We met in Portland at Misty’s birth mother’s house. Misty’s birth mother has, for a couple decades or so now, been a man: Mike—short, bald, goateed, and proudly cultivating an image of Uncle Fester. He and his wife live quietly in a little apartment in a character-free building near Portland where they keep Halloween doormats out year-round. When I got there Misty had already been there for a week, getting further and further away from reality.
I’ve had grand visions for the last month of how I would get to Minneapolis and have so much time to write about all the amazing things that have been happening. I’ve thought of so many things I want to write if only I had the time and the focus. Well.
Yep, still ticking. It’s late and I’m tired, so this is truly going to be just a “still alive” post. In the time since I wrote last, Misty and I have spent a week at the Possibility Alliance, a community that’s at least as off-grid as the Amish (no electricity, no cars) and has refined the human aspects of permaculture like no place else I’ve ever been. We’ve also discovered that we share a favorite mode of transportation, one that isn’t hitchhiking but is just as free, about which I feel it prudent not to say more at this juncture, except that if you know me, you probably know what I’m talking about.
After the little trip we took to Minneapolis so we could see the MayDay Parade and I could write that last post here, we went back to The Draw to finish our month of figuring out whether it was the right place for us. I believe we’ve arrived at as much of an answer to that question as we’re capable of finding at this part of the trip. The answer: living there is a lot of really hard work, with no obvious way to make a lot of money, and so it absolutely is a place that we could put down roots and live our lives.
The day we were leaving, I spent much of the morning in a mild state of panic, looking at all the good things I was saying goodbye to, and wishing, even though I knew leaving was the right choice, that I could just stay in town where I’m comfy and have all these friends, forever and ever. But our friend Izzy picked us up nonetheless, like we’d asked, and drove us south of town to an I-35 onramp. And then a funny thing happened. Once we got on the pavement, and Izzy had driven away, and we had our thumbs out and our sign flying, all the anxiety blew away like dust off a windowsill in spring, and it felt right and natural to be there.
Tomorrow we’re going to an onramp and heading out to the Ozarks. Neither of us has ever seen an Ozark before, but we’re going to find them and spend some time there. The idea is basically for us to get the city blown off of us, and for us to adjust to living on the road. That way when we get to each new place afterwards, it’ll be easier for us to really get there. I’ve found on other trips that if I come from the city, and I’m still keeping myself wrapped up in all its mental entanglements, it takes a while for me to really arrive anywhere else.
Nearly anyone who’s needed more than basic medical care—and especially people who take some kind of medication regularly—seems to get around to asking me this question eventually. If I’m moving off-grid, what am I going to do about health insurance?