This is How I Road Trip Prep

Dreaming of your next adventure and knowing you’re so close to the open road is certainly exhilarating.  Putting things in order and preparing for it, less so.  Whenever I go on a trip, it usually means I won’t be coming back to the place I’m leaving.  So that means taking care of business from the material to the metaphysical, and trying to make the experience leading up to my travels just as interesting and meaningful.  This is how I road-trip prep:

  1.  Utilitarian and Appealing

When planning an extended trip, the less you have, the less you have to take care of-obvs.  But why not make the necessary items you bring personalized?  I admit, I am a creature of beauty.  If I’m going to buy something, I make sure it’s something that I’ll use often and that it says a little something about me.  I’m all about deals, but buying something cheap that a) isn’t aesthetically pleasing and b) won’t last that long is just a waist of money.

This is where thrift shopping can be really fun.  You’ll find one of a kind items and if you’re into the eclectic look, you’ll be looking like a well traveled gypsy in no time.

A couple of my must haves…

Silver plate scored at the Good Will in SF. I only need one plate to eat off of while traveling. This will do.
Silver plate scored at the Good Will in SF. I only need one plate to eat off of while traveling. This will do.
I love the detail
I love the detail
Wicker picnic basket found and Sanford & Kid Antique Co-op in North Adams, MA
Wicker picnic basket found at Sanford & Kid Antique Co-op in North Adams, MA

2. Little Gifts

When you’re traveling, there is bound to be a time when a stranger or a new friend does something nice for you.  Sometimes it’s a helping hand that changes your disastrous day into a triumphant one.  Sometimes all you have to give back is a sincere thank you.  But wouldn’t it be nice if you had a little offering of thanks?  I’m carrying a little pouch of crystals for such an occasion.  Each one of them was under $2.00.  They’re beautiful, little tokens of gratitude and when you gift them with that intention, it really means something to the person receiving it.

~The time is right to make new friends~
~The time is right to make new friends~

3. Unfinished Business

I don’t like to leave places when there are lingering feelings or unsettled issues between people or places.  I’ve done that before, and just because you leave a place, doesn’t make unpleasant memories go away.  Tell that person you love them, make amends, get to the core of an issue and figure it out.  Whatever it is, you’ll be glad to look back on something and know you tried your best to leave on a good note with everything and everyone.  If you leave with unresolved matters, it may resurface and trouble you on your travels.  We can’t have that.  When you look at what you’ve left behind, you want to be satisfied and content with what you can control.

These are a few suggestions that really make the days leading up to a trip feel like you’re doing it right.

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“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” ― Jack Kerouac

How I’ll Be Reminded of You, Dear Uncle:

I’m not entirely sure when I started following signs or meaning in things, but one summer’s day 3 years ago stands out the most.  I was walking with a friend down Tanglewood beach- a place reserved for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but no secret to locals.  She stopped to pick up a Spotted Woodpecker feather.
“These are really rare to find.  I think it was you in my dream I had recently, and you had one.”  She then gave it to me and said they were a good omen.

I never paid too much attention to birds until this past spring.  A series of three events involving birds could not escape my attention.

My last weekend working and living in Connecticut this past May, I went for a walk at dusk with a friend, and I spotted a Barred Owl.  It was maybe 15 ft away, the closest I’ve ever seen one, and quite possibly the only time I had seen one in the wild.  It was a special moment and I won’t forget the powerful impression of that bird.

The next day, we took a drive.  Out of nowhere, something flew past my friend’s head as he dodged to miss it and hit what we thought was the side of my car.  Then, like a dream, feathers began to float up to the front.  We pulled over to inspect my trunk and found a beautiful little titmouse.  It had hit a car coming in the opposite direction, ricocheting into the open window of the driver’s side and hitting the back of my car.  It was an instant death.  We agreed that this was a rare occurrence.  We brought it back to my place and buried it in the back.

Finally, two days later I was telling my peers about my strange bird encounters.  Right in the middle of my story, 2 barn swallows came flying through the open door.  I was stunned.  This all had to mean something.

A week later I drove 3,000 miles in 4 days for a job out in California.  As I was given a tour of the campus I was about to work at, walking up the steps to my office, I was greeted by a sign that read, ‘Caution, Barn Swallows Nesting.’  I was delighted to find that there were Barn Swallows directly outside my office, and when I opened the door, I could watch them fly about.  Not only that, but the swallow was one of the new themed emblems for the summer season of the organization I was working with.  I felt that I was where I was supposed to be.

The baby swallows hatched, grew big, and one day flew away.  The funny thing was, no one ever saw them attempt to fly.  We gathered that they must have practiced after hours to surprise us all.  In between that time of growing up, barn swallows would fly into the building I work in often.  From never having witnessed this, to having it happen often was strange in itself.

After the fledglings left the nest, maintenance took it down.  I was saddened by this, only to be lifted back up when a few days later, the swallows were building their nest again in the same exact spot!

A few weeks ago I started to hear an Owl outside, every night.  I learned that there is a family of Owls living in my back yard.  I still hear them every night, and I feel a bit incomplete until I hear a deep ‘whoing’ before I go to bed.

I’m writing this on the day of my Uncle’s death.  I have been reminded that life is cyclical.  These birds have filled me with wonder.  Although my heart is sad  I will continue to fly to my hearts desire and I know that always made him happy.  He was bound to a wheelchair for a very long time, and I know his soul is flying free now.  He’s left us a lucky feather…

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Appetizer: Beginnings of My Journey

First things first, what’s this blog all about?  As the site name implies, it’s open-ended, a reflection of my life (queue eyes rolling).  But let me dig a little deeper…

Ever since I left my former life of a monotonous 9-5 two years ago, constantly worrying about the ‘next step’ and career planning, life opened up.  I was stuck in so many ways.  I had sacrificed my time to education, relationships, and feeling pressured to do what society thinks I should do.  What I really wanted was to be free.  I’m not saying I had no free will, or I regret the time I had put in for things I felt were important to me at the time.  What I am saying, is that at the end of the day, everyday, I was still daydreaming and feeling stuck.  I didn’t want to do that any more.

A couple months before I left my job, apartment, the love of my life-my cat, Shinobe, and my boyfriend, I had made a vision collage.   My intentions were for great change and travel.  On the bottom, it said ‘Costa Rica,’ a country I had been dreaming to visit.  After I let go of everything I was holding on to, a year-and-a-half later I was in Costa Rica, traveling all over the country for a month on my own.  I finally had a hot and sunny birthday in February, having lived most of my life in New England!  For the past 2 years now, I’ve been traveling all around the U.S. and I don’t think I’ll be stopping any time soon.

I see how this could easily turn into a vision board promo.  This all didn’t just happen.  I started to face my fears.  I had to realize that I wasn’t always going to have someone by my side to hold my hand wherever I went.  If I wanted to go out and see the world, I wasn’t going to have the stability of a home to go to.  I live places about three months at a time, sometimes week to week!  I wasn’t always going to have steady income, but temporary jobs have helped me through.  Acquiring things is just a don’t.  Relationships is just a big shouldn’t.  I worry sometimes.  Plans don’t always unfold how I want them to.  But I’ve grown tremendously, and I like the person that I am.

So here I am.  A life of constant change.  I want to share that with you in hopes to connect, empower, and maybe entertain you.

The Beginnings: Vision Collage
The Beginnings: Vision Collage
Now do you understand why he is the love of my life? One word: Shinobe
Now do you understand why he is the love of my life? One word: Shinobe
First Cross Country Road-trip
First Cross Country Road-trip
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One of the most freeing feelings I’ve experienced: Driving down Highway 1.
Pura Vida: Costa Rica
Pura Vida: Costa Rica