Just one year of the 9-5 drone gave me the jolt I needed. Persistent plastering of my proficiencies across the Interwebs set me in fair stead for the ultimate escape, head held high. A suitcase brimming with memories in one hand and a one-way ticket in the other, I was resolute to conquer faraway lands and bid farewell to life’s obstructions. Was it purely human folly or simply too much wine that lead to innumerable discussions of escape and adventure, discussions that were too often reconstructed in the form of a clichéd tour or a two-week vacation with an itinerary comparable to a school timetable? Was it fear of the unknown, of being caught down and out that lead such dreams to be simulated within the confounds of knowledge and order?
Time and time again I had witnessed many seemingly laid-back friends undertake overseas jaunts with the air of a neurotic pensioner. I was adamant to discover how one could travel, formula aside. And no, minor albeit necessary luxuries were not to be neglected (in order of importance: wine in a glass bottle, clean sheets, clothes without holes, regular haircuts and decent coffee).
Life on the road, or train in this case, has sharpened my skills for responding to the inevitable, often trying question, “so what is it you actually do?” What I do is make memories, write stories, take photographs, explore libraries, mend clothes, hijack kitchens and enjoy my life as a flâneur. The financing of this lifestyle is clearly essential, though secondary. With the university education sidelined, I am content earning my piece as a writer, as a tutor, as an entertainer. I’ll allow Virginia Woolf to mask the dreaded cliché: “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”
Over the past two years I have happily roamed at my own leisurely pace, all the while with wine in a glass bottle, crisp Ikea sheets, a small rotating inventory of patched up clothes, a fringe I can see under and a bottomless espresso mug filled with inky goodness. While I may have no fixed address to speak of and a meagre pocketful of change, I rejoice in the knowledge that I have experienced, that I have wholeheartedly embraced, that I have left a trace.
Bill Callahan was on the money when he penned the line “running naked, dragging a kite”. I shall continue running, kite in tow.
Notes: It’s Our Anniversary from the record Supper by Smog (Bill Callahan)