The road's got my attention hopping from writing to vegas to cruises and beer videos

Vegas animals.

I started 2022 with a focus: write my first screenplay. I made a hell of a lot of progress on that while staying with a friend in chilly Vermont, and soon my attention was pulled elsewhere. Pulled to other places, and pulled to other projects. Here's how I went from writing by the fire in Vermont to chasing a free cruise in Vegas and spending far too much time video-editing in Texas. It all gets tied up in the end.

Let's start with the cruise. For those following along, you know I spent far too much time in Vegas (and elsewhere) last year gambling and taking advantage of free rooms and meals. Like my early days of traveling, I'm back on their radar and the freebees are arriving in my inbox on the daily. Enter the cruise.

One such offer reached my email along the lines of "stay at our casino for five free nights and you'll get a free cruise of your choosing." Curious. I kept reopening the email, looking for loopholes, details, and anything else to discourage or encourage the trip. After eyeing a $40 flight from NYC to Vegas, I decided I might as well go for it.

My buddy in Vermont saved me some cold hitchhiking by driving me down towards the city a few days before my flight. The city is my old stomping ground. I grew up nearby, and it's where I last lived in 2007 before the backpack became home. It's not a shock that I have a brother there I could couch surf with and old friends to keep me entertained catching up with.

I also reached out to, the latest hospitality site trying to replace the (essentially) defunct Couchsurfing site, and interviewed one of the co-founders on my Freestyle Travel podcast.

But let's get to Vegas. I soared across the country like a drunken eagle, with not just five days, but fifteen days of comped rooms ahead of me. Five in Vegas to fulfill the free cruise offer, five at a casino in Laughlin to break it up, then another five back in Vegas. I was still in screenwriting mode, so I figured a couple weeks of free hotel rooms would keep that going. And to an extent, it certainly did.

View from room in Planet Hollywood.

The cruise... well, not totally free. I waited in a line with other gamblers who'd taken the bait, most twice my age and many who'd gotten this cruise voucher a time or two before. That comforted me a bit - at least it couldn't be a total scam.

While the voucher for two was for a "free" cruise to any place of my choosing (the Caribbean being the most enticing), it would not cover government taxes and some other fees. I should have seen that coming, but it still seemed viable, and all I had to do was stay for free in a Vegas hotel room. It should be noted that, yes, I gambled, and yes, I lost most of the dwindling money I had left. So, free? I dunno, I have to Vegas a W on that one, ya got me.

I hitchhiked about a hundred miles from Vegas down to Laughlin, which is insatiably boring compared to Vegas, and this was ideal considering I was aiming to hole up in the comped room there to keep writing. Being that I had no money left to gamble either, I made quite a bit of progress.

My writing spot at the room in Laughlin.

Five days later I was back on the highway with my thumb out, hitching a couple rides back up to Vegas the day of the Superbowl. Although my money was depleted, I was given several free drink tickets to use each day and had a few free food comps at my disposal as well. Hunger and sobriety can keep their distance.

I arrived in Vegas with no plan beyond, and as always, something clicked at the last minute. For the immediate move, my buddy had bought me a plane ticket to South Dakota so I could pick up his RV. He needed it driven to him in Dallas, and I was the guy to do that favor for him. Seemed like a good move, and gave me more time to ponder this cruise situation.

I got to the RV in South Dakota and immediately started driving. I basically kept it moving until Oklahoma City, where I met up with an old friend for lunch, then kept it rolling until Dallas. My friend had a new girlfriend there and seemed to be digging in a bit after a choppy stint of RV travels he'd done in the months prior.

While spending some days kicking it with him, my mind shifted sharply to my beer and travel show, Hopping: The Backpacking Beer Adventure. The editor who'd been tasked to edit all the episodes was well overdue, and communication had become spotty. I'd reached the point where I needed to embrace the idea that I may need to take it on myself.

I got in the zone and I've been in the zone since. Thankfully, I at last got the editor on the phone and I think we've gotten on the same page. And although the original page didn't involve myself sitting in front of video editing software as much as I am, I'm happy to get things rolling.

For those of you who've been patiently waiting for Season 2, I'm happy to give you this trailer and the promise of a premiere date next month, most likely on April 26th, with new episodes coming out every Tuesday.

So, from Dallas, I hitchhiked to see my friend Liz in rural Texas where she'd recently moved to live on a wedding/event venue helping out the couple that runs it. I split my time there between catching up, editing for Hopping, and filming some content for their business. We also recorded my first ever podcast with video.

This individual is an absolute animal. Yeah you are.

Next up I hitchhiked to where I'm writing this now: Austin. A buddy of mine had seen I was in Texas and reminded me that South by Southwest was happening, so I spent a couple weeks at his place either behind my video editing software or out in town hitting breweries and every free event we could find.

He left town a few days ago, and I moved to another spot, now staying with a new friend of mine who lives and breathes in the film industry. It's been inspiring learning his tips and tricks when it comes to filming, editing, and managing YouTube channels.

Alas, the cruise! I found a friend stoked on the idea and willing to take advantage of the two vouchers with me. The ship sets sail in just over two weeks, leaving from New Orleans and taking a week to jump to various islands in the Caribbean. Unlimited buffet access, open bar, snorkeling, some ruin hopping I believe, and who knows what else is in store.

Somewhere in the coming days, I'll jump out of Austin, directly or indirectly making my way to New Orleans. My beer show has dominated my days and even dreams as it excitedly comes together, but I'm very much in need of some more rambling, more chaos, and more random travel-stance.

I hope you're pumped because I am pumped. Let's get after it.