Cosmic Latte

Yesterday I learned the average color of the universe is cosmic latte. It made me smile. I thought to myself, I want to drink that. To sip brown sugar stars and steamed milk of fluffy cloud swirls. Lick crystallized specks of sweet sun rays. A dash of tree and a blossom of flower. From the tip of my tongue to down deep in my belly, I absorb and nourish all that I need, and let go of what I don’t. And I feel the universe within me, and know also that I am the universe. Because you are what you eat, or in this case sip.

I was Raised on the River

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I say I'm an island lady, because it's in my blood.  But really, my mama is the one.  She was born and raised on the islands of Fiji, the Pacific ocean molded her.  I grew up in a tiny rural town called Salem, NY, and the river molded me.

The Battenkill River.  I had always thought it was an ominous name, however the Battenkill was more of a teacher to me than anything else.  When I was young, on hot summer days, my parents would take me out on the canoe.  For long trips we'd begin at the Vermont boarder and end at the Georgi; a beautiful property running alongside the Battenkill which was donated to the public after Mrs. Georgi passed.  The house was transformed into a museum and as a child, I remember walking through and hearing the story of Mr. and Mrs. Georgi.  How Mr. Georgi traveled all over the world.  Every time he returned home to Mrs. Georgi, he presented her with a crystal or rock from his travels.  Along with numerous paintings, their mineral and gem collection is on display, which I remember most.

In June, when everything is as green as can be, there's a long row of white blossoming trees.  I used to daydream that I'd get married there one day.  But still, the islands are in my blood, it's a fare toss up.  I spent so many summer days in the green grasses and little sandy nooks of the Georgi.

I learned the meaning of my name on the Battenkill.  Quietly, contemplating down the river with my parents.

"How did you find my name?"

"Your Dad found it in a fairy book.  Fay, Fairy, it's what your name means."

I learned my Dad named me.

I learned some currents aren't to be tested, but if you're caught in a rough one, ride the current.  I learned to be calculated in my risk taking.  And of course, I learned leeches suck…literally.

Swimming in the Battenkill was ritual.  Wherever there was a bridge, there were people.  Parents and children finding their sandy spots,  and teenagers, the brave and reckless, jumping off their bridge into the flowing, frigged depths.  Of course, a hap-hazardous spray painting proclaiming 'I love So-and-So,' was a quintessential part of the scenic river experience.

One summer swimming day stands out.  I may have been 5 or 6.  My first best Friend, Rachael and her Dad took us swimming.  It was only the 3 of us for a while.  Hot sun, cold water.  Simplicity.  Always.  A girl emerged onto the rocks at the edge of the river, hair blonde with blue and green colors in it.  She wore a long flowing skirt.  Everything about her was colorful.  She sat down on the rock with a book.  I had never seen her before.

"Who's she?"

"A gypsy."  My friend's dad (Of course I can't remember his name) replied matter-of-factually

"What's a gypsy?"

"Someone who doesn't have a home and travels from place to place."

For a long time I wondered about her.

During my childhood years, I was a water worshiper, never getting out if I didn't have to.  Only now do I realize how much that river shaped me.  My affinity for rocks, my nature to ride the tough currents, because somehow, I believe I'm protected.  And now, it seems I am that gypsy with colors in her hair, sitting on my rock.  Hot sun, cold water.  Simplicity.  Always.

 

California Love


Spending the summer in California. I think it’s safe to say this state is my home.  Every time I come back from a long trip away, I’m reminded how beautiful this place is.  Although this isn’t the best ‘mountain view’ photo, it does have something to say about the bonds I’ve made in California.  There’s something special about a place that draws people from all over the country and world.    It’s California love.

Reflections: San Juan del Sur

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It is my last day in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.  These past few days have been beautiful and rich.  Days spent climbing the highest perch to swim and see the town below.  Afternoons in the garden of my favorite café, sipping, writing, day dreaming.  Feeding my eyes with many sunsets, and my soul with many embraces, knowing that soon it will be time to let go.  And I am ok.

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It’s always bittersweet leaving a place that has given so much.  Moments of laughter and dancing, walking barefoot in the streets.  When the electricity cuts out, we find the myseteries there, friends gathering, lighting the darkness with music and conversation.

Yoga mornings after an evening of festivities.  Other mornings when breakfast is missed all together, there’s always tomorrow, but today is the last day, so tomorrow will be else where…

Through this place, and these people passing through, I’m reminded I have fire and passion in my spirit.  I believe I must be a cat sometimes, days filled with routine naps, my playfulness begins at 1:00pm.

I’ll remember our room at Casa Oro. How we made it home with rocks and sea treasures. The stacks of cordoba change on the top shelf, a constant goal to get rid of; which in the end, we did. Music always playing.  A white room with white sheets and two colorful people, never to return again to habatacion numero 8.

San Juan will continue changing, and if I ever do return, it will not be the same. With different people and different music, but that too is part of the experience of growing older, because nearly everything changes; save for the rising and setting suns on San Juan del Sur.  All I have to give is my gratitude and these words, the rest is swept up in the sands.

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Reflections: Delicious Ambiguity

Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone…or perhaps not depending who you’re talking to!  Valentine’s is one of those weird holidays that either makes you feel what you’re missing or reminds you of what you have.  And somehow with this strange life I lead, I fall somewhere inbetween.  I wanted to find a quote that spoke to my own uncertainty about travel and love and I think this quote by Glida Radner says it perfectly.

I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  Delicious Ambiguity.

-Glida Radner

Dating and Traveling


As we all know, dating nowadays is exhausting.  Technology has opened the doors to ever greater options of courtship while dually diminishing our standards of thoughtfulness and respect through the process.  So yeah, dating is tough, but what’s even more difficult is trying to date as a traveler.  Motives are misconstrued, insecurities are amplified, and a general understanding of how to date a traveler is like asking a drunk person to walk a straight line, they know how to, they’re just suddenly incapable under the circumstances.

First off, I’m surprised there isn’t already a hip portmanteau or blend word for a travel dater (Any suggestions?).  For the past 3 years I’ve had a serious case of wanderlust.  Coupled with my natural inclination to be in a relationship, these two ideas that make me happy struggle to  coexist for an extended period of time.  For one reason or another I get to the next place alone, every time.  My time spent in one place seems to dictate how long the relationship will last, never the other way around, and I have yet to travel with a significant other.  The easiest thing to do on both sides is to be grateful for the short lived romance and get when the gettin’s good.  Why haven’t I been able to maintain something long lasting?  Why doesn’t it ever work out?  Ever? 

When I type in ‘travel dater’ on Google the first result that pops up is an article entitled, ‘Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels’ by Adi Zaradias.  Ok, I’m going to go cry now.  Among a handful of cliché, over romanticized travel fluff jargon, in bold letters the author writes, ‘She will never need you.’ Yes, obviously women who travel are pretty capable, badass bitches, however, what is also implied is that if you’re not in the travel game, you won’t get it and you’re not good enough.  Ouch.    Additionally, I feel she’s trying to say travelers don’t have a soul when it comes to relationships.  What the hell?! 

I’ve met many different kinds of travelers with all sorts of ideas about love and relationships.  To be honest, the spectrum isn’t much different than if you put a bunch of random people with roughly the same age in one room.  Everyone would still have their own unique outlook on how they want or don’t want to experience a relationship.  The only problem is that when you put the idea of frequent travel into the mix, it gets complicated. Duh.  

I’ve had to tackle tough conversations with partners explaining why I can’t stay.  My goals and intentions for possible travel plans are always explained in the beginning.  The thought of having a particular corner of the world that I need to visit hanging over my head is not an option I’m willing to compromise.  Resentment in the conquest of love is not a risk I’m willing to take.  So you might be wondering if I don’t stay, why wouldn’t your partner go, right?

There are two main reasons I have not traveled with a partner.  The first is simple: time.  I have never stayed in one place long enough to allow a relationship to get serious enough for that option or to even consider how to go about it. The other reason, which gives me the most grief, is that (in my personal experience) men don’t take dating a traveler seriously.  It’s a bit of a catch 22 at times.  Because I am leaving eventually, they don’t care to put in the effort, and because they did not show me their best selves, I don’t care to ask them to join me in my life changing adventures.  It’s like an inevitable relationship trap I willingly go into.  Every.  Time.  

My understanding is that people view a traveler as someone who doesn’t really care about who they’re with in the first place, the real catch is the next stop, the new experience, the plans after them.  Then there’s self preservation.  Why get caught up and treat it seriously when the other person will leave?  When you try to date someone who embodies both these notions, it can be dangerous.  Yes, I’ve been cheated on.  The only thing I can say is, I do care, and I’m as every bit of human as the next person.  I put love, respect, and value into all my relationships and I deserve to receive that back as does everyone in a relationship, no matter the circumstances. 

Perhaps this is a bit of a commentary on the types of people I choose to date.  I can hear that one friend on my shoulder telling me, ‘stop dating losers!’ Truly though, I hope I have shed some light and widened the perspective on dating someone who travels.  It could be, if you’ve ever dated a traveler, that you end up being a whirlwind of a story in their own epic adventure or even become the other half of the journey entirely.  But isn’t that the possibility we hold to all relationships we enter? 

Reflections on Constant Movement

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I’ve decided to move to Portland in 2 weeks.  Well, I actually decided this 9 months ago, after travel plans preceding it.  I’ve never been to Portland, and the farthest North of the PNW I’ve been is Ashland, OR.  What comples a person to move to places unknown?

Everyone has their reasons.  A job opportunity, a friend, mother, or lover.  Hope- an idea of something better, something more.  For me, it’s uncovering the mystery of the unknown.  It’s reinventing myself.  It’s inspiration.

As a teenager, I remember watching Almost Famous and falling in love with that movie (all my friends did as well).  Kate Hudson’s character, Penny Lane was so cool, how could you not fall in love with her too?  There’s a scene where she muses on her idea to move to Morrocco, “I think we should have completely different names and be completely different people.”

Don’t mistake me, I’m too honest to fool anyone and I like who I am, but what’s life without a little mystery, a little fear?  Perhaps that also has something to do with why Halloween is my favorite holiday…

The first time I returned back to California after about 6-7 months, everything looked smaller than I remembered it to be. When I looked up at the stars from places I had been, the horizon and the twinkling canopy above felt like it had shrunk; I felt almost disappointed. I realized that it was myself that grew, and I needed to see other horizons. The solution: keep moving.

It’s not so much running away, but running towards something- A better understanding of self; a wider perspective of the world.  When I took my first solo trip, a friend told me, “You’re going to get lost to meet yourself.”

There’s a difference between moving and traveling, traveler and vagabond, wanderer and tourist; I’ve done and been them all to varying degrees.  They’re all bound by a common thread: to discover.  It’s pealing the layers away from what you think you know, and if you go far enough, if you’re lucky even, you get to the core of yourself.  You face your dreams and fears, sometimes in the same breath.

Perhaps it’s the fear of mediocrity, or the fear of commitment, and don’t even get me started on fomo.  Some people want a family, a home built in the ground, and a perennial garden they can count on every year.  I guess I just want to live many lives in the one that I have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I look;  morning to night I am never done with looking.  Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around as though with your arms open

-Mary Oliver,

Excerpt from Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does it End?