my way back to the USA I stopped in Tokyo and spent 4 days with my brother who
is an expat, & has lived in Japan for 13 years. He had just spent 3 weeks
back in the US visiting our mother and I asked him for some entertainment hints
regarding cable TV. His advice was keenly accurate, “All channels from 1-100
are, “How I met your Mother”. All channels above 100 show either pawn shops or
storage container auctions” I had no idea what he meant, until I parked myself on
the couch at mom’s house. I’m back . . . .
the first 6 months, I could stand in any cashier checkout line in any city in
America and feel like a complete foreigner even though I have a perfect
American accent and look like every other guy at Home Depot. I didn’t know the
first thing about pop culture or any current events. The cover of the magazines
held no familiar faces or names. I barely knew the politicians or the issues. During
those 6 years in the 3rd world, nearly all of my transactions were
conducted in a foreign country with a foreign currency in a foreign language.
Now I swipe my debit card without even exchanging a smile with the cashier at
Walmart. Too easy mate. Convenience gets boring.
is a verbatim entry I wrote to myself last year: “Humans need to be challenged
and I’m no different. I’m living in San Diego CA and it’s a very pleasant easy
convenient life with consistently wonderful weather. But I feel bored. Why? I
could find challenge in the business I’m creating but it’s not the challenge I
want. I’m looking for something more base. Something more carnal. Something
that I can feel hourly and that has more serious consequences. I don’t want to
sleep walk through my days which is what I do here. It’s too easy. I want an
existence that is closer to the bone. I want to wake up with a jolt and go to
bed feeling fulfilled and that happens for me when I’m in motion. TRAVEL!!!”
Truck + Camper = Freedom
Sessions is a childhood friend. When we were 19 we drove a motorcycle around
the western US for a summer. It was a wonderful adventure and I credit it for kick
starting my wanderlust. I floated my idea of an overland driving adventure to
Mark and unknown to me; he began shopping for the rig. In Aug of this year he
bought it and offered it to me at cost. I flew to Phx and fell in love. The
truck is a 1999 Ford F250 4x4 Superduty 7.3 liter diesel. The camper is a 1998
Northstar 10.5 XL. Collectively I refer to them as a “She”, as in - “She’s got
character, and I love her”. I call her one of 2 names: LC for Landcomber (pronounced
“Elsie” cuz she’s a bit of a fat Guernsey), or “Freedom Machine”. My friends
seem to have latched onto Freedom Machine since I turned it into a hit single
that I’ve been known to sing in the late hours at the bar.
She's a work in progress
and his whole family got behind the effort of readying her for the upcoming adventure.
I’ve thanked them many times and now it’s on the Web. Another man I need to
thank is Ben Kates. We met in Bali when we were sailors on our boats and by
chance we both ended up back in San Diego. Ben let me park Elsie at his house
and helped me put on the solar panel, wire it to the battery (he gave me for
free!) and install the winch mounting bar that took more than 2 days. What a
hero! Adventures take planning and lots of help.
Ben cleaning a fish in Baja
So what’s the plan?
this is the formula for creating an amazing experience: Do your due diligence.
Make sure your airbags and safety belts are in place, check the weather
reports, and then throw yourself off a cliff. In other words; improve your odds
the best you can and then take huge chances. The plan is for me to drive this
rig all the way to the farthest tip of South America and back.
my intention to stay in RV parks for the first couple weeks until I learn the ropes
and get south of the Cartel violence. Maybe I’ll adopt a dog as an added
security measure. Maybe not. I’ll be on the lookout for like-minded
"overlanders" (that's what I’m called now. no more
"cruiser". i've been demoted;-) and a single gal who might want to
travel with me. I'm a decade older than I was when I left 10 years ago on
Barraveigh. My hair continues to thin and the sun damage has caught up with a
vengeance, but I'm keeping hope alive that I can still land a cutey. Why wouldn't
I - I got a 1998 camper that is at least 75 sq ft! That was a very funny joke.
You aren't laughing. Why aren't you laughing?
The plan breaks down
like this: I’ll spend the first year in Central America. The second on the west
coast of South America and the third year on the east coast of South America
and then drive back to SD. The trip I just described is about 40,000 miles.
Spread over 3 years, it’s a leisurely pace befitting of my new snail costume.
What took you so long?
It all happens by
degree. It has been a slow surrender. My friends in S’Mish have said goodbye to
me numerous times and then I’d stick around for one more party. Sometimes you
have to paint yourself out of the picture to actually get yourself out the door.
I leased out my top 2 floors and moved into the studio below. I threw away my
SD library and Ralph’s reward cards. I sold my car. And lastly - I cleaned out
the fridge/freezer and unplugged it, leaving the door open. That’s when it hit
me. Nothing looks more final than an open empty fridge. Goodbye
SD. You are the hardest lady I’ve ever had to break up with . . . twice.
Unlike Sammy Hagar - I Can
The work is done. I have
spent and fretted and raked my knuckles enough. I leave tomorrow morning.
Everything else can be tackled on the fly. I got a white board and every tool I
can carry. I'm trying to quickly get down to Puerto Vallarta to catch my
sailing buddy Dan (https://sailordan.wordpress.com/)
who is about to cross the Pacific.
Everyone needs a “Freedom
Machine”. Barraveigh was a FM. But it doesn’t have to be so big that you can
live in it. Whether it’s a surfboard or a bicycle or a skateboard – whatever it
is that morphs into an escape pod when you choose it to – that’s a Freedom
Machine. I got a Freedom Machine. What’s your Freedom Machine?