This summer was an outdoorsman’s adventure and a transcendentalist’s dream…
Attempting to promote one’s own work, hustling for projects and contracts, committing to undesirable work — all of these things can make a writer (or artist, or anyone, for that matter) feel like they are constantly selling themselves for the sake of their craft.
That all went away this summer.
Anything that wasn’t directly linked to our immediate presence in the wilderness suddenly seemed insignificant. I started caring less about blog views and Instagram sponsors, and instead began to pay more attention to the actual landscape and its inhabitants that surrounded us.
And I didn’t really wonder what was going on politically or socially in the nation and the world, but instead wondered more about my place and purpose in the world itself.
Perhaps that shows my naiveté…
Or, perhaps these contemplations just inevitably come with the territory.
We found great meaning in our experiences this summer, it just took some searching beneath our bootstraps to find it.
All that Whitman stuff aside…
I also discovered that I couldn’t go on an adventure like this with anybody other than Sean, much less traverse through mundane life without him.
Partly because, for one, we spend a lot of time in the car together.
Like, A LOT, a lot.
In all seriousness, something like that is important. As frequent travelers, we must be content with hours in silence while our partner is sleeping — slack jawed and drooling — in the passenger’s seat.
The opposite is true, too, as many hours this summer were spent in deep conversation. We’d cover a multitude of topics, daily — ranging from sports titans who could beat modern superstars, down to our own abstract theories on the nature of our reality.
When we don’t have the television or internet to distract us from one another, we get to know each other more. Even after three years together.
Strum up the theme music, I’m romanticizing again.
That’s not to say, though, that there weren’t moments this summer that tested our resolve.
When we dealt with car trouble and had to leave our SUV in the shop for nearly a week, it was as if we had lost our lifeline.
We were left without our storage unit, power source, and most importantly — our transportation. Sean still needed to travel into the middle of the city each day, and we needed a new summer plan.
So, we left the mountain forests and jumped into the concrete jungle.
Booking a hotel near downtown Denver, we were immediately back to our original stomping grounds. We made reservations as close as possible to the mechanic shop where our SUV was towed, which put us right in our old Glendale neighborhood.
It wasn’t long before we were cosmopolitan once again — walking a few city blocks for dinner, or hopping on the Light Rail for drinks downtown — traces of The Rugged Summer nowhere to be found…
For about a week, that is.
But, I guess we’re just adaptable…
I’d like to think that adaptability is part of this rustic lifestyle we’re sort of living now.
We’re seeking adventure in this life, so of course we have to adapt to anything that arises from living out in the wilderness like Tarzan and Jane. Even if that means camping in a hotel room for a few days.
But even with the fluffy white hotel bedding, pages and pages of television channels, and hot showers that lasted as long as we pleased — we still prefer to feel the earth beneath our feet.
I’m not sure very many people can claim that they have lived among the elements like we have. And really, I’m not sure how many people would want to…
Like I said though, maybe we’re addicted to the rush of it. And I will forever look back on these 100 days with fondness.
So when I am old and leathery, dozing in my chair with a white braid down my back, I will think of The Rugged Summer. And I’ll imagine we are sleeping beneath the pine trees again, with the bears and the bugs and the dirt.