Chase Frishman swore he had parked his car in that spot. The one right where he was standing. Where there was no longer a Subaru Outback occupying the space. Only empty air, and a 29-year-old who had reached his tipping point.
The Case of the Missing Outback was the proverbial straw that broke the fleet-footed defender’s back. Having your car stolen is bad enough. Having it nicked on Easter Sunday is just plain wrong.
“It felt like a mini rock bottom,” Frishman, a Laguna Beach native, said. “Everything that could go wrong went wrong in the month of April. Leading into May I said ‘Screw this, I’m hitting the road, I’m sick of rent, I’m done being a slave to the system.’”
A key element to hitting the road, of course, is having a car in which to hit it. For three weeks, while the cops were on the lookout for his stolen Subaru, Frishman biked around Costa Mesa. It was kind of nice, actually: If the Outback was never found, he’d be more than happy to get out from under the $500 a month it cost him between the monthly payment, insurance, and gas. And then, as it goes when things aren’t quite going your way, it was found. It was found with some weed in the center console, a bit of cologne, and a basketball in the trunk. He kept the basketball, and decided to keep the car, too.
More than keep it. He decided to put it well beyond any intended use for a Subaru Outback.
Frishman was going to live in the damn thing.
“The trip started out kind of as ‘Screw this, I’m not sitting inside anymore just waiting for my bank account to completely empty. Is the AVP going to give us a call?’ The uncertainty was killing me,” he said. “That’s when [Eric] Zaun kicks in, and his inspiration of the way he lived his life: ‘Hey, you don’t have to do it this way, there are other ways to go against the grain, there are other styles.’”
Thought it might sound a bit slapdash, this is not a completely off-the-cuff trip. He didn’t just throw a few clothes in the trunk and hit the road, with no destination mapped, no strategy, no point. Throughout the government mandated lockdowns, Frishman had been doing webinars, Zoom meetings, and online coaching. Quickly, he was able to build up something of a clientele, all from the comfort of wherever he could find wi-fi.
“I was like ‘Wait, could I do this? Could I live a life without rent? Could I live remote?’” he said. “I just decided that I’m going to go for it.”
And so he did. He packed up his little Outback, which can fit his 6-foot-2 frame in relative comfort, mapped out a rough itinerary, and left California with no set return date. His first stop was Phoenix, Arizona, with Stealth Beach Volleyball, where he coached and, funny enough, was actually put up in a hotel.
“I tried to tell Brett O’Keefe [the owner of Stealth], ‘Don’t put me up, either get your money back or give the room to someone else,’” Frishman said. “But it was good that I took it, because it’s hot, like 105 degrees.”
“The first chapter of my journey has come to a close,” he wrote on his blog, Reasonably Radical, which is part life updates, part existential journal. “I would like to call this one ‘Gratitude.’ In a time where I was sinking a little bit, Stealth threw me a raft. I do not like to make things about money, but I am blessed to breathe a little bit deeper today due to their generosity and support. So I move onward, with a little more perspective, a fuller heart, and a more grounded nature.”
Where will he go next? Colorado, potentially. But he also has the Bible Belt in mind. He hasn’t had much time to look into the southeast, and, as a West Coast kid and a self-described beach rat his whole life, he’s always been intrigued by that type of lifestyle.
“I’m going to play a little Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, slipping into different cultures and see how people live life elsewhere,” he said.
For how long he’ll do this, he isn’t entirely sure. Two years. Maybe two and a half. The time doesn’t much matter. It’s the experiences, the learning, the self-discovery that he’s after.
“The whole goal for me is to live in alignment with my whole life and not make sacrifices because of what people believe based on fear, based on stability,” he said. “To align everything, and not say ‘I’m going to do this, so I can make money, so I can do this and be happy.’ No, no, no, no. We can have it all where everything lines up. That’s my search, my destiny, to find something that I’m passionate about, that I can invest in, that helps me, all of it.
“I’m just planning to adventure, a little self-discovery on top of it. I want to find a passion that’s deeper than volleyball, I don’t want to be just one-dimensional and just be a volleyball player the rest of my life.”
The AVP’s Champions Cup, which begins July 18 and will conclude, if nothing else changes, on August 2, in Long Beach, threw a bit of a wrench into his best-laid plans. He’s circling back, teaming up with his old college pal and AVP partner, Mike Brunsting. Three weeks, then he’ll be back on the road, playing Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, exploring in his Outback.
Bouncing back from rock bottom.