Getting Lost

Peace can be found on empty highways, at sunrise, just before the lifts start turning before the day. 

Peace can be found on empty highways, at sunrise, just before the lifts start turning before the day. 

THE CABIN IS COVERED IN LAUNDRY, DIRTY DISHES AND RANDOM PIECES OF GEAR THAT AREN'T WHERE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.

There is dirt in the water jug, we haven't been using the wood stove, there are several cardboard boxes that fill the very limited floorspace. The cabin has turned into a home, storage unit, launch pad and clothing store. Mike is sick, I am a frazzled and hopeful graphic designer, freshly showered but still somehow covered in mud from working part time as an electrical apprentice. 

    Today’s job was to dig a ditch, put wire in the ditch and fill the ditch back up again, while trying not to completely destroy the nice old lady’s yard. I worked all day in the wind and pouring rain. I ate a pretty decent meatloaf sandwich for lunch, but my body completely hated me.  Vicious thoughts kept running though my head playing the same theme, ”Why don’t I just be like other girls?” I have mud covering my hands and jammed deep under my fingernails. My Carhartts have changed from a pleasant green to dusty brown.

“I COULD BE GETTING A MANICURE RIGHT NOW," I THINK. "THAT’D BE REALLY NICE.” I BEGIN TO JUMP ON THE SHOVEL MORE AND MORE AGGRESSIVELY. 

    “I could have nice hair that gets cut and combed on a regular basis. I could put makeup on and wear nice clothes. I could go shopping and spend money on cute decorations for my little townhouse that I share with my best friend. But no sir-ee, not for Callie Waldschmidt."

     Instead I get to do manual labor. I haven't worn a dress in months because my legs are either too bruised or I'm doing some sort of activity where dress wearing would be deemed "inappropriate." I don't get to live in a nice house because I choose to spend all my money on gear. I go to the fancy salon in town -- to put lights and outlets in and get sheetrock in my eyes, while getting nasty looks from the pedicure lady because the sawzall is interrupting her nail filing and the client is rolling her eyes.

    This has been my life up until this moment. You could say: chaotic, exhausting, stressful, soul-punishing -- I wouldn't disagree many of the choice negative adjectives out there.

    Tonight Mike and I -- after about a month of planning -- are leaving on our road trip to ski, play and spread the dirtbag spirit. There is a foot of powder on the radar for Whistler tomorrow morning, and we only have a border crossing and a few-hour drive to go. Tomorrow everything will fall into place. Tomorrow we will finally be able to ski after hours spent web designing, writing, drawing, filing tax forms and insulating the van to sustain our sleeping bodies in sub-zero temperatures. With dreams of powder-covered landscapes and new smiling, dirtbag friends we will be waxing our skis, swapping on some studded tires and loading up the van for the adventure that awaits.

THE SCENT OF HOT WAX AND AUTOMOTIVE GREASE BEGINS TO FILL MY NOSTRILS. THAT INDESCRIBABLE ENERGY BEGINS TO FLOW BACK INTO ME, STIRRING UP FLUORESCENT THOUGHTS OF FRESH SNOW AND LOAMY TRAILS.

I am a bike bum, and I am a ski bum. I have lived in the back of my jeep, in the back of my van and in a college house’s root cellar. Last summer I got a rash from spending too many days in the Whistler bike park in a row without showering. I am gross. I am verging on white trash, with bushes being my daily use bathroom. I dropped out of college so I could work at a bike shop full time and get pro-deals. I don't have a steady job, and I spend all of my money on bike parts and ski gear. Why would I ever pay someone to paint my nails when I could buy a fresh chain for my bike? I follow my passions to their core. I am flexible. I am a business owner, graphic designer, van and car-life retrofitter. I have been all over the world, I can fix my own bike and tune my own skis. I am free. I am absolutely without a doubt, free. 

See you in the morning, Whistler.

By Callie Waldschmidt, professional dirtbag at Mister Lost's Dirtbag Society

Campfire StoriesMister Lost