Category: travel (page 1 of 2)

I’m Feeling 22 …

Just did a tally and … it looks like I’ve been to an equal number of states and national parks in my six months on this trip: 22.

How is that possible?! Looks like I can’t go to any others on this trip – gotta keep up this equilibrium!

This lil car has seen a lot of places!

National Parks: 22

Cuyahoga, Badlands, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier, North Cascades, Olympic, Mount Rainier, Redwood, Lassen, King Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Carlsbad Caverns, Saguaro National Parks.

States: 22

Virginia, DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona.

 

Visiting Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier is awesome! It floats in the distance beyond Seattle, an eerie apparition that glows in the pink sunsets. Being able to explore it up close was so cool.

Everywhere you look, you see the peak.

Mount Rainier Geology

It’s the highest mountain in Washington, and the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s a volcano, and there’s a chance it could blow in our lifetimes.

You’d be forgiven for not realizing it’s a volcano, though. Its fiery potential is covered by 26 major icy glaciers, 36 square miles of them.

Needless to say, it was interesting to sleep on. Not as scary as Yellowstone’s Supervolcano, but it somehow felt more conspicuous, being a conical mountain. It was easier to imagine the lava blowing out the top.

Mount Rainier National Park

I really liked this National Park, because it was a manageable size. There’s one main artery through it. The hikes are straightforward, and there aren’t things like grizzlies or rattlesnakes to contend with. There weren’t many people there when I was there, either. Another highlight.

I did meet another woman who was traveling around the country by herself. She was a bit older and had a small RV and two dogs. I haven’t met too many other solo women travelers on this trip, so I enjoyed talking to her.

West Side, First Night

On my drive and for the rest of the night, it was a bit misty and the sky was overcast. When I arrived to the park, I checked out the short Kautz Creek Trail. It was an interpretive trail that talked about lava flow, mud and debris from the volcano. I walked around the Longmire Museum, but it was closed. The trail that circles the entire peak (26 miles!) is always open, so I walked down a bit of that, the Nisqually River for a while. I love glacial melt, the eerie greenish-gray color and the rushing water.

Log bridge over the rushing Nisqually

There’s a Mount Rainier back there, I swear

 

Then I set up camp.

The night I arrived was cool and misty, but I got sooo lucky the next day, as you can see by the photos. I also got lucky to wake up early, before any clouds came in to interrupt the sunshine.

Stevens Canyon Road

It was pretty shocking to wake up and realize that the overcast sky had covered a GIANT peak. The same peak I had seen miles away, from Seattle and Bellingham and on Whidbey Island. Meanwhile, driving right into the park, I didn’t see it at all.

Boy, did I see it the morning I woke up in the park. It rose up in front of me the entire day, no matter where I was.

I started by driving Stevens Canyon Road. The road rose as it went along. I pulled off most of the pull offs. After a while, I started to be higher than the clouds! I saw Narada Falls, Christine Falls, and Reflection Lakes. Then the elevation changed again: I came around a corner and was in Stevens Canyon, which brought me back downhill. There was some gorgeous red foliage, as it was full sun here. It was a great fall scene.

Fall foliage in Stevens Canyon, Mount Rainier

 

Reflection Lake, Mount Rainier

Sunrise

Then I drove out to Sunrise, which was pretty remote. It’s one of the least visited areas of the park. When I got there, the parking lot was nearly empty. The Visitor’s Center and the Day Lodge were closed. I took my oatmeal, coffee, and Jetboil to a picnic table for breakfast. Frozen Lake was too far for what I wanted to do that day, but I hiked a bit down the trail. I did hike over to Emmons Glacier Overlook. That was cool. Rainier rose up like one of the Alps, and the Center and Lodge added to the Swiss feel.

View on the drive to Sunrise. What a commute!

A deer friend, enjoying the view of the peak.

Paradise

I coasted back down the mountain, and hit Stevens Canyon Road again. This time I did the Grove of the Patriarchs, where I saw some giant trees and a very pretty river. Then I drove up to the Paradise Region.

There’s a reason its name is “Paradise.” Mount Rainier rises up dramatically behind it. From the visitor’s center/parking lot, many trails take you all the way up to it.

“Up” indeed. Thankfully, it was the perfect fall weather, and I had my hiking stick. I made it about 1.5 miles in, with some serious elevation gain. It was awesome. The views stayed … about the same. It was surprisingly crowded, considering the campground and most of my morning drive were barely populated.

On the way back down, at the entrance to the trail just past the visitor’s center, these two girls were doing “glamour shots” on the mountain. One was taking photos, and one was modeling, I guess? Maybe it was senior pictures, or one of their clothing line. There was a lot of giggling, frolicking and hair tossing. Not the usual vibe on a mountain trail, but it was entertaining. And the backdrop was amazing, so I can see why they chose it.

 

View from Paradise Region. Mount Rainier dominates the skyline up here.

Camping

I camped in Cougar Rock Campground. It was my first night back to camping after nearly a month in Bellingham and Sarah’s AirBnB. I really enjoy camping, so the transition wasn’t too hard, and it’s not too cold yet. The night was quiet and cool. I enjoy all the outdoor time, and getting in my tent just after sundown. I usually get a lot of sleep this way, and sleep very solidly.

The only problem was … this is ANOTHER National Park that did NOT have soap in the bathrooms. Not, like, they ran out. They just didn’t have any. Shake my head … It can’t be good for public health and safety.

I’m also listening to a fascinating audiobook, The Mysterious Benedict Society. It’s a bit Lemony Snicket meets Spy Kids. I enjoy breaking up my usual with lighter fare like this, and I can usually devour kids’ books in a day or two on the road.

Recommendation: Do It.

I really enjoyed my time on Mount Rainier, and I would definitely recommend a stay in this park. I’m sure it’s crazy busy during peak season, and it has one of the more limited seasons because of snowfall blocking much of the park. Plus there’s clouds to contend with. But if you time it right, it’s a majestic experience.

 

Forty-five minutes to the nearest grocery: Notes from Cascadia

Out in Cascadia, living in the beautiful solace of aquamarine lakes and mountains also means a 90 minute round-trip drive to the nearest store, gas station, and showers.

Diablo Lake

Worth it, right? Diablo Lake. Yes, it’s really that color! Tiny debris from glaciers (“glacial flour”) reflects the sky & light, which makes it that color.

Travel Life

Finally found the showers. They were at this chi-chi campground outside the park and past town. I drove right by them yesterday because the place had recently been bought and the name changed.  The facility was actually really nice. It was newly remodeled and your $5 got you into what looked like the bathroom of someone’s house. The showers weren’t on a timer, either, so I took a big long one 🙂

In town, I also found free wifi! It was from this modular building that served as the library, though its hours were really limited so I just sat on the steps outside. Downloaded ten audiobooks, and talked to a few friends for a long time. I checked some emails, IG, FB, and texts. It was nice to plug in again … I guess ;).

The Sights

I then did the river loop trail and trail of the cedars and walked around the town of Newhalem, as well as the Ladder Creek Falls and the Gardens back there (very citizen kane, if you ask me), as well as checking out Diablo Lake again. I listened to the entirety of Mogul while I did that, and then Marie Forleo’s interview with Daymond James.

Skagit River

Skagit River from Trail of the Cedars bridge

Trail of the Cedars

Trail of the Cedars bridge, North Cascades National Park, Washington

 Details of the Day

The weather has been perfect: sunny and 75. It gets just cool enough overnight that it’s good for sleeping, but I don’t need tons of layers or blankets. Bless!

I wrote for 45 minutes this morning, too. Getting any kind of daily habit while moving around so much, and doing all the physical work of setting up the campsite, etc.

Came back and listened to a ton of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.

Colored while making dinner and actually until almost 9:00 pm. It makes me feel better. Listened to Stardust until nearly 11, and then went to sleep listening to a guided meditation. Overall, I slept pretty well.

My air mattress is losing air more rapidly, but having the foam pad underneath has been helpful. I may have to take it out and see what’s up; it’s the one thing I didn’t take apart and clean in Missoula, so it may be time.

Nighty night!

T-Minus 20: Thai Food and Sleep.

Bon Giorgio! (That should say “bon giorno” but it autocorrected, and I like it!)

The latest: 

So, work today took a very weird turn. I won’t go into details, per basically every career advice article on the Internet. But, I would just like to submit to the record that as the odd timing and circumstances of things continues at a fast clip … “signs,” if you will? Yeah. There is no doubt I am meant to go on this journey. 

Sell-pdate

Today I only sold $10 worth of items, but it’s still amazing to me who will drive how far to buy $5 items. One guy was *jazzed* about this small vase I have. There are 100 stories to conjure from that! The first is: “is this secretly way more valuable than I realized and I need to look this up on Antique Roadshow or something?!” Or he could just really be into Pier One Bellagio-esque vases. Who knows! 

Still messaging with people at a steady rate, but it is distracting and annoying. The follow-through rate of some people! Or just the kind of defensive posturing or start to conversations. Sigh. It’s good perspective on “shit-together-ness,” I suppose.

Sleep

The bed thing … slept on my camp pad last night. It works and I love it, but it’s not my bed. Still in a mourning period I’m sure. Sleep is so important that I really feel like it affects the rest of my day. Also had some intense PT for my rotator cuff yesterday, so not sure if today’s discomfort is from weird sleep, or PT soreness. Days like this I with semi-terror that I may be in pain and feel like shit the whole trip. Nearly everyone has promised me not. My PT and chiro assure me that getting away from my desk is (in essence) the cure. (Yeah, the hazards of sitting are THAT real.) 

Sleep GOOP

Speaking of hazards: I tried some “Amazing GOOP” on my air mattress. Yes, that’s its name. No, it is not by Gwennie, but watch out for that fat lawsuit. Anyway: this adhesive advises use in highly ventilated areas. Except it’s still like 50 outside, so I may have to move my camp pad to a different room so I don’t die of pneumonia or fumes. Though, tbh, I’m not sure it’s active bc it came out like drying gum and sure applied looking like gum discarded on a sidewalk. But, shit, if it fixes my badass queen-sized air mattress, then … who cares?

I mean, uh… : Can’t wait to start sleeping on a cot in cold-ass natural elements!! (Oh hey daily, “CAMERON CARPENTER WHAT HAVE I DONE!?” (yes google him.))

Budget Time

I will need to start to more seriously watch my spending. I was in a fog after work. Combination of the work thing, general lack of sleep, and shoulder soreness. I’ve also eaten out since basically Friday night (mostly on other people’s incredible generosity, FTR 🙏) So I was like, f it, and took a walk to the Thai restaurant by my house.  A Nutella factory and a Thai restaurant are basically the only two things that should not be within walking distance of my house.

But! Walking is good, and I have been doing more lately, which is great. I definitely need the practice. Trying to bump up to 15K average steps/day, from 10K. Which is not terribly hard, interestingly. Once you get moving … 

Funny, reflecting on that & my work experience … early this am when I first woke up, I Tweeted: “Get to it to get through it … right?” 

Answered my own question today, it seems. 

With the help of relying heavily on my friends. And a bit of Thai. Now: to sleep?

Xo

LJP 

T-Minus 21: Holy tsunami.

Phew. 21 days, y’all. The tsunami beginneth. 

Three weeks! 

One week from today is my birthday! 

So much is happening! 

Tsunami Part 1

Driving home tonight, I hyperventilated for a minute when I realized this is my last full week of “normal” work – like: the final. Four. Days. Of. Employed. Life. For the forseeable future. And this trip is happening in 3 weeks. 21 days. It’s actually happening. 

NBD.

😑  

Endings

No matter how much I want this; no matter how much I have wanted this freedom & sabbatical & unlimited vacation days, there is something significant about the ending. 11 years of familiar, quasi-routine, in the same place with many of the same people and things. 

Buh bye. Poof. Vamoose. 

Reflections

I had dinner with one of my oldest friends tonight. We’ve always talked a lot about our hopes & dreams. There were some really good highlights – he’s soooo excited for and proud of me. I’m holding on to this outside perspective when things get rough. He also talked about, in the simplest manner, realizing that some things we adore just cannot be done for other people. 

Bada boom: for me, that’s writing. Thank you, CHo. 😉

And he totally identifies with the “what am doing with the mortgage and the job instead of The Dream?” We talked about how to get after that. It was very nice. We also ate way too much pizza & frickles. Frickles. Of course that happened! 🙂

I know I haven’t done nearly enough justice to the significance of all the meetings I’ve had with the people – the people are the significance, not all this selling shit. But I won’t be able to sit down & digest that until some of the selling is done … or maybe not even until I get to my parents’ house. Or on the road-road. It’s a lot. #tsunamis. 

The Selling Tsunami Ebbs

While I waited for him, I split up more of my possessions. I sorted out the rest of the pantry. I got the boxes out to start packing. I’m going to send one or two home so I don’t have to worry about my car overflowing. 

I’m also sorting the “sell” pile into “give to friends” “donate” “etc.” A good chunk of whatever doesn’t sell online by the end of this week will go with me to the park. Talk about a swag bag! Lol. 

The couch still needs to go. It’s a little disconcerting, but I have half a month after the 1st (when I assume people will be looking) to sell it, so … it’ll be fine.

Though I should trust there’s a reason it hasn’t sold yet … probably because right now it’s my bed. And office. And living room. Good rehearsal for #tentlife, eh? 

The Belt-Tightening Beginneth

Now that I’ve gotten all this rad sales money in … time to stop the outflow. Today I was able to request final service on Comcast (no fee was mentioned … yet … allegedly it’s $220!?) and my electricity. My gas account locked me out, so I’ll have to do that tomorrow. And I really need to renew my VA license plate registration like ASAP. 

I’ll also have to suspend my Netflix soon – aka hurry up & finish Frankie & Grace. 😢

Spotify is the one “disposable” income item I will wait til my last $10 to cancel, however 😉 

Thank bless that podcasts are free! 

I will probably listen to Up & Vanished’s latest epi as I’m falling asleep. An odd choice, I know, but ITS THAT GOOD. Though right now I’m on Doreen Virtue’s weekly video, which is hella relevant. Of course. 🙂 

Of Weather and Sleep

Sitting in the bath, writing this on my phone & trying to chill myself out before couch sleep. 

Ironic, since My Best Friend The Weather Channel ™ is still saying it’s going to be 90 this weekend. That’s nuts!! It’s 50 and rainy right now. Talked a lot about the weather in the parks with people who’ve been there. One who saw five days of chilly rain in Glacier in August; the other who saw 90 in Yosemite in August. So, basically: this week. Oy. 

I continue to see people all week. Next week will be much chiller. I’ve noted before that it’s probably good that I’m so busy right now, because I think I would stress myself out wayyyyy too much with the “wtf”s and “what ifs” and re-organizing my possessions for the umpteenth time if I was just home every night. 

But, at least there’s stuff to do other than RUMINATE. 

I know selling my bed was a big deal, but quitting my job without another … That makes it real. Things really do start to spin out of my control then (no more income that day or 14 days later, etc.) 

Not to mention I don’t need any other factors to contribute to not being able to sleep on my truncated bed/office/couch/closet/unintentional trial run situation. Le sigh 😉 

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

You see, kids, this is when Grandma was too lazy to glue the hole in her giant air mattress that night … or clean off the clothes, coat, laptop, ExHd, etc. … thus bringing the tsunami to bed. BAD FOR SLEEP HYGIENE. Learn from my generation’s mistakes.

Good night!

Xoxo

LJP 

Gear Check: Considering The Cot

My sleeping plans for this trip are cornerstone to this trip.
Which makes this baby one of the most important items in my gear load. Yes, I have the Cadillac of all air mattresses, the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Dream Mattress  (which, incidentally is listed for way more than when I bought it, wow.)

Comfortable sleeping arrangements are the only way I could do this trip. My back and shoulders are not in great shape (thanks to sitting at a desk all day!!!) And (as anyone who’s woken up near me knows) I’m useless if I don’t get enough sleep – my brain goes on strike for what seems to be the whole day. So, to be able to rely on the comfort of the Therm-A-Rest is well worth the money (or, as I put it: “the cost of 5 PT appointments”!) I’ve slept on it a bunch now camping & it’s fabulous.

So then I saw the REI Cadillac Cot and thought if I had that, I’d have a real “bed” of sorts … Well, it’s too big for my tent (pout!) So now I have to decide on a different one. The idea would be to put the air mattress on top of the cot. The question is, which cot?

Choices

I headed over to my frienemy Amazon. They conveniently have a whole section on cots that you can rank by rating. This Coleman “Converta” cot caught my eye. I like how the back comes up, to have a ‘couch’ or chaise, so I do not have to add  a camp chair as well.
But it looks like my air mattress is going to be right up to the edges of it. Not sure if the overlap on those middle supports on the side will hurt the air mattress.

I’m also concerned because the fabric that is wrapped around the bars creaks – A LOT – when I first sit on it. Other users on Amazon said theirs ripped, even if they were well under the weight load.
Coleman makes the same version of this one, but with bungee cords on the side. Those may make it more giving/comfortable?

Now, I’m leaning toward the Coleman ComfortSmart. It comes with its own mattress. I imagine my air mattress + this would be sweeeet. But is it going to be too thick once it’s folded & in my car?

Or do I go super-basic, flat, military-style, like this Coleman PackAway Cot?

Gear: National Parks Annual Pass

It’s National Parks Week! So let’s look at a key piece of gear for my National Parks trip: the National Parks Annual Pass.

This thing is a steal! And it’s a great way to support the lovely wonderlands in our country.

It’s also how I’m able to afford visiting so many of the National Parks on a really tight budget. The pass allows you to get into any per-person or per-vehicle National Park without paying the fee. With some parks costing $20 per person for entry, this is an insane bargain. Especially because ~

Pro tip: if you’re broke, you & a friend (does not need to be relation!) can both sign on to one pass. So You each pay $40, and then just need to visit +2 parks each to save. Woo hoo!

Join my adventure by buying your own! Here’s some FAQs for more information.

Also, check out this list of all the Federal Recreation Areas. This may come in handy at some point! ::saves to iBooks::

 

Image result for 2017 annual pass national parks

Ironically this year’s image is one of the places I intend to visit!

via

T-Minus 26: Light at the end of the tunn-sell?

I took this week off work to prep, post and sell as many of my things as I could. (And also because my workplace doesn’t pay out vacation days at the end, eye roll! Protect yourself & check the policy, people.)

Thanks to my work over the past three days, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel with this sell-all-the-things nuttiness. I also can finally see an ROI, too!

Why sell?

My goal is to divest myself of things for the spiritual benefit – that whole, “what are you creating space for?”

In my research and gear-gets, I see too that we need next to nothing to survive. I then reflect on how much debt we are in. I wonder if everyone sold their stuff, too …

Speaking of avoiding debt: these sales further add to funds for my trip! I just did the math and right now, what I’ve sold will consequently fund at least six extra weeks of camp sites. So! I’d say six extra weeks of sight-seeing is worth the work of the past two. 🙂

Only a few more things to sell ... #adventures #adventure #packing #selleverything #ontheroad #getoutside #camping #gear #forsale #bye

“Stuff, stuff, go away, bring me money so I can camp some extra days”

It’s like air traffic control for a private jet convention

Thanks to K’s tip on Facebook Yard Sale groups, in three days, I’ve doubled my earnings from the past three weeks sellingallmystuff. I’m now 4/5ths of the way to the (arbitrary) goal I set. WOO HOO!

And this doesn’t even count the big things: bed, speakers, couch, dining table.. I’ve gotten bites on each of them, so that’s a start.  Let’s hope they sell! (Switch to affirmation mode: My bed, dining table, couch, speakers are sold. I hold the payment for them in my hands. I see it go into my bank account. Repeat.)

It’s definitely not easy. One lesson is that to post & sell so many items is like a new job. Definitely want to create space for that! There’s a lot to manage, and intricacies to learn in the photo/post/correspond/meet. That aspect can take it out of me too. I joke that I feel like the air traffic controller at a private jet convention!

Fo Realz

I find I start to get annoyed with myself, or embarrassed, about writing/whining about the “sell” part of this trip “so much.”

::dramatically falls back onto chaise.::

But, I realize now this is part of the ‘job’ or work of this expedition. It’s the foundation that will allow me to get on the road. I don’t think it’s realistic to just leave behind an apartment full of possessions. Or prudent, cuz it turns out they are also little piles of dollars. Hehe!

And to share what I’m going through in the moment is part of the “real-ness” I want to bring to this experience. (Er, this blog. This trip is already so real.) I do not want to be one of those FOMO-inducing people who only shows the pretty mountain pictures. (Editor’s note: Check back June 15 for gobs of pretty mountain pictures.)

Lessons Learned

If I have any wisdom from this experience, it would be that I could have better time boundaries around these tasks, and hence, it’d be easier to chill in my “off” times. I basically fell into that in the last 24 hours. The schedule sort of sifts itself out, too, I suppose.

And yet, I furthermore have had to deal with grief, away for five days for the funeral, and there are also some other life things going on. Therefore, I’m sure that combination, plus my general fears & “what ifs” about this trip, fuel the feeling of busy-ness.

But, I have to give myself credit, too! I’ve done the work and have been able to earn a lot of money, in about three weeks. I will have few possessions left to hold me down or worry about how to get them to where I end up. I know my car will not be over-full when I am on the road (always a safety concern!)

The Rest of the Picture

Like a snow globe, it was a right flurry up in here for a bit. But finally, it seems like things may slowly drift into place:

  • It is nice to notice that the rest of my apartment really is mostly ready to go. (Cupboards, drawers & shelves are empty. Clothing mostly packed. Trip gear packed & separated into its own closet.)
  • I have already set time boundaries for the final weekend, to do the required deep-clean of my apartment. (Ah, ye Sisyphean task! ::shakes fist:: Hey, you know what would make a good birthday present por moi? LOL.)
  • I simply have to survive either three (or one?!) more weeks of work.
  • I’m set to see most of the people I want to before I leave.
  • The invite for the farewell/birthday party is out.
  • The first 30-60 days post-D.C. is outlined.
  • My general itinerary is in place.
  • Most of the gear I have.
  • There’s a running list of remaining bits “to order.”

Zoinks.

This trip is, like, really about to happen. 😳

And, best of all: I maybe actually will sleep a full night tonight 😱

Thanks for riding along,

LJP

Gear Check: Clothing

The great sorting has begun! No, this is not Harry Potter, though I’m sure HP’s involved. I inventoried the clothing I’m going to take, and divided it below. The first list is grouped by “event,” the second is by items (ie all Ts are together, technical or not.) What am I missing? What should I consider adding? (Aside from a sun hat. Probably need a sun hat.)
As things heat up here in DC (it was 91 on my car temp gauge this Sunday!) I checked the monthly averages of some of the parks again … and some of them still get down to 40 ON AVERAGE overnight, no matter HOW hot they get during the day! I was planning to sweat, but now maybe I should plan to freeze? (Also: a friend mentioned that one of those emergency blankets is a great sleeping bag liner, in case it does get really chilly. Wheeee.) Here we go:
Some of the clothes.

Maybe someday I’ll do one of those fancy, OCD-ish laid-out spreads, … but who has time for that, really?

Sorted by Event
Sports/hiking wear: 
Capris – 3
Long leggings – 3
Conversion shorts/pants – 1
Sleeveless tanks – 4
SS Ts – 5
LS shirt – 1
Rain coat – 1
Sports bras – 6
Sports technical socks – 14 prs
2 swimsuits
1 swimming cover up
#
Regular clothes: 
 
Sleeveless tanks – 6
Short sleeves – 3
Zip grey sweater – 1
Raspberry zip hoodie – 1
Jeans – 1
Black legging/jeans – 1
Shorts – 2 (1 jean 1 blue khaki)
Skirts – 2 (1 grey 1 black)
PJs – 2 pr boxer shorts 2 shirts
Regular bras – 3
Mid cotton socks – 7 prs
#
Cold Weather Gear (taking w) 
1 Columbia Coat
1 pair sweat pants
1 grey hoodie
1 pr long john thermal leggings
1 LS thermal shirt
1 shawl/scarf
1 pair leather gloves
1 beanie
2 pair thick socks
#
Shoes 
Hiking boots – 1
Hiking sandals – 1
Tennis shoes – 1
Water shoes – 2
Flip flops (showers) – 1
Strappy sandals (regular) – 3
###
 
Using the above inventory – overall wardrobe by category: 
Bottoms – 16
Shorts – 4
Capris – 3
Skirts – 2
Conversion shorts/pants – 1
Long leggings/pants- 6
Dresses – 2
Tops – 25
Ts – 10
Tanks – 10
LS shirts – 2
Sweaters – 3
Other
Rain coat – 1
Bras – 9
Socks – 21 prs
PJs – 2 pr boxer shorts
Swimsuits – 2
Tunic cover-up – 1
Cold Weather – 6 
1 Winter Coat
1 pr long john thermal leggings
1 LS thermal shirt
1 shawl/scarf
1 pair leather gloves
1 beanie
Shoes – 10 prs
Hiking boots – 1
Tennis shoes – 1
Water shoes – 3
Sandals – 5

T-Minus 29: Getting Excited

Hey poopsies! So, holy cow, I’m leaving in “less than a month.” That shit is official.

I finally posted my bed & table & couch on CL. Like, that official.

And while I’ve been mired in the stressful air traffic controlling of selling stuff, I think I’m finally hitting the tipping point. I met for brunch this morning with a good friend who had done my trip before.That was a good choice, because listening to her tales & recommendations & how she was able to survive on the road and work in various places was really exciting. It was exciting to talk about the places I want to go, and hear highlights. As a friend said, “Remember the why!” So, as more things flow out of my house, & brain, I think I’m starting to have space for the excitement, and to be able to turn my attention the future. YAY.

As to the present: I’m off work this week. I initially requested it to give myself time to pack-sort-sell. SO GRATEFUL it worked that I had the chance to already put a car load of things in storage in MI already. That’s nothing short of a miracle, because I can’t imagine how stressed I would right now – or how effective – trying to pack or sell “it all.” Plus what if I did end up with an extra car load of stuff on May 15? That would mean I’d have to rent a car and find someone last minute to drive it to/fr MI. HA.

So, with some time freed up from that, I’m running around a fair bit with some errands, lunches with friends, that sort of thing. Honestly, it’s not much more than during the work week, just minus those pesky in-office hours. It will be a lot – it’s not like I’ll have long periods at home.  (This camping trip, with zero commitments & large swaths of TIME, is going to be a revelation.) This week will be an interesting exercise in balance, focusing on writing, going for long walks, etc. And WRITING when I can 😉 Fortunately this trip seems to have a never-ending flow of topics, and the hamster wheel hasn’t stopped for long.

I do have a fat stack of “writing” documents & papers to read through. That + my ExHDs … I will have to spend some more time on the ExHDs before I leave for my trip, as I don’t want to take three ExHDs with me!

After that, my sorting-packing-selling stuff is essentially done.  The storage run was a blessing, and I kind-of maybe don’t feel like I have a car-full of things left to take back with me??? (lies, blaspheme, sacrilege. I’m inevitably going to have to mail USPS-knows how many boxes of things home to mumsy.)

I will definitely have to continue to get rid of “the two piles.” One is still stuff I need to photograph (!!!), and another is stuff that I need to sell (c’mon, CL!) If I can sell  my bed, table, and couch, I will feel a lot better about donating some of the random items that I have left in my apartment (I mean, $ is nice & will help fund my trip, but so is not being STRESSED OUT OF MY MIIIIND.)

I also have random items I need to make decisions about – such as my pots & pans. I don’t think those are coming with me on the trip, so … donate? Try to sell?  When?

 

The part I most loathe about moving is those sorts of Sisyphean little tasks. It’d be brilliant to have everything settled out the weekend of May 6th, so that I can focus on cleaning my apartment out (another Sisyphean task!)

OK, I will attempt sleep now. 🙂

xoxox

LJP

T-Minus 31 Days: The Creative Muse Knocketh.

Good morning.

/ argh!

I *never* get out of bed if I wake up in the middle of the night. Usually I just pop a soothing video on YouTube & shut my eyes until its gentle sounds carry me back to the Land of Nod. But, no matter the amount of ASMR or meditation videos I watched in the last 1.5 hours, I have not been able to even start to close my eyes. Like, I made coffee when I woke up. At 12:30 a.m. That’s how futile I could physically feel my body saying it was to attempt sleep tonight.

I suppose I could blame this on the full moon, or the stress of the previous week, or the impending moving, or the excitement of my upcoming trip. Maybe the two homemade brownies from the pan my GED program supervisor made for us, and/or whatever the heck my foam roller stirred up. (Despite being miraculously physically FINE all day, I twinged my left sacriocillac muscle somehow, which is now messing with the bottom of my left shoulder blade. Lervely.) But, I’ve also been into this pattern of like, 6 hours of sleep a night, since I started stirring up my possessions & prepping for this move.

So, I guess now I stay up or wake up and write. Really late at night.

Like, my eyes are burning right now more than my brain is sleepy. I may actually be able to fall asleep because my eyeballs revolt & are like, “we can’t take being open anymore, mate! Fuck off to sleep now, would ya?”

This weekend, I was telling my mom about my fears of staying up too late when camping (mostly bc of fears, ie ‘what was that noise?!’) & then napping midday. She was all, “but, Circadian Rhythms!”

But, it turns out I may be on to something.

I have always been a night owl. In my wise 30s, I’ve sometimes practiced Arianna Huffington–style sleep hygiene and force myself to to sleep at 10 p.m., because I’m forced into this stupid 9-5 structure, and I’m at least learning, so that my productivity isn’t utterly shot the next day. (I’m starting to realize that has more to do with lack of inspiration at work …) But I usually feel like I could take a nice siesta from 2-4pm, and on my days off, I seem to follow a “get up and go, lull, go” pattern. I wonder if people survive on 4-6 hour nightly sleeps, with a 2-4 hour midday nap. Guess I will have literally all the time in the world until I run out of money to find out!

But, lately, call it alignment, call it whatever: the creative muse appears to be knocking and cannot, will not, be ignored. It feels like she’s Tinkerbell, in that scene from Peter Pan where she gets locked in the cupboard and is knocking about, sparking rage and sparkles everywhere.

That’s fine*.

Especially because it means I will be able to update, and back date, some of the stories from the previous 10 days or so that I’ve missed because of my uncle’s passing and my subsequent road trip to MI. So, in the interest of full disclosure: I’m writing on 4/14 the posts from 4/11-now, and not publishing any posts for 4/5 – 4/10 out of respect for my uncle & my need to grieve during that time.

Xo

LJP

*Except …

My internet isn’t working right now. Now! It picks this moment. Thanks, Mercury Retrograde 😉 (&Comcast. I just put my check in the mail! It’s not due for a few more days! WTF!) By this moment I mean apparently the entire hour and a half 3.5 hours now I’ve been up writing this.

So even if I wanted to, I apparently was not going to be able to watch any more videos in bed. I heed the call, and back date the blog with 3,000 7,000 words. Fortunately there’s Microsoft Word that I can save my musings into, until I figure out WTF is with the Internet. [Realizing things like “1700 words per hour + readthroughs … not bad, right?” affirm that my writing Tinkerbell was indeed a-knockin’ for a reason, and sometimes I think this is more valuable than sleep. J]

Road Trip Vehicle Conversion :-0!

OMG you guys! Look at what my dad just sent me!

Ultimate Road Trip Car Conversion (Honda Fit)

zomg, i have seen my future and it involves … piano hinges

http://www.instructables.com/id/Ultimate-Road-Trip-Car-Conversion-Honda-Fit/

That’s my car! Turned into a platform of AWESOMENESS.

A) Like: serious props to pops for the love & support to look that up & find it & send it to me

B) He just retired so obvs needs a new side project, right?

C) I seriously may be am abso totes now in the market for piano hinges (!??!?!?!?!).

::Mind.Blizzown::

(even more than usual, Ash ;)) 

Expenses

Ok, so, confession time: I have no idea how much this trip is going to cost.

Of course I don’t, I’ve never done such a thing before. I can guesstimate how many miles it may be & how much fuel I may need. I can guesstimate how much food I may eat, what the campsite costs might be, how much outlay I’ll need for sunscreen & bear spray.

But, at the end of the day:

There’s too many variables right now to get an idea. My *goal* is to buy most of my food from the grocery store, cook most of my meals, etc. I plan to camp, drive to the camps & then as little as possible in the camps, etc.

But there’s too many what ifs: what if I want to follow the signs for The World’s Biggest Tacky Road Side Attraction Yet! ? What if I want to eat out because I’m too tired, or even – GASP – stay in a motel because I didn’t realize it was monsoon season in Mitilitiarkana? What if I get addicted to $5/day campfire wood? Y’know, the practical things.

Heck, I don’t even know how long this trip will take. [Nope, still no end date ;)] 

There is, however, one thing I *can* rely on: there is no way this trip is going to be more than my current monthly expenses in D.C.

The average rent in Washington, D.C. is $2,080/month for a 1-bedroom. (I definitely pay less than that! Wow, average? Does that include utilities or something? Shudder.)

Then you look at the BLS national Cost of Living statistics:

  • $20,194 per person per year according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (value given divided by 2.5 average household size (‘consumer unit’) – [1]
  • Of this, food ($2577), housing ($6844), cars ($3442) totals $12,863 per person

Before I get all judgy on DC rent, BLS sez:

  • $1500 of this is mortgage payments, or about 1/4 of all housing costs

::record scratches:: Wai, wha? For the whole year?!?!! That can not be right.  … Unless I’ve been living in the DC bubble for too long? Gulp. ::does the sign of the cross:: 

(here’s the most recent BLS data, for my nerds.)

Anyway, let’s move on to: Fun! This cost of living calculator says that Yellowstone is 28% cheaper than D.C. Phew! (Actually, I was hoping for even lower, somehow. But if I’m halving my rent … Maybe the difference is made up in bear spray expenditures?)

And, from Nomadic Matt – a great resource for all things budget travel:

His 116 day US Road Trip = $6,262.67 total / $53.98 per day.

His breakdown:

Accommodations: $1,036.36
Food: $3,258.23
Drinks: $438.94
Gas: $696.98
Parking: $253.00
Starbucks: $75.26
Miscellaneous (movies, toothpaste, shampoo, conferences, etc.): $170.00
Attractions: $269.40
Taxis: $41.00
Bus: $17.50
Subway: $6.00

Seems fairly spot on. I may be slightly higher on accommodations, and hopefully slightly lower on food, parking & attractions as well as misc. transpo. If I make those sort of adjustments, then yeah. (He also doesn’t include phone, insurance, car repairs, oil changes, etc. I also already have most of my supplies, minus food, but those should be factored into the long-term planning.)

With his calculations, $10,000 = ~ 28 weeks, or 7 months.

$5,000 = ~ 14 weeks, or 3.3 months

Hm, maybe those BLS statistics are looking more realistic?

I’ll keep you posted as the trip progresses, of course. Honestly, at this point, it’s looking like my escape is going to cost more (rent termination, shipping or storage, Comcast termination, other fees/expenses?) We’ll see!

His article, and some additional resources below:

How to Travel Across the United States on $50 a Day

 

USA Road Trip Budget Tips 2017

Budget: how much does a 1-month USA road trip cost?

T-Minus 42: Everything’s Going to Be Okay (A Note From The Universe)

Most of All, Remember The Why

“Stop. Breathe. It’s going to be okay.”

This may be my new, spiritual version of “stop, drop, and roll.”

I was reminded of this all weekend, and it really hit home when I got one of TUT.com’s recent Notes from the Universe. They are good reminders that there are greater forces at work out there – or just the possibilities for a different perspective – than the one rattling around in my brain. This recent one was especially relevant:

Let’s see… It’s impossible to fail. Everything works out in your favor. The elements conspire on your behalf. There are always more reasons to be happy. Millions of lives are touched by yours. Thousands have thought of you fondly. Hundreds have called you their friend. You can have anything you dream of. Things just keep getting better. And you live forever.

via: www.tut.com 

Seems like just what I need to hear right now! Maybe because I’ve been a bit in panic mode & getting weighed down in the reality and the details. As a result, I’ve been getting a lot of messages about NOT FAILING.  Not in the pressure-y way, but in the “EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY, DANGIT!!” way.  And I really like how this note builds to a crescendo, of almost infinite possibilities.

A good friend told me this weekend that among the swirl of chaos that are the details of packing and moving, I needed to remember my “why” first of all. Why I’m going on this trip. What’s motivating me, what my intentions are with it.

I will admit, it’s been hard to see the forest for the trees (and I think you can tell as much in my recent posts!) I’m scared I’m going to shed all of my stuff & then regret it, or need it back sooner than I thought, or anything that amounts to failure.

But really, any judgments, any negativity like that are

So, to remember the why: here’s just a few, for instance, and one that keeps coming back to me:

Who doesn't want to go to there? <3

Glenn Lake, Montana

photo via NPS.

Ah, everybody exhale.

Good night, peace, and love!

LJP

T-Minus 45: On Cold & Compression

Wow, I had forgotten about this, but posted it back in 9/2016:

Image via, done by Brian Brettschneider

Ironic because I left my windows open yesterday – it was 78 inside when I got home the night before – and that night, it was 65 inside (with a real feel probably closer to 51! BRR. DC’s been having some weird-ass weather this season.)

I’m fairly cold-averse, because I have Reynaud’s (toes, fingertips, and nose) and that can be pretty painful. I sleep under a fur blanket MOST of the year (a/c is so hard. Remind me to tell you about being trapped in the icebox they call “work trips to MIAMI.” Ugh.)

I was just debating whether to splurge on compression packing cubes for my cold-weather (down to 32 degrees) gear. Nights like this, I come in, and I absolutely know I should take it, because there’s no way I’m living in tank tops and shorts. I would freeze. There are mountains. I mean – I live on the fourth floor of a garden community & can barely handle the weather up here. This will be actual nature. I’m actually going to a place called Glacier, FFS. I may even go to Canada. Even places like the Utahian desert get down to like 30 in the summer.

Sold. They’re coming with me. *

Of course, it’s supposed to be the hottest summer on record, so … we’ll see.

xoxo & shivers,

LJP

* (This really makes me want to write my gear post bc I sorted through my clothes last night. Maybe I’ll do a clothing preview instead.)

T-Minus: Shit, it’s tax day

Howdy!

OK, it’s not *tax day,* but I finally dropped everything and filed my taxes. I’ve been internally prodding myself to do my taxes for, oh, two months now. It was remarkably easy, considering it involved dividends this year. 😛

The impetus was: I was sweating that I have been posting “all this stuff” online and not selling much lately (like, 1 thing per day, which I suppose is okay.) It’s just a big f’ing lift.

Then I remembered I had my tax returns left to do, which should yield a big ROI (chunk of money) for, well, not the kind of time I’ve been investing on this other stuff.

Yep!

So those are submitted, I have more money coming to me, and I can breathe a sigh of relief. For tonight.

& focus on my abundance mantra: Abundance, abundance, abundance … baby!

#

Otherwise, today was pretty okay damn productive. Worked on my side hustle, scored for a client, talked to the fam, hit a meditation meeting. Ommm …

Got things done like taxes & looking up tire info for my parents (bday present!) & telling the meeting they’ll need a new chairperson, etc. I also emailed some friends & my former bosses to set up times to meet up. Bought more bubble wrap. Sold my record album frames. (& dealt with her wanting to return them eight hours later! Sigh.)  Got my 10,000 steps in. Texted with friends.

Funny too, bc I woke up so early, with such neck pain that I almost called out sick. I’m kind of glad I didn’t, now that I think about it.

I truly am surprised that in all of this upheaval, I’m able to be pretty chill or zen. There are certain things that will still light me up, but not really anything related to this trip. Except for money, & selling things (bc I don’t want to store them) and the push-pull of selling vs storing things.

The tax refund helps. So does the realization that my three big-ticket items aren’t really up yet (dining table, couch, bed.) I actually have to wait on those! I don’t want to totally give up creature comforts. Yet. Though the dining table could go, TBH. I just like having it, for art & space-filler. My apt really would be empty without that.

OK, let’s see if I can get more than the 6 hours of sleep I’ve been getting since the last 10 days 😛

xo

LJP

Business Insider: The Most Beautiful Libraries in Each State

I know I’ve posted about my new #officegoals, but here’s a great new thing to aspire to check off: Business Insider has a list of the most beautiful library in each state. Sweeeet.

Lots of modern stuff. I was expecting more like Nevada’s for out west – rustic feels. Ir’a almost like the expectations were switched: lots of old-school homieness in the cities, and lots of modern sleekness in the country.

I dream of the day I can get married in Maryland’s entry, and live in New Jersey’s. Talk about #librarygoals …

Connecticut’s feels like one for a fancy personal home.
Texas: formerly a WalMart. Of course.
For the entire list and more photos like below, check out the Business Insider article here. 
Not really what you’d expect from Montana, eh?

Update: Just stumbled across these 360 degree views of some of the country’s most beautiful libraries! Thanks Thomas Schiff for taking, and HuffPo for sharing!

My new office.

Every time I’m on Instagram, I’m like … holy crap. This is my new “office.” (How are there still any questions?!) New defense against the Whack-A-Mole, exhibit A:

via GlacierNPS on Instagram

At least once a day planning this trip.

Image result for whack a mole
Speedo guy is about accurate in re: me fighting my brain.

The mole is my fear, and about once a day as I’m planning my trip, it pops up with this very terrifying baritone (disproportionately deep compared to its size) with: “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?” Or, in its less ladylike moments: “WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF?!!?!??!?!!”

I try to keep it locked in the back closet of my brain, but … ouchie wow wow.

The best thing I’ve read recently is from “Feel the Fear … and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers. She says (page 14):

As my confidence grew, I kept waiting for the fear to go away. Yet each time I ventured out into a new territory, I felt frightened and unsure of myself. “Well,” I told myself, “just keep putting yourself out there. Eventually the fear will go away.” It never did! One day, a lightbulb went on in my head as I suddenly realized the following “truth”:

Truth 1: The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.

As long as I continued to push out into the world, as long as I continued to stretch my capabilities, as long as I continued to take new risks in making my dreams come true, I was going to experience fear. What a revelation!”  

Amen sister!

She goes on to share four more truths about fear (page 22):

2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.

UGH. This is all the more reason to talk back to my whack-a-mole, and just do the trip. Who knows, maybe my worst fears (dead/broke/bears) will NOT be a thing.

3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out … and do it.

Chortle.

4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, so is everyone else.

Empathy! This helps me remember to consider other peoples’ situation from their eyes … not just mine 🙂

5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

Dang Gina. FINE.

Yes, I don’t want to live in a feeling of helplessness any longer. Onward!

xoxo
LJP

On paying attention

The last snowstorm of winter. I’m getting off a plane, on my way home after visiting family for the weekend. Everything is delayed, so I’m not rushing. 
 
I spent the entire previous hour* indulging in my favorite past time: reading.

I’d just boarded the plane, fresh off the lunch where I’d finished giving my parents the PowerPoint presentation about my next steps – the next mile marker on the longer departure journey. 

I happen to glance down and see a brown mark in the slush on the yellow gutter of the jet bridge. 

I register what it is, smile, and keep walking. You always keep walking on the jet bridge. 
 
I get about 30 more steps before my stomach arrests my entire body. I delicately pivot against the flow of traffic and retrieve it.
 
I wrack my brain: which books had I brought on this journey? 
 
But, no, I already know: the twin to the bookmark I was cradling in my hand, trying to delicately avoid getting marked by it’s dirt, hadn’t come with me. Its clean twin that was ALSO FOUND, about a month ago, was nestled, safe and warm, inside a book called “What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question.”

That one was left on the next leg of its journey by a passenger in the backseat of my boyfriend’s car, discovered as I was getting dropped off at home, and he nonchalantly offered it to me. 
 
UHM … read it.
 
UH YEAH GUYS. OK HELLO HP/UNIVERSE/GOD. 
 
If you know how much books mean to me, if you know the things that have been in the spin cycle in my mind lately … nothing says HEY LAUREN ITS ME GOD/THE UNIVERSE/THE ALIENS …
 
… like a freaking unforgettable bookmark – twice, on my journeys home. 
 
Hot dawg! Or, as we call it: HP. 
 
xoxo,
LJP
 
*For fun: it was a 23 minute flight after a 19 minute de-icing and before a 17 minute taxi to the gate, after landing.

The Walk.

This morning I woke up early.

It was hot overnight, yes, in early March. My windows were open, so I woke to birds chirping. Well, technically, my inner night owl interjects, it was the sharp kacking of some winged brute. Even still, I so strongly yearn to integrate more nature that I remind myself to be grateful to hear their little songs. 
 
Because, my tent is all “windows.” 
 
I’m on “vacation,” but it’s 7 am. I’m restless. This never happens when 9am call time at the office looms. 

So I grab keys and a sports bra, and hit the road.
 
I drive into the sunrise. The river that carries me is an eight-lane highway glittering with traffic. It reminds me of those videos that awed me in drivers’ training. They were trying to show how hard it is to see at dawn and dusk, but I was struck by the mobs of people, whiling away in traffic. 
Who does this? I thought then, and think now.
 
I have never commuted far for work; even in the nation’s Capitol. I didn’t even own a car for eight years. But some people do. Who gets inoculated to that? The thought makes me shudder. 
 
It’s one of the reasons I’m leaving.

I get to Belle Haven park, this beautiful reserve along the Potomac River. If I walked far enough, I’d make it to Mount Vernon. It strikes me that I’m taking the commute George Washington – and who know else – used to.
I once had a very powerful boss who said that if he ever lost the awe of passing by the US Capitol building lit up at night, he’d leave. I’m grateful I haven’t lost the awe of this monumental place, but I have my own reasons for leaving. 
 
Finally out on the trail in the cool morning air. The sun is beautiful, on my left. The Potomac is wide, and the far side is lined with trees. The silver-blue water shines. Black stumps, islands of trees break through it every so often. 
 
On my right, the rushing wave of morning traffic builds. Silver, white, black darts. Like fish, like wave crests. 

Another reason I’m leaving. Even the nature walks feature unnatural companions.
 
I’m listening to my new favorite thing: podcasts. I love music, but I love learning more. I’ve had to remind myself to turn to music, actually. Any version of me before 2015 would be shocked. 
 
The air feels cool on my skin. I work to protect my throat, wish I had brought a scarf. My legs burn and I start to get tired somewhere around 3,000 steps. I’d wanted to do 10,000. I plod on, breaking it down in my head: 500 more, and 500 more, and 500 more. Then I can turn around. 
 
Breaking things down. Of all places, the lightning bolt on this came from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She’s turning this knob and tells herself to count to 10, because “anyone can do anything for 10 seconds.” And then another. And another.
 
My persistence pays off. Right around step 4,000, I notice up ahead on the trail: a house. A house, on the left, where the river should be.
 
I’ve flown in and out of DC’s airport (the one in VA, DCA) so many times, for work or pleasure. In fact, I’ll be getting on a flight tomorrow, now that I think of it. Anyway: when we land from the south, if you look to the left, you see all these gorgeous, beautiful houses along the river. Starting with Washington’s own Mount Vernon, and moving on up. I’ve always intended to go driving, and exploring, and see them for myself.

And by just taking a few extra steps, a few more steps than I “felt like” taking, lo! I stumbled upon them.

It was this whole neighborhood, in fact, that intertwined with the Mount Vernon trail. I walked on as far as I could before contentedly turning around.

 
By the end of my walk, I’m actually welcoming the breeze. The sun is shining, burning off the cool air. I’m sweating under my sweater, and am grateful for the slight breeze, the view, and … 10,000 steps. All before 9 a.m.

I still struggle with body image issues, even after a year of being on a nutritionist’s diet plan. I am still in incredible pain sometimes, in my back and shoulder. But I’m grateful my body can carry me long distances, early in the morning, exposing me to nature, new things, stumbling upon something I’ve always intended to find, and letting me contemplate parallel worlds. 
Namaste. 

 

 

 

How to: Be a Nomad

In searching for “how to quit your job and travel the world,” I found and really enjoy this blog: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/. 

I like how he breaks down various considerations, from how to save to how to travel as a couple and handle life on the road. He’s also straightforward about where he got his money, and unpretentious about pulling back the curtain and being real.

Though it’s up next on my list, I haven’t cracked Vagabonding yet, but my guess is Matt is like an online Rolf Potts.  

What’s your list?

As I mentioned yesterday, Neil Gaiman‘s 2012 commencement speech at U Arts Philly contains a number of gems for writers.

One of the best was the reveal that his career was driven by a list of things he wanted to do, which he’d made when he was 15: “I didn’t have a career. I just did the next thing on the list.”
 Fifteen is great, it’s when you’re old enough to have seen some of the world and really imagine the possibilities, but young enough to be in tune with your likes and wants, without all that boring stuff that taints it, like bills and whatnot.

I wonder what 15-year-old me would’ve said? Many of the things I’ve already done – be a journalist, live in a big city, travel. Granted, these things look and feel different than what I envisioned, but I still did them.

And, a better exercise: what would your list look like today? Very appropriate, this first week after New Year’s Intentions/Resolutions, and what with Mercury Retrograde just starting.

Today, my list would look like this:

  • Visit lots of natural places, especially National Parks in the Western US
  • Finish my first novel
  • Write more fiction
  • Have an online presence  
  • Spend more time with my family 
  • Meditate on what I love that could earn me money
  • Paint more  
  • Have more time and space 
  • Lower resting heart rate, less neck pain, more strength

How about yours?

Jet Lag

Chicago Streetscape | I love the architecture and personality of the shorter buildings crowded onto the streets.

Hiya. Just got back this morning from Chicago, visiting my best friend. I woke up at 4 a.m. their time (5.5 hours of sleep, 5am our time) and landed just after 9 a.m. I barely slept on the plane due to my ongoing anxiety issues with flying and hella turbulence, but I still caught some zzzs. And: today is nothing like any day hungover at work.

It’s always hard to travel.

Over the years I’ve learned that practicing acceptance that there will be some lag time, a readjustment period, combined with having a routine and a grocery plan makes that easier, as does having a notebook by my side to jot down the random crap that pops into my head makes it easier.

There was a net gain:
-Relaxing and having fun. Laura gets major props for doing this very well. There’s not a lot of existential ennui, le phew!
-We walked nearly 26 miles in the 4 days I was there, and hit 20,000 steps two of the days.
-I didn’t eat like total crap, considering how much walking we were doing. It wasn’t all salads and green juice, this is my Midwestern native country and home to deep dish. But still: props to me.
-My friend is an awesome influence in re: drinking enough water, being chill, finding stimulating entertainment, and going to bed at a reasonable time.
-I *did* write 16 handwritten pages and more of an outline for my book.
-The time difference (-1 hour) didn’t totally screw me up, and might jump start my “morning person!” goals (hahahaha)
-I am surprisingly okay today. I haven’t touched caffeine yet, I took time to go to the grocery store at lunch, the first two things I ate were an apple and a salad and I have not caved on crap food yet, and I’ve been trying to drink enough water.

I feel a black cloud over my budgeting/cleaning/week’s goals & orientation. Fortunately I had some time on the computer and phone to catch up on my budgeting (still looking for a good manual-entry app for this. Maybe just notepad?) And I was able to check out my schedule and aim for pockets of time for yoga, house cleaning/unpacking/tidying (why does packing = tornado left behind?) That might mean less social activities, but I have to keep the foundation of the dream house healthy before I invite over dinner guests!

I will close with a favorite tip: change your sheets right before you leave. Coming home to fresh bedding is a blessing & a g4 to Past Self. Also: easier to keep track of when you have to wash them next 😉

I admit, I need to give myself a break. I’m on the precipice of transition, as I finish up my book project, think about moving to more affordable housing closer to my work, and my immediate family deals with two extended family members facing not-so-good diagnoses. (It’s hard to be far away and not feel guilty about that.) There’s a lot going on, and it’s good to be good to yourself, even if you’re not used to it. Act as if until.

And I have to remember my perspective: it’s great to have an awesome long weekend away getting closer to a good friend and the experience IS rejuvenating and inspiring.

Back to life, back to reality

New developments make for good stories and happy people

Cloudy day = 89 degrees instead of 90 = No heatwave. Eat that bastard weathermen.

Nice editor + healthy fear = her giving me her air conditioner for my room. <3!
She even let me take a half hour break on top of my lunch break to go to her apartment with her to “get it”, which turned into us walking her dog around her neighborhood and discussing journalism philosophy in a privileged heart to heart.

Also, comments the exact opposite of what I anticipated when I got in this a.m. = ROCK.

This adventure has turned out to be a very, very good one as of 7:19 p.m. Friday, June 10, 2005.

Let’s hope the rest of it follows!

Out with Jeff tonight, Hartford w/ the cool interns tmrw and then party @ Dave’s.

Rizzock.

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