Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Here’s the thing: when I decided to marry Kristl and settle down in Chicago, I thought the idea of “Life by Wandering” was kind of done.

The idea being that I would live a whole bunch of different places, and get to know this country, this world, by living in for a year or two in them. The best way to understand a place is to live in it, get to know the locals, make a few friends, set down a few roots, and pick up the essence of the place.

I’ve done this in several places in the midwest: Grand Rapids, MI; Toledo, OH, Detroit, MI; Chicago, IL (yes, the actual city of Chicago.) I’ve also lived in Denver, CO, San Francisco, CA, and Tokyo, Japan. Some of these places I only spent a couple months. Some I spent years. But up until my relationship with Kristl, I was convinced that I was going to be constantly on the move.

Bear with me if you know this, but Kristl was an acupuncturist and she had a significant brick and mortar practice. In fact, by the time she decided to sell that practice and move on, she had her own practice space with three treatment rooms and was grossing over six figures of income. She was successful, but it was unlikely that we were going to leave Chicago with that kind of career.

However, my dream of travel, living all over, and seeing the country and the world in a very intimate way didn’t die. It intensified, and I wasn’t alone. About a year ago, Kristl heard a podcast interview of a couple who both have location independent jobs and live in an RV together. And they weren’t in their 60’s. They were a little younger than us.

An RV? Remote work? Location independence? These terms were like fresh spring water after a long walk in the desert. The truth behind Kristl’s practice was that it was successful in it’s own right, and it was paying the bills, but it wasn’t touching her student loan debt. Also, she felt chained to it. We love Chicago, but we were both ready to try something new. We reasoned out some viable timelines, two to three years to build up the practice and transition out, five years at most. I would do farming and sustainability coaching. Easy-peasy.

Then I had a life threatening illness in May and the picture changed dramatically. A cozy three to five year plan seemed foolish. Why waylay your life goals when you never know how much time you could have?

We decided to move to North Carolina in the fall. Kristl would sell her practice. We would start a business together. We would figure things out. The most important thing was to be healthy, to find joy, to move closer to the goal of being able to freely see more of the world and by that understand more of who I am.

We moved at the very end of October. It’s mid April now. This road has not been easy. I am not a natural entrepreneur. I have learned much about myself, and I have had opportunities to redefine many parts of who I know myself to be. I think if you knew me in college or grad school (or even high school, if we’re going that far back), you’ll find me a much less flamboyant, more willing to listen individual than I ever was.

Regardless, I realized that I thought I had to completely let go of this wandering dream to be with Kristl, and suddenly here we are, in a much bigger way, pursuing it together. I never would have thought to pursue remote work or to start my own business to live in many different places. It is through this partnership that the legacy of Life by Wandering lives on.

We are getting our things in order. We may well be in North Carolina for a while yet, but that dream is slowly becoming a reality. The nuts and bolts of a life of real travel are coming into focus. Time is a construct, frustrating though that truth might be. Anytime something is trying your patience, remember that you don’t know all the beauty, magic, and infinite good that is taking place to make the thing you are waiting for come into being exactly as it is supposed to, at exactly the right time.

Allllllll of this is to say that I LOVE that I don’t need to rename or restart my blog. I can just restart exactly where I left off. If you ever feel like you are a wanderer, remember you don’t have to wander aimlessly, you can wander with a purpose. You can wander with a map, and use Google maps. You can live your life by wandering and see the whole damn world. That’s what I’m doing.



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Friends, sorry to leave you for so long.  I got tired of my paragraphs a day approach way before the end date, and really, knowing myself, it was a bit of a stretch to keep it going for that long.  I don’t have a short attention span; it wasn’t really going anywhere.  Thinking of the future though, I’m thinking of making myself write long-form; competently and often.  I would love to write a book.  I think I need to write a book.  Rilke says in his “Letters to a Young Poet”, that no one should  be a writer unless they cannot avoid it.  You should only write if you try not to and are still compelled to do so.  Don’t just do it because it sounds nice.  Don’t do because of the inherent romance of being an “author”.  There needs to be substance behind the ambition.

What is my proposed “substance”?  Well, I have recently come out to my parents and I have been reading through some of the recently published literature and memoirs about Christians and LGBT folks.  So far the ones I’ve read have been published by men.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of similarities between gay men and gay women, but it never hurts to have more female voices in the fray.  There are misconceptions about the differences between female sexuality and male sexuality.  There are many incorrect assumptions about how Christians “become” gays and then somehow aren’t real Christians anymore after that. I went to a decidedly Christian liberal arts college, and my experiences there helped me understand the difference between folks who are being merely homosocial and those who are gay.  I could shed light to a little corner of the universe where gays are pretty much assumed to not really exist (conservative Lutheranism).  A lot of truly loving people are in some deep denial about LGBT people and issues.  A lot of young people are still alienated from their faith because the current issues with gays are pretty much ignored by church officials.  Parents of young gay Christians don’t know how to react to their children when they come out.  They’ve been taught to react with revulsion and “we’ll get you help”, but love and acceptance aren’t really near the top of the list.  To be honest, these issues are not unique to Christians, but we get the bad rep for them.  Christians need to ease up on sex and sexuality. I’m not going to go into the stats on here, but it seems to me that the sexual repression taught in Christian churches and schools does a lot to hinder the sexual  expression and maturity of Christians when they hit adulthood.

Anyways, that’s a book I would like to write.  It would require some serious research, just to make sure I get the facts right.  I would have to probably talk about the Bible a little bit, but mostly I would want it to come across as memoir.  Memoirs are easy to defend; it’s your pure subjective experience. You can only tell the story the way you see it, and that in itself is valuable.  All this is to say, I might try out some of the meat of that manuscript on this here blog and see what you think.  Sound good?

I would also like to write a follow up memoir about my life from the perspective of someone who didn’t like certain parts of her body for a while.  Honestly, I’ve got nothing in terms of heart wrenching stories on the topic of body acceptance (or nonacceptance given the current society), but I’m discovering a pretty strong passion on the subject.  Maybe I will name it something edgy to get people’s attention.  Anyways, this is a second book idea.  I also think something about food would be cool, like a personal trip through my food history and examining the way I think about food.  I don’t have a lot of natural talents, but I have an uncanny food memory.  I can remember cities by the food I ate there.  It’s helpful when traveling, well, hungry and traveling.

Basically, I want to write books about everything that effects me intimately.  I hope y’all can get down with that.  Right now, I’m savoring a tart cabernet savignon which has some bright raspberry notes in it.  It’s a beautiful end to a relaxing weekend.  Today, Kristl and I went to a learn to curl class at the Chicago Curling Club in Northbrook, IL.  It was fascinating, but not really because of the game itself.  It’s a tiny subculture that has it’s own lexicon, social events, and community.  We might be going to a comedy show or hanging out at a new bar, and these people are curling and drinking beer in this clubhouse on the outskirts of Chicago.  Maybe that would be a good book to write, a collection of essays on subcultures in Midwestern culture.  Community choir, club sports, activism groups, knitters; they all have their own subculture.  It’s fantastic to watch. I love participating in a handful of subcultures and keeping things diverse for myself, but there are clearly people who become obsessed with their subculture.  It becomes their whole life. Sure they have jobs, but they live for curling, frisbee golf, hydroponic farming, etc.

I’ve got a lot of ideas, obviously, I need to get writing.  You all have access to my blog, what would you like to see me write more on? I’m certainly open to suggestions.  I’ll look forward to hearing from you, in the comments or at schipmoney@gmail.com.

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