Archive for June, 2018

Doing More with a Day

Saturday, June 30th, 2018

Road trips create a strange dynamic for the passing of time because each 24 hours occurs as it normally does, yet so many vastly different experiences can happen during that normal expanse of time. Today was one of those days were it felt like three different days crammed into one.

The first part of our day was spent in Idaho where the miles crept by along with countless fields of corner and empty silos. The monotony of this was only briefly interrupted by the most Idaho tourist stop ever: the Idaho Potato Museum.

As we drew closer to Wyoming the landscape drastically changed and suddenly the flat farmland gave way to gorgeous rolling hills of green and yellow. I had to stop in this amazing field of mustard grass where the yellow of the endless land seemed to shine brighter than the sun. It took my breath away. There is a simple yet wondrous joy that comes from experiencing awe-inspiring natural beauty like this.

After leaving the sunny fields of mustard grass, I couldn’t stop smiling. Everything we came across seemed beautiful after that, even old collapsing barns left abandoned to the whims of time.

After coming over the Teton Pass we finally arrived at our destination for the next two nights, Jackson, Wyoming. We didn’t stay put for long though since we had a day full of adventures in Jackson Hole.

Our first stop was Teton Village where we decided to take an aerial tram to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain, which sits at just over 10,000 feet in elevation.

The ascent was breath-taking, literally. The thin cold air made it difficult to breathe and definitely made my dizziness issues much worse. Still, it was entirely worth it because the views were stunning!

You could see almost all of Jackson Hole from the top, including the Grand Teton range which towered in the distance.

We were on top of the world and despite the biting winds and thin air, we enjoyed every second up there.

After enjoying a delicious hot chocolate, building a cairn on top of the mountain, and way too many pictures we descended so we could begin the next part of our adventure.

We drove to the Grand Teton National Park proper to squeeze in a hike at Phelps Lake. The hike through pine forests, across rivers, and along the lakeside really was all we could have asked for.

I even got to check off my biggest goal for my time in the Tetons: see a Moose. Technically, I went above and beyond because we found a mother moose and her newborn calf. We watched them feeding for quite some time but had to leave because we started getting devoured by mosquitos.

The best part of the hike was Phelps Lake itself. The crystal clear emerald waters and the rocks hiding beneath the surface all perfectly accented the towering mountains looming in the distance. It was truly a perfect sight.

Our first day in the Grand Tetons was exactly how I had hope it would be. I have been wanting to return to this National Park for over five years now since I felt I took the wrong approach during my first visit a decade ago.

I cannot wait to see what tomorrow holds. We are already pretty exhausted from our trip but super excited for what is to come. Tomorrow we will be spending the whole day in Jackson Hole and if it is even half as good as today was, I will be ecstatic.

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The Journey Begins

Friday, June 29th, 2018

The journey begins hours before the sun peaked over the mountains of the East Bay when my mom and I said goodbye to our California home in hushed whispers.

We drove almost 800 miles today and crossed through 3 different states. Tonight we find ourselves in Twin Falls, Idaho where Evel Knievel once attempted to jump the Snake River in a steam-powered rocket. Crazy, right?

Today was mostly a day of just driving, coffee, and bad singing in the car. We didn’t have any real stops along the way to Twin Falls. We had to stop at Philz coffee, however, before crossing the California state line into Nevada, but that was about it.

Twin Falls offered a wealth of beautiful sights to take in under their perfectly blue skies. My favorite was Shoshone Falls State Park where water cascades over huge cliffs like a mini Niagara Falls

I tried to take a normal looking picture of myself in front of this spectacular sight but the wind had other plans…

It was a great way to end a long day of driving. I can’t believe we started our journey and this is only the first of many adventure filled days to come.

 

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On the Road Again

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

It is hard to believe these words even as I write them:

I am hitting the road again for a cross country road trip.

Almost three years ago I wrote the same thing on this blog and it was just as hard to believe then as it is today. A lot has changed in three years and not all for the better. I am a very different person than the one who climbed into my little Prius three years ago determined to test her horizons and welcome in a world of experiences yet to come.

When I returned from my nomadic life on the road and tried to lay down some roots of my own in San Francisco, my life was quickly turned upside-down by illness and misfortune. As I wrote about in a previous post I was struck down by a mysterious illness called Mal de Debarqumont Syndrome that has forever changed my life.

Over the last three years my horizon shrank to nearly nothing. All of the work to prove to myself how capable I was and the months of exploration that expanded my world came crashing down. Life became simply survival and I found myself fighting for even the smallest victories. I would celebrate walking the three blocks to my work more than I had celebrated driving across the country alone. My world became so much smaller and the fear that plagued me during this time left me feeling trapped in a box.

I found myself living a different type of nomadic life than that which I knew on my cross country road trip. I was rootless and floating; I drifted between one thing and the next because the box I lived within had no anchor except the need to survive.

Now I have found my anchor again: pursuing my PhD in graduate school.

I rediscovered my childhood dream of becoming a professor and writing professionally. In the fall of 2018 I will officially be a PhD candidate at UCSC in the Literature Department. This means so many exciting things to me, but one of the biggest is that I know for the next six or so years of my life that I have a home. I have an anchor that I can always return to even in the darkest of times.

Finding my anchor is only the first step along my new path. It is time to break free of this box of fear. I find myself for the first time in a long time yearn for that horizon line that used to drive me to the edge of myself.

I can do more than just survive.

So I am taking to the road again to stretch myself and push my limits as I did three years ago. Even though I have new limits and they may be smaller than they used to be, I know I can learn to break out of the bondages of my illness and learn how to live a full life once more.

I will be traveling for three months across the country before I start my program in the Fall. The first leg I will be traveling with my favorite travel buddy, my mother. There is no one in the world I would rather have as my co-pilot in both the good and the bad times. We leave in a few short days and I hope to post as frequently as possible while we are traveling. So stay tuned for more travel posts and photos!

I hope you will follow me along this journey.

P.S. For those of you wondering about what this trip means to the progress of the book I am working on, do not worry! I am taking a little bit of a break from my research and writing to enjoy the road. I will still be working, but I wanted to make time to share this experience with you all. So fear not, the good work continues and new work also begins!

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