To Be Who You Want To Be, Be Where You Need To Be

Now that I've lost my outlets for podcasting (the Poker Beat retired in early 2011 and the Jess & BJ Show recorded its last episode a month ago), it's time for me to blog. I'll still post most of my obnoxious opinions on Twitter, but there are a lot of instances where 140 characters just isn't enough to make my point, even in multiple tweets.

This entry is about Kara Scott's recent blog entry, "Ship Shape." Go read it now. If you don't know Kara, just know that she's awesome in all the different ways that a human being can be awesome.

Kara was recently forced to move out of her beloved barn in Santa Barbara, and is looking for a new place to live. (Yes, she lived in barn. That's how awesome she is.) Like a lot of people in poker, Kara's summer will be spent on the road, including the WSOP, so she has some time before she needs to find a place to live.

Kara's blog is about a sailing trip around Greece she took with eight of her friends from Brighton, England, where she used to live. (Kara is Canadian by birth, but both the U.K. and the U.S.A. have tried to adopt her.) Here is the key line in her blog that inspired me to write this morning:

It was, without a doubt, one of my favourite holidays ever. Ever, ever. And it made me realize just how much I miss life with my Brighton friends. Although I'm always 'myself' and I sincerely loved (and miss) my friends in Santa Barbara, I'm a far more relaxed and laid-back version of Kara when I'm in Europe. This is definitely something I'll be bearing in mind as I try to figure out just where in the world I should live over the next few months.

I can relate to that. About five years ago, I wasn't quite feeling right with myself. It coincided somewhat with my entry into the poker world, but I knew that wasn't the problem. I couldn't put my finger on it, and I was still most definitely "me," but something was missing.

I didn't know it at the time, but the problem was simple -- my car was in bad shape. It needed some engine work, and I didn't trust it enough to take it on a road trip. So whenever I was back home in Atlanta, I rarely ventured out of the city. I had to fly to the 2008 WSOP (leaving my dog Rhapsody behind) and rent a car in Las Vegas. It was annoying, but I didn't realize at the time how deeply it had affected me.

Before the 2009 WSOP, I finally had the funds to get the necessary work done on my car. And Rhapsody and I drove to Vegas for the summer. When it was over, I had some time before I needed to return to Atlanta, so we drove to visit some old friends in Burbank. And then we visited Yosemite National Park. And then we went to Yellowstone National Park. And then we went to Mount Rushmore. And then we went to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. And then to the town where I grew up north of Detroit. And then into Ontario, Canada. Just me and Rhapsody in a car, on a journey with no particular destination other than to go wherever we felt like going.

That's when I found myself again.

Later that year, Rhapsody and I drove down to Florida on a whim to watch a Space Shuttle launch. It's something I had always wanted to do, and now that the Shuttle program has ended, I'm so glad we made the trip.

But we didn't stop there.

We continued driving south, going all the way to Key West to spend a couple of days. Key West is one of my favorite spots in the country, and it's the setting for my always-in-progress-but-rarely-making-progress novel. On the way back home, we stopped by to see family in Tampa, allowing me to reconnect with my then 8-year-old niece. (She's actually my second cousin, but our relationship is that of an uncle and niece).

A few months after that, Rhapsody and I embarked on our 50-State Road Trip with almost zero planning -- I didn't even have the idea until four days before we left. But that trip is one of the highlights of my life.

My long, meandering point is that road trips are part of what make me feel like me. It's where I'm the most comfortable. It's "home."

I've been thinking about this more and more recently, because there is a potential change for me on the horizon. One option would almost universally be considered the better option, but it would dramatically change my lifestyle and limit the complete freedom that I have now. It may be the better option for most people, but it's probably not the better option for me.

Where we choose to be has a lot of influence on us, more than most of us would care to admit. And we usually don't consider it as much as we should.

For me, that place is in my car on a road trip, preferably with a dog. For Kara, it sounds like that place is Brighton, England.



Great blog entry and I'm looking forward to reading more. I've even bookmarked it as I have no idea how RSS works or really, if I'm honest, what the hell it is. Embarrassing but true.

Also, thank you very much for your really kind comments. The Poker world feels like a slice of home to me and that's in large part because of the really fantastic group of people that we get to hang out with. Wildly diverse, interesting, quirky and good-hearted people. I appreciate you guys a lot.

Sounds to me like you've answered your own question. Hopefully this summer will help me to do the same. Lets chat about it over scotch :)