First steps

Within 24 hours of landing in Cairns, Australia where I’d spend the next six months on my study abroad program, I lost my wallet. I spent the next day searching, calling credit card companies, calling my parents, and complaining to anyone who would listen. Eventually I sorted out the mess and went on to have a great semester. Five months later my parents came to visit. As we sat down together for our first meal, my mom pulled my wallet out of her purse and casually placed it on the table in front of me. In it was my ID, some credit cards, even some american money. I was blown away! I’d been with them the entire time they were in Cairns so she couldn’t have found it without me noticing… I certainly didn’t leave it at home or in Sydney, how could she have found it?

Of course, that wallet wasn’t my wallet, at least not the one I’d had with me in Australia. It was another wallet. One I’d lost shortly before leaving for Australia. Even in between drafts of this post I left my newest wallet at a movie theater and had to run back to pick it up at the customer service desk (thanks, Jon, at Island 16). All that being said; ladies and gentlemen, I’m taking my talents on a backpacking tour through Europe and I’m going all by myself.

Also, I leave tomorrow. Blog post procrastination ftw.


Despite graduating from a fairly prestigious liberal arts college with a double major in “who the hell cares,” finding a job after graduation appeared to be a little more difficult then I had imagined. This was, in part, due to the fact that I had spent a lot of time imagining it, and not a lot of time filling out applications. As it turns out there’s no true place in the world for someone who studied Political Science and Philosophy and isn’t interested in a career in politics or law. But just when I was about to begin my career as a full time unemployed philosopher, I landed the perfect job interview.

Pictured: The philosophus millenial

The interview consisted of two questions; 1: “are you willing to work the day shift?” and 2: “How does minimum wage sound?” To which I answered, “Yes, and fine.” Both were the correct answers, and I landed my first job out of a private liberal arts college working the day shift at a local liquor store making eight dollars an hour.

Pictured: My home away from home

My time there seemed to always be equal parts comedy and tragedy. On my first day of training behind the counter a man entered the store wearing a skull bandanna as a mask and matching skeleton gloves. He came in and purchased $300+ dollars worth of liquor while muttering to himself as he perused the isles. Later that day we’d gotten a call from his father apologizing for the scare; his son had severe schizophrenia and wasn’t supposed to drink alcohol and the father asked us not to serve him again in the future. We agreed, which of course would come back to haunt me on my first day alone behind the counter. The door opened and I looked to my left to see him standing there, already muttering to himself, and once again he was wearing the same freaky mask and the same gloves. I decided to bite the bullet early rather then let him pick up all his bottles (also bearing in mind that I’d have to replace them on the shelves).

“Excuse me, sir.” I asked like a lil’ bitch.

“What!” He shouted back.

“Uhm…see, your father, uh, called. He, uh, asked us not to serve you, and well, we’re not going to serve you.”

“FUCK YOU!” He shouted without missing a beat as he grabbed an airplane sized bottle off the counter and stuffed it into his pockets. As he headed to the door he turned to me and removed his mask to say, “you will pay for this,” in the most villainous tone possible. He followed this up by attempting to slam the door behind him, which as it turns out was on a pretty good hinge so it closed pretty slowly. This frustrated him a little more so he began to push the door closed with all his might, but it still closed on the same regulated speed which angered him enough to keep him pacing outside the store, yelling profanities, while I sat inside with 911 pre-dialed.

One women would come in every single day and buy the same pint sized bottle of vodka, some days she would even show up twice. She’d claim it was for her visiting friend or sister, or daughter. She’d hit on me too, despite being 30 years my elder and having a raspy vodka-cigarette soaked voice. “Yaaa cute.” She would say, often not remembering that we’d met several times before. I’d smile, and ring her up trying not to extend the transaction any longer than need be. Sometimes she’d try to short me on cash, or ask me to open a tab, all things I wasn’t allowed to do, and she’d beg, I hated it when people begged. Towards the end of my days there she came around wearing those comically large Paris Hilton sized sunglasses which I realized were to conceal her bruises. She’d blame those on a fall, or her dog.

But it was during these seemingly endless hours time that I hatched my plan to travel. I would save as much as could, sell the car, and just head out leaving behind the woe is me millennial story of the century. But that fall, I was plucked from the liquor store and dropped into a pharmacy. Focus Rx would be my new home for the next year and a half, and I’d largely shelved my plan to travel. But bit by bit my interest kicked back up again. It was the sort of thing where people didn’t really think I’d leave so they’d encourage me to go (or they hoped I leave, in which case a big win for them). Until one day I see this fucking kid (That’s a link) and his amazing pictures and about fifteen minutes later my flight to Iceland was booked.

I did book the wrong flight, however, so I had to re-book that one. But still, big moment, ya know?

Pictured: A man of culture

So here we are on the eve of my big journey. My roughly 30 pound backpack is ready to go, my dad just went up to CVS because my mom realized I hadn’t packed any band aids and I’m stowed up in my room trying to crank out this blog I’d promised everyone in pretty typical Chris fashion. My aim is to keep this pretty current, post once a week at least, but I think that will depend on the stories.

I want to keep it light, but if you guys are more interested in some of the historical aspects of what I’m seeing I can direct you to some really fantastic wikipedia pages. I’m going to miss a lot of people, mainly my dog, but definitely some people too. I’m signing for now, expect me when you see me.

PS: If you’d like me to email you whenever I post these, please, shoot me an email or a facebook message and also follow me on instagram: @the_walking_nello to catch a whole bunch of pictures and videos from my trip until I lose both my phone and camera which shouldn’t happen for at least one month.
Oh, and let me do a couple of thank you’s down here. I wouldn’t blame you if you’re not interested in this, but hey! Maybe you’re in here.
First off, my parents. Rent free for like two years, holy shit you guys are gullible. But, seriously, thank you for investing so much in me (collective laugh from my siblings). Without you guys I wouldn’t be the unemployed grown man taking a 4 month long vacation I am today!
To my siblings, thank you so much, you guys have been so supportive. Lou even went so far as to employ me and he just won CEO of the year so you know he knows his stuff. Frank and Paola, the value of your suggestions and advice cannot be understated, also thanks for letting me borrow your family for emergency contact purposes. Pat, I’m literally wearing the backpack you gave me like FOREVER ago (the forward thinking individual you are), and you’re so good to me despite the fact that I’m constantly borrowing and breaking your car. A big thank you to my sisters as well, Dawn and Shannon, who are collectively scared shitless that I’m going to get taken, but between Dawn’s martial skills and Shannon’s sheer will power I’ve got one whole Liam Neeson on my side. Chris can be the one-eared Dominick Torretto (I’m not googling how to spell his last name). Also, big shout out to Kyle Dart, who belongs in this section more and more with each passing day. Dude’s my everything guru and you should be following this man! He makes Chicago look livable in the winter: @theheartofdartness.
Thank you to everyone at FocusRx for putting up with me and sticking with me despite some early rough patches. I’ll miss you guys dearly and am so appreciative of the retirement card you guys gave me. Someone please remember to get Lance lunch.
A couple of others stand out as well, Cathryn, thank you for all the advice. Looking forward to seeing you in Belgium. Thank you to the Levens family; I had a wonderful time the other night.  Kelly that book is going to follow me everywhere.
And hey, thank you to you, the reader who got all the way down here expecting a personal thank you that I forgot. That must be a real shitty feeling.

6 thoughts on “First steps

  1. Love you cousin! Good luck… since you will be abroad, I will now have a place to stay should I decide to visit. Lol So… thanks for that.


  2. Your mom let you take her car!!! and you broke it!!!!!!,,, Awesome trip, love the Blog… Be safe, Enjoy your experiences, this is pretty cool!! look forward to seeing some great pictures… Love Always, …Mary Ellen (Navas-Ferro)


  3. Hi Chris my star student your very own dad sent me this since I always want to know what you are doing.its a teacher thing.have a great trip and do not lose another wallet!!!!❤️❤️❤️🎹🎶😌

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Way to go buddy! We all miss you dearly and hope you’re having fun! I’ve been keeping Lance fed fairly well so I don’t expect I’ll need to feed him again until next Wednesday. Take care man and live it up!


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