Its beginning to find its way to the surface.
We clearly haven’t been as good at updates here at home as we were on the road…need to work on that. Likely it’s because somewhere along the way, while we were off trying to find ourselves, writing became my therapy. It was truly the first time i did any writing in my life and it quickly became my way of trying to figure things out. An attempt to work through all the ideas and thoughts racing through my head as i tried to deal with things. Now things are a bit different.
I don’t have full days of downtime, for one. I also don’t seem to be quite as overwhelmed with the massiveness of the possibilities. At least for now things seem pretty straightforward. On weekends (or the occasional mid-week happy hour, birthday party or other event) we soak up our friends and play. At current, the time in between (mondays to fridays) is being spent fueling the creative fires. We also joined a sand volleyball league trying to tap into some of our fun in Vancouver, but more on that in weeks to come.
Creativity was one of the largest struggles for me before we left. Somehow in between 60-80hour workweeks and intensive travel, the brain would rather zone out to a movie than create, even when you have windows of time at home. I had moments of success, and a few drawings/paintings would appear once a year or so, but mainly the day to day grind overtook what i felt was one of the most important parts of me- my creative being. It was easily one of the key reasons for our trip- to rediscover and tap into our creative spirits.
As it turns out, this was also one of the biggest disappointments of life on the road. Creativity abounds in ones head when feeling wild and free, and the ideas and possibilities were almost endless…but the ability to actually use them somewhat stifled. It’s rather hard to spread out, build a canvas or source materials when you live in a tiny box on wheels. It’s no wonder when we rented an apartment in Nayarit, creativity burst out of me and i produced more rapidly than i can recall at any point in my life. Boundless ideas and creativity suddenly combined with free time and a space to work. Were it not for the arrival of high season (and the tripling of our rent) we might still be there creating things in that apartment overlooking the bay.
It is also one of the beauties of the “normal” life here however…we actually have a space for the things that drive us. Jen has been creating nonstop since we arrived. She’s toying with art and text. She’s currently working on a masterpiece that will hang in the stairwell far after we move out. A reminder, quoted from Romi to “respond to every call that excites your spirit”. Watching her work is a great reminder for me to simply let go and make. She doesn’t deal with many of the demons and expectations that i’ve adopted over the years…she simply makes things because its fun. I still have so much to learn.
We have also moved into the realm of furniture making. This time it was easy to choose a creative direction. We still live in an apartment occupied by only the bar and our mattress on the floor, and are trying not to buy things… Our empty apartment would be fine for us, but one day it would actually be quite nice to have people over without them having to sit on a camp chair or on your bed.
When we left Vancouver and passed through Portland a year ago i had heard about a community shop that had opened where a person could go to use tools. Woodshop, metalshop, lazercutter, CNC machine- it sounded like an adult playground. “Why would they open just as i’m leaving?” i wondered, but now it’s working out perfectly. In fact, its making me think (when the time is right) i might bring the bus back home, rip out the interior and do it the right way. With real tools and equipment rather than the battery powered jigsaw we used to make it the first time. If anyone wants a custom camper kit built, let me know…
Our first week back in portland I applied to join the community as a ‘work for membership’ position, but as yet they haven’t had openings in their schedules. We finally broke down and used a special during their 2year birthday party and paid for a month membership. It was well timed and we’ve spent everyday there this week. It was difficult to decide which project to tackle first, but we decided to dive into our need for a table. If we have a table we can not only have others over for game night, but we can also feed them and it can house other creative works without rolling around on the floor.
Initially it was tough to admit that we need furniture, despite our minimalist leanings- but if all goes well we can actually sell our “upcycled” furniture when we leave town for more than it cost us to make it. Save things from the landfill, make them useful for us while needed, then part with them and possibly make a bit of money at the same time…almost a perfect plan.
We spent the last few weeks collecting pallets, knowing they can become something better than landfill liner. A few days ago we rifled through the aisles at our local recycled building supply place, The Rebuilding Center and finally stumbled upon enough reclaimed tongue and groove fir flooring to make our tabletop. After that it was off to the scrapyards looking for steel…Let the fun begin!
Our days have now been consumed with design discussions, joining/planing, sanding and yesterday i tried to reteach myself how to weld. It’s clear we aren’t professionals but so far the thing even looks like it might turn into a table. Still too early to see whether it actually stands. Regardless…its been one of the funnest weeks i can remember. I love making things. Apparently, one of the posters on the wall at ADX is true… “builders gotta build”.