Perhaps the Most Wonderful Place Ever
Naturhistorisches Museum, Vienna.
I got a new travel backpack and I’m going to use the Internet to tell you about it. This is because traveling light is important, and it will make your life better.
Some backstory: I used to do the rolling luggage schtick, complete with little fold-up hairdryer, 400-page guidebook and underwear for each day of the week. I usually couldn’t lift it above my head unassisted. In Europe, I discovered that the sound of rolling luggage on cobblestone is completely insufferable. In Japan, I learned that if you bring a big bag onto a train at rush hour, everyone hates you, including yourself.
When I first abandoned suitcases in favor of a single big backpack, I thought it made me Madame Minimalist. “Oh yeah,” I’d brag, buckling under 56 lbs of crap strapped to my shoulders, “There’s nothing like traveling light!”
I eventually learned that you do not qualify as a light traveler all because you’ve crammed half your belongings into single bag and have the stamina to pack mule it around the world.
Of COURSE I Didn’t Break Into an Abandoned Train Station.
That would be illegal! I took these photos at Disneyland.
The last thing I made with my hands was a birdhouse when I was 12.
It was the sort of birdhouse that made the well-to-do starlings and cardinals rally to keep it out of the neighborhood, lest it drive their property values down.
I’m still not particularly good at making physical things, but as it turns out, tenacity is a fair substitute for competence.
The “to do” list, which includes electricity and plumbing, is still eight miles long. But first: ROAD TRIP.
The Airstream, circa January. There aren’t too many “before” photos, since there was little light, little space, and I was desperate to start tearing things apart. The photos I did take don’t really do justice to the mind-boggling level of filth.
For the first three weeks after I bought the trailer, I wore a respirator whenever I worked inside of it.
The entire interior was yellow from cigarette smoke. Nicotine was literally dripping down the walls.
I found seven mouse nests.
The oven was coated in a thick brown goo that, if you got it on your hands, wouldn’t come off even when scrubbed with pumice. None of the major appliances were even remotely salvageable.
Behind every single panel and fixture I removed, there was a layer of mangled insect corpses.
It makes my chest crunch to know that the former owner lived there, and died there, alone and in a wheelchair.