View from my hotel room in Florence, Oregon. I am in love with these conifers.
After being on the road now for 29 days, there are some constants popping up in my experience.
One is that in conversations along the way, when they get to the point where I say: “I drove from Fort Myers, Florida,” people are uniformly aghast. They respond with the question: “do you mean, you drove that distance by yourself?” Their mouths are usually agape. When I respond affirmatively, they say some version of: “you’re brave!”
I don’t feel brave. I do feel like I’m regaining a confidence that I had lost somewhere along the way in living my adult life.
A second constant is that my own mouth is agape with wonder and awe at the beauty of this land that reveals itself around every bend in the road. As I drive, maybe because I am alone, I notice the beauty of this earth, and exclaim to myself: “WOW!” or alternatively, “Oh My God!!!” No kidding guys—it’s jaw-dropping beauty out there.
A third constant is the ease of this drive—I think it’s been around 4,000 miles so far. There were only two parts of the drive that had me gripping the wheel and gritting my teeth. One that I already mentioned was the drive out of Yosemite, with the sheer drop off on the passenger side of the car. That’s when my mind went to the plug in the front driver’s side tire. (I did have the tires checked before I left Fort Myers, so do know they’re capable of making a drive like this.)
The second time I was scared, was driving on 580, on my way from Yosemite to San Francisco. The heavy traffic started just before Livermore and came to an abrupt stop on the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge. I stayed in the “slow lane” behind the semis, driving 80 mph, while cars whizzed by me in the two or three lanes on both sides of me—they had to be going between 90 and 100mph.
Once I made it in to San Francisco, I spent five days with my brother, Casey, sister-in-law, Kristy, and nephew, Chase. I also got to see my nephew, Sean, and my niece, Shawn. Thanks, Sean, for spending the day with me at the De Young Museum, for lunch, and for dinner at your house the night before. It is wonderful to see you thriving in your personal and creative life. Thanks Casey and Kristy, for sharing your house, your lives, and your time with me. I had a glorious time with you! Loved seeing the veggies and fruits you grow in your backyard, Kristy. You are an urban farmer extraordinaire! Loved our visit to Muir Woods, Casey, and seeing your current project.
This is a photo of the Hoffman Institute teachers who worked with me: Ian, Sudas, Lori, Mary, and Steve. Thank you with all my heart!
Then I went to the Hoffman Institute program at White Sulfur Springs in Saint Helena, CA. I was one of 30 students from all over the United States, and Dubai. It was an amazing experience. I encourage everyone who would like to make a deep change to look into this program. I was able to address core issues that have stopped me from thriving in the way I’d like to, despite therapy and 40 years of daily meditation. The change that has taken place in me is profound. If you’d like to explore this option, they are happy to talk with you. Call them. They also have scholarships, so don’t let finances stop you. I’d also be happy to talk with you—just call or text me. If I’m driving, I’ll call you back. www.hoffmaninstitute.org
From Saint Helena, I drove north on Hwy. 5 in to Oregon and spent the night in Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (and white-haired men with ponytails—that truth from my sister, Suzy’s text). That drive is gorgeous, guys! Mountains are on both sides of the road all the way. Northern California gave me a massive feeling of internal spaciousness, as I drove that route. It is beautiful, absolutely beautiful!
I’ve stopped in Florence, Oregon, for a couple of nights. This little town on the Pacific Coast is worth visiting—I’m glad I came. Rhododendrons are currently in bloom and I saw a yellow one for the very first time yesterday. Gorgeous! I’m in love with the conifer trees and the architecture of the bridge you drive across to get in to town.
Regarding where I end up settling, I’ve noticed a couple of things that are essential ingredients for my happiness. I really love the feeling of spaciousness I’ve encountered on this drive. I’ve encountered that feeling in me when I’m in areas without much population. I love seeing mountains on the horizon somewhere—they feel so restful to my eyes and mind. I also know that I want tall conifers around me. I love having access to big water—the Pacific, or the Atlantic—within a few hour’s drive. I’ve discovered that I don’t need to be right at the edge. I want four seasons, but more sun than overcast in the winter.
For now, I’m happy to be living “in my body” and having no specific address. Living each day having only a general idea about where I’m going next, and with no plans beyond that point, forces me to live in the moment. And since this moment is the only one we’ve ultimately got, I want to really be alive and fully aware inside of it.
I’m headed to Eugene, Oregon in a couple of days.
Happily, from the road,