Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The life I have chosen!

Today I shall start my post by making a face:

Rawr indeed. In the depths of Missouri.

In this last month, there has been a lot of mixed emotions. Lots of doubts, hesitation, insecurity... even fear, perhaps. But the minute you sit on a 40-year-old automobile cruising the roads of America, being reliant on your own learning, the enthusiasm of people who surround you and a ratty Craftsman toolbox –then you realize that you would not be anywhere else. Anywhere. Not in an office, not in a studio, not back in school, not in my own native Spain.

On the road to Florida, with Duke Nukem in the foreground.

At the risk of being somewhat of a spoiler, I owe you an explanation of the three episodes we have filmed so far, as well as other interesting things that have been happening...

THE ROAD TO MISSOURI: Tyler, my friend and co-host, would always tell me about this mystical place called Branson. Branson. Its very mystery resides in the fact that there is no reason for it being so popular, why all these live shows, all these entertainment venues, all those shrimp-red tourists, are there. So, taking on the good ol' tradition of the all-American family road trip, we each picked a station wagon of our choice and headed down to Branson to find out what it's so exciting about it... and put our iron steeds to the test. Not on camera: the gentlemen's club "Sensations" became a continuous reference between us and our crew. Spicing things a lot more, we realize in our first filmed episode that, because of our often- strange interactions and attitudes, we just might be a little too popular amongst the LGBTQ community when "Open Roads" is released online.

THE ROAD TO FLORIDA: Every year, the Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance attracts automotive rarities from all over the world –and a huge crowd of gearheads and celebrities. Without any money to buy a suitable vehicle to compete in the Concours, we flash-forwarded twenty years into the future and chose an automobile that would be considered a future classic that would be featured in a Concours just like Amelia. We meet celebrities, we have breakdowns and overall have an experience that –in our eyes– not even Jeremy Clarkson could top with all the budget of Top Gear. Not on camera: during a night film shot the day before hitting the road, I run over a curb with my car choice. The crash was so loud and intense that it sent sparks flying all over the pavement and made the engine bump up and cut part of my cooling hose with the rotating fan. This mechanical issue will be featured in the episode, but, on film, we will never tell how all that antifreeze happened to be all over the radiator.

THE ROAD TO COLORADO: Originally planned to be "how not to kill yourself if you own a Range Rover", my weapon of choice ended up being a rustbucket unsuitable for road use. So I cheat instead with a Japanese econobox and four-wheel drive. After a surprisingly random stop in the craziest Mexican restaurant the human mind could conceive, we head on to the mountains. In our tests, we go on an off-roading trail and we try to merge with the ski resort aristocracy. Not on camera: on a pit stop on the road to Denver, Tyler and I –thirsty, with cold drinks in our hands– happened to share a queue with what seemed to be a very absent-minded fanatic. He not only forgot his pump at the gas station, but made the cashier annoyed to the point of feeling threatened, and finally hit him on the head with a Bible after paying, "you are going to heaven, for sure, man" –he said. Strange people here in the USA; I thought that cashiers on gas stations had a degree of fearlessness associated with a pump-action shotgun behind the counter...

So yes, I am enjoying life and I am making tons of work with Tyler and our fantastic crew, Rachel and Jake. In fact, we just cranked out a little funny video nugget, just for laughs...

Click here or the picture to view. And educational video on the dangers of tailgating...

Everything has a price, though. My life savings have practically evaporated, and just now, as I type on this computer, I think twice about eating out –even fast food-, getting too many groceries or driving more than I need to. In the long months that these three episodes will take to be edited, I will make ends meet by transporting cars/cargo across the USA –hooray for a life on the road!-, looking for fixable cars to turn a profit on, selling items on eBay... and making more fun video nuggets!

I have been blessed with Tyler's outstanding generosity –including a negligible rent to keep sane here in Kansas- and some punctual opportunities to make some money. I am confident that, as soon as the show gets off the ground, I will not have to make so many sacrifices. However, in the meanwhile, if there is no pain, there is no gain. This lifestyle has been my choice, and I am pretty darn proud of it: I can keep traveling on the open road with more excuses than ever, and have an immense flexibility to work, to sleep and to go on errands without being tied by anything. It keeps me awake, it keeps me motivated, it keeps me sharp, creative and hopeful. It lets me see and appreciate the beautiful sunrises and sunsets here in the Heartland, to have random talks with strangers in the post office, to feel alive and free. I practically do not need any luxuries that most people take for granted. I have been doing without them for a while, and feel happy and fine. It really makes me think on how societal constructs –consumerism, competition, trends, general opinion, gottahavits– sometimes hinders people to really be the best they can be, and how they are obstacles to a life that you would not exchange for anything built or said.


  1. So you two are making a TV show? Sounds pretty cool! I've often wondered why more enthusiasts don't try their hands at filming their adventures. Can you speak to the name of this program, when/where it might be available?

    As I mentioned over on ExPo, Wichita was my home base for the better part of a decade. I know the drive to Colorado (seemingly endless, flat, processed nothing until you can see the Rockies), I know the drive to Branson (beautiful country, bizarre how it became popular), and I want to know more about that Volvo you chose for your Florida trip.

    Your last paragraph sums it up perfectly. We should not wake each day with a feeling of dread, but rather excitement at the opportunities ahead of us. "Wherever there is any doubt, there is no doubt." I think about what I'm looking for when I reach for my phone in the morning. Seems that's what I should be doing with my life.

    Working on it. :)

  2. Oh yeah! You couldn't have said it better: wherever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. Safety is not always the best option for long-term happiness.

    The show is called "Open Roads" and will be televised through YouTube. We are editing all three episodes, so in the meanwhile we are just playing and producing small videos to kill time and let people we are alive!