Familie Zuerst


It has been over two years since I worked with anyone in the creative world. All of my creativity has been isolated to my partner, who hasn’t had much drive to create, and two young girls who create like a Jackson Pollock painting. It has been so long since I have written anything significant that I am not quite sure what to write anymore. So many significant things have happened just in this last year, and I have just sat with all of them, without any of the documentation that I normally give freely the the interweb. I have struggled pretty significantly with not making things too personal, id est “professional,” and also with the importance of sharing the significance of my personal experience, thus relatable, and the reviews I received were always mixed: too much; not enough; too much; not enough; ad absurdum.

I still have the ache to just write and take photos, but my camera feels meh and the words don’t seem to come out. It is as if I have finally embodied just appreciating this experience of life objectively and am feeling each moment of it, relinquishing all control and desire to do anything with it, while fighting with the feeling of complete uselessness because I’m not accomplishing anything. There is a certain loss of identity and purpose smashing against feeling like I’m not even just enjoying things properly because there is always something to do or plan or fix, and those things are outside of the routine of my life, so the learning curve just keeps getting sharper and steeper and I can’t enjoy the drive because I’m holding up traffic and we are late to our next camping question mark.

At this point I should probably catch you up on what exactly is happening, and initiate the shift in this space, which was supposed to happen months ago, but actually doing it has created so much anxiety that I don’t even know where to start. My partner has somewhat explained it on her social media, but I have said little to nothing in my adjustment flail. My last couple posts from over a year ago were a glimpse into the existential crisis that has been going on for a while, and the beginning of my journey into retreating all my work to prepare for a journey like this one, the aftermath of finding my father’s body, which seems like a strange striking point considering I haven’t really even mentioned it in so long. That was it, though. When that happened, suddenly the dream of just driving and looking for somewhere new began to materialize. We started searching for new circles, deeper spirituality and healing, a life of exploration and adventure, and an escape from the enigma of California.

I talked to my boss about our plan to get out about a year after my dad died, but even then it seemed completely unrealistic. Five months later I sat an intensive Kambo training and managed to survive as a level 1 Kambo practitioner, but my relationship with that medicine has been … tumultuous. There were idealized and fantasized plans around our escape, involving documenting our adventure and sharing it with the ether, searching out beautiful little spiritual communities to find ourselves and share this medicine, and truly exploring creativity amongst the beautiful souls we come across, but so far we have been occupied with getting used to this lifestyle and bickering with ourselves over how things are supposed to be.

My last day of work was May 31st, which was really my last day of knowing what is happening next. We have since been on the road to some extent, but have been primarily moving around to visiting family and friends. While we have been on the road for a month and a half, there is a part of me that feels like we haven’t even started yet, but we are doing it. The universe found us a little pop-up camper we named Dale, after the beautiful soul we got it from, but we still found ourselves stuck in California for a bit. When we did finally cross the border into Nevada, we drove about as far away as we could get in a day, then we began to meander to our next definite destination, trial and erroring along the way, trying to find our rhythm and routine. There have been some adventures once we drop anchor in places, and a few stops during the drive, but I feel like we are still unable to really explore and appreciate because we are in a kind of vacation mindset, in which we have destinations and events and deadlines, though there is a little more grey area than before.

There is also the routine deadline of getting to the next first-come-first-serve campsite in time to get a spot, especially not knowing the site or the landscape, or how many people are likely to be there on a Wednesday evening in July. Everything has turned out perfectly fine, like it does, but the stress of dealing with that question mark is still taking some getting used to. The expensive aspect of all of this is booking spots when we want a guarantee, and not shopping like we’re on vacation. Once we get our grasp on the dynamic of all of this, I imagine things will chill out a bit. It has rained a lot, which we didn’t expect since everyone and their grandma complains about how dry it is, and it has been strangely warm in the places that should be cold, and strangely cold in the places that should be warm.

We have changed our diet significantly on our journey to something we’ve wanted for a while, but we can only do so much in a pop-up that is constantly moving. My earth goddess has finally found her spark in foraging and fermenting, which is amazing for our health and much welcomed, but where we store things and how we do things are still up in the air. I have found myself reading books on healthy eating instead of spirituality and creativity. After reading a half a dozen books on art therapy, still feeling the need to officially apply my photography to healing, I enrolled in an online certified course before we left and haven’t touched it.

Things just haven’t gotten comfortable enough to really do what I planned to do, which also applies to blogging about our adventure. We wanted to include things outside of our creative routine, like little videos, but I haven’t felt that calm of mind and freedom to even try yet, spending pretty much all my energy on being present with my family, vacation mode, or in a kind of existential crisis, flailing to find purpose and meaning. Whatever is happening, I need to feel like I’m good at something, which makes me feel useful, and right now I’m trying to get good at this lifestyle, so getting good at the creative aspect of this has been pushed down on my to do list.

My creative dilemma stems from feeling like I don’t have anything more to say. I feel like we need to start something entirely new as a home base, but starting over is beyond daunting, and figuring out a way to change what we’ve established seems impossible.

I have had so many tabula rasa moments in my life, the last huge one was when I met the soul I’m doing this with, and having a second chance at being a dad, and it has taken me years to wrap my head around that. I honestly still feel like I’m in the learning curve aspect of that, and all these additional learning curves are just making me feel dizzy. I’m having a really hard time letting go of everything I was always trying to do, but still doing it with a different voice, which was the same one I had before with less philosophizing with a hammer, as Nietzsche so eloquently put it. I know I have used that reference many many times, but that’s kind of my point with having said everything I need to say, and I’m just an old guy trying to be a dad now, so I have the freedom to negligently repeat the references and silly jokes. The biggest problems we are facing with the new platform is what to call it, and what to call ourselves.

My instinct wants to run with lAvaNyamaya, which has the divine double meaning, but I feel like we already did that and it fizzled out. We are also no longer Sven and Maya, but the universe knows us as that, and we hate to give up pseudonyms that have served us so well and have so much meaning, while also tired of feeling like we are hiding who we really are. Sven and Maya also have a lot of negative attachment and storyline, but it’s the storyline that got us here, so do we hold on to what we know and see what that evolves into, completely, or do we start over with a different approach?

In the meantime, while we passively put energy into that decision and actively put energy into what we are doing, we have been to a dozen different beautiful places with only a couple instagram posts to show for it, so I feel like we are missing the feeling aspect of the adventure on top of feeling like we haven’t started yet.

I imagine there will be a big catch up photo post next, but I wanted to get the feeling post out first, which I have been writing for about a week. I finally started writing in the morning mist of a picnic table next to a pile of bones just north of Blue Mesa Reservoir, and now I’m watching the sun rise over the Animas River in Durango, still a little blown away from the trek over the million dollar highway, which we didn’t really stop on, but already plan to go back to. I also feel like I just start to get into the groove of writing, then I glance at the clock and start to panic because we are already late to start packing up to head to the next spot. So that’s what we need to do now, and I imagine the rest will happen when it’s supposed to happen.


*Finished at Sundance, Red Valley, AZ

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