“Sometimes I grow so tired, but I know I’ve got one thing I got to do”
“I’m goin’ ‘round the world”
So. I’m six months into my biggest adventure so far.
Or perhaps I’m more like 54 months into it, depending on where one would like to begin.
Perhaps 2010, August 20 is a good place. That’s when I begun a reeducation to steer my life onto a different path than the one I was on. I applied for, and got, leave of absence to commence studies.
One could of course claim it begun even earlier than that, like when I first realized that I wasn’t particularly happy with my current situation, and took a long look at what my life was about and how I would like to change it. I had been looking for about a year prior to this. Or perhaps it begun even before I came to this realization and thought my unease was due to my constant state of being on one tour or another. Constantly lapping Sweden thinking that the lack of being in one place was what was wrong.
Well, let’s start.
There was nothing in particular wrong with my life, it was a good life. I was employed at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, I had a nice apartment in a good neighbourhood and part of a most agreeable homeowner association. I think I even had a girlfriend at the time. She was, and still is, a great person. But no longer my girlfriend. And the apartment is no longer my apartment. And the job is no longer my job. But I’m already getting ahead of myself.
My life up until that point had been, and still was, giving me a lot of experiences most people won’t have the chance to live to, but even so I started to get tired of it all. Prior to the steady gig at the Royal Theatre I had been on tour for the better part of seven years. Over those years I had worked on quite an array of different shows and events. When I started off I was turning knobs on a mixing console at not to well attended fares, and before I took on a steady employment I had risen in the show biz hierarchy to the point where I went on tour with what is probably the biggest rock act in Sweden.
By far my favourite, as well as most consistent, gig during this period was working as head of stage for a drag show group called After Dark. One of the best gigs I have ever had. The atmosphere within the ensemble was fantastic, and I was well appreciated and had a very good time for the most part. While the label head of stage sounds kind of posh, the fancyness mostly consisted of responsibly, the crew was not big enough for my job description to change, it was still very much “push case stage left [or right]” before the show, “pull tross to open [or close] main curtain” during, and “push case onto trailer” after. Sleep on the bus, wake up in a different city, and start all over again. Rewarding as it was, there’s only so much you can evolve on a personal level pushing cases around.
Ten years was enough. I felt I had mastered the case pushing as much as I cared to.
As I mentioned earlier, I spent some time trying to figure out what to do with my life. I was about 35 at the time, and other than being an educated sound engineer and expert case pusher, the only thing I had really spent any time at was music. I had played the drums for some ten years, bas and guitar for some other five, six years or so, and I have a voice that will carry if I like it to.
Working in show biz had shown me too many musicians whom had fallen out of love with music because of the job though, so I decided against that since I didn’t want that to happen to me.
Musician went out the window for another reason as well. On top of the list I called “requirements for my new career” was “Don’t want to be locked down to a physical spot on the planet at a specific time to be able to perform my job”. Actually, that was the list. Back then, trying to picture my ideal future, I saw myself on a rock out in the archipelago outside of Stockholm, maintaining a job without having to commute.
So the one solution I saw was to become a web developer.
“Eeh?” one might ask. Well, I had always made simple websites to provide my different bands with a home on the internet, and I liked it well enough. So I applied, and got accepted, to a two year web development course.
The education itself was probably the worst excuse for one that I have ever experienced. Lectures decayed from a brief introductory talk on any given topic in the early stages of the education, to less “technical” because a lot of the students didn’t understand, or rather didn’t care, for even the very basics of what we were there to learn. In the end most of the students still “attending” actually resolved to spending most of the lecture time playing counter strike. Being that the school received money for all students that graduated, everyone who just didn’t leave and resign did. With full grades. Amazing.
For me all this meant, given the benefit of having Aspergers, was that I gave myself two whole years of quite hard studies, more or less on my own, to learn something new, and learn it well. And I am really happy I did and grateful that I could.
2012. The last leg of the “education” was half a year of internship. I was well connected in the IT business, and got an internship at one of the major agencies in Stockholm. After a month or two, they asked me if I wanted a full time employment after my education was done. I did.
I soon realized that I had made a very good choice when selecting web developer as my new occupation. For many reasons. One being me really enjoying what I do. Another is that it’s thoroughly the employees market, and new job offerings soon started to arrive at my inbox every week.
I was working as a consultant at my first company, and was quite happy there. But after one and a half year I got an offer to become part of a small startup, for a product I found interesting and was not yet deployed. The startup was a free standing company within one of the largest media conglomerates in Scandinavia, and this is one of these things that can go either way, but judging by the choices in the tech stack, the tech group in the startup seemed free to do as they pleased. All my fav tech choices aligned with the ones they had made, and being part of a larger company, they were still able to give me a quite considerable pay raise. Everything about this project, except the office space, appealed to me. So I jumped ship.
I didn’t really intend to quit just one year later, I liked working there well enough. When I applied I told them of my plans, and that I didn’t see myself in the office for too many years going forward. They said, lets talk about it when time comes. So obviously I was hoping to be able to keep my job, and still be out of there.
Time came, and it didn’t work out as I hoped. They strongly felt the necessity of having people in their gloomy office space. And I strongly felt the need to not be in said office space.
So it was time to move on. Obviously.
Let me tell you, walking up to my employer saying “I quit”, without having a new job to go to, it was a first for me, and certainly special.
I had seen my dream of living in the Swedish archipelago transform over the years, first into a dream of living on the small island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, and after that turn into a dream of surf, sun and web development in Costa Rica. I had a friend in Costa Rica, a really talented designer, and I thought perhaps we could start to collaborate in a constellation that would resemble a small web bureau!? You see, I had a plan of sorts!
I had prepared for this. I had sold my apartment that I owned one year prior to my letter of resignation. This so that I could pick up and leave with short notice. Now living in a rental apartment in a city where such a thing is much sought after and in short supply, I figured I wouldn’t have an issue subletting it. I didn’t, I never got a chance to look for tenants, they came looking for me on first word of me being on the move.
With that arranged I started to terminate subscriptions, making reservations, buying tickets, investigating how best to become a perpetual tourist and, finally, throw all of the stuff I had collected over the years. It was a lot of stuff! For a month I was throwing stuff and piling things to keep in a special pile. Then I went through the keep pile and threw most of that as well. Or “throw” is wrong, I didn’t throw that much, I sold and gave away anything of value. But some stuff had to go into the container. There will not be a lot of nostalgia in cardboard boxes for me when I grow old(er), that’s for sure.
And even as it might sound as a horrible thing to sell stuff like you LP collection that you’ve carefully amassed over the years, not having those somewhat valuable vinyl records to tow around is actually quite the relief.
I still have some things left, but the selection process was hard on the stuffs. I kept some things that’s hard to sell, and nice to have on return. Like a fluffy blanket. And a carpenter’s bench. You know, stuff that’s hard to do without. Anyways, most other stuff is gone. I’ve got 30 kilograms worth of packing, basically that will let me on to most airlines without paying extra for overweight luggage.
So, back in August 2014, I left Sweden for Costa Rica, with one week in New York in between.
After five months in Costa Rica I felt it was not “all that”, so I left my car in the river and went on my way. That’s about one and a half month ago. Hardly remember that far back, need to have look in my journal to freshen up before that entry I suppose.
Once again, the way I envision my future has taken a turn. Can’t say that I have much of a plan anymore. I will most likely just keep on moving on.
At least that’s what I’ve told my tenants.
I have a ticket out of here, I had to to get in, so I know I’ll be in Sydney three months from now. And I hope to go to Ghana after that. And I will be back in Sweden mid August, I’ve made reservations for a guest room, all-inclusive, in Stockholm already.
After that? Well, there’s a wedding and a birthday back in Sweden, and after that I’ll be on my way again.
Another stint back here perhaps. Definitely get my allowance of 90 days worth in New Zealand, probably the same amount of time in Australia. I might do Indo. I’d like to see more of Africa, ride the perfect wave down south. I’d also like to see Vietnam, Nepal, Island, Greenland, Alaska, British Columbia, Yosemite, Utah, Colorado. More of California. Galapagos. Maybe Antarctica. Perhaps not in that order, but you know… I’m just listing options here. I mean, if you’ve read this far, then you must have asked, didn’t you?
If anyone will be passing the Pacific Ocean by sailboat I might be up for that. I’m good with ropes, got some 1000 hours at sea, I’m alright at climbing if need be, and also very considerate regarding common areas.
And I’m one of the best at pushing cases.
Else I’ll be rambling and ranting until I grow tired again. Or, as the song continues, until I find my one true love in the darkest depths of Mordor.
Whichever comes first.
Until then, I’ll start off with posts about New York, Cost Rica, Encinitas and San Diego. All parts of my journey so far.
Next stop: One week in the big apple.
New York, September 3, 2014