents ushered me in the direction of a higher education.  Although it has a hefty price tag, I am grateful for the ways my brain has expanded from my education.  I am not happy about now having to worry about what my next move will be.

My options:

1.  Don’t pay.  This will lead me into default basically making me an untouchable in the eyes of the American banking system.  I will have my wages garnished, cannot declare bankruptcy, will be unable to really ever obtain any sort of loan.  Many are going down this route, the three-year cohort default rate rose to 14.7 in 2010.  As irresponsible as I am I don’t want to engage in this clusterfuckery.  I already have enough problems with authority to just screw myself for the rest of this existence financially.

One broke-ass bitch

One broke-ass white trash chola

2.  Be really poor.  I am good at this, but honestly am tired of being broke.  It’s nice to not be under the stress of not knowing how to pay for anything.  If you do find yourself broke, working at McDonalds with your liberal arts degree, you can qualify for deferred payments from economic hardship, but the loan will just be sitting there until you die or until you start making more and have to start repaying.

3.  Get severely fucked up.  The loan will be forgiven if you become disabled and unable to work.  So you can step in front of a semi or get into some type of bike accident and not have to work, but you may miss out on something else.

Countless college students spend their money on cheap beer, but don't recycle their cans.

Countless college students spend their money on cheap beer, but don’t recycle their cans.

4.  Get really rich.  Realistically for me this could be accomplished by winning the lottery, which I am too stubborn to play, marry a rich man (I haven’t even dated a rich man), become an entrepreneur, or by exploiting someone.  Urban planning seldom reaches a 6-digit salary.

5.  Be a debt-slave.  You could go down the conventional route and work 40-hours a week and pay off a loan which will be substantially more than it was when you first took it out.  This is the thought that crushes my soul.  I could sit at a desk for hours everyday to just still live like a student by making massive interest payments to the Federal government, but there are other ways…

This is where you can get a little inventive:

6.  Leave the country.  I personally know people who abandoned their student loan debt and have moved abroad never to come back to the US.  This is risky as you never know what situation may draw you back into the States.

7. Work full-time in a public service job.  The federal government will forgive your loan balance after making 120-months (10 years) of on time loan payments if you work a public service job full-time.  You can use this in conjunction with income based repayments which will decrease your loan payment according to your income.

So what is a public service job?  The following are listed as public service jobs which qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.  Sorry this is a big list:

  • AmeriCorps position means a position approved by the Corporation for National and Community Service under Section 123 of the National and Community Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12573).
  • ƒ An authorized official is an official of a public service organization (including AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps) who has access to the borrower’s employment or service records and is authorized by the public service organization to certify the employment status of the organization’s employees or former employees, or the service of AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteers.
  • ƒ An employee means an individual who is hired and paid by a public service organization.
  • ƒ Full-time means working in qualifying employment in one or more jobs for the greater of: •
  • An annual average of at least 30 hours per week or, for a contractual or employment period of at least 8 months, an average of 30 hours per week; or
  • Unless the qualifying employment is with two or more employers, the number of hours the employer considers full time. Vacation or leave time provided by the employer or leave taken for a condition that is a qualifying reason for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29, U.S.C. 2612(a)(1) and (3) is equivalent to hours worked in qualifying employment.
  • ƒ Government employee means an individual who is employed by a local, State, Federal, or Tribal government, but does not include a member of the U.S. Congress.
  • ƒ Law enforcement means service performed by an employee of a public service organization that is publicly funded and whose principal activities pertain to crime prevention, control or reduction of crime, or the enforcement of criminal law.
  • ƒ Military service for uniformed members of U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard means “active duty” service or “full-time National Guard duty” as defined in Section 101(d)(1) and (d)(5) of Title 10 in the United States Code, but does not include active duty for training or attendance at a service school. For civilians, military service means service on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard performed by an employee of a public service organization.
  • ƒ Peace Corps position means a full-time assignment under the Peace Corps Act as provided for under 22 U.S.C. 2504.
  • ƒ Public interest law refers to legal services provided by a public service organization that are funded in whole or in part by a local, State, Federal, or Tribal government.
  • ƒ A public service organization is: •
  • A Federal, State, local or Tribal government organization, agency or entity; •
  • A public child or family service agency; •
  • A non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code; •
  • A Tribal college or university; or •
  • A private organization (that is not a labor union or a partisan political organization) that provides at least one of the following public services:
  • • emergency management,
  • • military service,
  • • public safety,
  • • law enforcement,
  • • public interest law services,
  • • early childhood education (including licensed or regulated child care, Head Start, and State funded pre-kindergarten),
  • • public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly,
  • • public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health support occupations, as such terms are defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics),
  • • public education,
  • • public library services,
  • • school library services, or
  • • other school-based services

This robust list provides an interesting pathway.  I am scheming some grand ideas, but cannot share them until they are fully formed.

Despite having semi lost my identity in graduate school, I suddenly see how I can make my expensive and worthwhile education work for me.  I am learning many useful skills to benefit humanity, but was scared the price tag of my education would make me bitter towards the experience.  Now I feel some hope.  Unless someone decides the government should default.  Then maybe it would be time for option 6.

There are ways that I can perhaps not have total financial freedom, but can still have the ability to travel.  More to come as I build up my preliminary ideas.

Link to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Page:  http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service

Urban Planning for Hangovers

There is much to discover in the San Luis Obispo area.  In almost three months of being here I have managed to explore many of the little towns surrounding the city.  These little towns have stimulated my inner voyeuristic, anthropologist weirdo.  I recalled a creepy text I got from my friend when he was riding Amtrak.  He was elated that he was high enough to look into every car below him.  Of course he was scoping for cleavage, but there is the similar predisposition to watch strangers from afar.  I am enamored with the unique folks in these places.  There are some interesting haunts too… You just got to let your freak fly.  While I was languishing in my own filth after a night out, I realized these jaunts out to these small towns constitute adventure and would be apropos for my blog.  So here.  This is what it’s like to be in a random place hungover.

It was 1230 in Arroyo Grande, a small city 15 minutes south of San Luis Obispo.  I was scrambling to get food to nurse the most apocalyptic hangover I have ever experienced.  Honestly, I was disgusted with myself; I’m sure I drove and conducted the job interview which drew me out here still drunk.  The night before, a couple friends and I killed a bottle of cherry vodka while watching “Life of Pi” and then hit up the dismal San Luis Obispo bar scene.  My friend drove me from her apartment where I passed out to my van and I barely made it to my interview on time.  I’m sure my slight inebriation made me much more affable, articulate, and charming than my usual anxious self.


Dramatic reenactment of my half eaten grilled cheese sandwich

The center of Arroyo Grande has a very cutesy old-timey surf country aesthetic.  Proponents of new urbanist architecture would swoon at AG’s urban form.  The town proudly calls itself a village.  CuteCuteCute.  The storefronts are right on the sidewalk and there’s even colored brick in the crosswalks.  Many of the patios have seating which spills out onto the sidewalk.  It’s a very walkable environment, unless you have the wrath of Thor raining down upon your brain.  With my head cocked to the side in an attempt to nurse my unbearable nausea I walk past a number of little eateries before stopping at a place called Branch Street Deli.  They have grilled cheese sandwiches.  I’m sold.  I order my food and run to the bathroom to deal with the cruel realities of bad decisions.  The food is ready once I come out.  My excitement can barely be contained.  I can’t handle the classic rock streaming on the speakers so I sit outside.  Two bites into my grilled cheese my stomach my head starts spinning and my stomach turns.  I burp.  Oh shit.  I grab my food and start heading towards the parking lot, but I could not move fast enough.  Projectile vomit shoots out of my mouth all over the stairs and into my hair.  I sit on a curb to let my body complete its processes.  My private life has become public in a small town setting.  Good thing I don’t live here or else I’d be the talk of the town!  A man in textbook cowboy attire:  cowboy hat, tight pants, tucked in button up shirt, Sam Elliot moustache, is conversing across the street with a woman.  Neither of them seem to be phased by my public puking party.  The restaurant worker on his phone doesn’t say anything either.  I start to wonder if I am invisible or if this display is normal.  Suppose it’s simpler to not care and ignore.


I slither ashamed into the back of my van.  Eventually I find myself on my side eating the rest of the grilled cheese and fries with ranch before I pass out.  A couple hours later I am woken up by the rain.  Glad no one found my behavior suspect and called the AGPD.  My hangover is still as intense as ever, but I could not spend all day being a vomit covered vagrant sleeping in the back of their van in Arroyo Grande.  I muster the courage to start heading home.  Suddenly I panic as I pull out because a mob of middle  school aged children have flooded the streets.  It’s 3PM on Friday at this point.  Children sit in the front patios of all the restaurants to indulge in cheeseburger and burritos before their metabolisms slow down and they have to think way too much about what they eat.  As I try not to commit manslaughter I smile when I see how the happy kiddos are to embrace the weekend.  My head throbs intensely as I sit at the stop sign waiting for the parade of energetic girls and boys go by me.  Growing up in Menifee we didn’t have this.  We would all go to Target and later on the Temecula Promenade which is now trying to mimic the same old-timey village downtown look.  I remember when I didn’t get hangovers like this.  The hangover is a wake up call to spend my time more wisely.  Evenings of drinking could instead be times of creative fervor.  Guess I get caught up in the idea of being hardcore.  The ego must be challenged.

I take the van down the main street.  There’s a cute park on the left.  There’s a bridge over a creek.  It’s all so idyllic.  Especially on a rainy day when you are hungover.  There’s even a place called Doc Burnstein’s ice cream lab.  Sounds like somewhere wonderful magical events take place, but my body was in no state to enjoy such an indulgence.  The center of Arroyo Grande is very quaint, walkable, and compact while the rest of town looks more like typical suburbia.  I head over to the local big box shopping center.  I met a man at the Trader Joe’s in town whom takes his pet goats stand up paddle boarding.  He had them tied up to his 80s era toyota compact car in the parking lot.  They were content munching on a patch of grass.


The central coast is never free of surprises.  So thrilled to get to be weird as ever out here.  Not so hungover, signing out.  La Juana del Oeste.