Domestic Travel and Being Me

June 8, 2010

Long time no read, everyone. Entirely my fault. I guess I just tried to do too many things at once, and ended up doing nothing at all. My travel convention job turned out to be run by a downright evil shell of a human being, and since then, I’ve been struggling with freelance jobs, and deciding what I want to do, where I want to be. Granted, according to Rich Dad, Poor Dad mentality, I’m still working for money as opposed to having my money work for me, but I’ve gotten the chance to travel around the US, and given myself time to think about my options:

What am I doing? Traveling from country to country, working to live… I know there’s more to it than that, but I just turned 28, and the whole vagabonding lifestyle just doesn’t satisfy me the way it used to. Maybe I’m meant to settle down, have some kids, be stable (but I guess I need a date first). Just thinking out loud. Right now, I’m killing time until I (possibly) go to teach English for a year in Bugu, South Korea, but even that is looking like less of a option if tension keeps rising on that peninsula – if I do find something more stable here, the chance of war will give me an out with the company (i.e. “I’m so scared!”) I was working in Dallas, promoting products for companies I don’t really care about, all for the flexibility of high income, few hours. Then it occurred to me I could pretty much do that anywhere, so why settle for a boring city like Dallas?

“the greyhound”, iam.tdjones
the greyhound, iam.tdjones

Taking the Greyhound halfway across the country is an interesting experience. Waking up early just so you can try to sleep again, making sure your legs don’t atrophy en route. I honestly believe our first driver was mentally challenged; he had nothing better to do at next stop than say “My name is James, and I’m on loan from Greyhound El Paso”. The fact he had never driven the bus from Dallas to Nashville might explain why he was two hours late. Still, the bus lines are cheap… and usually the worst option; it’s only about $100 more to fly as long as you book well in advance, and Craigslist has made rideshares all too easy.

The majority of travelers seemed to be relocating for work. I saw a lot of guys in their fifties who were poorly dressed, had obviously never worked a desk job, and talked to other riders about their time in prison or hard times being a truck driver in the states… I wish I were just being a superficial douchebag, but I heard what I heard. Few, if any, European backpackers looking to go on the cheap; I guess I just missed them, or they prefer to buy a cheap van to travel cross country.

Advice on riding the Greyhound for 24+ hours

– Stretch your legs across the aisle if there aren’t too many people. You need to lie down. Just ignore the driver if he calls attention to you.
– Don’t eat in the Greyhound stations. The food is lousy and overpriced. Wait until you have a downtown stop, then make the walk for something decent.
– Ignore racist remarks by other riders. You won’t win that argument.
– Don’t sit next to someone unless you’re positive you can keep the conversation going. Then again, you might get sick of your best friend after being side-by-side for over a day.
– Give up your seat so the Amish can sit together

Other than a really stuck-up driver out of Nashville, travel was smooth and uneventful. I arrived at Franconia-Springfield at the 35-hour mark, and took the blue line into Alexandria, Virginia for the night. Mission accomplished. Now for the work.

I don’t know why I chose promotions and brand ambassador jobs as my go-to work for when I’m back in the states. There’s always a call for it, it’s easy… and I guess I just like being in the company of beautiful women… even if I don’t really see eye to eye with most of them. Depending on the company’s need, it’s pretty high pay, too. I can work for a few hours each day for a week, and have enough to survive for two comfortably. And because the company only needs BA’s for the one promotion, it’s contract work. You’re free to sleep and eat until the next one, if you even choose to work the next one.

Never done anything like this? I’ve been a sailor, while three girls huddled around me, dressed as mermaids. I’ve taken my shirt off so doctors could examine my innards with a new ultrasound system. I’ve given away free coffee, dispensed from “jetpacks” so commuters could enjoy a cup on the go; one of the girls’ packs actually fell apart, and she and a customer were burned pretty badly. There’s always a price to pay.

The point is, I suppose, that work is there to be found. I still write travel articles (though I have been in a bit of a funk lately), but I’ve just learned to accept the fact I won’t be able to publish them as quickly as Nomadic Matt or Almost Fearless. I’m never going to be able to work every promotion at every time, in every part of the country; DC was a lot of fun, but I missed out on two other campaigns the moment I stepped on that bus. I can’t do everything. I can’t eat at every restaurant every day. I can’t go to every party. I can’t date every girl I find attractive (though one would be nice!). People who guilt themselves with these options will find they will always be depressed, because there will always, ALWAYS, be something else to do.

This entry didn’t exactly finish up the way it started, but that’s ok. You know why? I’m not Nomadic Matt. I’m not the chief editor of the Matador Network. I’m not a Lonely Planet writer. I’m Turner Wright, and I’m writing the way I feel like writing.

2 Responses to Domestic Travel and Being Me

  1. Heather on June 10, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Turner, I really enjoyed the transparency of this post. So often as freelancers it’s easy to get overwhelmed with assignments where we are expected to have a certain “voice,” and in completing all of those we may not have time to actually just “getting out” the writing that is most natural and most personally satisfying.

  2. Alejandra on July 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Cheers to you Turner! I’m not a freelancer or a writer, but I do admire you being you.
    There is nothing more important than doing what you want and how you want to do it!

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