In dedicating ourselves to this project, I am spending this year on the road with my family. My wife has a lifestyle and aspirations that lend well to travel and we worked out a suitable educational arrangement with my son and his school to take this year and then to return to his grade. That first set of hurdles, the hurdles of can we do this or will it disrupt or lives? Should we do this or will it be too difficult? Those we kind of blew through.
Was it a lot of disruption? Yeah, big time. We sold our house last year in preparation, and let the lease run out on an apartment to allow for this travel. So no real permanent address this year. That’s when it gets tricky. We had to learn: what do people who leave for long term missions do? What do RV-ers do when they are on the road for months at a time?
We have a new address to collect our mail and help sort our “permanent address” issues. Turns out that there are many companies that provide this service — essentially they provide a place to call a home address and a capacity to sort/forward/deal with mail. We went digital with various things that can be digitized. We went from a Mini Cooper to a station wagon to travel with some additional storage space. We got rid of stuff, stored stuff, and compacted stuff. We made our lives small, portable, and streamlined. We crammed. We improvised. We made lists of things to see, places to go, experiences to pursue. We dreamed.
While I work on this book project and meet with influential Psychologists, as a family we will learn the ins and outs of cultures in various cities and towns. We’ll experience the history of various areas and a diversity of artistic expressions in architecture and foods. We’ll make each new stop our home — if only for two-to-three weeks at a time. My intellectual journey for this book is paired with a physical journey to live the places of this trip.
This life on the road is a mix of challenge, adventure, escapism, nesting; it intensifies emotional struggles (Oh why do rentals only ever have one bathroom!) and sometimes it brings us closer together as we bond over the shared experiences (thank you animals for being cute!). For those of you making a comparison of this life on the road to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (No one? Just me?), I’ll note our starting point at William Paterson University. Kerouac met his friend, Alan Ginsberg in Paterson NJ, and spent time visiting Ginsberg there, writing about that experience. Paterson NJ, while struggling a bit now, is the home to poets Ginsberg and William Carlos Williams. We left from Wayne/Paterson/Haledon NJ and William Paterson U to start this journey. So, yeah, on the road just like ol’ Jack.
I’ve got doubts and anxiety to fill a 1972 Buick. But I also have a belief that this struggle and the journey to Psychology will be meaningful. I can promise this: whatever the outcome I will do what I can to report candidly and respectfully from the road. I will try things that make me uncomfortable (which includes reaching out to strangers to ask if they’ll talk to me for this book), but also things that are part of the fabric of the communities we visit. I’ll learn a lot and share those things with you. (from today – some libraries will give you access, as a non-resident, if you just go in and ask! Crazy!).
We are near Boston today, with a load of places ahead of me. I am booked to meet with about a half-dozen amazing Psychologists in Boston, Amherst, and Montreal. Lots more to come after that. My family has plans for a half-dozen little side trips and adventures to the things these places have to offer.
So, that’s where I am. On the road, making a home with my family in a rented Air B & B, trying to figure this whole thing out.