A Few Of My Favorite Things

Now, THAT’S a tree

One of my least favorite things is the concept of the New Year’s Resolution. It seems like a concept that is bound to fail – who the hell makes successful life choices and then implements them in the dead of winter? (Southern Hemisphere readers, maybe you can weigh in on this.)

But a few weeks back I put out a post called “Manifesto”, in which I outlined some changes I was going to be personally making: to wit, a new Bucket List for myself.

I put it together, folded, stapled, and mutilated it, and then I added it to Misdirected.

And now, I would like to go through a few of these new ambitions for the future years of my life with you, gentle readers.

Obviously, we won’t cover ALL 50 of them, but there are a few here that bear some extra consideration.

Visit Ash Falls (Rosedale, OR)

Probably not how Oregon looks in real life

Probably the most important item on my list. (I ranked it #1, after all) I can FINALLY visit the geography surrounding my fictional city, Ash Falls.

So, just when the Oregon weather turns nice and rainy, we’ll head up I-5 from Sacramento. In the southwestern corner of the state lies the area I set my fictional metropolis in. There is no city of half a million residents there, in real life – the closest community would be Roseburg, OR. Sitting between the two arms of the Umpqua, it is placed smack dab in the geographical center of my creation. My Umpqua River is a deep and wide channel that eventually meets the Pacific south of Coos Bay. I can’t say I expect to see the images in my head brought to life in reality.

But, at last, I will get to touch some trees, smell the air, listen to the water and figure out exactly what it should be like to live in Ash Falls. Residents and former residents of the area have paid me the high compliment of saying that I captured the “feel” of Oregon in my book. Still, I have a feeling that Oregon in my head is probably a lot different than the reality.

Vampires and Werewolves aside, of course

See the Redwoods in CA

Not retouched at ALL. The park really looks like this.

I mean, who says these things have to take forever, right?

On January 11, Melissa and I went to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park just outside Santa Cruz, California. It was, to wax poetical, freakin’ amazing. The very existence of these monstrous organisms is very humbling and inspiring. The only hiccup was we took the little furballs with us on our trip. This meant that A) We were prevented from checking out the old-growth zone with the really big trees, and B) We ended up carrying the little shits for the back part of the hike. Vixen has heart, but not the knees and hips to support a 5-mile round trip.

Jeremy’s Taxi Service, Party of One.

I have frequently suffered from “over-imagination syndrome” in my life. So much time is spent fantasizing about a place or a thing that by the time I experience the reality of it I am somehow disappointed that it didn’t match up to my unrealistic expectations.

I am happy to say that my imagination did not even begin to touch the reality of these magnificent trees. When we arrived in Santa Cruz I didn’t even know this park existed. Now it will remain in my memory as one of the highlights of the time we’ve spent on the road.

Complete a 10 k/half marathon/marathon

At the Finish Line, May, 2017. Still one of the defining moments of my life.

Oh, 2020. The wrecker of the best laid plans of mice and men alike.

I had big plans for 2020, I really did. Especially on the personal fitness front. My brother and I had been planning for YEARS to complete the 26-mile long Bataan Death March Hike in White Sands New Mexico, in celebration of our 50th birthdays.

Not only did the event have to be canceled due to COVID, but my brother and I both developed an advanced case of “Quarantine 15” that would have proved problematic in managing a 26 mile course. (In my case it is more like Quarantine 27, but that doesn’t flow quite as nicely.)

Completing the 2017 Run For The Zoo 5K remains one of the highlights of my weight loss journey, honestly. It was something that was always on my “Maybe someday…” list until I was finally able to go out and do it.

But I really, really want to keep going on that. So, my bucket list now includes completing a 10K, a half marathon, and a full marathon someday. In all honestly, I could complete a 10K right now, if anyone was holding them. But 13 miles, and then 26 miles? Daunting prospects. I will need to commit to some serious road time between now and whenever it is we are allowed to start having organized athletic events again.

Record an album

Out of the back of the closet and ready to work

In 2020, in one of my few positive personal developments, the “music” switch in my brain quietly flipped back to the “On” position. For the first ime in over a decade I was able to coherently sing, play, and practice semi-regularly.

And, during a visit with my best friend, I discovered that we had a wealth of musical material just sort of lying around. We had written tons of songs together but never really did anything with them, other than occassionally playing them at gigs between cover tunes.

Which got me to thinking: wouldn’t it be cool if I could actually do something with them?

We live in the age of COVID, where tons of musicians have been remotely collaborating and producing excellent music despite the inability to work together in the same physical space. And the musical production tools available to us are light years ahead of what we had twenty years ago. On my iPad, I have a recording studio that I would have killed for back when I was a professional.

I would love to re-engage with several of my musician buddies and make an attempt at bringing those musical creations back to life. We have more than a dozen of these never released songs just lying around collecting dust. To my ear, at least, they sound like they still hold up. Why not release them into the wild and find out?

Complete the Brian Drake Trilogy/Deep Ember/Our Little Secret/Learning To Live In The Dark/Sell 1,000 total books (across all titles)

The books inside my head. (Image by Pexels from Pixabay)

So, I am nothing if not a professional procrastinator. I can do “work” all day long, but when it comes to my own creations I have major trouble getting myself to actually sit down and finish. I frequently hold my personal copy of Inheritance and stare at it, wondering “How the hell did I do that?”

The end result is that I wind up with uncompleted projects. A lot of them. Currently, I’m waiting to finish the last two books in my Ash Falls trilogy. I also have the outline of an entire fantasy novel sitting around waiting for me to return to it and turn it from a frame into a home for my poor neglected characters.

And that doesn’t even begin to deal with the existence of not one but two different non-fiction titles I’ve been “working” on for years. 17 years, in one case. My biography/memoir Learning To Live In The Dark details my voyage through Adult-Onset Epilepsy to the life I lead today. And Our Little Secret deals with bariatric surgery from the male perspective, since men are still avoiding this life-altering procedure.

All sitting there, queued up, in my head. Waiting to be written and released.

And, as a validation of all the work that would go into writing five more books, I would actually like to sell a few of them. Nothing too dramatic – if I could sell 1,000 copies, total, of my works, I could cross this off the list.

So far? I’m just over two hundred copies of Inheritance sold. I’ve got quite a ways to go.

Launch RV website Nomad-Road.com/Get 100 subscribers to Nomad-Road.com

The infamous “Hello world!” website. The shame is unbearable.

If you spend any time on Misdirected, you know that the site can be a bit…scattered. Today is Epilepsy, tomorrow is gaming, yesterday was RV Life adventures. Though we went through a period where we covered our journey through bariatric surgery to the exclusion of everything else, it has sort of regressed to the mean of being about “whatever the hell Jeremy happens to be thinking about when he decides to sit down and write something.”

As it happens, I’ve spent a lot of time writing other people’s blog posts, ads, and what have you to try to support our “RV habit.” And I have always wondered if there was some way I could actually turn blogging into an actual, you know, revenue stream.

After researching other projects I could be doing while I am busy driving all over the country and not writing fiction and not updating my website, I came across the idea of building “niche” websites.

Before moving into full-time RVing, we spent a substantial amount of time researching other people’s websites and blogs for tips, wisdom, and knowledge about RV Life in general. Along the way, we’ve sort of become the fount of knowledge for friends and family members about RVing, Full-time RVing, and the lifestyle in general.

So, as it turns out, we have a niche. And our “niche” would also give me the opportunity to split out a bunch of the RV Life stuff from here on Misdirected to a home of its very own.

Accordingly, I’ve begun amassing data for a new website all about our RV Life: nomad-road.com.

If you go there today, you won’t find anything yet. I’ve registered the website and purchased some artwork, and that is about as far as I have gotten so far. There’s a reason this is on a “bucket list” and not a “cool stuff I’m proud to have accomplished” list. But, stick around – it is super high on the “do this major project next” list.

The Next Fifty Adventures Begin

If you take a look at the Bucket List, you’ll see there are some pretty outlandish goals there. But, why not aim high at this point? These are things I would like to be able to look back on and think that they really meant something. We like to tell everyone who asks us about becoming full-time RVers that we have traded “material goods for experiences.” And I want to make sure we maximize those experiences in every way possible.

Thanks for stopping by to visit while I muse. I will keep everyone posted as to where we are going and what we are doing via the usual social media channels, and will make a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT whenever we clear an item off the Bucket List. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

One Down, Forty-Nine To Go,

Jeremy