2020 is more than half over, and there have been more than a few changes in my plans. I drove from west Texas to Kentucky in late November of last year. My mission: work a temp job for 30 days, and get my passport. I did just that, and by December 27th I was back on the road. My plans are to go to St. Louis, meet with someone there, and then head west. My goal was to make it to British Columbia.
I was five hours away from my hometown of Frankfort, KY (20 minutes from St. Louis) when I received a phone call from my sister. My mother had fallen, smacked her head on her driveway and broke her shoulder. I did a u-turn, and headed back to Kentucky. The next three months were filled with taking care of my mom. It was a hard road filled with sleepless nights, several doctor and hospital visits, but my sister and I finally got my mom back on her feet. In fact, she was pretty much back to full independence, and I began planning to get back on the road. Then, Covid-19.
So here we are, six months or so into a global pandemic. The world has changed and will likely never be the same. But humans have faced adversity all throughout history, and despite all of the ridiculous political bull shit, division, and confusion, life goes on as it always does. It’s up to us as individuals to make a new and better world, and that’s the business I will be engaging in.
If you’ve been following along with my journey, you probably know about the book I’m working on about Valerie Doshier. I discovered the story of Valerie last year as my nomadic ways took me through Vega, Texas. Read about that in this post: DO NOT SWAY MY SWEET, SWEET SOUL.
Valerie DoshierYou may also be aware that my goal for the past two years has been to transition from my trusty Ford Fusion to a motorcycle. I’m happy to report that I now have a bike, and I will be back on the road by the last week of July. I will be leaving Kentucky and riding all the way to the Texas panhandle. I’ll be camping and probably hitting up and Airbnb here and there. I’m going to meet with Valerie’s mother, who has been helping me with the book I’m wiring about her daughter. Without her the book would not be possible. I want to deepen my connection to Valerie’s life by talking with her mother, viewing Valerie’s art in person, and absorbing the energy of the places Valerie grew up. I’ve never written a book like this, and I feel it has taken on a life of it’s own. Valerie’s mother has expressed her belief that Valerie chose me to write this story, and I feel that on a deep level. I hope you stay tuned for updates on the book.
A Lifestyle 10 Years in the Making
It was ten years ago this summer that I first began Straight Up Living. To say my life has changed a lot since my first blog post would be a huge understatement. This blog helped to shape who I am today. It birthed my second book, Your Time Is Now, and has led me to connect with people that I would’ve never known about otherwise.
Now, I live without an address, (for now anyway) and I own next to nothing. I’m about to make the longest trip on two wheels that I’ve ever done, and during a global pandemic. I’ll be traveling alone with little to no contact with others along the way, and will take the necessary precautions. Life doesn’t stop when adversity strikes, it adapts. The story about Valerie is one that much be told, now more than ever, and I will do whatever it takes to ensure that happens. She was a light in this world, and within her story are lessons for life, death, and love.
Be Humbled, Be Open
The last few weeks I have been posting on social media about my upcoming trip. Such a trip requires money for gear, gas, food, and so on. I’ve been working my ass off to raise as much money as possible, and one of the things I did recently was offer paperback copies of my books to local people for whatever they could afford. I have been BLOWN AWAY by the response. People have been buying books, and giving me much more than the asking price. I would’ve been happy with any amount, but the generosity of others has both humbled me and filled me with hope. And it doesn’t stop there! There have been a few people who just wanted to donate a few dollars to help me out, without asking for anything in return. Nice THAT is a humbling experience. How fortunate I am to have crossed paths with such people. I’ve even been encouraged to start a GoFundMe page, but I just wasn’t comfortable doing that.
Their response? They asked me if I had Paypal, Venmo, or CashApp. I mean, wow! Seriously. I would’ve never guessed that there were people who valued my writings, journey, and mission so much that they wanted to support my work. I’m still trying to process that. In fact, others have encouraged me to share those links. I’m not at all accustomed to this sort of thing. I’ve always worked to do most everything on my own, and I admit that it feels a little self-serving and weird. But, I’ve learned to humbly accept help when offered. So, if you feel so moved to buy me a tank of gas, food, or coffee, here are those links.
Venmo User ID: @Keith-Smith-142
I’m trying not to cringe about posting those links. Sheesh.
Travel With Me
I look forward to being out on the road again, and I hope you follow along with the journey. Your encouragement, thoughts, and insights are valued and important to me. This trip is important to me on many levels. It’s kind of a tribute to the free spirits of my mom and dad, who were avid motorcyclists back in the day. My dad has been gone for eight years, but I know he’s smiling about me doing the trip on two wheels (my mom is too, but you know she’s worried.)
This trip is also me facing down fear, and riding into the unknown. Riding a motorcycle has long been a kind of spiritual experience for me (I see you fellow riders are nodding) so this trip is akin to a pilgrimage. The truths and mysteries of which will only unfold once the journey is under way.
See you on the road.
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