It wasn’t until I was typing up my last blog post that I realized I’ve been on the road full time for six months now.
Six. Months. Or I guess really, at this point, it’s been over six months.
204 days, to be exact.
It doesn’t feel like it’s been over half a year since I hit the road.
It feels both longer and much, much shorter, all at the same time. I can still remember packing up my things in my little 500-square-foot basement studio apartment in Charlottesville, half-panicked, a little excited, but mostly just floating, moving through the motions. The reality that I no longer would have a place to call “home” hadn’t really sunk in, mainly because my dislike for moving and packing far outweighs any apprehensions I might have had about living entirely out of a Jeep Cherokee and a SylvanSport Go.
As I expected, that reality eventually did sink in after my annoyance with moving subsided and my apartment keys were in my landlord’s hands. It was 11 o’clock on a Friday night. I had to be in Charlotte, N.C., the next morning at 9am, but I hadn’t had dinner yet and was completely exhausted from the long day of packing and cleaning. Thankfully, there are places you can find food after 11pm in Charlottesville, and I eventually found myself at the C&O bar, sipping a beer and waiting on a bowl of mac-n-cheese.
And that’s when it hit.
I’m a vagrant.
A wayfaring soul sucking on the marrow of unfulfilled wanderlust.
Alright that was a bit too poetic.
Perhaps it was the dark atmosphere at C&O, the fact that everyone around me was dining in pairs or more, sipping on their expensive wine in their Friday-night-best while I sat, slumped over and single at the bar, head in my hands, smelling faintly of sweat and bleach, wondering what in the hell I had just done with my life.
Living on the road? Who does that?
Six months later though, I’ve realized the answer to that question is everybody. If they’re not living on the road right now, chances are, they have at some point in their life. Even if it was just for a month while they transitioned from college to the real world or that one time they took a cross-country road trip with a friend, everyone it seems has either spent some time on the road or knows someone who has.
Because of this, the project has been met with more support than I could have ever anticipated. As I look back now on my earlier blog posts, it’s clear that I had absolutely no idea of the wonderful, sometimes challenging things that would come from my new life on the road. Even now, being halfway home, slightly seasoned, a little wiser, but maybe a little dumber too, I have no idea what’s in store for me. These next six months may prove to be the most challenging yet if the weather forecasters and Farmers’ Almanac are to be trusted as a reliable prediction of the winter-to-come. Still, I’m committed to the journey, to living outside and playing, even if it means I wuss out and take shelter for a couple weeks to thaw my laptop and pinky toes.
While I’ve certainly made an effort to share the notable moments on the road with my followers, there are still a number of events that never made it into a post. In celebration of six months on the road and, now, a little less than six months to go, I feel it’s an appropriate time to share those behind-the-scenes moments that, for better or for worse, may help paint a more complete portrait of the past 200+ days on the road.
So here they are – some highlights, some lowlights, and everything in between from six months of living outside and playing.
1. I almost killed a bat.
How he got into the leg of the Go is a mystery to me, but I almost crushed him when I was setting up. Ultimately, I think he was more freaked out than I was. I left him alone for a few hours and he must have wiggled his way free.
2. I definitely killed a stink bug.
Multiple stink bugs, actually. But never in the car. Those things are a waste of precious life.
3. I may or may not have found a container of moldy cheese in the car.
No comment. There also may or may not be mold inside my IceMule Cooler.
4. I met Pat Keller.
5. I locked the key in the car.
Definite lowpoint. With these crazy techno-go-go-gadget keys, how is this even possible these days?! Never fear. I found a way.
6. Some jag vomited on the car door.
Twice, both on the driver’s side. Imagine waking up at 8am to two perfect streaks of vomit on the car door handles. I think it goes without saying that I passed on breakfast…at least for a few hours.
7. My friend made me apple butter.
Cinnamon apple butter at that. Nice work AT.
8. I watched a yinzer ride a wheelie out of a gas station parking lot.
Yinzers. God love ’em.
9. Someone tried to slice my tire!
Or maybe I ran over a piece of glass. The former sounds much more dangerous and sexy.
10. I have found a strong network of people to whom I can make frequent Seinfeld references.
I might also allow for this post to be another question-and-answer session, given that I’m halfway through the first year of this project. Any questions? Suggestions for places to go or things to do in the coming six months? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and thanks to everyone for the unconditional support!