On the road: between Chicago and SXSW.

I’m aboard an RV, on a two-lane highway between Springfield, Mo., and Rogers, Ark., and forcing myself to sit and just. type. words. for the rest of the time we’re on the road tonight.

It’s 9 p.m., and there are seven people illuminated by the horrid fluorescent camp lighting inside the RV. Jason is driving; Jon is navigating in the passenger seat. Tim is sipping a milkshake he picked up at the truck stop; Rob’s face is illuminated by whatever article he’s reading on his iPad. Melissa and Roger are across from me, snuggling platonically. Most everyone’s found the Internet somewhere. And then there’s Phil. He’s from England, and…

Phil has me thinking tonight. About what the hell I’m doing with my life. Not that I needed the help questioning myself.

I wake up every morning thinking, “What’s my motivation?”

Including this morning, when I woke up tangled up in the starched white sheets of a Hampton Inn queen bed — and tangled in the white wires of my earbuds, to save myself from the snoring.

 

Along for the ride

Our ultimate destination — which will be broken up by stops at the Wal-Mart home office in Bentonville, Ark., and a casino at the Choctaw Indian Reservation — is South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

Mostly, I’m along for the ride: I didn’t buy a badge to the conference, and actually, I know next to nothing about what we’re driving into. It sounded like an adventure, and I needed an adventure. (To my mother, apparently, I needed an excuse to waste money I didn’t really have in the first place.)

And they picked me.

I applied for this trip, called RVSX, on a whim — and they picked me. I don’t even remember what I put in my application. But they thought I was interesting enough, compelling enough, game enough to submit myself to 10 days of shenanigans and cameras in my face.

 

Who would turn down an adventure?

At times this whole trip feels like a recipe for self destruction, endless days on the road with limited power supply and Internet that’s spotty at best. When I have one brand-new client ramping up, another winding down with the entire month’s remaining payment on the line.

In the days leading up to our departure, I suffered near panic attacks that I’d made the  wrong choice in choosing to spend $600 and take 10 days away from Mark and the cats to go on this adventure.

 

Which is silly.

Because $600 for 10 days of shenanigans — and the “free” time to do it — is something many don’t even have the opportunity to do.

And I hear there are tacos there in Austin. Tacos and barbecue. And people to meet. Maybe someone there will know what the hell I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

 

Something incredible

“I’ll do something incredible. I’ll do something incredible…that blows God’s freakin’ mind.”

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack to The Book of Mormon since Mark took me to see it a week and a half ago, and this song, “You and Me (But Mostly Me),” has been on repeat since I sat down to write.

The two main characters are entirely at odds with each other, one armed with this divine, selfish purpose to change the world, and the other with this somewhat hapless, innate, innocent sense of good he doesn’t even know he possesses. You can guess which one actually saves the day in the end.

And I’m stuck somewhere in the middle.

At this point, I’m along for the ride, but lord, I want to find that purpose and actually…do something. Mean something.

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