27 reasons why I love my new home.

Recent Facebook status:
“Reason why I love my new home #27: There was so much ice on our road up to the house that i hitchhiked into work. It took two rides to get there, with very nice people, and I was only 5 minutes late. I love weekday adventures!”

Answer from my friend Russ:
“I missed the first 26. Can you repeat?  ;-)” 

I actually had picked a random number for my status, but alright, it’s on:

# 26 – Sometimes it’s minus-something outside, but I have a warm room that is all mine.

Image

#25 – I get to be epic just getting out of the house.

Image

#24 – Internet at home, and plenty of book writing happening. Much easier than when I was writing at libraries or friends’ houses.

#23 – Ridiculously cheap rent with quiet, respectful, fun, outdoorsy, awesome roommates. Couldn’t have dreamt it better.

#22 – Finding a yoga teaching job, not as a sub, but my OWN classes, on my first day in town.

Image

#21 – Getting hired at Ragged Mountain, on my first day in town, without having to ever look at Craigslist.

#20 – Finding the pile of free sand and salt mix for residents behind the town hall and feeling like such a badass for being a local of a place that even requires sand and salt.

Image

#19 – Really awesome piece of bark I found hiking in the woods yesterday that is going to become a lamp shade. Oh yeah!

#18 – The man that opened my new bank account said he’ll call me next time he goes ice fishing and give me a fish, and I believe him.

#17 – The lady at the local organic market is growing her Scobi to give me part of it, so that I can make my own kombucha. People are awesome.

#16 – I was invited to a cookie baking party by a beautiful tattoo artist. She postponed it because of the ice, but it’ll happen. She said she has ice-climbing friends I should meet.

#15 – The man at the grocery store who remembers me from last time and calls me “trouble.”

#14 – Snowshoeing right outside my door.

Image

#13 – Ice climbing here, there, everywhere, and right around the corner.

#13 – Free skiing for Ragged Mountain employees.

#12 – I get paid to flirt with handsome ice climbers and help outfit people for their adventures.

#11 – The basement at Ragged Mountain is filled with material for make-your-own projects, fabric, sippers, buckles, patterns, everything I need. I found enough blue fleece in the dumpsters to make 3 jackets.

#10 – Simplification. I have exactly what I need, and nothing more. Just a few coffee shops, just a few theaters, just a few pubs, and everything else is woods, mountains and rivers. Perfect.

Image

#9 – Public ice skating rink in town, under the stars.

#8 – Kayak and canoe rental places hint at all the fun I’m going to have this coming summer.

#7 – Absolute and complete silence in our house. No city noise, traffic noise, neighbor noise. Just woodsy silence, enhanced with the sound of fresh falling snow.

Image

#6 – My PO BOX is in the country store, so I have to go past rows of freshly baked goods and roast chickens to get my mail.

#5 – I get to wear cool hats, scarves and my sorrels everyday.

#4 – Living with an artist. I LOVE the subtle art, rows of shells and rocks on the shelves and little plants growing in jars in the house.

#3 – Living with climbers. I LOVE having gear everywhere. Ropes and boots and crampons, oh my.

#2 – Two jobs, one small rent, no other expenses. I might actually get to pay of my credit card. Woah.

#1 – Living in New Hampshire is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. New scene, new trees, new people, new everything. That alone makes it worth it.

Image

Repack and Go.

 

Many thanks to Mikhael in Flagstaff for a space to get everything out of the truck.
I’m now repacked and ready to go, next stop, New Hampshire – estimated arrival date December 15th. Just in time to go ice climbing (that’s what’s in the big bin with the black lid – delicious gear!) . I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, but I have everything I need were I to not return, or not return for a while …

IMG_0166 IMG_0170

Missing out.

Update from the road. Weatherford, TX, day 24.

Oh, I see how it is going to be. This trip is just NOT going to hack it. Every place I visit, I wish I could stay about ten times as long. I thought fifty days to go from point A (Bellingham, WA) to point B (Conway, NH) was luxurious, but now I see it affords me only a brief preview of each place.  Up until Flagstaff, I was in known territory, so I was still only engaged surficially, going from favorite coffee shop to favorite store. I didn’t know I was surficial then. I discovered this in contrast with what’s happening now. I feel I have descended down into the nitty-gritty earthy real world. I have put on my own skin suit and pushed the “engage Life” throttle fully forward. I am suddenly faced with a smorgasbord of experiences and I feel like a thru-hiker at an all-you-can-eat buffet with only one small plate and a limited feeding time. Yeah, it’s rough!

I’m not even talking about life-altering experiences, though there were a few. I’m talking about the small yet constant magical moments. Driving into Texas, I wrote down a few notes about what originally struck me about this place. Yes, I did this while driving. I do a lot of things while driving, but you would too if you were in your truck as much as I am (I was noticing yesterday the amount of time I spend brushing my teeth while driving. I might not shower as often as the average settled bear, but I’ll tell you what, my teeth are way cleaner than theirs). So these are some of the things I noted:

IMG_0210

– Oil fields. In my experiencial non-analytical state I can actually appreciate the stark and surreal beauty of these fields. I love the … don’t know what they are called … little mechanical robots dipping their heads in cadence and coming up with a filament of oil, or however it works. They look like strange birds at the beach digging for clams. Next to a few are large trucks with big wheels and men with dogs and cowboy hats. It looks like a scene from a bygone era, except it isn’t bygone at all, it is thriving. Far in the distance, behind the oil are fields of windmills. Some of the oil rigs have solar panels. My brain couldn’t figure this out. I just enjoyed the contrast.

– Manly men. I drove by a giant oil tanker truck on which sat a handsome young man in jeans and white-wife beater shirt. He was perched on the edge of the tank doing sit-ups, hands behind the neck and feet lodged under the ladder to the top of the tank. I enjoyed that scene very much. And I am not the only one gawking around here. From the moment I drove into Texas, I have become beautiful. I’ve been checked out, whistled at and flirted with. Eat your heart out politically-correct sensitive west, I have found the land of paternalistic objectification and am loving it.

– God. It wasn’t shown on my map, but I think somewhere south a few hours out from Sedona, I entered the bible belt. I first could tell by the signs on the side of the road. Kuddos to whoever creates these signs. This isn’t the usual boring “Jesus saves” sign. “The world has a problem? Hey, I have an idea! How about you all stop sinning and return to me – Love, God” in big letters, as big as the sign for the cowboy boots outfit at the next exit. There were others. I needed a copilot with a notepad. It’s hard to do it all sometimes. I think I missed a few while I was brushing my teeth.

– Hospitality. Seriously, wow. I’m not even officially in the deep south yet, and I have encountered nothing but open-hearted generous friendly people. I met a family from El Paso in White Sands. They came to me fascinated and attracted by my fake-crab avocado sandwich. Upon learning I was writing a book called Crazy Free, they lit up and excitedly shared their own crazy and free adventures. I love when people do that, just walk up to me and start sharing their adventures. They had a free sled for me, I gave them chocolate. I walked away from the encounter feeling an immense gratitude for the warm and welcoming place this earth is.

IMG_0219

– Space. Oh, there is so much room down here. People on the coast, we think we have lots of room, but nothing like this. As my friend DLancer said, here when a business closes, they don’t demolish it to build a new one, they just build one next to it because there is so much space. I have been sleeping in pullouts by the side of country roads. I feel safe there. A few trucks go by, then everybody is home and it is just me, the stars and the occasional alien I imagine comes to check me out. I was pretty close to Roswell and area 51 for a while. I don’t think I was abducted. If I were, I don’t remember.

IMG_0264

There is so much more, but I need to wrap this up quickly. My friend DLancer will be home soon to take me on a tour of Weatherford’s main attractions. He has already spoiled me rotten, and it doesn’t look like it’s waning any time soon.

I’m starting to think with a southern accent. So much to absorb. So much to live. Yes, this definitively feels too fast, but hey, it’s better than not having it at all.

Thank you to all of you amazing friends along the way. Thank you thank you thank you!!

XOX. The roaming bobcat.

P.S: oh man, I haven’t even told you about the cotton fields, the Carlbad caverns, White Sands, the missile range, the carrot cake, the Saguaros, the cowgirls in the corner of the bar killing it at the pool table, and all the growth and learning I’m doing. Well, you just get a preview of my preview. Maybe someday there will be a book about this journey. The journey to get to the place where I can write a book about my journey. My stories get complicated.

IMG_0223  IMG_0298
IMG_0218 IMG_0244






South is done, now east.

Update from the road: Flagstaff, AZ day 20. 

I love Flagstaff! It is one of those towns I consider “home”. I love the earthy pastel palette of the hills and forests around it. There is a gentleness about it. This is not a place to be loud or flamboyant. This is a place to stop and rest, which is exactly what I needed. I have been sleeping some ten to twelve hours a night. Flagstaff is a dark-sky town, meaning there are no streetlights, so there is no pesky neon lights buzzing anywhere, just a wide starry sky above head. It is dark, and it is quiet. At 7,000 feet, sound doesn’t travel so well, and whatever sound could have still found its way around was trapped under a lovely coat of snow the day I arrived. Perfect.

IMG_0162

It’s been pretty intense since I last wrote from Ashland. I drove south just in time to pick up my friend Weathercarrot at the San Francisco airport. This was a sort of small miracle since he had no idea I was traveling south when he booked his flight and I had no idea he was traveling west when I planned my route. But there it was, we found ourselves in the same spot at the same time for the first time since the end of the PCT last year (I don’t count the Kick-Off party because I had to share him with so many people that I might as well have just not seen him). We drove together to Santa Cruz and parked my truck/bedroom for the night in my friend Brian’s driveway. Brian was my best friend in another lifetime and the best man at my wedding. In a surreal moment of schizophrenia Didi and TheBobcat occupied the same chair. Melissa just sat back and watched, amused by the contrast. It is easy to be around Brian, not much phases him. And Weathercarrot knows me so well that I don’t think anything I can do or say could surprise him anymore – Too bad. I enjoyed the shock factor I had when we first met, but I digress … – so it was easy to manage my multiple personalities. 

IMG_0090

Weathercarrot and I spent the next few days in the Redwoods and along the California coast, driving from one breath-taking landscape to another. The three days went by in a blur, and as though I had been teletransported, I suddenly was in Los Angeles. That entire stretch from the Bay area to Los Angeles used to be my stomping ground in the 1990s. Whereas further north (Ashland to Bellingham) I still have fresh and accurate mental maps, in the southern half I feel like I am driving in an extended deja-vu. Everything looks so familiar, yet I have no clue where I am, and if I think I know, you can bet I’m actually completely lost. Thank Heaven for Google Maps (probably not Heaven, but I don’t know who created Google maps, so it will have to do). 

IMG_0080

Once in L.A., the blur sped up. From this cousin’s house to this other cousin’s house to this third cousin’s house, with a visit from a cousin who just flew in from New Caledonia, and a week had passed. Each conversation a precious gem on my learning path. Each encounter a chance to explore not only whom I have become since I have left California, but who my old crew has become, beyond the lens of my memory of them. I was impressed with what I saw. I found super-heroes everywhere I went. The cherry on the cake was a full evening with my friend Shannon. The one, only and original Shannon – my first American friend and soul sister. It had been about fifteen years since we last met. Her daughter, a tiny cutie hanging to Mama’s pants last time I saw her, is now a gorgeous adult about to set off to college. How did THAT happen? We took over her girls’ bedroom and chatted until 2 am. Despite the time and distance, our very different life paths have taken us to the same place. We speak a common language with different words. The underlying love is intact, and I know it is for keeps.

shannoncompare

The overarching theme for my California visit, however, was beyond the people and places I visited. What I took away from this portion of my journey was the surprising discovery that the world I imagined to be an utopia (see If the world was more like the playa) is actually not so far off. In the bay area, I saw entire streets where the majority of cars were electric. One of the houses I visited even had a plug in the street, a gift of convenience to the community (and the first private-public plug in the US) and smart “green” features all over the house – Check out the toilets, there were one of my favorite features: Project Green Home. In Los Angeles, I visited a school that seemed built on the model I described in number 7 of my playa post – voluntary education on a completely new model (see One Spark Academy). The learning is organic, designed to turn the kids’ sparks of passions into full-blown fires, on their own terms. This is just what I envisioned (except I envisioned it free – it’ll come). Not only was I psyched to know that at least some kids are getting tools to usher in a new area, but it really got me thinking about a possible career. I would not want to teach in a traditional top-down curriculum-and-tests-driven school, but I could really shine in a school where knowledge is shared from an equal, fun perspective. I could see myself as class facilitator in a full program involving computer programming, linguistics, acro-yoga, geophysics, glacier travel, writing and hula hooping. Hell, if I don’t teach that class, I want to take it!

One Spark Academy

I love what I see happening, World. Keep it up!!

I’ll be in Flagstaff a few days only. Then I have plans for a romantic Thanksgiving by myself in the dunes of White Sand, NM.  I haven’t been by myself in a while, except between destinations. I’m looking forward to Bobcating it to the max. Then, from there, it’s all new territory. Oh boy oh boy oh boy!!! 

onemorestep

Sam: This is it.
Frodo: This is what?
Sam: If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.
Frodo: Come on, Sam. Remember what Bilbo used to say: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

XOX. Until the next update, in Texas or wherever …

These are some of my favorite things!

Update from the road: Ashland – OR.  Day 4.

Already 500 miles into my journey (only 5,000 to go) and I feel I have not even started yet. Bellingham, Kirkland, Bellevue, Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Ashland. I have crisp mental maps for these cities, as though I currently lived full time in each of them. I have favorite coffee shops, yoga studios and libraries along the way and dear friends I can call up for a drink or a walk. I know good stealth level areas to park my truck for the night. I blend in perfectly under the grey Pacific Northwest skies. This is my current territory, and I have covered it well.

oregonshire

I rolled into Ahsland a few hours ago on undulating roads through a perfect shire-like landscape of farms and fields, then treated myself to an organic, locally grown, freshly cooked lunch at the food Co-op. The breaded squash with mushrooms, garlic and bacon was miraculous! I waltzed through carts in the crowded grocery store, noticing handsome men and hippy-chic women with nice wrinkles, the kind you would get after a lifetime of laughter, younger people pierced, tattooed and polite, and free range children with dirt on their faces and grass stains on their knees. These are my peeps. I could so easily park my truck here and call it home. I could forget about driving around the country and forget about New Hampshire and ice climbing. I could fall in love with a farmer, one with green eyes and a nice porch on a quiet piece of land, grow Oregon roots, put one of those OR-love stickers on my truck, and find a new kind of freedom in the release of my self-image as a roaming bobcat, epic adventurer, and whatever else I sometimes immodestly claim to be.

oregon-jpg

Yes, I could, but, that is likely not my fate. So, I’ll just be here at the library working on my book for a few days and when it is time, I will leave the Shire, as better, braver Hobbits than I’ll ever be have done before me.

The ambitious next (last?) loop …

… will look something like this:
1 truck. 1 woman.
5,500 miles.
88 hours of driving (according to Google maps).
17 states.
23 visits with friends and family lined up (the lettered stops except for White Sand, NM and Savannah, GA, which I just want to see).
About 50 days.
About $1500 in fuel (at 17 mpg, which is my beloved truck’s average).
3 parts of the book left to write (about 150 pages, based on previous parts’ lengths)
1 house and 2 roommates waiting for me at the other end.
1 BIG adventure.

I’m taking donations 🙂
I’m also available for work if you live along the path.

Next loop

The fortune teller – part II

The flip side of the coin

king-of-cups-meaning-mystic-dreamer-tarot-decks_thumb

Alright, deep breaths. Now that my knee-jerk reaction to the abominable news that I am likely to meet the love of my life on my next roaming adventure has subsided, let me put on my (spiritual) scientists goggles and take a look.

The death card is not an indication of imminent death. I just let you believe that it does for an added dramatic effect – I hope it worked! The death card actually represents drastic inner-transformations. I was not surprised to see it. Drastic inner-transformations are all I’ve been doing for the past two years. Don’t be fooled by the hikes, climbs, paddles and incessant changes in location. The inner-journey is the juicy center that makes all my adventures delicious.

So, how did Michele pull the death card and that tall, handsome King of Cups that’s going to make me want to grow roots and make a home? Well, I believe that psychic don’t foretell the future, they simply intuitively read the energy we emanate. In most cases, the energy we emanate dictates our future by “the law of attraction”. I have been testing the law of attraction over the past year or so, somewhat methodically. So far, I have found that, for me at least, it works. Basically, the Universe only knows “yes”. If you project anger, you will find yourself in situations that really piss you off. If you emanate love and gratitude, your life will continue to look like a golden dream. The problem most people have is that they are unaware of the energy they emanate, and as Carl Jung said,

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will guide your life and you will call it fate.”

I have observed that there seem to be a delay in the manifestation process. So, the energy I emanate today might take weeks, months or years to take form in the physical reality. Physicality is just really dense and hard to create. If a person is unaware of their energy, they are unlikely to change it, so whatever they emanate has time to produce (or attract) a physical reality. A skilled psychic can “read” this hidden energy and use their intuition and knowledge of the deck of card to find the cards that match it. This is just my hypothesis. Some people believe that psychics do not foretell the future, but instigate it by planting seeds of what path to follow in a client’s brain. This wouldn’t work with somebody as contrary as I am – Michele is the first one whom I have not received with rolled eyes.

One of the reasons why psychics don’t usually work for me is that I enjoy picking apart my own energy. I think that the body is constantly sending us clues about its energetic state in the form of emotions (fear, sadness, etc.). When we don’t listen, these can become aches and pains or worse. Have you seen the quote, “If you don’t listen to Life’s little whispers, it will get its message across to you with a 2X4?” I like to disarm them before I get the 2X4. Sometimes I don’t know why I feel a certain emotion. That’s alright. Just the fact of acknowledging it and accepting that it is there is enough. It says “oh good, she saw me. I don’t need to get drastic.”

alpine lakes wilderness

This is what I did today: I processed the whispers. At the physical level, I went on the most amazing hike through the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Loved the backdrop! Loved loved loved it!! But while my body enjoyed good exercise, fresh air and sunshine, my mind turned to the post I wrote last night. Never mind what Michele or the cards said, the clue about what energy I’m emanating is in the reaction I had to the reading. Have you ever heard of somebody so upset upon hearing they are about to meet the love of their life? Right. So, I knew there was something there worth looking at for me.

– Warning: I’m about to share my personal processing. If this seems too much, stop reading here. Thank you for your visit. If you have a hint of voyeur in you, stay right here. I have no qualms about sharing (I’m writing a book, I’d better not).

First, I had to admit to myself that I do emanate both “I’m looking for a partner” and “I’m looking for home.” Although I can honestly claim to be perfectly happy on my own, I can just as honestly admit to secretly hoping somebody will sweep me off my feet and join me on joyous romps. Intimacy and co-creation of adventures are just so delicious. Maybe some people can lead full rich lives without them. I don’t think I’m one of them. I’d always feel I’m missing out. Then, under that, I discovered that I might actually only be blissful about my current single free-spirit lifestyle because I expect it to end. Think of your favorite ice cream in the whole wide world, and you were so lucky to get the last scoop of it, ever. Guaranteed, that scoop is going to taste better than if you had it every day for the rest of your life. I think you might even stop liking it if you had so much of it.

IMG_4697pano

I have fantasized about living in my truck for the rest of my life. My truck is my home. Why would I want to have a stationary one when I can have a different view out of my bedroom window every day? Again, I had to admit to myself that instead, I am not so different from that little bird in Dr. Seuss’ “Are you my Mother?” I love roaming when I am actually on the move, but I have noticed that whenever I come into a town, I size it up. I go from town to town asking “Are you my home?” For a day or two, I look at houses that have “for sale” or “for rent” signs. I imagine having friends down the street who’d come visit. I’d befriend the cashier at the grocery store. I’d have my own rug on the floor and my sand collection on a shelf. Sigh … But, either I feel I don’t fit (Denver, Portland) or opportunities dry up and I am gently asked by the town to move on (Bellingham, Ashland) or something else shiny in the distance calls me away (Sedona, Livingston).

So what’s the big resistance? Michele basically said I get everything I now know I secretly want.

AhA! Fear! It always comes down to fear. I fear that being in a partnership will require compromises. Compromises always limit freedom. And, freedom is a requirement for my happiness. I also equate container with control. I see a container as something in which I will have to fit, which necessarily implies becoming less or smaller than the biggest ever-expanding version of myself I could be. So, for a partner to be suitable, as I see it, his presence would have to enhance my life from its already perfect place. And, instead of being a container for my energy, he would have to be a perch to which I can fly at will or an open-face display surface, with big lights. Yes, tall order. It will be a special one who can pull that off, if he even exists.

Bellingham

The same goes for home. Bellingham was my home. Although I have left seeking something else, something new, because my heart suggested I might grow from the experience, I was happy there. That is where Baker is, and my favorite coffee shop by the bay, and Yogoman Burning Band, and a plethora of memories in every corner. It is not home anymore. It always welcomes me as a cherished visitor, but do you know what happens when you sleep on a friend’s couch for too long? Same with Bellingham.

After following the rabbit down the hole amidst pristine blue alpine lakes, I finally stumbled upon it. Yep. I fear change. How is that? The roaming bobcat actually fears change. Woah.

Well, you know what? It’s alright. I’m looking at the fear straight in the eyes. I’m looking at it so much that I’ve spread it out in the sun for all to see. I’ll take it with me down south and throw a little bit of it in the Pecos, and the Mississippi, and the James River. By the time I get to New Hampshire – or wherever I end up -, it will be completely gone, and that King of Cups won’t have such a basket case on his hands.

Or, alternatively, maybe by looking at it, I’ll dissipate the fear, and therefore no longer have that energy signature, and therefore attract something completely different, in which case, all bets are off.

In which case, I’ll just return to following my heart blindly …

New Hampshire White Mountains

The fortune teller – part I

Death and Roaming

deathcard

Oh misfortune! I saw a talented psychic tarot reader woman today. I know of her talent because I saw her last summer and the energies she sensed in my immediate future were eerily accurate. But, this time, she pulled the death card as my immediate future. Apparently, I have still a few months left to roam as a free spirit, following my heart’s every whim, then I get to New Hampshire, and BAM! I meet my equal partner and true love. It gets worse … That man will be grounded, a perfect container for me. He will inspire me to grow roots and make a home. There was even a card with a picture-perfect nuclear family on it. Aaaaaaaah! She said there will be some resistance on my part. Why, yes, I can see that there will be. But, that in the end, I will undergo a mental paradigm shift and see that this is what I need most as a soul for my next stage of evolution. She said I will look back on this time of my life, right now, with sweet nostalgia, but that, in the end, I will fall in love with this man, and there is nothing I can do about it.

What need would someone as committed as I am to following my heart’s guidance have to see a psychic tarot reader in the first place, you ask? Well, it all started with a quandary …

roaming12-13

Since I started roaming full time, back in October 2011, my path has followed a general pattern of big loops. I have just finished a loop and have been on stand-by at my friend Ana’s awaiting instructions. The instructions always come from my heart. This is how it usually works: An idea of a destination suddenly appears in my mind, much like a craving. The destination can be an actual place or a conceptual need, such as “mountains” or “sunshine”, or merely a direction, such as “east”. Next, come the giggles. The recurring realization that I can go anywhere, anytime, with or without a reason still tickles me happy, every single time. Next, come the fear and mental judgment of just how unreasonable my lifestyle is. Usually, the fear revolves around money. I never know ahead of time if I will find work. My budget is often just what I need to get to a next destination and no further. The last time I landed in Denver, I had less than $30 in my bank account. It can be unnerving.

You would think that after having a hot-air balloon land on me in the desert and offer me work, I would have faith in the process. You would be wrong. I have to wrestle with my ingrained old-world views and choose to trust blindly that everything will work out, every single time. On a rare few occasions I know what awaits me. In Denver, for example, I can always find a warm place at Laura’s and a fun job restoring historical windows with David. In most cases though, I have to take the first step on pure faith. The Universe sets nothing in motion until it knows I’m committed to the path.

The first few miles of a loop are always exhilarating. It’s like skydiving. I fill up the truck and we go. It’s just the two of us (the truck and me), the open road, unlimited time, unlimited space, unlimited opportunities, including that of breaking down and becoming one of those beggars with a cardboard sign that says “Need $$ for fuel, trying to get home” – wherever that is. On those days, my heart seems to radiate so much joy that it presses outwards on my rib-cage and blocks my throat slightly. Sometimes if my throat gets too constricted, the pressure gets released as tears of gratitude. I’m a happy smiley emotional weirdo for those first few miles.

Once I get over the initial rush, I can come back down to earth and enjoy my trip from a more grounded perspective. Different music, different landscapes and different encounters influence the emotions that course through my body. I get visited by sadness, self-doubt, fear, loneliness. I try not to judge them. Sometimes, I observe them like exotic animals at the zoo. What does loneliness feel like? I mean, physically in your body. Do you know? Other times, I track them back to their source, see what triggered them, and if I can uncover a pattern in my natural responses to the environment. It’s all very scientific. I enjoy the detective work, and it puts all those miles to good inner-work use. I have observed that although the “heavy” emotions are varied and complex, the “light” ones aren’t. There isn’t much difference for me between joy, happiness, love and gratitude in their non-rib-pushing normal forms. I find the feeling of bliss to be much closer to quiet, peaceful contentment than to some ecstatic jump-around exuberance. This state of quiet, peaceful love and gratitude seem to be the state to which I return when I am not processing heavy emotions. It is my default state when I roam.

It is in that energetic state of love and gratitude that good things are drawn to me as if by magic. The right people appear. The right opportunities open. Invitations to housesit and potential work find me. All I have to do is be open to receive them.

This is how it usually works, but this week, I cheated. Instead of waiting for my heart’s tug, I placed a demand to the Universe. I used Facebook as a vision board and asked for a quiet place to write. I asked for it in the woods, near mountains, with nearby walking trails, with some ice climbing, ethnic restaurants, and a few other necessities. In a way, it worked. I received four different genuine offers, all of which concurring to my criteria. But, now I must come clean … For weeks, I have been hearing the call of Appalachia. It speaks of New Hampshire. It says “go there via the south – New Mexico, Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.” What would I do in New Hampshire? I would ice climb and write all winter then, come spring, I would fly to Georgia and walk back to my truck on the Appalachian Trail. My heart is ambitious like that. I showed it my bank account. Riiiiight. Not going to happen.

appalachia_main

I didn’t even get to the giggles with that plan. I said no, this time it is just not feasible. That’s $1500 just in fuel, and I’d have no time to write for weeks. The focus must be my book, or it’ll never get done. I want to stay home, right here in the Pacific Northwest. It would cost nothing in gas – I’m already here. I could go ice climbing a few times in B.C., and use the dreary weather as an incentive to write. When I posted to the Universe on Facebook, I worded my demands carefully to attract offers in the Pacific Northwest. But, the best offer I received was for a room with friends (ice climbers and hikers) right at the edge of the woods of the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. That is why I went to see Michele. I hoped she would shed some light on the conflict between my heart and my brain. Instead, she threw a whole bottle of lighter fluid on the fire.

“If you feel no fear, the adventure is not epic enough.” (I’m paraphrasing)

This is just a crazy plan, and I would know. I’m the girl who quit a PhD to go become a yoga teacher in India by charging it on a credit card. I know when I’m about to do something insane by the standards of mainstream society. My heart is tugging, but the giggles and fear have hit at the same time. I not only fear for my financial safety, but for my life as I know it. If we assume Michele is right, this could be the death of the Roaming Bobcat. Grow roots, make a home … sounds a lot like gathering moss to me.

On the other hand, this is my chance … I always say that I wish my life was more epic. I envision this as climbing the hardest routes on the tallest mountains or kayaking solo across treacherous oceans, but it seems the Universe has a different kind of adventure in mind for me. “How blindly will you follow your heart?” it wants to know.

I don’t know myself. This is the post where I pose the quandary. Now we find out …

path1

If the world was more like the playa.

If the world was more like the Playa

A list of 10 suggestions for world improvement

by the Roaming Bobcat a.k.a. Maya of the Playa
(I have many names)

  • 1. Welcome home

If the world was more like the playa, airports would be welcome centers rather than threat screening gantlets. In this world, there is no need for passports. Language-proficient agents in welcome booths greet visitors in whichever manner is the custom of the country. A guide of the history and customs of the country, along with basic guidelines and a map is provided. For American citizens entering the US, for example, the custom would be a sincere “welcome home. I hope you had a nice trip. We’re glad you’re back” and a big bear hug.

  • 2. Artful urbanization

If the world was more like the playa, art would be fully integrated into urban settings. In this world, there is no advertisement, billboards, or no suggestion that anybody should consume more or act differently. Instead, art is on display as a gift to the community. Larger art pieces are accessible and interactive. Artist are respected as craftspeople and appreciated for their contribution. Urban dwellings are diverse and highly personalized but generally aesthetically pleasing and non-intrusive. Cityscapes, from a distance, seem like colorful beautiful chaos.

2013-09-10-ScreenShot20130910at3.54.36PM

  • 3. Radical inclusion

If the world was more like the playa, individuality and self-expression would be prized above all else. In this world, anything goes, and it goes well. Anyone can live naked or fully dressed, and any state in between as appeal to them, with no concern of offending others and no risk of negative judgment. Crowds are colorful cacophonies of tall boots, revealing underwear, tutus, bunny ears, leather, hats, and plain old jeans and tee-shirts. Straights and gays and polygamists and people quite content with being single have equal rights and respect. Non-conformity is encouraged, but conformity is just as well. For those who prefer expressing themselves through group association, themed parades and gatherings are available. No one is ever judged for participating, or not participating.

  • 4. Places of worship

If the world was more like the playa, temples and other places of worship would be designed for introspection and inner-exploration. In such places, all emotions are celebrated. Grief and joy are equally expressed freely and openly. Anyone can design his or her own rite of passage and ceremonies and perform them in public view and with public support. In this world, temples are haven of silence with dirt floors for earth grounding and skylights for easier cosmic connections. Hugs are available on demand; alone space is provided otherwise. Occasionally, a person with an exceptional voice gives the gift of a song in soft tones. The message is always uplifting, personal and intentional.

  • 5. Community support

If the world was more like the playa, no one would ever feel lonely, unless they actively chose to feel so for the value of the experience. In this world, love is a free-flowing commodity. Promiscuity is valued as long as boundaries are respected. Boundaries are never judged negatively. Innocuous gestures of appreciation, such as random hugs, acts of kindness and compliments, are common place. No one is ever considered a stranger, and the community supports each individual’s growth with care and compassion. The individual, in exchange, takes responsibility for their own growth and only depends on the community as is appropriate. Kissing and hugs booths are provided for entertainment only, affection is a normal mode of operation.

  • 6. Footprint awareness

If the world was more like the playa, bicycles and vehicles of mass transportation would prevail. In this world, each person is highly conscious of his or her own carbon footprint. Leave-no-trace is so ingrained that it is second nature. Streets are clean. Trash is minimal. Resources are conserved and recycled. Vehicles, motorized or not, are well decorated and an integral part of the urban art scene. Art cars, as vehicles of mass transportation are called, are free to ride, but their destination is usually unpredictable and time-tables are non-existent. This works well because no one has an agenda or destination beyond the experience of riding on the art car, meeting new people and exploring new grounds.

truth-andbeauty-with-marcos-art-car-2013

  • 7. Free and voluntary education

If the world was more like the playa, education would be free, voluntary and widely available. In this world, children are encouraged to discover and pursue their natural talents. Learning is achieved through world exploration and self-discovery, rather than codified lessons. Everybody is a teacher according to their area of expertise. Learning is a lifestyle, not a side activity, and can happen anywhere simply by asking. There are also learning centers, with bright airy dome-shaped rooms. There, students sit in a circle with the master for the lesson. All classrooms have an open-door policy, so students can join or leave as they see fit. There is no stigma on any topic. One dome might specialize in practical craftsmanship such as welding, wood working, etc, another might offer workshops in tantric sex, understanding the sacred masculine and feminine energies or offer practice in applied manifestation techniques.

  • 8. Gift-based economy

If the world was more like the playa, the economy would be based on gifts and self-sufficiency. In this world, there is no currency, no Federal Reserve, no taxes or fees of any kind. Because each person is engaged in activities he or she enjoys, nobody feels they have to work, and nobody is ever forced to share. People of this world, however, love to share their crafts and talents with the community. Everybody is completely self-reliant. Either as individuals or within smaller communities – called village -, food, water, shelter is the responsibility of each. In this world, I think that would even be true of coffee – so that is one up on the playa, where you can, actually, buy coffee and ice. Unappealing tasks are few through the application of leave-no-trace by everyone. Communal toilets are the responsibility of all, and cleaning them is a highly respected and praised service to the community (another one this world has on the playa).

  • 9. Natural integration

If the world was more like the playa, people would live in harmony with the natural world. In this world, the weather and terrain are integral part of each person’life. The planet’s natural rhythms are part of each person’s basic education. With this knowledge, the community aligns itself to the changing environment and flows within the natural cycles. Sand storms, might, for example, be appreciated for their exfoliating properties, for the opportunity to wear eccentric protection goggles and for the surreal dimension they add to large art pieces. Heat waves, might, for example, be taken as opportunities to slow down, find a hammock and practice the essential life-skill of “being” rather than “doing”.

  • 10. Purposeful ephemeral

If the world was more like the playa, structures and effigies would be burnt to prevent nascent idolatries. In this world, people value experiences above all material possessions. The ephemeral is celebrated, and each one is encouraged to modify his or her dwelling, outfits and other means of self-expression to reflect continuous growth. These burns are the great celebrations that punctuate life and give a semblance of organization to the natural chaos. Some burns are designed for the release of pent-up energies. These are wild occasions where everyone can push their self-expression to whichever degrees they chose, whether it be public copulation, naked dancing, or guttural howling – anyway by which to release strong emotions before they can fester and become malevolence. Other burns are designed to release what no longer serves, whether grief, fear, old loved ones, lost loved ones, detrimental self-images, etc. These are solemn, respectful events, during which the community finds its Oneness. And yet, other burns are just for the pleasure of burning stuff and stare into the flames for a while.

temple-2013-curious-josh

———–
You may say I’m a dreamer … but there are at least 70,000 others out there
I hope someday you’ll join us.

XOX.

believe

womanpic