A year and a half ago (oh man that makes me cringe) I started a story because I was living a boring life. I wanted, needed, to pretend I was having an adventure, since I wasn’t having a real one. The story started as a whim, a random, laugh filled conversation with a friend at a pub (Thanks Ayo!!) and grew and grew and keeps growing in my head.
Well, somewhere between boredom, frustration, and the vampiric, creativity sucking, spirit killing “normal” life I was living, my words ran for the mental hills of my imagination and I only posted the first installment of what now looks to be potentially an entire novel! I suck, like the Vampire Le-Status Quo.
But I changed my life and Voila! my adventure came sailing out of the wild blue yonder and into my shower! (I think a lot in the shower, and the thoughts let me know whether it will be a writing day or a chores day. Is there such a thing a shower muse?) Winds blustering, sun shining, ideas crackling, I hadn’t lost the idea nor even an ounce of excitement about it!
So I’m calling “Mulligan!” and starting the adventure again.
My first post will be reposted tomorrow and I promise (myself as much as whoever reads this) that the story will continue this time.
(Thank you to any of you who forgive me and love me anyway for the unfulfilled, previous hype. xo)
What could happen, did happen – another adventure led me astray (or so it appears at the moment). Plucking one small piece out of the France plan for closer inspection and using it to either alter the plan altogether, or simply practice, I signed up for WWOOF in the U.S. in October. It was time to get away from the city and South Florida life. Some may say, well many, including myself, that volunteering for an organic farming experience in the winter is a bit of an, um, odd decision. I have never been known for my conventionality though, so throwing patience, normalcy, and warmth to the proverbial winds, I searched for winter WWOOFing, and found something magical.
An opportunity for a long term, over-winter, care-taking position on a ranch in Colorado popped up in my search and after a few emails, phone calls, and much wringing of hands and drumming of fingers later, it was time to pack my belongings and buy some socks.
With an expected arrival date of December 1st, I had approximately one month in which to completely rearrange my life, living and the majority of all my ideas of what my future might hold. Most moments were manageable and I stayed caught up in the small details of huge change. Every once in a while though, the magnitude of what I was doing hit me and I forgot to breathe.
I don’t think it ever gets easy, changing your life. With how many times now I have uprooted everything and begun a new adventure, a new life in all imaginable ways, I have not once been unafraid. That is not to say I have been reluctant, or let fear sway me, but I have always been afraid at one point or another during each move. Oddly enough though, this one scared me more than any of the others.
Going back to Colorado, to the place of my childhood, was something I truly believed I would never do. Not that it’s a terrible place, at all, I remembered and remarked often to others that Colorado is not only beautiful, but friendly, and peaceful. I really was convinced, however, that I had spent my maximum time, knew all I needed to know, and did not belong there. Colorado was not a part of any future I could imagine (beyond visiting family occasionally) and I had even stopped considering it home well over a decade ago. So I was scared somewhat witless this time around as life offered up a new adventure, and thoroughly confused by my choice.
It sprung up initially because Out of South Florida was needed – out of traffic and closed minded, closed hearted people, out of doors without getting in a car or only going to the beach. Ah that sounds terrible. I adore the beach, I always will, but it was my only outlet for my innate need to be out, and I was getting so restless. As possibilities for Out were considered, mutual reminiscing with a fellow Colorado ex-pat was done with a surprising fondness and nostalgia for the quiet of Colorado, for the proximity and accessibility of nature, for the stars. Through the conversations, for both the “ex-pat” and I, a realization dawned, that the missing piece about Colorado, the tarnishing of it’s would be charms, was the loneliness of living alone in a place brimming with adventures meantto be shared. But what would it be like, in what new ways would that life sparkle, if it wasn’t lonely?
So I tamped down my fears and wrangled my habitual disqualification of Colorado as a contender for habitation and happiness. I allowed the resurfacing of the long buried lure of horseback riding, wood fires and wilderness just outside the front door. I thought of how I could forget what day it is, sit in the sunshine and hear nothing, and finally finally! have the time, literally and mentally, to write the novels that have been floating in my head for years. And with that, I smiled, laughed at myself and at life’s twists, and packed up my world to drive across country and learn how to care for chickens and cows.
(Note: I am hesitant about posting this ,because two weeks ago I had wonderful adventures and I didn’t have my computer, so I wrote them in my notebook. That’s right, wrote them, with an ink pen on paper. Now I have managed to strand myself at a pub with a computer in a rainstorm, but not with my notebooks, so I can’t transfer my notes to a posting just yet. This will throw off my timeline… but I am loathe to waste my pub time…so…)
I am planning a grand new adventure. The planning is still in the most basic of stages. But how else might one plan, but with beginnings and basics? Some of you may wonder that I am planning at all, as my life sometimes appears to be one of spontaneous combustion. Though, upon looking back, I agree with that perspective, I think this one bears a bit more forethought.
I think I shall move to France.
Planning so far..
I will purchase a lifetime membership in the Maris Freighter Travel Club International (unless of course someone chooses to buy me a membership as a gift before that ) and book travel on a cargo ship to make my way across the Atlantic. Apparently a lifetime membership is only about $60 and saves several hundred dollars per booking. If i only book once, I’ve still saved the membership dues, and appeased my bizarre need to collect adventures and stories over material objects.
I have dreamt of cargo ship travel for longer than I can remember, but it was never a viable option as it costs nearly as much as plane travel, takes weeks to complete and often discourages partners who might otherwise be accompanying me. My move to France seems a brilliant time to achieve this dream! I was recently warned that this could be a dangerous choice for a single female traveler, but since I have heard those warnings prior to many of my past adventures, I bear it in mind without letting it dissuade me. So I am immensely excited about the passage!
Once in France, as a part of the WWOOF volunteer community,which I think sounds like the best way to go, I will meander about France as a sheepherder, vineyard worker, and horserancher while I discover the origins of my bloodlines and attempt to understand and satisfy my fascination with the country. I will learn about the different regions of this magical place that has sparked my curiosity for most of my life and decide if one of these areas is where I wish to defy the north wind and plant my roots. I will learn the land and the people and be apart of communities. I will grow something beautiful. And yes, as it is hilarious and unusual and the butt of many preemptive jokes about this adventures with my beloved colleagues in Coral Springs, I will find a way to be a sheep herder for real, for at least a little while, **smoochies and selfies and instagrams and all that crap**.
So that;s what I’ve got for now. I don’t think I will leave before spring, and I can’t guarantee another adventure will not lead me astray. I am trying to set aside my need to settle and build a home and family for just a bit longer; I know this is the time, no other will come along, and I need to do this lest I regret the missed opportunity.
I received a notification in my email today: Companion Wanted for Extended Caribbean Sailing Voyage
Despite the early hour (yes, sadly, I check my phone for emails every time I wake to pee after 6:30 am, a terrible habit), I was suddenly sunbeams-and-roosters awake. It was a notification from a craigslist auto-search, one that rarely spit up anything of real interest, obscure as I had made it. But something about it, yes, ok, something more than the title and knowledge of just how obscure the search notification was (sail + voyage + Caribbean + all expenses paid) held my eyes open like Calvin’s toothpicks and had my heart beating and skin tingling like I had woken from the proverbial…um… flying dream.
I opened the full email and subsequently the full link and read a paragraph that had me scrambling for passport and packable clothes even while I tried to decipher the email time stamp through bleary eyes and remind myself I needed to actually respond (at the least) before getting too excited (too late!).
Companion wanted for extended Caribbean Sailing Voyage”
I have just finished refurbishing my 38″ sailboat and am ready to try her out on the “long haul.” If you would like to join me on an extended, open-ended sailing voyage from North Carolina south to Miami and on to explore the Caribbean, I am in need of a companion for what looks to be a truly J. Buffett-style adventure. I plan to leave within the month and will pay all onboard expenses for myself and my companion. I just need someone easy-going, adaptable and who likes to laugh to share in this once-in-a-lifetime journey with me.
Oh My Proverbial G.
I responded. Unfortunately I did so before having a cup of coffee and reminding myself to eloquently curb my enthusiasm (to lessen the fear of psychotic fervor one might develop from reading the emails I shoot off at times). Yes, coffee actually lessens the intensity of my emails, contrary to logic, early in the morning.
“IIIIII WANNA GOOOOOO!!!!!!!” is the gist of what I “sent from my Verizon phone, at 6:37 a.m. without spell/grammar/sanity checking.”
Crap. Potentially decreased my chances at having someone look forward to inviting me to spend months on end living daily within 38″ feet of him. Yet again, I wish there was a mulligan button on my phone.
I thought there might be a possibility that “finding a home” would be pleasant and relaxing and I would be content. I have either not yet found home, or I was wrong and I will never be content with being still…. or both….
I have been noticing my anxiety and fidgety tension increasing lately and realize it is due to the fact that I have been in this place, this apartment specifically, for almost a year now. Though that comment has been met with disdain and what has felt like cold-shouldering scoffing recently, I know it to be true. I am about 2 weeks out from my 1 year anniversary of moving to Fort Lauderdale and 6 weeks out from my 34th birthday. I rarely last out a 1 year apt lease anywhere (in fact I am not sure I have done so more than once in 12 years, despite staying in the same general 30 mile texan radius for a little while) and I always set my “be married securely, and have a baby” limit at 34. So having two of those semi-unconventional deadlines looming, on top of working a job that is good, but un-fulfilling both financially and emotionally, and being unsure if i truly LOVE South Florida, is sparking some serious introspection and intermittent twitching.
Don’t get me wrong, everyday life happens, I work, I go kayaking in manatee habitat canals, I get my heart bruised, I meet amazing new friends… I find new pubs in which to yammer-type…. but these are not adventures enough for me.
So it is time again for change. But I don’t know if change will mean adventures anytime in the near (3 month) future. That makes me pretty crazy, I am noticing. So I think I am going to invent one. A true, totally fictional, story, to keep me busy and Un-grounded while I save my pennies and bravery for a real one.
I need something new to read and believe in… I hope this story turns out to be good…
I have a new bike!!! No, that is not the only new thing I have, but I am super excited about it!!
I work in a bike shop part time (story for next post) and one of the bike mechanics took pity on me knowing I was riding a borrowed bike, one I needed to return ASAP and told me he was thinking of selling an old mountain bike of his own. Long story short he is one of those bike fiends and this was his first mountain bike, one he had worked on and upgraded for years, but simply has “too many bikes and doesn’t have room for it.” So he decided to sell it to me for an incredible price AND let me pay for it on a payment plan so I could take it home, return the borrowed bike and still have a way to get around town, not to mention enjoy myself and get my exercise need semi-filled.
My new bike is an Ironhorse, lemon yellow framed, with black accents, and black and red tires and saddle. No, it is not classically pretty. But it is awesome! Serious jeep-like treaded tires, carbon fiber handlebars, brand new, lock-out shock fork, metal pedals I cannot break through no matter how hard I ride… I LOVE IT!!!!!
Having it home with me I realize something I lost from my stolen bike though – the fabulous stickers I picked up at the non-profit bike building place in New Orleans. I loved those stickers. Amazingly, I remembered the name of the producer and checked them out online – WorldsBestBikeStickers.com I looked them up and sure enough, all of my missing stickers and more. I am thrilled, they are part hippie, part bike freak, and part hilarious. I am considering my order now and can’t wait to put my awesome new, and reflective, stickers on my new baby.
A friend of mine in college was a bike freak and I remember him telling me about one of his bikes one day, a bike that looked like nothing exciting, all stripped down and ugly. Then he told me what was really in front of me, an awesome, expensive and custom worked bike. He had scoured it to remove all the pretty paint and decals and made it as outwardly ugly as he could. When a bike looks cheap and crappy, people are less likely to bother stealing it, he said. Brilliant really. Bike thieves suck and I hate them. Though I know they will steal anything when it comes down to it, I am still planning to take some of the temptation off the bike rack, as it were. My new baby is not pretty, and is about to become even less so. Hey, a mountain bike isn’t supposed to be pretty and shiny anyway huh? Like having a four-wheel truck/SUV with big fancy rims and a paint job that has clearly never seen anything more off road than a valet parking lot… Seriously? What was that old word… poser? yea, poser. I may not be the world’s most amazing mountain biker, and I plan to keep my bike in good shape, but do I need her to be pretty??? Nope, she’ll always be pretty to me, even scuffed and dirty and covered in crazy stickers.
The sticker I am most excited about – “Try to steal my bike and I’ll kick your face in.”
Maybe I am going about this all wrong. Maybe I am not supposed to keep trying to make it work this way, moving around, looking for the right city and state here, the right job here, the way to pay my bills and be successful and steady and happy here. Maybe, since I have dreamt of living in the islands for as long as I can remember, since I still think of it every single day, since I fail over and over and over in my attempts at making my life work, here, maybe I should actually go. Maybe I should stop saying “one day,” stop considering, planning, hoping, thinking. Maybe I have it all mixed up and my Plan B should actually be my Plan A and I should just go. I am in a place now that I am less able to do that than ever before. I have squandered my chances, my freedom, my money, my stuff-less life. I am tethered now and tied, by the choices I have made, to try once again, to spend my resources on “making it work,” on trying to settle down. My attempts are, again, failing, and have simply served to soak up my money and exhaust and sadden me to the point of near immobility.
Maybe I should just go. A little bit longer, one thing to wait for, then I will decide.