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A New Chapter

It’s been….an adventure and a half this last month.  I haven’t been posting because I’ve been processing and recuperating from everything that has happened.

And a lot has happened.

When I first arrived in Texas I planned on staying here for maybe two weeks, visiting a friend and then moving on.  Turns out it’s going to be a lot longer than that.

My car has given up the ghost.  This last winter tore up my car, despite what the mechanic told me before I left.  The brake lines had rusted through and the cost of fixing her would have been more than she’s worth.

I was heartbroken.  She was my baby, my first car, my home, my freedom.  My entire life depended on her and she tried hard.  She got me to Texas, which is apparently a miracle.  She got me far enough to continue on.

I made some ‘friends’, had my identity stolen by said ‘friends’, and now I’m here, stuck.  It’s so frustrating having finally achieved something only for it to be taken away.

But I’m not giving up.

Within a week I’ve been hired and I’m already done with part of my training.  It’s going to take time but I’m not giving up on my dream.  I’m going to save up enough money to get a new car, a better car.  And this time I’m going to take it slow.  I’m going to fit it out, make it something special.

I’m going to make it my home.

And I’m going to take my home and go places, see things and paint.  I’m going to make my life an adventure and I won’t look back.

Until then I’ll be painting and working my ass off.

This isn’t the end of my adventure or this blog.  It’s a new chapter.

A Small Update

I’m ALIVE!!

A lot of things have happened in the last few weeks. So much that I’m not sure I can fit it in one post.

So keep an eye out! Hopefully I’ll get it up real soon.

It’s been an adventure and a half, tell you what.

-Cade

Cedar Glades Park, Hot Springs, Arkansas

Nestled comfortably in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas is Hot Springs National Park.  Outside the city, outside the park is a small village that shares a name: Hot Springs Village.  It’s small, quaint and quiet.  Peaceful and beautiful.

 As you continue down winding roads, ancient pines and flowering trees crawl past and part to reveal Cedar Glades Park.  Unassuming, the park boasts a R/C airfield, miles of mountain biking and hiking trails, a frisbee golf course, and tree house for children to climb and explore.

I was only able to stay a night due to approaching weather but I enjoyed every minute of it.  Donning my Etchr Art satchel I hiked one of their shorter trails and came across a small creek divided by a line of stones.

I was struck by how green and calm one side was while the water turned blue once it had passed through the stones and over a small ledge.  It was an odd contrast that I’d never seen (or never noticed) and I loved it.  I had found my painting.

While the national park is something I will return for I think I may still return to Cedar Glades Park for a visit.  A fresh, quiet, breath of air from a busy life.

Cacti? In my state? It’s more likely thank you think!

I’ve always admired foragers.  It always looked so damn cool.  Going out, finding a few plants and eating them like the vicious predators we are.

Hey.  It takes a real man to hunt down that elusive plant.

And since I’m going on this trip I thought: Why not?  I get to add to my diet, learn some cool things and have fun!  And learn I did!  Since I didn’t stay in Shawnee too long I wasn’t able to do any foraging.  But on my short hike I did find something cool!

The Prickly Pear!  I’ve done some research and was surprised to find in my book that the Prickly Pear is native to Illinois!  I didn’t believe it, actually.  Illinois is more cornfield than desert, so why would there be any cacti?

Yet here it is!

I didn’t gather this one, though.  For one I didn’t have my book to make it 100% sure.  I also didn’t have my leather gloves.  Very important as the prickly pear has tiny spines called glochnids.  Think barbed fiverglass slivers. These little bastards can cause some serious problems if not removed.  And they’re hard to remove because they’re barbed!

Double yikes!

This one didn’t have any of the larger spines but I still wasn’t going to harvest it.  It’s small and looked a little sad.  Not ideal for eating.  

Hopefully I’ll find more as I make my way south!

-Cade

Breaking Habits and Altering Mindsets

Hello from Arkansas!

I’m currently in yet another McDonald’s using their wifi.  I think they’re on to me.  They got rid of their outlets a while ago.  Must have known I was coming.

I’m not sure how to even start writing this post.  It’s not something that I’ve seen written or talked about.  When you look into travel blogs they all seem like they have their ‘stuff’ together.  But surely there’s an adjustment period?

Or maybe I’m just having difficulty.

The way society is currently designed is like a factory.  You’re born, you’re shaped into this form that fits the mold, spat out into a convienent work place (hopefully a career), and then you’re expected to operate in this tiny space you’re allowed to occupy.  You work, you go home, you work, you go home.

Eventually it becomes a blur.

And I’ve been so used to that.  I’ve been crammed into that mold society designed for me that….breaking free is difficult.

For the last six months I worked two jobs.  There were months where I didn’t have a single day off.  I was always going, always moving, and always to a schedule set for me by another.  By obligations.  And now I find….I have no obligations.

It’s both freeing and terrifying.  I find myself constantly realizing ‘I’m doing this’.  The tone switches between anxiety and excitement.

There is no ‘place to return’.  No end to this unless I decide it.  There is only…..carte blanche.  And I have no idea how to function with it.

I have so much freedom I can’t even comprehend it.  And I didn’t realize this till I met Dan and Leanne from Tiny Life Gear (which you should absolutely check out).  Leanne asked if I had hiked any trails at the small park we were at.  Such a simple question.  Yet such wake up call.

I hadn’t.  I had barely done any hiking.  I had barely done anything that I had set out to do.  I kept going, kept moving.  Except this time…I didn’t have a reason.  There was no end goal.  Just me following a schedule that wasn’t even there.

I had decided to skip Mammoth Falls due to weather and decided to visit Hot Springs later.  Again, due to weather.  But why?  I could wait the weather out (except Mammoth Falls, Kentucky has forgotten what spring is).  In fact I am still in Arkansas, reeling from this.

I have no schedule but the one I choose.  And what am I supposed to do with this new freedom?  After being told what to do and when since birth…this is….inconceivable.  I’ve having difficulty just figuring out what to do the rest of the day, let alone the next few days.  Do I continue to Texas?  Do I stay in Arkansas and follow a few leads on how to fund the rest of this journey?

I don’t know.

And what about the rest of this journey?  Where do I start and where do I end?

I don’t know.

It’s such an odd thing, being able to choose everything.  Where I go, where I stay, what I do, what I eat.  Everything is up to me.

What a concept.

Coldtucky: Spring is a L I E

COMING AT YOU LIVE FROM THE SCENIC MCDONALD’S IN PADUCAH, KENTUCKY

Where I am currently freezing my butt off.  I mean I could stand to lose a lil butt but I’m finding I need the cushion.  My plans were originally to stay in Shawnee National Forest (Jonesboro, Illinois) for a few days.  Get a routine, figure out my sexy Etchr Art Satchel, do some painting, etc. 

Unfortunately it rained all day.  Pitching my tent in the rain?  MMmmmnot so fun.  Sleeping while my tent is all nice and damp?? MMMMMMMMMAlso not so fun.  So the next morning when it slowed to a drizzle I packed up camp.  But only after a quick hike, of course.

I mean what is the point of camping if you can’t do some hiking? I wasn’t even able to go try some painting.  It’s kinda hard to use watercolor when it rains on your paper.  But I was able to snag some cool pics!

So that was nice.  Sadly I had to call it quits instead of exploring more.  I will have to make a return trip!  My next Major Stop will be Big Bend National Park in Texas.  Where it had better be warmer.  Along the way I’ll be visiting Lake Winnsboro and a friend waaay down south!

I’ll keep you posted as we go along!

-Cade

The Night Before….

This is it, my dudes.

The night before I leave.

My website is up, most of my stuff is packed, I have food and water.

Honestly all I need to finish is sorting and packing my art supplies.  And buy some oil for my car.  And potatoes.  I can’t believe I forgot the potatoes.

The last week has been one hell of a ride.  I quit both my jobs, took my car in (and discovered it needed more maintenance than I was told months prior), sorted through things I’ve held onto for years, said my goodbyes…..there’s a lot going on.  A lot of sad and a lot of happy.  A lot of anxiety and a lot of excitement.

Make no mistake, I’m P U M P E D!  This is something I’ve dreamed of for so long and now it’s here.  But there’s always that bit of anxiety and ‘what-ifs’.

But this is my dream.

And this is now my reality.

And I couldn’t be more excited.

Excitement! Terror!

Hello!  I’m Cade and as of right now I haven’t even left for my trip yet.  I’ve been saving, researching and buy the gear I need over the last few months in preparation for this trip.  I’m super pumped but also extraordinarily terrified, I will not lie.  This is the biggest project I have ever attempted.  To travel, paint my way across the world, has been a dream of mine for years….but I never thought I would ever be able to do it.

And yet….here I am.

Trying (struggling) to build a website before I pack everything I own in my car and drive off into the sun…rise.  Sunrise.  I’ll be heading east first.

Today is March 22, the day after my birthday.  I leave on the 31st.  I have a few more things I have to buy (food, extra socks and a pan with a lid).  Tuesday and Wednesday will be my last day at my jobs.

I’m so excited.

And so terrified.

But I know if I don’t do this now then I never will.

So off I go!