Sunday, August 24, 2014

How I Got to San Jose By Way of Alaska (sort of)

I finally got around to extracting this travel tale from my journal and publishing it on Medium.
It's slightly longer than the average blog post (which is why I chose to publish it on Medium) but a nice little "Sunday read."
At the very least... if you have 5 minutes to spare and/or you'd like to get a little chuckle at my expense, you'll enjoy my tale of how I got to San Jose by way of Alaska... sort of...

The Tale of The 44 Gates


Monday, July 21, 2014

It Can Wait

I was sitting at the pool, poised and ready to get work done while at the kids' swim practice.
Despite a splitting headache and substantial cloud cover stabbing my productivity in the throat, I managed to get a sizable chunk of my assignments completed before leaving.
As I sat there... scanning websites, inboxes, news feeds, etc., the sounds of happy squeals and splashing pierced through the force field of professional focus.

I looked up from my iPad to see my son and his classmates bobbing up and down like little buoys, dunking themselves under the water just enough to say they did it. 
I caught a glimpse of my daughter, who just a few lessons ago learned to do the "freestyle," gliding across the water like she's done it all her life.

I returned to scanning.  
Flipping from app to app.
Checking my phone which has not made a single noise indicating it needed to be acknowledged.  
No notifactions. 
No new messages since the last time I checked...two minutes ago.  

It hit me that I didn't really have anything that important to do right then... but I was looking for it.  
Actually hunting around like Indiana Jones for something to make every second count!
All the wrong seconds.

That swim lesson is one hour out of my day.  
One hour to watch my kids be great.
To watch my son punch fear in the face and step outside his comfort zone.
To watch my daughter be so effortlessly brave that I wish I was just like her when I was her age... and at this age.

Who else in a single-serving-life can do this?
Who has the luxury of pushing pause on a full-time work day... right smack dab in the middle of it...to have this experience?
I don't know many.

I could argue that the luxury is in fact that I can do both.
At least I was there, right?
I was there... but I wasn't present.
I was plugged in to the wrong thing.

Yes, the luxury IS that I can do both... but it's not always necessary.
Today... it was not necessary.

Whatever it is I think I should be doing... 
In these moments... precious and few...it can wait.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Soulful Solidtude and the Solo Roadtrip

Last month, I embarked on a new kind of adventure.
The Solo Road Trip.

I love road trips.  I've been taking them since I was a kid.  
My family used to drive from the DC area to Miami and Jacksonville on the regular.
My college besties and I burned up a lot of pavement between New York and Florida countless times within our 4 years of university.
If you've followed me for a while you may recall my BlogRoller days and how it all got started because Lorraine and I had the crazy idea of hopping in my minivan and driving to Chicago to crash the BlogHer-09 conference.
Who could forget that epic road trip I took with OnStar Serves that took me and five other journalists cross country from Atlanta to San Diego back in 2010.

In four decades of road-tripping, I've never gone solo.

Before anyone calls me out, let me clarify what I mean by "going solo".
The furthest I have driven alone, roundtrip, was to Charlotte, NC. (approx. 3.5 hours each way)
The furthest I have driven alone, one-way, was to Jacksonville, FL. (approx. 5.5 hours)

In these instances (as well as all of the aformentioned road trips) there was a purpose, an agenda or timeline to adhere to, other people involved, and/or expectations.

Never have I taken a road trip (or any other kind of trip) solo...
No obligations... No expectations...
Just me and the open road.

Now let me further clarify that my idea of a solo road trip does not imply that I don't have a plan. 
There has to be a plan of some sort... 
Mine consisted of a start date, an end date, a destination, reliable transportation, lodging, and people/places I'd like to see (but not mandatory).

I finally got my chance.

The chance to hit the road on my own and on my own terms.
I've never felt so free.

I have to admit, it was very strange.
Not having to think for...or about anyone but myself for even one hour is difficult... but for 72 hours?
The oddest...yet most exhilarating feeling in the world.
Kind of forbidden, even.
Like I was wrong... cheating on... shirking real and imaginary responsibilities in some way.
Running through the list of ways this idle time should be better spent.

I almost didn’t take this trip.
It was impulsive… and I am rarely, if not ever impulsive.
There was really no good reason why.
More than that… there was really no good reason why not.
My soul needed this.
My sanity needed it more.
To forbid myself to grasp this opportunity would have been a tragic injustice.

By the time I left the state of Georgia, the majority of the guilt had flown out of the open windows and the negative voices drowned out by the epic road trip playlist blaring from the sound system.
Car Karaoke is extremely theraputic.
So is riding in silence… listening to my own heart (literally and figuratively)

The solo road trip left me with a few reminders...
I was reminded of the importance of rest and reflection.
I was reminded to relax, relate, and release.
I was reminded that I am and always will be resilient… I may fall but I will not fail.
I was reminded that I am still a writer and I need to come out of hiding.

The opportunity to go solo… in a plane, train, or automobile… won’t come around again any time soon.
I am reminded to be reverent and forever grateful that I was allowed to take the wheel.