The life I love is meeting with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again
On the road again
Workin' stuff that I've never seen
Helpin' folks that I may never see again,
I can't wait to get on the road again.
—with apologies to Willie Nelson
In two days I start a 54-day road trip. It may be the longest trip I've ever taken. And I may only be home long enough to change underwear, shower, and to conduct a consulting gig in Durham before I'm back out for another 27 days. Ai-yi-yi!
Here's what my next three months will look like, give or take a day here or there that is still not firmly nailed down:
Aug 15-17 on the choo choo
Aug 18-24 Duluth MN (visiting Susan Anderson)
Aug 25 on the choo choo
Aug 26-Sept 1 Rutledge MO (visiting Sandhill & cleaning up the old FIC trailer)
Sept 2 Louisville KY (visiting Ella Peregrine)
Sept 3 Afton VA (visiting friends at Shannon Farm)
Sept 4-8 Louisa VA (Twin Oaks Communities Conference & FIC Oversight meetings)
Sept 9 on the choo choo
Sept 10-13 Berlin MA (New England facilitation training at Mosaic Commons)
Sept 14-16 on the choo choo
Sept 17-21 San Antonio (visiting my sister and brother-in-law, Kyle & Richard Contreras)
Sept 22 on the choo choo
Sept 23 Rutledge MO (Sandhill)
Sept 24-27 Yellow Springs OH (Tools for Transition Conference hosted by the Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions)
Sept 28 on the choo choo
Sept 29 Fort Collins CO (presenting the 2015 Kozeny Communitarian Award to Bob Mann)
Sept 30-Oct 3 Colorado Springs CO (working with Casa Verde Commons)
Oct 4-5 Denver CO (visiting Britta Blodgett)
Oct 6 Boulder CO (FIC fundraising event at Boulder Creek Commons)
Oct 7-8 on the choo choo
Oct 9-11 home! (working with Durham Central Park)
Oct 13-16 on the choo choo
Oct 17-18 Seattle WA (FIC fundraising event at Songaia)
Oct 19 on the choo choo
Oct 20 Sacramento CA (FIC fundraising event at Southside Park Cohousing)
Oct 22 Berkeley CA (FIC fundraising event at Parker St House)
Oct 24-25 on the choo choo
Oct 26 Rutledge MO (Sandhill Farm)
Oct 27 Kansas City MO (FIC fundraising event at Hearthaven)
Oct 28-Nov 1 Ann Arbor MI (NASCO Institute)
Nov 2 Rutledge MO (Sandhill Farm)
Nov 3 on the choo choo
Nov 4-8 Union Bridge MD (fall FIC organizational meetings at Liberty Village)
Nov 9 home!
Though it may be hard to grasp from that itinerary, my workload is tapering off… after the end of the year, when I hand over the FIC reins to the triumvirate of Christopher Kindig (Business Manager), Aurora DeMarco (Development Director), and Sky Blue (Executive Director). Until that happens I'm busier than ever.
In looking over that list (assuming you don't fall asleep before you get to the end), it's instructive to notice that I'm doing some of everything that my life normally entails—just more of it:
o Visiting friends and loved ones
o Attending FIC meetings
o Fundraising for FIC
o Participating at community events
o Conducting facilitation training
o Consulting with cooperative groups
o Spending 18 nights on the train
I figure this year may be my best chance ever to achieve Select Plus status with Amtrak, for which you need to earn 10,000 Tier Qualifying Points by riding enough in a given calendar year. I've achieved Select status (which only takes 5,000 points) multiple times, but this year I'm going for the gold. The two biggest benefits of this exalted status are: a) unlimited access to first class lounges at all depots that have one (think free bag storage, snacks, and comfortable chairs during layovers, which is a big deal); and b) a 50% bonus on all Amtrak travel during the year that I have that status (which accelerates how fast I earn points needed for travel upgrades). Since I'm going to be doing all this travel anyway, there may as well be some kind of payoff for gathering no moss. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.
While Amtrak is working steadily toward the day when all trains will have internet connectivity via satellite links, they're not there yet. They have it on their short-haul trains, but not on the overnighters. This matters because my work (and my play) hinges on accessibility to the internet and thus there will be predictable delays in when people can reach me as I chug between stops overnight.
Since my responses are seldom so time critical that they can't wait for me to alight somewhere with a wifi signal, I can generally make this work—it just means that I have to be able to follow the bouncing ball (by which I mean type accurately on a train rambling along at speeds up to 80 mph). It's an art form.
I'll also be on the seasonal rotisserie for an entire quarter turn. When I head out people will be thinking about roasting in the late summer sunshine and still able to select roasting ears from roadside stands. By the time I'm done, people will be thinking about roasting chestnuts and able to select roasting turkeys for Thanksgiving.
The craziest part of this all is that I moved to North Carolina to explore community with my close friends, Joe Cole & María Stawksy (I rent the third floor of their house in Chapel Hill). While all three of us were in the house together my first two weeks, I then left for a two-week trip that included work in Cambridge, followed by a wonderful first visit to Duluth, to begin dancing with my new partner, Susan Anderson.
By the time I got home, María had departed for her biennial trip to the motherland (Argentina), that will last until Aug 18. As you'll notice above, I begin my fall odyssey three days before she returns. That means we'll likely not spend more than one day together between Jun 25 and Nov 9—a run of 137 days, stretching to the point of incredulity what it means to be "living together." Maybe someday we'll find out.
Meanwhile, I have Willie Nelson to keep me company.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
The life I love is meeting with my friends