The Vienna Period: On being a gypsy soul

You’re approaching 30. Tick tock. You should focus on buying a house, a more reliable car – a bigger one, for the children that should come in no time. Family is the most important thing. Put your money into a 401K – read books about 401Ks and shit. Money is important. Appliance shopping is fun.

Twenties are for exploration. Thirties are for settling down. Why are you winding up? Settle down; you’re so intense. Relax. Take up tennis, or golf, perhaps knitting; it’s good to have hobbies that will survive the decades. You have a good job; what do you do with all your money anyway? You don’t have much. Dreams of youth? Don’t you think it’s time to let those go, or at least, you know, tone those down? Everyone has passions they can’t fully explore. That’s life. It’s a big dream and you are getting older. Let go now and find yourself where you are. Be grateful. Relax! The grind is OK if you are grateful. You have a job! In this economy! Be grateful. Settle. Accept that what’s best is behind you. Let go. There are plenty of fish in the sea. Catch one so you can be sustained, does it matter which? Just make sure they make you laugh. That’s all that matters; sex doesn’t survive the decades anyway. Trust me.

Trust us.

Almost 30. What’s your plan? Where’s your family? Time to make one. You should be grateful for what you have. Where are all your things? So simple! Treat yourself. Get yourself some things! What do you do with all your money? You really should learn about real estate. Renting is throwing your money away. You’ll never build a solid life if you keep moving around. Roots are important. Don’t you want security?

Everybody wants security.


Mom and I have so effortlessly conquered public transportation in Vienna. The genius of a well-built city makes that easy to do—something rare to see in America. It reminds me of Portland, “the city that works”—a town for which I will always be homesick. The place where I got to know things bigger than my self; things of the Universe; Love things.

Like I did in those Portland days, here we easily take trains, trams and busses. We take only what we need. Nothing about this town is excessive. Consciousness is built into the infrastructure and that makes us feel good.

It would be easy to live here. It would be easy to love.

Underground selfie!

The Underground.

It’s a reflective time. I don’t have the words yet.

Steeping, I think about possibilities and I think about limits. For many people it “wouldn’t be possible” to do what I’ve done: up and leave my “regular” life in an instant to be here with my mom for a month (or more). Still making my life work in the face of continual uncertainty. Being thrown out of one’s world by the unexpected would stress most people out, but I am not most people. I was ready to go.

That might be the truest thing about me: I am always ready to go.

In the past I have viewed my always-going-ness as a weakness mostly because I watched my peers always stay. Society, for the most part, stays—whether happy or not. They built communities; they built foundations; they built comfort zones—and at times I envied their refuge, most definitely. But I am learning to harness this ability/need to disperse myself many places, to take (sometimes seemingly stupid) risks, as strength. Right now, as we make a new city our temporary-permanent home on the drop of dime, I am strong.

Musing by the water.

Musing by the water.

It is an easy-to-do but of course unhealthy habit to compare my life to others, especially when I’ve chosen a radically different path than most of my peers. I don’t have a house, nice car, spouse or children. I don’t have that job making a lot of money in Los Angeles I was offered. I don’t have the job in San Francisco because I didn’t want to work that hard for so little for someone’s dream that wasn’t my own. I don’t have a Pinterest account for home decoration and baby arrival preparations. I don’t have a savings for retirement. I don’t have a Costco card or a World Market coffee table. I don’t have many things at all.

All that in exchange for what I do have: complete freedom.

Most chose roots and I chose the wind. There is no right or wrong; there is only what is good for each individual. I accept everyone’s self-honoring choices. Your path is your path. This is about me accepting my authentic self, finally: A true gypsy soul.

The wind maps my trajectory and that is why I can never be had by any one interested in security.

Everyone is interested in security.

I don’t want roots; I want sails.

Sailing: It has not been an easy path but it has been one of true reward and deep beauty. I could have had all the degrees, the promotions, the accolades—and sometimes I wallow in the fact that I don’t, yet for the wrong reasons (ego)—but for those things to be the nucleus of my life would only be harrowing; relics signifying I didn’t follow my heart. For many people those rights of passage are worthwhile, necessary, authentic. But I am here for other things. I am here to learn how to be in joy and inspire the same. For me to be in joy requires great tenacity. Joy, to me, means liberty, autonomy, creativity, authenticity.

It doesn’t mean roots.

I’ll admit it: Creative autonomy is more important to me than security—both in life and in love. At least at this point in time. Not many people understand that. I understand why they don’t understand that. One day I’ll be understood.

Tethers, I have none except for the ones I’ve chosen. Everything means something to me; I’ve chosen a life of meaning. The people in my life mean something. The few material things in my life mean something. The way I spend my time means something; the way I don’t spend my time means something. The way I am—intense, passionate, overbearing, genuine, generous, good but oh so mercurial—means something.

I mean something.

And I know what I’m doing.

In America that’s sometimes difficult for me to remember.

In Vienna—when traveling—it’s something I can’t forget. Riding the underground; observing as many of the 1.7 million people that dwell here as I can; steeping in cafes, museums, on walks; musing for hours for fun; idling until the words come—it means everything.

Walks, walks, walks.


Note: I wrote this about four days ago and just now this video popped up in my newsfeed. Wow. Worth the watch, gypsy friends.


4 thoughts on “The Vienna Period: On being a gypsy soul

  1. Hey! Congrats on spreading your Gypsy wings! I can totally relate to the feelings and freedoms you discuss here. I however just uprooted myself from MI to Portland. Keep running free, and may the wind ever fill your sails ; ) Best wishes to you on the new to you soils. We were meant to live as nomads….well some of us were anyway. ; )

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