Monthly Archives: June 2013

Fear and Loathing in the Desert


I left the wood for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear that many others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressionable by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I have been traveling for just over a month now. My wonderful car has safely propelled me from the swamps of Florida to the rolling hills of Sonoma. I was there in wine country for nearly two weeks. I had stopped to see a friend, was offered a job, and through an unfortunate turn of events for my friend, the job slipped away. But that is no matter. I have my car and other friends in far off lands offering me shelter. It is my Sonoma friend I worry about. But as she said as I stepped out the door, “I am strong.” Indeed, you are.

As I got into my car again a few nights ago, to make my way to the desert, I felt that twinge of adrenaline and excitement to be off again. I turned up the music extra loud and cruised away to where the monsters live, among the crags and crevasses, in the fog and damp. I speak, of course, of the Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, among many other names. What an amazing drive. As I negotiated the curves, trying to catch glimpses of the breaking waves below, and hundreds of surfers, and hundreds more spectators, I knew that this was a place I’d have to return to. But as the road wore on, an ache settled into my back, and my legs grew tight, and pained me much. Perhaps the road is not where I need to be after all.

I am now in the desert. Once again in limbo. I have decided to put up here for a time, which could be done by the gracious help of a friend. It is much needed, as I really need to start thinking about my future. Not just thinking, but making moves. So’ll be here, baking in the desert heat, applying for jobs, writing, standing upon the deck, binoculars in hand, looking for the shore, in whichever direction it may lie.