On Travels and Exploration

I’m not really sure when I became a “traveler.”

I just know that, for a really long time, I’ve enjoyed traveling. Flying is, to this day, one of the only activities that takes place five-plus feet off the ground that I actually really enjoy without freaking out. I could sit behind the wheel of a car for hours at a time, even longer in the passenger seat. I could go for ages traipsing across the country like a gypsy, not really having any single bed to call “my own.”  I could just keep going.

With just a little over a week before I embark on the longest solo drive of my traveling career, before I move into a house I’ve never seen in a town I’ve never set foot in, the reality of things starts to set in. Am I really ready to go? Why not wait? Wait for what, exactly? What if this happens, or that? What if I’m not prepared? What if I don’t like it where I go?

You can go for ages asking what ifs about travel – but the thing is, whether it’s for good or a vacation or just a trip to the grocery store… you have to just… go. The first time you put something off, it’s always for a reason. Not enough money, no time, bad weather, something. But what about after that? When do the reasons become petty excuses?

As more and more people have found out what I’m doing – dropping everything to go to a new state, my job, leaving my family, my poor cat who’ll have to live with my parents for awhile, leaving with only what will fit in my car – I get a lot of comments along the lines of, “You’re so lucky that you can do this. I wish I could just get up and leave.” Usually I respond with “I know, I’m very fortunate,” but…no. I’m not. I just decided to, I didn’t back down. I’m not going to back down. I’m going to just go. Anyone can do whatever they want – college isn’t mandatory, working a normal job isn’t mandatory. As long as you can take care of yourself and don’t hurt those around you, who’s to stop you from exploring the world?

As a child, I used to dream of walking the streets of Paris or exploring the pyramids of Egypt. I used to think that would be the kind of culture shock I needed – that would be exploring. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few years, since graduating high school and kind of doing things “my” way; it’s that you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to experience a culture different than your own. Culture Shock can be spending a semester at a Historically Black University with only a handful of other white students1, or spending a weekend on a farm where everything is solar powered and all the food is organic. This time, for me, it’s moving up north after 22 years of living in the heart of the south. It’s going to be a completely different experience.

The world is what you make of it. There’s no black or white, nothing you should or shouldn’t do. If the other side of the country is calling your name, just pack your things and go. I want to have stories to tell, I want to look back and see that my life has been worth living. If you live in the same spot your whole life, know the same people your whole life, do the same things your whole life and never set foot outside of your little world…how will you ever understand the rest of the world?

You never know what’s waiting for you out there. The love of your life, the perfect job, some sort of personal paradise. Stop wondering, and just get your things and go.

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1. For the curious, I did spend exactly one semester at an HBCU. It was a completely miserable experience, but for what it was I learned more about culture than I learned about, well, anything in my actual classes. People are so hell bent on exploring the world that they forget there are completely different worlds right outside their back yard. The school was an hour from where I grew up. It felt like another planet.
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A Perpetual Journey

I’ve sat down several times to recount the adventure that was Infinitus, Orlando, and by sheer dumb luck a whirlwind journey to Janesville, Wisconsin but it just hasn’t happened. It hasn’t happened becuase while it was wonderful, and fun, and great, there are just so many things to tell – and so many other things happened within the past few weeks that completing my life goal of spinning in the tea cups at Disney World (and not vomiting) seems a dull shade of grey compared to the rainbow of other things that have been going.

With great earnest I assure you, I will be recounting those adventures soon – just perhaps not yet. A few other stories need to be told first.

My life, it would seem, tends to do a complete 180. Things build and build and build and like climbing the roller coaster to the top (something I am not an expert in) it’s nothing but anticipation until you get that wooshing thrill of careening around sharp curves and being flipped upside down: something that sounds like torture except that we do it to ourselves.

It wouldn’t be fair to leave you all hanging, so the facts are these, cut and dry – why elaborate any more than necessary? It’s hard to share things with the internet as a whole, but you know – once you start doing it, it’s hard to stop. I’ve built everyone up for some things, so I might as well keep them up to date.

Might as well peel the band-aid off now – there is to be no wedding, as I am no longer engaged. In wanting to keep this personal-but-not-so-terribly-personal I’ll just share that it was mostly my doing and yes, I am doing okay. It’s not something I particularly want to discuss but even the things that  you try to avoid conversation about define you, so it’s worth mentioning.

I also have made the decision I’ve been hem-hawing over for awhile: If you’ve been following me for at least awhile, online or offline, you know I can’t stay in any one place for too long. The timer is up and it’s buzzing! In a few weeks I will begin the process of moving from sunny Carolina to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I will hopefully be permanently (okay, as permanent as I can ever make things) located until my next stop. I’m going for a short visit at the end of August, and then whenever the mood strikes in full on Margo Roth Spiegelman fashion, I am just going to up and leave. Maybe it will be September. Maybe it will be October. I’m not sure yet – but I’m ready.

Life is funny. We can try to predict it, bottle it, sell it, protect it, blame it, but it runs it’s own course. I don’t know what new things will await me in a new town, but I can feel things lining up. A broken engagement isn’t easy, and certainly isn’t great for both parties (or either of them, in some cases) – but life happens the way it’s going to happen. The good things may not make the bad things any better, but the bad things don’t negate all the good times you’ve had. My now ex-fiance (so we can all get used to how awkward that sounds together) will always remain close to my heart. I fully believe I needed to have that relationship with him to become who I am today.

But it’s a new chapter. It’s time to start over, to wipe fresh. If the universe wants to pull me to the painfully average midwest, let it. I am here for the ride – wherever it may go.

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The Day Off Conundrum

So apparently in the Normal World, yesterday was the first day of summer. Clearly whomever decided this was probably holed up in some scientific laboratory in Greenwich where they study the seasons and time and other boring stuff like that. They probably have never lived in a, say, sub-tropic area or a place surrounded by water on all sides or, you know, the place where I’m at now – where it’s been absolutely stifling hot for weeks. Not to mention the fact that the tourist season starts to trickle in just before Easter and won’t stop until Halloween – summer, you say? Mine’s already at the halfway point. Forget just starting.

At any rate, preparations are well underway for what will probably be the greatest trip I take this year, aside from the potential yearly pilgrimage to Shakori Hills. I feel like I haven’t traveled in ages, last summer was so full of mini road trips to and from Lake Anna to visit my brother, impromptu beach visits, and things like that – this year I’m already at the beach, and working five-or-six-days-a-week so the trips have been few and far between. But I get by – hopefully all the working will pay off come winter when I have several months to spare.

But I digress – the business cards are ordered, the fancy schmancy matching four piece luggage set is ordered, the travel plans are made, and in just a few short weeks Lis, Jo and I will be rocketing off to meet up with a few other members of the Vault in sunny, probably equally as sticky-hot Orlando. I could potentially be doing work for the site right now, or cleaning, or something equally as productive, but my day so far has gone something kind of like this:

8:30 AM: The cat is out? I can SLEEP IN WITHOUT BEING BOTHERED?
9:15 AM: I am still awake. Like really awake. Food, then nap. Yeah. I’l eat myself into sleep. Food coma style.
9:45 AM:
Well since I’m up this early I might as well work
10:30 AM:
Maybe work in awhile. I’ll just, you know, check the internet and stuff. Make sure nothing monumental happened while I was sleeping.
10:15 AM: Oh, hey. I can book that campsite for Thursday. Debit card not within reach. Meh, do it later.
11:00 AM: Screw it. It’s my day off.  I’m going to read blogs and keep eating pop-tarts despite earlier revalations that eating pop-tarts in bed really has no redeeming value other than the fact that i am comfortable and fed at the same time, regardless of how fleeting hte comfortable-ness is when the Crumbs happen.
11:42 AM: Blogging. No further signs of productivity.

Today’s goals: Leave the house. Put on an outfit that does not entail sweat pants and that neon pink hand-me down tshirt.

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Hmmmmm. Yep.

It seems like I’ve had a lot of blog-worthy things to post about lately, but none of them have made it past the drawing board. Just weeks away from Infinitus, the workshop is…. well, it’s in progress. We’ll call it that. Do other, more important people procrastinate on this stuff as much as Jo and I are? Is anyone else out there doing a panel at a gigantic convention in a little less than a month and have little more than a few sticky notes to show for it?

Despite working diligently on some new upgrades for the Vault itself and the workshop preparation that I really don’t have much to say about, I can say I’ve definitely been opinionated on plenty of things. The recent unfortunate end to Abby Sunderland’s attempt at circumnavigating the globe comes to mind, along with the finale of the first season of Glee. I’m not sure how these two things are remotely related to each other, but opinions are opinions, and blog posts don’t necessarily need to follow a particular pattern, and by this point I’m just rambling.

The fact of the matter is, though, I’ve just been busy. I’m not sure I can even pin point it, it’s just been a cycle of days going in and out, the sun rising and setting, and poof! A whole week has passed! Working a “regular” job will do that to you – granted, working from home does to a degree too – but having days off at the beginning of the week just makes the problem worse. By the time my “weekend” is over – it’s already the middle of the week! And then ZOOM! It’s next week already!

Summertime is in full swing here on the island though at least, and aside from hovering over the computer inside all day working on website things, I’ve made it out into the sun a few times, and it’s been wonderful. I’ve taken almost exclusively to riding my bike now instead of driving, something I missed a lot in the cooler months. I haven’t been doing a whole lot on the baking or cooking side lately either – just busy, busy. Work, work. Day in, day out.

So to the not so faithful hoardes – how have you been holding up? About the same? Perhaps I’ll try a little harder to make a few of my post ideas make it past the initial sighs of  “That requires effort!” and actually come say hello sometime soon. :)

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Five Minutes of The Hills, Season One

:30 – This is really frightfully unexciting.

1:45 – Are they acting or is this reality tv? Why is the cinemetography so bad?

2:15 – That’s Heidi Montag? Damn, she really must have gotten a lot of surgery. I didn’t even recognize her.

4:29 – Why am I still watching this?

5:20 – Are they trying to be funny? Was that a joke? Should I laugh?

5:27 – Window closed. No more of this, please.

… how did this show make it past the pilot – let alone into multiple seasons?!

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And so it is.

In a sense, today has been one like any other.  I went down to the bookshop to pick up Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I ran an errand for my mother, I went to work. I found out I’ll be spending my glamorous three days off of work here on the island instead of visiting my fiancé. Lame.

It’s hard to keep your chin up when you’re encountering what starts to seem like an endless chain of let downs – this goes wrong and then that goes wrong and things never seem to pan out like they should. You never get to go to the places you want or see the people you miss, but you  have to keep on keepin’ on anyway.

Admittedly I didn’t feel like blogging much when I got off work, and I still don’t now, but it is sort of a bit of a stress relief. My evening feels wasted after coming home – I want to wind down after work, but with what? The same old video games are getting boring, the same old websites have already been skimmed over, the same old shows on Netflix are getting dull. More sitting and waiting, more reading books and hoping something more exciting comes along. Not that I don’t enjoy reading, but I don’t enjoy it as an only option.

So here’s to a better tomorrow I suppose. Maybe things will start to look up.

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If I Had A Million Dollars…

So I did this as a survey earlier today at the Vault, but I decided it would be fun to do as a blog post too. The objective is simple – you have $1,000,000. You have to buy everything on the “shopping list” – including a new house and car – and then do with the rest as you please, but you can’t go over a million.

Here’s how I “spent” my million. How will you spend yours?

New House: $499,900 – 4 Bed, 5 Bath, Wytheville, VA. 3.6 Acres!!! A big yard is a must.

New Car: $24,900 – 1968 Mustang Convertible, Candy Apple Red.

New Wardrobe: $15,000 – Mostly I would spend this at Mod Cloth, Victoria’s Secret, and maybe just a mall or Macy’s.

Something For A Loved One: $100,000 – I would pay off my parents car payments and everything landon owes, like school loans, etc. Leftover money would help Landon get a car.

A “New Toy” For Yourself: $6,885 – HP sucks at linking, but I built a seven thousand dollar computer with like 24 GB of Ram and two video cards and an all-in-one printer and lots of extra things I don’t really need. So yeah, a new computer.

Something You Really Need: $5,000 – Paying off  leftover college bills and my old credit card.

$25,000 – Wedding Stuff. May or may not include honeymoon.

$2208 - Every payment on a 2 year contract with Verizon for a Blackberry.

$1107 - Assorted things for my pets. Doctors visits, toys, perhaps boarding at pet camp while I go on vacation.

$200,000 – Put into a savings account not to be touched.

$120,000 - This remaining amount I would probably use to go traveling, and buy groceries and other necessities in the time I’m off work becuase I’m hauling ass across the globe.

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Blogging Every Day…

…does not mean having something interesting to say every day. Today, I have nothing interesting to say. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I bought a new pair of shoes and they are FABULOUS despite the nice little hole they put in my wallet – thirty dollars for some 20% off sandals, yikes! They’re beautiful though and I can’t wait to wear them to work tomorrow. :)

So with that little tidbit of a post, I plan on filling out some of my “BEDA” (Blog Every Day in April!) requirements by making some LISTS.  So far I’m thinking of sharing with you guys some of my favorite videos on the internet, best ways to waste time, and favorite moments from the American version of The Office. What subject would you like to see me share entirely too much information-in-list-form about? Leave a comment! Let me know!
Perhaps tomorrow I will return with an EASTER SPECTACULAR.

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Well then!

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a blog post for a few days now, but it’s really been a toss up about what to blog about. Blogging always seems like this distinctive thing where you sit down and accumulate words that serve a purpose, rather than just journaling online…but… well, today I have no purpose. Today I just wanted to update the world on the general goings-on of Mandaland… which aren’t a lot.

In fact, I’m not sure I even have any goings-on to update. I haven’t received any unusual mail (or any mail, actually) lately, I haven’t gone on any grand adventures. I did update my YouTube channel a bit with a new video, but other than that? Just coasting around the island.

So what have you been up to lately? If it’s anything interesting, please share… I’d sure love something to talk about.

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Hi There, Insomnia.

Not being able to sleep sucks.

I’ve tried everything. I mean, I know not everything, but aside from just laying down and going to sleep, I’ve exhausted my collection of Game Boy Advance titles1 and keep staring at my computer to decide if I want to play another game. Traverse through a dungeon in DDO? Too much work. Pick up Puzzle Pirates? I’ll be playing for hours. Re-subscribe to Pogo.com2? Costs money. I could read a book, but then, I’ve read all the titles available to me right now and try as I might, I can not get into this Terry Prachett book I brought with me. I could listen to music, but that’s boring by itself. So instead I have turned to the internet, wandering in proverbial circles that have ultimately led me back to my online equivalent of a bedroom: this blog.

The problem tonight is that I’m expecting a phone call. Landon is across the country in a time zone two hours behind mine. Two hours. So by the time he goes to bed and calls me it will be… maybe two AM. Not usually a problem, except I’m ready to sleep. I don’t mind being woken up, but… that’s just it. When I’m waiting for something, I can’t sleep. It’s like my mind turns that option off.

It’s the same obnoxious feature of my brain that keeps me from falling asleep on the nights before I have to wake up at 5 AM to travel. I can’t do it. Going to sleep means that there’s this big, expansive, unaccounted for period of time that just fast forwards my evening until the time I have to wake up. Why sleep until the thing I can wait patiently for and make it come slower?

So here I am, staring at the computer… dot dot dot. Just like that. I don’t even know what to write about, much less do. Do I try to sleep? Do I try to find something productive to occupy my time? Do I watch a movie?

Of course not. That would be too easy. Instead I’m just going to keep up the proverbial circles until something interesting happens, or Kirby becomes not-boring again. I’m only on the third level. There’s a lot to be desired.

Then again, it is just Kirby.

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1. To be fair, this collection consists entirely of a Super Mario Bros double-feature (Mario Brothers and Super Mario Brothers 3), Pokemon Leaf Green, and the newest edition – Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland. If you wanna help expand my video game horizons, you can send them to PO Box 1104, Ocracoke, NC 27960. Yes, I’m completely serious.

2. Freeloading again – my account is CocoaMocho54. You’re welcome to buy a subscription for me or friend me so I have someone to play Yahtzee with. I am a champion Yahtzeeioneer. Yes, that’s a word.

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