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A writer's goal: 10 cities in 10 years

Joseph Fonseca is about two-thirds of the way through a decade-long project that sounds daunting to most, especially in this troubled economy.

SEATTLE -- Joseph Fonseca is about two-thirds of the way through a decade-long project that sounds daunting to most, especially in this troubled economy. He plans to live in 10 different cities in 10 years.

Seattle is city number seven.

I think some people look at my life and think, 'Oh, that's horrible, that must be a miserable existence,' Fonseca said. But I don't see it. I don't feel miserable.

The project started in 2005 when Fonseca, a native of Lawrence, Kansas, graduated from college without any plans. He knew he wanted to write and figured the journey would give him something to write about. More than anything, he considers his travels an art project, and he documents the highs in lows in a blog: www.10cities10years.com.

He spent his first year in Charlotte, N.C., before moving to Philadelphia, then Costa Mesa, Calif., San Francisco, Chicago and Nashville.

He usually chooses the cities himself but decided to conduct an online poll to determine his seventh stop. The options were Seattle, Portland, Denver and Austin, Texas.

Seattle beat out Austin by one vote, he said.

With that, Fonseca moved here in September after scouring Craigslist to find a place to stay, eventually settling down in a Belltown apartment, which he shares with a woman he did not know until moving to town.

Before long, he found work at the Levi's store in downtown Seattle, until that store closed its doors a few months ago, leaving Fonseca unemployed. Finding work is the greatest challenge he faces, especially since the economy tanked in 2008, but Fonseca rarely gets scared, picking up odd jobs here and there to pay the bills and keep his head above water. He recently got a part-time valet parking job. He also spent a week helping someone with a bathroom remodeling gig.

The economy uncertainty prompted Fonseca to downsize. He started the journey with 12 boxes of belongings. He s now down to two boxes, including some valuable electronics, a small number of clothes and his favorite books.

It s like I m living in reverse, he recently wrote on a blog post that marked his halfway point in Seattle. Six months in Seattle and what do I have to show for it? I guess the same thing I have to show for six years in six other cities: less hair.

No surprise: Jack Kerouac s On the Road is part of his book collection. Like Kerouac, when the project is all said and done, Fonseca also plans on writing a book.

And despite the economy, he plans to finish what he started.

Even if it means putting on a hobo hat, knapsack and going across on a train across the country to my next city, I ll find a way to do it, he said.

He already decided that next city will be New Orleans. By publicizing the move earlier than normal, he hopes it will give him a head start on employment and housing.

He plans to finish the project with a year-long stop in Boston, before ending up in New York, which he hopes to call home for longer than a year.

I m never local, but I always feel like I m home, he said with a smile.

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