Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Project Runaway

In five days, Larry and I will load the back of a Ford Ranger with everything we think we might need over the next eleven months, climb in the truck, and drive, spending a slow three months touring the country, staying with friends and family, camping, and renting out rooms from strangers through Airbnb. We want to experience new landscapes and communities, share our favorite places with each other, and re-visit the towns where we grew up. After a few months, we'll look for places we can land for longer stretches, so we can pick up some work and I can write. To this end, we've registered on a housesitting website, and our first housesitting gig is in the tiny village of Clam Lake, Wisconsin. We'll be staying there January 15-April 1, learning to snowshoe and ice fish. We'll be hoping to spend some time near my aunt in West Texas from April to July, but are staying open to the whims of the world.

How did this plan get hatched? Well, there were many reasons we both wanted to make a change at this time, but I think the idea is best summed up by a small interaction we had some months ago. In a bout of fear and overwhelment--over what I don't remember, maybe work, trying to earn a living, childhood issues I can't altogether shake, fear of living in a world ruled by the monsters of banks and corporations--I said, like a little girl, "I think I should just run away." And Larry said, "If you run away, you have to take me with you."

Of course, I know there's no running away from our histories or most of the pressures of the world, but I began to consider what might happen if I lived in faith, stopped living in fear, started to disentangle myself from a daily routine. Don't get me wrong, I love my life in San Francisco. And I had a great routine in Merced, where I lived and worked for the past five years, as well. I've been blessed with many friends, purposeful work, great fellowship, and many invigorating creative projects. This new project, the project of running away, is really a project of running towards--running towards greater closeness in my relationship with Larry, running back to see old family and friends, running deep (through the winter in Wisconsin) into a memoir writing project that will force me to look at the childhood issues that still trouble me, and running towards small farms and food production initiatives across the country that I will visit as my alter-ego, Sweetie Pie--a baker who teaches science to children through cooking demonstrations. There's so much land in this land, so many people I miss, and so many more depths to explore, and I hope unhooking from the dailiness of my world will help me find a fuller sense of me.

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