follow the flow
a travel journal and photography journey
Okay, real talk. It’s really difficult to write this blog while on the road.
I'm not on the road at this exact moment—which might be one of the reasons why this writing is even making it's way here right now. I flew back home because my mom and I are going to Burning Man together! It'll be her first Burn and my second, and we are spending this week prepping, which has given me this divine time and space to be able to reflect on these last 3 and a half months in the van so far. And one of the things that has been niggling at me is that the blog has often felt more stressful than inspiring...
When I observe, read, or scroll by other travel blogs, they all make it appear so easy and effortless to be able to write at least once per week, and post photos just about every day. And I’m looking at these blogs and tracking all the places these people are going, thinking, how in the hell do you get service there?!?!? AND How much damn time do you spend on your device?! You're in NATURE what are you DOING silly?
When we were traveling in Australia and Costa Rica at the start of the year, we were staying at Airbnb's or hotels, so there was almost always WiFi to be able to post a writing, and enough down time to feel able to write at all. Traveling in the van however, especially the way that Terence and I have been doing it—backroads, traveling almost every day, and camping far away from town centers—we are rarely in WiFi areas, or even service areas for that matter. Which, of course, is friggen fantastic in one sense: bathing in nature instead of bathing in EMF. And, also of course, it's a big womp womp in another sense: a blog kinda requires blog posts…
A part of me hates to admit that I have compared myself and my blog to these travel bloggers—these travel bloggers are, of course, actually paid for what they do, blogging is their business, and they are writing how-to’s and where-to’s and what-to-do’s, while I’m doing this for fun and writing about feelings and relationship dramas and that spiritual moment I had on a toilet in a Safeway in Canada. Classy shit, eh? In a nutshell, this blog is a tad different. And I’ve begun to realize that more and more over these last few months in the van. I don't want to be like those other travel blogs...it looks exhausting. Specifically, I’ve noticed…
- I don’t want to be on my phone or my computer as much
- I feel more compelled to write about things that seemingly have nothing to do with details of travel and more to do with the details of life
- I don’t care about the blog being a popular blog, I just want it to be me
These feel like some good guidelines moving forward. I think I’ll keep em.
I realized while talking with a dear friend yesterday, that it’s been a little over half a year since I started writing this blog. And with that in mind, I’m actually not surprised that it seems to be changing its shape…
I have been changing shape since this year began. We all have. We all do. Whether we are traveling or not. But traveling tends to accelerate the shape-shifting, the lesson-learning, the horizon-expanding. So why would I think that my blog wouldn't change its shape right along with me?...
So far on this journey: I have gained incredible life skills. I have begun to receive inspiration about what I might want to explore next year. The ways I am connecting with my body is changing and blossoming. There have been fights and arguments on the road. There have been days where I don't want to be van-ning, I want to go home. I have cried a lot, and had trouble sleeping some nights. I have seen sights that are indescribable and impossible to fully capture in a photo. I have tried a carnivore diet for two weeks. I have felt my passions and dreams taking clearer form. I am discovering more of who my Woman is. I have been learning a lot about sexuality and sexual energy dynamics. I have started cultivating a relationship with Anger in a healthy way. I have confronted and held space for beautifully vulnerable relationship realities with my partner...
A lot of these things I have written about and shared here. And a lot more of these things I have written about and have not shared here. Because sometimes, when all this kind of real-life stuff is going down, I don't want to share it on the internet. I actually believe it's healthier not to share it on the internet until it has been fully experienced within me first.
So I wait. For a yes within me. For the call from my creative spirit to write about it. This isn't a paper that's due every week that I need to push past writer's block to complete. This is a pleasure project. And I suppose I'm reminding myself of that, by writing about it, because the yes was here today.
I guess I'm reminding myself that this blog, being by me, will change along with me. And that that's okay. And I'm nodding to you lovely humans out there, if you're along for this ride in my weird-wonderful-world, that I'm totally, chaotically, blissfully still figuring it all out as I go along too. And I'm glad that the moments I choose to share here, frequent or hilariously delayed, are honest ones.
Well, that’s it Alaska! We are off to continue our journeys towards other parts of the U.S.
We’ve been here in AK for a month and a half. We explored Anchorage, Girdwood, Hope, Homer, Soldotna, and Juneau. We hiked, biked, swam in freezing cold waters (Wim Hof method yeah!!) walked on a glacier, celebrated my birthday while being visited by my parents, explored local shops and businesses, made a few quirky acquaintances, and watched all three Lord of the Rings movies... precious.
We came to Alaska not knowing what we would find here. We wanted to just arrive with a child’s mind and explore without a sense of expectation.
One thing I know we found was epic beauty. Which part of me was expecting, but not like this. As Terence and I were hiking one day, I looked out into the mountains and said there just isn’t a way to describe to people how beautiful this is. We use words like ‘amazing’ ‘gorgeous’ ‘stunning’ ‘breathtaking’ so readily and casually, that I feel at a loss. Because this is all of those things, and I know it really can’t be understood unless you’re here, experiencing it yourself.
And I still feel this, as we sail away. This sense of wanting to write about this beauty—about these mountains, about this feeling of being in Alaska, this feeling that can’t really be described in words because you just have to be here to feel it. And not just ‘it’--of the mountains and waters and creatures and glaciers—but the it of us, too. Of Terence and me. The feeling of us being here on this epic adventure that is so much harder than we imagined. The feeling when we look at each other when we have just gone through a really rough moment of outer or inner struggle, and the exhale of realization that not only are we still alive, but we are better for it. We are stronger because of it. We understand each other more through it. That feeling whatever that is. I don’t want to put a word on it.
So thank you, Alaska, for sharing with us what we didn’t know we were coming to find.
Till next time...
Terence and I have been in Juneau for a week now! And the explorings have been of both the internal and external kind—unsurprisingly, if you’ve read this blog before.
On the external note, on this intimate little island:
We walked around the downtown area, filled with tourists from the MASSIVE cruise ships that were docked close by. I’d never really seen cruise ships up close like that before…and holy fuck they are hotels on water. Terence used to work on cruise ships when he was younger, and so told me many the inside scoop on cruise-ship life—the people, the food, the locations, but most of all, the debauchery. But those are stories for another time…hehe.
We didn’t spend much time walking about this downtown spot, as most of the stores end up being money grabs for the tourists who are only there for a few hours. Terence’s typical course of action during his cruise-ship life was to walk about 5 blocks away, in any direction, from where all the tourism was. There, he would find the local gems. And so did we.
We found this awesome organic market called Rainbow Foods (but um, of course) and met this kooky-adorable lady named…wait for it…Cricket. Don’t care if that name was chosen or given, it’s awesome. And so was she. Super knowledgable on food and nutrition—we quickly got into it with her about the benefits of eating fats, and then ecstatic dance, and then energy work. Yup, our people.
We also saw a production of Hamlet at a non-profit theatre called Theatre in the Rough, and it was the first time Terence had seen Hamlet, ever! The production was very grass-roots, sparse, and simple, but filled with a lot of heart.
Side Note: As I was watching the curtain call, I was paying particularly close attention to the ways each of the actors were tearing up and looking at each other with exhausted smiles; the we did it, smiles. I know those tears and smiles so well. I have cried at the end of every show I have ever done. Because when putting on a play, the cast and crew become family. And that particular family witnesses and supports you through extremely vulnerable terrain. The actors are there every day pushing their edges and exploring their boundaries with everyone else present to their process. It can be terrifying, especially with dense, heavy, challenging text like Shakespeare—so whatever the outcome of the actual production, good, bad, clean, messy, the bond created in working on the production is sacred, and special, and worth it. I saw this in their faces. It made me miss being onstage.
We hiked to a glacier! The Mendenhall Glacier. Which ended up being a much longer and colder hike than anticipated, but it was still pretty epic to see something of that magnitude in person. And then just yesterday we went blueberry picking, by accident! We decided to drive as far North as we could on the island, and there on the side of the road were two people in the bushes. We stopped and asked them what they were picking, and they showed us how to spot the blueberries, huckleberries, and cranberries. Jackpot.
And as for the internal explorings, on Terence’s and my intimate little island:
We are in a new space. A sweeter space. A more intimate space. A space of more attraction. A space of more laughter and silliness and not taking our shit, or each others, too seriously. It took us a while to find this space. It feels like it has been pretty rough seas since we started traveling in the van about two and half months ago. But we were obviously meant to find our reconnection whenever we were meant to find it. Attempting to rush or force sweetness, intimacy, laughter, and silliness, never really fares well. Could you imagine?…sounds awful. So we didn’t. We were present with it when it was hard, when it was ugly, when it was uncomfortable, when it didn’t feel like we were communicating well at all, when it didn’t feel like our relationship was working well at all. We did our best not to make up stories about what it meant, to just be present with the feelings. And something else, something beautiful, emerged…
I think the fact that much of our time in Juneau has been spent being lazy has been FANTASTIC for us. So much of the van journey had been spent getting from place to place—doing doing doing doing driving driving driving driving—that we weren’t really allowing ourselves the space to read a book, or nap, or binge watch Stranger Things season 3 (oh my god oh my god so good), or allow some magic of imagination or connection to come through.
It’s kind of like when you plan to meet up with a friend who you haven’t seen for a long time for coffee. It’s the difference between having 1 hour, or 3, to spend with them. In that first hour, you talk about all the stuff that needs to be talked about so you can be caught up, and the relationship is nurtured, usually to the degree that it stays in the space of intimacy it currently resides. But its in those extra two hours of time spent, where there is nothing that needs to be talked about, that the spontaneity, acute listening, and heightened curiosity comes in. Odd questions are asked, surprising answers are found, awkward moments maybe occur, and a more intricate layer of connection is uncovered. I think the extra two hours are the space within which relationships discover their depth.
And this is the same as within my relationship, and within traveling, in my experience of it anyway. I can understand, comprehend, and totally appreciate a place traveled to if I am there for only a few minutes. But it’s in those extra bits of time, where all agenda has passed, that the nuances of the earth reveal themselves to me, and I fall in love.