Road Life

"They have worries, they’re counting the miles, they’re thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they’ll get there – and all the time they’ll get there anyway, you see."

–Jack Kerouac


Rather than hope things go right, we just assume they have.

Losing my favorite travel mug in Chicago

T-boning a Subaru wagon on Ventura and Whittier

Portland anxiety

Vancouver anxiety

Alastair’s dire forecast of my four-day drive (he was right)

The motley community of Instagram

The silent scorn of Imogene + Willie

Not knowing where I was going to stay in Maryland

The terrifying curves of the Cumberland Gap

Talking to Tim at homecoming weekend

Those weird Jakarta cigarettes

Calling Andrea for advice

Overstaying the hourly parking limit in Georgetown

Having no money to spend at The Coupe in Columbia Heights

Running out of stevia

Losing all my travel notes when updating my iPod

The feeling of being a burden

Getting drunk in Brooklyn


Letting the battery go dead in Providence

My parents’ six weeks in Africa

Reaching critical mass of awkwardness

My hair getting so shaggy

Stiffed on a place to stay in North Carolina

Hitting a deer on Rifle Range Road

The attention of Chelsea H.

The uncertainty of Wendell Berry’s mailing address

Pushed to the last minute with my November deadline for Converge

Letting the battery die in Chattanooga

Stiffed on a place to stay in Nashville

The imminent end of my first client’s company

Breaking down in Yuma, three hours from the end of a four-month circuit

Sharon’s bad attitude

“Nobody wants to read that kind of thing”

Mrs. Jewell’s ambivalence

The “welcome home” party

Letting the battery die in Los Angeles

A week-long migraine in Franklin

Clients who verbally overcommit

Two weeks of rain and cold in the middle of May in Bloomington, Ill.

Emotionally dropped from the editorial team

Losing my turquoise ring in Chicago

Two weeks of overdrafts in Bedford, NH

Shara Lee leaving Converge

The General’s being declared a “salvage,” and the ensuing debacle of reregistration

Not being able to leave Québec for 2 months

Sole. (Thank/damn you, Wellness Mama.)

Uncertainty of where to stay in New York City

The question of the Phoenix job offer

School loan in arrears (and getting really hot around Thanksgiving)

Not seeing Leticia in Lancaster, PA

Losing my pearl ring in Belmont, OH, and then my leather ring in Kingdom City, MO

The General’s headlights going out four hours outside of Portland, OR.

The inexplicable block against going to LA before going back to Phoenix.

Losing my pearl ring (again)

Getting truly and soundly shafted by the client in Georgia

The General’s starter going out at 2am, 100 miles outside Portland

Hurt feelings in Santa Fe

The Colorado affair

Clipped by a semi truck outside Sinclair, Wy.

Not hearing back (until too late) from the people in Boise, Id.

The General overheating in Rufus, Or.

Falling in love

Getting screwed over by the Carlsbad ad agency

Wish List

Nomadic journalist seeks to interview:

Serial killer

Somebody’s mistress (current or former)

Opera singer

Someone who has lived in Manhattan for their entire life

A carnie (is that spelled right?)

A Hollywood type who is just starting to get a foot in the door

Wendell Berry

Tom Waits

A musical theatre composer

A veteran politician

Tony the dancing cop

Somebody from the mob

Bernie Sanders

A hill person

Someone who does illegal underground fighting (on their own or with animals)

A defrocked clergyman

Curious Gabe


An Amish person on Rumspringa

E. Annie Proulx

An anorexic man

Chris Arnade

An ASMR practitioner

Anthony Karen

Member of any racial/ethnic hate group


A polygamist/a polyamorous couple

A Bread and Puppet performer

James Marshall Crotty

An air-itarian

Catherine King and Wayne Adams

A sacred harp singer (really, just to hear them perform)

Someone who changed from homo- to hetero- orientation.

Bonnie Tsui