*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...
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.
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:
...on an island in the Sacramento Delta river, and it seems to be all by the graciousness of the people who have generously hosted me for the weekend. I came to join friends to wakeboard (and a variety of other water sports), barbeque, and enjoy the landscape and company, and I feel so blessed and beyond lucky for my time here.
After spending a week at the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, an Ayurvedic yoga & meditation center, it was quite a change of pace to be at this social gathering of friends, family, summertime, and alcohol. It wasn't too tough of a transition to make though, because I still found time to meditate and do yoga, and I was happy to feel like I could connect on some level with everyone there, without participating in the drinking.
From the moment I arrived, I was excited to be there, and within a couple hours was spending time in a hammock swinging over the grass and water; have I mentioned before that hammocks are one of my favorite places in the world? Needless to say, I was excited about my newest location, and...
After ten days in Hawaii, the sun that soaked my skin and the sand that's found it's way into all of my stuff are not the only things I'm leaving with. There is a different feel to life and living, and it saturates so many parts of the lifestyle. My blog "God's Country" really focused on the religious and sacred feeling of the land and people, but there were so many other subtleties and special traits that I want to share so I'll try to sum them up here.
To start, Hawaiians, and especially Kauaians have a delightful sense of humor. I noticed it everywhere. It's not over the top or in your face, but rather a subtle amusement at everything; I sort of think that kind of amusement is a key to a happy life, and people do seem pretty happy there... A few of the more obvious and permanent comments on humor were in the banners I noticed while driving, such as, in front of the police station, there's a sign that read "Are you going out tonight? So are we!" Granted, drunk driving seemed to be the only things the cops really cared about, and reasonably so, the roads in most of Hawaii are narrow, windy, and dark. There were certain traffic signs which also brought a laugh; you know those speed checks you see on the side of the road that say "Your speed" and then the flashing yellow numbers show you how fast you're going? Well, on theirs, should you hit a certain number over the speed limit (unfortunately, I couldn't convince my Mom to speed regularly enough to determine what this magic number was), the sign will intermittently flash "Yep, slow down!" I thought this to be hilarious, and though a defiant driver might react to it feeling it is more patronizing than humorous, I couldn't help but to be amused at the real-ness I felt from it; after all, I'd rather the traffic sign told me that then a cop pulling me over to write me a ticket, right?
The art of doing nothing is one that I’m not quite so acquainted with, but have definitely been trying to embrace. A natural-born planner and busy-body, I generally always have a lot going on, in my life and in my mind, so slowing down isn’t always something that comes easily to me. Having spent the last year in the clairvoyant program, working out regularly and often, and in a job that always kept me busy, this transition to a slower pace has been a bit of a change; and moving out and preparing for this summer has given me plenty to keep myself busy with over the last few weeks. So, although I’ve never before experienced one of those do-nothing vacations I’ve heard of people talking about, I decided that 10 days in Hawaii would be the perfect time and place to change gears. I aimed to not make any plans, and limited my goals to my website, meditating regularly, and a personal favorite, watching the sunrise and set the same day.
I am so excited to finally reveal my website and blog, and embark on the adventure of my summer! It has been a long and often challenging road to get to where I am now, but I’ve finally managed to finish the site, and am just a week away from hitting the road.
Planning on regular meditations to help find my clarity and decide on a name, using beach time to write, and the lazy, dark nights to finalize the details and design, I had set a goal for myself that I would have the site/blog live by the end of my trip to Hawaii. Though I struggled through it at times, I finally finished it on my second-to-last day there. On that thrilling day, this is also what my daily horoscope read:
“A full year of hard work has helped you to achieve a personally fulfilling goal. Chances are good you’re surrounded by fans and media now, but as soon as you can fit it in, start thinking about a title for the book you’ll feel eminently qualified to write.”
After agonizing for weeks on the name alone, not to mention the design and details, I finally made a breakthrough just before leaving Maui, so I am happy to share the name – www.lifeunleeshed.com.
On the bumpy road to my final decisions (on traveling and the website) I couldn’t have done it without the help of some wonderful friends and family, so I’d like to take a minute to thank everyone who’s helped me, and give special thanks to a few of my key supporters.
Stories from the road-trip that inspired moving to the PNW, and other travel adventures.