Last Minute Trip to Chicago

Chicago is probably my favorite big city. Every time I have been there I have a great time. I have been a few time before this trip but it has been eight years.

Eight years ago I stayed with my cousin in her dorm and she took me around to all kinds of really cool spots.  Before that, my trips there were with family and we did all kinds of tourist activities.
This trip I was determined NOT to do any touristy things. I had family and friends who might as well be in the city. I really didn’t give a fuck what we did, I just wanted to spend time with them! So that’s exactly what I did.

I showed up in Chicago the same day as Cindy and her mom. They had planned to stay at my friend Justin’s apartment by he was still out of town. I tagged along with them. I told his roommates who I was and how we met in Taiwan. No problems, slept on the couch.

The next morning my cousin picked me up to drive out to Naperville to see her mom. Cindy was leaving to Minnesota for a couple days and Justin wouldn’t be in until for a couple days. I had nothing better to do then go to the suburbs. But, I am super grateful that I did.

We stayed up all night with her mom drinking wine, eating cheese, and talking about our family history. I learned a lot of things that I hadn’t known. It really puts certain family situations in perspective.

The next night, we had dinner with my cousin’s boyfriend. After that, we went to a bar and played darts. I almost won my first game. Does that count for anything??

The next day, a Friday, I was alone in Chicago. Everyone I knew was either working or not in town. A made myself vulnerable and tried out Couchsurfing’s new Hang Out function.

It was a great experience. I think I met up with the group at around five p.m. and ending up closing a bar at 4 a.m. Couchsurfing makes it easy to never travel alone.

One of the guys I met was named Darren. He was interested in going out approaching people and meeting girls.  I told him the truth, “I am down to go to talk to people, but I am awful at approaching strangers.” “It’s easy,” he said.

He told me, “just go up to this group and ask them what a good bar is.” Before I could come up with any excuse not to, he literally pushed me into them.

We went from bar to bar doing these all night until I left him to go to sleep. I learned a lot from him. It actually is no big deal to approach strangers in a bar. Everyone seemed quite happy to talk. This is not something I have personally experienced in my life before.

I’ve led a shy existence. But, that is changing.

The next day, technically it’s the same day because I went to sleep at 4:30 A.M., I met up with my friend Justin. He had another friend he met in Taiwan, Carina, visiting too. We all went out for a late breakfast. Justin had to go work. I wanted to go to the Lincoln Park Conservatory to see the plants. Carina came with me.

After the Conservatory we rented some bikes and rode by the lake. This was such a relaxing way to spend the day. It reminded me of the bay in San Diego. I wanted to go home and make a point of riding along the bay regularly. (I have not done this.)

The plan was to meet up with Justin for dinner. But apparently Carina is just naturally late. Justin told us to meet 30 minutes early so we would be one time. Fantastic! They went to a play and I went back to my cousin’s to get cleaned up. We met up for drinks after.

Ended up getting drunk. Getting hungry. And, dropping a watermelon in the grocery store. I also through a cantaloupe at Justin while he was trying to sleep. I went to bed at 4 or 5. Two hours later Cindy showed up.

She had pie from Justin’s mom. She feed it to me while I was barely awake. Life can be good sometimes.  😉

I spent the next two days doing some touristy stuff with Cindy and her mom.

I took only four pictures. Mostly of Lego versions of the Chicago skyline.

And a fat Tinkerbell graffiti piece.


Chicago was wonderful.


Back in San Diego (Again) For a Week or So. I Really Can’t Remember.

Written in October 2016, takes place in July 2016.


Coming back to San Diego from Arcata sent my mind spinning out of control. I was envisioning myself running away to a new life in the woods. I was jealous of my friends starting new.

I felt like I have been through a lot in the past few months. It wore on me mentally and physically. How could I not want to run away?

I spent the next week in San Diego working all day, dreaming of the redwoods, and spent my nights smoking DMT. A lot of it…

I learned a lot from my experiences but I am definitely forgetting some of my days.

I ended up canceling my trip to visit a friend in Montreal because I wasn’t sure what was going on and I was pretty sure I was moving up to a farm in Humboldt County. Something about inter-dimensional  travel makes you think.

I decided on a whim to buy a cheap round-trip ticket to Chicago. My Taiwanese friend was to be visiting there, I have a great friend I met in Taiwan who works out of Chicago, and my cousin lives there! I haven’t seen here in eight years.

And, I was a little worried that if I didn’t force myself to take a break I would have just kept experiencing DMT. Which isn’t a bad thing. But, I was letting myself prioritize that over what I knew I wanted to make my priorities.

Probably One of the Most Rewarding Trips I’ve Taken

Arcata, CA July 2016

I’ve been a lot of places and I’ve done a lot of exciting things. I have fond memories from many trips. All of my trips have provide me with that warm tingly feeling we call happiness.

But, I would have to say that the trip that has provided me with more warmth and more tingles (?) is a recent trip I took up the redwoods.


Just a typical amazing view from up North. Those light green patches are places that were clearcut back in the 50s or 60s. Notice how they still aren’t recovered. People still clearcut.

A couple of friends of mine from high school are moving up to Arcata, California. One for school, the other for love. They’re married.

When I first heard that they were moving, I selfishly volunteered to help them. Any excuse to travel I will take. I told them I could barrow one of my dad’s work trucks to move their furniture.

Months had passed since my  initial offer. During that time two of the work trucks died. There was nothing left for me to barrow. The company was short on trucks. But, I told them I would help them and I wasn’t about to break that.

I rented cargo van.


I picked up the van late on Wednesday afternoon. Then drove it up to their home in North County (San Diego). I hadn’t been sleeping much since I got back from Montana. I gave them the van keys, told them to load it up, and proceeded to take a nap.

Ten hours later, I woke up. Maybe about half of the packing and apartment cleaning that need to be done was done. I tried to help out as best I could, tetrising in as much of their belongings as I could. Almost everything had to fit in the van because she drives a small Honda and he drives a Fiat.

When it was finally time to leave, we left San Diego just in time to meet up with the LA rush hour.

My aggressive driving style and their frequent bathroom breaks got me about an hour and change a head of them. We stopped in Sacramento for a late night dinner. Only one place was really open so we went their for tapas.

We decided that it was best to find somewhere to camp for the night instead of trying to drive the next six hours (estimated arrival time 4:20 A.M.). We found a small campsite on google maps outside of a town called Collusa, about an hour north of Sacramento. It wasn’t too much of a detour.

When we got there, I pulled out their living-room rug, spread it out on a picnic table, tossed out my sleeping bag and went to sleep.

The morning started lazily. But, soon enough we were headed back out on the road. From the Five we took the 101 to Arcata. I’ve been to Arcata a few times, but never via this road. New is good.

It was beautiful drive in. I don’t know what it was about this particular trip but I couldn’t help but think, during the entire two days of driving, how happy I was. I was happy to be on the road, I was happy to be with friends, I was happy to be a part of huge change in their life.

I missed their wedding when I was in Taiwan. They had it the weekend after finals and a week before I got back. They were to selfish to push it back when I asked, so whatever. I didn’t go, nor did I get them anything. I considered this a late wedding gift, early housewarming, and repayment for that time I was supposed to help you pay for that van we totaled in high school.

 – – –

Arcata is a beautiful little college town in the heart of the redwood forest in Northern California. It’s home to Humboldt State University.

We all pretty much spent the next four, or five, days (I can’t rememeber) smoking weed, taking naps, smoking weed, walking around town, hiking,  smoking weed, and drinking.



Taking a nap on Strawberry Rock. I slept here. The photo was after I woke up.

This was also during the Forth of July. We met up with some other friends from high school and their friends and drove down to Eureka to see the fireworks.

I would wake up earlier than other people, take the van to a near by beach, and spend some time alone mediating. The mornings were foggy, I loved it. I was alone on the beaches until about 9 or 9:30. I found it very relaxing.

Then one morning, I had to wake up and leave. Almost without saying goodbye.

I drove back down through Avenue of the Giants, Mendocino County, and over to Glass Beach. Glass Beach was two hours out of the way but way worth it!


I love this picture! I think it is great that the focus is on the dead bugs on the windsheild over the amazing backdrop outside.


You can see some dead bugs here too lol

– – –

I had this strange urge to move there. To stay in the mindset that was I in. I had been so depressed the past couple months. The friends who were their for me just moved 14 hours away to some redwood paradise. I fantasized about moving up there, working on a farming, dumpster diving, trimming, and selling psychedelics purchased off the dark net.

These thoughts persisted for a few weeks after I returned. I was contacting a friend-of-friend who had a farm job to see if there was work. I signed up for a WWOOFUSA account to find farms to live at. I told my family I was thinking about doing. I even used it to justify canceling a trip to Montreal to visit a friend.

Then I realized something. I was lost. I was just filling my emptiness with another persons dream. After college, after my long-term relationship ended, I didn’t know what to do. I had to much freedom of choice and I attached myself to the first wild idea that presented itself. I paused. Reevaluated.

As much as I would love to live in the moment that was my five days in their home. I can’t. I would have gotten over that novelty. It was their dream to live their not mine. I have wild fantasies of my own I must chase.

And, I am. Stay tuned.

Visit From A Taiwanese Friend

When I was studying in Taipei the school assigned the exchange students a “buddy.” The role of the buddy was to help us get situated. I never met my buddy, but I was adopted by my buddy’s buddy. She helped me translate when I need administrative forms filled out and when I was negating the price for the scooter I totaled.

She was a real life saver.

So when I got back to San Diego State, I signed up to be a buddy for an exchange student. I was assigned a student from Taiwan (presumably because I had been there). I took here around San Diego breweries, we went camping, hiking, shooting, all kinds of American things.

That was over a year ago. But, she sent me and my ex-girlfriend a group message saying she was coming back. We both ignored her.

A few weeks later she sent me a private message. I told her what was up and that my summer schedule was busy. Wisconsin, Montana, Arcata, Montreal. I wouldn’t be in San Diego long.

We exchange dates and she changed her trip to be in San Diego for the three days I would be there between Montana and Arcata. I also told her i had already made plans with friends and she is more than welcome to come along. But, I have to work during the day. “Okay, it is fine :)”

I picked her up at the train station loaded her luggage in the truck. “Hey we’re going to meet up with some couchsurfing friends in Ocean Beach and go to someone’s birthday party. But we gotta leave and go to a going away party in the even.”

We  walked from Dog Beach to sunset cliffs with some friends to meet up with friends-of-friends. That’s what is great about couchsurfing, everyone is so damn friendly. My friend took a nap on the beach while I talked to cool people.


Later that evening I took her to the going-away party for my friends that were moving to Arcata. All my old friends were there, all their friends, and family. Everyone was drinking, playing beer pond, and catching up. It’s nice to offer foreign travelers a real American experience. It doesn’t get realer than American friends and family drinking together.

The next night we went hiking up in the mountains East of San Diego. She enjoyed the camping and hiking we did up there last year, so  we had to go back. A couple couchsurfing friends came too.


That evening we went to another going-away party. This time at the husband’s family’s home. Everyone in his family is a good friend of mine. His dad even introduced me to his friends as, “Alan, a friend of our sons. Well, actually, he’s are friend too!” Made me so warm and fuzzy inside.


During the week I took her on some work errands. We went to a couple bars. Saw an Iggy Pop tribute show. And, did some loitering with friends.

I have to say I am pretty damn good host if you want to experience typical life in San Diego.

She got lucky that all those things were planned in a short time period >.< I’m not awesome!

Glacier National Park, Montana

I hate the middle seat. I’m a window seat kind of guy. I enjoy looking down below at the patchwork of farms that makes up America. Also it’s nice to lean my head against the wall pass out.

I was still dehydrated from some intoxicate use the night before.

I was up late last night. Went to a MoCA event with some other couchsurfers. I got stoned because I couldn’t sleep. Now I’m on a plane, with no pillow, in the middle seat, getting shit sleep.


Growing up, going over to Montana. We’re on our way to spend 10 days in Glacier National Park. This is the park my dad never got this to his children. He was busy marrying a crazy bitch, my brother was graduating, and I was entering the world of psychedelics.

But we’re going now. I’m here because my dad loves his kids. This is the family trip he’s been wanting. If anyone needs an escape from their life it’s him. [I’m probably projecting here, I need escape too.] My goal is to make sure he has fun with his sons.
Turns out my dad isn’t the greatest at planning trips. We are staying in Great Falls the first night then our next few nights are pretty close, without much to do or see in between.

We ate lunch, after picking my brother up at the airport. He flew in separate from Ohio. The place we ate was mediocre at best. I wold soon learn this would be a trend in Montana cuisine.


Afterwards we spent an unfortunate amount of time in a sporting goods store. The time was passed a little quicker with the company of an unaccompanied minor who wanted fifty bucks to put a gun that shoots salt at bugs.

The next night we stayed in Browning. It was only a two hour drive from Great Falls with even less to do.

We find our residency for the evening; a tipi village. I could tell my dad was underwhelmed to say the least. But once I saw inside teepee I was excited. I love camping. And the foam had they provided was way softer than what I normally camp with.



We spent the day driving up to Canada.


Canada has a national park that borders Glacier, Waterton National Park. Together they create one large International Peace Park.

Canada is beautiful. Is it fair that their side of the border is nicer than America? Canadian bacon was right. He didn’t do much there but it was exciting because I got to drive in another foreign country and I’ve now been to national parks and three countries. Possibly for, not too sure what the deal is with the Philippines.

I slept very well in Tipi that night.



The next day few we went hiking in Glacier National Park. My dad was slow because he’s old and my brother was slow because he got sick from a frozen salmon burger. Regardless,  they both impressed me by hiking 15 miles in a day.

We did the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail. We knew it was closed because a trail marker had said so. In my head I just assumed that meant the trial was closed and I could ignore it. BUT no, they actually have a big ass metal door that closed the tunnel!


The trail was still fun. We saw some marmot, some goats, and had a hell of a view.




I spent every night in Montana staying up late because I couldn’t sleep. It was lighter later, a time difference,  and I need time alone to quiet my mind. So I mostly spent my evenings alone, drinking in the hotel lobby.


I hope my dad had fun! I love that guy.




We walked all the way around this lake. Pictured is about 3/4 of it



This is a beaver dam. I recently watched a show about beavers as a keystone species. I was excited to see this.


Buffalo, outside the park


10 Days: Back in San Diego

When you get an opportunity to travel to run away from your problems it’s hard to come back. In Wisconsin, I thought that I had figured everything out. I was angry, but now I’m over it. I was sad, but now I’m okay.

I had this list of things in my head. In fact I might of even written them down somewhere. But, I had this list of the things I would do to when I got back to pick myself up out of the slump.

I only had to survive 10 days until my next trip.

Well I worked a lot. Gotta stay busy. Unfortunately, though I have that disease that causes you to think too much.

When I wasn’t working I was drinking. When I wasn’t drinking, I was drugging. When I wasn’t drugging, I was sleeping. Which wasn’t much, because when I wasn’t sleeping, I working.

I was trying to drink away the part of the day I can not sleep away. (Modest Mouse – Polar Opposites, 1997.)



Working in Wisconsin

A few days after my graduation ceremony I was still recovering from the massive amount of stress my body and mind had gone through. When my Aunt sends me a congratulations text.

Except, she also wanted to know if I wanted to come work with for her for a week. She was going to buy me a ticket, pay me, and feed me. Of course I’ll go! You don’t even have to pay me just get me a ticket.

A week later I was on my way to Wisconsin. I’m a nice guy. I told her to get the cheapest ticket possible. The cheapest ticket came with a six hour layover in Denver. I brought a couple books with so it’s no big deal.

When we were scheduled to land in Madison there was a lightening storm over the airport. We were rerouted to Milwaukee, landed there, and hung out for an hour and half. We left rather abruptly because the pilots wanted to take off before the storm got to Milwaukee from Madison.

We ended up flying around the storm. Not sure if we went north or south though. I finally landed in Madison. Three hours late.

The next day I was to go to a few breweries with my Aunt Shelle, Great Uncle Jim and Great Aunt Sue. So much for working!

We went on a brewery tour that cost $5. They gave us a free beer before. A six pack at the end, and all you can drink for 30 minutes. This was brewery one of, I can’t even remember.

The next day I barrowed a car and drove two hours north to visit a Great Uncle on my dad’s side. He is eighty-plus years old. It was important for me to go visit him. We spent six hours talking about life. His travels, my travels, my plans, his advice. I really enjoyed the time I spent there with him. I hope to get back out there soon.

I spent the next week doing various yard work around my Aunt’s home. Mowing the lawn, unloading a huge pile of mulch, planting veggies, and weeding. But  by far my favorite was every morning taking care of the horses.

My Aunt Lisa rescued an abused horse. It was living next door in the neighbor’s stable with the neighbors horse. Every morning I would go over there early to brush them, feed them, and clean out their stalls. I loved it!

I hadn’t ever worked with horses before but I am hooked now.

I got to practice leash lining the rescued horse. It is essentially when you put a leash on the horse and run her in a circle. The goal is to get her used to commands before anyone tries to ride her.


This trip came at the perfect time in my life. I had been going through a lot at the time. I was feeling abandoned by my ex. But, in Wisconsin, family was coming from all over just to see me. They wanted to be with me because I was me. It made me feel great.

I talked to my Aunts about what I was going though and they told me about their lives. Everything was starting to make sense. I was calming. I remember hoping it would last when I returned home.

Of course, I would only be home for ten more days before I’d be off to Montana!