Do something every day that scares you

The more I’m trying to work on my travel writing, the more I feel like I’m scaring myself silly. Which is a good thing. I know that I have a lot of work ahead of me. Hell, right now it feels impossible to even get someone to respond to an email, much less setting out on some long press trip. In many ways it feels like something someone else would get to do and I would listen, just drooling about the whole experience. And they would probably just complain about how dirty a city was or that it’s hard to get a drink with ice in it in Europe.

I begin with daydreaming.

If you can begin with a dream, then you have a goal, and you can work towards a goal. That’s how I work anyway. That’s how I was able to go to London nearly two years ago. Tonight I was looking at Google Maps and just seeing the green of the UK and the hedgerows and the way cities were laid out made me miss my experience. Jeez, I could FEEL what it felt like to see those places! I want to go back. I want to go so many other places too.

I discovered that you can buy a rail pass and see Europe for pretty much which it cost me to drive to Oregon last month. (Around $400) You can take a month to go from place to place too, with several cities and stops along the way not really adding anything to the price of tickets. I didn’t realize how close countries are really. In many ways, it’s a lot like our states here. Yes, I know that is a newbie thought. But when you visualize it like that, it seems less daunting. It seems like a shorter hill rather than an unsurmountable peak.

Hopefully lockdowns will relax and in the meantime, I can figure out little things like how to fund trips like this. Time is also critical. Gathering information. And though a month trip like that is likely a far off experience, it’s a good place to start.

I can’t believe it has been nearly two years.

I have the wanderlust bad these days. My trip out to Oregon was only enough to take the edge off just a little bit.

This is the motivation. What doesn’t come so easy is the discipline to do it. To just keep hammering away at it until something clicks and it goes from being a dream into reality. Work, read, write, pitch, query, travel, repeat. It’s a simple formula, but one that sometimes I feel is about twenty years too late. But back then there wasn’t the access to information the way there is now. In some ways it is easier. And then my life is a little more complicated than it was back then.

I suppose it’s all a trade off.

I mean, what happens if you set a goal and there is nothing standing in your way except how much you want to work to get there, and the result is getting everything you want and more? How terrifying is that? I mean, what if you actually get it?


What could have been

If it is to be believed there are parallel dimensions, I’d like to think that right now, I am on a night flight to London with my girlfriend sitting next to me. Maybe her head is on my shoulder and she’s trying to get some sleep. I know I would have already been on my second glass of wine, trying to sleep through the flight over the Atlantic with the drone of the air rushing over the fuselage and the engines shooting us across the sky at nearly 600mph. Probably watching some censored version of a stupid movie. Holding hands.

But I’m not.

It’s Sunday, May 10, 2020. Because of the pandemic, the flight was canceled. Then we were cancelled. I’m not having a good day with this. I get that so many people can just shrug and say, “Life goes on” but I’m not wired that way. I’m still reeling. Still processing. Still raw. This shit takes a while. If you can get over that kind of loss so easily, good for you.

Today I picked up some herbs from a nursery and planted them in pots at home. I’ve been walking wounded for a few days now. Trying to keep busy. I just keep thinking about that trip. And yes, about her. Trying to let go. Trying to keep my head clear. Trying not to say “What the fuck?!” every twenty minutes. Little things keep popping up. Reminders.

A year ago, I was about to take the same flight. I did it solo. It was my first international trip and it opened my eyes to who I am and what I wanted out of life. It changed my perspective in so many ways. I went through the rollercoaster of pushing my comfort zone, figuring things out, taking a recuperative nap, and repeating over the next ten days. It was amazing. It was an experience I had hoped to revisit. Something I had hoped to share with someone.

Fucking coronavirus.

Again, my life feels stalled. I’m angry, alone, stuck with my work to keep me occupied. That’s just wonderful. While so many have been bitching about being on lockdown for the last two months, I’ve been sheltering in place alone, (apart from phone calls). The monotony broken by my son for two weeks now out of eight. The time with him is wonderful, but it is work. We do podcasts together, but I can tell the difference in my voice with him. I’m Dad. I’m not me.

Everyone is sheltering in place with someone. I’m tired of pretending that is something I will get. Fuck it. Everyone paired off on Noah’s Ark and I’m waving bon voyage from the pier.

I hope that other me is enjoying London and Edinburgh for the next ten days, in a world where the Chinese government didn’t play “I don’t have anything behind my back, Mom,” with the world and fuck everyone over.

In that other world it would have been the beginning of a new adventure. Today, it’s just more of the same. Get knocked down seven times, stand up eight. But I just keep getting up. I don’t even remember why anymore.

Over here, people are arguing over facemasks and hoarding toilet paper. You lucky bastard. Here, it’s just more of the same. The same old story, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tries to figure out just what the fuck went wrong.

Have fun, Clinton Harris in a Parallel Universe. I hope you have an amazing time.