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Category: Blog

Saying goodbye to van life

I’ve rarely used my blog as a blog. I use it primarily for posting poems. But in light of some changes I’m making in my life — and inspired by Dave Bonta’s weekly poetry digest — I’ve decided to step out of the ocean of social media and into the sometimes gentle, sometimes rushing stream of blogging.

The first thing I wonder is whether anyone will ever read this? I might send a link to this particular post to my newsletter subscribers. Barring that, it’s hard to imagine many people making their way to this particular post. So, like the tree in the forest, I’m left to wonder whether my fall will make any sound.

For the past year I’ve been living in a series of vans and traveling the United States, covering somewhere around 20,000 miles from Tucson to Massachusetts to Key West to San Diego to Portland (OR) and Acadia National Park (ME) and many points in between. It’s been all of the things you might think it would be: thrilling, terrifying, challenging, enriching, maddening. I tried van life as someone constantly in motion and as someone staying in one place. I emerged from the year knowing it’s time for a change, primarily due to my precarious financial circumstances.

After Christmas I’ll be moving to Albany, NY, where I lived a decade ago and where I have cousins and friends and fellow poets to spend time with. It’s a nice, small city with lots to do and plenty of jobs. It’s not too expensive. Initially I’ll be living in my van and working while I save up for an apartment. Something very small would be fine. Maybe not Gene-Kelly-in-An-American-In-Paris small, but pretty small. A little place for my very few belongings and maybe an old cat or an older dog.

I’ve been writing a lot while I’ve been on the road. Hundreds of haiku and many longer poems. I got on the road after the end of the relationship I thought would last the rest of my life. All this time alone and all these words on the page have been essential to processing that loss and moving … forward? Moving, anyway.

Along with the decision to find a normal job and a stationary place to live, I’ve also decided that the past 25-plus years of living a very public life need to come to an end. I’ve been on the radio and on social media and on podcasts for nearly all of my 20s and 30s and 40s, and I’d like to slide into my 50s with quieter media. I’m going to keep making my current podcast, A Brief Chat, but I’m going to do it much in the style of this blog. I’ll keep putting things out there but not doing much to promote them. If people find their way to what I make, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s just fine, too. I described it to a friend as an attempt to live a quieter life. I think that’s what I mean. We’ll see what unfolds. I don’t have much practice at living out of the public eye. I keep thinking of good Tweets and Instagram photos as I move through each day. I’m hoping that urge will pass soon.

Thanks for being here, however that happened.