Grounding Myself During Perpetual Motion

After many months of plotting and daydreaming, I’ve finally stumbled into the reality that I set in motion so long ago. I am now a perpetual nomad. I now carry my world with me and wherever I am staying for the night is home.

The prospect makes me giggle when I’m alone at night, typing away at my computer. The reality of it makes me step back and wonder how I got here.

My home for a week in Eugene, O.R. Biker Nick just arrived from a long day trek through Oregon on his way towards Virginia, raising money for victims of domestic violence. Bluegrass Nick is a fixture at the hostel, keeping the faint melodies of his beautiful mandolin Molly lingering in the air and looking for the pinnacle pair of wingtips to complete his fashion statement.

And sometimes, the gravity of it sends me into cold sweats. Seriously, I have no home. My comforting stack of books isn’t resting by my bedside. My favorite kitchen knife is 2000 miles away and my furry little friend is now relaxing at the beach with her Grandmother.

How does one find comfort when the items of familiarity are gone? When every face is a new relationship, when every glance and “good morning” comes from a virtual stranger?

How do you ground yourself in a place you’ve never been before? How do you keep your sanity when you’re life has truly entered the perpetual present moment stage?

Only one factor makes this possible- KNOW THYSELF.

Seems trivial or obvious- but such a lifestyle- or unconventional travel in general- requires an intense knowledge of self. Beyond what is necessary in everyday life.

Everyday life brings about the comforts that keep us grounded- the nests we build in our homes, the faces we see at the office, the bus driver that greets us every morning and the barista who knows the particular way we take our morning latte.

When you step away from those elements of the familiar, you are left with yourself, your doubts and your strengths. And a battle will wage- fast and furious. Checking your bank account balance takes on a whole new meaning when you have to pay for the next 5 nights of lodging and your client’s invoice is past due. Staying in a hostel with strangers of a transient, and somewhat questionable disposition, takes a degree of awareness not normally tapped into on a regular basis. Finding a sense of community- any community- becomes a vital element to maintaining your sanity.

When I enter a new place for a temporary stay, I seek out the Third Place almost instantly. I stumbled upon the concept of the Third Place when one of my mentors handed me a copy of “The Great Good Place” which studied the community gathering spots throughout the world. The first place is home, the second place is work and the Third Place is where you find your community and where they gather. I grew up watching episodes of Cheers with my father and spent many years as a bartender- so the Third Place has been a part of my life for many decades.

And now The Third Place is my familiar- wherever I may find it.

After my first good nights sleep in a new location, I ask the person manning the front desk of my temporary home where the nearest coffee shop is and I hit the streets. I look for indications of community, bulletin boards, restaurants with vibrant porches, parks, pubs, local markets and grocery stores.

But my mother-ship is the Third Place. And my most comfortable Third Place is the vibrant coffee shop. The sights, the sounds, the smells- these all indicate a strong community that is grounded in the sharing of a beverage and conversation.

The Wandering Goat is one of my Third Places during my time in Eugene. This coffee shop is a staple in the Whiteaker neighborhood and remains hidden in the industrial areas of this eclectic community.

I am merely an outsider in their world, but in this environment I find my comfort zone. I can breathe. I can relax. And the stress of travel and the unknown aspects of tomorrow no longer matter in this moment. I have found my familiar- not the place, but the actual human interaction that happens within the place.

No matter where I am in the world, no matter the language, no matter the chaos and the conflict outside the walls of the Third Place- the humanity that unfolds within the walls of this safe haven reminds of my place in the world. The Third Place reminds me that everyone, everywhere is simply living their life in a manner that suits them- in a way that brings them some joy. In this space, community thrives- laughter, conversation, debate and dreams grow and move into the world.

Friends gather on the street corner in front of a Third Place in the Hawthorne neighborhood of Portland, O.R. Such places are my favorite, for their big picture windows allow me to sit and watch the community gather at their Third Place.

And for someone with no actual home, who may or may not be in the same town tomorrow- the fact that the Third Place exists wherever humanity has the ability to gather, congregate and connect- means I will always find something that grounds me. No matter where I roam, the Third Place will give me comfort, will become my familiar and will allow me to do great work within the world.

The Third Place gives me hope and reminds me of the beauty of humanity, no matter the chaos beyond.

Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have a furry friend as keeper at a hostel. Oso, partial "owner" of the Whiteaker Hostel, stakes his claim in the theater room every morning while the other owner of the hostel tends to the days tasks and keeps his ship running. The Whiteaker is actually a Third Place as well, which is what drew me to return here on a whim. After an overwhelming- yet life-altering- conference of World Domination, I knew I needed to ground myself again and I needed familiar places. I had stayed here two years ago, at the start of my first Walkabout and the launch of this blog. I knew the time had come to return.

Awakening, Connection and Domination ~ Day 3

What!! It’s over already??

Even the posts on the streets are eclectic in Portland.

The third day of World Domination was a pinnacle day for me. After wonderful conversations with new friends and a little Bollywood rhythm, something shifted for me. I believe I finally pushed the trepidation and the uncertainty aside and began to look at both this conference- and quite possibly my life’s work- from the inside out. Sounds odd, but for a person whose entire passion in life is based on observation- looking from the outside in is just my natural tendency.

It’s how I think. This outsiders perspective is how I travel through the world. There are moments of connection and touching the Source- from the inside, but they are not always a conscious decision. Once I’ve traveled deep within a story, then I am looking from the inside out- but in my daily life, I just don’t work that way. This tendency just always seemed natural to me and it has always stood as a natural barrier between me and the world.

This barrier of the outsider became my protection from a world that, at times, has been rather brutal and unforgiving. And even in those moments where this world has been beautiful and awe-inspiring, I still kept that barrier of protection erect out of the fear that this beauty was not mine to enjoy or that if I reveled too much in the essence of such joy- it might be forcibly ripped from my world- before I was ready to release it. I get it, the whole Zen suffering and releasing attachment perspective, but just because I get it doesn’t mean I always embody it.

And Sunday morning, the video that replaced the absence of speaker, Neil Pasricha, just brought all this shit to the surface. The emotions just surged- to the point where I had to go outside and hug a tree to ground myself. (A skill recently showed to me by a dear friend- thanks!) And in that moment, as I sat leaning against a tree wandering if maybe I should have seen a therapist so many years ago amidst all my turmoil, a strong voice just made this one statement, so clear and true that I thought maybe the tree was whispering in my ear.

This sadness is not yours.

Well, hell, that kinda makes sense. And, I stood up, thanked the lovely tree and then went back to dominate the world. And from that point forward, the entire day was this beautiful flowing, organic event and I was open to it all. I was finally looking at something from the inside out- recognizing my discomfort and owning its source.

Trees do have an amazing energy and wisdom, if we can take a moment and listen.

And I guess that’s all I could ever ask for in a “business conference”.  Thanks so much, Chris, for creating such an environment where self-exploration and self-realization could thrive amongst a community who might just be meeting for the first time.

And here’s the last of the documentary photo images and a few notes from the day’s journal. Enjoy and until next year- go step into the Flow and revel in the beauty of where it takes you.

Let the Day begin!

My 5 things of beauty that I noticed this weekend:

A couple sitting the park at sunset

The beagle at the coffee shop with the couple enjoying a Sunday morning coffee and the newspaper

The Third Place I found on Friday morning

Amazing trees in the park

Walking through the city at night

The Mondo Beyondo ladies brought the house to their feet! And have me thinking of a tatoo for the first time in my life.

My Mondo Beyondo Words

Duality & Flow

John Unger has a story- or a thousand!

A little fresh air and snack during the day of domination.

A happy surprise at the art museum! Some of my favorite photographers from the 20th century are hanging out here- Ansel Adams, Lewis Hine, Bresson and Edward Weston. Happy.

The man behind this gathering of dominators.

Seriously, is he fueled on caffeine, flow or the energy of World Domination?

The Portland Art Museum and the headquarters for this summit.

And why wouldn't a green top hat be a fabulous means of both expression and branding? Truly brilliant, Ms. Dagmar!

And now we unwind. The after party is in full swing!

The best thing about the one hour wait for a chicken taco- meeting some amazing folks in line. Though, we scattered like starving carnivores as soon as our food came.

Mmmm...food carts.

The lovely Farnoosh and magnificent Marla work diligently to photograph their Mondo Beyondo words in the limiting light of the party.

Catching a little fresh air with Matt and another Crystal.

One seriously hard-working crew of folks. Inspiring!

And now...we dance.

I believe this drink special livened the evening up a bit!

What better way to close out World Domination than with a congo line? Till next year, peeps!

Farewell, dear Dominators!! May our paths cross again soon. And until then- go enter your flow and build something inspiring! Ciao!

ps- you can click on the images to download them for free and use them as you wish. The landscapes and city shots are for sale, if you would like to decorate your dwellings.

Cutting the Cords of Communication and Dealing with Consumption Overload

We’ve all got a little bit of a problem.

We’re constantly connected.
Some of us are more connected than others.  Some of us value our connectivity over most everything else.  Some of us do not view this as a problem at all, but a gift.  A gift or by-product of our high levels of productivity.

A simply beautiful drive through the Rockies.

We carry our connectivity close to our hearts, in our shirt pockets, jeans pockets, attached to our ears and the constant ding of our in-boxes and rings of our smartphones make us feel wanted.  Needed.  Special.

But others loathe this constant connectivity.  Others view it as a curse of modernity.  A burden.  A chore.  Others see this constant tethering to our devices as a deterioration of our communities, of our ability to hold a conversation and the ultimate destruction of our society.

And others view this constant age of connection as a fracturing of our minds, a biological rewiring of our brains- never seen before in the history of our species.

Personally, I feel as though I’ve gone full circle in this age of connectivity.  In 1994, I almost failed a college course because I refused to retrieve my homework assignments using this new thing called “email” because you had to log in through the UNIX system (think MS DOS and dial-up) and it took too damn long and was insanely inefficient.  In my college days, if I wanted to see what my friends were up to, I walked over to their houses.  There were no cell phones and no one ever answered the land line.  I eventually evolved into a cell phone, but it took a while.

Then one sunny day 3 years ago, my five year old flip cell phone fell on the concrete and shattered.  Damn!  So I traipsed over to my carrier and took the leap into the world of the Crackberry.  At the time, I was juggling several major commercial multimedia jobs, helping teach classes at UNC and my in-boxes runneth over.

So, I went there.  And it was fabulous.

I felt on-top of things, in the loop, connected and productive.  That lasted for about a year.  Then I found myself rolling out of bed and grabbing the Crackberry to see what was happening in the world and in my inboxes- before I even brushed my teeth.

Does one really need to scroll the NYT first thing in the morning?

I found that my morning muse- the little voice that produces many of my articles, was being squashed by my need to address the flashing red light on my smartphone that told me someone wanted to communicate with me.

My smartphone was making me dumb.

So, I cut the cord.  It took a while.  I had that thing for two and a half years.  But I did it.  Done.

And though I was no longer coddling the Crackberry first thing in the morning, I was shifting my communication addiction to the social media beasts.  And yes, I was working and marketing and I value the connections I’ve made through social media to a great degree.  But I found myself flitting about obsessively on these outlets looking for information and connections that would further my work.

And I found them.  And I consumed.  Alot.  And now I’m tired.

Yes, my brain has reached its capacity for consuming information on the internet and all it really wants to do is read Harry Potter books and ponder the Tao of Abundance.  My internal hard drive is full.  And luckily I live in a town where I can now so easily cut the cord of communication and begin my recovery from my consumption overload/communication addiction.

Here’s a glimpse at the Detox.

I live in the highest town in the country now, and the internet is questionable.  I researched home internet access and the process was exhausting.  Then, we asked the plumber who was wedging himself into the crawl space under our house about the best option.  I mean, there are 3 satellite dishes attached to our rental home- which is all of 300 sq ft.

He said that the only one worth a damn has been down for about a month.  Apparently, the internet has a virus- or the tower does- or something insane like that.

So, I now hang out at the local bar at 9am because they have wifi, bottomless cups of coffee, pancakes bigger than my head and the local banter is priceless.  The morning chef now yells her greeting to us from the kitchen based on our breakfast order.  Love it!

I work until lunchtime, when the place starts to fill up and the booze begins to flow.  Some mornings the weed is fired up early too and the bar smells like Christmas.  That whole medicinal marijuana gig in Colorado is treating this town pretty well.  I had to check for an important email the other afternoon and figured I’d be OK, it’s only 3pm.  The bar was filling up and was getting rowdy by 4pm, so I had to quietly exit.

I now only check my email, Twitter/Facebook and RSS Feeds once a day (or every other day) for about 2 hours in the morning.
That’s it.  And there’s no real in-depth work being done in a bar, sorry, that’s just not gonna happen.

The anxiety of such a limited access to everything internet related was a little overwhelming at first.  I logically know that there’s nothing in my in-box that will implode my world if neglected and I know that such matters can wait until the next day- or a few days from now.  My clients who need to reach me have been informed of my schedule and they have my cell phone.

But there’s this fear of being out of the loop.  Fear of losing audience for the blog and all the hard work that has gone into her so far and there’s a fear that I’ll like this disconnection so much, I might not go back.

I spend more time walking my dog, taking in the amazing mountain views and reading.  I do my work when it needs to be done, but then there are these vast blocks of time that are free.  At first I thought I’d have to spend big money on a special wifi rig for my computer or get another smart phone.  But now, after a few weeks of this routine and surviving the digital detox, I don’t think that’s necessary.

I believe this cutting of the cord is a fabulous occurrence in my professional evolution.  The down-shifting back into life is a welcome transition.  And it feels nice.  I can move back into production mode, creativity mode and contemplation mode.

I’ll leave the communication mode on hold for now.  Communication will happen, as it should, but more on the 1994 terms of my youth, than the communication on steroids of my thirties.  And I believe the information consumption will stop for some time.  I have my choice outlets for consumption, but my frequent visits will occur no longer.

Welcome Free Time.  Hello Productivity.  Nice to see you again, Creativity.  It’s been too long, Contemplation.  Good to see you all again, I’ve missed you.

Adapting to Life at 10,500 Feet

My recent Western Relocation has landed me in the highest incorporated town in America.  With a whopping population of 600-ish people, Alma is about as high as you can get for a Rocky Mountain town.  While walking outside my door and being dwarfed by a 14K foot mountain peak that’s literally half a mile away is a wonderful way to start the day, there are a few adjustments for this location independent nomad.

Our daily walk in the shadow of a 14K footer!

And while the move went smoothly (give or take a few weather systems), my ability to adapt has been challenged in several ways since I came to this quiet little town.  Here are a few of my recent adaptations.

Connection.

Connectivity is by far the greatest challenge in this move.  You truly do not realize how dependent you are upon the internet in this line of work until you can’t find a connection.  The local coffeehouse is wonderful, and for good reason, they do not provide wifi for their customers.  Being a strong proponent of community gathering places, I totally understand.

So, while walking through town on my first day here, I noticed the local pub had a wifi sign on the window.  Perfect.  And they’re open at 6 am for breakfast- even better.  So, the following day, I bundled up- did I mention the average temperature is about 15 degrees at this elevation- grabbed my backpack and walked down to the pub at 9 am.  Amazingly, a people were actually having a beer and playing pool.

Did I mention that I’m next to South Park- or the town where the cartoon was based? I can see a novel or a sitcom growing out of this town.

I grabbed a table next to the window and parked my ass there for hours. I ordered a ‘giant pancake’ (literally twice the size of my head) and a bottomless cup of coffee and commenced to getting my wifi on.

And I’ve been back almost every morning since.  I’ve opted for just the Sysco coffee sans ginormous pancake.  And I hate to admit this, but I really like it.  When I open the door to the pub, literally and figuratively called “Alma’s Only Bar” I kinda feel like Norm walking into Cheers.

I know who will be sitting at the bar, that the bartender will be having her coffee and chatting with the locals and that the chef will be sitting at the bar table with her laptop.  I join her in the mornings, we share a table and get to work.  And she always gives me such a warm welcome when I walk in.  There’s a fire blazing in the wood stove and the coffee is hot.

What more can you ask for?

The transition of the bar crowd vs coffeeshop crowd in the morning does take a little bit of an adjustment.  Luckily, I grew up in the restaurant industry and was a bartender for ten years, so I speak the language.  There’s no NPR or folk music playing, usually the entertainment news or CMT is on the bar television.  There’s no debate of politics, in fact there’s very little talk of politics at all. Unless the Rogue politician gone Hollywood pops onto the TV and the bar will fire up with the latest talking points spinning out of the media cycle.

But, a little color in the morning is a nice change of pace.  I met Uncle Johnny the other morning, who kept the fire stoked and the conversation interesting.  A former police officer from Pittsburgh, Uncle Johnny is the go-to guy in the bar and probably in the town. I have a feeling if I need anything, Uncle Johnny would be the man to ask.

When he introduced himself, I had to smile a little.  I had an Uncle Louie in Pawleys Island who could, and I quote “make things happen. If you need me to take care of somebody, you just let me know.  I know people.” Literally, his exact words.  Love it!

So, while my connectivity is still a little spotty, I am learning to adjust and hoping my online communities will understand my lack of availability at the moment.

My favorite "office" from last winter's Walkabout. I hope to be there in a few more weeks! Image from my Blackberry.

Work Schedule


As a location independent professional, I’ve learned to work almost anywhere when necessary.
But even when not traveling, I have certain times of the day when my creativity emerges and I ride that horse for all it’s worth.  My new living arrangement (and it’s only for a few more months) is very small.  Tiny.  300 square feet tiny, with my dog and a roommate.  Yea, wrap your brain around that for a sec.  No bedrooms or quiet corners for this little night owl to dive into her writing and production.  Conundrum.

I have found the local coffeeshop- sans wifi- to be an excellent place for contemplation and writing.  I sit next to a giant picture window that looks out over Main Street and that mammoth 14K foot mountain by my house and work away.  Or try to.  I’ve met some wonderful people there and have gotten some writing done, but mid-afternoon is my least creative time and they close at six.  My most creative time is at night, and I’m hoping to find a little more rhythm there soon.

My other major work schedule adjustment relates to the first point of connectivity.  Not having evening access to the wifi- unless I want to be that girl chained to her laptop in the corner of the bar, sipping whiskey and being anti-social- has meant that I only check email once a day.  I hate to admit this, but I rather like that aspect of this new schedule.  It takes some getting used to, but I enjoy not being chained to the inbox.  So, I’m left to have conversations with my roommate in the evenings or read a book, both of which are rather enjoyable.

I do worry that my writing will begin (or is already) slipping with the lack of late night writing.  Hopefully my muse will adjust as well and as I find my rhythm here, I’ll be able to compensate for my challenging work schedules.

My winter chalet from last year. If I can adjust to this tight living space, I can live anywhere! Image from the blackberry.

Finding a New Market- or Not

My new town is only 30 minutes from Breckenridge, where people, business and social life abounds.  My plan was to drum up some local business to tap into when I’m not traveling. I researched the town prior to moving and lived here ten years ago, so I have some idea of what to anticipate when putting my freelancing self into this market.  But, putting myself out there requires one major element of a business that I am lacking at the moment- transportation.

If you’ve been reading this blog the past few weeks, you saw the lovely pictures of the Vintage Vanagon I so diligently navigated cross-country with the canoe/sail on top.  Well, she took a big shit last week and left her exhaust system in shambles on a mountain pass.  So I am sans wheels. In a town of 600 people, with a handful of businesses’ and no mass-transit to the next major town.

Oops.

And oh, did I mention the big mountain pass that you have to traverse, complete with hairpin turns and snow banks to get to Breckenridge?  Oyyy.

So the other night, when faced with the possibility of no wheels all winter, I did some serious spreadsheet forecasting of all the possible scenarios of living here with or without a car and running my business.  I highly recommend everyone do this often, particularly when you’re contemplating new avenues of your business or trying to understand where your opportunities lie.

My major question in this whole line of rationale was the following- was the Universe trying to force me to focus on just the online business by taking away the vehicle and the wifi all at once.  I understand that there’s the element of free will in here- and I can choose my own vehicle and such- but I tend to pay attention when things unfold and try to find the lesson within the mayhem.  By not having the distraction of the internet and having very limited options for income, I would literally HAVE to build my online business now and not mess around with more freelance jobs and “real” work.

My spreadsheets helped- tremendously.  I made about 10 different versions of the possible revenue streams and how they would budget out through the year.  I used Mac’s Numbers and their built in budget template and played out all the possible options.  I narrowed my possibilities down to three and then focused in on the one budget that was my ideal goal- both monetarily and for the type of freelance/online business balance I see myself juggling this year.

I then busted out the iCal and put all the budget milestones onto my calendar and planned out the following year!  Holy Crap!  And today, when I was beginning to stress a little about creating local fliers for freelance services and getting over the pass to network, I opened up the spreadsheets and looked at my calendar to see what I truly should be focused on.  And I did just that.

Funny how that whole planning thing works, isn’t it?

I know, seems rather obvious, but for this artistic entrepreneur, planning doesn’t always come naturally.  I can strategize like nobody’s business and I can visualize the big picture, but putting the tiny little steps necessary to get me there into action, well that’s a challenge.

So, back to my transportation adaptation.  Looks like someone will be driving cross-country- AGAIN- in two weeks.  My truck is going to have to make the journey out here, so this nomad can be mobile again.  Hitching a ride over that pass and to my desert town next month is not a task that I’m looking forward to.

Now, it’s your turn.

So, if you’re still with me, how do you adjust your work routines and schedules to a new location- be it on a business trip or a major move?

What are your necessary elements for productivity- no matter where you are?

Are you a serious planner or fly-by-the seat of your pants person?

Do you have spreadsheet planners for year long forecasting or a special method for bringing your plans to action?

What’s the strangest place you’ve worked in for wifi access?
Go on, you can tell us!

Why Write Your Plans in Stone When You’ve Got Water?

How often do we make plans, talk about them, stress about the details only to have the plans disintegrate.  Poof.  Gone.

www.crystalstreet.net (Crystal Street)

A young traveler waits for her train to arrive. This image was taken on one of my "whim adventures."

Life gets in the way, shit happens and our plans fly right out the window with our daydreams.

And we’re left looking down upon ourselves for not following through.  We berate ourselves for not being able to “commit” or we feel like a shitty friend for not being able to bring our plans to life.

I am almost famous for this.  For all of it!  As a freelancer, nothing- and I mean nothing, is ever set in stone.  I plan for one thing, and the exact opposite happens. I try to plan a get away to visit friends and my client decides that after three months of procrastinating they want to shoot on the very weekend that my friends have arranged their schedules to accommodate my visit.  I gear up for an overseas walkabout, and a couple clients decide to not pay their invoices at net 30- maybe net 45 or net 60 is working for them.  And I wonder why my hair is going gray at 35.

A couple days ago, I caught up with a dear friend who I hadn’t spoken with in several months,  He’s one of my more brilliant friends, maybe one of the smartest folks I know, and he takes unconventional to the point of revolution- and I love it!  We were catching up on our plans and the last time we spoke, our fall/winter plans were drastically different.

I should have been in Italy by now and he should be on the road with his Airstream and hound dog writing the great american novel- or it’s ugly red-headed step child.  We laughed at our dramatically different realities than we anticipated and he made a profound statement that I believe I’m going to snag and implement from this point forward. (It’s OK, he snagged my Airstream/traveling artist thing- so we’re even).

“I started telling people my plans are written in water.”

Brilliant.  That is now my mantra.

On a whim, my uncle sent me over to the Ultra-Light tours and sent me up for my own little roller coaster ride at sunset. And my pilot actually designed the craft and was so excited to have someone under the age of 60 flying with him that he made it quite an adventure.

No longer will I write things in stone, all plans will be written in water.  Makes perfect sense.

At this point, you may be thinking, “damn, she just can’t commit to anything.” And I truly can’t stand it when people say that.  It’s not that I can not commit- it’s that I choose not to.  And yes, there is a distinct difference between those two statements.

Clarification- there are certain things I commit to, bridesmaids in weddings (luckily my friends don’t ask this too often) family/best friend’s weddings, professional commitments, the occasional holiday and a romantic relationship worth investing in.  That’s really about it.  I leave the rest of my time completely open.  At least my logical brain does.  The eclectic brain fills my calendar with exotic travels, insane “round the Middle East” tours and long months spent in cabins in remote locales writing my masterpiece or the next “Almost Sunny in Philadelphia”.

Here’s my catch, I dream out-loud. I plan my travels, vagabonding and city hopping out loud.  I don’t know why, I just feel the need to bounce my plans off of whomever asks.  Sometimes I just vomit at the mouth about elaborate travel itineraries and long-term road-tripping. Then, as the time approaches and my resources fail to appear or professional projects linger in the realm of never-to-finish, I start to panic that my plans aren’t coming to fruition.  I feel guilty for telling friends overseas that I’m not going to make it and as it turns out, I’m not.  I put my tail between my legs when people see me and ask- “where are you going now, thought you were traveling” and my ego takes a brutal blow.

And I feel like an ass.

www.crystalstreet.net (Crystal Street)

Our train hit a car at a railroad crossing. Someone wasn't planning that little mistake.

So, while writing my plans in water may not make visiting with friends all that easy, I believe that’s the way I’m going to state my plans from this point forward.  I am famous for just showing up at people’s doorsteps on a couple days notice or just jumping on an Amtrak when the restless feet syndrome kicks in, so why not just man up to this idiosyncrasy about my self and stop making plans and setting them in stone.

Note to friends, those of you who know and love me- thanks for letting me pop in unannounced for all these years!  Now that most of you have babies though, I’ll be staying at the local hostel or guest houses- so scout one out for me and keep it on speed dial!  You never know when my shiny face will be on your doorstep!

So, how do you deal with broken plans?

Are you more apt to just let the Universe take over at some point or do you get cold sweats if your itinerary isn’t set three months in advance?

Are you writing your plans in stone or in water?


Amtrak on a Whim – Images by Crystal Street

The images in this article are from my journey on the Amtrak in 2003 and they were all taken on film and slides.  I was in Richmond, most of my winter plans had fallen through and I was talking with my Aunt about Quartzsite, where they own a trailer park.  It sounded like this strange little carnival and I was in need of some warm weather and odd people watching.  So, the next day, I bought a ticket on the Amtrak and went from Virginia to Arizona.  Took just under 4 days- and what an adventure!