Journal entries from the United States

Up in the Air

Athens, Georgia, U.S. I tore the rear air conditioning unit off the back of the bus today. Afterward I stood back and looked at the Travco. All the clean lines and curves joined together again, no more air conditioning warts to interrupt the sliding smooth and unbroken swoop of white and blue. The big blue bus looked sleek and whole again.

Bring on the Change

Athens, Georgia, U.S. I've been thinking about this little mantra ever since I saw it six or seven years ago. I don't think I've ever seen what I consider the secret to happiness so succinctly and completely captured.


Athens, Georgia, U.S. We are not things, Alan Watts was fond of saying, we are happenings. But we are happenings with things. Specifically with tools, many of which help us happen in one way or another. What to make of these tools then?

8-Track Gorilla

Athens, Georgia, U.S. I just sold an antiquated music player that takes a format no one has manufactured in over three decades for $86. It was an old Oldsmobile 8-track cassette player I pulled out of the bus. I have no idea how it came to be in a 1969 Dodge Travco. What I do have an idea about is why I just sold it, as-is, could-be-working, could not be working, for $86 more than you would think it was worth.


Athens, Georgia, U.S. I'm not crazy anti-tech, I just think the good, sustainable technologies are rare. I'm not a delusional lunatic who thinks I'm living in the Victorian era or anything. I just don't really like air conditioning. Or heaters. Or generators. And I prefer a good fire to electric light.

Elvis Has Left the Building

Athens, Georgia, U.S. It's not that I have anything against the king, it's that I don't have anything at all, no feelings one way or the other on Elvis, so he came out and won't be going back in. The walls, ceiling and floor of the Travco are also coming out.

The Big Blue Bus

Asheville Area, North Carolina, U.S. Change of plans, sold the trailer, bought a 1969 Dodge Travco, the coolest vehicle ever made. The first few corners were nerve-wracking, the kind of white knuckled terror-inducing driving I haven't done since the very first time I sat down behind a wheel. Or the time I claimed I could ride a motorcycle when I actually had no clue. It all works out in the end.

Ode to the Outdoor Shower

St. George Island, Florida, U.S. The outdoor shower may be one of life's greatest joys. Certainly it makes for memorable showers. I have fond memories of sunshowers hung from the mast of a sailboat, the slick mossy wood of an outdoor shower in Laos, the cold marble of bucket showers in India, the sandy tile of the beach showers where I grew up.

A Big Long Week

St. George Island, Florida, U.S. Whenever Lilah and Olivia want to convey long lengths of time they use the phrase "in a big long week". As in, "we have not had any cookies in a big long week." A big long week could be anywhere from two days to over a year. In this case we had two big long weeks on the island.

Tate’s Hell

Tate’s Hell, Florida, U.S. Tate supposedly wandered out of his eponymous hell swamp and managed to say "my name is Cebe Tate, and I just came from Hell!" before promptly dropping dead. If you're like me you're not going to take this legend very seriously. You're going to think, pshaw, swamps are fun, how bad can this one be? As it happens, if you're not prepared, it can be pretty bad. Especially in Yellow Fly season.

We’re Here

Thomasville, Georgia, U.S. Right now the girls call everywhere "here". This greatly simplifies the whole "are we there yet" dilemma of driving with children. That's not the question. On the drive down here to St. George Island they would ask "are we here yet?" To which Corrinne and I would answer, "yes, we are here." They're young enough that they let us get away with that.

Coming Home

Athens, Georgia, U.S. I am happy to report that, despite a sketchy tow hookup that doesn't lock to the ball, some last-minute wiring snafus, a considerable amount of dry rot on one tire and of course the fact that it still isn't registered, I did nevertheless succeed in getting our 1969 Yellowstone back to our house.

The Poison You’ve Been Dreaming Of

Athens, Georgia, U.S. Everyday we go to the store and blithely buy things without ever thinking about how they got here or what the cost of these items might be. We trade our time (all we have) for money to buy things that are killing us and the people we love. And we consider this totally sane.

Down The River

Athens, Georgia, U.S. Rivers make the familiar foreign in an instant. For the entirety of this trip I almost no idea where I was in Athens. I floated through an area that I have lived in and explored off and on for almost 20 years now and yet all it takes to make it utterly unknown is looking at it from a waterway rather than the land.

Pig Roast

Athens, Georgia, U.S. I was headed downtown about a week ago when I noticed a sign that said, "free pig roast". There are two types of people in this world, those who go to free pig roasts and vegans fools. Sign me up.


Oconee County, Georgia, U.S. Something called touch-a-truck that rolls through town, or just south of town at a place call Heritage Park, every year. It turns out to be pretty much what it sounds like: a place where kids can touch trucks — semi-trucks, fire engines, ambulances and more.

Ice Storm

Athens, Georgia, U.S. I love storms, preferably summer storms with plenty of warm humid wind, lightning and the attendant thunder, but winter storms are nice too.

Walking in the Woods

Athens, Georgia, U.S. It’s always struck me as strange that we have a separate word for walking in nature, hiking, as opposed to just walking. Is walking just too mundane?

Purcell Wooden Toys

Athens, Georgia, U.S. The evolution of toys in my opinion starts with what is still the greatest of all toys -- the stick. After that, I suggest my friend Chris's handcrafted wooden toys.


Athens, Georgia, U.S. Watching the sun rise, coffee on the stove, light in the world.

Hoppin’ John

Athens, Georgia, U.S. New Year's cynics are boring. What they miss is that, sure, the only meaning in New Years is what you bring to the table, but that’s true of every day you exist on this planet. So bring something to the table damn it.

Our New 1969 Yellowstone Trailer

Athens, Georgia, U.S. There are no real blank parts of the map anymore, to misquote Conrad, but there sure are a lot of empty spaces left. We intend to see some of them in our new (to us anyway) 1969 Yellowstone travel trailer.

The Night Before

Athens, Georgia, U.S. Every voyage has a night before. We tend to remember the excitement of the next morning, when our senses are on edge, hyper-aware and it's easy to be anchored in the now. But me, I like that night before. I like when you're still imagining what it might be like. Still trying to picture it all in your head, fit yourself into your own imagination.

Bourbon Bacon Bark

Athens, Georgia, U.S. Searching for what the Danes call Hygge in the sugar deliciousness that is Bourbon Bacon Bark. Because you rarely go wrong with alliteration.