The hardest thing about traveling is not the struggle for food. It’s not wondering where you’re going to rest your head that night or if you’ll manage to get a shower that week. You don’t really need one that bad after all. The hardest thing about traveling is becoming comfortable.
It’s been five months since I arrived in Eugene, Oregon. My main concerns no longer have to do with getting robbed or assaulted. I have a knife. I mostly use it for spreading peanut butter and cutting bread. At this point I feel like I can handle anything short of death. And maybe even death itself. Because I’m living for the first time. My fears no longer stem from anything with hands or eyes. Complacency is my enemy. I must push myself forward.
I’m back in Eugene once more. I’ve made friends. Crashed on different couches. There’s a spot in the woods I often sleep in behind a closed down building in an industrial park. I know all the shortcuts to get around there. There’s not a lot of tweakers and I feel safe. Soon I might not have a penny. My back tooth is broken off. After three months of ignoring my dental needs it’s finally starting to hurt. But I’m not worried about any of that. What I’m worried about is that I like it here. I can see myself settling down here.
Earlier this year I spent a couple of weeks at an intentional community. It was peaceful. I was inspired there. I wrote more than I had in years. I started a short story. I stopped writing it, and much of anything else, when I was on the Vagabus. I was busy. I had a purpose. There were so many people around that I never checked my facebook or bothered to upload pictures to my then bare Instagram account. I had constant companionship. Sometimes to the point of claustrophobia. All in all it was positive.
Let me tell you about Steve. First off Steve is not a man. He’s a rooster. He was the first rooster I formally met and I’d soon find out that he was in fact a douchebag. Phil called him Cleveland. But he called all the chickens Cleveland. Even Cleveland, who thought she was a rooster.
I was forewarned of Steve’s ways but after several days of no incident I began to think it was an exaggeration and I let my guard down. For a week I checked for eggs while Cathy was out delivering mail for the post office. On one particular day I grabbed the basket from the pantry and set out to check the eggs lest the blue jays or the chickens themselves get to them. I crossed the dirt path to the coop with confidence. I knew I was going to find some eggs. And that’s when that motherfucker attacked me. From behind no less. Later I’d learn that roosters always attack from behind. Fucking pussies. Perplexed I grabbed a stick. I didn’t want to hurt him or cause injury to Alpha’s rooster so I waved the stick towards him. When he continued to attack me I hit him lightly. This also did not work. At that point it was clear he was persistent in his endeavors to hurt me so I quickly strode to the coop and stole every single egg.
That night I loudly exclaimed to the group that I had confirmed that Steve was in fact a dick. This led to quite a few chuckles and a late night conversation on rooster psychology. By waving a stick at him I had unknowingly challenged him for dominance. For the next couple days he waited for me. I’d find him outside of every door, staring at me. He made collecting eggs hell. Several people made suggestions. One member advised me to hit him with a broad shovel, just once, to show him who was boss. Again I was too timid. Again I was worried about hurting him.
On one of the last days of my stay with Alpha Farm we were out working for the garden and we were low on fertilizer. We had collected seaweed earlier that week but it needed time to dry out. With no hay to spread Dan had the idea to use the grass from the lawn. Excited to do something new I quickly took on the task of mowing the lawn. I was having so much fun that I didn’t see Steve across the lawn looking at me. With a smile on my face I revved up the motor, walked towards him, and watched him run away.
Whelp, I just blew this same damn spider off of my laptop… for the third time. I was going to type second, oh hey it’s fourth now. Wow, I don’t usually want to kill spiders but yeah. So anyways it’s 4/20. I was smoking a cigarette and typing with one hand before so I was going a little slow. Anyways I’m at Dean’s Creak Resort. Which is basically a motel and with an RV camp. We’ve been doing odd jobs for them in order to park here. They’re being pretty gracious with us. Especially considering that last night I was so wasted that I accidentally stole wood from one of the employee’s own fire stoves while on a wood mission. I went on a journey today to Eureka and was expecting to hear a handful about it when we got back but never did. Shhh, only one other person knows about that. Unless they read this blog. If someone else reads this blog they might ask some questions. But anyways back to why my website and communicating in general is so hard right now. First off my phone broke a while ago. Don’t worry once you go about 3 weeks with shitty cell phone service followed by a couple of days without a phone you’ll stop caring. By the way if you’re ever planning on moving to the West Coast, don’t get Sprint. Honestly the only thing I really miss is my camera. And then there’s that whole internet thing. Sure it’s easy when you have a nice Starbucks to chill in. Otherwise you’re screwed. Yes Mcdonalds and Burger King have wifi. Guess what they don’t have? Plugs. Yes, I could plug my laptop into the bus. And that’s how the battery dies. Over and Over. Speaking of Wifi. This wifi sucks. I’ve been trying to change the color on my theme for twenty minutes now. I’ve been trying for so long that I decided to write this post instead.
On a side note:
Remember when I said it was 4/20? Funny moving to the West Coast will also turn you back into a pothead. Brownies. I have Brownies in the near future. And that’s about all I can say. What was the point of this post again?
This is the Skallywagon, which is where I currently sleep at night. We have one other bus named Betsy. Both of these buses are currently home. We were joking the other night about how I’m the only member who has slept on all the buses. Yeah, I get around like that.
So much has happened in the last week. I’ll blog about some of the other highlights later. Three members, one dog, and one bus, Snailing Away, or the Snail for short left this week so they could get the bus registered in Oregon. I had my first media interview this morning while sitting outside of a Starbucks in Fortuna. Guess where I’m writing this from? We’ll be getting a lot of press in the next couple of weeks so this is something I have to get used to. Acclimating is my middle name right now. I’ve done a ton of volunteer work this month and my clothes are currently falling off. I am getting stronger by the day. And tanner. The days are getting hotter and I’ll be in Eel River by the end of the week. The dogs will probably join me. All five of them.
I’m currently avoiding going to the bathroom because going to the bathroom for me right now means burying my shit. Luckily the dude who’s property we’re currently parked on is letting me use the bathroom during the day. I’ve been with the Vagabus for about two days now. There’s 11 of us now. According to River if we hit 12 we’re a cult. We think there’s 11 now at least. None of us have bothered to verify that.
I spent the last 2 weeks visiting Alpha Farm, an intentional community in Deadwood, Oregon. On Thursday morning it was time for me to move on. I was dropped off in Eugene, OR and this would be the first time I would be in a city since arriving on the West Coast.
My first stop was the local Greyhoud station where I received a rude awakening. One of the connecting buses I needed to get on to go South only came once a day and it was already too late to catch it. I originally set out to —Oh god little girl on the bus. Oh hi, you’re cute, how old are you, blah blah….. bus. I guess before I write about anything I should write about how I ended up on this bus. Caravan rather. We’re currently at three buses, a van, and a couple cars. I actually don’t know. Oh and six dogs. And they’re all adorable.
Anyways, I originally set out to work for room and board throughout the West Coast so that I could travel on an extremely low budget and last longer here. Not like there was much of a choice. I spent several weeks preparing and working my ass off. Then a last minute emergency dental situation for my cat and an uninsured root canal for myself ate more than half of that money I had saved up.
So last week I was reaching out to hostels and farms that I had talked to through HelpX. [I’ll explain that later.] I was checking out this facebook group when I came across this post that Vagabus, a volunteer group largely comprised of vagabonders and former hitchhikers was looking for members. I reached out and asked to join them and the response was an immediate yes. They picked me up at the Arcata bus station late Friday night and I’m slowly getting to know everybody. I was surprised yesterday when I realized that besides the two couples, no one knew each other before.
Anyways, I don’t feel like writing anymore. We’re currently arguing about whether I have Smog Sickness or the Humbolt Hack and Petra keeps leaning on my afsdcKEYBOARD which is why my writing is so scrambled right now. I just decided to finally post something. I wrote other things but they’re not finished and there’s so much going that it’s hard to get the energy to write. So yeah. Later.
General and Solo Travel Advice for backpackers on a budget.