Year of the Bum

on january first, 2013, i woke up on a couch in quito, ecuador. i was a newbie writer, newly illegal, completely broke and with nowhere to live. i won’t pretend to have had any epiphanies. like life, it was fucked up and awesome all at once, and not a ton has changed, except for me. probably.

i chased stories: through valleys, up volcanoes, across lakes, down jungle rivers, on beautiful beaches, into the pacific. spent the rest stoned in hammocks, swinging on ziplines, sleeping on floors, drunk in bars, dancing at shows, camping alone, touring hospital emergency rooms, talking to strangers, doing nothing, and writing everything down.

it all seems like someone else’s life right now: working full-time hours on a saturday night back in my hometown, watching a snowstorm freeze new york city outside the glass doors. i’m going through all my photos from this past year, and thought i’d compile the best of them into one of those top ten lists i’m always complaining about. it’s a two-parter.

are you a creative-type bum like me? share in the comments the best and worst times you had in 2013!

14 thoughts on “Year of the Bum”

    1. This reminded me of a quote from Angels in America! “I just wondered what a thing it would be…if overnight everything you owe anything to, justice, or love, had really gone away. Free. It would be…heartless terror. Yes. Terrible, and…very great. To shed your skin, every old skin, one by one and then walk away, unemcumbered, into the morning.”

  1. I’m not past your first response to the first comment from Loz Koleszko and I’m already off the track intended, on a tangent and unlikely to return to where I was once (maybe) going. I must disagree, in part’ with the terror implication of everything that you owe anything to ‘being gone.’ Then, already I interpret this in the many ways that perhaps it is intended. To lose all that gives us meaning would be for a moment like losing memory? For a moment perhaps? Then each thing that we encounter would be new and we would still have the impressions in our minds, hearts, souls and simple ‘being’ that we carry forward from all that once was. The tangents that this thought takes are so multi-faceted that I could easily get carried away until I have imagined so much that most of what I begin with would also de facto be forgotten. Yet 2013.. It is still inextricably linked to 2012. Perhaps because so much happened in that year. Things that I am reminded of as I read your post. Your post, is brilliant; thank you! I moved countries, moved houses, jobs, lost jobs, fell in love, lost love, got drunk, crashed a car – not clever yet into a field thank fully empty of cows. Became homeless, lost my permission to stay in the country, went for a walk and fell,off a mountain. As I fell I looked death in the face, gave it a hug for the 8th time and that was not yet a year ago. I wonder, our fascination with each new year, a chance to refresh, renew, change or start again? Life is cyclical as are seasons yet each is not the same as the last of it’s name sakes. I used to figure that three months was a good period to stay. The honeymoon phase, where all is new and then, as I began to compare and feel a need to be understood rather than to understand; it was a good time to go.

    1. I’m glad the post resonated! Your year sounds like my year, then again, all my years are kind of the same – totally unpredictable. To tell you the truth, I’m not a big fan of new beginnings; I’m still trying to finish shit I started a while back. And there’s a falseness to new year/new start hoopla that I can’t get behind.

      “Went for a walk and fell off a mountain.” Can’t beat that, man.

      1. That’s why I’m glad to be a leap year baby – checking in every four years makes more sense to me. So basically I have two more years to fuck around before I feel pressured to reassess my life.

  2. God, you had a hell of a year. And wrote it all down beautifully.

    My best: floating in the Pacific as the sun set, a pod of whales playing with each other on the horizon.

    Worst: The two weeks of dengue, which coincided with the worst heat and humidity, the worst bugs, and a tropical storm. That time had me asking myself “What the hell was I thinking?”

    1. Thanks! Hope I never get dengue, malaria sucked hard enough. And I’m so used to asking myself “What the hell was I thinking?” that I’ve come to expect it as a sign of daring. I hope I never stop asking myself that.

  3. I know all too well how it is to look back over a year and say, “Did I really do all of that?” You are so young and have so many wild adventures ahead of you. One day you will look back on these snowy “normal” days in New York and they will seem as dreamlike as Ecuador does to you now. Wishing you a fantastic 2014, Bani! –Julie

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