I often think about place – derived from the Latin word platea meaning "open space" – as I wander to my edge in this world's travel. I believe in authenticity over identity, push pins unnecessary. While I value origin, I move forward out of necessity to survive curiosity. In 2012, I moved North. I found home in the mountains, of Vermont. I never thought I would leave Maryland, after all my parents spoke of finding love where they were raised in Michigan. Displacing my sense of the word. Where is home? Are we there yet? I listened to their map: the backyard, the place to go for the holidays, to rest, of the logistics of economy. Define community, family. I moved anyway. When I entered a culture of endlessly colorful landscapes, seasonal pronunciation, I questioned artists illustrating nature, yet here I am, years later, waning alongside the wilt of a flower stem and trying to meet it at its movement, paintbrush in hand.
In 2014, I pursued a deeper path of perspective. I visited friends around the states before taking flight to Asia. For months, I felt culture shock and uninhibited happiness and fear and free fall and deserving food, and myself with others. Out of money, I collapsed back into my past. We're almost there. To Michigan, to New Hampshire, to Vermont, to New Hampshire and seeing Vermont as I was, before spending the summer of 2015 on an island off of Washington's most coast. In the end, I turned the northwest tip of the country in a boat oared by one, only to be met by the breath of a humpback whale – megaptera novaengliae meaning "big winged New Englander" – redefining my experience of what it means to exist.
In many years of flight, I had never honestly road-tripped so I decided to spend 5000+ miles or kilometers on the road in one month in two different ideas of wheels (a slick car named Starship Enterprise, and the other, Gertie, our truck I barely learned to drive). The first two weeks of October 2015 learned me and a good friend a tent and campfire through British Columbia and Alberta provinces, for the sight of any national park that would keep us grizzly-free. The second half of the month folded into itself as I revisited (does a last minute planet ticket booked by a teenager count?) Yosemite, the Redwoods, and the Sequoias alike with a partner and his love, his family. These words here, other than lantern journal scribble, may be the only place for them now and that is okay. A moment does not exist where I would deny gratitude for beauty and kindness. At any point I find hope in the embodiment of what is enough. What was, so I'd rather: what is.
My search continued while found in a house painted green in Portland, Oregon with good friends. Four boys from New England, another from Asia, and I take on shelter and home away from home.
Back east, in my pack, alone.
All the while, I studied my masters in poetry of all things "online" and professionally speaking I scaffold a career in making art accessible to all anywhere. I imagine myself curled up in an art studio, my own, maybe talking out loud the parts I find interesting in a story with someone who would do the same. I make marks, as an artist and writer. And if I don't end up teaching, I’ll start a school.