Doubling Down on the Desert

Dec 31st, 2020 in Personal

A month back, I pushed the button on exiting Flagstaff choosing to shake up life in these complicated times. Well, I’ve settled on moving into my own place, a simple townhome in Tucson. It’s really a whirlwind that in less than a week I’ll be in a new city I’ve barely spent any time in. As Tucson lies at lower elevation, I’ll be enjoying a warm Winter, followed by a Summer where things are really gonna get hot. I’m talking 100 F every day hot, so I’m branding 2021 as the year I doubled down on the desert.

Adventure awaits! For the first time in my life, I’m going to be living on my own. I still do consider myself nomadic despite these binding ties of setting up a home, and did I ever agonize over whether to accept the terms of leasing a place versus freestyling it with roommates or making an NYC return. What helped me decide was the confluence of affordable rent (roughly half of what one pays in Flagstaff) and an affable tenant who sold me most of his furnishings for cheap, so I don’t have to stress about the interior design significantly.

Living on my own in a place I know few people is going to be quite a feel. Though I’ve always been fundamentally okay with extended solitude, what made me okay with it this round was that I’ve sort of become an isolated individual anyway as this pandemic has worn on. I have to reckon with the reality that I’ve slid deep back into gaming again as a daily way to pass the time. The silver lining at least for me is that it’s an inexpensive passtime, and that my good friends from far away like to play a bevy of cooperative titles that help keep our bonds strong in these trying times. Or we gaslight each other in Among Us. Whatever works! 

It’s funny to start looking at my time in Flagstaff critically, as I had high hopes I’d stay awhile. The pandemic fundamentally reordered things for me. Though I made some decent friends here that survived the plague, it just wore on me having so few opportunities to meet people locally. It’s like something grew in me that prevented me figuring out how to stay here and remain involved. Everyone’s mental health is stretched and strained. I’ve opted to remain out of work nearly half a year now, and I rarely feel accomplished on a given day. Having my own space is going to let me focus on my productivity better once it’s all up and running.

So, Tucson offers a chance for a reset and turnabout on that awful inertia, especially when it comes to meaningful work. I can probably bide my time until Spring on working while I tidy up the website. Its refresh has slowed to a glacial pace again, and I’m hoping the understanding that this time of freedom is coming to an end is the impetus that gets me over the finish line. So I’m targeting a debut of the new version of harrisonFM.com in February.

I’d pick a sooner date, but I’m immediately off on a Winter road trip to see the sights of New Mexico, West Texas and Colorado! My new landlord wants to do a deep clean and paint of the apartment and I’m happy to not pay rent and travel a bit. You can count on some nice iPhone photography of that. I also got some hikes in to close out 2020 near home,

including a day trip in and out of the Grand Canyon that came with an elemental blast of snow wrapping things up.

The true whim that brought me to Tucson were the friends I made in my last couple months volunteering on the Arizona Trail. One of them recommended the landlord I wound up taking a room from. I greatly look forward to continue contributing on my weekends there as well as hiking it properly once it recovers from fire damage and I again find an open window of time. I’ve come to enjoy my time camping in the deserts and forests here, and Tucson offers as much as Flagstaff on that axis. Swinging heavy tools around for a weekend is a solid way as any to pass the time.

As a nomadic type, I am kind of expecting to get antsy and move again, or go out on some kind of adventure you don’t come back soon from. Especially should the pandemic wither sooner over later and things return to a semblance of normalcy. I have a six month commitment to Tucson, I’m gonna see how it goes with an open mind and I’m a bit excited to experience the temperature extremes in Summer, as well as live in a busier, more affordable city with a diverse cut of people. This may just all have a happy ending.