Well, here we go.

It’s Sunday and tomorrow begins with me finally leaving on a six month trip around the United States.

Obviously, an undertaking as large as this cannot begin without a huge, drunken blowout and this was accordingly supplied at Dewey’s Flatiron Bar on Thursday April 10th. Pictures of the evening are here – I’m the one in the very natty Stetson hat (sometimes). I haven’t posted the photo’s in the order they were taken so you’ll have to guess about the level of drunkenness based on the glassy eyes and lopsided grins. Also, some of the pictures didn’t make it up here in order to save a few blushes (you know who you are) although for a small fee they can be provided.  Thanks to all those who came to wish me bon voyage, give me presents and buy me drinks – all very much appreciated.

So, now I’ve left work and packed up my whole life in exchange for a life of aimless wandering. For the next six months my home will be a 2001 Ford Windstar, hostels, motels, campgrounds and the couches of those kind enough to let me stay. In short, I’m now a bum. For the last couple of months I’ve been slowly collecting all the items I’ll need to support a life on the road; bedding, cooking, washing & clothing and then deciding on what I really, absolutely, positively need in order to get by (which, I’ve decided,  does include a change of underwear). I don’t think I have absolutely everything I need yet but this is strip mall America so there’s always another Wal-Mart for anything I’ve forgotten so I’m sure I’ll manage – at least until I get to Alaska.

Needless to say the knot in my stomach is growing with the prospect of leaving a life of relative certainty and stability behind. From now on where I eat & sleep (and indeed, shit) will be something I have to figure out on a day-to-day basis but in exchange I will have the opportunity to meet many new people and visit all those places I’ve always wanted to see. Lot’s of time though. I mean lots. For the last 12 years of my life I’ve pretty much had a structure around every day but now time seems to stretch away forever. I guess it’s just a question of finding a new rhythm and getting used to life moving much, much slower. It’s probably going to be a painful transition – leaving the fastest and most impatient city in the world to such a sedate existence where everyday is lived at a very relaxed pace – kind of like a six month hangover.

My first stop will be at a hostel in Harpers Ferry on the border of Maryland & West Virginia. Day 1 is going to be a bit of a trek but I want to feel as if I am getting out of New York and get a few hundred miles behind me so I’ll probably get going first thing in the morning and try to get there early and spend the day trying to get used to my new life behind the wheel.

Finally, I know I’ve promised and owe a few of you an itinerary – I had one worked out but as I left a couple of weeks later than originally anticipated, it’s now in need of revision. I’m sure I’ll probably have some spare time to get to it this week. Heh Heh.