Saturday, August 6, 2011

In Decline

Houston, TX

It has been absolutely miserable riding weather these past few days. Once the outside air temp gets above body temp, it barely helps at all to be on the bike - rather than cooling me off, it feels more like if you drove down the road in your car with the windows down but the heat on full blast pointed at your face.

It's not like there's much I can do about it either. I can't really ride at night, because if I want to camp, there's no way I'll be able to do that during the day - it's hot enough camping at night. And if I'm couchsurfing, the chances of me finding someone who's willing to let me stay at their place and sleep all day while they're at work is pretty low. Mainly I've been spending a lot of time in coffee shops - probably more than I should, but it's really hard to get myself to go back outside and get on the bike when it's so cool and comfortable inside.

And despite all that time spent in coffeeshops... I'm not posting as much as I was before. I've noticed my priorities shift as various parts of the trip have passed. I've gone through different phases in the trip (like I mentioned here), but one thing that has not cycled back the other direction (yet?) is my posting rate. So far, it's only declined.

When I first left, I was taking a ton of pictures - even of random things I saw on the side of the road, buildings that looked cool, random restaurants that I saw, anything. I was posting almost daily, and I was even coming up with post ideas that I didn't have time to post about. Keeping up the pace of one post per day, if I had already done a post and I came up with a new idea, I'd toss down some reminders of what I was thinking about along with a title, and save the post as a draft. I have about 13 "post ideas" like that saved up, and almost all of them are from the first month of the trip - hardly any from July.

Part of the reason I was taking so many pictures and posting so much was because I wasn't used to being on my own. I really wanted to share this trip with people. I wanted people to see that random building that was collapsing on the side of the road, so I'd stop and take a picture of it. I wanted people to see the difference between different parts of the country, so I'd try to capture a few pictures in each area.

I'd post for the same reason - to try to give everyone back home an idea what this trip was like for me. Sometimes, even just to have an excuse to do things that might otherwise be awkward alone. Going to a museum by yourself is somewhat weird. But doing it while figuring out what kind of blog post you're going to write makes it slightly less awkward, and gives some purpose.

But lately - and especially since I got back from my brief return to the Midwest - I've been feeling less and less like doing this trip for others, and more like doing the trip for me. I've been focusing a lot less on taking pictures and writing blog posts, and more on getting places, seeing things, and just having a good time. In Las Cruces, Roswell, and Lubbock I couchsurfed with people, and ended up not really seeing any sights at all other than the stop at Carlsbad caverns. Instead, I hung out with them - went out to a bar in one case, but other than that I just hung around at their house and we talked. And they're some of the best nights I've had recently - but they're not exactly something worth posting on the blog, and you're not going to get a ton of interesting pictures from nights like that. (I mean, I suppose I could... but I'd probably get a bad reference on the couchsurfing website for being creepy.)

I think part of it is just the temporal separation from the beginning of the trip. Anybody who knows me well, knows that I'm bad about keeping in touch with people. I'm very good at focusing time and attention on people I see frequently and have seen recently, but not so good at it when I haven't seen someone for a while. This is kind of like that, on a larger scale - most of the people who I was originally writing this blog for, I haven't seen for quite some time. I haven't picked up many external readers, so I know that for the most part, it's family and friends reading this - and so, having not seen them for a while, I'm focusing less attention on maintaining the connection with them through this blog.

So I've been focusing a lot less lately on sharing the trip and a lot more on experiencing the trip. And that's led to less posting. I'm not necessarily happy with the situation. At the beginning of the trip, I felt guilty if I went a day without posting, and would force myself to sit down most days to write a post. Then I stopped feeling guilty for that, and only felt guilty enough to force myself into writing a post every two days. And then the other day I realized that two days had gone by without posting, and I still didn't feel guilty enough to force myself to post - three days would be fine, I told myself.

So I'm going to try to step the posting back up - not to every day levels, but at least every other day. No less than 3 posts a week, and hopefully 4 or more. I'm even writing some posts in advance when I have time so I have something sitting around for when I don't feel like posting but it's been two days since my last one.

If I'm going to be spending four hours a day in coffeeshops to avoid the heat, I might as well do something useful with my time, right?  (Though it is nice to take a break and just look at cat pictures on the internet sometimes...)

1 comment:

  1. Another the beginning of the trip you were focusing on the "things" you saw, and sharing the connection with what was known (us), but as you have gotten more comfortable with the people you meet, and your own ability to take care of yourself in strange situations, you started letting go a little and focusing more on making new connections with new people. Whether consciously or not, you have figured out that in the coming years the pictures you took will be fun to look at, but it is the people and the connections you made that will be far more memorable.