Blame it on the Tetons

I work with the band Indigenous Robot…

as their tour manager. A perfect arrangement for a vagrant like myself and a band like them. Since I started helping them at last year’s South by South West, we have traveled through nine states, one Canadian province, four cities in Japan, and I have heard them place at least 80 times in 65 days. That’s an average of one show every five days.

Thursday night they played a great show in Denver at the Marquis Theater with the legendary mr. Gnome. The weekend was supposed to look like; Friday-10am drive to Salt Lake City and spend the night there, Saturday drive to Boise, play a sold out Record Store Day after-party at the Neurolux with mr. Gnome, Sunday the band would leave me in Boise to return to Denver and I would find my way to Seattle for the birth of my nephew.

Obviously, that isn’t anything close to what the weekend looked like, because we wanted to cross the Rockies in spring, and we had plans. Continue reading

Advertisements

Editor’s Note

It doesn’t matter much what one believes, humans have primarily had a nomadic lifestyle during their residency on this planet. Or at least as far as I can tell. Despite centuries of attempted domestication humans have still not been able to overthrow this instinct, inclination, what-have-you. On a daily basis millions of people temporarily displace themselves from their place of residence to jobs, schools, and all other tedious activities. In fact, we have reached a state of out-sourced consumption that we no longer source food, clothing, or household items within walking distance of our homes*.

A lot of families don’t give birth in or near their own homes. The first breath is often taken in an overly sterilized, foreign environment.

Yet many have lost their understanding of travel. It has been allocated to the week and a half of paid vacation allowed by an employer. While that employer spends months of the year away from their home on business trips, paid for by the labor of others. While still others are forced to relocate, finding their traditional, familial lands polluted and untenable. Immigrating from the horror of losing everything they’ve known for generations, only to be reprimanded and criminalized once they make it past invisible lines drawn long ago.

There are many words in the English language for those who travel.

Traveler. Raconteur. Hobo. Sojourner. Globe-trotter. Wanderer. Vagabond. Drifter. Nomad. Immigrant. Tourist. Rambler. Expatriate. Chauffeur. Pilot. Business Executive. Vagrant.

It happens by choice. It happens by chance. Some run from a problem, while others run towards a solution.

This is not a travel blog. It’s not going to tell you where the best place to eat in Austin, TX is. Or which neighborhood won’t be as “scary” (read: low-income community of color) in Paris. You might get some insights on the places, but only as secondary bits of information included to give you a more holistic view of the people.

Writing should be a tool. One that is used to strengthen our understanding of the world around us and our fellow inhabitants. Don’t read this if you come to judge. Read to learn. This will be an unfolding discussion from people of all walks of life about why they travel. Whether it is only miles in a day to and from work, or train-hopping across a continent to see the sun rise on the Atlantic.

I am not a “travel expert.” You will learn more about me, and why I travel, as time goes by. For those who care about numbers, I am a 24 year-old who has been to 27 United States, Mexico, Japan, and Canada over the last 5 years. The last time I paid rent was May 2013, and I am used to living off of $3,000 or less per year.

I come from a place of U.S. educated cis-gender male privilege. I do my best to acknowledge that. In acknowledging that I aim to make myself accountable to the accesses I do have, and making it clear that this will not be the only voice heard here. I will use this platform to empower those voices often ignored in these spaces. All are invited to contribute, and those without access to a computer, or internet will be given it through interviews.

As editor I am committed to this in order to ensure this is the most inclusive and informative space possible.

J.D.

*That is a generalization, of course, one informed by 24 years of life coming from a privileged upbringing in the United States.