Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Asking the wrong questions

"What screws us up in life is the picture in our head of how it is suppose to be."

I've been sitting here evaluating job offers, potential positions, & locations for work. Most of my figuring has been surrounding money. Calculating and recalculating the possibilities, as if figures on paper will suddenly create an answer and make sense of my circumstances. (I've had a lifelong infatuation with math & algebra, so this explains some of it.)

I realized I'm asking the wrong questions. I'm evaluating everything based on money, but where is that in relation to my life values? I need enough to live. Enough to pay the bills. Enough to stay out of my savings. But what after that? Is more really better?

What if I worked enough to travel here (at home, in the USA) through education, friendships, love & family? Most American jobs offer two weeks leave, including sick time, a pittance of an offer in relation to what I give up in return: 40+ hours in a windowless office, repeating the same lines over and over. I'm not saying that everyone has to love their job, but the ratio of time working to time living is out of sync.

I've done well in the last four years choosing lifestyle over stability- I just need to stay on that path and keep marching forward. I'm going to keep striving for the stars and trusting in the universe, moving toward openings, and living life.

"This was better than I imagined I could do." 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Five Year Plans

Potential employer's favorite question:
"Where do you see yourself in five years?" 

My answer: 
"Well, think back five years ago- where did you think you'd be? How much of your plans for your future were correct?" (I don't actually say this out loud but maybe one day when I'm bold, I will.)

Five years ago I was 30-31. Working at Kaiser. Owning a $350k house, a car, contributing to a 401k, paying off student loans. Dating casually. Living in Portland. Five year plan probably included more of the same. 

So now, I'm in Iowa (or really, North Carolina). Between jobs. Having worked overseas for 4 years. Visited about 20-30 countries in the interim period. Paid off all student loans. No debts. No kids. No husband. But a nice boyfriend. 

Never would have guessed any of that. 

So in five years, where will I be? I have no idea. 

I hope I am happy. That is all.

Dream world: A nice little cottage with a garden. A kitchen. A place to ride my bike. Someone to wake up with when the sunlight streams in the window and fall asleep next to when the light from the moon drips over our bodies. Fresh vegetables. Time for art & music. Freedom of movement. What else is there?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Making a Journey

As I directed my car halfway across the USA through six states, just over 1200 miles, I wondered if I was a little bit crazy to be driving home. Normal people take the plane. But last minute planning would mean a $1000 ticket, plus the woes of air travel- not fun these days.  

Connecting with old friends on the phone, contemplating life, feeling my place in the world, comparing Virginia Beach to the rest of the country, making a journey in miles and in my head was exactly what I needed to do. I think sometimes we're in such hurries to get to the next place (whether it's a destination or a stage in life) that we forget about the pleasure and the necessity of the journey.

Virginia & West Virginia: trees and hills (they call them mountains, but I call them hills).
Ohio & Indiana: I hate to say this but I could have closed my eyes and not missed anything. 
Illinois & Iowa: Farmland, and greenery, tidiness. Heart pitter-pattering as I neared home.

Charleston, WV Art Museum
 Charleston, WV
 Although I'm not a fast food person, I've reconnected with Mc Donald's since returning to the USA this time. If I was a kid, I would have peed my pants in excitement seeing this. Now I just think it's full of fecal matter/bacteria and I wouldn't even want to go in the room!! Only in America do you see things like this in a restaurant. 
 The Mini & The Arches. 
I see Mc Donald's and I think, "clean bathroom" and "$1.00 side salad". 
The Mc Donald's seem to have improved since I last frequented them, which was about 20 years ago when I was in high school. 
 Every time I see Aldi, it makes me happy, thinking of Germany.
 Arrival in one of the best states in the country... It feels like home.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Visiting my Mom. Yet another road trip.

Hunkered down outside of Charleston, West Virginia. Sudden road trip to Iowa, following three job interviews and one tooth repair in Virginia Beach. At the feeble rate Americans offer vacation & sick leave, I figure I must maximize my time off now, or I will never see my family again. Most companies are still trying to give only two weeks leave including sick days. Insane, and it just makes me angry. What the heck are we doing here on this earth? Only to work? I don't think so!

So the intent was to camp in the Shenandoahs but the weather gods frowned on that idea (and I learned possibly I should check the forecast.) So I continued onward. Heading home, to Iowa. Well, that's where my car is registered, at least. Strangely it feels like home. Looking forward to bike rides through the farmland and family again.

Foreboding beauty.
 Example of non-ideal camping weather
The Shenandoahs: they peak at like 2700 ft or so, which compared to the 10,000+ of Mount Hood in Oregon, these are just hills with trees. (Kinda like the Poconos.) 
 Still pretty. Prolific fog, rolled in like sheets of rain.
 The Magical Mini takes me anywhere and everywhere. She's been good to me.
 Heading west into the sunset. I love it. I love seeing the word West. But then I'm a west-coast girl at heart.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


The problem with having a parent die when you're a kid is that it makes you realise early on that most things in life are really not that important, because after all, we could all be gone tomorrow. The existential crisis jump-started at an early age for me, and my brain retreats too often into those thoughts, effectively flattening my world of color and emotion. I hate that actually, but haven't learned how to suppress or counteract those feelings. So they come and I feel empty, until they disappear again. This colors my relationships grey, and fills me with anxiety as I stir myself into an eddy believing everything is for naught yet I keep trying to extract a feeling from deep inside my soul. It's a puzzle I haven't solved.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Last night on the road

Posting delay- after nearly a month on the road, and several stints in areas with limited wifi and cell reception, I've been unable to keep up. 

We are actually in Raleigh. Waylaid on our way back to Hatteras. It was planned. We are camping at the Fairgrounds. No, not a typo, we are staying at the fair. They have RV hook ups. Very basic. But no camping otherwise in Raleigh so hey can't complain. We had some difficulty backing the RV in- I think brains tired from nearly a month on the road, but then we both know when we get back that we will be thinking about taking another trip. 

Life is funny. A few nights ago, I was dreaming of waterskiing in Minnesota with my uncle Rick at the wheel, only it was when he was a lot younger with blonde hair, and I looked over and there was my dad in the water, young with a beard and everything, watching me. I woke up in the camper with Justin at my side feeling weird and comforted at the same time. 

Now we're on our way back to the Outer Banks. The final stretch. I started out telling people I was from North Dakota and Justin from the Outer Banks but by the end just started saying we were both from there. I'm not sure what that means, but it was easier to explain. Sometimes it's easier to simplify.

I've been trying to not plan so much, to follow life's road as it leads me along. Not always the easiest task for someone who's a lifelong planner. So I have a few more job interviews lined up next week, and will see if life has something in store for me.  

Raw food in Jacksonville.


Somewhere in the boonies of GA after about 8 hours of driving in 90 degree weather with no AC. 
 Toting a trailer thru Atlanta- no small feat, but we hit no traffic, amen!

 Trackrock Campgrounds guard dog

Trackrock Campgrounds near Blairesville , GA 
 Fire Compulsion Ensues

HELEN, GA- a little Bavarian town in the GA Mountains

Asheville is like Portland in North Carolina. Really enjoyed it for vacation- might find the overabundance of hipsters annoying as far as a place to live.. but then that is me and I am sensitive to that after 10 years in Portland.  

Firestorm Books, a worker owned cooperative bookstore and coffeehouse

 Adorable old people!

 Hearn's Bicycles. Almost all second hand. My personal heaven.

Pouring rain 
A project in the works 

 The Laughing Seed in Asheville