Sacked by the "downturn", an unemployed architect touring the country in a bus...

I used to live in New York City. I designed homes for the tycoons of Wall Street; Park Avenue, Scarsdale, Greenwich. It was great fun. And, after years of saving up for a down payment, I was just about to buy my own little place in Fleetwood, half an hour north of the city, when the economy fell apart. Architects are like canaries in a coal mine when the economy slows, and true to form, there were massive layoffs in firms all over the country. Devastation of the profession. So, I decided to try to find something else to do for a while. I bought a 23' school bus and I'm on the road to see if I can figure out what that might be.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


At the Gorge Bridge east end parking lot, I met Clay.  I made a point of introducing myself because of his bus, which I recognized from a few nights prior at the parking lot near Taos Plaza.  The bus had various love themed declarations painted on in multicolored lettering, pleas and instructions on making the world better.

It was easy to engage Clay in conversation, we had buses in common.  Clay had been traveling for 9 months, I for 6.  We enjoyed showing each other some of the details of our interiors and the solutions we had found for water, power, food, etc.
Clay was also glad to elaborate on his philosophical outlook which included a blend of his own free thinking and a christian upbringing, seasoned with Asian religions as well.  He was concerned with choosing moral actions in a corrupt society, not of the "family values" sort, which he would surely find repugnant artificial impositions of control, but rather issues of fairness and decency, sustainable choices re: leaving a better world for the next generation, and so forth.  I said I was not a religious person, but had many of the same concerns and reached some of the same conclusions as he, and he accepted our commonalities easily.  He suggested I go to "The Rainbow Gathering" on the 4th of July, and he printed a "Declaration of Interdependence" from the 1977 gathering.  It is a color print on heavy paper, so I know it meant something to him to give it to me, and I value it.

I was curious about Clay's life before he took up bus traveling, but felt asking about that would be too intrusive, or maybe I didn't want to get into my own reasons, perhaps fearing I might appear spoiled in comparison.  I asked Clay about the Earthship sustainable houses up the road, and thanked him for letting me take pictures, and outside the bus, he gave me a hearty hug goodbye, and I headed off to see the Earthships...

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