Tag Archives: the open road

Unemployment & Little Old Me

Oh, internet. I’ve been oddly away from you for nearly a month, but you know this lion couldn’t stay away forever. So, what could I talk about in this long overdue post to entertain you and simultaneously express my feelings at the same time?

I could talk about working 11 AM – 4 AM at The PureVolume House the entire week of SXSW in Austin, Texas and how it meant not having a life and having 12 emotional breakdowns a day and running around the city and never sleeping and losing 5 pounds from stress and getting a million free t-shirts and liking the experience in the end but being so exhausted and slightly absorbed in the Austin hipster culture more than I need to be, but that would just be obnoxious (see what I did there?).

I could use this post to apologize for not being more consistent in my online presence, but I think that’s just the story of my life at this point.

I could tell you how obsessed I am with any and all Dawes albums, but I’ll just leave this link here to let you discover the love for yourselves.

I could put pictures in this post, but I’ve been lazy with the camera, too- minus using PhotoBooth to test out the 4 pairs of feather earrings I now own (because when I finally embrace a trend, I go head-over-heels).

(brb, flying away now!)

So what’s the thing to talk about?

I think the American Dream is a thorn in my side at this moment.

It’s just, me being unemployed is not quite the stuff of Norman Rockwell paintings.

I know it’s only been 3 or so months of not having a job on my end, but there’s days where it’s hard to keep my head up. Not that I’m ready to settle down, but every five minutes I log into Facebook and see that another friend of mine just had a child. Or got a job. Or got a promotion. Or is engaged. And I’m happy for this progress in their lives, don’t get me wrong, but when I’m applying to part-time shifts and my most substantial relationship is the one between my right foot and the gas pedal on my Rav4, it becomes harder and harder to relate. Unemployment hasn’t ruined my life yet, if nothing else, I’m just restless. I bounce between living at my parents’ house (yes, living at home, you have no idea how much pride I just dropped to type that on the internet) and couches of my best friends, but nothing feels permanent. Everything I own is in boxes or suitcases and there’s a little backache from sleeping on weird surfaces that won’t seem to go away. I feel like a gypsy at times, and while this is what my little traveler heart has potentially wished for, there’s still a feeling of being trapped. I can’t just drop everything and hop on the open road, because, for one thing, I’d run out of gas money by about El Paso and secondly, I’m afraid to go too far without the means to support it, friends and family to guide me, and really, a purpose. I’d love to leave Texas in my rearview mirror for a season or two, but it’s so hard to rationalize it when I’m not doing anything to make a paycheck.

I feel like an early-era Bruce Springsteen song or a bad twentysomething-life tv drama, but the white-picket-fence-settle-down-and-have-a-family-and-be-happy dream is so perplexing and challenging to my brain at this moment in time.

Am I supposed to be striving for this at age 21? Would my wild heart be more suited for domestic bliss? Is finding a normal job and normal hours and a normal relationship more secure than trying to somehow get my moccassin-clad foot into the music and media industry’s door?

Well, probably. But then again, being unemployed 3 months after graduating isn’t totally unheard of. My own situation has some sense of normalcy, and everyone I seem to meet says they don’t have this American Dream thing figured out any more than I do, even if they do have a fence and a golden retriever and wear clothing that wasn’t bought at a thrift store and go to meetings with clients and remember important events in their iPhone calendars.

I think my plan is to leave the American Dream on hold and settle for just finding something substantial with a paycheck that I can live in for more than a week, but for now, I do live week-to-week. Rest stop to rest stop. Couch to couch (and sometimes a real bed!). Cup-of-coffee to cup-of-coffee. I say yes to any and all free food offered to me and I celebrate sunny days with my sunroof down. I see old friends when I can, make new friends in the most random places, daydream big and sometimes I even put on a big-girl-outfit for a job interview.¬† I scan wanted ads and job openings for hours online, apply to a few and hope for the best. I get rejection emails daily saying I’m over qualified, under qualified or that companies just don’t have room for me.

Sometimes I feel a little discouraged, but then I remember that I’ve got a good set of speakers and a car that runs and music that I can press the repeat button on. I’ve got friends that make me laugh and family that loves me and lets me stay with them even when I’m without a job, and most of all, I’m still breathing and walking on my own two feet.

I don’t think unemployment looks good on anyone, but it doesn’t hurt to smile every once in a while, so, I am. Also, if you’re reading this and you need a copy of my resume, I can send it to you faster than you can ask.

(No, seriously. And I’m passionate. And I can start immediately. And I make a mean cup of coffee.)

SERIOUSLY. ANYONE, FEEL FREE TO HIRE ME; TODAY!

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Road Trip Fever (again)

The funny thing about being back-and-forth between two places is that it starts to feel normal. You live your life pretty fully for 3 to 4 days and then you just expect to get in your car and get back on the road. It’s not that you don’t establish roots or enjoy your time, you just expect that it will be temporary, which is the strangest phenomenon.

I wrote a post about my obsession with 1970s bohemia and my lifegoal of a huge road trip last year and it’s funny how much it comes back into play these days. Writing that post made me discover several other road trip blogs (primarily this one and this one and oh goodness, THIS one cause she lived in a WINNEBAGO) which only made me more eager to pack everything into a bag and buy a Volkswagen Bus and set sail across the nation!

Of course, this all comes to a screeching halt now that I am graduated. It’s still a dream to set off into the wild blue yonder, yes, but now my life is about finding a job and finding somewhere permanent, or rebelling against that temporary tendency. This thought of home doesn’t scare me at all, I mean, I’ve been a homebody for 21 years now, only had 3 addresses that I can remember and only really kicked off my boots in 2 states (the greatest 2 of all, though), but it’s just balancing this dream with reality that gets me irked a little.

I mean, one of the greatest revelations is that YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAY, right?

You see, I’ve got glimpses of traveling. Amateur snapshots I take at stoplights, half-built traffic singalongs, highway sunsets and the past month or so that I’ve spent back and forth between the two places my heart loves most in Texas, and these glimpses satisfy for now. At this moment I am content to soak up the small miles I do cover. I am happy to only be on the road in 5-hour intervals.

But what about something bigger? What about a whole nation or even a whole world to explore?

I joke that one of these days I am just going to up-and-leave and become a flight attendant, but more and more it seems so appealing. The more I drive and the more I stay in places for shorter periods of time, the more I wonder if the road (or sky!) is a far-fetched dream or a logical next step.

So for now, I’m not sure of everything that I am learning being so touch-and-go every week, but I am learning to love cruise control. I’m learning that most gas stations give you a discount on coffee if you bring your own travel mug. I’m learning that free wifi is a great thing, but also a curse because it makes you want to stop. And oh yeah, at least I am learning how to (most efficiently) pack a suitcase.

“Aunt Kelsey, we’re gonna need bigger luggage.”

Time To Ramble On?

I have been searching on eBay and Craigslist for a Volkswagen Bus for years now.

You see, I have a dream of packing up my life into a Volkswagen bus or an airstream trailer and taking to the open road. I’d still call and write and send picture messages, but the freedom of the open road is so tempting. Plus, I love small towns, breakfast foods, people who can play the heck out of instruments and historical landmarks, and I have a feeling that there are so many of these things out there that I haven’t seen yet!

Miranda Lambert’s ‘Airstream Song’ always hits truth with me. “Sometimes I wish I lived in an airstream, homemade curtains, lived just like a gypsy- break a heart, roll outta town, cause gypsies never get tied down.” Maybe it’s the escape of traveling that I love so much; kicking up dust and never looking in the rear view mirror. Maybe it’s because the music closest to my heart and my style from decor to clothing always points to the fact that I always wanted to be a carefree child of the 60s and 70s, rolling down the highway with my little hippie caravan family along for the ride. Blame my gypsy soul. Blame it on my wild heart, even. Whatever it is, it remains at the back of my mind and gets stronger every time I take a road trip or when I watch the¬†Discovery Channel or even when I hear an especially good Led Zeppelin song and want to start ramblin’ on.


For a time I always thought it would just be me on this trek, but more and more I think I’m gonna need someone in the passenger seat. I don’t often get crushes (we’ve been over this before) so it wouldn’t have to be romantic. Just someone to switch off driving shifts with, take pictures of scenic moments, sing along to classic rock (the official soundtrack of the open road!) and share waffles when I order too many of them. That’s not so much to ask, right?

I mean, sure, if it was all cute and crush-y, I’d be all sorts of lovey-dovey. Is it too hippie of me to want to spend my first years of marriage (if in fact I do get roped into gettin’ hitched) on the road? How perfect would that be? Just exploring the countryside and wearing out the radio with great music for miles and miles, and of course, make the goal of getting at least one kiss in every single state, because well, IT’S CUTE. And the pictures would be cute and true love travels miles and documents these miles and you know, while I’m daydreaming I might as well daydream sickeningly-cute goals, right?!! Thousands of miles, hundreds of diners, one bus, two of us and at least 48 kisses. Not too shabby.

Oh- what’s that? Is that you calling, real world? What’s that you’re asking? What will I do for money on the road? You mean no one wants to pay me to blog and stargaze and picnic and come up with puns and amateur-ly play my guitar and ukulele yet? Really?

Guess I’ll have to hold out a few years.

(Airstream Picture Link, Volkswagen Picture Link)