I’m living in my car.
It’s not because I’m poor. It’s because I had this pull…
There was this thing that kept telling me to travel and see where it takes me.
Of course, maybe, I’m just running from something.
Either way, I’ve packed my car and headed West. I’m not sure what the pull is, but I feel like I need the answer to some question – though I’m not really sure what that question is.
On paper, my life looks amazing. My only child is off in college. I teach yoga which completely fulfills me. I have another sustainable business that I enjoy doing, which happens to be totally mobile ready. Beautiful friends and great clients. It’s really perfect!
That’s not a brag – it’s meant to illustrate that just because your friends think you’re living the dream doesn’t mean you are living the dream. And, that’s OK.
Because, for me, something didn’t seem quite right.
Isn’t that the way? You get exactly where you wanted to be, you reach that goal, and something still feels missing?
This is actually a known psychological affect. In fact, long before Western Medicine, mystics have been talking about the loss of desire when something is attained.
Book 4 – Sutra 29: Who desires to get high? Not someone who is already high. When you attain what you desire, the desire for it drops away.
Deep in the throws of Western Corporate life, the desires we float between are new cars, bigger houses, cooler things. “Growth” in the spiritual sense moves us from these desires to goal based desires as we begin building a life / identity that we resonate with, rather than building a security that we can compare to others.
We seem to be always seeking something.
Enter the Vision Quest
Years ago, as we were all tribal creatures, we sent our children into the woods with little to sustain themselves but talismans handed down from generations to protect them. We expected those children would find their way, not only physically, but spiritually. We expected they would figure out how to survive. They would find what they were good at. Their time un-supported would give them a sense of confidence… a sense of pride… a sense of purpose. They would return to the village after their “vision” with a knowledge of their selves, the world around us, and what they were meant to provide to the tribe.
Yeah. The whole purpose of the quest is to develop an identity that supports the whole.
I think we should still be doing that for our children.
…for each other.
We should push to figure out how we best support the world.
I’ve decided that my time for that quest is now.
But, this vision quest, journey thing, didn’t just flash in my head as a grand complete idea, then manifest itself onto my To-Do list. That’s just not the way BIG things happen.
More Like Tetris
Remember Testris? The 80’s video game where you interlock blocks to build rows and if you completed a row, you got points? BIG things very rarely happen like a switch. It’s more Tetris.
Tetris has a strategy, too. Build up four lines almost complete, then drop that four-long piece down in vertically and bamo! LOTS of points. The key to this strategy is trusting, at some point, the right pieces will show up AND you’ll be able to do with them what you need to.
Sometimes, the right pieces don’t show up and you’ve got all that foundation plugged tight, but have to build over it. Build a new four rows almost complete.
Yeah, true BIG things happen more like that.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
– Anaïs Nin
I didn’t just wake up one morning with this idea, quit teaching, pack the car and launch into the unknown. The world almost conspired to make it so – or at very least lined up enough things to get me to jump.
Often, we dream of just leaping into this completely BIG new thing. We read stories about people who have drastically changed their life and those stories seem to lack the “leading up to it” parts. It’s also hugely romantic to just say “Enough!” Then, magically be or do something else.
It does take a lot of action, a little setting yourself in a place to take the action, and a lot of little pushes in the right direction. When the time becomes right, you’ll know. You’ll know, not because of one sign from the universe, one fleeting dream, or one moment of enlightenment.
It takes collusion.
This vision quest really started three years ago. When I quit my IT career, I thought that as soon as my daughter went to college, I’d sell the house and travel around a bit. The first place to go was Thailand for a while. Chiang Mai is known as a hub for folks to bootstrap businesses and general nomadness. It’s cheap and I wouldn’t know anyone, so I could focus on my writing. Remember, I quit my job to be a writer? Yeah, I forget that a lot, too.
Around that time, I started going to a conference in Portland OR, every year in July. This year would be no different.
Somewhere around January, I was talking to Steve Errey – yeah, THE Steve Errey – and he asked if I was driving to PDX again this year. I hadn’t thought about it until now, but Steve suggested doing a road trip from Portland to San Francisco if I was going that way anyway. “Man,” I wondered. “Spending a couple days connecting with Steve would be pretty awesome!”
A little in-person David Delp time would certainly yield positive results. San Francisco could work out for a few days.
A few months later, a yoga training I’ve been trying to take for about a year got scheduled in LA in August.
…and I did buy a share in that co-op brewery in Washington state. I’d love to get out there and help with the build. That’s west coast, too.
…and Thailand from the west coast is a shorter flight, so that might work out.
I mean, this could be a thing.
Finally, I was talking to Vanessa Tharp about her having taken a new job. She remarked, “I knew if I didn’t do it now, I’d never do if.”
Vanessa was so terribly right. I’ve been saying I’m going to Chiang Mai for three years now. The camel’s back was broken.
You see? It wasn’t that one maddening thought you can’t outrun. It wasn’t one thing that popped up and sounded cool. This big adventure was a bunch of seemingly random pursuits all kind of lining up. It is not easy. It will require you move out of your comfort zone.
If you’re waiting for that one sign – that single perfect thing – it will never come. It’s built over many smaller “things” strung together.
You will likely not have all the answers when you begin. Your course will change over time. And, it’s very likely scary as hell to do it.
Portland → Seattle → San Francisco (via PDX to get Steve) → and maybe Thailand… maybe.
From there, this quest began. A couple other stops and mini-adventures were added on before I actually left, but that rough plan was enough to get started on a 6 month adventure. And, yes, it is scary as hell to not know exactly where I’m going, what I’m doing, or what I’m going to fill the blanks in with.
Hunter S. Thompson once wrote in a correspondence that there was little point in driving towards something if you have nothing to drive towards. Ultimately, he was saying that it’s OK to drift along for a bit, as long as it’s not to avoid work, but to enjoy the absence of a desire. This, opposed to simply driving towards someone else’s expectation or goal.
“Hey Steve. Yeah, let’s do that road trip, thing.”
THAT is where this story begins…