The Southwest and Traveling Companions

July 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm (Freedom, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Relationships, Travel) (, , , , , , )

As the time to head out on my epic journey through mountains and deserts looms I am still scrambling to complete my Couchsurfing stays. I had a last minute reschedule in Albuquerque and Lexington so I am flexible in the fact that I may be visiting a La Quinta Inn at some point or other.

I get a notice with an invite to stay in Albuquerque and breathe a sigh of relief. Early next morning I meet my rideshare companion at the Chevron station in my neighborhood for the trip to Phoenix. I offered a ride to Phoenix since I knew exactly when I was leaving and the whole car is going so at least I can assuage my fossil fuel guilt by bringing someone along. He is a nice young man who was visiting family here due to a death and needed a ride back to a Phoenix ‘burb nearby my cousin.

20140518_125758 I drop him at his home and head over to my cousin’s for some lunch before he heads off to work.

20140518_121133This is his glorious keychain collection…well a part of it anyhow.  Next morning after a lovely visit with more cousins I head of to Albuquerque and man is it warming up! I head over to another Couchsurfer’s house to pick him up for a rideshare to Albuquerque to pick up a car. He had offered me a place to stay and we even met for coffee the day before but I was staying at my cousin’s. He mentioned going to Albuqueque sharing a ride with a 90 year old man the next day so I offered to give him a lift. Sharing took a six hour drive and made it feel like three! We shared snacks and funny stories and I promised to visit on my return route. Again, half my gas paid and a delightful companion.

20140519_132636Welcome to New Mexico!

Next episode I start driving alone on to Texas the lone star state.

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Following Your Dream Without All the Baggage

April 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm (Art, Excellence in Business, Freedom, Local Made, organized simplicity, Relationships, Style, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A few years back when my then husband and I were doing trunk shows as vendors with Nordstrom we developed a philosophy of never checking our baggage. We needed to carry on the jewelry for obvious security reasons and being parents we never had an extra minute to spare in our 48 hour sales weekends. We would fly out of San Diego first flight on Friday, race to the rent a car location at our destination and find our way to the Nordstrom store in time to be set up and ready to sell when the doors opened. In this we were successful.

I had parents who, although somewhat supportive made it clear they did not want to be burdened with picking up our children and minding them while we were as they put it “gallivanting off somewhere”. My dad would drop us at the airport every other weekend and say “okay have fun on your vacation”. He was not being funny, I think he honestly thought we were flying out for fun and frolic.  Airport, rent-a-car, store, quick meal, hotel rinse and repeat then fly home. Not a whole lot of sightseeing going on unless you count how many rent-a-car kiosks or Nordstrom lunch rooms I have toured.

I had a leopard print chiffon over cotton sheath dress (remember the Debra McGuire style of the mid ninties)and heels (with a back up pair of Dr. Scholl’s sandals) and grey Anne Klein suit with golden blouse that were my uniform to show off my delicious jewels and maintain some sense of conservative decorum. One outfit on, one in the bag and my business partner cum husband just changed his skivvies, tie  and dress shirt. This time saving and aggravation saving philosophy saved us numerous hours and headaches. Many of our colleagues would travel as if they were heading to Europe for the season with steamer trunk size bags containing who knew what! I remember one occasion when one woman’s suitcase went to Chicago when we all went to Salt Lake City. She had nothing to change into and worse nothing to sell except her matrix, store owned merchandise. We cringed for her as she stood over her case of treasures pulling back stock to display up top and trying not to look like she came unprepared. She spent a small fortune on a new outfit to wear day two.

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Fast forward a few years and I had fired my partner (as sales rep and husband) and was preparing to leave for six months at a French business school. I brought my eighteen year old son along for the first couple of weeks for a vacation. He had a large backpack. I had a carry on bag and a backpack which contained my laptop, my zillion files and documents for the French government and my university. The carry on had all my clothes and shoes. I did not need to bring a lot since I was going to be in France the couture capital of the world (je suis desole NY c’est vraiment.)  I ended up shipping clothes home to avoid being a pack mule on my return that summer. Those early lessons in traveling light have always served me well.

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How does all this have anything to do with following your dream your ask? All of life is a journey…yes I know you know that…so with that in mind we need to carry on only…it just simplifies things allowing us to receive all the good things we deserve in life without being weighed down by the safe and known.

Happy travels.

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In Other News…Two Cali Women Plan on Winter in India

November 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm (Letting go, Relationships, Sailing, simple frugality, Travel) (, , , , , , , , )

So I am planning a trip to Mumbai this winter in time for Holi day with my friends. This means cutting expenses (I have added two new ones this past month) and paring my belongings further and looking at things with a different yet inexperienced eye. I have a dear friend who lives in Mumbai and we also want to go to Goa to relax on the beaches and do some sailing. My bff is coming along and she is slaving away in her cubicle until then to raise the necessary funds.

 

By slaving away in a cubicle I mean working for peasant wages for the proverbial rich uncle. I am sure he is a lovely man outside the office but inside he is a man bent on success to the point he is blinded by his own folly in chastising employees and family alike. Many divides exist in this Dante’s office scenario. We will release our heroine from her chains and allow her spirit to grow as we travel to India and beyond.

I am my own master, and by that I mean I am indentured to my elderly parents as there life supervisors as it were. Meal planner, cook and asset manager. I still have my own art to create and show as well as easing my young adult son further into manhood and adult life. I will asign various tasks to various talented folks to handle things while I am gone. They will do a fine job without me of that I am sure.

The beautiful thing here is we are both single and not encumbered by that most delicious of dishes, the human male. We are both huge fans of the species but know that often we must trek alone to learn our life lessons. We are along in different age ranges. She is the age of my daughter and yet as my friend (and their’s) does not come with a family history related to mine…sometimes a good thing.

I have a zillion Skymiles and so I will go that route to India and have saved some cash over the summer (when I wasn’t busy spending it) for expenses in India. We both love to sail boats and plan on doing so there as well. We also hope to rent or buy bicycles to ride around the beach towns but will use taxis in Mumbai for safety reasons! This trip is about new perspectives, new weather, new food, new cultures and all the wonder that is foreign travel.

Any random reader stumbling across my cyber-thoughts who has experience in the travels in India would be a welcome response.

 

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What I do versus what others think I do…

September 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm (Art, Letting go, Relationships, Sailing) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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My typical day starts with waking up to late to get an early start and too early to get a late start…

I check my wall board calendar and prioritize the many things which clamor for my attention. I am in the middle of creating jewelry collections for some upcoming events and appointments as well as helping my antique parents manage their lives. I am single by choice because at this point it just makes sense. I have enough on my plate and poolenty of responsibility without wondering if I am spending enough time with w partner to make them feel loved. I know many of my friends dont “get it” but, hey I rarely ask others permission before I choose my own path in life…but again I digress.

So after strategically mapping out the day I get busy on the many piles from yesterday…or I go sailing. The latter not often enough, the former seem to keep growing!

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I too Have a Dream…

July 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm (Art, Letting go, LoVe, Relationships, simple frugality, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , )

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams

I have been reading a lot lately and have come to the conclusion finally that I am not alone in my anti-marketing philosophy. I have always believed in meeting people’s needs and not selling them on something whether it is a belief or a product.

We all have too many people trying to separate us from our money, time and resources.

If it is true that when we give advise we are really talking to ourselves in the past then I have a lot to say to a younger me! I will start with STOP spending so much money on crap you don’t need and won’t want soon. I once did a sickening exercise in money blown and how much it really is and it blew my mind. I spent more money on pointless items and eating in restaurants when I was young and struggling to earn than when I was making a very healthy living… I would also say to her dare to take more chances in love and career. I stayed where I didn’t belong too long for reasons I am still not quite able to reconcile. Looking back the chances I have taken and the leaps of faith have paid off. The times I was living in fear and passed on taking those leaps ended up not panning out quite as well. I would have to say living within your means is highly under rated in our culture and yet it is the passport to freedom. Staying in a job because you support the good folks at American Express cuts your options in life. Not owing anyone but the landlord and the gas and light company each month equal more opportunity to change your life as you see fit and act on opportunity as it arrives.

Saving money has many implications. Am I saving money on a purchase or saving because I didn’t make a purchase and put the money aside for bigger dreams? Either way save it, stash it, make it and appreciate what it can do for you. Opportunity cost is that which you missed out on because you couldn’t backpack across India with your friends because you spent all your cash in clubs, restaurants and Nordstrom. You can only spend it once despite what the commercials for credit cards want us to think. I was looking over my last year’s credit card summary (I paid this off last month) and I paid over $1750 in interest alone! That is a roundtrip ticket to anywhere on the planet! Talk about opportunity cost?! I am now saving the amount I used to pay in on my credit card and have set aside a portion of that for international travel. I am now able once again to do little things I put on hold during the payoff period. I have bought a few books and am spending some on sailing lessons a life long dream. I plan on spending some time sailing while traveling so getting my certifications is important to me. I never regret money spent on personal education and training.

Health and the debt illness. I believe the stress from debt is very hard on health. It was for me. I spent too much energy on worrying and coming up with money in tight months to pay them first. I now have a huge weight off my shoulders and it feels great! Now I can buy healthier organic food and again that is an improvement for my health. Not getting sick is a whole lot easier than getting well. Sounds like double talk? No, not really when you stop to think about the cost of stress and cheap food on your health.  Even the cost of the gym membership which financial gurus will try to convince you must be given up is money well spent when used. Exercise has a lot to do with reducing stress and overall health. Something I should mention to my younger self and remind my present self.

Travel is high on my priority list as I did not travel much in early adult life. I made a rather quick decision to move to France in 2007 as part of a study abroad for my business school. I attended a private university in the Calanques outside of Marseille. The natural environment was so stunning I could not gather the words to tell my family back home how incredible it was to go to school and live in a forest on the sea. I spent my weekends in Paris and Nimes and Arles and the surrounding countryside. I spent my week-long breaks in Amsterdam. My boyfriend came to visit for two weeks and stayed two months even traveling to Italy during my mid terms to check out the Angel Academy of art where he hoped to one day study.  None of this would have been possible had I not saved for years and gone without lattes at school (I brought my own tea bags and commuter mug) and planned ahead. I was able to pay cash for my life abroad and incurred no debt. I was free to travel and explore the French countryside as no tourist ever could. My boyfriend and I had discussed traveling to Belgium and Holland in the first year of our relationship and in the second I went to France. Although we are no longer together our shared experiences in Europe are a tie that binds and is full of memories of trials and fun and discovery.

My most recent journey into debt involved helping out a family member which again I have no regrets except that I could have planned and managed it all better on my part. My mother taught me never to loan money you can’t afford to gift so I always see these things as just that. Now that I am debt free for a third time in my life (the last time lasted 13 years) I am older and wiser. Money is just a tool and nothing more so spend it like your time…wisely.

 

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Fifty Shades of Blue

July 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm (Letting go, LoVe, Travel) (, , , , , )

Is how a beautiful man once described my eye color. More recently it has come to my attention there is a book of a similar name. Grey instead of blue…which may also describe my eye color when I am angry (rare.)

I am currently reading “Love in the Time of Cholera” and have just seen the beautiful movie which I had somehow missed these past five years since its release. This is the story of love and its many permutations. Love which waits forever never knowing the outcome, love which resides despite pain in an often difficult marriage and the discovery that love, although we age love perhaps does not. It distills and grows and becomes something more pure in time when left on its own.

Love is a topic with which I am well acquainted. I have known it and I have known love’s shallow sister lust. That desire which once satisfied, loses its appeal. Love on the other hand cannot be dismissed no matter hard you try. It has a way of reminding you of itself just when you think you have moved on and found peace with not being in love…Love conquers us in a way we cannot control.

I used to try to hide that fact that I am still very much in love with someone from my past, but I no longer concern myself with what others may think. My love is very far away and yet tucked in close to my heart. I need no formal communication to know it is very real and has a heart beat all its own. I may not ever have the opportunity as our hero did in Marquez’ beautiful story but, I hold my love close in my heart and head all the same. I pray for his health and happiness and wonder what he would think of my paintings, but I do not contact him to ask his opinion although I paint with his voice in my head reminding of why I am painting. Do I have a story or message to share with the viewer?

I continue to date men who will never hold my heart the same way or kiss me in that moment which stops time…I live each day knowing that I have had the kind of love which is written of and yet rarely experienced. The short time I had was enough to enrich me for a lifetime. I have learned so much about myself by being loved…I have learned to trust myself and him. I have learned that I do not need a map in a foreign city in order to find myself…or as Francis in “Darjeeling Ltd” says “We haven’t located us yet”!

ImageFrancis has planned every detail of this train trip through India right down to laminated daily itineraries made by an assistant who is in another car and is theoretically never seen…It is not until they are “lost” and their plans unravel ingloriously that they find themselves and each other. Ultimately we must all drop the excess baggage which slows down our journey and allow ourselves to just enjoy where we are at each day.

The irony here is while traveling I had that wonderful boyfriend who insisted upon carrying all our bags…if only I could have seen through  to the obvious metaphor percolating beneath the surface and appreciated that more. I would have bought less and traveled even more. The things I bought while traveling are for the most part gone, used up, given away, or lost but the memories of even the getting lost are deeply ingrained in who I am…in my core.

I petulantly resisted some of the wisdom of losing my attachment to where I was going while we were together in foreign lands and so in the moment did not appreciate the bigger picture and how it would change me and I would grown in ways I could never have imagined. I could not understand why he tore up my map of Paris as we wandered the streets. I get it now…and how.

Many people after becoming a certain age feel that they are no longer in the game or are on the sidelines in a game they have only ever watched. I feel like I am the pitcher in the World Series game of my own life. I am also the batter and in all that has gone on before has brought me to this place of understanding and strength…of knowing who I am so that I might recognize others as they truly are in their grace and love and craziness and all that is wonderful about them.

So my story is not about subservience or control but rather letting go of control and just accepting the love regardless of the physical distance…of moving ahead in each moment as if it were my last and I will live forever. I may never see him again or I may be with him again…it is not for me to know but just to hold his place in my heart.

So when I wonder what brings me to this place I can say that I started out on a spiritual journey, and I am still on it and my baggage is only carry on…

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Really Really Free

June 14, 2012 at 4:45 am (Letting go, simple frugality, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , )

This past Sunday was the Really Really free Market in Normal Heights and grassy classrooms for information on the effects of nuclear fallout ie. Fukoshima as well as the well kept secret TPP trade agreement which would solidify trade between certain Pacific rim countries allowing easier trade and export of jobs and privatization of more common resources.

It was an interesting day to say the least! I rolled up in my little pick up truck brimming with goodies to give away. A walker with basket, a Pack n Play playpen, a wooden toolbox my dad made in the 1960s and enough clothes to open a small boutique! The latter courtesy of a friend who has redone her entire wardrobe in order to feel more in control of her life (more on that later). I had boxes of costume jewelry parts, books, toys, swimsuits and fancy high heels. As fast as I could unload the stuff onto the grass it disappeared. No worries about proper display here as there would be little to display by the time the truck was unloaded.

We packed a picnic with fresh picked fruit, avocado salad, crackers and cheeses which we shared with one of the speakers. I found several books I had been wanting to read again or for friends and baskets for my daughter to use at her organic produce stand in the farmer’s market.ni

The most interesting part of the event was the camaraderie of people sharing. One woman who picked up a lid for a pot gently mentioned to the man who was examining the pot that she really needed the pan and he smiled as he handed it to her. My friend spotted a full set of Velvet Underground CDs, CCR, THE Pixies and even A Lonely Island (DICK in a box song included)  CD. My friend got a cute gypsy skirt complete with mirrors on it in mint condition. She wore it out later that evening to a club and two women stopped her wondering where she bought it. She politely explained at the Really Really FREE market. No money or barter involved. Just free. This boggled their minds but they were eager for more information on such an event!

YOU can start one in your town or city very easily. Select a park and set up a Facebook account for the event and start inviting people to join in. The important thing to remember is that we all have things which we no longer need which could enrich someone else’s life without the need for wage slavery to get it. Would you work 40 plus hours a week at your job if you didn’t need to make ends meet? If you answered yes then bless you you are one of the few who truly loves their work. I love my art and yet I also love to travel, sail, garden and visit friends. These things require a modicum of free time while I am young enough to do them!

I am currently planning an extended trip overseas with a  friend which will require $$$$$ so I’d rather not spend any now if I can get something for free or used. I sold my laptop to my brother for the cost of a super size flash drive for all my files which I can use with my flash drive mini laptop. Lighter and easier to travel with. He is thrilled because he gets a laptop in good condition restored to factory settings for under $100! Win win as I had this laptop for almost five years. It actually came with Napster on the desktop! My new one runs  on Linux so I can use freeware and be out from under the corporate thumbs of both Apple and Microsoft. This all falls under the heading of sustainable resources, because every time we reuse something, pass it on or put it in play again we are preserving the earth’s precious and finite resources.

So here I am again further lightening the load for my journey through life. As I sort even the too many travel bags I see that the one given to me by my ex boyfriend (he got for x number of accident free days on the job) is perfect and the one I bought rarely gets used, and so it heads into the next give away pile. On a side note he gave me many useful things which I use often and they always remind me of him….sneaky devil!

So back to the downsizing and selling and giving away to fund my next adventure. I promise it won’t be boring!

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When I find a love greater than the one I have for myself I will marry again…

May 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

After a very long marriage, mostly happy and seven years of dating, love, lust and everything in between I realize my college buddy Brian was right…never say never.

I am at a place where I realize that a marriage to the right person is a possibility I never thought I would entertain again is a viable option. It was once suggested to me that maintaining two residences even in marriage would make it the ideal state…I thought that sounded like being tethered to not being single…without the benefits of either and the issues of both. I was hasty in my judgement of this concept. I see the real value in it as I love to move about on road trips without bringing along a lot. maybe relationships should be more like travel, less baggage more fun?

I have downscaled my physical belongings maybe it is time to downscale my emotional baggage again and be ready to move about the cabin of life more freely.

I frequently turn down men for first or second dates because they
A) Come across as needy
B) Come across as potential stalkers
C) Are unable to cherish therefore cannot be respected.
D) Are not looking for the same qualities in a lasting relationship as I am
or
E) all of the above

I have realized I am old fashioned; I want a man who will cherish my feelings, take care of me, appreciate my intelligence and protect me. A man that I can and will respect and give my love to…is that asking too much?

I have known one person who fit that bill but we let it burst into flames under pressure in a foreign language on the streets of a strange ancient city, so unless it is like a Phoenix ready to rise again, that ship has sailed! (Do we like my use of mixed metaphors?)

In the meantime I am happy making art, painting, working, sailing and taking online courses until my superhero arrives. : )

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51 Things I have learned in Life

April 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

51 Things I have learned in Life

  1. A smile goes a long way.
  2. Don’t poop your pants after your 2nd year it cuts down on quality sandbox time with others.
  3. Eat your veggies so you’ll grow up strong and healthy.
  4. Make friends easily you will need some.
  5. Question authority when it seems unreasonable…you know you have to pee now even if it is five minutes after recess.
  6. Respect the lesson. Listen and incorporate the information.
  7. Art teaches you how to understand many other things.
  8. Sharing resources is just plain a good idea.
  9. Don’t be afraid to be the new kid. Be yourself.
  10. Boys will like you, yeah some will be icky but appreciate them for their good taste.
  11. No you may not grow up to be a mathematician but you will use math daily, so make it your friend.
  12. External ugly is temporary, internal ugly is forever.
  13. Learn a foreign language or two even if you suck at it in the beginning.
  14. Wear clothes which reflect your personality not someone in a magazines.
  15. Befriend nerds for they shall inherit the world of cyberspace and beyond.
  16. Be nice to the hot guy because he may also be very sweet.
  17. Take responsibility for your actions and your life.
  18. Get a job you love to go to and teaches you something.
  19. Don’t be afraid to get a different job which teaches you something else and pays more even if you have to work harder.
  20. Live at the beach even for one season in your life.
  21. Go to community college if you aren’t sure what you really want to do with your life.
  22. Start a business doing something you are better at than your acquaintances.
  23. Learn to grow food.Image
  24. Learn to cook from scratch if you love Chinese food take a class.
  25. Don’t take no for an answer when yes is what you want.
  26. Continue to learn in your chosen profession.
  27. Grow a tree from seed of your favorite fruit.
  28. Find meaning in the universe that makes you a better person.Image
  29. Shop at thrift stores for clothes that look good on you and have them altered to really fit you. This small matter will make you look at though you are wearing the clothes not the other way around.
  30. Volunteer to help in your community and on projects to help others, even at work.
  31. Forgive others and most importantly yourself.
  32. Be a tourist in your own county and picnic often.
  33. Visit the elderly. Take flowers in jars from your garden to the local low income nursing or pensioners home.
  34. Take in a stray.
  35. Write hand written thank you notes.
  36. Walk your local parks and enjoy the scenery.Image
  37. Have a hobby working with your hands, it frees your mind.Image
  38. Talk to strangers when waiting in lines.
  39. Compliment people freely.
  40. Pay cash, trade or barter whenever possible.
  41. Save up and take a trip.
  42. Move to a foreign country even for a few months. It changes everything.
  43. Go back to school and learn something you always wanted to learn.
  44. Improve your outlook and commit to happiness.
  45. Appreciate all you have already.
  46. Show your love.
  47. Get to know your representatives and express your concerns.
  48. Declutter your life. Live in the present not with boxes of memories.
  49. Have a purpose.
  50. Set goals. Small ones and big ones on a timeline.
  51. Read.

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