Hand hovering over reset

©2021 Michael Raven

Planning is firming up for this trip. Destination(s) set now.

After writing yesterday’s post, I got to thinking more and more about what I’d written and decided that the idea of heading to Seattle, then Portland, feels best out of the various options I’ve considered. It feels right.

Now, unless you really know me, it might not be apparent that I tend to trust my gut instinct in certain matters. Occasionally, it leads me astray, but more often than not, it usually steers me in the right direction. And, when I completely ignore it, I tend to end up in awful situations filled with regret. This is one of those times when gut instinct has been telling me to go to the NW Coast, although there are plenty of other destinations that have their own appeal for me.

As I said, I am getting increasingly pulled towards my home away from home — which some might think would be Montana (I spent every summer there as a kid), but I’ve never felt as close to that state as my mother did.

All I’m doing right now is awaiting confirmation of the invitation to stay with my distant cousin and her husband to make sure I have a place to stay while in Seattle, so I can decide how much I want to spend on accommodations in Portland.

Once that’s settled, it’s just making reservations for rail and hotel. And waiting.

I don’t think any of you live in either city, but if you do and want to have me buy you some coffee in exchange for your small talk, let me know and we’ll set something up. I’m always interested in meeting new people that I might share a gossamer-thin thread of a connection with.

I still haven’t decided what I plan to do as part of this exercise in hitting reset buttons. I’m not sure I want to set up any expectations, but it seems like a great opportunity to meditate, reflect, and write. Supposedly, I have wifi connectivity during the trip itself, and it seems every café in the US is now an “internet café” these days, so I don’t think connectivity will be an issue for me. I’ll also bring my ReMarkable (e-paper tablet) along, as well as my Chromebook. But, do I travelogue and snap pictures like crazy? Or do I focus on more internal thoughts and processes? Or do I just use the rail time to dig deep into writing a novel worthy of publication (however nominally that may be), as I have always claimed I would?

I have time, of course, to decide on those kinds of things — but it seems important on this journey to at least have the inkling of an idea of what to do with my travel time on the rails (essentially, almost four days over the course of the journey), and ways to keep myself occupied while I am immersing myself in the café culture.

Yes, the bulk of my time will be spent watching the world go by, as I envision it. I plan to do some walking/window shopping, and some looking at certain sites without appearing to look at those sites, but I honestly — I plan mostly to peoplewatch and connect with the spaces to recharge my NW Coastal “batteries”.

I’m still looking for ideas, should anyone have them. I’m intrigued with what you might suggest.

Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

Coming soon near you [perhaps]

©2021 Michael Raven

I actually hadn’t planned on writing any more for the site today, or for several days (honestly), but I wanted to float an idea past my regular readers to see what kind of response I received about an idea I am considering. Right now, it is in the planning stages, so it may end up being unworkable after I flesh it out.

I’m wondering if anyone out in the States might be interested in exchanging the use of your couch for an evening or two for a meal or groceries to make a meal. Or some other similar kind of barter/trade for sofa space.

The short version of the story is that I need to break out of a cage that I’ve built up for myself over the years — if only for a short while — in the name of breaking out of the well-established routines that are driving me bonkers and filling me with dissatisfaction. I need to shock myself out of my daily routines and habits, stretch out of easy. I need a change of scenery and a change of culture that comes with it. I need to be taken out of my comfort zone, and “roughing it” instead of living in Airbnb’s or swanky hotels is more interesting to me. I’m looking more for a crash pad for a night or two than a 5-star getaway. It will be more comfortable, I expect anyway, than the coach seat on the Amtrak trains I am considering for my transportation.

What are my destinations?

I have zero clue at this stage. The easy thing would be to try and lean on a cousin in Seattle, or an old high school friend in NYC, but I’d rather not call on favors that come with implied obligation. That would make life easy for me and I’d be all set with a short email or a phone call.

But, you see, that defeats the “outside my comfort zone” criteria. No, I haven’t ever been to NYC, but Stephen and his wife would make sure I saw all kinds of sites and I was comfortable in a bedroom and it would be all vacay all around. The same could be said of my cousin’s place — and I lived in Seattle for a while, so it would not be a total break from routine to go back there.

I’d rather work out some kind of exchange with people under no such expectations of extensive hospitality, in a place that I am unfamiliar with, and I want to have little or no expectations for them to play tour guide for me.

I know it is a strange ask for me to put this out on the blog, but I’m wondering if anyone might have an interest in this kind of arrangement. I’ll develop an itinerary based on responses I might receive (including ones where I just sleep in my coach seat), but one of my thoughts is to hit NYC and places between there and Minneapolis, with perhaps a detour to the nation’s capitol (I’ve only had a glancing blow with DC and should consider going there at some point). Alternately, I am considering a NW Coastal run or a even a Minneapolis – Seattle – LA – Flagstaff – Chicago – Minneapolis circuit.

Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in helping out “some poet guy from the internet” with. Comment below or, if you don’t want to reveal to the world your city of residence, use my contact page. I will keep personal information confidential if you express a willingness to let me crash at your place for a night. And you would be doing me a solid if you were willing to have me invade your space for a short time.

Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com