Thoughts on the eve of departure

I’ll be living out of this bag for a couple of months.
(This and a small piece of luggage.)
(And a seriously huge van.)

In a day we leave.

We’re art trekking across America. 

More like an infinity loop around America, zipping up the East Coast, dropping like a rock from Chicago down toward Memphis, down and across to the Southwest . . . and if all works out, meandering up the California and Oregon coasts before easing our way back and south to South Florida, from whence we depart.

That’s the skeletal outline of the trip.

The emotional heartbeat is in the relationships.

This time my family comes with me. I’ve traveled many a road on these art treks solo over the years. This time my lover woman wife and our 12-year-old joy boy come along for the summer. Picking up my Mom in Chicago (MomJo!), that near-80-year-old with the energy of a teenager in heat.

Along the way there will plenty of art spread around the country. Art carried from one point to another and disbursed. 

An art adventure takes you to three types of locations:

1) Artist studios: Which always spark the elation of discovery. There’s nothing quite like standing in the lair of an artist. They’re process lays scattered before you . . . their works in progress are strewn about . . . their orderliness or disorderliness is striking. The way they grapple with their vision is on full display.

2) Client homes: The art scene filters out many of the jerkholes of the world. Art collectors are successful. They are more open minded than the general public. They tend to be lifelong learners. Curiosity is often a primary character trait. They live in homes of architectural elan, in areas of profound beauty.

3) Gallery vortices: On art treks you go to where galleries congregate. Places like Santa Fe, Aspen, Sedona, Palm Desert, Park City, Naples, Asheville . . . smaller towns plunked in spectacular terrain. In the cities, whether San Francisco or Miami, the art zones are where you want to be. There’s art there of course. But also hipsters and cafes dripping with originality. If you are prone to shopping you’ll lose a week’s wages in half an hour at vaguely hippy-chic boutiques.

For the next 6 to 8 weeks this blog will reflect these travels. 

Traveling today is an intriguing affair. 

You take the bubble of your selfhood with you wherever you go. You’re still plugged in digitally to the same things you’re normally plugged into. You’re still attached via instant communications to the people who matter in your life, people who are far from where you’re at. 

Aspects of your travel pierce the bubble. Sights, conversations, experiences. In travel you want to be opened up . . . but you don’t want to be violated . . . or torn apart psychologically. So there’s always an opening and a closing going on whether you’re conscious of it or not.

As travelers we seek aspirational growth, not growth through hardship or struggle or loss. And if we’re fortunate we find it. We grow a little. We stretch. Our bubble of selfhood is enlarged but not burst.

"Failure's such a creative gift"
Road trip thoughts: First days out