Money Cage.

Four weeks ago I began a new job at a leading financial institution. I was hired as a contractor to serve in the mutual funds department. Mutual funds, as it turns out, do not require Federal licensing to the extent that stocks, bonds, annuities, and etc. require. Even so I spend most of my day talking loudly through a headset to 70-something adults who’ve forgotten their password or where they were married resulting in being  locked out of their account. Occasionally, I get a caller who wants to know their account balance, yells “Shit!” when I tell them and promptly hangs up.

Life in a cubicle is marked different than running a bar and kitchen. By the way, that’s what i did before the new gig. I spend most of my time in a chair, although I can walk around as much as I need since our headsets are wireless. I’ve made my home with little trinkets and souvenirs I’ve collected during my travels. The dress code is rather a attractive. It’s nice not having to wear the same thing every day.

What I like most are the people. My supervisor sits just behind me. I’m constantly asking questions, making my seating assignment a strategic importance. I’m flanked by two other gents, on my right a highly motivated young man who likes to fry chicken after work. To my left, and older gentleman who seems to know everything and spends his down time studying for his Series 6 exam.

Issac, who sits a few cubicles over, has proven to be one of my favorite. He grew up in Australia, worked on a ship for a bit and then joined the service. He was an A-10 mechanic during operation Desert Storm and currently lives in a studio apartment because his last roommate tried to sell a half pound of cannabis to an undercover cop.

Since things have begun anew, I’ve decided to try and keep this blog thing going. With what, who knows.

Until next time,

Matthew

 

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Back in the Desert

Here I am again in the desert so I figure, why not keep this thing going. What I’ll do with it is another problem all together.

Traveling the country and getting to experience some things on my bucket list was a rewarding experience. I’ve settle back in at Shalimar. After not working there for over 2 months, I’m not the Food and beverage Director. I’m fully confident in my ability to manage the bar but the food and kitchen will present a challenge. I’ve never managed a kitchen before. However, from what I have experienced thus far, it shouldn’t be a problem.

I’m living in Queen Creek with a friend. The 60 mile round trips to work will get old. I plan to move to Mesa or Tempe in August. Until then, I will be learning a lot about running a business and taking a few opportunities to stretch my golf muscle.

It great being able to get back into the swing of things. My job is to spend my time hanging out with the people I spent a year getting to know and love. I couldn’t ask for more.

That’s it. Have a great Day. -Matthew

Day 41-45: Bangor and Back

I think this is the first time I have written about a day that’s still taking place.

*Imagine an artistic and clever artistic video introduction happens in this space. It’s left you in awe and wonder and you’re now excited to read what I have to say.*

I’m in Burlington, MA and I must say, I feel better about being here than in Maine. I liked how calm Bangor was to a newcomer, but after 3 days there, it was time to get back to civilization and make some things happen.

Here’s a funny reality I chose for myself. I spent 2 days applying to jobs in NYC rather than Boston. Call it the aggressive approach or dreaming if you like. I received a phone call yesterday from Amnesty International. Don’t get me wrong, it would be amazing to work for Amnesty! In fact, I’d go as far as to call it a dream job. However,  the canvasser pay would not allow me to live anywhere remotely close to NYC. I called this morning to thank them for the opportunity but I would have to decline the interview. Then I received an email this afternoon from  an organization that helps the homeless in NYC. The job has a base pay of $38,000 which, while small, would allow me to live in Queens, even more so if I found a way to unload myself of this vehicle or put it to a good use.

My goal for today is to apply for a few jobs and find 2 alternate job descriptions I can do with my education. I’m probably looking at HR and development. I have been getting calls and emails for companies looking to add me to their telecommunication and sales teams but to be quite honest, I’d like to do something more meaningful with my education. Not that those jobs aren’t meaningful, but at the end of the day, I want to know I helped someone directly.

Now, if you don’t mind, I have some jobs for which to apply.

Day 40: Maine

Total mileage for day 40 was 212.

There are no pictures for today. Which is fine. I think I’ll be staying in Bangor for a bit. It’s a nice inexpensive place for me to work on resumes and cover letters, and a nice cool place to sleep at night. I don’t have to worry about getting too warm. Bangor isn’t a big town, but it is large enough to have Walmart, Planet Fitness, a few places to do laundry, several places with Wi-Fi where I can get online and search the web for jobs and an inexpensive grocery store. And of course upload blog posts.

I’ll let you know in a few days how things are going. There are a few places to see in Bangor when I can get around to it but at the moment my focus is to submit no less than 5 resumes and cover letters per day. If nothing happens after a few weeks, I’ll go back to Boston and explore other job opportunities. However, I will not stop looking for a career in public service or human rights.

Day 39. Boston and Beyond.

Total mileage for today is 238

On day 39 we should reach Boston, and we did. My first thing to do was unload the Basket 1.

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Task accomplished. I’m down to clothing, a few books, odds and ends and wood.

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Next task. Ditch the fur.

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After 2 months, not having a beard feels as awkward as I look in this photo.

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Hey, I know you. Downtown Boston. This ws taken before going under the entire downtown area through a tunnel.

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The ocean front in New Hampshire, who only has 18 miles of shoreline before Maine bogs it all.

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Duck has his club as he experiences the Atlantic for the first time.

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Then C.J. caught up with us and joined in the fun.

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My celebratory dinner.

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Day 38: Over the River and Through the Woods to Boston We Go

Mileage for day 38 was 295. We also traveled through Pennsylvania, New York and into Massachusetts.

Not much on the picture front today. This was a small stream in New York we stopped at to make a few phone calls and spent some pent up energy causing some anxiety.

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Massachusetts is hilly as well. I’ve officially decided to drop my belongings in a storage unit outside of Boston. I’ll be applying for jobs in NYC as well but for the time being, I’d like to consider Boston as home.

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After emptying out the van we plan to head north to Bangor, Maine and hopefully make it to Niagra Falls afterwards.

Day 37: Gettysburg, PA

Mileage for Day 37 was 382. I won’t lie, I broke my rule of sticking to 2 lane highways in favor of a few extra miles on the interstate. We’ll get back to 2 lane highways tomorrow.

We pulled off onto a random road and found an American Legion or V.F.W. I forgot which one.

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While exploring we ran into a random geocache. We didn’t take anything but we did leave a random item we found a while back: A metal bracelet that I had no business wearing. However it looked great around Duck’s neck.

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Here’s an unexpected surprise. I had no idea this would be on our route.

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I didn’t get a picture of the field the airplane went down in, but i did take a few pictures of some of the items recovered from the site. To me, these are the things that hit home. It was like seeing a used fire extinguisher from the twin towers. These are things people used or had contact with before they died.

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My friend Billy but it best when he replied to the pictures I sent him: intense.

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Abrupt topic change: Gettysburg. I had no idea this battle field was so large. Imagine, you’re just siting at home one morning and by then end of the day, your home and entire town are surrounded by two groups consisting of 170,000 men who spent the day shooting at each other. This chaos would continue for 2 days. This photo is of the part of the battlefield that saw the most action on Day 1. The entire town is dotted with plaques and memorials to each company. There are memorials for each day so one company could have a dozen memorials.

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FDR dedicated this memorials on a hill used by the Confederate army on day 1.

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This is the Soldiers Memorial at the National Cemetery. Not far from this point was given my favorite moment in History: The Gettysburg Address. I’ve often said this is the moment in time I’d like to go back and see most.

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The  Gettysburg Address Memorial.

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A beautiful sunset in Eastern Pennsylvania. The sunsets out here have nothing on Arizona.

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Tomorrow We continue into New England. We probably will not make it to Boston in Time to get a storage unit, but I’m sure we’ll make due. I can’t wait to empty out Basket 1.

Day 35-36: Pittsburgh, PA.

I drove maybe 10 miles around Pittsburgh but to be honest, none of us was keeping track.

Duck, C.J.(Which stands for Cassie Jennifer) and I have been invited to stay with Jessica Wachter and her husband Rob. I’d like to personally thank them for opening their home and couch to three weary travelers. They bought me a gigantic fish sandwich and then brought us to a friends house for beers and fire.

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Day 36started a little late. The 5 of us watched Talladega Nights and ate breakfast. Then the 3 of us went on a walkabout around Pittsburgh. This is the point where the Three Rivers meet.

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Heinz Field was across the river. Boo, Steelers, Boo.

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PNC Park, where the Pirates play was just down the street as well. We did walk across one of the many bridges to watch the end of a bike marathon.

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A statue of No. 21, Roberto Clemente, outside the ballpark.

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It’s been a few days since we sent out postcards. We I got a sandwich, bought some postcards, sat in this market, listened to a man play saxophone and people watched while I filled out the cards.

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When I found out there was a brewery in an old church, I thought, “I have no choice but to go.” So, go I went.

 

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Interesting placement of the brewing equipment.

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On the right, there’s a chapel with the brewery kitchen.

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I’ve been avoiding fast food for most of my trip, but the beer was strong. It seems the deer are fans of Taco Bell as well.

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Tomorrow, we leave Pittsburgh. Before going north we plan to visit Gettysburg.

Day 34: West Virginia

The total mileage for day 34 is 384 miles. This means Duck, C.J. and I surpassed the 6000 mile mark.

We awoke up in Charleston, WV and began traveling east through the countryside. The largest towns we rode through looked like some variation of this cute little town.

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The highway we took east was a little 2 lane highway sandwiched in between hills channeling rain water to small waterfalls along the roadside and the flooded river in to which the waterfalls emptied in.

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More water. We must have passed 50 of these throughout the day.

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Most of the small towns have old abandoned wooden structures in them like this one.

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We finally reached the National Forest. The scenery here was amazing. Also, you might see a few small hole in the sign. Those are bullet holes. Roadsigns are prime targets out here.

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More water.

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More…

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Notice the “h.” That’s good shooting Tex

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*Sigh* Pocahontas was not  Princess. In indigenous society in North America, there’s no concept like Princess. Tribal leaders had children but they were not given leadership roles because of their birth. They had to earn it.

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More water.

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The road ahead. I really like this one.

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Peaceful scenery.

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I wouldn’t mind retiring here.

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Beautiful.

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Duck and C.J. enjoying the town below. That’s Marlinton, WV by the way.

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Marlinton, WV

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I told them they weren’t allowed to be Steelers fans but they could take  picture with this quiet young man.

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Tomorrow, Pittsburgh is our destination.

Day 33: The Serpent Mound and West Virginia

The mileage for day 33 was 299 miles.

Today’s goal was to drive down 2-lane West Virginia back roads and find some BBQ. Before we could do that we had to get out of Ohio. Before we could do that, I wanted to visit Serpent Mound. Here’s a bit of information.

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There’s a 40-foot Tower you climb to view the Effigy Mound. I have a thing about Heights but this was kind of cool. It did bother me that the steps were a hundred years old.

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The town of Portsmouth, OH has a levee and retaining wall. The wall is covered with murals depicting the town’s history.

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The artwork was incredible.

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Finally made it. I wonder why no one has painted the “V.”

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I found our 2-lane road.

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Defunct Phillips 66 and old 76 filling stations were in every little town. I was surprised by the number of abandoned buildings.

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As night time rolls in, the valleys fill with a must until it’s so thick you can’t see the hillsides any longer.

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I made a presumption coming into West Virginia. I thought there would be a lot of BBQ places. In fact I have yet to find a barbecue restaurant. However, there are a number of pizza and Italian restaurants in this state. And when I say a number, I mean a crap load.

There’s something else I’d like to say.  While walking in a circle around The Serpent Mound I got to thinking about now, the present. It occurred to me that I have spent so much energy and time invested in schooling that I hadn’t really begun my adulthood. I guess, in  way, that makes me a child. This trip is allowing me to recharge and refocus my energies toward what I imagine is going to be an exciting time for me. It’s giving me the opportunity to restructure how I give the world around me meaning. In other words, it’s allowing me to edit what I think the meaning of life is, which, for me, has changed quite considerably in the last 10 years.

That being said, we hope to make it to Pittsburgh, PA today, but as with every other day, we’ll get there when we get there.