Gratitude, passion, and joy. I have so much of it. I forget about these things a lot – when I’m stressed, overwhelmed, or stuck in a rut. What I have to remember is these things are within me and all around me whether I can see it or not. Taking a vacation, AKA a step back and outside of my “norm,” was the most poignant and important way to come back to terms with my appreciation for this life. Disconnecting to reconnect and revamp – this is 2015 and my glorious stint gallivanting about the West Coast. I wrote every day; because at the core of everything I am, I am a storyteller first and foremost. This is the story of my vacation (the abridged version)
My sister’s place is ridiculous, literally picture the set of the 90’s Nickelodeon show ‘Hey Dude,’ and that is her reality. She lives in a place called “Bordertown,” which as the name implies is near to a border – this particular one being the Nevada/California line. We had drinks with her friends Tim and Maddie which was really fun but very hard because there’s something about traveling that exhausts me which is ironic considering it involves a lot of sitting and plentiful opportunities for napping. I joked that I was jet-lagged, which made a lot of sense considering I had gone all the way from Mountain to Pacific Standard Time.
What can I say about the day? It was spent jumping off of rocks, looking at the beauty that is Lake Tahoe, and doing handstands on the beach. The sun was so warm it made my face hot which made me happy and feel weird all at once because it was supposed to be January. My sister’s ex-boyfriend was playing a show in Tahoe, and we made the plan to stick around town and maybe “catch an hour of his show before we headed back.” Well wouldn’t you know that hour turned into about four and I may have been throwing elbows on the dance floor to “maximize my space.” At the end of the night a nice young Asian boy turned to me and proclaimed: “You’re coming home with me!” I pointed to my sister, “I’m going home with her!” “She can come too,” he offered. As much fun as a three-some with my sister and a strange man seemed, to his dismay – I declined.
Last night there was an odd light coming from a mountain nearby the ranch. We decided this was probably the point in time where we discovered a UFO and either became famous or got abducted. Our investigation turned up nil, mostly because it was too muddy to go out any further on the feeder road. I met up with an old High School friend from Connecticut, Kristi, who had swapped East for West (it is best) and moved out to Tahoe several years before. It’s always kind of bizarre, when you come from the same small town and find yourself standing together 2,200 miles away wondering how the hell you got there and what kind of blue-collar, middle class existence you escaped. When we got back to Anitra’s Kristi had texted me: “When’s your birthday? I wanna know our relative positions in the astrological realm.” It was at this point in time I realized that I will never escape hippies, wherever I may be (I love you Kristi!)
I’ve never been to San Francisco before, so I did the most logical and touristy thing I could do: I got a hotel on the water with the closest proximity to Sea Lions possible. Do I have a thing for Sea Lions? Not really. But I figured they were probably pretty cool and could join my accruing list of spirit animals. I found out all the Sea Lions that hang out on the pier are males. So it’s kind of like a gay hot-spot for mammals. We met up with one of Anitra’s friends Lisette, and some of her friends. Lisette’s friends were Black Eskimos, which I didn’t even know existed. They had some weed which was apparently made by wizards because everyone instantly got violently high after smoking it. I had opted out by saying “I don’t mix my vices” (we were out drinking) because that made me sound cooler than admitting I don’t really do drugs. At one point someone said “I’m high as a giraffes eyebrows” and it went down in history as one of the best things I’d ever heard.
Today was probably my favorite day yet, although I’m probably pretty sure I’ve said that every single day of my vacation. We went hiking and walked the beach hand-in-hand and I wondered aloud if people thought we were lesbians. Anitra responded by saying we looked too much alike to be considered a couple. I laughed, thinking about all the lesbian couples I knew that looked way too much alike. Speaking of lesbians, we also visited an establishment called the “Cattown Cafe.” Essentially, some motherfucking genius decided to create a partnership with their local Animal Services and open a coffee shop that also involves cat adoption. Imagine if they opened a Cattown Cafe with booze, I would have so many cats. I’m headed now to see my friend Clyde – a reality that makes me want to cry, barf, smile, and jump for joy all at once. I may need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
When I saw Clyde we hugged and jumped up and down. She couldn’t even see my face but the first words she said to me were “DON’T CRY.” I didn’t cry but I was totally about to until she recommended against it. She then informed me we couldn’t actually jump up and down anymore because she had actually fractured her foot “jumping for joy” a few weeks prior. I thought “Well shoot. Who injures themselves with pure unadulterated happiness?” The answer is this: People I want to know. I met Clyde’s fiance who is legitimately named John Wayne. Clyde Valentine and John Wayne – that is something that is actually real and I want to officiate that wedding. I met her friend Jenn and she provided the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation necessary after I died seeing Clyde, although I probably didn’t need it until 6 am.
Well shit. Didn’t I just get here? Didn’t we just start having fun? I laughed a lot today which was really not conducive to getting a tattoo. I started my pre-tattoo banter by discussing the movie ‘Howard the Duck,’ more specifically the scene where alien/duck Howard, has sex with actress Lea Thompson. In case you’re wondering, bestiality in 80’s movies is a really great basic introductory conversation to have with a stranger – you figure out real quick just how weird you can be with the person in question. My tattoo was done by my sister’s friend, the lovely and talented Janessa Bates – who is from Tucson, cries during Parades, and gave me the greatest gift I could possibly bring home, a piece of art I will (have to) treasure forever, because it’s kind of not going away anytime soon.
1-10-15 (The Final Entry)
I’m currently on a plane and offended by my own body odor. How is it possible to sweat so much when my day has consisted of sitting? I am grateful for a lot of things right now – mostly for the seven dollars in my pocket that will allow me a mid-sky cocktail. I have priorities. I’m letting myself mourn a little bit because it’s healthy and it’s good. Quite frankly I’d be a little concerned if I was sitting here antsy to get back to work and life. I got to rest, and I got to reset. I realized that I’m so settled right now. I’m not searching for new communities or opportunities. I’m not spontaneously going to funk shows where the guitar player is wearing a tablecloth as an adult sized diaper because I don’t want to leave the comfort of my bungalow. I’m not making out like a high-schooler because I just let my straight female coworkers Tinder for me as a form of “dating” (Sorry Kristin, you’re very good at what you do and still employed) I did a lot in the last eight days I haven’t been doing.
I fed horses, I bundled sage, conquered the Reno beer scene, possibly saw a UFO, hung out with my ex-boyfriends ex-girlfriend (yes, I had a boyfriend once), spent enough time at the ocean enough to seriously contemplate why I live in a state that is landlocked, got tattooed, and a whole bunch of other things. This whole experience has been inspiring and reignited both my wanderlust and consciousness to the level of engagement I have with the world around me. While it’s important to realize I can live and thrive in so many places, I think for the foreseeable time-being I will bloom where I am currently planted and see what happens.
It was a bit of a reality check, a slap in the face and a call to action. To be forced to remember the importance of putting myself first, of adventure and spontaneity, of risk and recklessness. It’s the year of the goat, although I have not done enough research yet to tell you what that means. But it’s my intentional interpretation that we all just take inventory of the things we are and are not doing and figure out what we want and what we need and just make it happen. If you need further clarification? Take a vacation.