The ins and outs of my dirtbag life

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* 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.

Image result for 2011 gold chevy cruze(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.

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One Month

Well, a bit over a month has passed since I began my road trip. As you can see, I have done a poor job of sticking to my claim: “I will have lots of extra time to write, so keep an eye out for more posts to come”. But this in itself is a good point of self-discovery.

In the weeks leading up to my departure,  I was confident I would easily improve my social media game. Where before I would struggle to post to Instagram once per week, I was convinced I could easily post 3-4 times per week once I was on the road. No longer would I be bogged down by the 9-5 job, and my full time occupation would consist of being in awesome places doing the things I love. Easy enough to take a good picture almost every day and share it, right? It wouldn’t be hard to write every day and type it up on the blog at least once a week, right?

Turns out, I just kind of suck at social media. But it’s ok that I suck at this, and it’s a useful thing to know about myself. I wasn’t posting to Instagram only once a week because I was too preoccupied by work, online classes, whatever, because now that these excuses have been removed, I still only post once a couple times a week. I just don’t think to give my phone to a friend to take pictures of me. Of the 30+ new boulders I have done in Bishop, I have video of 1 of them. And this is my second post of my first 5 weeks on the road. Ah, well.

What this means? Well, simply put, I don’t express myself through social media the way others do. Posting every other day feels more like a pressure than an enjoyable activity. There is thought that has to go into taking pictures, capturing video, writing posts. It’s a process that I don’t find myself drawn to. It’s interesting to feel this pressure, trying to keep up with athletes who are much better at creating content for more frequent posts because of the way that remaining relevant depends on it. My balance is posting photos twice a week that I am proud of, that depict where I am, what I am doing, and to share with friends and family back home, or whoever is interested. I don’t want to force myself to be an internet personality that I am not. So I will keep enjoying the awesome places I am in, doing the things I love, and occasionally taking pictures.