What’s Earl gonna do, now that E-Corps is winding down??

Back in town after a week in East Texas. We did some "disaster relief" out in Angelina National Forest…I was expecting something involving more people-contact; instead we worked with the Forest service, checked on the status of some trails in the area, completed our bridge work, and got Feller-A certified, which means we can cut trees in any national forest, which is kind of cool. The lovebugs were still there waiting for us so there was plenty more of that. And I picked up even more parasites than last time, oh joy.

So I should probably spill the beans since I’ve told quite a few people here but not all of my friends. I was surfing the net back in late August, considering job opportunities and I decided to jump around on Craigslist a little, see what turned up, y’know? And what I found was an ad based in Auckland. Which is in New Zealand. Fun place, really far away. The ad was from the Vimutti Buddhist Monastery, requesting a caretaker. The caretaker would go about repair, gardening, cleaning, and other caretaker stuff for free room and board and a smallish amount of cash a month. I applied on a whim. I thought it would be a cool adventure, even though the post was dated a month back. They emailed me back within days, asking for more information. Huh…So I sent it in.

And I got accepted. "When do you think you can be here by?"


…That was a somewhat un-Buddhist outburst, but it sums up my feelings so far.

The Abbot called my essay on why I wanted to be their caretaker "an enjoyable read." I’m not quite sure how he means that but they want me and they’re willing to wait until I get all my shit in order, even though I’m from across the planet and I told them I’m not a very good carpenter but I’m eager and I see a wonderful opportunity (to sum up my essay). I’m shopping for a new backpack, cargo pants…All the better to fulfil my duties. Finally bought a Leatherman Multitool…Now that E-Corps has a few months left *Slaps forehead* So many times I wish I had one of those on me. I’ve done some reading on Buddhism, the Monastery, their practices…What’s real interesting about this is that the caretaker doesn’t have to be Buddhist, however I’m expected to abide by their lifestyle during my stay. For instance I get to live in a hut. With no bed. I’m not supposed to intentionally harm animals, including insects. Does New Zealand have mosquitoes? Crap. But it’s ultimately about the experience. I get to attend seminars hosted by visiting monks, get to learn more about a philosophy/religion I’ve always been curious about, get to do good work, visit a foreign country, life an entirely foreign lifestyle…Speaking of which. They eat twice a day; once in the morning and again around noon. And it’s all Vegan-fare.

………………….That’s going to take some adjusting…A mental image of monks wielding torches confiscating Teriyaki beef jerky hidden under my floorboards and demanding I repent for my sins just popped into my head. That made me smile. The fill-in-the-blank carrot will be so proud.

So…Yea, there it is. I’m going to attempt. ATTEMPT. To move abroad once I’m done with Environmental Corps. I’m as nervous now as I was when I decided to move from Buffalo to Austin, even though this is in an entirely different league. I’m once again selling almost all of my stuff, only instead of fitting everything inside my car, I have to fit what I own into a backpack. I’m currently waiting for the passport to go through; don’t expect any problems with that or the work visa. It’s the plane ticket that’s got me scared, especially since I want to go in late December.

I haven’t told my parents yet. My mom’s going to kill me. My stepdad will think I’m being dumb but won’t try to dissuade me. Greg’s got my back at least. He better, anyways. Cuz if he doesn’t…*shakes fist at ceiling* But I’ve got to follow my heart on this one. Anyone who knows me pretty well knows I’ve talked about traveling for years; I’ve waxed poetic about a  grand voyage on more than one occasion. Of jumping on a train car and just going places. A lot of it was romanticizing about the vagabonding lifestyle, but not all of it. I was quite serious. And I hope Austin’s the first step on a grand journey that will hopefully reveal something to me. I know I’m sounding a bit wierd, but I’ve always had the sense that I’m looking for something in my travels. I think it has a lot to do with how much I’ve moved as a kid; I lived in Buffalo for a decade before I decided it was time to move, far longer than anywhere else but I never lost the wanderlust and now that I’m completely in charge of my own life, I intend to follow through and pursue my dream. If it’s doable there’s no real reason not to make it happen. Unless you get paid E-Corps salary. But I don’t intend to let that stop me.

I think now’s a good time to stick THIS in here. Just in case you feel the spontaneous urge to buy me crap. That’s definitely NOT the Hypno-Toad’s influence, by the way.


Fingers crossed. The next few months will be…An enjoyable read. Stay tuned.

Categories: Uncategorized


  1. haha dude of course ive got your back

    i think it’s awesome, and honestly how many times does something like this come up?

    go for it man

  2. Mosquitoes

    Twelve endemic species and four invasive.

  3. Sorry I didn’t comment on this sooner, but I didn’t see it when you first wrote it.

    For the record, I think this is awesome, cool, amazing, and a whole bunch of other good adjectives. I am extremely jealous.

    Will you be doing one last visit to Buffalo/Delaware before you go?

  4. I kind of ditto the above. This is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that definitely fits with your wanderlust/adventure needs. I too am jealous, as I am essentially tied to Buffalo forever, and it sucks. Good luck and safe travels 😀

  5. Hey thanks for the well-wishes guys, really appreciate them!

    Re. Buffalo/Delaware: Delaware is going to be pretty much mandatory. Buffalo is a big uncertainty but I do want to make it happen and will do what I can.

    Re. Mosquitoes: Dammit. I know who you are and you just did this just to make me sad. Asshat.

    • Earl, I am so proud/jealous of you right now. And if you can’t make it to Buffalo, Laurie and I will find a way to get to Delaware to see you, if you want us to, I promise.

      • PS how long does this monastery thing last?

      • Depends on how well the job goes and how long I want to stay. The Abbot asked that I stay at least six months, which is ok with me. After that I’d really like to spend at least a month or two seeing the rest of New Zealand, then after that who knows.

        I’ll keep you informed re. my plans in the states. I’d love to see you two in Delaware if you could make it.

  6. i’m so so so excited for you ear.

  7. I gotta ask can you go on a “constitutional” on occasion. ya know go to the local carnival to play skeetball… and gorge yourself on meat products?? or do you have to pretty much become a budist monk for this job…. cause if there is a time when you are able to consume normal foods I’ll send you a bottle or 2 of the new mead when it’s ready.

    ps: hehe you called someone and asshat

    • That’s a good question. I don’t think I’ll bring it up just yet since it may hurt my prospects. I’ve got the job but I’m not there yet. I was told that I’m expected to live as they do while working there. I get time off though, so I don’t see why I can’t go buy a murder-sandwich and do other fun stuff in NZ.

      I really like the sound of a bottle or two of your delicious mead! Maybe that’ll be the first thing I do to purge the cleanliness from my soul when I do take a day of “rest”…

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