* Disclaimer: I am a poor excuse for a dirtbagger and am doing it all wrong.
Well, it’s been 8 weeks since I hit the road and still counting. Amazingly I am still at it in a setup that is may be passable for a weekend trip. Let me paint the picture: I am car camping out of a Chevy Cruze, sleeping on a twin size air mattress between the back seats and the trunk, with a gear tent on the side.
(example image of my car)
At this point, I have gotten this small, front-wheel drive vehicle stuck in both sand and snow and have had to rescue my tent from a fire evacuation, and speeding gusts of wind on multiple occasions. This entails lots of running, cursing, stuffing everything into the car in a haphazard manner, and running away. Whether that be to another camping area or a motel depends on how close I am to a meltdown. The latter occurs when “fuck this!!! What am I doing!!!” is running through my mind.
“I want to go on the road,” I said. “I don’t want to spend the money on a bigger car or a van,” I said. “It’s not that long, I’ll do it out of my sedan and tent,” I said.
So maybe I was a little naive in my perception of how easy or difficult dirt bag life was going to be. Maybe I should have planned a little better, financially, mentally, logistically, whatever. But on the bright side, the way I’m doing this is a hell of a character building experience 😉
And somehow, I’m still not ready to pay rent in an apartment where I get to walk 10 feet to the bathroom, instead of 10 minutes to dig a cathole. Where I get to sleep in a T-shirt instead of two layers of pants and sweatshirts, two sleeping bags, and an inordinate number of blankets. Doing laundry on a regular basis and not wearing the same clothes for 4 days in a row. Because that’s also where I look in the mirror multiple times a day, obsessing over whether I look skinny or bloated. Where I stare at my face and wonder if I’m pretty or not or kinda ok and passable. Where I change in and out of 6 different outfits, concerned about how I’m presenting myself to the world and what people will think about me. Instead, I’m appreciating the nights I get to wear only one pair of pants to bed, when I get to lay in the sun with my dog on my lap and a beer in my hand, and climbing in world class climbing areas, testing myself in ways I have never before.
Don’t get me wrong, I am the most uncomfortable I have ever been in my life. But it’s easy to recognize that this discomfort is a privilege in itself and what I get to experience alongside this discomfort is non-replicable in any other way. Sure, often I wish I had a van, or a bigger car, or a maybe even a house situated perfectly 5 minutes from the boulders… but I don’t. And I’m still doing it.