I crossed the Texas border into New Mexico. I have driven 757 miles since I left my parents house in Liberty Hill. I haven’t been on the road two weeks, and it feels like this is all I’ve ever done. Driving from place to place. Pitching my camp wherever I feel like. Chilling. Writing. Reading books. Watching movies. Playing with my dog.
A few days ago, I had a small mental break down.
It was my second day at Davis Mountain State Park. I arrived after an amazing few days in Mason, Texas—so amazing that I thought briefly: Why go on? This place is about as cool as it gets. I love the people, I’ve been offered a part time gig, I bet I can find a cheap place to stay, and I’ve already got half a dozen friends, each and every one of them an amazing individual?
But I have to take this trip. I need to see the Pacific Ocean. I do.
I paid for four nights at Davis Mountain in cash; as I realized that I simply could not sustain this financially. $23 is cheap, but when you don’t have a job, you need gas—averaging 13 miles/ gallon—you need to feed yourself and your dog, and all you’ve got for revenue are books and schwag; and you keep getting rejections from bookstores everywhere. Well then, $23 becomes a big deal.
So I freaked out.
This is normal.
A few years ago when I lived in Paris, France, and didn’t have a job, nor any prospects, my friends dropped me off just north of Limoge at their country house. I had my bike and my gear.
I rode, drank wine, worked, and had a blast for three months. I camped wherever I could pitch my tent. I picked grapes for two weeks during the vendanges—prearranged beforehand—camped near the beach, ate oysters with white wine for breakfast (on occasion, not every single day), rode to Angers, got another gig picking more grapes in the Coteau du Layon, then eventually stopped in Normandy and took a train back to Paris. It was amazing.
My first day on the road, I was scared. I got stuck in a massive rain storm, got two flat tires, and arrived at a campground after dark where I couldn’t figure out how to pitch my tent. I hated life. I wanted out. I was depressed. I was pissed at myself. The next morning, I called a friend in Paris to let him know that I was quitting, and he listened, talked to me, and told me to give it another couple of days. So I stayed in a cheap country French hotel on top of a restaurant—the kind with a toilet bowl and a shower in the hallway, and a urinal exposed in a corner. The next morning, I got back on my bike. Best decision ever. After that, everything was fine.
This time there were no flat tires or massive rain storm. What there was is the normal shtick: This great big open of unknown, this great big universe ready to swallow me whole.
I asked myself: What the fuck? You left your job! You left the comfort of AC, heat, and bathrooms? Why? What the fuck is wrong with you?
It was a tough day. I felt sorry for myself, for all the bad decisions I’ve ever made; everything was dark and morose; I felt pity on myself because of the endless rejection emails.
That night in bed in my RV, I realized: FUCK YOU FRANCOIS! LIFE IS FUCKING GOOD!
If I don’t like where I’m at, I get in the driver’s seat and go somewhere else. If somebody says no to me reading and selling my books, I ask somebody else. And if that somebody else doesn’t have a bookstore, who cares. There are so many other places and people…it is endless…this great big universe never fucking stops!
The very next day I received a confirmation for a reading in Long Beach, and another email from Santa Fe, and several friends reached out to me offering a helping hand without me saying anything about my little break down. It’s as if the universe knew, and reached down to give me a little hug.
You got to make yourself get past that first hurdle. Your instincts will tell you to run back home, but there’s a reason you left in the first place. What was that reason? The lack of freedom of movement? The strangulation of modern life? Or simply the need for adventure? Every decision bears it’s consequences. Life on the road is not going to be easy. And that’s ok.
Peace & Love from François, Brutus, and The Rollin’ Chateau
Don’t forget to buy my books! Beers Songs for the Lonely and Good Feeling: seven short stories. This is how I keep the gas tank full and my belly full. Also, please write reviews, this is how you help me tell the whole world about my books. Thank you so much!