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After 12 years in Colorado, the time has come for a change. The only problem is...I don't know where I want to live! Come with me (virtually, of course) across the country as I travel along all the rural roads, small towns, coastal regions, scrub-filled deserts, and damp, dark forests in Anywhere Else, America in search of a new home.
Recent posts

Playing Bob the Builder

The company I work for gives employees 40 hours paid time off per year specifically to use for volunteering, so of course I want to use it. Who wouldn't take advantage of a great policy like that to both do some good and get away from the computer for a few days? Except, turns out that it's not that easy to use. Everywhere I've traveled, I've looked for volunteer opportunities, but one-offs are really hard to find. Most places require a background check, orientation, and a commitment for a certain time frame. I've volunteered at races, but those haven't been for charity. When I was in Redding, I found an organization that does a lot of trail building work, but the work days are in spring and fall. I was there in summer.  So it wasn't until I arrived in Winston-Salem that I got to put some of those hours to use. I signed up for a Habitat for Humanity build, something I've always wanted to do. The organization's Forsyth County chapter is at the beginni

Fan Girling

Coming to a city of a quarter-million people, I was sure I'd find plenty of interesting things to do during my five week stay. I didn't expect to hit the jackpot my first weekend in town though. When I saw that the independent bookstore Bookmarks  was holding its 16th Annual Festival of Authors and Books, I was thrilled. The main event was Saturday, but there was four days of events, including a book trivia night, an expo, and live Appalachian music. Several of the speakers I was interested in, such as Kirstin Valdez Quade, opted out of travel and presented virtually, but most were live, including an author I've wanted to see for a long, long time. I found out about the festival only a few weeks prior to the event, and I couldn't believe there were still tickets available for the keynote. I think a combination of the ever-looming presence of COVID and the requirement to be vaccinated to go inside any of the building to listen to the speakers must have kept people at bay

Your Burning Questions, Answered

Woo-hoo! I have been a digital nomad for just about one year now. 360 days, to be exact. It's kind of an addiction at this point. I crave being on the road, the excitement of getting somewhere new, of always having a new house and new restaurants and new activities and new trails. I always want to be going somewhere. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and have no plans of stopping. If you are considering this lifestyle, you might have some questions. I might have some answers.  1) How many miles have you gone so far? I logged around 26,000 miles this year for $3,300 worth of gasoline, an oversized share of that in California. And one alternator, one front wheel bearing, a set of rear brakes, an alignment, and quite a few oil changes. My car is 11 years old, after all. And not that I kept track, but I'd estimate I've spent about $60 in tolls, pretty much all on the east coast. 2) What are you doing with your mail? Luckily, my dad is nice enough to deal with my mail, so

It's the Best of Places

And the worst of places. Welcome to Tennessee. There are a lot of hate-filled religious wackos here, too much litter along the highways, and the country's absolute worst drivers . Driving highway 40 from Nashville to Knoxville was the #1 worst segment of my entire nomad life so far for the sole reason that people here drive like complete assholes. It wasn't the volume of traffic or the road or weather conditions or even one or two bad apples. It was pure, shitty collective human behavior for almost three hours.   But also, this state has incredible food and music; Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga are great places to live; the winters are mild; and the Great Smoky Mountains are lush and green in the best magical, scary forest kind of way. At the very least, you should visit the park, and when you do, here are a few things to keep in mind. Don't go to the most popular trails after 8 AM. There were 12.1 million visitors to this park in 2020, compared to the next most po

What to Expect in a Month Long AirBnB

I've been on the road for 49 weeks now and have just left one AirBnB in Tennessee and will be arriving at a new one in North Carolina shortly after this posts. I'm pretty careful about what I book, making sure to read the listing and the reviews thoroughly, and emailing the host in case of any doubt. But there's always some degree of blind trust and a good deal of randomness in what you get, especially when it comes to the household essentials. For example: Half my homes had enough toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish detergent, and soap to last my entire stay.  Only two of my stays had some kind of cling wrap in the kitchen and only one had foil. Seven places had enough coffee to get me through the first week; one place had enough coffee for my entire stay, and one place barely had enough for two mornings. One place had no large kitchen trash bags. Three places had tons of cooking spices available, four had the basics, and two had almost none, not even pepper.   Only one

Motors and Muscles

My primary reason for going to Silverton was to hike a bunch of 14ers and other trails that I never had time for while living in Colorado. But there's other playtime to be had in this part of Colorado, especially on those endless trails. Many are better explored on 4x4s than foot, as long as you have the stomach to handle narrowly scooting by other vehicles on a strip of road between a rock wall and a steep drop-offs.  I had a blast renting ATVs with friends last summer and whipping around groomed trails in a recreation area where the biggest danger was a blind corner or two. While the mountain passes around Silverton are slower, they are more technical and offer instant death if you aren't careful. So, of course, I had to join the fun. I didn't take any videos on Imogene Pass  but it's a rowdy time for sure. The best part was charging through streams. I can't believe I did that pass years ago in a stock Jeep Wrangler when I had almost no off-roading experience. T

Small Town Politics

I've been staying in a lot of small towns on this extended road trip. Largely that's been due to coronavirus but also, since cities are easy to get to, it makes sense to take advantage of this road-trip by going to the off-the-wall places I wouldn't visit otherwise.  As charming and unique as these places have been , I could never actually live in a small town. I need gyms and culture and entertainment and lots of people to meet and accessibility to other great places.  Then there's small town politics...too much drama. And Silverton is small. Not only is the town small, but Silverton is almost the only municipality in all of San Juan county. In 2019, there were 534 Silverton residents and 589 county residents total. This article from the Colorado Sun states: "Because Silverton is so small, there is an unusually incestuous employment and town-official pool." There's a lot of conflict of interest in the multiple positions people hold. And as soon as I arri