open road leading to mountains On the road to higher places.

I am always up for a journey. In fact, that’s kind of how Groundhopper Guides started.

The day it all started (photo by my friend Dermot.)

I was sitting at The Emirates, watching Arsenal with a friend who had been showing me around the neighborhood and telling me stories, when I thought, “Hey, I should write a book about this.”

I kept skipping onto the next stone, and pretty soon I had a blog and a newsletter, then the book, then I got hooked up with some ticket brokers, and the road led on. I started leading tours, since that’s what I did for a living at home. And then last week we — that’s me and my two colleagues — sent out newsletter #100 to more than 1,000 fellow groundhoppers. So that’s been quite a journey.

Just before Covid hit, this business was earning me a living, and since it exists wherever we can get online, I was preparing to spend a lot of time in England. Then, during Covid, though not because of it, both my father and mother passed away, and somehow the whole of 2020 just felt like a big hand had smacked the Reset button.

So, with next season looming, the business rebuilding, two amazing folks helping, and my need to be in one place diminishing, I’m setting out on a new journey — one called being a Digital Nomad.

Basically, if I don’t need to live in one place, why do it? On the first of June, I’ll leave Oregon, my home since 1996, headed east for Wyoming. I’ll spend the summer there and in Montana — because, hey, if I’m gonna work and hike, why not see some new mountains? — and then on October 1, I’ll arrive in London.

At that point, my goal is to finish “the 92,” meaning see a game at every club in the top four tiers of the English football pyramid. When that’s done, it’s off to Europe, the next stage of the journey. We’re already writing about Europe, so expect to see a lot more of that.

For me, while I’m still in Portland for a few more days, the journey is already underway. Just the process of leaving my hometown of 24+ years — and not moving, understand, but leaving — is getting very real, with all my possessions leaving after applications of the “Keep It or Lose It Test.” And while any big departure comes with some regrets, I’m still excited for the next steps — I think.

If you’re interested, you can follow along on this particular journey over at paulgerald.com. And if you just want to follow the Groundhopper Guides journey, then you’re in the right place.

I’ll see you down the road, and at the grounds.

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