graduation day

Before I left on this trip, I had it in my head that today would be the day I’d head back east no matter if I had found a new home on the west coast or not. I have two sets of incredible friends getting married in VA, one this Saturday the 18th, the others on October 2nd. Funny enough, both sets got engaged here in Napa. I thought even if I had decided to be a west coast girl for a while, I’d at least be going back to participate in their big days, get the few small boxes of things I own, collect my mail and say bye to the east while waving as I drove back here west to crank out some work, make a new story for the next phase of life and pay off some debt.

Contrary to what I’m sure a lot of you would assume, in the past I have been an over planning, worrying, busy my mind and time just to busy it, wound up for no reason girl. I’m supposed to be the chill, traveling totally let things roll off my back girl though, right? Right, but not so much. In my past regular American days I have been worlds away from that. The chill, let things roll off my back and happy in a silent moment girl has only happened before when I’ve been on the road. It happens when I’m traveling, writing, taking photos, talking to strangers and hearing about their lives, when I’m running, and when I’m feasting with friends and family.

I have forced myself to trust the process of this trip and this summer, not worry, roll with opportunity with NO plan. I just wanted to think about what was best for me. We all know we can’t be much of anything to someone else until we’re something to ourselves. (I’ve tried! It doesn’t work!) I wholeheartedly felt before leaving NC/VA that this trip to my 50th state, the 16/16 anniversary of Maria and Brandy’s death and time isolating myself from my regular phone, email, worrying and scheduled daily practices would give me a perspective that I have fought so hard to find for years, but never knew how to get out of my own way to see before. Boy has it ever. I didn’t think my last weekend of this trip would wrap up to be the magnitude of grand finale “place” and perspective it has, but I’m sure happy it did!

Now it’s looking more like I will miss both weddings 🙁

This is upsetting to me as I will miss a monumental day for my friends, but I know they will understand. I also know every last detail of my minutes in the past near 9 weeks have happened exactly like they were supposed to (even the bad and tough ones.) If that means I miss an event, someone’s birthday, live on a coast or in a place I never thought I would, or end up with a job, person, thing happening that I wouldn’t have thought of in a million years, I don’t question it. I know the only reason why I can sit here in silence, on the top of a mountain, alone in California today and say I feel happy and content, is because I’m PROUD of myself. I am proud not because I am a hero, or am saving the world, but because I am finally listening to my intuition, taking care of myself, and not settling for something I don’t want to do. I’m doing what I want and poof- suddenly things, people, moments are falling in my lap. Well, not really, I wish it were that easy. Things are “falling” in my lap because I’m taking care of me, following my heart, and doing what I love. I’m pairing those things with busting my butt, being the best human I possibly can, and adding in every ounce of 32 years of my personal and professional experience to make a magical recipe.

The happiest and most successful people I’ve continued to meet, are healthier, have loving and full relationships more, and make millions because they are conscious and confident enough to do what they love, being generous and kind to their neighbors and busting their asses. It’s such a simple formula. Why haven’t more of us practiced this simple formula before?This is the like the holy grail of recipes and summer 2010 has handed me the index card with all the ingredients to make the perfect batch. (Ok, that sounded cheesy, but you get what I mean.)

I owe credit cards a bunch of money, a bank for a car loan and a few friends and family some from personal loans I took in 2009 when my life fell into a pile of poo. I had lost all confidence and understanding on how to get out of the poo for a while. I HATE debt. I LOATHE debt. Especially bad debt (like credit cards.) What I absolutely DESPISE the most though is having personal debt to friends and family. The bank is one thing, but friends and family are another. Knowing that I had some personal family and friend debt before even embarking on this trip, not to mention I didn’t even HAVE the money to go on this trip has been on my mind every single day I’ve been gone. I know based on a few comments from readers whom I don’t know, there might be an opinion that I’m the worlds biggest shmuck for taking a “vacation” all summer and feasting on food, sights, wine, events, and places. Have I feasted in every way? Yes. Have I enjoyed every ounce in every state and place with every person I’ve been with or where I’ve been alone? Yes. Have I felt guilt everyday because of the few personal loans I have outstanding? Yes. Have I ever questioned myself, my integrity, the reasons for this trip, or where I was going or why I needed it? NO. I was at a place in my life in May this year that was a culmination of years of nothing ever being good enough for me. I had been abusing myself by not ever cutting myself a break. I was hating for myself deeply and severely for not living the life I wanted and doing what I knew I wanted to do. I had never allowed myself the time, respect, or patience to figure out how to live what I wanted. I had no idea who I really was.

The ONLY and I mean ONLY reason I have learned to love and respect myself, feel confident in my abilities, and trust myself is because I have taken the TIME for myself this summer. Isn’t nuts to think that something like a road trip and 2 months away from any and all regularly scheduled programs could change a life forever?

Well, it has for me.

How do I pay back everyone and pay “it” forward? I find a way to help others allow themselves to take time. Time away from their own regularly scheduled programs when they come to a time like I did back in May. A lot of people out there are not as fortunate as I am with an enormous number of family and friends who love and support them. There is no way I’d be here typing this, alive and well right here right now if I hadn’t had that love and support from so many for the past couple years to get to the place I’m at now. That is the truth more than I could emphasize it and that scares the shit out of me. It also tells me very clearly what I am meant to do and what I’ll be great at. If I wasn’t conscious of this, all that love and support you all have given me and all those parts of my ass I have busted, would be all for nothing.

So to DP and Laura and Brian and Nicole; there’s a good chance I will be missing your weddings. I’m sorry for that. To my few friends and family whom I owe some cash; I am sorry for the delay in payment, but I know you understand and thank you for your patience. All who have been so generous and giving to me this summer and always, I will pay you back too and it will be ten-fold. That is a promise. I want to and will make up for every dollar, meal, conversation, joke, letter, call, hug, kiss, and laugh you all have ever spent or shared with me. Perhaps some of those things won’t come directly back to you, but they will indeed be pollinated anywhere I go for the rest of my life and that is for sure. I often think of this all/any monies spent as my college loans. I never went to college. Alaska or Bust has been my 4 year university this summer in 2 months. I’ve concentrated solely on educating myself, practicing independence, experiencing new things and passing tests. I’ve been positioning myself for the best life possible, that’s why kids go to college anyway isn’t it?

I feel like I just graduated. YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now it’s time to pay off some school loans. Who wants to give a fresh college grad a job? I might just be your best, toughest, full of promise and hope new hire yet. I’m that rookie with the endless smile on her face who’s hungry to crush it. I’m thinking this is all you might need to see for a resume.


the mac daddy of sunday fun days

It’s almost midnight and I’m still smiling.

Sunday feast in Napa

Sunday feast in Napa

Sunday feast in Napa

Sunny day, incredible eats, fun and interesting company and that general overall feeling of somebody pinch me- I could live here? This day was a slice of my ultimate heaven. In my ongoing east (NYC) or west (SanFran/Napa) coast battle, the scales tipped blindsiding me to today in the most unexpected and delicious way. And juuust when I was about to gas up the car and declare Big Apple or bust…


looks like I’m not leaving the west coast…

…until at least Wednesday.

A friend who I’ve just seen for the first time in ten years just sent me an email with a link to this event in San Francisco on Tuesday. His email to me simply reads; “This was made for you.”

After years and years of repetitive conversation I’ve had with hundreds of people while traveling, and 9,000 miles to think on my current trip about what I really want to do, I’ve been thinking, note taking, talking and researching about starting a company like Meet, Plan, Go! for weeks now. Unexpected that this conference comes up, right when I am about to leave the west coast and during the last few days of the battle of where to move next, what to do, where to work, etc.

I’m going to this event to scope out what Meet, Plan, Go! is really like, see what kind of peeps show up to these things and I’m sure I’ll end up traipsing right up to someone at some point during the evening and telling them they need to hire me. I love doing that stuff. I’ll report back. Stay tuned. Things could get interesting…


to napa to napa to buy a fat pig

…home again, home again jiggety jig.

I’m not actually planning on buying any pigs, but to wine country I go for sure. Maybe some work and a home for a spell, maybe just a visit with a friend for the weekend. Resume’s, have been flying out, networking has been happening for weeks, connections, research, hand shakes and high-fives all around. Blogging and traveling is oh so lovely, but I never get a paycheck on a Friday so we have to work on that.

Regardless of what the next step/place/thing is for me, I’ll never have a lack of things to talk about here. I have too many photos of yummy food, cool people, neat places, funny road signs, and other ridiculousness to not share them here. For instance the peach galette that Jess, friend of my friend Emma in Seattle who housed me made:

Jess' peach galette in Seattle


Or this funny sign at a grocery store in Sitka Alaska:

Sitka AK grocery store sign

I put it out here and in the universe that I was going to Alaska so I’d kick my own ass to do it. I’m not a big believer in sitting on some kind of “bucket list” for years. I think if you want to do something, you should just do it. However, i do think it’s healthy to write down what you want in black and white to help force yourself to own it. Even if it’s as simple as I want to eat a popsicle today. ( I had a DE-LISH fresh, organic, blackberry, roadside farm one the other day in the California Redwoods.):

Organic blackberry popsicle in the Redwoods

So off to Napa to Napa to buy a fat- or er, well, maybe pick, sort and crush some grapes, hose out some barrels, work in a tasting room, become a monk-whatever. Maybe I’ll somehow find a way to get back east to a couple weddings I’m supposed to be at in the next couple weeks and then to the Big Apple to make a home. (Or at least sleep in a garbage can.) All I know is a couple biggies next on my active bucket list are to learn fluent Spanish and become a killer Salsa dancer. (Ok, so another marathon is on the list too, but I’m not sure about my half-broken knees…) Learning languages, booty shakin’ and running so I can eat more chocolate? I’m on it. I trust the rest will work itself out just as it’s supposed to. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m down to my last $50 and I’m going to wine country? I guess we will see…