I originally planned to spend a night in Fargo, North Dakota and then return to Minnesota tomorrow but last night my CouchSurfing host and I met up with two other CouchSurfing hosts and their guest for a little around-the-world get together where I met John, a Brit heading straight for St. Paul! He offered a ride, and instead of struggling to make it four hours down the road I comfortably cruised nine and a half hours (stopping in Fargo for lunch) all the way to my grandmother's driveway!
John has been in the U.S. for a few weeks, traveling around in a rental car with a group of friends from England. His friends went back home to work, but John stuck around and is about to embark on an epic tour across the Midwest, the east coast, and eventually down south and back west. He's a smart guy with some interesting insights into the American identity (as only a sophisticated Brit could provide), and his blog is observational, satirical, and well-written. The link is www.ontheroad2012.net , check it out!
Anyway, John and I had lots to talk about on the drive to St. Paul. Turns out we hit up a lot of the same locations, just at different times. He invited me along to tour the country (again) with him in his rental car, CouchSurfing all along the way. "I'll have to dump you in Denver," he said, before adding "not that I mean to just leave you in the middle of nowhere or anything!" After hitching across the US, including through Denver, this didn't seem like a problem. I'll be in Virginia to vote in this oh so important election and it just so happens that he'll be there around the same time after hitting up Philly, Boston, NYC, and DC, so I have some time to think about whether I want to take him up on his offer and rediscover the country through the eyes of our closest ally.
For now, I'm just trying to process just what in the hell I just did with my life in the last two months. It was summer when I started and approaching winter now, however the entire experience feels like it lasted only a few days. Time just sort of blurs together when you resort back to your basic instincts. What I mean by that is that a lot of the rules of normal living don't really apply to life on the road. As Douglas Adams wrote, "time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so." You eat when you're hungry, you sleep when you're tired, and when either of those two things are difficult to obtain, you deal with it without any bullshit of what others might think of you lingering over you. Interacting with humans is a part of this. No, it's THE part of it. It seems like where once I put on a mask to display the "Adam" I wanted the world to see, now all that BS disappeared and there's just the Adam that dealt with shit as it came up. I'm a better man because of it, and it's taught me how to just be yourself in the midst of all the craziness that is the human race.
I feel good, but I don't know if I can say I feel satisfied. I still don't know what in the hell I'm going to do for a J-O-B, and I have absolutely no idea what comes next. The thing is that doesn't scare me anymore. The next step is just like making it to the destination: I'll deal with it. Some days will be good, some won't, might as well just enjoy the ride.
Ok, enough of that pretend-insightful shit. Here's what's actually next: grandma's for a few days, then Beloit, then Virginia to vote. This whole trip I never told anyone what I thought they "should" do, but I'm breaking that trend to say now to anyone who's reading: fucking VOTE. It's important.
From Virginia it's either starting all over again and taking the road trip with John (and spending the last of what little money I have), or getting a little more serious about life with a job. Or something else, who the fuck knows.
I'll post some photos and some other shit soon. Hope this didn't sound too preachy.
From Coon Rapids, signing out.
Here's a shot I liked from Montana.