What are we running from? (and why you shouldnt read this blog)

We’re all running from something.  It’s a conversation I’ve often had over a glass of cheap wine in some strange city with a group of other international runaways.

Why do we choose to live life on the road?

Why do we force ourselves into a life where we are constantly making and breaking social connections – it’s exhausting.  Mentally and emotionally draining.  And yet we totally fucking love it.

Travel is less about the places you visit and more about the connections you make — I’ve said this many times before, but the flipside of the coin is something I’ve ignored.  All those wonderful, beautiful connections that you make along the road must inevitably be broken.  Left in the dust as you hit the road, scouting new horizons.  In this way, travel is about living in constant state of heartbreak and leaving little pieces of yourself behind with a few empty booze bottles, an overflowing ashtray, and hopefully some fond memories.

But we can’t possibly live this way forever, can we?

We are all running from something, we must be, else we’d just go home.  But what is it in the contemporary world that scares us so much?  Some people run from failed relationships or failed careers (probably both in my case) and find solace in a nomadic world where social ties are fleeting and jobs are disposable. It’s comforting to know that nothing you do really matters because in a few weeks, you’ll be in another city or even another country.

I think a lot of travelers (myself included) are running from normality.  You can sleep-walk through your whole life, doing exactly what you’re supposed to do, and then suddenly, you wake up with a university degree, a career, and the possibility of a family and you wonder how the hell you got yourself into such a far-too-typical situation. You start having nightmares about mortgages, and your shitty relationship with your mediocre wife, and your 2.4 children, and your stagnant sex life, and you can’t help but think how disappointingly average you have become.

Suddenly, those old ideas of traveling the world come flooding back.

You want to get smashed and get into a brawl with some Irish footballers.

You want to do lines of coke off the bar with a Swedish model who just wants to fuck you because you lied about your Hollywood connections.

You want to wake up in a gutter in Bangkok, and meditate with monks in Tibet, and hitchhike across the Australian Outback.

(All those things are still on my to-do list, by the way)

You’ll do anything, and everything to shatter the numbing fog of normality and failure that has somehow taken over your life.

Sounds pretty sad, I know. But don’t feel bad for me.  We all live in our own little tragedies, but for the most part, I had a good life back in The States.  I think more than running from normality, I’m running from responsibility. I just don’t ever want to have to do anything. So really, what it comes down to is that I’m a selfish bastard, and thats why I travel… so I can do what I want, when I want.

And I do.

And I fucking love it.

So I run from the plague of normality.

From the fear of being average.

I run from responsibility.

I’m selfish and fickle and I run.

Not only do I run, but I blog about it, which is probably the most ridiculous and egoistic thing that I do.  Who could possibly want to read my ramblings about travel and blah blah blah.  On the road, you’ll meet plenty of people who think they’ve seen it all and want to tell you all about it – and sometimes I feel like this blog is just another one of those annoying, one-way conversation.   I never want to be one of those road-weary false-prophets who force fellow travelers to listen to their supposedly sage advice after one too many glasses of box wine.  I know I’m guilty of these pontificating rambles myself, but these days I try to avoid advice altogether – taking and giving.  I’d rather let my experiences just happen on their own without letting them be tainted by someone else’s ideas.  And in the same way, I like to let other travelers and life-livers discover and inform their own experiences.

So don’t read this blog.

I’m a hypocrite anyway – supposedly running from responsibility, but headed back to Blenheim for another week of 9 to 5.  What ever happened to being free?

I quit.

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  • Chelsea

    I love you and your ever so fickle, egoistic ways!

    I hate your selfishness of moving to New Zealand and leaving me all alone in California! =(


  • http://www.meganvangroll.com Megan

    This really rang true for me. I’ve been constantly dreaming of running away since I got off the plane from Rome in 2006 and set foot on American soil again, and as a former army brat, a nomadic life is less foreign to me than some American states. But when does it end? When you get tired of it? Does the urge to leave everything behind in search of something you can’t even identify ever die? Do we want it to?

  • shell

    ah-ha!! you are alive!!!

  • sophie

    why not?
    forever free, i believe in it!

  • http://www.urbanvox.net UrbanVox

    there are soooo many things I would like to run from… :)

  • Jessie

    Do any males read your blog?!

  • Brian

    I second that, Chelsea! (No homo). ;)

    We miss u out here in California.

    Your Average Brown Kid,

  • Justin Jones

    thanks for the comments!

    Chels — quit your bitching and come visit me in NZ! I’m sure you have something to run from! I’ll keep a redbull vodka on ice for you ;)

    Megan — not sure when / if it ever ends… and not sure if i want it to either. I think that as this blog unfolds, the answer will become very clear.

    Shell – haha, yes — Alive and well, despitet the depressive undertones of this blog :)

    Vox — run for it! or don’t…. you probably shouldn’t take advice from the likes of me ;)

    Jessie — haha, what can I say?? but I’m glad you’re reading now!

  • loubear

    fuckn my words man
    good job

  • loubear

    hey, just been thinking…
    maybe its kind of running from something, but for me its more like i am looking for something, well not sure what i’m looking for but i’m know i’ll find it

    maybe its the good old houseboat we r looking for

  • http://www.urbanvox.net UrbanVox

    I know… but I am no saint to give advices either… :)
    took some dumb choices in life… most of them ended up great!!! but hey! :)

    all the same… took great ones as well… this is life for you my friend… ;)

  • Lorraine

    Huhu… yes sometimes Im wondering if I didnt make a mistake when I decided to stop my race earlier that i wanted first… ! I miss my nz life it’s too… normal here!!!! ! but anyway I need to START my studies now so… lol! times gonna be long now!
    and you know what? running keeps fit ;-) (…)

    ps: I’m slowly losing my english :’-( … grrrr!)

  • ~Classy Chelsea~

    Oh, Justin! Of course I have a lot of things to run from! One of them being the po-lice…I recently got in a little trouble with the law….. =/ Keep that Redbull Vodka on ice – - I’m coming! =)

    Hi Shell! If you see this i’m missing you too! We should get together and pour a little Redbull Vodka out for Justin! Call me 925.699.6900!

  • http://chelseatalkssmack.blogspot.com/ Chelsea Talks Smack

    “All those wonderful, beautiful connections that you make along the road must inevitably be broken. ” Ah, yes, SO, this blog hit me in a big, BIG, BIG way. I’m about to hit the road, and I’ve lived in about 8 apartment through the past three years….I miss prematurely ended relationships, friendships, comfort, etc. but I FEAR NORMALCY…..Definitely do NOT like responsibility, I’m terrified of feeling unfulfilled or having regrets when I’m old…..I don’t want to become a drone, I don’t want to report to anywhere with cubicles, and I don’t want to have to find someone to watch my Dog when I go out of town, or pick up papers in the driveway. But shit, that’s just TONIGHT….tomorrow I may be feeling completely different, thus creating a cycle of loneliness with a hint of jealously towards all of the people who seem so “comfy.”

    Where is the fucking balance? I’ve always been an extremist. Highs, lows, ups, downs, kiss and make up, fight and break up, repeat. ARG.

    I’m just rambling now.

    I guess what I meant to say is, yes, I understand this blog. cheers? And that’s my little selfish contribution, as if anyone cares to read about my fickle, fickle thinking and neurosis.

  • http://www.mayitbegloryordisaster.blogspot.com Gunnar Goode

    Hey dude,
    your blog is inspiring. I have the wanderlust. I just am having trouble hitting the road for good. I would love to be a nomad such as yourself. How did you get started? How much money should I save before I start? I suppose these are silly questions i dunno. I save up and take trips every few months but it barely gets me by. I need to live the road. I just dont know how to begin. Maybe I should just say fuck it and hit it but I fear homelessness or starvation. Any advice would be awesome.
    thanks and good luck!

  • Nancy Deitchman

    Hi Justin,
    Your Dad and I enjoy reading your blogs. Glad to hear you are well and enjoying life. Did you know that Soolin has set a date to be married to Katch on June 20, 2009. It will be at our house in Grass Valley. We sure hope that you will be able to come home to be a part of the day.
    Your Dad turns 65 on Oct. 7th. We had a dinner for him in Davis this past Saturday. Everyone had a nice time and we missed seeing you. Kristen is doing better. When I went to Seattle to get her registered for Junior Colllege in May, she was not in a safe or good place. Little Sophia is getting big. Kevin and Eve are lucky to have a very good baby.
    That’s enough rambling for me. Please know that you are in our minds and hearts. Take care! Love, Nancy