Share Post:

Skooliepalooza and the Ungathering

Yavapai Apache Traditional Territory, so-called Quartzite, Arizona

So. . . I’m sitting on top of my bus running tarot cards and watching the mountains and the comings and goings of the folks here at this autonomous zone. There are more rigs than I can count and a paraglider dive bombing encampments with a selfie stick. It is working on sunset so the music is gathering strength.

Busses and vans and RVs and tents that have all been customized to the needs and habits of their occupants. The outgoing crowd brings food or coffee or juiced veggies to share while the introverts gather in smaller groups or no group at all.

Dogs run leashed and loose forming the largest dog park I’ve ever witnessed, and I’m totally jazzed about this. My two year old pup gets unleashed at 8am-ish and returns around 1 *completely exhausted*. For a high energy dog that can put on 20 miles in a day, this is no small feat.

We’ve met friends from all over the country and world. Skooliepalooza had an amazing wellness camp with a free skillshare. I discovered ROLFing. . . imagine balls that adjust well tightened structures in body, emotion and spirit that just need some help releasing all of that trapped bullshit of my history in my body. All of the fists and manipulations and gaslighting and the feelings. . . repressed and avoided. . . with nowhere to go but through and out.

There are families like us. . . living and loving on the road. . . all gathered together in this space and time. We are no accident. Here. Now. And there is beauty in each and every one assembled, even the assholes that play trash techno at 3 am.

Where am I at?

My kid is content. They started free drawing on their bunk and I’ll take that as a sign that they’re discovering themselves and learning to unleash their amazing 5th chakra. They’ve made friends from Jamaica and spend their evenings engaged with another teenager, making fun of bad anime.

If my kid is happy, that’s a weight off my shoulders. Combine the weight lifted with an amazingly collaborative culture and some freewheeling anarchists and I’m in heaven. This place is magic.

In the mornings I walk. I promised myself that I’d take a simple walk each morning to connect with the Earth, Spirit and Life.

Two days ago? It rained for hours. Afterwards, the formerly baby desert seedlings put on multiple true leaves, and the washes have patterns from a rare winter run. The quartz that is everywhere is luminescent with a morning dew. As if all the crystals in the world were broken above this place and left for a bunch of miscreant nomads to discover when they’d had enough with the bullshit capitalist system of money magic, repression and thought-policing life.

There is no longer any place to go if you’re ‘unlanded’ in this taker system of economic extraction. Yet, here there are folks from every walk of life. Retirees. Lightworkers. Straight edge rubber tramps. Hardcore psychedelic kinfolk. Families raised on four and six and ten wheels. Rigs that were uncrafted by hand and those that saw the diligence of a dedicated craftsman with a plan. Even the little devils playing trash techno and starting shit on social media are part of that same wounded and grateful and trashy and elegant and edgy family. This event would be incomplete without every single person here. Right. Now. Every single one. Even the asshole that whipped my (young) dog (in off leash training) for being off leash while proclaiming his mastiff a coyote killer and proving his metal as a violent survivor of the dish he’s giving.

Thirty somethings raising kids or raising themselves. Forty somethings escaping the matrix of toxic childhoods and toxic economic reality. Retired 50 and 60 somethings finally feeling secure enough to live their dreams. 20 somethings that do things that I don’t understand that look a lot like chilling in a vibe that hasn’t woken up to fully adulting and individuation. I’m envious there. I still remember my 20’s. Everything before that is a bit of a blur, clouded in the confusion and obligation and trepidation of my birth family.

Yet, here there is a perfectly imperfect family of misfits. I can relate. I’ve found a living and a life on the island of misfit toys for much of my life.

What is truly incredible for me is seeing all of this beauty in imperfection in everyone and everything around me, yet seeing only what I need to do and accomplish for myself. . . then finding all of the supposed reasons to keep myself small and in a place where I am never enough. I haven’t healed enough, I’m not social enough, I’m not hip enough.

And I recognize (and hope you do too) that each of these voices in my head, born of a dysfunctional family, are complete and utter bullshit.

I can find a thousand reasons to berate myself for things left undone.

Yet, as I laid on the table of @anneastral getting my first tattoo, not realizing the pains associated with the position and my choice of solid black ink, tears of unprocessed grief and pain ran down my face. The catharsis of knowing exactly where I came from and exactly why I am in this place and time right now.

Autonomous and free. Free to choose how I raise my kid. Free to choose when and where we show up. Free to throw flack at the turd nozzle that whipped my amazing dog.

I was never brave enough to change my name and identity and completely cut physical ties with my fucked up family. Yet. . . here. . . I am surrounded by the bravery of those that said fuck no to this bullshit system we have found ourselves in. I have listened to the wisdom of those that tolerated the system long enough to buy an amazing rig and live NOW. I’ve discovered wounded souls in an amazing synchronicity that can exist no-where else except in an autonomous space where anything is possible.

Here, I have hope.

Hope for you.

Hope for hope me.

Hope for us, the big we.

What might it take to recreate a world on fire?

I see before me an amazing gathering of resistance to the dull, gray normal of everyday so-called life. Escapists, like myself, are not only looking for an alternative, but creating one. . . trash techno aside (yes, my favorite love-hate moments are Spongebob and EMINEM at 3am).

The facts here. Ya’ll showed up. You are harbingers of change. The brave ones who find themselves in the unknown, willingly. Choosing to create a world you want to live in, instead of accepting the status quo of a social, economic system that subverts all it encounters.

You fucking showed up.


Yes, you.

You showed up. To make something impossible possible in an imperfect world.

You’re beautiful. Each and every one of you.

Each one of your freak and geek flags travel space and time in ways that may only echo through your being as a dream. The undercurrent of amazing resistance, incubated in pain and formed through the love of rediscovered self and tribe and community.

In a barren little section of quartz saturated Earth on the so-called Arizona, Cali border.

Maybe ya’ll have given me a window into myself and you don’t even know it.

Let go.

Not to run, but to find.

Not to escape, but to simply be.

Not to think, but to know.

The freedom you hold, I know deeply as well.

We all do.

What might we want besides a safe place to sleep and to live our vibe and simply be. Fuck does it matter whether that is sticks and bricks or a six wheeled contraption begging to get a moving violation?

Be you, boo boo. . . as my Vietnam Vet friend says.
And you. . .  we are.


Keep rolling my friends, in good times and ‘bad’. You are seen and heard and loved.

There’s no place on Earth like now.

I’m glad to have met you here.

about author


A dad, a kid, a kelpie and two cat brothers rubbertramping around the country doing our best to live authentic lives while awakening to our birthright. 

Support My Work

Exploring inner space with all of its highs and lows and inbetweens while growing into a world we both choose and desire to create together.