So last I left you, Sophie and I were hunkered down in Pittsburgh, on a prolonged “break” from our trip, dealing with an unnamed medical condition and attempting to obtain visas to India. That was seven months ago. I then disappeared without a trace. This owing to events involving mercenaries, lithium, and a bloodless coup of a small Pacific nation, the details of which are largely uninteresting and overly technical to a casual reader. Nevertheless, I’ll relate them below. Though I insist that your clicking on the “more” link would simply be a waste of time that could be much better spent scouring something or enjoying a drinkable yogurt.
Okay, you clicked it anyway. I’ll admit that I made up a few points in that last paragraph. In truth, the last seven (holy shit, seven?) months have been life-changing and personally enchanting and involved absolutely zero international travel. Let me catch you up.
The unnamed “health problems” I spoke of last February were mine. The short version is that, through a series of very strange and very frightening events, I discovered that I suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and have my whole life. Sophie and I spent three months in Pittsburgh while I got it under control. I won’t go into the details of all that right now, because it’s difficult, intimate, and I need something to write about later. Suffice it to say that the diagnosis and subsequent treatment changed my life in ways that I couldn’t have predicted possible, and I came out the other end of it a happier, more self-assured, and generally better person. It’s like all the bad parts of my brain have been turned off.
I didn’t update this blog at all throughout that process because I found it hard enough to deal with what I was going through 24/7 without also having to write jokes about it. Looking back on it, the thought of me fearing that I would compulsively chop off my hand with a meat cleaver certainly seems like enough to loosen a hardy belly laugh from even the most stiff-lipped sorehead, but at the time it seemed less humorous. And the few parts of my life when I wasn’t dealing with fixing my brain didn’t make for good blog fodder, though maybe you would’ve enjoyed a small monograph about arranging the large number of mirrors in the bathroom of my short-term rental apartment to enable guests to see the back of their head while sitting on the toilet.
Anyway, it was April before Sophie and I deemed it okay to start traveling again. We did the math and decided that we had enough money left for one more month abroad. We also — through hours of difficult and painful discourse, bonding, and self- and co-actualization that I will condense down into the phrase “had a chat” — decided that we just weren’t up for any more big-time travel. We considered going to New Zealand for a month and hanging out, like we’d done in Portugal. But staring down the barrel of a zero bank balance brought us to the realization that we should probably do something that would get us back on the path of a life in which Nutella doesn’t comprise its own food pyramid. So we decided to pick somewhere we might actually want to live and then go there for the month of May to try it out.
Being unemployed, American drifters narrowed our choice of locales down to one of the fifty states, or more accurately one of the six states still considered habitable. Furthermore, traveling through southern Europe (and Barcelona in particular) had cemented in me a feeling I’d sensed growing over the last several years: I am fucking sick of the goddamn northeast, and can’t I live somewhere where it’s warm and sunny and pleasant more than one shit-licking day a year? That narrowed the choices down even further to the south, the southwest, and southern California. My sweet spot being somewhere with humidity levels not requiring snorkels but with an environment designed to sustain lifeforms outside the family Cactaceae, I suggested Los Angeles.
And so we spent the month of May in Los Angeles. And we loved it. And thanks to my newly caged OCD, I finally had the courage to try to move into full-time comedy writing, something one often relocates to LA to pursue anyway. And Sophie and I realized more and more that spending nearly every moment of every day together for the last year was in many ways the greatest thing we’ve ever done. So we sold most of our stuff and drove my mother’s 1998 Volvo from Pittsburgh to LA, unemployed but very, very happy. And so we remain.
Thus I’ve converted this travel blog back to a normal blog. You’ll always be able to view the travel entries by clicking Madejical Mystery Tour in the righthand column. And I do have loose ends from the trip that I want to wrap up here (including the end of that visa story). I might even get to posting the rest of our photos. Frankly, I attempted to sort through them recently and found it to be such a horribly boring task that I wouldn’t wish it on the lowliest intern. Though I did try it out on my creepiest intern, Cordoba. I heard strange curses coming from my office, and he stormed out of my life, glistening.