Asbury Park surfer

Who knew that living alone was so difficult… and yet so delightful? I’ve only been alone for three days, but I can already tell that I love it, if only for lack of distraction and the complete autonomy. Working from a sun room with seven windows (six facing the ocean) obviously helps matters enormously, though.

Here’s a video walkthrough of my apartment:

And here’s a video of the sunset from Asbury Park last night (or maybe the night before):

Except for the flowery wallpaper, you can see that my accommodation is certainly not to blame for my new, arduous lifestyle; no, it’s all of the cooking and the cleaning and the cutting up my own food and doing everything that’s taking its toll.

My fingers are wrinkled from the washing up. My legs are tired from all the walking around. My arm muscles are bulging from all of the fridge opening and toilet flushing and saucepan lifting and scrubbing myself in the shower.

Despite all that, though, my productivity is actually higher; it’s a net gain (and again, the fact that I can just pick up my laptop and work from the deck certainly helps).

Anyway, here’s a bulleted list of the things I’ve done over the last few days. Perhaps it’ll help other people who are about to make The Move and live on their own — or just moving out of home (though sharing a house with a significant other/friends at university is obviously a lot, lot easier than having to do it all yourself).

  • Arrived by train — had to get a taxi from the train station to my house (but there were no taxis waiting — so had to phone a local company!)
  • Learnt where all the power sockets are in my apartment (perhaps this is a geeky thing…)
  • Took all of my important bits/pieces out of my luggage, laid them out on the bed — much easier to conceptualize where to put/what to do with stuff once it’s out of the bag
  • Learnt how the TV worked (think I’ll stick to downloading TV episodes)
  • Photographed the sunset (it’s pretty darn beautiful while I write this, too, but I can’t photograph the sunset EVERY night… can I?)
  • Realized that I’d left my phone charger in Los Angeles, ha, ha, ha
  • Scrounged charger off landlady
  • Sussed out which room/space to turn into my den/office (taking into account light, views of the ocean, my MacBook Pro’s shitty-reflective screen, etc.)
  • Got a Philly Cheesesteak burger thing (too late to go shopping)
  • Talking of shopping… be prepared to spend a ton of money on essentials. I made a list (the third list I’ve made in 27 years). After all that, I still forgot to buy eggs (but I remembered the Q-tips, the salt/pepper, butter, cupcakes…) I thought I’d escape with two bags of stuff; ended up with almost four.
  • More as a note to self: New Jersey is REALLY humid and warm. I actually intended to pack more than one pair of shorts, but I forgot — so now everyone around town thinks I’m a skank who wears the same shorts + Jesus sandals every day. (Ocean Grove lacks a male clothing shop AND a shoe shop, so this situation may not rectify itself quickly…)
  • I really regret not bringing my speakers with me, even though it would’ve been impossible. I miss Mahler :( I have Spotify, but I refuse to pipe Good Music through my laptop’s speakers — and I don’t want to put headphones in, because I like listening to the roar and rush of the ocean. As a result, I’ve been listening to Katy Perry on repeat.
  • Went into town to do a bit of reconnaissance. Ocean Grove is just one square mile, so this is easy; guess it’s not so easy if you live in a normal-sized town.
  • Sat in the coffee shop hoping to strike up a conversation with someone my age. After the fifth 50+ couple sat down (and leashed their dogs to the table) I gave up. (Ocean Grove is basically a retirement town — Asbury Park, 500 meters that way, is a lot younger, but more on that in another post.)
  • Don’t try to cook something complicated until you’ve used a kitchen a few times. Electric stoves suck. Learning a new toaster sucks. Trying to operate in a space that’s about the tenth of the size of my kitchen back home sucks (see video above).
  • Related: just buy a couple of fresh throw-in-the-oven-for-8-minutes pizzas to last you through the first couple of days

I think I have some more, but I need to finish this as I need to do a few other things and then go to bed (I’m trying to keep an early schedule, so I’m almost on UK time… kinda…)

Here are a few more photos of Ocean Grove and Asbury Park. You can find more on Flickr, too.

Asbury Park teen sunset
There will be lots of photos where people are back lit with a red glow because the sun sets in the west… and the ocean is to the east!

Ocean Grove lake sunset
Not a bad sunset for my first evening in Ocean Grove (not the same night as the video from Asbury Park)

Ocean Grove Misty Stranger

And today, just to prove it doesn’t just do beautiful sunsets, the Ocean Grove beach was blanketed in fog for most of the day.

Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Ocean Grove pier and Asbury Park gayness


I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.