It’s a form of travel that challenges me to pave the path as I trek. No plans, just a goal. When I’m in vagabond travel mode, I’m usually going through some tough shit. So, it’s my way to grow through my challenges, to not doubt myself, and to let anything and everything change my life. The vagabond lifestyle is not always fun, but it always accomplishes one thing: it changes my life for the better, and it ALWAYS creates a memory that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Like the time I met this hip hop publicist on Twitter a buncha years back…
I was getting over a breakup in the TV room while my roommate was nowhere to be found. I was feeling lonely. I had many friends but nobody to give me comfort, but I always found comfort on the road. The road and sex, those are my two happy places.
I had no clients. I was a music publicist and that gave me the luxury to vagabond and make pretty decent money. People pay good money for publicity. People wanna be remembered, I suppose. Anyway I wasn’t in the mood to publicize someone else’s career at that moment. I wanted the attention for myself. What should I do?
I need a goal. So here’s what I did…
So, I had recently become friends with this other publicist on Twitter. One day I just went into the hashtag #publicist and started following everyone. I think it happened like that. If not just like that, pretty similar.
I met a girl named Lily. She was a music publicist in Minneapolis. I fell in Twitter-love with her, which basically means her profile pic was sexy and her tweets were clever.
I got her number and sent her a text that just said: “I’m gonna drive anywhere you tell me to drive. Where should I drive?”
And I was hoping she’d write Minneapolis so I had a reason to drive a thousand or so miles to fuck her. Road trips always soothe my soul. That’s why I got the Guinness World Record for Longest Road Trip… Anyway, luckily, she wrote back:
So that’s precisely where I drove.
Sooo… What is Vagabonding Exactly?
It’s about roaming with courage. Not knowing where you’ll end up, but being completely okay with wherever it is. The difference between vacation and vagabonding is on vacation you’re staring at the clock waitin till that flight back home arrives. It’s barely enjoyable. Vagabonding is about not knowing where or when the end actually is. It’s not about relaxation, it’s about seeking answers and finding people that’ll change your life. I’ve met so many random people on one-off nights in weird hostels across America and the entire world that completely altered the trajectory of my life. One person can say one thing that’ll resonate in a way that people you’ve known your whole life were never able to do because you’re finally ready to hear it.
Anyway I was living in Los Angeles at the time I fell in Twitter-love with Lily the hip hop publicist and driving a black Mercedes that I couldn’t afford so that I could impress my clients and my parents. To show them that I wasn’t the broke fuck they thought I’d amount to be. Of course they lived in New York and never saw my car, and by the time they did, I realized it was driving me into a pile of debt so I sold that shit. That really made me look bad, especially after I had to beg them to bail me outa a bad investment decision… but I’ll tell you that story another time. Point is I drove from LA to Minneapolis in my black Mercedes that I couldn’t really afford, and that’s a shitty car to drive cross country in.
Here’s What Makes the Vagabond Lifestyle So Enticing…
Anything can happen. You can be anyone you want. You can identify as a totally different person if you want. Want a new life? Try it out on the road. It’s the perfect place to air out my problems and to get objective feedback from complete strangers. Not only that, every traveler also wants to meet other travelers when they’re on the road, so it’s really easy to make friends. Not just friends, but travel romance is easy to come by too.
Seems like everyone is lookin for some kinda travel fling that’ll rescue them from their current reality and take them somewhere totally different. It’s quite easy to fall in love with someone when you know nothing about em and they know nothing about you. When I meet someone in a different place, I don’t see any of their faults and they don’t see any of mine. I have no idea how they feel about politics or religion or how they handle their emotions or what they’re like in a work setting cause we’re someplace that both of us have never been. There’s no time to worry about financial shit cause financial shit doesn’t matter on the road. Everyone is equal.
Vagabond travel is about revamping your personal brand and rethinking thoughts that aren’t providing any real value to your life.
Along the way I went through southern Utah. The sun was goin down and I had no idea where I was gonna sleep so I just googled “hostel near me” or “Hostel in Utah” and assumed a buncha places in Salt Lake City and Provo and other major Utah cities would pop up and I’d have to drive five hours to get there… but instead, the Lazy Lizard Hostel in Moab, Utah popped up. That’s where I met the musician that set the forest on fire.
Of course he didn’t do it on purpose; it was a total accident. He was somewhere with his friends in the middle of the grasslands or wherever he was and he chucked a cigarette on the ground and a fire started. Anyway he showed me around Arches National Park and I told him all about my ex-girlfriend that destroyed my life and he related then took me to some local coffee roasting place. It was on the honor system and if you made an espresso, they kindly asked you to pay for the espresso then clean your own dishes and put everything back where it was before. After that I got back on the road to Minneapolis, ready to pull over and take as long of a break as I needed at any point.
Vagabond Travel Means Pitstops, A Lot of Em
In Colorado I pulled off in Boulder and saw my friend Paul. I used to work for him when I was eighteen and living in Boulder. He owns the Pekoe Tea Houses and he and I became good friends when I worked there and still are today. Not like I see him more than once a decade, but still. Anyhow, I stopped off at the tea house for a cup of my favorite tea, Royal Golden Yunnan. I remembered when I was a kid working there I put my name in the POS system as “Royal Golden Greg” and thought that was pretty funny. Not sure if anyone else did.
When I showed up the barista started goin over all the teas for me before I ordered as if I wasn’t one of the first employees that ever worked there. Motherfucker I know the damn teas. I was steepin these teas when you were… I don’t know. Somewhere else. Of course I didn’t say any of that. How was he to know? That reminded me that life moves on and it’s not all about me. A little vagabond life lesson I picked up on that particular day.
When I arrived in Minneapolis, the vagabond goal, I checked into a decent hotel. My hotel room was on the fortieth or so floor; it was really high up is what I’m tryin to tell you. And what happened as soon as I got there? The damn elevator went out. But Lily was already on her way. I texted her that the elevator was out but there was a knock on my door before she even responded. There she was. All outa breath. She was smiling and had on dark makeup. She was like nineteen or twenty I think. I was twenty-eight maybe. She looked like an emo-goth-skater chick. It was great.
Vagabonding Pays Off
I had bought some condoms cause I was really nervous about all the other chicks I had slept with without protection. I was always bad about protecting my health when I just got sober. But I didn’t even know if she wanted to fuck, so I took solace in knowin I had an out if I got too scared. Then she laid on my bed and it was clear. But like I said, I was terrified to have sex with her. She was hot and intimidating. She was younger but sexually advanced. Those damn hip hop publicists… I was nervous about putting the condom on. I always got nervous about that sorta thing. Like it would ruin the moment and I’d go soft before the opportunity to fuck the chick I drove a thousand miles to fuck came about. But that’s not what the vagabonding lifestyle is about. It’s not about sex and it’s not about fear, it’s about overcoming fear and having sex even if you do go soft cause you’re scared. Gotta overcome shit along the way: that’s the point.
It’s about the possibility of maybe having sex with someone I woulda never met. It’s about the musician I met along the way who started that wildfire. It’s about all the phone calls I never woulda made on the drive over. It’s about catching up with friends from ten years ago while I’m in the middle of Nebraska. It’s thinkin about life and writin down new goals in the middle of a meteor shower. It’s about not knowing what I may learn from people I never intended to meet.
The Vagabond Adventure Continues…
On my way back to LA I stopped off in Santa Fe, where I met a kid that was trying to break outa his shell and have a good time. He was sittin alone outside the hostel and told me he just graduated college and wanted to have some fun somehow before he went into the workforce. I went with him to a lounge in downtown Santa Fe even though I don’t drink to accompany him and help him meet girls. Then we decided to travel to Flagstaff, Arizona together and hike the Grand Canyon. That’s another story for another time.
Point is I met a hippie guitarist livin outa a van who started a forest fire, stopped off at a tea house I worked at as a kid, fucked a girl from Twitter, met a kid from Tennessee who studied economics and took him out in Santa Fe, hiked the Grand Canyon, and made it back to LA with a buncha stories to tell, and it didn’t even take that long; I was gone for a few weeks max and it felt like I had just traveled the world.
The moral of the story is: vagabonding isn’t about travel, it’s about setting a goal and taking an adventure that’ll truly transform your life, an adventure that’ll get you closer to the type of person you’ve always wanted to be. It’s about doing your bucket list and not writing one out. It’s about running before walking and overthinking nothing and doing everything. It’s similar to a pilgrimage where you’re seeking rather than taking. A vagabonding lifestyle is meant to change your viewpoint and pivot from where you are to where you wanna be. It’s not vacation and it’s not to relax, it’s a journey to the unknown… That’s the art of vagabonding.
Now let me tell you about the time I was held hostage in Montreal.