Saturday, July 28, 2012

the winding down

If I'm going to be honest with you, I could tell you that I'm afraid of a lot of things. The fear of committing to a place that might make me feel stuck. The fear of getting into something that makes me unhappy and having to deal with it. The fear of loneliness. The idea of not having a solid job for the fall. The idea of my career sending me down a path of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Having furniture somewhere. I mean, if I'm to be honest, it all scares the hell out of me. And I'm perfectly okay with being a little afraid of all of those things because the most important part is what you do with the fear.

I ran with mine. At some point in the drive, it became a part of me; it sunk into my skin- an attachment that wasn't going away so it's presence was just accepted. And slowly, it was less-so the fear of all of the above, and more-so the idea that if I let all of those things control my actions, I wasn't going to live. I was, in the physical sense, going to live probably, but I was taking years and happiness out of my life with all the stress. And now, when the amount of apprehension takes over, I start to feel nostalgic for the time on the road, when I summoned all my bravery and went because I needed to leave, just to come back with new eyes.

Some may call it irresponsible, that I took the small amount of money in my savings and drove alone with my dog for 9000 miles. It doesn't make sense to most of society; the idea of living out of your car and scraping by, just to see a different horizon. In my mind, it was the only option that was logical. I have no roots right now. I have few responsibilities that are tying me down to someone or something or anything, really. 

Part of this trip was to prove to myself that I could be alone. Part of it was that I wanted to prove to others that I could be alone and travel solo. A lot of the reason why I traveled for so long was because I needed to feel the loneliness and the truth of witnessing something beautiful and being comfortable knowing that it was only me who has the memory of seeing it. Part of it was wanting to feel the sun make my face orange as it slips down the sky and having my hands on the wheel of the car. Selfishly wanting to be in control of my own future. And a lot of it was that I had some doubts to conquer: to be okay with not knowing where I'm going. to get lost. to live alone. to take a good, hard look at myself and decide if I like who I'm becoming. 

I have met so many people who have just flat out encouraged me to keep going and telling me I was on the right path, even though I don't know where I'm walking. It's been this crazy search for myself and my place in the world and a small, naive part of me thought that I would answer all those 20-something-year-old questions. But instead of finding answers, I fell in love with places and pieces of people who I'd like to be more like. I fell in love with the ocean and the Sierras and the way I could sit on the cabin steps and watch the moon come up over the trees. I met people with beautiful tattoos and deep souls and incredible talent, all of which I think about often. But, I couldn't tell you where I'm supposed to end up, or who I'll be in 5 years or who I'll be in 1 year for that matter.   

What I can sum up for you is what I've learned in 17,000 miles: The world is small, so be kind to people. Get to know people who are interesting to you. Life is too short to not tell the people who inspire you that they do so, so let them know. You can feel tangible freedom when you drive with your hand out the window on the highway. Look people in the eye when you tell them thank you. Listen to your gut. Sometimes you should make yourself a really nice dinner and drink a glass of wine and make lists of what you're grateful for. Running does wonderful things to your brain. Learn how to change the oil in your car and don't skip rotating your tires. Be barefoot as much as you can. I dare you to stare at a huge granite wall, or the ocean, or the layers of mountains in the horizon and feel like the earth revolves around you (I get so caught up in that thought, sometimes.) Put it in perspective and let the vastness swallow you for a couple minutes. Above everything and all: 

Go gently. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

burnt out.

I have been missing Groveland lately. I think it's because living at the cabin, although it was removed and lonely at times, I felt like all my actions were thought out; they were intentional. And now, I feel as if two months have flown by and I haven't had a chance to pause and think about where I actually want to go or what I want to do or who I want to be. When I have been traveling for work, I am constantly trying to make it somewhere on time. I need to be to an event, catch a certain moment at the right time, catch a plane, catch a taxi, always feeling like I am rushing the minutes along to get somewhere. That's no way to live.

Last week was full of sad, exhausting things. My heart strings were being pulled constantly and I am glad to have finished the week off with a good trip to Boston. Now I have 1 week off work until I fly out for Salt Lake City. That is the last place on my tour before returning to Montana. I'm relieved, and though I never thought I would say it, I'm tired of traveling. I'm ready to have my own bed in a room that is decorated how I'd like it to be. Though it sounds silly, I'd like to leave my shoes in the middle of the floor and not have someone complain. I'd like to be closer to the mountains. I'm ready to not be a guest somewhere. But I have absolutely loved spending time with my family in the home I grew up in and I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to spend so much time with them. 

I want to capture my life events in a way that people can relate to and lately, I just haven't felt that they are anything relate-able. I'll keep trying later, but for now, I need to put the camera down. I think it's an important thing to know when you are pushing it too hard, and I'm at that point. In an effort to not completely drain my photo creativity, because I feel like my camera and I aren't on the same wavelength right now, I have poured myself into building furniture things. It's been nice. I get to work in the garage in the corner with all the saws and wood working material. My dad is a talented wood worker and his corner of the shop is full of wrenches and glue and nails and work gloves that look like they've lived a thousand years. I like hanging out in there, as it reminds me of my childhood and the smell of sawdust. It's a happy, inspiring work place.

Next week in SLC I will have to secure a job for the fall or start a new project. It's simultaneously exhausting and exciting. Before then, I need to pack up my car, finish up my time in Colorado and sleep in without worrying what time I will wake up.

And that is exactly what I need at this time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

lots of thoughts and not many words.

I've been getting glimpses of home. I love it and it makes me miss it even more. I have my possessions spread out over 3 states, have keys to 4 different houses around the western US. And even though I plan on returning to Montana, I haven't spent enough time there to consider it a home yet. It'll get there, but that will take time and patience. 

Sometimes you have bad days.
And sometimes you need to go to Nordstrom, put on a pair of $200 pants, a pair Steve Madden flats (because S.M. is the king of shoes), and pretend like you have enough money to buy both. Turns out, $200 pants look really nice.
Sometimes you should go into a bookstore and just sit in the middle of all the words and fill your head with thoughts other than your own.
Sometimes you should go buy a saw and a powerdrill for yourself, because everyone should own both. 
And sometimes you should wear a dress to go the hardware store and buy things to make your own furniture that you love. I swear sometimes, I'm a walking contradiction.
And sometimes, just sometimes, even though you might not have a permanent place right now, you should buy yourself home things because it's nice to dream of having one someday. Like big wooden cutting boards and mason jars and a nice red kettle for the stove. 

I love Wyoming. I missed it. It's like finding the little pieces of me that get tucked away sometimes. Three more cities and then I'm done with the tour and will find that home place I keep talking about. And the biggest reminder to myself during these times: Loneliness is alright, but it's how you fill that lonely feeling that really matters. Temporary things are just that: temporary. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

city skylines

Sometimes I forget how to live slowly. Lately, I feel like I've been pulled in so many directions-constantly sitting in airports, on planes, on trains, in cabs, in hotel rooms-always running, always trying to make it to somewhere on time. I have been having a fun time traveling, but I miss having a home and something stable. I find myself planning far, far ahead of time to get my feet on the ground and spend quality time with people.

My best friend dropped into town and because I was feeling so crowded and busy, we ran away to the high mountains for a couple days. I needed to look up and see something that was vast and seemingly endless, I'm tired of seeing the skylines full of cities and buildings and lights that aren't stars. So we drove late in the day, when the sun started sinking and it turned everything orange and pink. We drove and played this song loudly and the hills were blue and for the first time in a long time, I was reminded how it feels to be completely comfortable and I realized how much I had missed my dear friend Heidi. 

We slept at 11,000 feet in the back of the truck, and when I woke up, I ran the trails down below where we drank whiskey the night before and ate Milano cookies and watched the Milky Way. By the time I had come back, Heidi had made some nice tasting coffee in the french press and we sat on the truck bed and talked about what we wanted to do with the day. 

I didn't get to spend a long enough time with Heids, as I flew out for Los Angeles only a couple days after she arrived. It was then onto Southern California- San Juan Capistrano in particular. My second family resides there and they always take me in and fill me up with good, positive things at the right times in my life. I got to spend a short amount of time surfing and spending time with some of my most favorite people in this entire world. Leaving SJC, I took the train and it was such a different form of travel, I could only sit and think about how things come together, even when I think they won't.

I'm so tired, and things keep going. However, this time, I'm not going to cities. I'm working from home for the next two weeks until I leave for Austin, TX. Hopefully that work will be playing, too, as I intend to mix it with some backpacking, some climbing, and some exploring. Until then, friends.