Escaping Life on Replay

Sayward at Quacks
Sayward at Quacks
Crossing 2,500 miles with a U-Haul (from Daytona Beach, Florida to San Diego, California) is no small undertaking. Doing it in under 60-hours is what you'd call "impressive". Now, add to that a night resting up in Lafayette, Louisiana... 'n then add a nine-hour stopoff in Austin, Texas to hang out. If we're still talking about making the trip in under 60-hours, then that's what you'd call "legendary".

Sayward 'n Mark made the trip look easy.

As I said in my previous post, most of the travelers I know don't even set foot inside the States... so it was awesome when I got an email from a traveling friend called Sayward saying that she was going to be stopping off in Austin. W00t! With such a full day (and all the surrounding thoughts), I'm going to break up this post into three parts: An ATX Gathering, Life on Replay, A Game of Connect-the-Dots. All of them intertwine to tell a story thru time.

An ATX Gathering: Sayward quite literally had the best introduction to Austin that a person could ask for. In fact, sadly, she may be forever biased against it being anything other than "a spectacular city". For the most part, that's not far off. When she told me the neighborhood they were landing in, I had to double-check the map to make sure that wishful thinking wasn't making me guess wrong. It wasn't. If you're going to hit Austin in the summer, the best neighborhood to hit up first is Zilker Park. If you're hitting it in the winter, then the best neighborhood is Hyde Park. Sayward and Mark were landing right in Hyde Park... right on the X that "marks the spot".

She called me once they'd made the border of Austin. Hyde Park is less than a half-hour's walk from where I live, so I grabbed a laptop and set out on foot. I found her at Quacks, the main coffee shop for Hyde Park. She's impossible to miss, as her vibrant smile, shining demeanor and shock of white hair all make for a perfect combination to stand out in a crowd. That's a good thing, as we'd never actually met in person before.

I got to hear all about Christmas... Saint Augustine style. We're talking pirate ships, horses and forts here... and a bottle o' rum. She wrote an entire entry on this. I immediately wrote down Saint Augustine on my places to check out in America. While some peeps make a bucket list, many don't actually go about checking things off of it. Sayward's out living her bucket list at this very moment. I poked her about publishing the list itself (and look forward to reading it).

We abandoned the comfort of Quacks for the insane organic eats just across the street. Mother's Cafe is one of the jewels of the city, let alone Hyde Park. We talked about future plans, for her trip and for my own... at least, once I wrap up the last of my work here in the city. Spending time with another traveler had my wanderlust going crazy. The great meal (thanks Sayward!) helped to calm some of the energy. We walked for a ways after leaving Mother's, then hugged and said goodbye. Sayward 'n Mark were leaving that night, with plans to make the shores of Diego by the next day. It was only a temporary goodbye.

Travelers never stay far apart for long.

Check out her blog, as well as her main site on juice fast retreats:

Before going on to the next section, time to queue the song of the day:
Song of the Day: "Miss Levine" by Beats Antique [Free Download]
"Miss Levine" by Beats Antique
Life on Replay: One of the things we talked about was how much of her trip she still had left to write about. Every day was (and will continue to be) packed. Many travelers talk about having "more time" when they're traveling than when they're not traveling. It's a fact.

It also makes sense.

When you're not traveling, you're usually working a job with a specific group of people. Even the work you do is usually very specific. The people you come home to don't vary that much, nor the people you hang out with. This repetition is life on replay. There are small variances in the film reel of your life, but it's primarily the same movie being played over and over again. It's not that you have "less time", but that more of your time is spent doing many of the same things... again... and again.

"The world isn't getting smaller. There's just less in in."
~Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean

Some people escape life on replay by distraction. Television, partying and the Internet (while all have uses) are all easy ways to "zone out". Other people escape into memories of the past, no matter whether dark or light... or to dreams of the future. But travel is an actual way out.

New people, new horizons, new experiences and new stories... every... single... day. When your mind has adjusted to life on replay, it truly feels like you have more time when you make the gearshift into traveling. This is why many writers throughout the ages have turned to travel for inspiration. There is so much "content" when on the road that you have to make the painful choices of what to cut out... and what to keep.

And there is a danger in this. A person who plans a trip with people they know, and who sets a schedule for when and where to do things, is going to get caught right back up in a life of replay. When in groups, it's best to split up for a time, then meet up later. When on a schedule, at least leave time to take side-roads and explore... or tear the schedule up. Make an effort to meet new people. Take the time to explore places that you've never seen before (and not just with your camera). This is how you escape the "Life on Replay" that is called tourism and join the spontaneous world of travelers.

The choices you make on how to invest your time will define the quality of the time you spend living. It's a rule that applies to all life, no matter whether sitting still or in motion.

A Game of Connect-the-Dots: Travelers have a way of meeting up in the most interesting ways. Sometimes thru other travelers, sometimes hitching the same rides, sometimes just over a drink at a hostel. It's fun to connect the dots. In this case, the entry here is actually missing a piece of the puzzle--joel. It all began when joel commented on my post "With a Hatchet and a Cigarette". I love getting comments from actual humans (and not spam bots). So I checked out his Blogger profile, finding that he and his friend Jude were writing their own travel blog [So Lost at Last]. This is where I first read about Sayward, as she'd given them a ride in Oregon.

But really, how do you turn down two hitchhikers who are literally doing cartwheels while trying to hitch a ride? After reading about their fun antics, I followed their link to Sayward's blog. Wow! She's been documenting her travels for a while now, including a journey thru the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT is one of the things on my list. A few of the posts inspired me to leave a few comments, then shortly after we began emailing... and the picture is complete.

Digital travelers meeting up online, then crossing paths in the world "outside of the box".