Life Is A Road Trip

The Amazing Adventures of a Zoobroker and a Sentiographer

Kickoff Thoughts

RT4: Phauxtog weighs in on waiting it out

musings, new york, Phauxtog, photographyMatt HillComment

I'm thinking about the road trip that's only one month away... these things come to mind: Vistas. Panoramas. Breathtaking views. Open road. Skiing. Canada! Seattle! The Canadian Rockies! Portland! The Pacific Ocean. 

Potential. Progress. Presence. Authenticity. Expansion. Refinement.

One thing I've realized being a passionate night (photo)sentiographer for so long is that is easily perceived as darkness, over time, becomes something much closer to day.

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Continues after the break...

Four minutes exposed, and night becomes day. Thoughts, over time, expose deeper meaning much the same way.

I've been on an expansive path for a few years now, and the more I learn about myself, the more I know I can be more, do more, achieve more of my dreams. Coffee and cigarettes may fuel my body in the morning, but passion and dreams fuel my choices. I choose to pursue an open-ended road trips because it enables possibilities. Thinking in terms on long exposure, I wish that the 10 day road trip were two months. 

Why? It's certainly not vacation greed; I enjoy my day job very much. No, I know that I would get much deeper insights over a longer stay away from my daily existence. Much like a 15 minute exposure

69th street transfer station

reveals a bright city bustling even in moonlight behind a darkened and forgotten rail transfer station and glassy water that is the visual sum of all its movement, I am thinking about what the total experience would equal over a period six times longer.

My best guesses:

  • I would discover that I have larger goals that are dismissed out of practicality  
  • I would meet other people experiencing a similar freedom from "normal" life
  • I would relax more than I have in ten years
  • I would come up with previously unfound and potentially amazing creative ideas
  • I would find twenty more places I would consider living

Why am I even doing this mental exercise? Am I ungrateful for this 10-day window? Not at all - I live for this. And I ask myself because I want to push a boundary. That being that I have a fairly standard schedule to my life. I am grateful for its consistency, but I wonder if I am using my time the best I can... I am certainly growing in many facets: career, knowledge, skill, etc. but something feels like it wants to explode out of the gate - my creativity. and nine'ish hours a day allow only restricted access to that.

All that out of the way, Rt4 is one month away and it's gonna be one hell of a ride. We have a surprise or two for you, and I'm sure we'll be served some of our own ;)

So, start counting the days. Seattle, here we come!

Destination Unknown: Pre-Roadtrip Musings of Sir Arthur SpamZalot

musings, SpamZalotMatt Hill3 Comments

For me, it's the eve of the road trip. My flight is in two hours, and I am so excited I can taste it. Zoo Broker and I have taken two legendary road trips before, and I'm certain this one will contain most of the usual elements that I remember fondly:

  • Uncertain destinations (check!)
  • Lots of photo-ops
  • Some ridiculously inebrious evenings
  • Perhaps double mileage versus previous trips (3,000+ miles this time around)
  • Meaningful, probing conversation
  • Insights
  • Glee
  • New people with interesting stories weaving into ours
  • Potentially embarrassing moments
  • Incredible discoveries only found via an open mind and no agenda
  • Deep, satisfying exhaustion

And that's just for starters.

On our first road trip, I was in a tumultuous emotional state, having just achieved a separation from things in spirit and a material sense. OK, I was a fucking mess. The open road, the time with a kindred and encouraging spirit really was pivotal at that time in my life. You know, being a spammer is hard. No one understands you, nor wants to...

The second time around, I was in much a better headspace. I was participating in an art show (about artful spam, of course) and topped off the tail end with a trip from Sonoma County to Yosemite to LA and back to San Francisco. Great trip, better off in the old chestbox.

This time around, I'm even stronger having hit my 100,000,000 email goal. Feeling really accomplished. And my neighbors haven't even caught on yet... So fun.

Stage being set, now it's time to take off my game face and get down to the serious business of disconnecting, relaxing and doing some social spamming on the road. You know, face to face.

Goals: Yes, it's good to define your goals before embarking on anything worth spending your time doing... I always start here.

  1. See states I have never visited before
  2. Meet interesting people
  3. Expand my limits - release more silly inhibitions
  4. Make art - work on my night photography
  5. Enjoy the awesome conversations with Zoo Broker
  6. Eat delicious red meat, and more delicious things
  7. Post a whole bunch of stuff along the way with minimal effort

Expectations: None. Expectations are a tool of the devil (in whom I don't believe, but it's fun to invoke him).

Destination Unknown: It's not the destination, it's the journey.

Based on this simple guiding principle, we have crafted our road trip as an uncrafted journey. Our arrival and departure at Denver Airport and my first night's stay are the only planned waypoints. The rest has been dreamed about, but not planned. Whether we head towards Kansas or Vancouver tomorrow morning is decided when Zoo Broker gets in the Jeep in the morning.

It's important to enjoy the present. Road trips are a wonderful way to get in the now. Every mile behind you is in the past, each mile ahead is in the future, but the only place you are is where you are - in the present.

Not planning leaves the tiller free to follow the decisions made in the moments that matter. So we embrace the spirit of freedom and living in the present by deliberately making decisions on the fly.

The interesting thing I remember from our last two trips is how everything becomes a mashup in the present. But somehow the past always gets solved and left behind to stay where it belongs. The long miles, good tunes and two overactive intelligent minds always make for new revelations and interesting new experiences. Like when we went to our favorite watering hole in LA... I turned on my audio recorder and put it on the table, which we shared with about 8 other locals. One fellow's head swiveled after a few minutes and he asked me directly, "Is that thing recording?"

I replied, "Yes."

His neck was very muscular and large. He was an imposing man. "Why are you recording this?"

I replied simply, "For me."

His eyes narrowed, "are you a reporter?"


"For who?" (Grammar wasn't his strong point - he is from NJ)


"Wha?" He reaches over and takes the recorder off the table. "My name is XXXXX and my agent's name is XXXX. This is an unauthorized recording and I do not give permission for it to be reproduced in any form without my express written consent. My lawyer's name is XXXX." 

And then he passes the recorder to his friend, who repeats this performance with his own deets. Repeat four more times. Guy #1 gently puts it on the table, looks up at me and says, "Let's drink!"

The rest of the evening is unpublishable, but hilarious; some of it is swimmingly lost in erased memories. But my photo hand was strong. I gots the pixels from that night.

Remember to focus on what's happening now. It's the journey, not the destination.

-- Sir Arthur SpamZalot written in Newark airport, flight leaves in 2 hours