Planet SOMA US Tour 1997

8800 miles. 29 states. 2 countries. 5 weeks. This was some trip!

On 2 September 1997, yer humble host leaves on a very long journey around the country. The object is to see the USA, via the old roads as much as possible, and to meet interesting people. Accommodations will be provided in large part by Planet SOMA readers and other friends. Updates will be transmitted from the road.  You’re invited along for the ride, but be forewarned: I break for drive-ins, sleazy motels, cute boys, etc…

So what the hell am I thinking? With minimal cash on hand, I’m embarking on a 7500-mile trip around the country alone. I’ll be gone for five weeks. I’ll be spending a good third of the trip staying in the homes of people I’ve never met face to face. For at least six or seven nights I’ll be lurking about completely alone in cheap motels hundreds, even thousands of miles from home.

This trip is something I’ve been contemplating for a long time. I was pretty damned amazed that a lot of Planet SOMA readers liked the idea well enough to offer couch space and bathroom privileges, as well as guided tours and more.

Why are you doing this?

Well, I guess it’s just because that’s what I do. Over the last few years, I’ve learned that the times I’m happiest are when I’m completely alone, driving down a highway I’ve never traveled before, en route to a relatively unfamiliar destination. It’s such a great sensation, seeing things I’ve never seen before, as well as new versions of things I’ve seen a million times before. The completely banal becomes exciting.

Aren’t you apprehensive about your living quarters?

I’m not worried about the prospect of staying with strangers, and I hope they’re not worried about the prospect of me in their homes. In fact, calling many of my hosts “strangers” is pretty inaccurate anyway. Thanks to e-mail, I’ve formed alliances with people all over the country — and the world. Surely there’s a considerably stronger bond here than with someone I might invite into my home after meeting up in a bar on Folsom Street.

Will you be giving updates on Planet SOMA?

I sure hope so. The level of detail will depend on my computer access as I travel, as well as on how much time I have. At a minimum I plan to put up simple text updates as often as I can. The pictures may have to wait until I get back because (a) I don’t want to spend the whole trip editing them and (b) not everyone can accomplish video captures easily.

That said, the simple answer is “yes…there will be updates from the road”.

Can I still join the fun?

No. I don’t want to meet anyone else.

OK…I’m kidding. I’m still itching to meet more people around the country. Take this as a hint, if you will, but Detroit and Oklahoma City are the two big spots where a friendly face would be appreciated. But there’s still time to meet up if you live somewhere else too. Mail me (before Labor Day would be nice). We’ll talk.

Thanks again to everyone who has expressed support and interest in the trip. It’s gonna be fun.