I left Lincoln, Nebraska on September 2 to fly to New Orleans. My father called me the night before to say, “Have you been watching the weather news?” He wanted me to know there was a tropical storm bearing down on New Orleans with lots of flooding predicted. He didn’t think it was a good time to go.
I went anyway.
No way was I going to miss my first Southern Decadence. I figured the experience of a bunch of gay men drinking, dancing and getting decadent in the streets could only be enhanced by additional moisture. As it turned out, I was right–kind of.
I met lots of new friends, I ran into some friends from Hawaii, I got very wet, and I had a lot of fun dancing in the rain. Only thing I didn’t get was laid. But that was as it should be. I love the idea of sleazy sex in the streets, but what I really want is a romantic connection. Things like Southern Decadence are no longer destinations for me–they’re more like speed bumps. But I’m glad I went, for the lessons learned.
Sunday evening I returned to my hotel room at 10:30pm and packed because my shuttle to the airport was scheduled for an ungodly hour: 3:20am. There was one other passenger in the shuttle, a tall, beautiful woman from Australia named Kath, with whom I felt an immediate connection. Kath was on her way to spend a month in Havana. She and I talked about healing, energy work, and a myriad of other subjects all the way to the airport, then managed to get seats next to each other on the flight to Miami, and again talked the whole way, despite the small amount of sleep we were both functioning on. When I said goodbye to her in the Miami airport, we exchanged email addresses and gave each other a big hug. Interesting that the strongest connection I made with anyone in my Southern Decadence stopover was a spiritual one.
I arrived in Baltimore a few hours later, and there was my old friend Ramses to pick me up. I’d seen him just a few weeks before at Gina’s place in LA, and it was great to see him again so soon. Ramses modeled for me almost 20 years ago, and at 40, he still looks so good he could easily model for me again if he wanted to. He’s been trying to get me to visit him in Baltimore for years and I finally made it.
Ramses owns a gorgeous old 3-storey brick house built in the 1890s. He gave me my own room and bathroom on the 3rd floor, and he let me set up my drawing station at one end of his dining-room table.
I’ve spent my 10 days here in Baltimore working (drawing every day) and hanging out with Ramses in the evenings, going out for food and drink, and meeting lots of new friends.
I’ve also been doing yoga almost every day. In the absence of easy transportation to a yoga class in Baltimore, I’ve created a daily at-home routine using the YouTube videos of Yogatic.com featuring Esther Eckart. These are great yoga videos for home use. I created a playlist of 8 of my favorite Yogatic.com videos to follow and it’s almost as good as going to a class. The challenges of being on the road for months at a time mean I must take good care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually, and my yoga practice is a big part of that.
While I was in Baltimore I finished a new colored-pencil drawing of Sam, and filled a good portion of my newest sketchbook. I even did a drawing of Ramses with his beloved (spoiled) cat Maxwell.
Tomorrow I fly back to Hawaii for a 2-week breather, thus wrapping up the first couple of months of my year-long adventure. I’ll stay in Hawaii for about 2 weeks signing prints, doing catch-up work with my assistant, and doing some painting (that’s one thing I haven’t yet found a way do on the road). Then I’m off again, and the plan is to do South America. That’s still taking shape and you’ll be hearing about it soon.