Fred Mertz’ Triumphant Return!

Your truck broke down on the Idaho-Oregon border.  It broke your bank account.  It took almost every last cent for you to get your truck towed, serviced, and transported to Seattle, your home town.

You hadn’t seen your family in three years.  Hadn’t properly communicated with you ailing father, your ailing siblings, your ailing mother–anyone (and why is everyone ailing!?).  You suppose it was high time you put back into your family, shoulder a little responsibility for them, do a little work, and, well SPEND A LITTLE TIME with them.

…and get a job, because you were broke.

The job part was easy.  Working for a pay check was interesting, and you remembered quickly that money makes you stupid.  Money makes you wasteful.

What have you been up to?  What have you accomplished?  Who are you, Maria?  Where do you live?  How did you manage that?

You worked, you squatted, you ate other people’s hospitality. Sure, you bought your own gas, bought much of your own food, saw some expensive shows, went to parties, drank part of your pay check, wasted other parts at R.E.I.  Money makes you stupid.

You slept at Dan and Ryan’s house, you crashed down town, you squatted 6 weeks at the top of West Seattle, moved into your sister’s new house for 10 days, spent a couple nights at your mother’s, and finally wound up on a paid stay in a B & B–but you, being as courteous as you are, somehow so thoroughly charmed your B & B mom hat she has taken you into her house for FREE (it was her idea).  You’ve been there a month.

You’ve quit your job.  You’re ready to run.  But it’s not that easy.

Most people fear picking up and leaving due to lack of security–or a lack of a plan.  You fear it out of intimidation. There is too much to do, to many places to see, too little time, and too little money.

Too little money, too little reassurance.  Your bank account got slammed by hidden shipping fees and costs of life.  You’ve tearfully agreed to part ways from Alexis; it’ like cutting off your right hand.  You have the whole god damn world in front of you, and no idea how to begin.

You have $4,500 to spend.  That’s it.  Your air fare will be the greatest cause for concern. With the plan you have in mind, you can literally afford to fly to the destinations you desire, but will have only $1,500 to LIVE on.  That might stretch as long as 4 months at 10$/10 euro per day.  You’re going to have to make it on LESS.  A lot less.

You might try to stretch $1,500 over 6-8 months.  If you plan to fly to AUSTRALIA… after visas, hostels, wwoof memberships, unforeseen expenses, you will be broke as a joke.

And what’s up with your plan to snowshoe in the Laplands?  Where did that come from?

Are you prepared to go back on your starvation diet of *laugh out loud* 2,000 calories a day, just to cut your food costs?

Are you prepared to forego the privilege of eating 99% of your meals in a chair?

Are you prepared to do this alone again?

And if you fly as far as the southern hemisphere, are you prepared to remain alone for at least 4 months?

And if you don’t, are you prepared to spend another winter in Europe, only this time ON THE ROAD, and risk getting pneumonia again?

Or will you throw caution to the wind, risk malaria, dysentery, and fly to India?

Life is fucking complicated.  You’ve had dozens of people tell you they envy you; they wish they could just pick up and leave, uproot and go on an adventure.  They don’t understand that it comes at another cost besides all the obvious ones: you’re alone.

Your relationships with people are so fleeting, so impermanent.  You meet hundreds of awesome people, and several of them are strong connections.  You think, “In another life, we’d remain friends.  We’d be hanging out.  We’d have inside jokes.  We’d confide in each other regularly.”

But you’re in and out too fast, and people who do not live your lifestyle get left behind.  You know your presence is too fleeting to reach out too far, and you realize you end up relating your feelings indiscriminately to just about anyone who will listen because you can’t take your support group with you (tech-savy individuals might argue otherwise, as their entire social network is in the palm of their hand).

So off you go, on your own.  You’ll meet people along the way.  Who knows what will happen.  This blog will be your primary means of communicating back to the world.  You’re off to take photos, and to write–to document your stories.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Fred Mertz’ Triumphant Return!

  1. Kathleen Mulcahy

    Good luck, Maria!!! Maybe you should go to Nepal – you can easily live on less than $10/day and there’s great hiking.

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