Yesterday was a long hard day of driving. It took about 13 hours to get from Yellowstone to Seattle. I really didn’t plan on going that far but I was tired of staying in hotels and needed to save some money so I bypassed Spokane and headed straight for the coast. The only disappointing part of my decision was that I saw most of Washington in the dark which I generally avoid not because I have trouble driving in the dark but I want to be able to experience everything along the trip. The radio stations on this stretch or lack thereof are definitely the least impressive of all the areas I’ve been through so far. There were two stations, new country and Christian talk radio. Not much to choose from so I had a lot of time to hear my own thoughts. I have learned so far that the more I experience of the world, the more inquisitive I become. I wouldn’t mind traveling like this indefinitely for awhile, but that’s not practical with the resources I have at the moment.
It has been just over a month since I left Vermont and I have stopped in about twelve different places along the way. I woke up this morning with so many important dream fragments that I realized I needed to meditate on my journey so far. My interest in settling in a city has diminished quite a bit after being in South Dakota. I feel the part of me that requires living simply, quietly and naturally is starting to get more air time. Until now, I’ve wanted to be in a city, be able to walk downtown and get coffee, watch people and read or talk photos in alleyways. For a long time, my silent mental partner that wants to live in a quiet self-sufficient country cabin with chickens, a garden, and an art studio sat patiently dormant. She’s emerging and making things difficult.
I didn’t realize until reaching the Midwest that I felt claustrophobic on the East Coast. It’s similar to when I went off to college at 17 and I realized the perpetual sniffles I had all my life until then were a slight allergy to the cats I lived with growing up. (As a side note, living with cats was worth it.) Encountering the openness of the West, I can’t say I’d be interested in going back east. Besides the energetically vocal landscape, I’ve experienced some very genuine, open and loving individuals here that make this area feel far more inviting and comfortable than the East Coast. There is something spiritually centering here that can’t be ignored. Perhaps that’s just my perception as I have the space here, away from my past lives, to unlearn what anxieties I have been taught and to reinvent myself.
So what’s my plan? I have spent approximately a thousand dollars to get this far and I think I have enough to continue my wanderings to New Mexico. By then however, I will likely be running too low on funds to get much farther. If I make it to NM, I’ll be pretty happy as I think that’s where I would like to eventually land anyways. My friend, Jill, in Montana, suggested a potential opportunity with Americorp transcribing the oral history from Navajo elders in NM to help document and preserve their cultural history. I’ve contacted Americorp about this and am hoping for the best. I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. Meanwhile, whether that works out or I have to get a menial retail job, I want to learn how to process clay from the earth and minerals for glazes to make pottery. New Mexico is a great place to learn that particular skill I imagine.
I don’t particularly care how long that takes but depending on how my New Mexico experience goes, perhaps a few years later I will find a way back to South Dakota. The plan is hardly solidifying so I’m not worried about what turns it might take.
In a couple weeks, I will head into California and then across the south towards New Mexico. I haven’t planned my individual stops however, so I would love some suggestions as to where to stop, especially in the Northern California area.