This is where we last spoke. Behind an offbeat gas station run by an obese feline in some Podunk town 500 miles outside of Denver, I somehow acquired enough Wifi to tell you the story of Fairfield, Iowa. And since then, there's been an entire universe between our story and the possibility of telling it.
The desert's gone on forever. We're dehydrated, irritable, weak and deteriorating. It's a school bus's seventh circle of Hell and the landscape is unforgiving and never seems to seize. We're holding ourselves together with a rapidly deteriorating supply of glue that feels like the last precious drops of water in our canteen. We're snapping; crumbling to pieces in the merciless heat, and just when I tried to keep my head above the ground and hydrate on the idea that it would all be alright, two have separated from our group of nine with the expression of a different intention, their actions proof of a separate interest. Whether we'll become nine again come New Orleans remains to be seen, but now we are seven.
For the last week and a half, our team has been off the grid. We booked it from Fairfield, Iowa to Denver, Colorado after scooping up an extra four en route to Burning Man, an intense festival of art, culture, and spirituality in the harsh Black Rock City desert of Nevada. There is so much to say about what has happened to the dynamic of our group and project in that time, but it can be somewhat summed up in a pillar we all expected to approach at some point in this trip: the point where we all lose our fucking minds. I assume it happens on every long tour that involves a slue of backgrounds and personalities, where the road seems to go on forever and the thought of listening to the same voice say anything from "You're wrong" to "I love bubbles" only makes you want to stab your eyeballs out with plastic kitchen utensils. The point where all the coffee tastes like sludge and the thought of jumping in another hot dumpster triggers your gag reflex. The point where true colors sneak to the surface and the hardest decisions show their ugly faces and demand addressing. And what better place for this to happen to any team than that unfathomably long stretch of the United States that is covered in desolation and nothingness? What better place than the God forsaken barren wasteland that is the desert?
The bus is being pushed to its limit, right alongside our sanity and will to continue, but we're pressing on. We're battling sickness, tears, loneliness, and confusion, with a little claustrophobia and agoraphobia thrown in, just to make things interesting. We're popping wellness pills and anxiety meds like candy and chugging watered down Gatorade with only our imaginations to chill it. Our boogers are dried out and our lips are chapped. But we approach the wetlands of the South with all the quickness we have, because we will not let this desert beat us.
There are still so many stories we want to show and tell to the world, and if nothing else, the vast emptiness that is this wretched desert trying to destroy us has made us realize even more so that this project is bigger than all of us. We've discovered the true intentions of those of us left and they are pure and unsullied, as well as entirely mutual within the group. So to the amazing people out there we're yet to find, keep looking up for that giant red school bus, because we're still looking for you. We may be a little sweaty, disoriented, and tired when we get to you, but we still want to tell your story. And to everyone else watching, wondering if maybe we drove the bus off the edge of the planet and into oblivion, fret not, because even though decompression and our return to civilization has knocked us on our asses, we're slowly picking ourselves up again and making our way back. So check back soon.
Reposted from the New World Manifesto.
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