For some reason, I am feeling nostalgic and have a simultaneous remembrance - the memories of the moment, as well as the new responses I have currently as I recall them but look at them as a current observer and witness. The emotions and experiences as it has been 2 years and 4 days since I left my hometown of Carpinteria, California, USA. To many, I have told that I am from Santa Barbara, California, as it is the more well known town, and I did spend 14 years there and actually left that city on July 7th, 2012 and after a 6 month stint in Los Angeles, ended up moving to Carpinteria to heal and try to rebuild the life I lead up to the point where I left Santa Barbara.
What was I doing up to that time?
I worked in Corporate America in different capacities for 12 years of my life - 4 years at a breast implant company; 4 years as one of the computer consultants for a medium sized and growing consultancy; and finally 4 years as an independent "computer guy". Living the conventional life - work myself really hard; earn money; pay bills; buy all sorts of stuff; engaged in a mad scientist project or two; get in trouble as a indirect result of said mad scientist project or two; move to a new place; transition to another job; get sick from over-stressing and pay big bucks on medical bills; change lifestyles a couple of times as a result; rinse and repeat all in the name of "upgrading" - bigger, better, faster, harder, stronger, woooo~.
I got worked like a dog; working on average of 90 to 110 hours a week through those 12 years working multiple jobs at the same time; but was paid well. ...and like a dog, would come back for MORE with even more enthuiasm.
However, as the years and grinding went by, something began to feel... missing. I would get bored every so often, on multiple levels - and as a result, I would fill my life up with more stuff. More video games and systems until I had amassed the ultimate collection of over 1300 of those things. At one point I raided a Blockbuster video rental store that was going out of business and got a couple of the big wooden shelves, which gave me capacity to store about 1600 of these things. More books to voraciously read - I read 7 books at a time - a different book on a different day of the week, had several low bookshelves that spanned one wall were dedicated to those books. More computer equipment to feed my curiosity for the latest in technologies and fuel those mad scientist projects and run up the electric bills until I was using more than most businesses and could be considered suspect for other nefarious purposes. More expensive consumer electronics because I had very little free time, and lazy entertainment was the most efficient and logical route - If I was going to have a "man-cave"; by God, I am going to Have. A. Man. Cave. Exclamation Point! More food - ever since my first presentation with Diabetes in 2006, I went on a food journey, and did a switch to better food. Whole Foods was only a few blocks down from where I lived, and I would spent a whole paycheck per month, and haul triple digit poundage of food back to my place.
More stuff indeed to fill up my life whenever I felt bored, or was missing something, indeed!
That routine came to a very sudden stop when two events came up that resulted in me becoming extremely angry, and righteous. It was so intense that I knew I was in the right on principle, and I was going to stop at nothing to make sure it was so, at any cost. I had plenty of resources to send a swift, strong message that essentially said "Don't ever mess with me!" I was extremely successful at doing this, but the cost was enormous. I suddenly had no money, and unable to pay my bills. That was when I left Santa Barbara.
For six months, I was schlepping myself all over Los Angeles County looking for a job, to no avail, while couchsurfing with a few of my friends from college days. I felt defeated, depressed, and sweaty as the only jobs available were ones that required more skill level than I ever attained on paper, and all for one tidy sum of... *drumroll* $12 dollars per hour! The work I did prior had me earning over $9,000 per month. Some was awfully wrong with this picture.
In January of 2013, one of my old clients from my business days needed some major work on her computer setup, and while working on what became a project, she offered me her master bedroom to stay in and rebuild my business in Carpinteria. I ended up taking that offer and for nine months, I tried to rebuild. Something was still stuck, and I also found myself being triggered on several levels - old feelings of anger, jealousy, fear, base survival. This turned this arrangement sour, and I needed to leave.
Several weeks before I needed to leave Carpinteria, I stumbled upon an online course called "Living From Your Soul" which was being taught by an author I had read some years earlier - Neale Donald Walsch. The description was so fascinating, and also what felt like I was needing, that I did something I, at the time, would never had done - I took money that was going towards bills, and decided to spent it on this course instead.
I recall having a phone conversation with my best friend at the time, it was a couple of weeks before I needed to leave, and she expressed that it sounded like I was putting myself into exile, that it was totally unnecessary. She had a point, but I felt like I needed to do something, and at the time, I had pictured myself going on a pilgrimage. It was coming all together - I had read blogs and articles of vagabonds, travelers, world journeyers, expatriates, etc., for many years beforehand. I remembered being utterly fascinated with these stories, places traveled to, and I had always wondered what happened to my friend, Ben Ruiz, who left to go "find his heritage" in 2001, and never heard from ever again. He left me a short little yellow booklet about a man from Michigan that left to travel the world, and he would go to all sorts of places for 10 years at a time; then come back home to his parents for three months to save up money; then go off again for another 10 years - rinse, and repeat. At the time the booklet was printed, he had recently started his third travel cycle.
I felt like I was readying myself, training myself to do something like they were doing. I had no idea that several years later, that I would actually be doing it!
As our phone conversation progressed, I was becoming increasingly scared, excited, and anxious. There were so many things to do; I had so much stuff to deal with; and how was I going to to get the money to actually go?! For that matter, where was I going to go?!
The weekend before I was to leave Carpinteria, I spent shaking, physically, emotionally, mentally. Another client had suggested checking out Sedona, Arizona, USA as "he heard it was spiritual". Sedona was as good as a destination as any, I thought, and I came up blank on other ideas. I then had the idea to run through my invoices and saw that that same client owed me several hundred dollars. I asked him about it, and also caught him up on what my plans were. He asked me to go see him in person, and that we could tidy up business at that point. I decided that his place would be the first place to go when I left Carpinteria.
Fare Thee Well!
Those three words rang in my ear as I walked away from the home I stayed in for the last nine months. Large, unwieldy, uncomfortable, ill-fitting backpack stuffed full - check. Large, bulky, cloth shoulder bag equally stuffed - check. Large black suitcase with wheels and telescoping handle packed full to the gills to where zippers were threatening to break - check. Two dollars for necessary bus fare to my client's house by the sea - check. It was Monday afternoon, plan was to get to client's house; get money from him; then bus down to bank to cash check; then walk down the main thoroughfare a couple of miles to the train station where I would head down to Glendale, CA, USA to couchsurf with the friend I had that exile phone conversation with; for one week - enough time to get my stuff into storage; root out things I would need for the pilgrimage, give that friend the keys; buy a smartphone and pre-paid plan so I can communicate, blog, take pictures, and a host of other things I would capture on this pilgrimage at a second's notice.
When I got to my client's place. He simply stated that I needed more money than what I was owed if I am to undertake a "walkabout". He wrote me a check for the amount owed, plus another thousand dollars stating that "that should get you through a couple of days, mate!" He then gave me a ride to his bank to cash that check; waited for me; then gave me a ride to the train station. Much more than I ever expected from anybody - saved me the lugging of all my stuff all over the place!
The train came two hours after I was dropped off, right on schedule - and I would arrive in Glendale at dinner time.
More to come. I am on a roll!