September 12, 2013
After almost three months since my last visit to the Oregon coast, I have finally returned for a long weekend of camping alone. Less than two weeks ago, I attempted to make a more permanent move to Eugene in the context of an unstable work/living situation, which was quickly falling apart. Unsure of what was going to happen and what my next move would be, revisiting the place I felt most independent and inspired seemed like an appropriate place to reevaluate.
Since my return yesterday, I have been overcome with joy, happiness, awe, and excitement, and even wrote an Ode to the Oregon Coast during last night's sunset. The stunning surroundings have lifted my mood immensely and the natural silence of the environment spiked my creativity as I turned my attention inward. And just like my first visit to the Oregon coast in June, I felt like being here was what my soul needed.
Before departing Seattle to return to the coast, I made some connections that lead to introductions to very interesting, like-minded people, whose company would eventually lead to inspiring conversations and new adventures. The best part of these connections was the simple reminder that interacting with like-minded and passionate people has a somewhat contagious effect... I felt reinvigorated about my plans and goals and could feel my energy resurfacing in spite of the challenges I'd recently been facing.
*September 25, 2013*
I’ve been known to take some pretty epic falls. I’m not talking about a little trip, or slide to one knee, but full-blown face plants and bleacher blowouts; the kinds of falls where you hear everyone gasp and hold their breath, waiting to see if something is broken or if they can laugh at the ridiculous failure of my feet.
At one of UNR’s biggest football games, I was walking with a friend in front of the boxes, and ended up slipping and falling down seven rows of bleachers, in front of hundreds of people. At my own birthday party, I was walking with a group of about 20+ people to a baseball game, and when a friend tried to give me a "flat tire," I actually ended up flying into the air and landing, arms and face first into the pavement. But every time it happens, I get up, brush myself off, and am the first to laugh at the hilarity that seems so epic it could’ve been staged on a sitcom. Bruised and limping, I play it off, knowing that if it weren’t me, I’d probably be laughing too, and that in a day or two (or perhaps a couple weeks when they’re really bad) it’ll all be forgotten as that one time I fell like a bumbling fool.
Home… What a concept for contemplation, and one that is particularly highlighted when traveling. If you look up the definition for ‘home,’ you will find thirty-one different options, not counting the sub-headings; for example, just in relation to nautical adverbs for home, there are three different definitions, “into the position desired; perfectly or to the greatest possible extent: sails sheeted home,” being one of my personal favorites. But the home I’m talking about is the first and most familiar definition: “a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.”
Having moved out of my apartment in the first half of May, I haven’t had a place of my own since then. At the end of August, I realized that there was only one place in the last few months, that I had spent two weeks or more, and it only happened once. As we’re approaching six months since I’ve moved out, I’ve estimated that most of the time I stay in a place for about 2-5 nights, with only the very occasional 7-10; and by magic, kindness, and generosity, I stayed in one place for almost a month in October. I think, by definition, I might be considered "home-less," but I often feel it is quite the contrary.
aka: Coastal Love, pt. 2
*September 10, 2013*
Once I arrived at my camp spot for the night, all I could think was “WOW!!” I was practically screaming “It’s so BEAUTIFUL here!” every few minutes (in fact I may have scared some people who heard me through my windows). Every curve of the road revealed incredible, lush, misty forest, a new perspective of the ocean, and glimpses of the sun slowly falling towards the horizon. Suddenly, I remembered exactly how I felt the first time I approached the Oregon coast driving up from the south, almost exactly three months ago. The general feeling? This is it! This is the place I’ve been dreaming of my whole life, this is the place I’ve always imagined could exist, this is the place that lights up my inspiration and speaks to my soul. I did note a strange sense of settling last time I arrived in Oregon via the coast…
I set up camp as quickly as I could, for having arrived at sunset, I was racing the light to avoid having to set up in the dark. Once I did, I headed to the beach, and unlike my camping on the southern Oregon coast, it was an extremely short walk to the water (where I camped before was in the Dunes area, and hiking the dunes to get to the water is like trekking through a mountainous Sahara with many more lush oasis’ on the way). Upon arriving at the beach, the “WOW’s!” only continued...
*July 9, 2013*
Today was my first day back in Eugene, and the first place I’ve left and returned to since I’ve embarked on this journey. People have asked me what I like about the places I’ve been to and which I like most, and when I talk about Eugene, it feels like everything. I spent most of the day working on cleaning/organizing projects, which admittedly made me feel productive and relaxed, giving me a kind of a settling in feeling, but I decided I needed to go for a walk during the cooling evening-into-dusk hours to separate myself from the projects I had been entrenched in and the still, hot air that shrouded the inside. I needed the fresh air and would hopefully find some writing inspiration and clarity along the way.
It was a beautiful evening. A quiet Tuesday where most people are laying low amidst the work week, or attempting to let the hot weather ride itself out; either way, there wasn’t much going on. I easily floated back to previous walks through the neighborhood with my tour guide the last time I was there, occasionally remembering a moment with such a crispness that it made me question that it had occurred over three weeks ago. What do I love about Eugene…
I have a problem with finishing things; or not finishing things? I don’t have a problem unless I don’t finish the things I start, so whichever way that dilemma is stated, that is what I have. I’ve been reading the book The Solace of Open Spaces which is about a woman who gives up her city life in New York to become a sheepherder in Wyoming. I didn’t know just how much the book would be about the life of a sheepherder in the late 70’s/early 80’s (it really doesn’t mention that at all on the cover), so I figured it would be a great book for me to be reading as I wandered through the wide open spaces of Montana and Wyoming. It started out pretty intriguing with her descriptions of the vast open lands in Wyoming, and admittedly as I started reading it in Montana, it sparked little flares of excitement about the journey I was about to embark on. A couple nights before I left Montana, I read a quote that resonated so strongly with me that I thought it might’ve been the reason I read the book – “to be tough is to be fragile, to be tender is to be truly fierce.” I read on, hungry for more wisdom from the woman who sought out a little more rough & wild lifestyle than she had been accustomed to.
Unfortunately, part of the way through my trip/reading, I hit a lull. I wasn’t prepared for what seemed like endless pages and chapters solely describing what life was like as a sheepherder back in the day, and I felt like I wasn’t really able to connect with the book anymore. I dragged my feet when it came to continuing reading, but when asked why I didn’t just stop and move on, I noted that I have a problem with not finishing things. Over two-thirds through the book now, I couldn’t just leave it unfinished or it would bother me until I eventually sought it out to finish or dreamed endlessly of what might’ve happened in those last pages.
*July 16th, 2013*
Despite my recent extremism when it comes to some dichotomies, such as the age-old question, I still strongly lean towards finding balance. The concept of having roots and wings may seem like a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s been a key part of this journey for me.
During the extensive debate on what I would name my website, I made a list of key words that were inspiring to me or that seemed to capture some essence of what I was seeking. I still keep that list with me and look at it when I’m seeking inspiration or linguistic reminders, and “roots” was a huge one on there; I came up with at least 5 different possible website names with “roots” in it.
**Side Note: It felt a little funny for me to post my "Low Tide" blog yesterday considering how contrasting those lows had felt to the highs I was presently experiencing. For the most part, I have been trying to post my blogs in chronological order, but I’ve decided that I’m going to throw that notion out the window. I’ve realized that sometimes I am ready to write and share, and others it takes me a little longer to verbalize, catch up, or whatever the writer's block may be; life isn't really linear anyways, but hopefully this isn't too confusing! I'm still considering dating each blog with the actual dates it is documenting, to help make sense of what may appear to be wildly erratic locations and stories, but that is yet to be decided (I'm open to input). In the meantime, here’s a post about yesterday, June 27th…**
From beginning to end, today was one of those perfect kind of travel days. It started out beautifully, and by the time it was finished, I felt truly blessed, connected, and in love with life. As I drove home after watching the most resplendent sunset, listening to Sloom by Of Monsters and Men (which was lyrically, synchronistically ideal for the day I'd had), I felt as though my fourth chakra (aka heart chakra) was actually exploding with love, and it seemed to be at everything and nothing...
After leaving Mendocino, I was feeling pretty good about how my trip had gone so far and was settling back into my solo adventure as I headed North on Hwy 1 to 101. With the Redwoods only a couple hours away from where I was, I thought it would work out perfectly for me to arrive there midday, go for a hike somewhere, and then decide en route if I would be camping in the Redwoods or continuing north in the direction of Crescent City.
Just before I reached the junction for 101, I noticed a sign near Leggett, CA about a drive-thru tree park and figured it’d be a good place for a quick pit stop before I ventured into the guaranteed amazing-ness of the Redwoods. I was ecstatic to see the trees getting bigger and knew I was headed in the right direction, so without wasting too much time, I got back on the road.
Just after getting onto 101, I noticed that despite my car’s usually great gas mileage, it seemed to be draining very quickly. I pondered what might be causing this phenomenon, exactly how sure I was about when I last checked my gas gauge, and thought, Caleb and I were talking about our tires this morning and I totally meant to check them before I left! Hmm…
So, post Pleasant Valley Sanctuary and my time spent at Snug Harbor, it was time for me to keep heading west and north until I hit the coast, aiming for Mendocino as my first coastal destination. Over the drive up the coast, I couldn't help but think to myself, "things just keep getting... better," but then would second guess the word choice of better, because that would imply that one experience was superior to another, and I wasn't feeling that; rather I was feeling that every experience has and would be amazing in it's own way, and they were surely not getting worse.
Stories from the road-trip that inspired moving to the PNW, and other travel adventures.