A Bumpy Start
Posted on October 11, 2013
A few eyes turn your way when sprinting at top speed through an airport. The effect is compounded when the terminal track star is wearing giant motorcycle boots and a white power-ranger-esque armored jacket. Such was the scene as I bolted from gate D17 to back to gate A11 in the Dallas airport knowing that my wallet holding all of my bank cards and drivers license had been left on my connecting fight which was about to leave the gate. I slammed into to the counter of gate A11 with beads of sweat running down my temples and was greeted by a thinly mustached attendant who dismissively informed me that the plane had just left for Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Fantastic. I turned around and accelerated back up to top speed hoping to get back to D17 in time to catch my flight bound for London. I made it with 6 minutes to spare – just enough time to give my contact information and a heartfelt plea to the airline attendant to have someone in Jackson Hole find my wallet and forward it on to me. I got on the plane bound for London, with no money. If you’ve ever tried to get bank cards replaced in a foreign country you’ll appreciate my concern, as it’s not so easy or quick. I’ve never tried to drive a motorcycle around in a foreign country without a driver’s license, but I imagine that could also create problems. Being the last person to board the plane, I got the front emergency exit seat, with plenty of legroom so that I could worry in comfort all the way across the Atlantic.
Massive screw-ups on my part aside, leaving home is hard this time because there’s a lot to leave behind. There is the usual anxiety of quitting a job, giving up a place to live, and all of the familiarity and feeling of security that come with those things. Not knowing exactly where I’m headed or what comes next doesn’t really bother me because that’s part of the point of leaving in the first place. It’s an antidote to the mental atrophy that can be inspired by daily routine. What does give me pause is leaving the people and work that I care about behind. It crept up on me, finding how much I valued the relationships in my life and feeling like I was doing something useful every day that people relied on, not to mention earning enough money to buy anything I could really want or need. I live in a beautiful place and I’ve been really happy. New marriages and new babies seem to spring up every other week amongst my close friends and family. All of this feels like a good phase of life to be moving into, but I’ve never been able to put away some daydreams, and finally the daydreams won out over everything else.
I didn’t have this problem when I became a vagabonding surfer 15 years ago. Life was transient, relationships and jobs came and went in fluid fashion, which suited me just fine.
Even with life taking on slightly more complexity now at 37 than it did at 22, I’m still a minimalist at heart. All of my possessions still fit into my truck. I was surprised how easily they all fit, given that 6 surfboards occupy most of the space under the camper shell. Furniture evaporated on the lawn next to a sign marked FREE, the same way it came into my life. I’ve lived as though I may need to pick up and go at a moments notice. I think that I’ve just always just liked feeling as though that were the case. As I sit in my comfy seat bound for London, waves of excitement are mixed with the need to keep reminding myself that motoring around the world for a while looking for waves to ride is what I really want to do, even if it feels a bit different now having moved out of the realm of daydream and become real, bumps and all.