I didn’t write last night as I simply wasn’t in a good state of mind. I don’t like the fact that my moods are back and forth but I really am trying to level them out. I’ve realized it’s hard for people reading to really understand without the whole picture. When getting only half the story one might just write me off as some manic depressive when really, things aren’t that bad considering. It is still, a matter of perspective so I’m trying to keep mine in check.
So before I get down and dirty with the real story, the reality so to speak, I want to say that today was still an awesome day. I got myself a shower and then drove to Winslow to pick up my bank card and a package a friend had sent to the P.O there. Despite not being able to see the Crater on the way back I still enjoyed a great sunset to the tune of Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah. I enjoyed the warm afternoon sun and once back in Flagstaff I wandered the streets of the historic part of town and soaked up a little of the weekend Halloween spirit on Route 66. It was somewhat odd passing pubs and restaurants and not being able to go in and have myself a beer and talk to people but I believe those opportunities will come later. I’m now back in the Walmart parking lot, getting wi-fi from the Ramada across the street. I just spent the last couple of hours listening to some great classic rock on 93.9 The Mountain while chatting with friends from home on Facebook. You know, important stuff in life,…the little things.
That leads me to the bigger picture, the present state of this road trip and the future. Right now, no word of a lie I have $50 to my name. I have a Walmart card courtesy of my friend Jamie with $40 on it, a Subway card with $8.64 on it and a Starbucks card, not sure what’s left on it. I have 3/4 of a tank of gas and some snacks and canned food in my cooler. I have a truck that has heat and a good sleeping bag and a laptop to talk with my friends on. My camera etc for my photos. What do I need? Today, nothing.
That’s not to say that the other side of my personality hasn’t had a few days lately wondering what the fuck we’re going to do. I think, at least I hope, that I’m normal in having these feelings. If its not normal then maybe I am crazy.
Now before you write me off as being completely idiotic for putting myself in this situation know that I wasn’t naive enough to think that this scenario wasn’t possible. I totally arrived to this place with both eyes open.
When I rolled into Flagstaff I had more than $200. One used tire, one flat repair and a brand new battery later and here I am. I have been actively bidding on and sending out my info for freelance web work for more than two weeks now anticipating the need to make more money to keep going. The work, simply has not come yet.
When I left on this trip I also was hoping that as I shot and released photos online of the things I found and promoted them on the many sites I use that I may make money from the sales of my work and prints. I have sold one print so far. That’s one more than I had sold before I left. I also hoped that perhaps a company or corporation would see some value in having me be an ambassador for their product, possibly sponsoring me and/or wrapping my truck in advertising. This also hasn’t happened. So be it, I’m here anyway.
Now I feel the need to explain a little where my initial money has gone. Well there wasn’t a lot to begin with. Almost from day one this trip has been a huge leap of faith. Faith in my ability as a photographer and faith that my somewhat crappy luck of the past few years was almost done, perhaps it’s not quite ready to set me free yet. That’s not going to stop me from trying.
I was out of my apartment by the end of July. I had the $800 from the liquidation of my stuff. I got about $450 back in form of a damage deposit from the apartment. Through August and early September this was used up on living expenses, two truck payments, two months of insurance and two of three partial installments of a catch-up payment I was trying to get out of the way on the truck before I left. I looked for freelance work through this whole time and had about as much luck as the previous year. The reason I didn’t leave at the end of July was simply because two of my best friends were marrying each other and I wasn’t about to miss it.
I was given a little send off money from my family as I left and drove to Calgary to sell my TV and home theater system to a friend there. Leaving Calgary with just over $2000 dollars. I bought two hard drives to store my photos on ($280) and eventually splurged on a video camera as I felt the videos would become an important part of keeping people interested in the journey. ($220). Add another truck payment, the third and final partial truck payment to complete my catch-up payment, another month of insurance, 40 days of gas, 4 tire repairs, two replacement used tires (Thanks for nothing General Tire), a new truck battery, miscellaneous park entrance fees, a few showers and food and that pretty much puts me where I’m at. I have yet to spend money on a room. I have yet to spend more than 9 dollars on a meal and I don’t eat out if I can help it.
I have had a few donations from friends and family and for those I am extremely grateful. Although I do have an Indiegogo project set up I was hoping more to attract potential businesses in for sponsorship, even that hasn’t helped much, again only friends have stepped up.
What I do want to express though is that this is not some sort of plea for help. It isn’t. If anything it’s a bit of an explanation for readers who have read about my mood swings and occasional disillusionment. Like a lot of people, over the years I have grown into the false sense of security and some days I simply don’t know what to do with the feelings I feel about being out here on my own with not a lot of said security. It’s simply my attempt at relaying the reality of THIS situation, this part of the trip, the challenges I’m currently facing and the ways I am or am not dealing with them. That’s all.
As I drove today I realized I potentially have quite a few days left before I’m stuck. I have pretty much decided that tomorrow I will venture on to Las Vegas. I have friends there to see, conversations to have. Just being around people I know will help my positive outlook recharge. I will continue hammering away at landing some freelance web work and I will continue to edit and process my photos and take time to take some more. I know Las Vegas has Walmarts and libraries, Starbucks and Subways. I’ll last as long as I can or until something comes my way. If, for some reason it’s not meant to be I’m sure one of the many Las Vegas pawn shops will give me enough money for my camera gear to get myself home. This of course is a last resort but in the big picture it’s a frame of mind no different than when I was trying to sell my drum kit back in Vancouver. The camera is a tool, one I can buy again later when things are going better.
Of course I’m not concentrating on this outcome. The one I’m more interested in takes me many more healthy miles into the future. So I will weather this test the best I can and whatever the outcome may be, I am ready. I have sent my resume in for some work in the Alberta oil sands, I now have a proposal that I’m preparing for a potentially great government contract that I have to have mailed in by November 19th. If either of these opportunities come my way then I will evaluate this journey and my situation then. Until that time I’m going to do my best to stay out here and do what I love.
I thank you all for your comments, concern, support and love.
Until tomorrow, Goodnight.