the (often) meandering travels of a student anthropologist
Field Notes: September 13th, 2017 - Asheville, NC
This entry offers a glimpse into the enormous amounts of detail I was keeping in my head daily. This isn't a requirement. As I mentioned in a prior note, some women just throw a sleeping bag in a van and go. This is more a reflection of my own attention to planning (called by any other name, OCD). However, I have noticed I am not the only one that immerses themselves in the details of planning...I also recognize that I have already started to seed a support network, a community...
Camera/Video Stuff - almost have that together - just had to send back the tripod I ordered and waiting for new one. Tomberlin and I to have a field session working on how to take pics in tight spaces.
Communications - all set except 4G Verizon pay as you go hotspot. Settled on Verizon 3G unlimited “flashed” hotspot - unlimited $5 a month for most of my work that doesn’t require high speed. Total Wireless (also Verizon LTE) phone that isn’t a hotspot - but only $35 a month for 5G (additional 3G $10) for streaming video, skyping and any work that requires that larger bandwidth. Back up AT&T emergency phone, free monthly with freedompop will give me 1 mg data a month - truly a backup. I shut off my sprint 3g phone but will keep it as I can turn it back on and unlike other phones it can also be a hotspot. You just never know out west what provider you might get service from. That really is sort of a crap shoot. Doesn’t cost me to keep. Ipad can also be hooked up to run on Verizon 3g if needed. Lots of redundancy.
Emergency - weather alert radio, battery operated transistor radio with am/fm and shortwave, and I have a locator app on my phone that my mom can utilize to at least follow my travels and find last known position (of my phone at least). Still considering a handheld CB. Have Good Sam roadside assistance, emergency kit, 1st aid, Good Sam Travel Assist (gets pets and rig taken care of and a medical advocate in event of hospitalization) and lots of batteries, backup lithium chargers, and weather apps. Will have ICE cards on phone, in wallet and on visor. Will have emergency “hot button” on phones, too. There are also gps personal locators, but I’m not planning on doing any solo boondocking - so verdict is out on those.
Currently Juno is back at the mechanics - chasing down that oil leak, checking steering bushings, adjusting carb (seems to be running too rich), fixing the shifter indicator (right now have to guess what gear I’m in!), and I discovered the 12v accessory outlets are running too hot - 14.8 is too much voltage for things like my garmin and cell phone charging. Also found some loose wires underneath I need to clip up better under the chassis and want to ask him about some nearby cables to ensure they aren’t too close to those.
Still have to finish the kitchen plumbing, some painting, solve boondocking energy and heat problem and get my last electronics wired in. Then a wash and wax, put on the bike rack and pack…oh yes, where the heck is everything going to go. With just me? No problem. But the minute you add another person…
There are more things, numerous ones, but all small things. It’s amazing how they add up. It took me 2 hours one afternoon (as an example) to figure out a way to keep the my driver’s side visor from falling down constantly but that I could still work one handed while driving.
I couldn’t have done this without my mom - she did much of the sewing and the flooring (which turned out to be the most difficult of the projects). We had so much fun this summer doing those things that I really hate leaving. But it’s temporary. Unlike others I am not actually going fulltime, just imitating it!
So - I have already formed friendships (albeit digitally) via forums and chat rooms, and some with the people I’ve gotten to know at the hardware store (maybe not friendships but discussion and friendly “how’s the project going”), have strengthened my relationship with my mother and created memories and more bonds and all in the pursuit of creating/building a home/pursuing a vision/asking for help/starting on a journey. Friendships in the chat room/forums? Sure - recently one man just lost his wife unexpectedly - we celebrate, vent and mourn together. I would call any of them friends because we care about each other’s lives.
These field notes, while essentially raw, are an edited version. While I have tried to leave them intact in order to offer my project visitors an authentic peek into the process of creating an ethnography, as well as my own emotions concurrent with the experience, at times I have needed to remove or modify information to protect my relationships, or my informant's privacy. Grammar and spelling is only modified when necessary for readability, I've designated omissions with [...], and sometimes will add hover notes for clarification. Please see methodology for more information.