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.
Alas! It is March 1st and it is one of my favorite days; not only because it's the first of the month, but also because it is March. Daylight savings is one week away and although we lose an hour of sleep, the daylight in our evenings will suddenly extend, giving the feeling that we will have the elusive and ever-desired "extra hours in a day." And, with March, I know that the arrival of Spring is trailing just behind it.
February was one wild rollercoaster filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, periods of insane, slow-moving, patient-testing waiting, and equally opposite fast-paced, non-stop, no-rest-for-the-wicked whirlwinds. I try to appreciate life in all of it's changing, unique patterns, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who is grateful to wish fickle, fierce February farewell!
I welcome March with excitement, joy, and gratitude, feeling this resurgence of energy flooding happily into my body and soul. Much like my feelings on the first of the month, I have also written before of gratitude - otherwise known as "The Science of Happiness." So, to celebrate the first and March and spring with gratitude, I've composed a list of everything I am grateful for at the moment. Perhaps it will inspire some joy and gratitude for you as well...
*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.
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...
For me, and I suspect at least some of the crew of 20+ who stayed at the Kehlet Mansion/Meeks Bay for the best wedding weekend I’ve ever witnessed, the energy on Sunday was somewhat connected to the exhaustion and both the alcohol and emotional hangovers everyone was beginning to recover from; for our newlywed couple, it was in fact the first day of the rest of their lives. For others, it was the last day of summer before school started, and for so many more unmentioned, it seemed like either the day after something ending or the day before something new began. For all intensive purposes, it was the lull day, and based on the conversations I was having with everyone I spoke with, it seemed like the event or the location didn’t make a difference because everyone was feeling the same energy.
It was as though the 24th was the last day of summer and the 26th was the first day of fall, and the 25th was just this calm, almost motionless, pause of a day in between. I know fall doesn’t technically start until September 22nd, almost a month away, but I feel this energy every year, right around the time school starts; even when I’m not in school, I was enough of a nerd my entire life that I always looked forward to starting school and the long, too-hot summer finally starting to cool down, and in a place like Reno-Tahoe, you can always tell if school’s in or not based on how busy things are at the lake. This year, that energy seemed to be even more pronounced because of the summer adventure I was on, and the wedding weekend serving as a huge culmination, and final event, of this wild summer ride. I may have mentioned before, this wedding was the one and only thing that I was certain of all summer, or all year for that matter; I knew my plans would change, the destinations of my trip would vary, and that the future was a grand mystery, but I also knew that no matter what, I would be in Tahoe to celebrate the wedding of two of my dearest friends. And now it’s over.
*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.
July 15th. I’m stuck in the middle! I’ve been wandering for about two months now, and have just under one month before my planned return to Reno; though, for how long I will return is still undecided. I feel like I’m, roughly, in the middle of this summer journey, by definition in the exact middle of July, and seemingly, in the middle of any decision-making processes I may be attempting. Originally I had planned to be making my way towards western BC by now, but due to the nature of traveling, and the ever-changing plans, detours, & unexpected adventures, I’ve found myself approximately, and quite synchronistically, in the middle of Oregon. I’m literally and figuratively, ‘stuck in the middle.’ In regards to this portion of my adventure, I have one month ahead of me and weeks of stories behind me, but I’ve been stuck with traveler’s indecision and writer’s block. Where to go from here??
Usually I’m all about balance, tending to believe that the middle ground is the most stable and provides the most equilibrium – usually a place I like to be or strive for. But there is one regard in which I am starting to question that logic, and I may just be turning into an extremist of a very specific kind…
**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...
It’s hard to believe it’s been two weeks since I left my first spot on the road trip – Pleasant Valley Sanctuary. It’s been a whirlwind of a trip so far, keeping me busy with plenty of things to do besides write, but really I think I’ve been putting off writing about this particular experience because I feel there may not be words to appropriately capture everything it was. Time seems to be flying by though, so it seems like I should at least try…
I arrived at the sanctuary the afternoon after they had finished a three-day silent retreat, so the resounding energy was a stark contrast from the world I felt like I was leaving behind. Though it seemed nearly deserted, I was greeted by one of the two owners, who gave me a brief tour and guided me to my tent. After, I was greeted by another gentleman who was there on a work exchange, and who gave me a full tour of the property before taking me down to a spot on the Yuba river. Swimming in the cool, clean, refreshing waters revived me, and when we got back to the sanctuary, I was eventually acquainted with the rest of the people there and the daily schedule. The entire sanctuary functioned on this schedule, and though I wasn’t a part of all of the activities, the schedule shaped my time there. It was a simple but transformative schedule that looked essentially like this:
Ah, Sunday. Sunday is one of my absolute favorite days of the week; the energy of the day unique and undeniable – relaxed, familial, the calm respite to start or end the week, depending on your perspective. When I was working, Sunday’s were my Saturday’s so it was of course a delightful day, but even when I’m not working, I can feel the energy of a Sunday. It seems like no matter where you are, and almost no matter what kind of job you work, everyone feels Sunday. And in paradise, nicknamed by many as “God’s Country,” it felt like the subtle shift of the day was even more pronounced.
As we wandered from Kauai’s rainy east shore to the sunny south side, it was striking how many churches we saw. I think aside from the multitude of shades of green, and the stunning abundance of trees and wildlife, the only thing we so much variety in was the churches. Every kind, from Baptist to Hindu, Scientology to Mormon, Lutheran to Buddhist, types of churches I couldn’t recognize and I’m not sure I’ve even heard of, not to mention the surf culture possibly being considered a religion in and of itself. Even more impressive though, is the fact that they are all neighbors and consider each other as such; the Buddhist Mission is literally next door to the Seventh Day Adventists, a hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses across the street from the Catholic Church, it goes on and on. Seriously, just Google “churches in Kauai” (and probably most of the other islands as well), and you will see the map light up with those red/pink dots, highlighting the heavy concentration and incredible diversity of religion represented on the island. At points I wondered, do they all get along?? But I was to find an answer that would suffice soon enough…
Stories from the road-trip that inspired moving to the PNW, and other travel adventures.