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March 2, 2019

Alternate Universe: This is the Life I can Promise You.


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“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut 

Will there ever be a “perfect time” to follow a buried dream?

If we had a little money set aside, and could take a short break to follow our hearts, and do something that feeds our souls, instead of adhering to the daily grind…would we?

My dream has a name. I call it “Alternate Universe,” and I would like to pull you into my passenger seat for the ride. I’ll do it with a kick-a*s soundtrack, and without a filter, because I don’t care about filters now that I’m 50. Except for selfies, of course. 

First, there is no snow in Alternate Universe. Yes, snow is nice. Snow happens. But we are not cold. Also, our clothes fit perfectly (they’re actually a little loose if truth be told). We don’t have aches or pains, and our teeth are sparkling white! They freaking gleam and twinkle when we flash our happy, carefree smiles, which is often, because, you know, Alternate Universe.

We feel young, healthy, and good in our own skin.

In this magical place, we’ve simply unloaded. We’ve sold or donated almost every stagnant thing we own—all the stuff that doesn’t serve us in any way. The items that are not bequeathed to others are in boxes waiting to be sorted down at Goodwill. They are in shelters, churches, and women’s centers. Nothing useful is wasted during the purging process. The “pretty and fun to look at” collections of things are gone. They no longer clutter our existence with their shelved, dormant “prettiness” and this makes us feel free.

Alternate Universe does include our Buddha, our yoga mats, and a little salt lamp, though. There are just some things we can’t live without.

We’ve also neatly packed the following:

Five joints, or “vape pens,” or whatever the kids are calling them these days. Five bottles of assorted red wine, including a nice Malbec, and a holiday stash of Apothic Inferno. Cutoff shorts, vintage sunglasses, several shades of red lipstick, flip flops, cozy cardigan sweaters, jeans, three T-shirts apiece, yoga pants, sneakers, sassy perfumes, a camera, a flashlight, and a few A-line dresses for those raucous “rock and roll jukebox nights” at various small-town dive bars we plan to frequent.

Our bathing suits for spontaneous swimming! Some ugly lawn chairs, a small, metal side table, three succulents in adorable pots, $800 cash each, two emergency credit cards (with big limits and zero balances), four books, our journals, our laptops, a gas card, and a stash of lower-tier snack treats, like Ring Dings, ramen noodles, and several canisters of assorted Pringles. Coffee! A killer playlist peppered with Southern rock classics! Dry shampoo! Mouthwash!

Alternate Universe is about minimalism, but the perfumes will be important.

Upon gathering these “necessities” and pairing things down, we have obtained a modest, but absolutely adorable, vintage camper, and we’ve jacked it up with all the stuff we like.

Little twinkly solar lights, a cooler filled with Fireball and Blue Moon, a fishing pole (just because), an obnoxiously large white swan blow-up float, hiking boots, and our beloved bikes. Mine has a basket. A basket that will safely transport grapes, crackers, wedges of sharp cheddar, and bags of Swedish fish. It is imperative that these snacks be available should we feel the need to stop and sit “for a spell” beneath the cool comfort of a beautiful tree.

In Alternate Universe, we will buy, sell, and barter our way across the country. When our money runs out we will “make do” with my karaoke contest winnings, and a simple, yet profound Go Fund Me page. My bohemian travel journey blog (“Kalamity Kim”) will be so damn entertaining it’ll be worth the five bucks you would surely throw in just to keep us going. Come on. I’d do it for you. You could even go old-school and wire us a little something Western Union style.

Think of how fun that would be for all of us! I promise there will be weird photos in front of cacti and giant balls of yarn. We will not simply “stand there.”

When we get to Alaska, we’ll call everyone. Yes, we will “get to Alaska.”

Are you scratching your head, asking questions? Is Alternate Universe about running away? Maybe. But I prefer to think of it as running toward something instead. Toward an actual open-ended adventure and our true essence, which for me is a resourceful, vagabond midnight rider. I can’t speak for you, but I know I would like to glean clarity from immersive experiences.

While I understand that I cannot just drop everything and never look back, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the tempting pull of what I think could be the best thing I ever did in my life (aside from creating magnificent babies, of course). It’s becoming way too easy to post inspirational quotes without following through, and that makes me feel like a poser.

Alternate Universe is a dream, for sure, but couldn’t it also be a promise?

I’m growing tired of not enjoying the freedom-loving things my soul craves. Can you relate? Alternate Universe might be the place where I finally finish the three novels I’ve started, the place where epiphanies explode like fireworks inside my head. Perhaps I’ll meet weirdly interesting people who challenge my perspective about this country, and the world we share. It could be where I face a few setbacks that require a bit of pluck and grit.

Maybe I’ll come home with some stories to tell my grandchildren, or more than likely, a few I’ll take to my grave.

Alternate Universe is different for everyone, but mine represents a place where we can live before we run out of the energy required for living, a place to experience before we’re filled to the brim with regrets over what we should have done, without apology, “long ago,” when we had the chance. I know this is a hopeful, romantic notion, but honestly, what’s so bad about hope and romance?

I can feel myself moving closer to Alternate Universe, and while it’s still very much an infant idea, consider this declaration a planted seed of truth. Lynyrd Skynyrd is cued up, waiting to be blasted as I hastily back down my driveway, knocking over my mailbox in what can only be described as Rebel Performance Art.

Screw the rules!

I think I might have to run to keep from hiding. And when I have one more silver dollar left, I promise I’ll come home. Let me know where and when to pick you up.



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