Shedding some busy-ness, so I can shed more tears

“There’s no such thing as no man’s land to me. A man just needs a place where he can be wild and free.” ~ the Dr. Pepper Mountain Man

I’m getting restless. The Meander begins exactly two weeks from today. And I cannot wait! (What’s the Meander?)

Dr Pepper Mountain Man

Will my cathartic moment come on a canoe with a bear?

When I started this blog, I thought I’d document my plans and preparations. Alas, that has not happened. March and April were a total blur of busy-ness.

I’d rather not have spent the time working and shopping, but I don’t want to survive on bark and hand-caught Dr. Peppers while on the road. (See the video below.)

Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to …

  • Making money. I spent March and April overwhelmed and homeless as I worked on freelance projects and rented my house to Airbnb visitors. I was overworked and I didn’t even have a job!
  • Gathering stuff. I severely dislike shopping. Alas, I’ve been on a spree the last few months – from my new Subaru Outback (the Meander Mobile) to minor stuff like my sleeping bag and National Parks pass.
  • Saying goodbye. Six months feels like a long time to be gone. I’ve offered a lot of farewells. I’ve scheduled my going-away party, spent time with my mom, taken my nephews to the zoo, and planned a trip to see my grandparents.

Sadly, the busy-ness has impacted my excitement for the trip. When things were really slow over the holidays, I often shed a tear or unleashed a wide smile in anticipation of the trip. I was so present and aware that little things set me off.

It would happen when I got on the freeway. It’d come while looking at maps of California. When I posted the photo of my new Outback on Facebook, I covered my eyes in my hoodie and had a good little cry as the likes and comments rolled in. (Love me some juicy social engagement.)

As I hoarded dollars in March and April, the lead-up became less emotional. That’s changed in the last week or two as I’ve worked less and prepared more.

Saying goodbye. Planning my party. Even buying just enough coffee to cover me until May 9 but not beyond. All bring a smile – if I’m present enough.

I don’t know if there’ll be a huge cathartic moment between now and May 9. I’ve thought about what music will be playing as I pull onto I-10 West. For the record, it’ll be the Into the Wild soundtrack.

Maybe I’ll break down then. If not, at least I’ll know that in the weeks leading up to my departure, I’ve created enough space to crack some smiles and shed some anticipatory tears.

My itinerary is very fluid. Got a friend with a couch? Let me know in the comments! If not, I may forgo personal grooming and live off the land like the Dr. Pepper Mountain Man …


  1. I’ll make you cry, bitch.

    JK. I’ve only had you in the hen house for a few months but it’s been grand and I’m going to miss having you here to balance the estrogen. If you even try to die in a bus, I’ll come find you and slap the life and sense back into you.

    Now go have a good trip. Be wild. Be dirty. Be good. Be back before Halloween.


  2. Ellen Streiff says


    Can’t believe the Meander is almost here!

    I have cousins in Mount Vernon, WA that I know would welcome you in for a stay. Let me know if that area is in your geographical journey. Also have some friends/ family in Utah (Provo/ Orem) that can be called on for a couch and a warm shower with soap.

    Here’s to the exciting road ahead!


  3. rob furlong says

    Matt –I am imagining good things down your road. We’ll be glad to have you back but not b4 things play out. Meandering invites serendipity. Go with it. You’re going to be working for the rest of your f***ing life. These interludes will mean more to you in time than most of the other stuff that can seem so ‘crucial’ to your resume.
    U’ve got a (minor) job setting up a website for me like you have done here. It can definitely wait . Prescott is always open to you as your meander.

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