thinking of moving to the west coast. i’ve visited before but never lived out there

if people had advice, pros/cons and whatnot, i’d be interested to hear

confession: i never bothered to learn the difference between seattle and portland. whenever someone talks about them i just mentally code it all as the same place

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i blew through a lot of career aspirations pretty early on in life. having walked away from — at various points — one of the top studios in the world (of it’s time), a six figure salary, and a cushy set-for-life post at a university, i don’t really feel the urge to “prove myself” anymore??

having had time to reflect, i mostly now just want a 20-hr-a-week gig at a bookshop i can walk/bike to, to cover modest accommodations somewhere my dogs have room to run around, so i have time to focus on art

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it still feels slightly embarrassing to aspire to something so simple (hence the impulse to rattle off a few accomplishments in the preamble 😅😅). i think that’s still the vestiges of capitalist programming stuck to my brain. like honestly

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lotta haters in my mentions saying it can’t be done (jk the feedback has been entirely sympathetic, but this is a more dramatic framing device...)

fwiw i’ve had every piece of this plan realized at some point over the past ~decade, i just haven’t pulled it off altogether at one time

but after taking stock of everything important in my life, i can’t imagine why i’d settle for less. like why compromise for something empty and unfulfilling, when instead i can just die pursuing an ideal

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you ever muse about something on the internet and then two days later you’re packing up a truck to move three thousand miles across the continent

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what a perfect time to finally take a road trip cross-country, when all the national parks are closed and i can’t stop to visit friends in any of the cities i pass 👌💯🎯

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driving cross country is like scrolling through america’s local tl

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currently on mile 2932 of 3052 (got a late start due to packing the truck and stocking up on supplies). crossed the state line from VT to NY along the way

favorite two landmarks so far:

- a billboard reading “I’m DONE” with a huge picture of someone flipping the bird but with their ring finger (with a wedding band) and then below “Divorce: $499” and some attorney’s name and number

- a large statue of a woodland ape, with a tiny woodland ape riding on their back. both were wearing covid masks

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it’s only respect women juice if it’s from the women’s rights region of new york, otherwise it’s just sparkling feminade

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i was not fully prepared for how expensive it is to rent a truck to drive cross-country, plus all the cost of gas. across the flatter states i might just get out and push instead

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every single driver in the chicago area is a complete asshole. i’m sorry but y’all deserve each other

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i’ve never really been a podcast person but they are saving my life on this trip

actually i’m listening to “This Land” as i drive east to west and it’s fucking me up

me: ugh this trip is going to take days

This Land host: my great great great great great grandfather and his people were rounded up and forced to march for eight months straight from georgia to oklahoma

me: 😶😶😶😶😶

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cool how the sunset lasts perceptibly longer when you’re driving directly towards it on the highway

i got to watch it set over iowa as i crossed the mississippi river 🌞🛣🌉😎

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some people might not know that the rural iowa landscape is scattered with wind turbines. i didn’t

some people might not know that wind turbines have giant red lights at the center that blink on and off at night. i didn’t

late last night when i crested the low hills out of davenport and the horizon was suddenly a glow of red lights blinking on and off all at the same time, i was tired and slightly delirious from driving all day and had *zero* clue what i was about to enter (1/2)

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(2/2) the lights were all blood red and blinking on-and-off together. it looked and felt like i was driving through the worlds most extremely massive 500-mile wide set of defective christmas lights, or perhaps some sort of demonic ritual site large enough to trap an old god

i was so exhausted i just absently continued driving and it wasn’t until the light of the morning did i realize what the hell i’d been seeing 😵😂😂

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i now fully believe flat earth theory but only in the context of nebraska

i didn’t have binoculars with me, i’m fairly certain i could have seen every spot on earth out on the nebraska horizon

it’s impossible to describe how big the sky looks when you can see forever in every direction

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so wyoming just has these signs everywhere huh. what a great rest stop, i feel so at ease

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wow talk about saving the best for last, the drive into portland was absolutely gorgeous. it was like imax 3d of a windows desktop wallpaper

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it didn’t feel right to drive all the way across the continent and stop less than 100mi from the shore

so today i drove straight to the ocean and dove in 🐠🐠🐠

it was a bit chilly but it felt great

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omg i was cruising down the highway when an extremely cute guy in the car next to me gets my attention and he’s gesturing. he rolls down his window, i roll down mine and he’s like “your truck door is open” and he’s pointing at the back 😱😱

i try to pull over but it’s one of those cement ravine highways so there’s barely a shoulder. as gently as possible i creep to the next ramp, and get out to look

of course the door is fully all the way open. (1/4)

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the truck wasn’t 100% full to begin with, but there had been stuff piled all the way to the door. i’d had to push the stuff in just to get the door to close, bc how full it was. one of the items right near the very back, loaded in last had been my computer and monitors

it was raining moderately hard today, so of course water got everywhere. the highway had a lot of ups and downs, i’d been going pretty fast, and the door was all the way open to the very top (2/4)

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so i start to take an inventory to see what survived and....... nothing is missing??

somehow literally everything — even the empty plastic bins that weigh almost nothing, could blow over in a moderate breeze, and had been right against the door — despite the all bumps and turns, literally everything was still exactly in place

and miracle of miracles, my computer wasn’t even that wet. it stands a couple inches off the ground and water only soaked the side and pooled around the base (3/4)

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(4/4) last week at the very start of the trip, when i went to rent the truck, my debit card wasn’t working so it took 40mins and several calls to the bank just to get the transaction to go through. i joked with the guy at the rental place, “maybe this is the only problem that i’ll hit and the rest of the trip will just go magically perfectly”. he laughed. but but looking back now, well, gosh

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no YOU”RE downloading podcasts off the mcdonald’s wifi from the parking lot without buying anything

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this street sweeper slowly puttered past with it’s big brushes spinning and then just parked on the side of the road. (we’re in the middle of the woods at a pull-off where people park to go fishing)

20 mins later this truck comes zooming up with it’s sign flashing, and idk why but it cracked me up so hard, like

sweeper: bro i’m sweeping but no one’s paying attention to me
sign guy: bro i got you i’m 20 mins away

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i’ve been living out of a truck for the past week and, apart from the background anxiety of doing so in a violently capitalist and anti-homeless country, it’s been pretty great actually

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omgggg i just went to look at a room and when i mentioned i was new to the area one of the other tenants spontaneously warned me to “watch out for antifa” bc they’re supposedly very violent and will throw bricks at anyone, then later in the conversation he said a lot of people assume he’s racist just bc he has “this flag” on his hat as he gestured to the cap he had on backwards. honestly i didn’t stick around long enough to see what flag it was, but i have a few guesses. wowwww

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the weird part about living out of a vehicle is you always have to think about where you are. you’re never at a neutral location where you can fully relax

i wish cities had like, basically a parking lot with wifi, each space with it’s own power outlet, and somewhere on the premises is a restroom/shower. basically a motel minus the rooms. it would be so much fun to live in a van and just cruise wherever you felt the impulse to go, stopping in one of those lots whenever you felt like staying put

i decided these urban camping lots should be called ‘notels’ and the tagline should be “a lot to take in”

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i am a homeful person once again. we found a spot in the portland area with a huuuuuge beautiful backyard for the pups to run around in. personally i was hoping to be closer to the city but the pups outvoted me

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@red They do. KOA. RV parks. But the former are pricey, natch, and cater to the bourgie.

@Shufei haha yeah at that point i’d just spring for a motel instead. but it could totally be done in a super economical fashion instead!

@red It could and should. Heaps would depend on the management, enforcing to keep it cheap and safe and neighbourly. There are out of the way places that are like this. But it does need a movement.

@Shufei i’ve been staying at a lot of rest stops bc it’s either permitted or not routinely enforced against, and it’s basically 80% of the way there. they already have ample parking, many/most have bathrooms and sometimes wifi. they’re scattered every 50-100 miles across all the interstates i took. no one really attends them (although i’m sure someone comes by to clean intermittently). people just cruise in, park all in a row, and stay out each others’ business

@red Do you have a garmin gps? There are handy map files of free boondocking sites and campgrounds. Heaps handy for the budget traveller.

Rubber tramps and boondockers are often quite decent folk, I find. There are always nooks which are comfy and relaxing. They have good pointers for such.

@red Free Garmin software.
garmin.com/en-US/software/base

Free garmin gps maps of various ilk.
gpsfiledepot.com/
gpsfiledepot.com/maps/state/al

Yea, it’s handy to have a garmin, but there are programmes and apps to look at these files. They can be handy to know land use and “ownership”. As you move west more open public land is available and legal for you to camp upon. Provided one is sensible and respectful, such opportunities are usually far safer than rest areas. Good luck!

@red campgrounds are a thing but they're all way the hell out. Urban campgrounds would be useful to a lot of people, from poor folks living in their vehicle to tech nomads moving from one three month contract to another.

@WanderingBeekeeper right?? it seems like camping has been fully relegated to recreation, but it could be super practical too

@red you'd have to put it in a low rent area, though, and deal with the city council being assholes about it, and gentrification trying to force it closed. You'd need a cooperative to run it, and some serious labor and materials to put it together. Given how things are going, it may get easier as far as bureaucratic and capitalist interference go.

@WanderingBeekeeper yeah even if it was on the edge of the city or somewhere out-of-the-way, that’d still be better than nothing

maybe if i have spare time i’ll start looking into how feasible a project like this would actually be

@red Last time I was driving back to seattle from portland I stopped at a rest stop that had EV charging outlets and wifi. Thought it was neat.

@silver i was tempted to drive up to washington bc the rest stops seem so nice there 😆

@anarchiv i was blown away. i think it was right-place-right-time sort of luck

@red anyway I couldn't be more happy for you and the pups <3

@Shufei thank youuu, i never expected to find something like this!

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