At midnight tonight, I will achieve a goal more than a decade in the making. An idea that began as a joke and turned into a life’s ambition will finally be completed; finito.
10 Cities / 10 Years was so many things. Most obviously, it was a travel blog – one that provided very little in the way of actual travel advice. More so, it was my attempt to keep a running analysis of the culture both in terms of art and societal patterns. It’s also a memoir predicated on the fact that all memories are fallible. And it’s the story of some amazing people who changed my life.
Most generally, it was an experiment and an endurance test.
And in less than 24 hours it will be over.
On Tuesday, I’ll reflect on the project at large and what this has meant for me and what it will mean for me in the years to come.
But today, I want to take a moment and look back. I’m using this space to say thank you to those whose lives became intertwined with mine throughout this past decade, for better or for worse (for me, mostly the former; for them, mostly the latter). This was a solitary journey for the majority of the years, yet I didn’t do it on my own.
First of all, there are the members of my family who have been a constant presence in my life, even when we don’t talk regularly. My mother, a devout Christian who would probably be mortified if she knew most of what I’ve gone through and done, has always supported my pursuit of this foolish aim. What more can one ask for?
My siblings – Fonz, Steve, Debra and Daniel – are the people I’ve fought with most in my life, and because of them I’m stronger, wiser and funnier. And boozier. They have supported me as much as they have mocked me – and if you know my family, you know that’s a lot. We might be dysfunctional, but… nah, that’s it, we’re just dysfunctional.
I want to thank Shelly and Marianne, 2 of my oldest and closest friends, strong and amazing women I’ve known since before the project began. If I’m even remotely a decent man, it’s because of both of them.
And then there are all those friends who I’ve made over the years of this project. There have been some great guys, some friends who have been fun co-workers and roommates and who I have wonderful memories with – what I can remember. If we’ve had a drink together, know that I think of you fondly. Well, I think of the whiskey fondly, and you get the residual goodwill.
Anyone who knows me, anyone who has been truly close to me, knows that wherever I go, I habitually surround myself with intelligent, talented, witty, beautiful, entertaining women. They inspire me, they encourage me, they challenge me – and in return, sometimes I’m kind of okay to hang around with.
So here’s where I want to express my love and thanks to those impressive women I’ve met along the way (even those who are no longer in my life):
Alex – my first friend of this project and still one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Love.
Ashley – perhaps the purest heart I’ve ever known. Meeting you changed my life.
Ivy and Amy – the coolest and badassiest writers I know.
Amber and Kate – cool f-ing chicks who made me feel at home in the one part of the country I never thought I’d live.
Chandra – we went through it all together, and it wasn’t always pretty, but what we had was truly unique and transformative. That isn’t forgotten.
The Ladies of Forever 21 (yes, you read that right) – it was one of the worst jobs I ever had and one of the hardest years of my life but I had some great friends that year who made it worth it.
Jacky, Emily, Jenna, Cassie, Michelle and dammit, just so many others at Demos who made Nashville a year to vaguely remember through the haze of alcohol. I was at a low point when I arrived in the city and it was largely because of you that I kept pushing through onto city 7.
Clarice (and, of course, Tom) – you made Seattle a home for me (even though I didn’t live in your home).
Rhiannon – some days, all I need is to know there is someone who will enjoy receiving New Girl quotes for no reason at all.
All the Tillicum Gals – woah, that sounds dirty.
Brielle – what can I say? We saw JT together.
Rebecca – in some of my darkest moments, you picked me up with a hug or a shot (usually the latter).
Kristin and Brittany – hated the job, liked (and admired) you both.
Annabelle – not sure they come any kinder than you.
All you dolls at E&C (ugh, yes, even you Karisa – the worst) – work was rarely boring with you around.
Emily – we’ve driven the country together – twice – and we survived robberies, mice attacks and our upstairs neighbors. If you ever need a travel companion, just give me a call. I probably won’t be doing anything important, anyway. (You’re seriously too cool.)
Amandine – you remind me that I still have so much more to explore; you’re also the best photographer I’ve ever known and I’m constantly amused by the fact that you doubt how talented you are.
Sophie – sorry about the broken foot, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed my first summer here nearly as much without you. I look forward to trying to convince people I know you in a few years.
I hope you all appreciate how much I care about you. I also hope you all appreciate how hard it was for me to remain that sincere for so long. I almost fainted.
Did I forget you? Well, I drink a lot, so what did you expect?
I guess, in the end, 10 Cities / 10 Years is the story of a guy who is naturally sort of an asshole but is marginally less so because of the people he’s met.
So, uh, thanks.