Out of the Bay and Into the Wine

Pre-PostWell, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on May 5. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now.

So, I feel like the last post was kind of shitty. I wasn’t really in the mood to write but felt the need for force myself to. I should have known this is a mistake. I love writing, but if I’m not in the mood it is obvious. Sorry for the shitty writing last time… onward to better things.

Leaving San Francisco was bitter-sweet. We were all eager to get on the road again but that city had a great feeling to it. It takes something special to make us feel vanilla but the kinky sexy vibe that seemed to ooze from the city was enough to make us feel “normal”. Basically, we loved it. There is something about the titillation that comes from being in a place that doesn’t hide, fear, or shame sex that makes the spirit feel truly alive. I am sure we will all be back, in fact, it is likely we will all live there at some point, but probably not after our bike ride. It was just too expensive and crowded for our current tastes, after Los Angeles we need something a little smaller to call home.

Anyway, we headed out from San Francisco towards the East Bay (probably not the right phrase, I have no idea what the fuck I’m talking about most of the time). We took a ferry into Oakland, rode through Oakland and Berkeley, and into the hills to the north. Our plan for Friday was to crash with Anna’s cousin and her husband, Katie and Neal. The ride itself had a few hills but the real thing that stuck in our minds was the difference between Oakland and Berkeley. The ride through Oakland felt a little dangerous… the roads poorly maintained, zero bike lanes, and traffic that seemed mostly unregulated. We saw cop cars all over the place and the police presence was strong. Berkeley was only a few blocks away but felt incredibly different with freshly paved roads, dedicated bike routes, slow traffic, and the only people we saw were college students and random touristy pedestrians. It is kind of crazy how the environment in the US can change block to block.

Katie and Neal put us up at their gorgeous house in Orlinda. Even though they were in the process of repainting the house they opened their doors to us. They had some amazing decks… I love a good deck, they are great for BBQing, banging in an exhibitionist way, enjoying a fine cigar, and just relaxing after a long day of work/play. We didn’t bang, BBQ, or have a cigar on their deck but we did get a chance to relax a bit, share a beer, and then go out for some Thai food. I had only met Katie and Neal once before this and it was awesome to spend some more time with them. I really hope we get a chance to hang out more in the future.

We left Orlinda late in the morning to go to my cousin’s house. I had not seen Emily, my cousin, in a long time… with the exception of my grandmother’s funeral it has been almost a decade. Emily and I always had a bit of a rivalry going, we are the two oldest of our clans and I think that lead to some unnecessary, but probably predictable, hostility between us. Luckily, this trip really showed how that negativity towards us was no longer the case. I had a fucking awesome time hanging out with Emily, her husband Joe, and their four kids. I am often pretty negative towards the idea of having kids, and many times it seems people have kids for all the wrong reasons. That isn’t the case with Emily and Joe, they are doing parenting right (in my unhumble opinion). Their kids are all individuals and are encouraged to pursue their own passions. They are taught not to judge and embrace individuality. If I had kids I hope I would be able to raise them as well as Emily and Joe do. It was fucking awesome to share beer, Jager bombs, and some great conversations that hit every subject with them.

Our time with Emily in Hercules eventually ended and we hit the road with a lot of hope for the future and a wicked hangover. Apparently when you try to bike up a hill with 100 lbs in tow after a night of Jager you kind of just want to die, especially when you find yourself being passed by a couple hundred friendly people in bright jerseys who want to greet you with a smile and a conversation. I never knew smiling people in bright yellow could inspire rage and vomit.

The next cities on our list were Sonoma and Santa Rosa. According to Wikipedia there are not any people in Sonoma, just a bunch of grapes and rich people on vacation. Wikipedia is wrong. I was able to find a couchsurfer in Sonoma and she agreed to let us fall asleep in her living room. It turned out to be an amazing city, probably because of the people we met. We got into town around 4pm and met up with our host (Suzanne… or Sue as everyone else called her, I never know what to call people…) at a local Irish bar. In case you are wondering, this is a good sign. Our brief meeting with Sue turned into several hours of drinking beer with a variety of people she knew. There was Sue, Kenneth, Kyle, and the hot vegan couple whose names I can’t remember (I’d tap that). To be honest, I felt really welcome with the group. It was like a bunch of old friends in a sitcom rotating around for comic relief and just enjoying life. We talked about Burning Man, were open about MDMA use, discussed brewing beer, and a whole lot of other things. The conversations just seemed so natural, which is good for three introverts like us.

Sue’s roommates ended up being just as cool. Even though Sue wasn’t around when we arrived but Natalie and Brian (or Bryan??) made us feel right at home. I really wasn’t expecting that from Sonoma, it seemed like a hole-in-the-wall town but it had a lot of love in it. It felt like a potential home but, sadly, we only got one night there. Oh well, now we head out to Santa Rosa for some beers and a couple days of rest.

Post-Post 1: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us out here

Post-Post 2: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.

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To be 23…

As is often the case a blog crossed my Facebook feed and sparked inspiration into my caffeine-fueled writing gland. The post (23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged) is filled with a glorious rant about how today’s generation approaches long-term relationships and a fun little list of alternatives. While I’m not much of a list maker I am a strong advocate of people forgoing lifelong commitments until they know themselves as individuals first.

So, here is a quick rundown of my past so you know where I am coming from…

  • I’m 32 years old (I know! I’m old, but damn I still look good)
  • I walked into an Army recruiter office on September 11, 2001 and became a paratrooper. I was 19 years old.
  • I was stationed in North Carolina, served for four years, and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan
  • During my enlistment I got engaged to a girl from South Carolina
  • I started college in 2005 and my engagement broke up in 2006
  • I received a BS in Economics in 2009 from the College of Charleston in South Carolina
  • Moved to DC and worked at a couple of non-profits for three years
  • Got sick of DC, sold everything I owned and rode my bicycle across the country to Los Angeles
  • While in LA I got into a relationship with my current partner
  • After two years in LA my partner and I are going to start a 2-year bicycle ride around the continent

I provided that list because I want people to recognize how much different my life would have been if I got married in 2006 like I originally thought. At that time I was 25 and still didn’t really know who I was. My religion was different, my view on family and life, I was aligned different politically… I had not experienced enough life to find me. I needed time to be independent and have adventures, explore the world, and challenge myself to find happiness.

Human brains are not fully developed even into the early 20’s, the idea that we are mature or ready to commit to a lifetime with someone when we don’t know ourselves is insane. Sure, it works out sometimes (I think mostly due to social and religious pressure than happiness) but as the article pointed out, the divorce rate among those who marry young is twice the average rate.

Previous generations had very good reasons to marry young. That type of support was necessary for security and to provide for a family. But we are not the previous generation. We live at a time when the economy is based on entertainment, service, and information. The internet has allowed us to earn an income from anywhere, survival goods are cheaper, and women do not need a man to provide. Instead, for maybe the first time in human history, the average person can travel, explore, and find their passion.

Now, I have been called selfish for not wanting kids, usually by people who have kids. Aside from the collectivist mentality that I owe an overpopulated society a genetic reproduction (this world has enough people with blue eyes, big booties, poor eyesight, and average height), it is hypocritical for people with kids to call me selfish. Nearly half a million kids in the US alone need adoptive parents, until that is taken care I think the selfish ones are those that somehow think the universe needs more of their DNA floating around. Want a kid? Adopt one.

I agree with the author… get out there and explore while your health and freedom allows you to. While riding across the country I met hundreds of people and by far the most common thing I heard was, “Wow, that’s awesome. I would love to do that, if only I was younger.” The body degrades, obligations increase with marriage (and particularly kids), the time to discover yourself, your boundaries, and your love is now.

Are you with someone you love now? Is your relationship great? That is fucking awesome. I have that same thing and I wouldn’t have it if I got married when I was younger. Your life partner should be someone that you adventure with as mature adults. It is crazy to make a lifelong decision based on 3% of your adult life when you have not fully developed. The odds are that you or your partner will change and the big three things necessary for a long term relationship (agreement on marriage, the amount of children, and lifestyle) will change. You can only be made better by new experiences, and that means you will be a better individual and partner. As the article author puts it:

“If your love is truly eternal, what’s the rush? If it’s real, that person will continue to be committed to you 2 months from now, 2 years from now, and 2 decades from now. Grow, learn, travel, party, cuddle, read, explore. Do. Freaking. Something… other than “settle down” at 23 with a white picket fence.’

 

“Adulthood”

awesome

I’m 31 years old, unmarried, no kids, and live in a warehouse condo thing with four other humans, three dogs, and a cat. Many people would say that I am not an adult yet. They would say that my trips to bars, music festival, and general spontaneous life that borders on nomadic proves I am still a teenager trapped in an adult body. I think these people are full of crap.

As this recent article plays fun with, most of “adulthood” has little to do with the person and much to do with appearances. Somehow adulthood has become defined as how effective we are at putting up a mask or subduing our life until it fits a social mold. What made a person an adult has changed significantly over the last several thousands of years and it is ridiculous to assume that it won’t change again. With more people delaying child-bearing, exploring non-traditional relationships, and relatively easy access to adventures and travel I would think the trend would continue where traditional signals of “adulthood” are not present in adults.

Regardless of the signals I put out there that don’t measure up to what previous generations call “adulthood”, I am a responsible adult. I pay my bills, I take care of myself and my community, and I am not a drain on anyone. To me, adulthood is means being independent and free to make your own decisions without harming others. It has little to do with age and nothing to do with the decisions you make as long as you don’t expect others to take care of you.

I am an adult and I refuse to let that title force me into a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, manicured lawn, wine collection, books that exist for show, a closet full of uncomfortable clothes, and a perverse view that adventures are for teenagers and retirement.

PS: It was pointed out by a respected friend of mine that this could be construed as a criticism of people who do have homes, lawns, kids, or whatever. I have no criticism of their life at all, they have chosen what makes them happiest and that is freaking awesome. I just would prefer not to be judged when my decisions do not mirror theirs. I love my friends regardless of their adulthood perception just like I (as a polyamorist) love my monogamous friends. I enjoy understanding how they tick, debating the pros and cons of different lifestyles, and having a diverse group of people in my life.

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