The Vanishing America Project. Part 1.

I learned something about myself this weekend. I’m not a grownup. I’m still a kid. I see life more cynically and much more critically, but I still see it through the eyes of a kid. A kid who has no responsibilities, nothing tying him down, free to do whatever the hell he wants, whenever he wants and seeing opportunity after opportunity. But the FACT that I’m an adult puts a damper on that kid perspective and the outlook isn’t so great. The bills, the job, the responsibilities of being an adult begin to show through the cracks of the facade I’ve built up and my desire to be that kid gets churned up by the adult realities and transforms into anger. And that anger bursts through the fragile facade at the slightest provocation proving, that the outward man is not a reflection of the inner boy.

How did I learn this information? How did I arrive at this magical moment of epiphany? I met someone a lot like me, younger yet more mature (at least in the day to day politics of the real world), who shared many of the same passions of art, nature and discovery. But where this person counted them as important, they were not passionate about them. I am.  Art, creativity, expression, exploration and discovery… these are the words I’m finding best describe my interests in life. And that took me back to 2007.

That was the year I gave up everything I had in San Diego and hit the road to discover America (and hopefully learn something about myself along the way). It didn’t go quite as planned.

Disappearing America

My original goal was to save up a few thousand bucks, buy a cheap but reliable RV, pack up my camera, my cats and my computer and hit the road. I wanted to see America and I figured two years ought to cover it. I would go to Alaska first (since it was summer), then work my way around the country following the seasons and the weather. Shouldn’t be too tough. And I could always stop and wait tables or pick up some handyman work if I ran out of cash. I would take photos and write stories along the way. I would call the project Disappearing America. It would be my breakout body of work and set the stage for me to become a career photographic artist.

My dream of making a living off of my art was about to begin.

But first, a note of caution…
Be careful who you share your dreams with. If it’s a good dream, others will want to be a part of it. And that’s fine. Just be careful they don’t turn you off your path and away from your original goal. What happened to me was totally my fault and I can blame nobody else. I got greedy. I planned on having chicken, but the Golden Goose was laid out in front of me and instead of saying, “Thanks, but that’s too much of a distraction”, I said “let’s do it”. And though I hit the road in luxury, I was no longer on my original path. And, as it turned out, I was no longer even headed in the right direction.

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