Sometimes when I’m visiting a new city I think about what it would look like to just drop everything and stay there. No plans. No resources. No stuff. I used to think about it all the time and then I did it. That’s how I ended up in San Francisco.
That rash decision worked out great for a long time. It ushered in a new level of adventure. It meant I was “On the Road” for real. No matter what else happened in my life, I would have done something more daring than most people ever attempted.
Leaving New Orleans when I did changed everything. I was unhappy and didn’t know how not to be, so I left. In recovery circles, this is sometimes called “pulling a geographic.” It’s looked down upon because most people are just relocating their troubles. It works great if you can leave who you were behind.
I decided that I’d be everything I ever wanted to be and do everything I wanted to do. I drank hard. I rode old motorcycles. I had torrid affairs. I wore cool boots.
During a wild weekend in my early days in California I met a man who gave me a piece of advice I should use more. He told me, “always live your life as if the gods are watching. You must please them. They will reward you for daring.” When he said those words time stood still. It felt like the moment when a rollercoaster is at the top of its arc, just before free fall.
I was wearing a zebra skin rug as a cape and I was standing on top of a dinner table. Don’t ever let anyone tell you weed isn’t fun.
Despite a pretty good start to my early twenties, I’ve found myself having a bit of a bummer attitude in my late 30s. I think every once in a while the gods want you to try and steal fire. They want you to try something stupid. They value the bold.
So what if you’re not wild anymore? Or favored by the universal light white women in sexy yoga pants pray to? Well, you can always change direction. You can always stoke a flame. You can always have an adventure. You just have to choose to do it.
When I decided to stay in San Francisco, there wasn’t anything wishy washy about it. I took a chance. I wanted to go a new way. I made it happen. It wasn’t always easy. Couch surfing, even with nice people, is stressful. And I was always out of money. If I didn’t work around bars and restaurants I probably would’ve skipped quite a few meals. As hippy as this sounds, the universal forces of adventure seemed to have united on my behalf. And that’s always been the case.
Even when things didn’t go the way I thought they would, they stayed interesting. The first thing you have to do, that really I have to do, is make that choice. So I’m making it.
Who knows what the gods will have in store for me? I don’t. But I’m fairly certain I won’t find it at the end of a Netflix binge.