Welcome to my new personal blog — as opposed to the professional website I write for, Beyond Chron. I am launching this blog tonight because I’m leaving tomorrow night for a very exciting, two-week vacation to the Florida Keys, the Gulf Coast, New Orleans, Cajun Country, the Mississippi Delta and finally Memphis. This trip is long overdue …
Despite never having owned a car (and being a staunch environmentalist), I’ve always had an insatiable lust for the open road — having the freedom and flexibility of an automobile, while traveling at a leisurely pace down two-lane cross-country roads in places I’ve never been. And of course, avoiding the Interstate.
When I graduated from college in 2000, I did a 28-state road trip that lasted seven weeks. It was actually supposed to be even more ambitious, but money … and circumstances … got into the way. I got a phone call from Randy Shaw, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic.
I had met Randy a few months earlier after reading The Activist’s Handbook, and he mentioned a possible job for me after college. He called to offer me a position in the Code Enforcement Outreach Program — helping to organize low-income tenants in the Tenderloin and on 6th Street. After thinking it over, I called back two days later, and accepted. I drove to Miami, returned the car and hopped on a plane back home.
It has always been my intention to eventually complete that Great American Road Trip — even if it means several repeated trips over the years. While in law school, I drove along the Pacific Coast to Los Angeles — and the following summer did a fabulous, three-week road trip from San Francisco to Seattle. But my heart still yearns for a trip back to Key West, Florida — and this time, I’ll be spending more than just one night there. Then, I’ll continue where I had left off in July 2000.
My decision in 2000 to work at T.H.C. had a profound impact on my life. I was already active in affordable housing politics (I had decided to run for the Berkeley Rent Board that November), but this job allowed me to immerse myself working with San Francisco’s most vulnerable tenant population — something that has shaped my outlook on life. It also taught me to eventually go to law school at Golden Gate University. The culture and character of San Francisco also convinced me to give up a career in Berkeley politics to make my move across the Bay, which I did in December 2004 after my four-year term on the Rent Board expired.
Now in February 2009, I’m at a crossroads in my life where it’s important to take a deep breath and continue on the magical journey that I had ended in Key West. Everyone with the means and opportunity should take a time when they’re about to make a big decision to explore and indulge.
While this is a personal blog, the rumors that have been floating are true — after I return in two weeks, I intend to run for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for District 6 (in 2010.)