This is My Nicotine

The last four months I’ve felt like a fish out of water, breathing strange foreign air I’d not breathed in a long time. It tasted a lot like the air of normalcy I left behind in California, but with a tinge of toxicity that’s grown into a veritable strain.

It hurts to breathe this air.

There’s something to be said about sticking things out and working through your discomfort. That’s where growth happens, after all.

But there’s something else to be said about not sticking things out if the air filling your lungs is killing you.

I wouldn’t go so far to say Charlotte has been killing me these last four months. I’ve long reconciled that any of the handful of places I considered moving to would have left me feeling the same way.




In truth, Charlotte’s been great to me. The people there are some of the best ones I could’ve hoped to surround myself with on a weekly basis.

But they can’t give me the drug I need right now.

I need the road. I need my fix, and I will get it.

I’ve never actually done drugs. I’ve never even smoked a cigarette in my life. A group of young guys on my road trip invited me to smoke some marijuana with them and I declined their kind offer.

“You’re welcome to sit and talk with us if the smell doesn’t offend you,” the marijuana-smoker said to me. Most polite pot-people I’ve ever met.

All that to say, I think I know what drugs and withdrawal must feel like. Probably a lot like the last four months.

This last week was a long strange one. I’m out of tutoring work for the summer but potentially on the heels of an exciting new job opportunity. I hope to write more about that soon.

Amid this delicate in-between, though, I’ve been writhing. Twitching. I’ve been staring at maps and writing about adventurous chapters already lived and closed.

Enough, I finally said.

I need a drag.

I need my nicotine.

So, I packed a bag and readied Mitsy. Her ears perked with a turn of the key, and we set sail for the Carolina below us.

I have no idea how long I’ll be gone. Maybe three weeks, maybe six.

I kinda dig the unpredictability of wandering.

To be clear, I’m not #RunningTo. I’m strictly #RunningAway this time.

I’ve been in a blogging rut lately, and I’m hoping this #RunningAway rescues me. I want to blog a few times each week about where I’m going and what I’m seeing and how I’m feeling.

Each post will be totally stream-of-consciousness with limited to no editing. I might even rip out my Backspace key. I’ve already lost the Left Shift. I need a new laptop.

It could be an enlightening experiment, both for you the reader and myself the writer.

Could be disastrous.

I don’t know where this is going, but I’m tired of breathing normal air. I’m diving back into the sea. I’m smoking my cigarette.

I’m running away, and it already feels so good.


By the way, I didn’t go back and thoroughly edit this post despite all the screaming urges to do so. We’ll see how I do from here on out.

  • Will be praying for you. Good luck finding exactly what you’re supposed to find out of this. 🙂

  • I’ve been feeling something similar, I think. While I love my work and I enjoy the perks of living at home, there’s something missing. I talked with an old professor about it over a month ago now when I went to visit him at his new school in Portland and he just smiled and said, “that’s because people like us thrive in tension. We seek the struggle.” I’ve been bouncing back and forth in my head between finally moving on again from Oregon, or staying and reveling in the stability that a full time job with healthcare and all the benefits it affords. Yet the latter seems dull even though the former is nothing less than terrifying. I’m seeking tension, I’m looking for struggle, because back surrounded by the four walls of my youth has done nothing but suffocate me even though I have truly benefited from my time back home. So I understand the feeling, the breathing in of just-slightly toxic air, and the uncomfortable, smothering regularity and stability that some people yearn for and I look to toss away. Enjoy your #RunningAway for both of us.

    • Gosh I love that quote. Thriving in tension; seeking the struggle. I get that and feel that so much. I’m chasing a potential job opportunity that might allow me a balance of both stability and unfettered tension. Hopefully I’ll have more to report on that soon. In the meantime, you’re in my prayers. Thanks for saying what’s on your heart, Katie. Much love.

  • Chris

    You’re coming to Australia this time??

  • Rebecka

    Safe travels! I look forward to reading about your journey.
    (I have to confess I’m a little jealous, I want to run away too…)

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  • Cody

    This is incredible. I’m really enjoying your blog. I’m curious, do you make some passive income that lets you travel like this? What a dream.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Cody! I’m glad you’re enjoying my journey. I’m one of those people who stops, works, saves up, then stops working and travels until I run out of money and need to stop and work again. My ultimate goal is to make a living on my writing, though, so that I’ll be all the more unhinged and able to travel even more regularly.

      All best to you! Hope to see you around these parts again soon.