Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

Trish and I are celebrating our one year anniversary in Dallas….but this is just the latest stop in a long line of stopovers. As Canadians, we are considered an anomaly. Most people in my country tend to hunker down, build a nest and stay in that one place for life, in the same job, short term vacation, paint the house every five years, have 1.2 children, put a different car in the driveway, buy a house they can’t afford, spend thirty five years trying to pay it off, divorce at least twice…. and never leave their comfort zone until  taken out in a box. Canadians in general are sedentary unimaginative and predictable people. The banks and government love them for acting like sitting ducks.

Many people emigrate,  we are nor immigrants…. we wander by choice. We have zero intention to stay in one place, instead we float in a dish of cream. When the milk runs dry we will  be on our way. In the past ten years in particular, we have been ‘on the road’ so to speak, living in hotel rooms and long stay executive apartments. I particularily like countries that rent furnished apartments by the week, like Australia. It’s liberating to move from one great view to another. I do not want plants or animals tying me down. I have a beautiful wife …why would I need a little furry buddy to assuage my inner emptiness? Aside from Dallas we have lived/ worked in  Paris , Amsterdam, London, Bristol, Beijing, Singapore, San Francisco, Bangkok, Hong Kong, New York, Maui, Helsinki,Denpassar,  and visited many places in between…..prior to that..  long stints in  Fiji and Brisbane homeschooling our son on the beaches. For university prep we gave the boy a top boarding school education and he went on to spend six years living on the campus of a great university. He is very independent and we’re quite proud of that.

The travelers lifestyle got under my skin when very young. I suppose you develop a mindset after a while where ‘home’ becomes a concept rather than a place. Our circle of friends are living around the world rather than the house-frau and her balding husband across the cul de sac. I’m permanently tanned from too much time in the sun, whereas in Canada they’re sounding alarms against the idea of even 15 minutes exposure. My travel flesh is deep and dark. My rotator cuffs  joints in arms and hips are grinding like an old transmission from too much time spent in swimming pools and surf lines…my travel bones are worn. And still I have no want to return ‘home’ and begin collecting china or automobiles….or even worse….take up golf.  This a hell of a lifestyle…. but someone has to live creatively.

Canadians in particular are jealous to the extreme, they covet  and become angry when anyone has something they cannot. It’s a peculiarity of the culture. You’ll find  conversations with Canadians  begin with  identifiers ‘what do you do….where do you live, how much do you make.. where have you been on holiday’? It is a Canadian caste system that defines who you are financially compared to every one else. They’ll want to know if they’re ahead or behind so that they can either envy you or despise you. Vancouver , for example has been polled as being the loneliest, least friendly, and difficult to make new friends in as a city…. there is a large population of people reporting some form of depression and mental illness due to the social isolation. People there are so covetous of anything another might have that they can’t decide to ‘just be normal’.A visitor to Vancouver will notice a desperation to own real estate and a huge number of newly leased cars…. but no theater scene, no music scene, art scene, no cool neighborhoods…..just a lot of miserable people sitting around telling you how great their city is as justification for what they’re paying every month. In fact…it has to be the most miserable , covetous place I have ever been.

But I remind people that what you do in life is a choice. ‘Change your mind.. change your life’… is a phrase that popped into my head when I began my career as a traveler hitchhiking around North America and then branching off to spend decades wandering the world. It works for me…..and if you don’t like where you are…pack a suitcase and go somewhere you do. Hey…it works for us. I guess I’ll have to keep my crown as ….THE KING OF PAIN.

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the neon streets are burning bright
in the city
i’m running out of time
it’s like living on the face of the sun
i trip from step to step
like a cat on a hot tin roof
as if the sidewalks are on fire

i’ve been here too long
i’m sure you won’t mind
if i roll up my bag and move on
i’m no longer fresh or a novelty
i know the vibe when a welcome is worn
the streets get mean
when you transition from traveler to homeless
from god to leach in one easy step
it’s a fast set of stairs to the bottom from the top
best to manage your image
and stick to the script
‘out before winter’ so you don’t end up sleeping in a shelter
where the knives are out
and the lost souls scream all night
amid the stink and bedbugs

hanging around the cafe’s and bars like a binary star
i begin to lose the essence and wonder of who i am
the demands of the maddening crowd
the same stories over again
sap my creativity
i begin to need things
as if i had a place in this trap
as if the walls are closing in
i’d collapse and explode
like that heavenly body
that wasn’t meant to last
taking everything with me in a sudden explosion
if i didn’t move along

there’s a dance that we do
on the concrete shoulder of the highway
when the final rig of the night has passed by
off in the distance
far away now the city lights have diminished
the glare is nothing more
than a dimly glowing menace on the horizon

twilight reveals the true face of the sky
my favorite constellations appear at long last
clap and pay homage to the passing of another day
as i dance around
enjoy the circling night
so far removed from civilization
that we’ve become tribal again
loyal only to the road we travel
the straights seem so alien now
as if they’re a separate species

halleluiah i sing
i will sleep out of doors tonight at last
i don’t have to entertain anyone for a bed
or give myself to some wanna be woman
in exchange for hot water
because she thinks you’re just so cool
that she just has to have you
to give her something to talk about with her friends

what tomorrow will bring i don’t care
the gas station attendants on the corner have been kind to me
to allow me to wash up and get ready for bed
i have shared my precious gifts and we’re all high
and they in turn have microwaved my meal
ah, to lay down on the grass and the dew in the ditch
with a cheap bottle of wine
out of sight of the local renegades who ply the highways at night
and have been known to make sport of
a weary traveler

i am sleeping on the bed of a king
inside my castle of dreams
if it rains i’ll move under a bridge
where other travelers have built a fire
even though it may be a long night
sleeping with one eye open
it’s hard to get a ride if you’re soaking wet
and a shitty way to begin a road trip
if you get ripped off
by others less fortunate
not to share the philosophy
of the true routard
so you keep to yourself when you can

i have nothing, i am happy, i am free, unencumbered
there is only undiscovered country ahead
when i get to the next town
i’ll hunker down on the sidewalk
with my magical trinkets displayed around me on a blanket
telling stories and singing songs of the wild places I have been
for the passers by
i’ll beg my daily bread and cigarettes
because i am nothing like any have seen
in these small towns where darkness reigns

sometimes they take me home
good people with no life aside from their drapery of possessions
welcome wandering spirits like myself
to sleep in their garages and garden sheds
the house is not safe
they’re not that trusting
even though they keep telling you how amazing you are
and how they wish they could live just like you
but have no idea how to leave everything behind

come the dawn i will follow the sun backwards
this year i’ve decided to head east and then south
it could be that i will rest a thousand miles away
my occupation as an oddity will fade in time
i feel the pressure as i get older but i resist temptation
there is too much left to see
and life will go on
as i will, until i spin around and face my regrets
the ugliness that shadows my soul
retracing the lines i have written on the backs of mile markers
like hobo script on white picket fences
maybe someday I’ll find a place to call home
it’s too early to make that call

another city, another neighborhood whirling in an orbit
of artifice and conformity
but i remain constant around a credo that i hold dear, but few want to share
who can blame them
those times have past
i live like a honey bee skipping from flower to flower
with no hive to return to
all my efforts in vain
i dance and sing by the side of the highway
i’m lost in the sky and may never come down
king of the road and a penniless fool
this is not what they taught you in school
the road calls out to the aimless
and captures the vacant, the wanting, the lost

i am on a celestial mission that is still a work in progress
to map all the stars i have seen in the heavens
the final plans have not been laid to hang this tapestry
there will be no happy ending
some strange force has me reeling
to spend a lifetime exposed to the elements
without any skill except to wander
called out by a sirens song and never return
i can’t explain this lonesome doctrine that i adhere to
this life on the road