On the crooked and winding trail

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view — Edward Abbey

Telling a story populated with interesting characters is just as much fun as actually traveling to another part of the world. With my current writing project, I have been able to do both.

I have to admit the last three field research expeditions have been eye-opening, awe-inspiring and in a number of ways, deeply personal. The trails and roads I’ve followed on these expeditions have only made the trail I’m trying to make for myself as a writer all the more crooked, winding and dangerous. If you were wondering, I mean that in a really great way.

The more crooked, the more winding, the more dangerous, the better. Just a different kind of adrenaline junkie.

Sure, there’s a ‘lonesome’ component to it. But I wouldn’t call it ‘lonely.’ I think of it as solitary. If you’re thinking of solitary confinement then there’s no amount of explaining that can be offered to make you understand the appeal of being on your own.

To me, these kinds of expeditions are best done by yourself. You get to follow your instincts. More often than not, if you bring along another person who really doesn’t have an integral role in the research, you won’t discover as much. The other person is a distraction. That’s one reason. Another reason would be the other person really doesn’t get what and why you’re doing what you’re doing. They may understand it theoretically. They can be empathetic about it. But unless they’ve done something like what you’re doing, there is no true understanding. They will be a distraction. And that is another reason I travel alone. Get more shit done that way.

Let’s be honest, there are only a handful of people who I would willingly have as a travel companion. Outside of that group, there are certain expectations I have to meet. Yeah, no thanks.The politics of relationships, regardless of the type of relationship, are hostile and confusing enough for me to remain a lone wolf.

Maybe one day, this lone wolf will find the perfectly imperfect mate. At long last, I’ll have a companion who won’t annoy me during my expeditions. But I highly doubt I’ll find this person. Lived long enough to know any legitimate opportunity to be in a romantic relationship worth fighting for, has always been slim to none.

So, I will travel the road and blaze a trail with friends who I trust and who will be there for me when I need them.

Anyway, I’m chomping at the bit to continue writing since life makes the annoying habit of interrupting it. I suppose with Christmas coming next month, things will get a little more hectic. Plus, I have a crazy list of movies I need to see in the theatre and a couple of books I need to read. Where the fuck do I make the time?

Oh well, I’ll figure it out. Maybe I’ll start rationing my time. Hmmm. That could work.

Time to recharge

Personally, I don’t take holidays; I go on trips — Martin Parr

This week, I get to take a break and go on a trip. There’s field research involved but it’s a trip and I’m looking forward to it.

The trip is almost jammed pack with things to do but there will be moments where I can hopefully just chill out. I’m not sure how good I’m at chilling out, though. I think my definition of chilling out doesn’t necessarily jives with everybody else’s. And that’s fine by me.

By doing something different, I’m recharging my batteries. And I find that to be the best way to chill and to get out of my head, in my humble opinion. Being in a different part of the world helps with that, too. You just get to focus on what you need to do and not what other folks need you to do. Fuck that.There will be ample opportunity for that when I get back.

Then there’s the fun of getting things squared away before heading off on a trip. Getting laundry done. Taking the garbage out. Making the sure the fridge doesn’t have anything that will turn into a science experiment while you’re away. Give the plants enough water so they don’t die. Yep, the details of life.

For the trip, I’ll be taking two books with me, plus an audiobook. And maybe a magazine about psychic phenomenon. I do have a lot of reading to catch up on. But then, I have my writing project to work on, too.

Wow, I just might be too busy to do everything I want to do on the trip. Well, it’s better than not having enough to do and let boredom settle in. I do better being over-stimulated than being under-stimulated. It can lead to nothing but trouble.

Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop, I think, is the saying. Trust me, you really do not want my hands to be idle.

It’ll be good to get all the extraneous shit out of my head for a little while. It’s always fun when all that stuff overrides the focus of your true intentions/callings/needs. I think I’ve figured out the fine line between life and writing. But, we shall see. It will always be a balancing act that requires me to be fluid and flexible.

Doing something completely different and something that will be in the service of my creative goals makes me happy. I’m looking forward to this trip. I’ve talked with friends about it and they’re just plain excited that I’m off to somewhere warmer. The warmer weather is a side benefit. I’ve had one friend check out on Google maps the exact location of where I will be doing my field research. He was curious and, possibly, looking out for me, in his own little way which I appreciate.

Looking forward to the adventure that awaits.

Need more stamped pages in the passport

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought — Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Research can be fun. And you might be asking yourself whether or not I’m a glutton for punishment or have a bizarre definition of fun.

If you’re doing research for your job, then okay, fun might be questionable depending on what it is you’re being asked to look for and examine. Right now, I’ve been unfortunate that some of the research I’ve had to do for work has been interesting and enlightening.

But I’m not really focussing on work-related research right now. I’m more interested in the research related to my writing. Recently, wanderlust has been attempting to settle itself into my bones. As much as I would like to pick up and leave right now to regions unexplored, it’s not going to happen just yet.

Work on the current writing project has me wanting to explore a specific region of the North American continent. The flight has been booked and the only thing I need to figure out is how much ground can I cover once I’m there. Nine days doesn’t seem long enough because of time constraints so it’ll be jam-packed if I do this correctly. If I had my druthers, it would be three weeks of field research, not nine days. Oh well.

I relish doing this kind of research because it addresses my wanderlust. But then I forget how tired I can be after doing something like this. Invigorated but tired. Working vacations/field research tend to have that effect. But I think I’ve factored in enough decompression time that I won’t be telling colleagues when I return to work that I need a vacation from my vacation.

I told my best friend about the research trip because who doesn’t want to escape for a little while. She wanted to come with me but her life is pretty busy so it’s not going to happen this time. One day, we are going to travel together to some fun location and have the time of our lives. Still have no idea where that would be since she’s travelled to more places than I have. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind having a few more stamps in my passport. Well, maybe a lot more stamps. Hopefully, it will happen. Travel is on my top ten list but not the top five. Not too concerned about it right now.

Another field trip. It gets the heart beating a little faster. It refocusses the energy. Yep, I’m ready.