15,000 miles down

January, 25th, Canton, PA–  *Apologies for not having any pictures this time around folks!  I’ll make up for it next time!*

So, I haven’t been fair to you guys and gals.  I’ve been pulling my punches because it’s difficult to talk about your life in the first person, without either A.) Incriminating yourself in shenanigans that your Grandma (well, mine at least) wouldn’t approve of or B.) Sounding like a pompous twerp.  I’ve been waiting to get to a new area and then writing the article for the one before.  It’s been fun but I haven’t wanted to be too insightful, for fear of hitting B, and I haven’t talked about the nights of partying I’ve had, for fear of hitting A.  I’ve also been cheating myself out of the outlet that this can be.  For those of you who know me, you know who I am, how I get and what an incredibly wonderful or irritating human being I can be.  I try my best to leave folks happy to have met me and I can honestly say that I’ve made and met quite a few family and friends (new and old) along the way.

What I’m going to attempt from here on out is to make sure that the people who do read all of this stuff are up to speed and I’m gonna come clean about what and how I do.  The idea was to travel the country, while broke and at least have a good time.  Well, shit.  I’ve done it.  I went and accomplished it.  It went by pretty quickly, in hindsight.  I had to do some things that felt like work but all in all…what a friggen blast.  My budget never got outrageous and I found that there were good people, everywhere, who were all willing to help, encourage and house me.  My biggest problem has been money, all the trip through, but to be honest there were only a handful of places where money was an obstacle.  California was tough.  Los Angeles has a job market that’s tough to be competitive in.  Seattle was expensive but the wages that they pay offset it enough that it works.  Upstate, NY isn’t the best place to find work when it’s under 4 feet of snow and 22 degrees below 0.  Most of these things are common sense but where I was and when I was there wasn’t entirely dictated by me. Leaving your comfort zone and going somewhere new only takes adaptability.  It’s really just about survival.  You need food, water, shelter and some way to maintain those things.  I’ve slept on beds, floors, couches, chairs, “day beds” and even just a mat, outside on the ground, at Bonnaroo.  The point I’m making is that if your comfort levels are, shall we say, flexible, there’s a huge amount of opportunity that you can take advantage of.

Last I wrote here, I had just left Washington and arrived back in Arvada, CO, just outside of Denver.  I still had money from working the Puyallup Fair but there was no way that I could live lavishly.  I got to catch up with some friends and I had a good time but it was more of a vacation than anything.  I didn’t do much and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  The pacific northwest had hit me in a really good way and I actually needed to decompress and put it all in perspective.  Northern Lights Cannabis Company in Edgewater, Colorado and Pub on Penn in Denver are definitely a great way to put things in perspective.

Northern Lights has been open as long as any other recreational dispensary in the state and for all intents and purposes, appears to be doing good business and is hurtling the obstacles that stand in the way of being on the ground floor of what promises to be a growing industry.  It is something else to walk into a pot store and be able to ask any questions and get exactly what you’re looking for.  Should someone who had no experience with pot go in, they could feel completely comfortable.  The staff is knowledgeable and friendly would be an understatement.  There are laws that control how and when you can partake (public smoking will get you a ticket as fast as drinking in public) but it’s a great way to enjoy Denver’s aquarium or parks.

Pub on Penn on a Wednesday night is something you see and wish you were a part of.  They have 5$ all you can eat wings and cheap pitchers of domestic beer.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to think I’m a bit of a beer snob and given my choice of brew with no pricetag, I’ll gladly look for a good microbrew IPA or stout but it’s normally a “bang for the buck” kind of operation.  For the money, you will not find a better place to be.  Knowing that, you can assume that the place is going to be completely full of people.  Not like “25-minute wait” completely full but rather “standing room only, get there early or have comfortable shoes” completely full.  The wait staff is very obviously busy and you should know what you’re looking for.  It’s easy, get wings with Gator Dust and a pitcher of Coors.  When that shows up, order your next round of wings.  They come in orders of 5 but over the course of a few pitchers of beer, a table of 4 can go through hundreds of wings.

I left Denver for northern Virginia, right outside of DC.  I was still in vacation mode and had even less money than I had in Denver.  My sister and I got to spend a couple of weeks together and I cooked a pretty decent turkey for Thanksgiving.  I spent a night getting drunk in Washington but I honestly don’t remember too much about it.  Some family stuff had started happening at that point and we decided to head back down to Wilmington, NC to see about how it was going.  Things were serious and it was nice to both have the time and the ride to be there. I decided to stay behind when Sara left for Virginia and it turned out not to have been the best decision.

Spur of the moment visits from me don’t normally work out unless I’m sure about the place that I’m staying.  Nobody had really signed up to “host” me during the holidays and the folks who were expecting me were 600 miles away.  When things got shaky with where I could stay, I decided that Wilmington wasn’t my best option.  I spent two weeks or so making sure that things were as good as I could leave them and I caught a ride up to Sneads Ferry. I hadn’t seen my old roommates and friends, JJ and Danae, in months and I needed to get reacquainted with their living room.  They’ve been a power couple for as long as I’ve known them but they got engaged while I was there.  I didn’t have much money (Loreleis still got some of it…lol) and I didn’t have access to a transit system so I was pretty well stranded for a little bit.  It was great.  I drank a ton of coffee and got completely caught up on movies and TV.  I played a New Year’s Eve show at The Brass Pelican but afterward, I started to feel a bit eager to get out of town.  You can only watch so much television and play so many hours of video games before you start to go a little stir crazy.

My Dad was passing through NC so I jumped in the truck with him and headed for PA. I was originally supposed to be in Pennsylvania, specifically Canton, for Christmas.  I actually just got here a couple of weeks back.  This is as good a place as any for me to settle in and try to reload for a bit.  So far I don’t have much planned for this year but that’s been intentional.  I can go where life takes me.  I have some irons in the fire but for the moment I’m gonna take work at a fast food place one town over.  It’s definitely a trade down from my normal kitchen gig but work is work.

From now on, these articles won’t be put off until I’ve left somewhere.  It seems I’ll be spending a good bit of time in PA, so I’ll do my best to keep you folks abreast of what I’m doing.  In the meantime, leave your own comfort zone and go somewhere you’ve never been before.  Even if it’s in the same city or town you’re in right now.  Things are what you make them, not what you expect them to be.  Adapt to the situation around you because the world doesn’t owe anyone anything.  Keep looking for things that make you smile and go outside and play.