A Travel Journal, SUVpacking America

On the road. Discovering who This New Man is.

Truth or Consequences?

Santa Barbara Camp FireWhat an appropriate occurrence. We’re driving on to Santa Fe on this day (January 16th), a couple of hours outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, leaving Arizona just as it’s getting warmer. It’s early in the afternoon. I’m contemplating how to gather together the knowledge of our notes from the men we’ve been talking with into a story that makes sense. What does it all mean? How do we do justice to what these various guys are thinking?

And what comes up as the next town along the path of our adventure? Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

T or C, as the highway signs call it, is an authentic western place – and as we entered what is pretty much a village, I got to thinking about the nights we’ve spent sitting around a few campfires.

January 7, 2013: The men of Michigan are a great example. We were ending our two-day stay-over just outside of Santa Barbara, sleeping another evening in the SUV. The wind was colder than we had expected; the waves were crashing almost within reach, literally splashing and hugging the highway. We improvised this second night here, not expecting much. Yet we found a cool gathering of guys around their burning fire.

“We came this way to get the heck away from cold, wintery days,” said Jackson, a 30-something guy who says he mostly works on construction and homebuilding. Times had been tough in Northern Michigan, he said, but he had squirrelled away some money for the trip with his friend. “But I wanted warmer nights,” he sighed.

Carl, a younger student, said it was cold but that he had found California an interesting place; different than he had thought.  “It’s like looking at the pictures,” he chuckled. “There are a few people who dress and act like they live in some of the magazines and catalogs we see online. Now I can see what that stuff comes from.” “Sort of,” he then adds.  

Obviously, though, he wasn’t so confident in what he was thinking. “I can see how men are going to change in the future, and I don’t mind. But I’d love to see the online sites be more realistic. They are too often too far out, too weird, to uncomfortable.” He thought they should be mirrors like what he sees.

Jackie, their female traveling companion, laughed and turned the conversations to the boots of Santa Barbara, of all things.  “It’s funny how women here dress in winter boots, but guys seem behind. The cold weather is settling in and a lot of guys stay steady with footwear that doesn’t fit the conditions.”

FireCamp BeachI could almost hear her thinking, when are these guys gonna learn?

The truth and consequences of change aren’t so clear yet. I love that these guys, like others, weren’t afraid to go there in their thoughts. They seemed to find their own justification for the changes heading there way, and yet they still want to make sure they are prepared for the challenge. A good pair of boots might well be what they need as they contemplate what lies ahead. 

Want to follow and know where we are check my Twitter@ArtsyHipCool and don’t forget to see my photos at Instagram@ArtsyHipCool Coming to your Town Near You.

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