Maybe If I Keep Procrastinating, I Won’t Have to Actually Think About Life

By the time you read this, I will be in Iceland.  Or maybe I’ll already have returned from Iceland.  Either way, the important thing to note is that I am sitting on my bed writing this blog post rather than packing my suitcase in preparation for my 7:45 am trip to the Pittsburgh International Airport the day after tomorrow.

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move
Only a fraction of the belongings I need to pack before I can move to my new apartment in Pittsburgh (Note: most of these boxes have remained unpacked since August… is this cheating?)

If Marla’s blog were written by me, it would be a cultural hub for procrastinators.  Possible topics to include: “How to procrastinate the required reading for your trip to Iceland by writing a blog post,” “How to procrastinate packing for said trip to Iceland by writing a blog post,” “How to procrastinate packing up your campus apartment by watching DVDs of Will & Grace Season 6 and eating spoonfuls of Nutella while mourning the passing of your first year of grad school,” etc. etc.

In fact, if you look at my own blog, you’ll see that I have a talent for procrastinating making posts there by taking part in extracurricular activities.  Or napping.  The only thing I don’t procrastinate is tweeting.

I like to put off change.  Which is odd to admit, as a person who’s constantly looking for new ways to change his life.  I dream of moving to another country or getting a tattoo or finally starting a long-term relationship.  In other words, I fantasize about trading in my restlessness for setting up roots somewhere.  The scary part is, I think it might already be happening.

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move
Everything I bought for Iceland (including 6 pairs of quick-dry underwear to supplement my normal underwear because I like to over-prepare), still not packed. Please note the sticker and sale tags still on my luggage, which I got in November.

When I moved to Pittsburgh from suburban New Jersey this past August, I was entering an MFA program to put off becoming a member of the “Real World.”  I was simultaneously seeking a way to leave home and try a city on for size, albeit a very laid-back city (which is kind of like riding a bike with training wheels.)  Manhattan was too close to home and too fast-paced.  DC was too foreign from my past experience.  Pittsburgh was the healthy middle ground—a thriving cultural arts scene, which was new for me, but the same neighborhood feel that I was used to.  Maybe the gay scene isn’t as lively as it is at home and maybe there aren’t as many drag shows as I’d like, but Pittsburgh seemed (and still seems) like a nice compromise.  A good next step.

I didn’t think I’d want to stay.  I mean, I knew I’d be here for two years to get my MFA.  But then I made awesome friends.  I added concentrations to my degree so that I’ll be here for an extra semester.  I started realizing I could make a life here.  And then, beyond all explanation, I started to like the idea of staying.

Pittsburgh did me dirty in a way I never expected.  It wasn’t a quick hookup with no call the next day.  Pittsburgh was a good cuddler who made me breakfast in the morning.  All it asked in return was that I stop being such a playboy.  That I start a new life of “strings attached.”

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move
My two journals for Iceland—the one my professors can read, and the one that will be way too private

So now, as I get ready for a 10-day trip to Iceland and a two-month visit home, I don’t want to leave.  I don’t want to say goodbye to friends for two-thirds of the summer.  I’m contemplating handcuffing myself to the radiator in my living room and staging a sit-in.

Sure, I’ll be happy to see my family and college friends.  I’ll still entertain the idea of one day living in the UK.  I’ll picture what it would be like to move to San Francisco or Seattle or Atlanta.  But, in the back of my head, I’ll always hear Pittsburgh calling.

What I’m saying is I think I’m growing up.  What I’m saying is, for a twenty-something, that idea is a little terrifying.

So maybe if Marla’s blog were written by me, it would be about Peter Pan syndrome.  Maybe it would be about finding yourself along the way.  Maybe it would be about life’s little “unexpectations.”

I’m not really sure.  All of the pieces are still coming together, so I don’t want to slap a label on them just yet.  But they are, in a seemingly providential and yet wholly accidental fashion.  I guess life can be pretty miraculous that way.

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move
Dakota Garilli


I’m Dakota Garilli, originally born under a different name that didn’t seem to suit my distinct brand of absurdity.  I’m currently a graduate student at Chatham University pursuing my MFA in nonfiction and poetry.  I recently moved to Pittsburgh from Bergen County, New Jersey for school and I love the city so far.

Questions? Raves? Rants? Email this wonderful blogger at, or do like Marla does and go obsess over his blog for awhile: Dakota Garilli


Traveling Marla is unplugged for three weeks while she prepares for her move to South Africa. She put out a call for guest posts (see original request here), and is grateful to receive so much support! Please see the full list below.

Please support these writers by reading each of their guest posts and checking out their own blogs!

Thanks, as always for taking time to read my blog and comment. Although I’m offline right now, I will return in a few short weeks when we’re settled in South Africa and I promise to read all of your comments!

Love, Marla

Baz – The Landy (Out and About and Having Fun)
Brandon: my quirky, brilliant, dashing nephew
Dallas, of Crazy Train to Tinky Town
Caroline, of Currer and the Bells
Dakota Garilli
Trophos, of The Dancing Professor
Leo, of Doggy’s Style
Kayla, of Encounter Peru
Benjamin Prewitt – Expression of my life – An evolution of art
Kriscinda, of Heavy Metal Homesteading
Lynne, of Home Free Adventures
Jeff: my witty and hilarious ebberlubbinbrudder
Jody, of Human Triumphant
Julie of
Ingrid, of Live Laugh RV
Ned Hickson of Ned’s Blog
Rose, of On the Go Fitness
Pierr Morgan
Leslie and Amanda, of Survival is Relative
Colin of Uber Beast Mode
Robyn, of You Think Too Much

8 thoughts on “Maybe If I Keep Procrastinating, I Won’t Have to Actually Think About Life

  1. I love this post, Dakota. I was so envious of your Iceland trip and wishing I had been able to join! I’m just now starting to catch up FB pics from Iceland friends.
    Yeah, Pittsburgh often surprises people with the cuddling. Some cities slap hard before a really good kiss, but Pittsburgh is definitely the comfortable best friend and sometimes lover. Hahaha oh now I’m just getting completely dorked up.
    Thanks again for your wonderful post! <3

  2. “I like to put off change. Which is odd to admit, as a person who’s constantly looking for new ways to change his life.”

    I can definitely relate to this sentiment. And actually, I thought about writing about Peter Pan syndrome for Marla’s blog, too. I split time between Pittsburgh and Lima, usually 90 or 120 days at a time, to be exact, and when time is nearing to leave for my other home, I always put off the packing. No matter where I am I miss the other place.

  3. Sweet. No worries – growing up is totally overrrrated. I’m 60-something and have moved three times in the last year. Your blog touches all the things I still grapple with. The planet needs your youthful grace. Great idea, those two journals. Live it up!

  4. Hahaha, that’s pretty good! Again I can see why Marla considers you among her friends; although I think she may still have you beat on the procrastination! You’ll have to get her to tell you how long SHE has left the moving boxes full sometime!
    Good post

    1. I don’t know what you mean. Those boxes unpacked from my 1994 move to Pittsburgh are like fine wine. When I finally open them… uh… okay maybe they’re more like aged cheese – but when you cut off the mold there’s still salvageable dairy?

  5. Nice post Dakota.
    I refuse to set roots too, I’ve been moving for the past 15 years, been living in Spain for 3 years already but I’ve started to look for the next place to live. South Africa or Australia are the most tempting options. I have no clue what I would do there, anything goes.
    You’ll love Iceland.

    1. What what what? Did you say you’re moving to South Africa? 😉 Hooray – you can be my neighbor and we can get into all sorts of trouble!

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