This is the first of a series of photographic blogs highlighting my last days in the U.S.A. and my first full year as an expat in southern Thailand.
Ten years ago this week, I made my final trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I’d lived since June 1994, along with my brother-in-law. We were there in order to clean out my home as I was starting a new life here in Phuket. Keith and I spent a couple of days putting my furniture and boxes filled with the memorabilia of a life in music, books, and travel into a large storage unit under the watchful majesty of Sandia Peak. Even my beloved car – a lapis lazuli Dodge Neon – went into storage when we were finished. I thought I’d return to the States within a year or two in order to retrieve my things. Alas, it was never to be.
Another two days were spent doing a bit of sightseeing. I took Keith to Old Town – the original site of the 1706 settlement of Alburquerque – to look at the adobe shops and to have a last meal in one of my favorite restaurants in the world (complete with tree growing in the main dining room) – and then we wandered around downtown marveling at the murals on many of the buildings. A drive in the Northeast Heights took us into the scrublands where I often found solitary inspiration.
It was probably a year after this March 2006 journey that I realized I wouldn’t be returning any time soon. I directed my sister and father to make the trip from Kansas to New Mexico in order to clear out my storage unit, selling as much as they could. The profits didn’t amount to much – my car sold to the American Red Cross for a token US $50, for example. All I have now are precious memories, very few photos (these comprising the majority of surviving pictures), and re-runs of “Breaking Bad” to remind me of how odd, wonderful, and occasionally dangerous my life was in the New Mexico desert.