We drive across CA, do LA and Malibu, and then head south to San Diego. After about a week of living my childhood dream of being a legitimate beach bum, Scott, Tim, and I start getting antsy. If you’re traveling, you can wear tattered clothes, omit deodorant, and eat anything your enzymes will digest. The moment you stop moving, you immediately feel like, are treated like, because you actually are a bum.
“Hobo becomes you!” is the threat that haunts Scott and Tim as they are often slinging a hammock where they might not be supposed to. Scott walks to the bathroom one morning to clean peanut butter off of his pocket knife before he closes it. With a 2 month beard, hair past his shoulders, and pretty rough clothes, a stereotypical California housewife sees him and freaks. She sends a guy over to check us out and make sure we are mentally stable. He tells us that we might want to change locations because she just called the cops. Thanks dude, later. I temporarily sympathize with the mother (there are plenty of children at the beach this morning) until I see the blade is all of two and a half inches long. Maybe if it had ketchup on it, I would understand drawing conclusions. It’s peanut butter. The next time I see someone carrying a bottle, I’m just going to assume it’s a Molotov cocktail and shoot them on site. Amazing how influential hair can be.
We hang out with bums a lot at night, partially because we like the fire pits the city has provided on the beach and partially because we are also bums. They aren’t scary when you dress like them, use the beach showers for bathing and drinking water, and eat Ramen noodles every night. After our usual nightcap by the fire, I take my sleeping bag down by the waves. I can’t sleep. Instead, I rack my brain and run through my self-help playbook. I start putting together a plan to learn 5 languages at the same time using the gifted Rosetta Stones on my laptop. I start getting excited and remember it was learning that made me want to quit my job and start traveling in the first place. As Tim Ferris explains in The 4-hour Work Week, it’s not about trying to be happy, it’s about doing things that get you excited. You just have to ask the right questions. Where do I want to go? Brazil. I’m stoked, tell Jeff and Scott, and we all run butt-ass naked through the moonlight into the freezing Pacific. I feel alive again.
After looking through the Visa requirements, it seems I can’t do it this year and basically puss out.
We take a bus to L.A. and then to Santa Barbara, all the while feeling trapped because deep down I know I don’t want to live in the States right now. The A/C goes out on the bus shortly after leaving the L.A. downtown station. The bus turns around, as do the wheels in my head. This is my chance. “Tim, Scott, it was fun. Here’s the ticket to get my guitar under the bus. I’m taking a cab to the airport and moving to Panama.” I’m scared shitless. After being conned into buying a return flight by the airline (you can just show them a bus ticket out of the country), I withdraw the last 80 bones from my account. I still have 40 silver coins, so I hope they exchange.
They do and I have $ for about 6 weeks, living on $25/day.