Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

A Cart for Your Invisible Horse

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

I started really chewing on class accessibility issues in my work about 6 months after I moved from the Medical Dental Building downtown, to the Pioneer Building in Pioneer Square.

For those who don’t understand Seattle, that’s basically from the hoity toity business and shopping district to the historic bar crawl and stadium area where all the human resources, walk in clinics and homeless shelters are.

For a while, I was my typical entitled self that I was back then, avoiding the beggars on the street, feeling unsafe and deeply inconvenienced by their presence.

Over the course of the years I had my practice in that area, though, I transformed as a person. Some of y’all witnessed that, and know how profound it was.

The last two years I had Artful Touch, one of the biggest road blocks for me was that I wanted my work to be accessible to the types of people who were sleeping on benches in front of my office, not only the types of people who were supporting my businesses existence with their money.

I hadn’t found a way by the time I couldn’t afford, even with help from friends in terms of living situations, to stay in business in Seattle any longer (which, amusingly, coincided with the first year I finally grossed $20k, a long-time goal of mine).

And without my business, I couldn’t afford the office I’d been half living in already, so there went my last semblance of housing as well.

A year ago, almost to the day, was when I packed into the van I’d spent 1/2 of my savings on and left. I’ve spent the last year doing this:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?hl=en&authuser=0&mid=1Fz43w54SqRabmekWCnNyq4JRY0Y

Before that, I’d spent 6 months living in a friends backyard shed — which, frankly, turned out to be one of the best living situations I’ve ever had.

That year on the road has shown me what a fool I was. And I fear, that in most cases, people tend to remain foolish about this until it or something similar to it happens to them. It’s why it can be so easy to dismiss someone who is houseless for not behaving properly, for not having more than they do.

But I know better now. I know it is virtually impossible to function without shelter, without a place to bathe, without a way to shit. Not just function in terms of being capable and receptive to the type of exploration, trauma recovery and deep work I offered at AT, but just to fucking get the basics covered. Just to make a meal and clean up after yourself. Just to shit into the plastic bag without making a mess in your living room.

I learned this when, after being on the road 6 months or so, and not even actually hurting for industrialized comforts much via couch surfing and guest rooms and room and board via summer job, I understood how much my production rate would have to change now that I did not have a stable housing situation anymore.

I realized I couldn’t belt out the paintings and the albums and the performances like I had been able to in the past. That I needed a lot more sleep, I needed more down time that wasn’t sleep, and I had been too hard on myself for not producing as much or excelling as quickly as I wanted.

And this was BEFORE I started really living in that van, really experiencing what it was like to wake up with a start at 3 in the morning HAVING to shit and having nowhere to do it but hanging my ass out the side of my house and picking up my turd from the side walk. Experiencing the dichotomy of wanting to use sustainable methods of handling my period but having no running water. Having most of my entire world revolving around how to manage the blood when the days came. Sleeping in layers and layers of clothing and not being able to stand upright.

And this was while I HAD a place to retreat to, that was mine, and relatively safe, and warm when I wanted to put in the effort.

I am understanding another layer of this now that I am in a stationary room again for a while, and noticing how I am EXPLODING with patreon updates, the amount of energy I have now, how much less I stress about managing basic tasks, how much less time it takes to accomplish things when I don’t have to set up and tear down hunched over in a living space the size of a couch every time.

I was a fool, thinking that my desire to work with the homeless and addicted represented for me anything much more than the guilt I felt by participating in the offering of classist, privileged healing work.

I’ve stopped wondering how I can transcend a persons need for shelter and food in order to contribute to their development as people.

I get that the houseless don’t need massages or hugs or one of my cow chip cookies to thrive as human beings again. That’s the shit I needed to feel better about what I had that they did not.

It’s not just the social stigma the houseless face, the little cuts of every clumsy swishypants white girl that tries to see them as people but fails, that keep them from overcoming their traumatic circumstances. I mean, I knew that. But now I KNOW that.

I’ve stopped wondering how I can swoop in and create a magical illusionary container of safety for people who have none. Especially as someone who barely has that container for themselves. The houseless need fucking *houses*.

Now, I wonder more about what little thing I could start to do, about that.

Gratitude post

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Appreciating my community today. I’m connected with some damn fine people. Here’s to you all, the strong vulnerable women, the writers, the musicians, the weirdos, the men whose souls I’ve stolen, or want to steal, the supporters, the appreciators, the activists, the carers, the empathic warriors who see what the fuck is going on. We will find our place somewhere. In the meantime, I am glad that you exist.

There is Nowhere

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Just south of Green River, Wyoming

One thing that nearly a year on the road has shown me: There is nowhere.

There is nowhere to go. There is nowhere to outrun patriarchy. There is nowhere to outrun capitalism. Nowhere to feel safe. Nowhere to feel comfortable. It’s gone, along with my blissful ignorance. Anywhere I go will be touched by it, if not in any other way than by my being present there.

Another thing that nearly a year on the road has shown me: It is damn near fucking impossible for a person to understand something when their survival depends on them not understanding it.

This is why reform of capitalism won’t work. This is why people don’t see how bad their relationships are until they leave. This is why you can’t dismantle a system which pays your salary. This is why making a difference “from the inside” is ultimately a bunch of tyrannical horseshit. This is why there can be good in people, but there are no “good” cops or judges or politicians.

Y’all tell yourselves what you need to in order to deal with it, tell yourselves you’re somehow starting a revolution by playing the same fucking game you’ve always played. You and I always will be fooling ourselves to some degree, as long as we’re inside the machine.

As long as I’m using money, as long as I smile and thank that server who is obviously treating me differently because I’m fuckable in their eyes, as long as I’m alive and interacting with this society, so too will I be telling myself that somehow my participation is warranted and benevolent and different than everyone else’s. That for some reason my reluctance, my anger, my squeezing myself dry to avoid as much as I can changes the impact of my acts of compliance.

I shopped at Walmart today because they have the cheapest price on motor oil, which my van burns like a chain smoking gangster.

I put gas in my house twice today, and twice yesterday, blazing across Wyoming to beat a looming snow storm.

I paid my taxes. On time. But only because I fear being hunted.

These are the choices I have made, the things I hold onto in order to survive turncoating on the tech industry, on rape culture, on romance supremacy, to resist couples privilege, being kept.

There is nowhere.

The only way actually out of this mess is to stop going along with things that insult your fucking soul.

All The Things.

And that’s a life’s thankless, lonely fucking work, right there. Chipping away.

A whole life’s work, at least, planting seeds for more life’s works in the future. Slamming your head into the ceiling.

Existing is so fucking expensive

and so, fucking, exhausting.

ROAD UPDATE: Fort Walton Beach

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Originally posted to my Patrons at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4470079

Right now I am hanging out in the van with the side door open, out of the wind but in the sun from my waist down. The temperature is perfect like this, mid 60’s and cloudless, and I still have lots of time left in my day to do fuckall before heading to a show to see Hank and Cupcakes tonight.

My days right now consist of mostly resting, reading fantasy, practicing music, working my grumpy back with a theracane and racketballs, eating, my return to self care rituals/smudging/affirmations, and walking along white sand beach barefoot while wrapped in a blankie.

And the internets, of course.

I am finding it possible to kill time here easily without spending money, which I desperately need for a couple of months to recover from NOLA. People in general don’t bother me unless I approach them, I haven’t been getting hassled or hit up on the regular, and the beaches are damn near deserted, which are all immensely relieving changes.

I am having periodic moments of clarity and stillness in and around the water, which is proving to be wonderfully cold, and which is reminding me that while I am skilled and familiar with managing abrupt transitions, I am often much more satisfied and less triggered by taking my time.

Yap, it’s true — the earth is changing, we’re all dying, and everything is fucked — but it’s ok. I am having vivid, cinematic, meaningful and encouraging archetypal dreams that are aligning with other indications that I may have, finally, cleared through some major shit in terms of my recent cocooning, and I feel much more willing and able to be myself — which resembles Kali and Akhilandeshvari catfighting in a steel box — again.

Giant silver alligator blocking a doorway. I have a broom. The silver alligator pike eel thing can jump very high. Large blonde viking lady appears as I fight, eventually remarking that she hasn’t seen me in thousands of years, around the same time I find out her alligator thingie has jurrasic park gill wings that can cause it to hover in the air for a few moments. We’re both good natured and somewhat natural but I don’t trust her cause her pet is trying to eat me and I dislike that she thinks she knows shit about me when I’m god damn 37 and I’ve never met her before. Silver gilled pike eel alligator thingie is slow and predictable but does eventually take my broom, which viking lady then rides, along with him, and I grumble that she’s a fuckin witch. We stop fighting and discuss things. She insists that I have to cook a small chunk of what looks like top ramen soup, pour it into a bowl with what looks like grated cheese (probably wood pulp and cellulose, according to a recent scandal!) and ‘choose some’ to, what I instinctively expect, turn into allies of some sort for whatever stupid side quest journey I have to go on next. We talk about items I need and call another person, someone who I sense is a man, and discuss pickup times. It turns out that the day she wants is better for him to drop off, and as I am realizing the van has gotten too warm in the sun and am waking up I hear her tell him a drop off address in Manhattan, reminding me of Blair Hopkins . My last pull from the dream is endearment and excitement at spending some time doing things with viking lady for the next few days.

I’ve also made some significant strides in processing a few emotionally and mentally violent interactions I had with a couple of former friends, which I found had been blocking me from pursuing anything spiritual, healing or ‘magic’ related in my self care based upon unconscious associations with occult and groupthink community I’d maintained in response to their behavior.

I’ve also loosened the social justice noose I’d placed around my neck when I decided, also unconsciously, that I wouldn’t have been raped and betrayed by my lovers two years ago had I been a nicer person, a more open person, a more tolerant person, a more perfect person. Social evolution is still at the core of my interests and passions, but not in the unsustainable, violent, and self destructive way I had been going about it since all that happened.

Things are good here.

How are you?

ROAD UPDATE: Pensacola

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Originally posted to my Patreon community at https://www.patreon.com/posts/4413008

Mississippi: OH EM GEE you’re heeeeere omg yay! Here, have a welcome center with all kinda free camping with picnic benches and spigots and shit and a FUCKING NASA SPACE CENTER!!

Alabama: Fuck you. Welcome center closed.

Florida: Fuck you. Show us your vegetables. Then welcome center, maybe. Also toll roads. Also palm trees. Also fuck you. — Facebook

The above selfie was taken in the divey bathroom at The Handlebar last night in ‪Pensacola, where I played an impromptu show for a tiny, tiny audience in a mostly empty bar. I got a nice fueling practice in and made my beer money back.

New Orleans shaped me as a musician. It is different now; stronger. More solid. More joy in it. Truly beginning to embrace and simultaneously transmute the darkness. Thank you for that. I like being a performer. I just needed to figure out what kind of performer I am. It’s taking a while, but I think I am well on my way, now.

Here are some amazing pictures of me doing my thing, taken by an amazing man: http://neevita.net/louis-maistros-lower-decatur-street-new-orleans/

And here is some soul healing no nonsense darkness for anyone who might be feeling the pitch lonely creeping in today, or know someone who is: http://blog.neevita.net/archives/14927

I plan to be in Florida playing and enjoying the weather/beach for a bit, then moving up northish. I’ve shifted my long term plan, and will be back in WA state this summer rather than heading all the way up to the NE. I need to see a doctor about a few things and get my motorcycle sold.

Keep Going is a year old today. It is an album I released last valentines day about healing, heartbreak, patriarchy, sexism and rape culture, which is surprisingly soothing and, if I may say so, well-crafted. It’s well suited for the day particularly if valentines gives you the intense desire to side eye the fuck out of everything.

Http://courtneefallonrex.net

In a somewhat fitting turn of events, on the same day as Keep Going’s first birthday, Wounded was played on That Indie Thing with Rob on sinwebradio.com! As far as I know, this is my first radio play from the album. https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1182534628424252

Also, Reverbnation keeps sending me emails complaining that my ranks are slipping. So, this seems like a good time to mention that there’s a pretty decent sampling of original music up there including most of my originals from Keep Going and a couple of my old ambient electronic tracks. It is representative but also not too long. If you wanna go stream ’em and give RN something happy to mail me about I wouldn’t mind. :)

I’ll be picking from my Feb 14th random pool of $15 a month and above potential art receivers and notifying the winner today. $5 and above Patrons: Also look for another Seven Deadly Days of Naked (SDDN) post in a few minutes.

Glad you’re all here with me,
-nee

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

I will be the first person to caution fantastical daydreamers that I have not chosen an easy life, and I didn’t fit myself into a van on a whim, but after over a decade of culling and evolution. Even then the transition wasn’t simple or painless.

I had a couple breakthroughs the last two days: not only did I finally get my electro music set up semi-permanently, I also figured out how to get my makeshift dresser under the platform rather than in front of it while still being able to access the crates in the back.

I can do situps and downward dogs indoors now. It has been taking an impressive amount of time (6 months) and a lot of seemingly wasted days sitting with the van torn apart thinking really hard about how to get another square foot of usable space out of each culling, to get this far.

Not gonna lie; I cried a little. — and heartfelt gratitude for all of my patrons, without whom none of this would be possible. (Join us at http://patreon.com/courtnee)

But I get to plan my cooking around when the sun shines.
I have the satisfaction that, even with how gratingly fucking annoying the ridiculous, inhumane factions of society are to me, the direction of my life is firmly aligned and pointing in the direction of my integrity.
I find joy to the point of tears in that first night sleeping on clean, fresh sheets.
I astound myself with being able to get by, even rather comfortably, using very few resources.
I am relieved to be living in a way that I do not rely on my relationship with one person or the employment of one company to sustain me.
I am amazed at how rarely I actually honestly need a shower.
I amuse myself with my creativity and ingenuity, even if the results of it don’t look very flashy or fancy most of the time.
I’m happy that when I am called to move on from a place, I can leave.
I am happy that when I am called to stay put, I have a place of my own where I can do that.
I am grateful for the perspectives I am shedding and gaining about comfort, about need, about boundaries and solitude.
I am pleased at how many people I am meeting and visiting that I would normally not get to meet or see.
I am impressed that, though my productivity isn’t exactly where I’d like it, I am still creating and performing art while transforming the way I live.
I am tickled by how simplifying has brought me closer to each of my needs and processes, from sleep to food to pooping in plastic bags.
I am proud of how often I accomplish the ability to do something I once took for granted, and how often I think to myself “hot damn, I think I might actually be getting the hang of this.”

15 things I’ve learned in 6 months (and counting) on the road

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

I’ve been on the road for over 6 months now. Here are a few tidbits I’ve learned.

  1. The single most important aspect of traveling long term in a vehicle is having a comfortable place to sleep.
  2. People as a whole are simultaneously much cooler in general, and occasionally also much more fucked in the face, than a settled familiarity might have you believe.
  3. Unscented baby wipes, while not entirely sustainable/earth friendly, are one of those industrial world things I am not going to give up. When dried out, theym ake great firestarters. Also: ALWAYS keep your extra napkins.
  4. A spray bottle of lightly fragranced water within reach is a godsend when you live in a van with no amenities or air conditioning, and are a great substitute for running-water showering. When it’s extra hot, like when I was working outdoors in Austin Texas in the dead of summer, adding about 20% alcohol to a bottle of water makes the cooling effect more pronounced.
  5. Trapping a sweatshirt in a rolled up window and driving around a bit does, in fact, do wonders for getting rid of the smell of smoke from ones clothing.
  6. A tiny bottle of lightly scented hand sanitizer works great for smelly arm pits between spraybottle showers, and has allowed me to use cancer stick deodorant very sparingly, generally only during ‘that time’ of the month when even two showers a day wouldn’t fend off the pitfunk.
  7. Keep every zip-lock bag that comes with anything you buy. Not only are they absolutely essential to making your first human poop pickup a bearable experience by giving you a method of hermetically sealing the doobag until you find a trash can somewhere, they are great for stinkyfood trash, storage, and keeping things dry in your ice chest.
  8. Have an ice chest.
  9. Keep grocery bags, too. They are good for trash, the aforementioned poop scooping incident, and also keeping the neverending trickle of things you realize you don’t actually need/want to give away organized. I have about half the crap I started my trip with.
  10. If you are a woman/penilely challenged, get yourself a pstyle. Changed my entire world.
  11. Thermos. You need one. Make it a good one.
  12. The dead of night is the best time to get shit done. Also night shift waitresses in 24 hour diners really appreciate people who are not being drunk assholes and sometimes offer to fill your thermos with road coffee for you.
  13. Hiking pack > Rolling suitcase.
  14. Grocery store > Fast food.
  15. Wherever you go, there you are.

Bosque Village Gallery

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Images from The Bosque Village, Eronga, Yotatiro, and Patzcuaro.

Check out the videos also at http://youtube.com/CourtneeFallonRex and https://www.youtube.com/user/bosquevillage

Over three weeks at The Bosque

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Behold: an hour of unscripted and unedited blabbing about my first three weeks at The Bosque, my mobile life in general, poop, art, conserving water, and things I thought might be interesting the the absence of virtually any input at all from my audience :P

https://blab.im/b610d9d89d224186b63b49d34caa6832

And a highlight edit of my trip to Eronga with Brian on Market day — in which I did not, in fact, die. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7aUo2HAPQw

Please join the fan and supporter community at http://patreon.com/courtnee which makes all this stuff possible!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Friendly neighborhood reminder: With the exception of odd, inconsistent jobs as I travel, I survive directly on crowdfunding. Patreon is how I eat, write, create, and Keep Going. If you follow my posts/activities please consider signing up to support me there.

Http://patreon.com/courtnee

Adios, Austin!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Leaving with an expanded resume, a touched heart, my hands full of new helpful tech, and a head full of ideas.

Also I learned that sometimes there ARE good reasons, to water dirt.

Get updates at http://patreon.com/courtnee

Next up: The Bosque Village

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

The conversations have been had, the mutual admiration has been expressed, the values and goals are well aligned, the time is right, the action item list is soft drafted. I’ve the plane ticket and the passport renewal submitted in plenty of time (presuming no catastrophic postal issues) and am thus ready to let the population at large know what my patrons have been hearing for a while now – after having Brian Fey and his amazing project on my radar for many years, my next adventure begins in September, in Mexico, at the Bosque Village.

A good page to familiarize ones self with what the Bosque is: https://www.quora.com/Mexico/What-is-the-Bosque-Village/answer/Brian-Fey?share=1

The Bosque facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bosqueforest

Patrons will continue to get my personal experience and musings/updates about my travels. $5 a month at http://patreon.com/courtnee gets you all the updates and the opportunity to support what I am doing, directly. Sign up, and spread the word if you would. My goal is to break 35 patrons before I depart in September.

A large part of my contribution to the Bosque will include video production, process documentation and social media, in addition to faciltating music, art, movement programs and of course, hands on learning about sustainable forest living.
Between my personal projects, philosophical musings, and the work I will be doing to contribute to the Bosque specifically, I expect to enjoy a very rich and busy rest of 2015.

BAM.

CHB: Week one

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

I have survived the first week at camp, and it was basically spectacular.

And then I survived the hours it just took to write about my first week of camp, too.

Read about my epic adventures at http://patreon.com/courtnee

Road update from Denver

Friday, June 5th, 2015

This is going to be quick, because I’ve spent most of my limited tolerance for computer time editing images and uploading them for print.

Basically, in the last few days I have discovered: It is difficult to get same-day automotive service in bumfuck, the brakes have stopped shuddering and are probably loose again (but the van still stops — go figure), my poop is sorta normalizing, Wyoming is surprisingly fucking awesome, I am in love with cooking outdoors, I pretty much hate big cities right now, I still love the hell out of a good storm, my back hurts from stooping over all the time, everything I thought about how to effectively pack the van was wrong, main highways are for suckers, THEY STILL MAKE JERKEY STUFF?!?!, I can barely go an hour on the road without wanting to stop, BLM land is wonderful and showering naked outside is equally as wonderful, I am not a very good wildlife photographer (or maybe I just don’t have a good lens for it?), Yellowstone is FUCKING AMAZING and is also a fucking pain in the ass to try to stay in overnight, I stay hydrated much better when my gigantic boobs are full of water, and for now, in amazing weather and a laid back timeline, I am very, very happy to be on the road.

Some pictures:

And a video of where I cooked, ate, and enjoyed my leisurely breakfast yesterday, without another soul in sight:

Road update from Bozeman, MT

Monday, June 1st, 2015

I’m back on the road as of Sunday, after spending a full week staying with friends in Spokane. I mostly rested a lot, took many baths, ate ice cream, and hung out. Van life is also a lot more comfortable now that I got the windows tinted. NW Solar in Spokane did a great job for a reasonable price.

I got about half my mp3’s off of my NAS onto an external drive during the time I was on a network, which I will do pretty much nothing with for the time being because the van only has an AM/FM radio. But I have more readily available access to music than I did before so.. score?

In art news, on Friday, almost one week later, I played the house show I didn’t make it to the weekend before, for a tiny audience of three. Matthew Winters of The Bight joined me and played a bit. He’s an impressive solo artist and super nice dude. Check out his bands music if you are like me and missed them at the Volume Festival this weekend.

IMG_6432http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6432-768x1024.jpg 768w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6432-261x348.jpg 261w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6432-688x917.jpg 688w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6432.jpg 1536w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />I also finally got a chance to hang out and have lunch with Dreadful Jonquil of Fiercelocks, formerly of Seattle and now of Spokane. We’ve collaborated artistically in the past but had never had a chance to just be together. It was really freakin nice.

I’m also having more brake troubles with the van. I got them checked in Spokane after an uneventful second drive out, to be told that the holding pin on the left rear drum brake had apparently popped out (and that they’d never seen that happen before) and my left rear brake hadn’t really been braking at all.

They also said that in 14 years of brake work they have never heard of, and can’t imagine how, an adjustment wheel would be responsible for freezing a brake in mid-transit, and suggested that the people at Tire Factory told me that’s what happened to cover up something they fucked up.

Regardless, my rear brakes were adjusted, again, and off I went with a supposed clean bill of health, again.

Now, when I brake at high speeds, the van shudders like it’s going to shake itself apart, and I can feel the rear brakes catching unevenly. I can avoid this if I use up about half a mile to slow down (so that’s what I’m currently doing). Today, rather than puttering through Yellowstone as I’d planned, I am trying to find a brake shop in Bozeman or perhaps Livingston to get the rotors properly measured and examined and likely, replaced.

[insert dead happyface with dollarsign eyes]

In my bodywork/healing practice, the definition of progress is often the act of chasing down a moving problem. I’m sorta looking at this brake thing like that. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ready to not be having these issues, though.

Speaking of which, my health has been a little off lately (and what would a blog entry of mine be without mentioning poop?). I’ve got a pale clay color going on, indicative of a problem with bile secretion, and I am fucking -tired-, basically all the time. I also ate pretty badly this last month or so, and I’m not in a lot of pain, but it’s another thing, like my brakes, and like the sag in my motorcycle tow carrier, that I am tracking closely.

IMG_6473http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6473-1024x688.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6473-460x309.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/IMG_6473-688x462.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />
Montana is fucking beautiful in the springtime, btw. I spent many hours yesterday driving south of a gorgeous storm. I could see lightning in the distance for most of the way. It was so cool I couldn’t stand it, and stopped to stand on top of the van and take a panorama video for my patrons.

I also took a few pictures at Old Mission National Park in north Idaho that are available as prints.

The journey that began thrice

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Originally, I was planning to leave for Spokane last Friday, giving myself a whole day to prep for the house show I was to be headlining in Spokane on Saturday.

Alas, a 3 hour brake job ended up taking all day long on Thursday, setting me back and causing me to be working late on other elements of the trip. It took forever because my emergency brake light was stuck on. They checked and checked and checked, and had gotten to the point of tracing wires and dealing with electrical, convinced that it was not a brake problem.

By 5:30 I said fuck it, and just decided I would pull the damn handle before I moved the van ever, and call it good until I could get down to New Mexico to hang with my pal who has a shop (and who I will be doing work on the van with anyway) to figure out what the stupid electrical problem is.

And of course, the tow equipment I ordered arrived late Friday evening without all the proper hardware I needed, so it was a somewhat stressful pain in the ass to get put together, too.

By the time I was planning to leave on a 5 hour trip Friday evening, I still had some things to deal with in Seattle and I was a deep fried shade of worn out tired. So much tedious shit had gone wrong I was walking around muttering ‘skullfuck’ most of Friday afternoon. So I decided to leave Saturday morning, rested, instead.

That was the first time I didn’t start my trip. No biggie.

Take II:

IMG_6413http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6413-1024x768.jpg 1024w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6413-460x345.jpg 460w, http://journal.neevita.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IMG_6413-688x516.jpg 688w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

I left around 11am Saturday morning, driving by that fuckass eyesore inconvenient ass canoe fucking sadium for the last fuckass time in a long while, commemorating my pleasure at this by snapping a picture while I waited at the light.

Not long after North Bend, I started having the roadtrip feels. During my first solo road trip in 2011, the surge hit me as I was maybe 20 miles south of Seattle. Pearl Jam’s “I’m Still Alive” came on the radio.

I hadn’t heard it in years, but that trip was all about confronting the darkened hallway of my past in California. I didn’t understand exactly what I was in for at the time, but I did sense that song was the perfect floodgate opener for what would come in the weeks later.

This time it was about 20 miles outside of town again, east this time, listening to Keep Going, when my cover of Heavy in Your Arms came on.

Like the Pearl Jam song, there were a lot of applicable layers to why it hit me like it did. It’s a fresh wound that’s also been salted recently. And like the Pearl Jam song, there is hope there.

I recognize how I anchor myself stationary in order to ‘be’ with people. How heavy I HAVE to make myself to justify doing that, how hard I lean in to them because of it. And I also recognize how much I received from them while I stayed. I recognize how much I still miss some of them, sometimes. A lot, sometimes.

But mostly I recognize how done I am with all that shit. I cried out my doneness. I cried out the regret and the pain and the loss and the missing. And I let in the goodness and the openness and the raw cold air taking its place. Just like I’d done with Pearl Jam, when I’d finally gotten done being anchored by my heavy past life in Sacramento.

Mixed in with the missing and the hope and the exhilaration was a sense of relief, of freedom. Against many odds and my own resistance and fears, the van was packed, running, stopping, full DOT inspected, puttering down the road. My motorcycle was softly swaying on the tow carrier and I had alternative, maneuverable, affordable transport other than the huge van. Just that I was here at all proved I could count on myself, and that I could trust my instincts well enough to ask and receive from people.

I started smiling through my tears. I started feeling the excitement. I started believing in the possibility, in the adventure, in all the shit everyone ELSE has been so excited about while I’ve been making big asks, and doing a lot of physical and soul grinding work to make this actually happen. I started believing in the positivity of my choice to leave, not just the necessity of it. I started having faith.

And then I smelled the smoke.

The first time, I figured it was the semi next to me, burning some brakes, like they do. I recently saved a friends van transmission with my nose and insistence that we pull over in Maui, so even though I thought it was likely nothing, I rolled my window down and sniffed and paid attention. Then the smell went away.

..And then it came back, right next to a road construction site another mile up the road or so. I wanted to believe I was smelling something in the air, but as my friend Neil so elegantly taught me not long ago, while wandering a crowded area with a friend, if you smell the same fart twice, that means it’s your friend farting.

In that teaching moment, I was the farting friend, in case you’re wondering. And in this case, I was pretty sure I was the farter by now, too.

Trouble is, I had no shoulder and nowhere to pull off for another 3 miles or so. The smell was getting worse when I opened the window. It took me a while to figure out my cab was filling up with a delicate haze of white smoke. And my brain kept spinning back and forth between believing it was me and thinking it was some horrendous tire fire or something somewhere.

As if I didn’t know tire fire smoke is black, or what burning breaks smell like. Stupid brain.

I finally pulled into a rest area, went to the semi side, got out and popped the hood. Nothing. The smell wasn’t even very strong now, mostly in my scarf and clothes. Then I took a look down the passenger side of the van and saw this:

Neato.

I wasn’t particularly worried — I have AAA, I’d mentally prepared myself for breakdowns of many types, expecting things to go wrong. I wasn’t expecting them to go wrong on my first day, with a system of the van I’d just had worked on two days ago.

I knew it would take forever to get a tow (I was right – 5 hours), and that I was too far from Spokane for that to be my destination, so I cancelled my performance immediately, thankful that the house show organizer had found a couple of openers and the show would still be great without me (it was). Then I started trying to figure out wtf went wrong.

At first, I thought it might have been the weight of my motorcycle on the back. That was the only thing that was different from yesterday, when I’d eaten half a tank of gas driving that damn beast around running errands, and the back of the bike made for the load to be slightly heavier on the right side.

I know how ridiculous that sounds NOW, but at the time I had decided I wanted to take the bike off the tow carrier, turn it around, and try to make it the 30 miles into Cle Elum without waiting for a tow.

I walked around a bit and asked a couple truckers to help me get the bike off the rack (it’s not possible for me to wrangle it off myself). Once we got the bike off, one of them asked me what was up with the van, looking at my tire pensively.

We talked a bit about what happened, and soon thereafter I had confirmation from three separate people who tow shit for a living that there was no way the bike caused my breaks to seize up. We tried backing the van up to release the brake adjustment, which we confirmed was stuck slammed to the inside of the drum.

I suppose you could say the van moved.. If two inches of strenuous lurch and then locking up again under a tremendous amount of engine torque counts as moving. I tried both directions. Both back wheels were stuck as fuck. Which begged another question — why wasn’t the left back wheel of a rear wheel drive vehicle, which wasn’t brake seized, spinning?

Thus began the wondering of whether the ebrake was stuck on, perhaps the cable broke while I was driving or something. Plus that stupid light being on. But that seemed unlikely, given that I’ve left my ebrake on before (who hasn’t) and it’s more of a lagging kind of thing rather than a seizing up kind of thing, and I felt nothing while driving. I thought maybe it could have been the ebrake, and with the drag at 60mph for god knows however long I was driving, maybe I’d friction welded my breaks or something.

“You got a jack?”
‘Yeah.’
“Well, I’ve got tools. And I don’t have anything better to do, my pick up got cancelled and I’m stuck out here til Tuesday. This sort of thing happens to our rigs all the time. I’ll bet we can get this fixed”

The plan was to get things cracked open to see if I’d thrown a spring into the brake which had gotten stuck, check the shoes/see if I’d need to ride over to Cle Elum to get parts or not. So my new friend Marcus started working to get the wheel off and the brake cylinder open, while we talked about what could have caused the seize and what to do next.

*bang*bang* .. and the break cylinder open. *pry* … and the break cylinder open? … *tap taptap* OPEN SESAME, FUCKING BREAK CYLINDER!!..

Or, not. Not is fine too, I guess.

By this time, I knew I was getting towed back to the place that had done my break job, Tire Factory in South Park, and I’d be spending another night in Seattle. In fact, Owen eventually worked out a way for him to come in the next morning (Sunday) to get me back on the road, so I didn’t have to wait the entire holiday weekend.

That sounded about right, to me. I was convinced this was their problem, anyway. In fact, I was pretty pissed off, especially about that brake light, and letting them convince me my breaks were fine while the fucker was on. I was handling it super well, though. Like someone I didn’t really know very well.

Like someone who knew they could count on themselves, maybe.

Many hours, a nap, and much conversation later, including two more people coming over to see if I needed help/drinking water/etc, and my tow driver stopping by to let me know his person before me needed a tow to Tacoma (4 hours! yay!), Eddie from Cle Elum towing showed up, for the second time, to rescue Vandwell.

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Day 1: Spent at a rest stop outside of Cle Elum, waiting for this. Rear right brake (which was adjusted along with other brake work two days ago) stuck and burned to utter shit over the pass, van won’t move. Met many helpful people, was actually a pretty enjoyable day all considering, perhaps a blog post about that tomorrow. For now, lotion on my increasingly roughed up hands, an unexpected extra night of KEXP radio, van tea, and sleep.

PS: Loretta’s in South Park for breakfast around 9:30, if you want the in person version, or are curious what fried brake smells like, cause everything I own smells like it now.
I will quit you yet, Seattle. (And sorry I am not performing tonight, Spokane)

Her name is Vandwell now, btw. And as she was pulled onto that tow bed by a metal rope with a skid under her back paw, I saw her big pretty face for the first time, a little sad, a little scared, a little sick, and I realized: I love my van. I love my big stupid rusty gas guzzling van. That, and also there was something in my eye.

I also noticed that with the skid, passively, all three of the other wheels were rolling, and the ebrake caused a noticeable change/lurch when Eddie took it on and off. So, no ebrake sticking there.

Eddie and I took my tow carrier off the van, since her fat ass took up his ENTIRE tow truck bed, and ratcheted it to the bed floor near the cab. I rode the bike back to Seattle, into the sunset, as it were. I beat Eddie to the tire place by a few minutes, hung around while he dropped off the van, got the tow gear back on her big dirty butt, and wished him a safe drive home.

And that was the second time I didn’t start my trip. Somewhat bigger biggie.

Take III

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I didn’t sleep very well that night, in a deserted parking lot BY THE RIVER (y’all happy now?). On Sunday morning, Owen rolled in around 9 and started getting to work on what I felt surely would be a much bigger deal than he seemed to think it would be. I was thinking for sure I’d friction welded my breaks dead and I’d be in Seattle another fucking week getting them fixed. But hey.. better than Cle Elum where I don’t fucking know anyone, right?

I started wandering around to find a place to get breakfast. The place I wanted was closed. I met an artist rapper named Kaev on the sidewalk. We walked for a while, chatted philosophy, drugs, trust, art. Sat in the Subway for a bit, until I gave him the $4 he asked for to cover the gap between what he had and the sim card he wanted. Then he disappeared. Funny how that works.

Did you know, btw, that if you stop in at Subway really early in the morning and order a cookie (so you can kill time in their shop, being the only place open at 9:15am on a Sunday in South Park), there is a possibility they will tell you with a crinkled nose that those cookies are from YESTERDAY, as if you wouldn’t want them? And when you say, well, how about selling me two cookies for the price of one, then, they might look over the entire case of cookies, about two dozen maybe, and offer to sell you the whole fucking batch for three bucks? Cookies have been on me ever since. YMMV.

Since I was back in the area, my friend Chris, who walked me through making the brackets for my bedframe last weekend, met up with me to get breakfast. Around the time Loretta’s was about to open, I got a call from Owen, asking if I was ready to hit the road.

I stammered a little, cause actually, I wanted breakfast now (that wasn’t cookies), and I was a little shocked that it’d taken less than an hour. Incredulous even. I had questions.

“You got the cylinder off?”
‘Yep! Needed a chisel and hammer, but yeah, it came off. Those semi’s, they’re big, they use big tools. I’ll bet what your friend had just wasn’t small enough to get in there.’
“Wait.. the pads are still good?”
‘Yep! You caught it early! They’re still super thick.’
“And the spring is still there? It didn’t break/get caught?”
‘No problem with the spring. Your adjustment wheel just froze up. I had to really work at it to get it loose’
“I’ll be right over. Do you still have the wheel off? Can I see?”
‘I can totally take it back off for you and show you.’

And show me he did. The shoes were, in fact, in darn good shape. There was a fresh coat of shiny metal goop on the adjuster mechanism that I found out was lubricant. He also told me about how neither wheel would move under engine power because the right wheel is always the drive wheel, so the left wasn’t trying, either.

I got under the van and looked at the star wheel through the adjuster hole and was taught how to use a screwdriver to adjust my breaks if they ever lock again — which they shouldn’t. But, as is made clear by the existence of this story, sometimes shit happens.

Slowly and surely, it was coming back to me, how much I liked working on my own cars when I was a kid. I started remembering my drum breaks on the Superbeetle, how I’d change my own muffler, and how I’ve periodically been thankful for my Dad teaching me about tools and cars when I was younger.

Chris, Owen and I put the bike up on the rack, and said our goodbyes.

The moment when I put Vandwell in reverse and she MOVED was very exciting, indeed. We were back in business, and while I wasn’t thrilled with losing 60 miles of gas, I was very glad I’d taken her back to Tire Factory and gotten complete with them, without being charged, or having to wait for the holiday weekend to be over, even. I gave them a chance to take care of me, and it worked out. Otherwise, like if I’d gotten towed to Cle Elum instead, I might have been farther along in my miles, but I would have been out more money, and stayed pissed at those guys for a good long time.

I took the opportunity, since I was in Seattle again, to hit up Ballard one last time to pick up my NAS, which I’d realized I’d left just before this break shit went down. I was getting low on gas, the needle had hit empty, and I remembered still having about 6 gallons left the last time it’d been there — plenty to get 9 mostly-highway miles away to the Safeway by the shed for the cheapie gas. Right?

#nope.

Not only did I run out of gas, like full on engine death out of gas, I ran out of gas … on 99, in the battery street tunnel.

For those of you not in the know, it’s a two lane one-way tunnel with a 40mph speed limit where people regularly do 60+, with zero shoulder in sight, an onramp/merge point about 50 feet past the tunnel, and a concrete median between lane directions once you’re in the daylight again.

In short: A motherfucking death trap. Even if I could have gotten out and pushed, it would have been a level of stupid I just won’t go to anymore.

I can still hear myself mumbling encouragement as my dead full ton van full of everything I own in the world rolled along like a fucking steel whale in the dark. Just a little farther, boo, and we’ll be heading slightly downhill. Maybe we can get off the highway and onto Harrison if you have enough momentum, big girl. Hoo, that’s not looking so likely, creepy mccreeperson. Just get us out of the tunnel, then. Keep rolling until we’re out of the tunnel.

I came to a stop a few car lengths outside of the soul eating dark, with my hazards on, and my eyes unable to stop watching in my rear view as people blasted out of the hole, seeing a horizontal motorcycle hanging off my ass end, gears in their heads turning, changing lanes around me.

First things first: I called 911. I never call 911, and honestly, I was pretty cool and focused about this whole thing. I knew what to do, that I wasn’t getting out of my car no matter the fuck what, and that I had AAA and I’d be covered (if you don’t have AAA, fucking get it.).

But I did use 911, because that was the quickest way to get the information I needed to get to the people I needed to get it to rather than trying to fuck with my shit cell service to look up numbers. Besides, I knew I was about two freaked out drivers away from having the cops called on me, anyway.

I am in a very large stalled vehicle in a very, very unsafe location. I said, yo, you need to know I’m out of gas on 99. I’ll call AAA after you, it’ll be a quick fix, but I have no idea how quickly they can come to me, and when they get here, they’re gonna be a sitting duck in the road (my gas tank is on the drivers side, and I was in the right lane where I’m supposed to be). You might wanna get someone down here. Like, now.

I called AAA for the second time in as many days which is as many days as I’ve been on this fucking ‘adventure’, and get an estimate ‘within the hour’, but I’ve been red flagged, so it should be less than that.

Well let’s fucking hope so.

I settled in, continuing to watch Rear View Roulette in some weird abstract fascination. Being a holiday weekend, traffic was fairly loose. I wasn’t bogging anything down save for maybe two or three cars when someone had to actually stop and wait a few seconds to get around me. But it was steady, always cars coming.

I remembered hearing that they generally ticket people for breaking down on the bridges and wondered if I’d have to deal with any shit when the cops showed up. I hoped since I wasn’t actually fucking traffic up they wouldn’t think about it.

At one point, a big truck changed lanes smoothly behind me, seeing me in plenty of time — but the Car to Go that had been tailgating that motherfucker blind barely, barely missed my bike.

Every time a large vehicle came up on me slowly, I fantasized that they’d stop, hop out of the car with a gas can and come ask if I just needed gas.

I wondered if maybe I should make a cardboard sign that says “Need Gas!” and keep it in the car, cause, despite the encouragement from my friend that I keep 10 gallons of it with me in the cab.. that ain’t gonna happen.

Then my phone rang.

“Hi, this is Mikey from AAA.”
‘MIKEY. How far away are you man.’ (in my ‘I have a sense of humor AND this is fuckin serious’ voice)
“I’m about 5 minutes away. Are you past the denny onramp? Or before it?”
‘I am just outside the tunnel, before the onramp. I’m blocking the right lane.’
“Ok. I will be there soon. Hang tight.”

5 minutes. Ok. Cool.

About two minutes later, a giant truck pulled up behind me. I watched in the mirror as the door opened and showed a big WSDOT on the side. Then I noticed the light bars — not tow lights. MOVE THE FUCK OVER lights. They started blinking bigass arrows toward the left.

The tension broke and I laughed. FOR ME?

The driver walked to my passenger side, I shuffled over (the van is so wide, I can’t adjust the rear view mirror while sitting in the position I drive in.. it’s like two steps to the passenger side) rolled the window down and let him know AAA was close, and thanked him for showing up so quickly. I wasn’t sure what they’d be sending, but I was really pleased it wasn’t a cop, which is what I guess I was expecting.

I really don’t like cops. Not because I have anything to hide or reason to fear them, other than not having the money to pay the damn tickets they write, but because the police as a system require a bunch of brainwashed (in the best cases) uniformed oppressors masquerading as service workers. The institution of policing is one of the most violent dirtyworker tools of the imperialist capitalist colonialism bullshit I fucking hate about America that’s infecting the rest of the world. Their jobs exist, and have always exited, to bully and injure and kill a demographic of people I have come to care about, and many Seattle police have fucked over and hurt and maced friends of mine. Upon first glance I pretty much fit the stereotypical demographic they’re supposed to ‘protect’ (rich/not obviously poor, white) but I don’t trust them, I don’t think we as a society need them, having them around makes me nervous, I can’t pay their fucking ransoms, and I don’t like dealing with them basically ever. Which is kinda why I don’t call 911.

But I’m glad I did, in this case. For me, it was the smart thing to do, and having that truck on my ass felt like the most direct protection I’ve had in recent memory. I was in a bad way and someone flat out had my fucking back, no question, literally, standing up and in the way for me. I really felt the bigness of the truck, the power in the engine, the magnitude of that signal saying, fuck off, get out of the way, heed, we’ve got this. I felt covered. It was good.

I’ve had a lot of support from a lot of people in recent weeks, amazing support. And, I didn’t realize until I wrote this, after having some rugs pulled out from under me by people I thought I could trust to stand the fuck up for me and help me when I’d fallen flat on my face, how much I needed to feel something just like that truck at my back.

And then a second WSDOT truck came, stopping behind the first, and I chuckled again. YES I AM THAT GUY. I AM THAT FUCKING GUY WHO RAN OUT OF FUCKING GAS IN THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACE EVER.

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I called Mikey back to let him know I had a posse behind me now. He said he was almost there and he had an officer with him. I had a flash of a cop in the cab with him waiting to fingerwag me and write me expensive tickets. I pushed the thought away and decided I’d play that as it came.

Mikey showed up a few minutes later, escorted by a police car with lights on, who rolled right past us and kept on his way. Mikey got me my gas, shared a few commiserating words (He has a suburban that likes to run out of gas before empty — I just didn’t mention I actually WAS empty :P), was helpful, fast, and friendly, and did in fact completely avoid getting run down in the middle of the street just as I’d suggested.

Mikey left. The WSDOT guys smiled, waved, told me to have a good weekend. I was moving again, about 15 minutes after I’d stalled in the tunnel. I got back to Ballard and picked up my NAS, filled up my tank, and went on my way toward Spokane.

I stopped at the same rest stop, which will be closed permanently in two days, to get a healthy picture of Vandwell, pleased to not have been inhaling break smoke getting up there this time. It’s really a shame, save for the Bonneville Salt Flats rest area, this was by far the nicest one I’ve been to.

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I caught up with Marcus in Ellensberg for lunch, still hanging out waiting for his next pick up of hand sanitizer or apples. “I wish I’d thought of lube!”, he said. Indeed. :P

And, I stopped at a scenic overlook, walked up (and down) a bigass hill in flip flops to snap some pictures.

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I’m now safe in a little attic in Spokane in my friends, Craig and Mark’s, house, who have been fans of my music from the beginning. I played their house a couple years ago for their wedding, my first house show ever, and here is my home base for the next week or so, complete with a bath tub that I am using indiscriminately, along with the ridiculous selection of bath sauces Mark picked up for me knowing how much I dig his tub.

I’ll be getting the glass tinted in the van on Friday and after that, be continuing on my way, potentially camping a night in Coeur d’Alene. I’m thinking Zion, after that, but the for-sure part is that I’m heading south, toward Los Almos, and what is sure to be a prime selection of problems to solve, working on getting the AC functional in the van.

Here’s hoping I’ve gotten this good batch of teaching moments and calamities out of the way, and I’ll have mostly smooth sailing for a while. I was shocked at how tired I am today after all that excitement and problem solving and learning. Which, it turns out, I’m remembering, I’m actually quite good at.

Also; My stupid parking break light? Still on.

It’s been a long time since a blog post took 4+ hours to write. Time for another bath, I think.

Maui 2015

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Back in April, with a little help from my friends, I returned to Maui for a week, where I was expertly whisked directly from the airport to Baldwin beach.

OH GOD THE WATER SO GOOD SO GOOD OH GOD OH GOD SHO GHOOOOOOOD OH GHAAAAAD — Facebook

Mostly, I spent my time sleeping, reading (the Percy Jackson books, to prepare for Camp), learning some basic archery, and swimming about a zillion times a day whenever I needed to cool off (or felt crabby, which usually meant I needed to cool off).

I also ate lots of cake, drank lots of water, cooked breakfasts, shared shaved ice and fresh coconuts, enjoyed the jungle, hiked small cliffs, and swam with turtles off the coast where I was staying.

I returned to Little Beach, shaved my head again, got naked a lot, rescued an umbrella from a tree after a split second wind storm, and it was a good week had by all — even when the van overheated, dumping its transmission fluid, and we needed to be towed a zillion miles on the road to Hana. I also added a bird and a branch to my sleeve tattoo (reminding me of the importance of rest) on my last day.

Here are some pieces of photographic evidence of my downtime, taken by Shawn Jezerinac. Thank you especially to Shawn, for offering to share his fortune of a place to stay on the island, and Cliff, for helping me get there.

The few photos I took are on neevita.net

A place to lay my head

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

Over the last two days, with the guidance and collaboration of my friend Chris, I used a hacksaw, a jigsaw, both a table AND hand held grinder, an oxygen torch, assisted with two types of power saws and a drill press and all sorts of other shit I don’t even remember, in order to make metal brackets and holding pins for the wood base of my platform bed, which utilizes the seat rails that are already in the van and is totally removable.

Grinding metal (on purpose) is fucking awesome. I am glad, regardless of the things that aren’t really ideal about this vehicle, that I got the chance to play with some power tools again — and I’ve never worked with metal before. Sparks and bending red hot torchassed metal rod, FTW. I wanna do more of it.

It had looked like, and I had hoped, that I would be upgrading to a shuttle bus before leaving — however, that didn’t pan out, and the pre-bedframe part of me was kinda ticked off about that. Now that it’s done, more space creation and organizing energy is moving, and the van seems less cramped and oppressive than it did yesterday.

I kinda wanna make a table that attaches to the frontward seat rails, now…

*whistles innocently*

Friday, May 1st, 2015

I’ve broken through. I’m done with the fear phase.

I am so fucking glad I am getting out of the cycle of modern capitalist society.
I am so fucking glad I will no longer have the weight of paying for a stupid fucking building on my shoulders.
I am so fucking glad I will no longer be fighting tooth and nail to gross $20k so that I can actually net $5500 after taxes, licenses, continuing education, and fucking expenses in order to make that stupid money.
I am so fucking glad I am done writhing in the grotesque in-between place I’ve been festering in for YEARS resisting leaving all this absurd fucking shit behind even as it’s been crumbling around me, begging me to fucking wake up.
I am so fucking glad to finally be feeling some fucking sovereignty and some fucking freedom.
I am so fucking glad I am getting the fuck out of here.
I can’t fucking wait.

Amazon Wishlist for van buildout and basics: http://amzn.com/w/2WL00KSMHSOXW
Patreon link to help, and follow art and music updates on the road: http://pateron.com/courtnee

Tiny dreams hit the road

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

As part of Year of the Nee, I’ve recognized a few things about myself that I’d discovered at one time and then lost again. Things like an affinity for dinosaurs, and reading fantasy and sci-fi books.

I’ve also gotten back to music by making a very focused album (the whole thing is about patriarchy) in a way that I haven’t approached creating albums before.

I’ve come to accept that I miss performing, particularly after performing in Los Angeles during Amanda Palmer’s ‘Art of Asking’ tour, and that I want to do a lot more of it somehow. I periodically miss Little Red Studio, theater which laughs in the face of the fourth wall, and being part of a troupe.

I’ve also come to accept that I need, desperately need, to relearn how to have fun again. I’ve been saying that, but I’m getting it now – I am fucking dying over here without that shit. YotN showed me how imperative it is that I relearn how to relax for the joy of it, not because I am in an isolated burnout from the weight of the world. One avenue toward that is to reconnect with my skills as a performance artist in a way that also helps people — like what I had set out to do when I created Vita, but with way less weight and responsibility.

And I really, really need to be out in nature, more. Less media. Less internet. Less fucking ‘stuff’. More rest. More air. More dirt. My hatred of capitalism, my horror at the declining state of the world, following politics, following activist movements, trying to fit in with this fucking society.. it hurts. I gotta get rooted in the basics, get grounded with being an actual part of this living rock rather than an earth raping meatsack alien invading it, or I’m going to lose my fucking mind — and I need all the practice at that I can get.

All these things have been swirling around as I’ve been working within the status quo I’d created for myself around making a living and maintaining a private healing practice in the heart of a gentrifying city.

I’ve been wondering how to put it all together, melding past and present interests, sticking as close to my ideals and what I want to support in life as I can and still manage to eat. At the same time, I have become aware of how fatigued I am of doing it all myself — maintaining my own office, putting on and producing my own shows, etc.

It seems this summer, I may be getting a little taste of what all that might look like — just as I was finally, finally letting this life of mine as it stands now, go (and completely fucking freaking out about it, frankly).

It all started when I put some ‘home’ savings, which I’ve been clinging to for a year now, where my mouth has been, and bought a friends van to live and travel in. Nothing particularly hospitable for that purpose, mind you, but something with enough room to carry my gear and art supplies around, small enough to park anywhere, big enough to crash in.

That set in motion the desire to set something, anything concrete really, to actually travel toward. I’ve been planning to leave the area near the end of May, when Shedlyfe has run its course, but hadn’t had a specific destination in mind. I had ideas of what I want to be doing (busking, sleeping, playing open mics, visiting old friends, meeting new people, checking out healing and arts communities), but not where. Mostly I’ve been kinda suspended in this super uncomfortable what the fuck am I doing freakout place without actually having a vehicle to do any of this stuff in.

One thing lead to another, and I found myself planning to visit a couple friends in Austin, TX as part of my trip. As circumstance would have it, no sooner had I pinged my friend about when would be good for her, she asked if I would want to hang out in Austin to do a job.

For two months of the summer.
At an immersive literary theater camp.
For creative, booklovin’ kids.
Where I would play a 3000 year old androgynous storytelling singer poet.
With a story outline, and tons of improvisational interaction.
In a realm created in a series of fantasy books for 6th graders.
Which is rooted in greek mythology.
Wherein the 12 year old protagonist is dyslexic and has ADHD (both of which indicate that you might be a demigod).
In a state park.
For money.

Um. Yes.

Yes the fuck I would.

Sweltering heat be damned: Camp Half-Blood, here I come.

http://kylekurlick.blogspot.com/2009/10/camp-half-blood.html

The support of my patrons at Patreon is how I am getting to Texas to do this (and eating, and filling the van with gas, and basically living, period): Thank you.

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Impromptu road trip. I am not taking as many pictures as I might have expected, but I also haven’t gotten to where I am going, yet. I did stop in Idaho to take in the lake for a bit.

Road Trip Cancelled. Plan of Action: Engaged

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

I have, roughly, $6000 in unappropriated savings, at current.

I also have, roughly, 3 months left at my less-than-market living situation.

This has incited an exceptionally stressful dichotomy of needs; and a sobering wakeup call to how unbelievably fucking expensive it’s gotten to live out here.

I gave up the studio this month to slice my office rent, and started taking on more clients, 5 days a week. Exhausting, but working, too, I think.

The problem I’ve been most running up against, is that I don’t have anywhere viable to go, and I don’t have the savings required to buy or build my tiny house on wheels.

The secondary problem, is that the family whose property I have intended to live on has also been anticipating another year or two of time to prepare for me.

We’re all a wee bit stressed out.

I’ve run numbers on getting just a house shell on a trailer with no services or furnishings to crash in like a bum in a train car while simultaneously building the rest out as much as I can with whatever extra cash I can put into it over the summer.

I’ve run numbers on getting a shipping container and insulating it and welding a hole in the ceiling to build out the loft space for my bed, also no furnishings or services.

I’ve run the numbers on getting an enclosed cargo trailer high enough to put a loft in. Again, no furnishings or services.

All of these options provide me with no comforts, require me to pay to store everything I own, require that I find a place where I can build and weld with no building experience and an accelerated timeline, and cost ~$10k to do it right.

So, I’ve made the decision that I will be getting an RV to live in.

I want a tiny house, yes. I want a lot of things. But the bottom line is that I have managed to save up $6000 bucks toward freedom housing, and I need a place to live that CJ and I can move into in August. RV’s are where that’s at.

At this point in my life, more than needing things to be pretty and cute and designed perfectly, I need a place that is mine, that I can afford, that I can modify and count on, and that I can take with me; which was the root of what the tiny house project was meant to accomplish.

So, that means my road trip is cancelled. I’ll be flying directly to and from Palm Springs (I have a second room in my suite, would welcome sharing the cost with someone, and the airfare round trip from Seattle was a paltry $220; so if you think you might want to take your own Palm Springs vacation from June 12 to 17th, hit me up) to get my certification in grief recovery and come back immediately – to work, and search, and hopefully, find home.

It also means I’m selling nearly all of my stuff and furniture, which works out well since I’d like to manage a couple more grand over the next few months to get a nicer trailer with more to work with.

And lastly, it means I’m looking for a place to park and hook up; Land ho!

I’m pretty excited, and feeling ok about how things are shifting; If everything works out, having a home will be way better than a motorcycle vacation would have been.

Like, way better.

Epic motorcycle trip is Epic

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

After crunching the numbers and needing a long walkabout about now anyway, I’ve determined that I will be riding the motorcycle solo down to Palm Springs and back to take my Grief Recovery Method certification workshop next month.

My definite stops on the down route will be looking something like: Portland, Grants Pass, Crescent City, Redding, Tahoe, Bishop, Palm Springs.

Then I’m in Palm Springs for 4 days getting certified and spending way, way too much money staying at the Embassy Suits where the workshop is.

Stops on the way back will be looking something like: Los Angeles, Sacramento, and then whofuckingknows so far, but I imagine I will be taking I-5 back up to save time and mileage.

After the crash in February turning on metal tracks in the rain up here, I haven’t ridden much. After this I’ll either be roadsplatter, or damn comfortable on that bike.

Big adventure.

Hawaii

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Drove a convertible across Maui today taking most of the daylight to soak in the road to Hana and a ton of side trails and stops. Wireless access in the Hana Bay yurt we are staying in is better than the Sheraton in which we were charged a $30 a day resort fee for it and the outdoor shower is heavenly. We are shopping too much, sleeping nightly with the windows open, and so far mumbly mcmumbleson has not been mysteriously kicked down the mouth of a live volcano. Thus far this has been exactly what I needed. 7 more days before I am begrudgingly back in Seattle once again attempting to scheme my way to warmer pastures. – Facebook, December 16, 2013

So, basically, Maui is amazing and if you can go there, you should. Even if you think you can’t go there, you should probably rethink it.

Apparently it’s a great starter island (Hawaii is giant and mostly country with only a couple cities, Oahu is basically LA on an Island and who the fuck wants that, and unless you’re Backwoods Mcgee Kauai is probably too remote after a while). So there’s that, and since we didn’t want to spend our trips packing, repacking and dealing with tons of airports, Maui worked out great.

After a few shitty Christmas seasons in Seattle, and periodic bi-yearly or so reminders that, oh, right, I’d never been on a proper tropical vacation, I finally took David up on his offer to remedy that, and he finally took me up on my offer to be the reason he finally went to Hawaii.

This trip was an actual vacation for me; a gloriously vapid, mostly-brainless exercise in laziness, gluttony, and as it turned out, material appropriation. I did not go there to soul search or figure out the deep questions of our life and times as is the normal way of my travels. I went to eat, sleep, swim, look at fishies, eat lots of THC, hang out with one of my special dudes and fuck occasionally. And that’s exactly what I did.

7 days into 10 day Hawaii trip and I presume it safe to say; I firmly believe that fruity, overly sweet tropical drinks surk. I can’t even stand them while on vacation out here, where I hope they are better made than the complimentary premixed maitai Alaska offered us on the inbound flight. I have decided they are simply flat out awful and people who like them are idiots. Fin. – Facebook, December 21 2013

Yep, you heard it here first folks – one of the biggest epiphanies of my trip was I Hate Shitty Drinks. Like whoa, man. Otherwise, when it came to where we would be eating (when not at the resorts, which were, of course, amazing) Yelp came in super handy, so I won’t go on about it all here.

During our 10 day stay, we:

  • Hit up Black Rock Sheraton and Kaanapali Beach Hotel (If in doubt, do Sheraton) for some awesome snorkeling and SNUBA.
  • Took the road to Hana by way of Paia and stayed at Luana Spa Retreat in a yurt which was amazing (but maybe skip the massages, David had to end his halfway through it was so bad).
  • Drove back via the southern route on Piilani Highway where we got all those awesome sunset pictures.
  • Shopped way too fucking much in Lahaina, which is cute as shit and right on the water and I love love loved.
  • Spent two days in Lana’i touring the two Four Seasons resorts and staying at Hotel Lana’i. It was amazing – get the cottage, I imagine there are noise issues in the main hotel, and EAT AT THE GRILL OMFG. We ate dinner there both nights. Best meal I’ve had in a long, long time.
  • Capped off the trip at Makena Golf and Beach resort, in which we played exactly zero golf but hung out naked a lot at Little Beach
  • Afterwhich we missed our outbound flight, and killed another few hours catching lunch at Mamas Fish House, playing on the rocks at the nearby beach, and driving up the top of a mountain I don’t remember the name of.

I have been eating the best tasting, simple, clean burning comfort food of my life since getting here. These people are so onto something.

Spent hours in the ocean today at Hulopo’e, mostly getting the shit kicked out of me, right where the waves break into surf, while laughing my fool ass off. I got sand in everything you can imagine getting sand in, some of which I didn’t discover until later. In fact, after this trip, I think some of my film maker friends really need to make a horror movie about sand herpes, because there is just no way. It’s everywhere. It sticks. I am sure I will end up bringing some home with me.

Rip tides are pretty fun; Fuckers drag you right off the beach if you let em. And I really like having a wet suit. It feels safer to be more floaty.

The sea was a little too expressive to go near the reef or to bring the underwater camera, apparently from the stormfront that’s currently out in the pacific, as yesterday it was calm. Though knocked around a bit, I made it out of the fight unscathed; A particularly husky wave made off with David’s snorkel mask, however.

Sadly, the snorkeling wasn’t worth the loss really – no visibility until you got about 30ft out, then sand bottom and high visibility but not a lot to look at. It was neat to see the bottom move and dust up from the waves in conjunction to how we were moving back and forth in the water, and we happened by a bit of coral with some fish around it. What we really wanted to see – the dolphins – were farther out than I wanted to go, so we only saw them from land. Something about empty, deep, clear tropical water just sings “when you do see something, it’s gonna want to eat you” to me.

Also; The ocean tastes like fucking ASS. Ugh.

Not a lot of trip blogging happening right now, but we are getting some nice pictures and fun little stories. I think I’ll likely be spending my xmas editing photos and writing.

Aloha!

Facebook, December 21, 2013

Well, honestly, the little stories and memories of this trip are far better suited for in person banter, and wouldn’t really come across in blogform, at least with the effort I am willing to put into explaining them after spending all day laying on the couch processing pictures. But I do have tons of those, (mostly photographed by David Cohen, some snapped by me, and all post processed by me) to document the trip and fun things. There’s even a picture of my boobs in there somewhere.

So enjoy those, and like I said, if you haven’t done the Hawaii.. there is a reason people save their entire lives to go there. Unlimited forever thanks to David for sharing his trip with me so I didn’t have to do it that way.

Sweden: Two Weeks in Photographic Review

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Like a glass of tasty bubbles, all good things must come to an end..

Click the first thumbnail and use the arrow keys to advance.

Check the Sweden tag for all posts from my time abroad.