Over a Month and past 5000 miles, a brief synopsis before the West Coast

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.

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7 thoughts on “Over a Month and past 5000 miles, a brief synopsis before the West Coast

  1. Are you visiting Jon (Sally’s nephew, my brother-in-law) and Beth in Seattle?

    The last part of my trip to New Mexico was the Santa Fe Culinary Tour

    http://wandertours.com/2011/03/santa-fe-culinary-tour-september-2011/
    organized by Beth.

    One of our activities was a visit to the potter Dora Tse Pe in San Ildefonso Pueblo. She talked a lot about how she processed the clay from the earth. I have some photos and short videos of that visit on Flickr (unfortunately not the part about gathering and processing the clay)

    Dora at Her Worktable
  2. Hi Fade. I like your ideas and it seems like a trip like this can really open your mind and give you direction.

    I love Ojo Caliente, and The San illdefonzo pueblo is close by (20-30min from my place towards Los Alamos), I have driven by it and it did not look like much but I have not explored the area much. Here is a site I found with a picture and some of her pieces displayed. http://www.canyonart.com/san-ildefonso.htm
    If you like pottery then there is plenty here to see! It is EVERYWHERE

    Oh I didn’t realize how excited you are to visit NM. I will have to do some research to find art places and other interesting things before you get here.

    Well I hope you enjoy California!

  3. Hi there, Jeanne pointed me in your direction soon after you left, and I’ve been following your trip. It’s very exciting; I made a similar, though not so introspective trip about 13 years ago, and I hope to make another one at some point.

    I highly recommend the Santa Fe/Taos area. My mother lived there, and I’ve visited a few times and always loved it. I very much want to go back.

    On your way there, make sure to stop at Meteor Crater in Winslow, AZ.

    • I like the Santa Fe, Taos area also. I just moved to Los Alamos abut a year and a half ago and moved to Santa Fe 5 months ago. This area is so different from New England and CT where I grew up. I think I was attacted to this small city by the easy going atmosphere, people, and unique art and architecture. It is also easy to get used to sunny skys year round and lack of rainy, cloudy days. 🙂

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