Posted by: GeekHiker | August 4, 2011

The Journal: June, 2011

Want to feel old?  Go sit in a coffee shop in a small college town, such as the one I’m sitting in here in San Luis Obispo.  It’s the perfect place to watch the youngins, so hard at work yet so full of dreams, and mull over the different paths one’s life might have taken.

I’m good at that.  Forever looking back, pondering the choices I made, wondering less about the mistakes and more about the ones I made out of pure stubbornness.

[Surely I can’t be the only one who does that.  Can I?]

* * *

I should feel more excited about life at the moment, but that feeling is being drowned out by stress and, frankly fear.  This, I have been recently assured, is perfectly normal.

In a mere 24 hours, I spoke both to my financial advisor and to my parents.  The advisor is probably the best cheerleader I have.  It’s strange, having the person who is planning your retirement and fiscal future encouraging me to quit my job and spend all kinds of money to travel.  Downright odd, it is.

More surprising is my parents, who I told all about what has been happening these past several months.  They’re all for it, offering to help me move, plan, whatever.  This also is odd.  For most of my life, Dad has worried about money, Mom about my traveling alone.  Yet, here they are, backing me.  Hell, in terms of quitting, their response was “it’s about damn time.”

* * *

Ah, quitting.  With luck, I won’t have to.

As much as I’ve dreamed over the years of quitting (or even throwing some massive, dramatic event to quit), the fact is that I’m better off being let go.  Being “downsized” is okay, and getting laid off looks better for unemployment.

Which means that the next stressful step is to go out for coffee with my boss.

And ask her to fire me, essentially.

How strange my life has become.

[If only it were that easy.  Getting fired is harder than you might think.]

* * *

It may backfire, of course.  I may ask to be let go on June 30, and they may fire me that day.  They hate to have people quit, but love to fire them.  Apparently, the work “hypocrisy” is not in their vocabulary.

If she’s smart, by boss won’t do that.  If she’s smart, she’ll spend a couple of weeks learning everything she can from me and my over 10 years there.  But the company has shown in the past that they’re so eager to prove they don’t “need” anyone that they may push me out and make her figure it out on her own.

It would be stupid, but I’ve used the word “incompetence” before, and with good reason.

* * *

One thing still troubles me, though: traveling alone.

[Geez, me: recurring theme, much?]

I’m trying to accept it.  Eventually, I’ll have no choice.  And maybe it’ll be okay.  Maybe I’ll meet people along the way.  Maybe I’ll make new friends, acquaintances, meet other bloggers, expand my social circle in new and unexpected ways.


Or its just as likely that I’ll stay in my tent or hotel room, shy away from others like I always have.

I can change locations, but can I change me?

One of the baristas just mentioned that he’s going to Italy to study car design/industrial design.  I wish I had done this when I was younger, more eager to stay in hostels, go out drinking all night.  The truth is, I moved out too soon, too young, and stuck too stubbornly to my dream of working in film.

There I go, looking at the past again.

I need to stop.

I wish I knew how.

* * *

So much to buy, so much to do.

A tonneau cover for the truck.  A small laptop.  A wide lens for the SLR I just purchased.  I’ve overwhelmed and stressed and, despite the positive encouragement and offers of help I’m receiving, nevertheless feel alone.  I know this is the worst part, the transition.  And change, even good change (such as, *ahem*, leaving a shit job) is stressful.  It comes with the territory.

Then again, everything, everything, in the past few months, and in this journal, has been leading to this moment.  And I have to keep reminding myself that at some point in the near future I won’t be getting up, cursing traffic on the 405, spending 8 hours a day at a job I hate.

Maybe I should make a dozen copies of that and post it everywhere I look.  I’ve never been good with change or the unknown.

Can I change myself in that aspect as well?

[Ever wish that you could change an aspect of your personality just by flipping a switch?]



  1. This is the exciting part! It’s wonderful you are doing this, and while it is scary, it’s clear that this was overdue. I hope you are having fun and the scary part is fading away

  2. Awesome! I love how these journal posts have revealed the events of July 12 were a great thing!

  3. I think that change is frightening and uncomfortable for most people – it’s human nature to want to feel in control and secure. But it sounds like you needed to do something differently in your life in order to be happy, so hopefully the stress of this transition will be worthwhile and will go away in time.

  4. Weird, over here getting fired (or quitting) disqualifies you for unemployment. Getting laid off is the only way to qualify. I assume that’s what you were trying to do.

  5. I hope that having your parents’ support just further solidified your knowing that this was all the right thing to do.

    As far as the past goes, there’s a funny thing that goes on when you’re traveling – you’re forced to be in the present A LOT. Sure, there will be stretches of highway where you’ll be alone in your head, but generally I find that going places I haven’t been before totally grounds me in the moment. It’s part of why I love travel. I hope you do meet lots of interesting people along the way. I don’t know how many solo travelers are out there exploring the U.S. I know that if you do make it to Europe, you should have no problem meeting other solo travelers there!

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