Tag: lessons

I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel.

20130323_074500

Real free range chickens. You never know where one is going to pop up.

I have some terrible news. Four of the baby goats that I wrote about last week died. They all belonged to the same mother, and she’s very, very sad. The day after they were born was a cold and blustery one (we get 40 mph winds out here) and in addition to the four goat casualties, the entire asparagus field froze. Needless to say, morale was very low on the farm that day.

It was the first really awful day I’ve had out here, so I guess we were about due for a reminder of how hard life can be sometimes. I just wanted to curl up in a ball with my roommate’s dog and watch sci-fi movies all day, but calling out of work just isn’t an option here.

It was also (not surprisingly) the first day I felt really lonely. I’m out here all alone on a farm full of freaking couples. Ew. Blek. (jk). Not only am I without a close friend, but I’m also the only one who doesn’t have a close friend on the farm or in a town nearby.

Realizing this made me evaluate my situation more closely. Why I decided to come all the way out here, what I’m trying to accomplish, and how it compares to my previous experiences traveling alone in far-off places.

In 2010, I traveled around South America a bit by myself, hoping to do some major soul-searching, transformation and self-development. However, I was also kinda sorta trying to maintain a long-distance relationship which turned out to be emotionally and physically abusive. We were in contact every day. A friend I had met while volunteering in Perú even mentioned that she recalled my relationship “strongly affecting” me when I was there. I was only really on my own during a 4 week yoga detox in the Amazon, when I told my boyfriend I didn’t think we should be in contact. Looking back now, it seems like half of me was still living my old life in the US the entire time.

Whatever progress toward healing I had made in South America that year quickly dissipated upon returning to my home state. I tried to fall back into my old life, which felt even more uncomfortable than it had before I left. Tight. Restrictive. Itchy.

Whatever it was that led me to up and leave in the first place (maybe I’ll ponder that later) was unresolved. I didn’t really do it right the first time, but now I’m pretty sure I got me right where I want myself. Feels good. Yes, I am lonely sometimes, but I’m also very grateful to be single and free.

The first time I heard this song was on a 13 hour bus ride which marked the beginning of a journey that would change my life forever.

I’m right where I want to be, doing what I want to do, and it was all my idea. I remember a conversation with a co-worker at the camping store I used to work at back in NJ. It was sometime during the remarkably long and drawn out process of separating from my ex-boyfriend. He told me I “need a man.”

“I don’t need a man,” I corrected him, “I need a saxophone, a dog, and to move out of my parents’ house.” Those were my priorities. I wouldn’t even entertain the  possibility of another relationship until I had those things.

Welp, now I pretty much have everything I wanted, except the dog technically belongs to my roommate. I got it all. Everything I asked for. Thing is, I still don’t want a boyfriend. I couldn’t be happier with my life just the way it is right now. Why would I want to go and change it? Besides, Nikola Tesla died a virgin and there isn’t a single person reading this who doesn’t owe their happiness to him <3deadgaynerdcrush<3

It’s as if I’ve found some kind of peace and stillness that’s really comforting. However, with all that said, I can already feel the ground rumbling from far off in the distance.. Peace and stillness never last very long. Something major is going to happen to shake my life up, and it’s coming in the next few months, so I’m focusing hard on being present and APPRECIATING EVERY MOMENT RIGHT NOW WHILE I CAN.

The cheese stands alone.

I feel like I should close this one with a namaste or something.

namaste, yo.

I think we’re alone now

Children behaaaave- that s what they say when we’re together

I’ve been meaning to post an update for a good long while. At first, I as too busy traveling, but recently it’s been more an issue of general aversion to technology.

Please allow me to squish my last several weeks of adventure into as tiny of a space as I can..

After I left Seattle on Feb 15, I wet up to Bellingham, WA.
After getting off the evil I-5, I got to enjoy this lovely view on Chuckanut Drive

2013-02-15 16.25.082013-02-15 16.25.04

Plus a surprise tea house and zen garden!

2013-02-15 16.13.04
Let me tell you, I freaking LOVED Bellingham! So much that I didn’t want to leave, and after I did.. I went BACK!
I stayed with a really rad chick I had met while volunteering in Peru and her awesome roommates!

2013-02-18 13.34.39
B-ham is a fascinating town that has it’s very own expert in every trade and locally-sourced anything you could possibly want. It’s also small enough to walk around and only a 10 min drive from killer hiking. My stay there was a nice balance of fun, exploring, bonding, and recovering from the previous two weeks of my trip.

Breaking off to travel solo was really liberating. I had no pressure to be anywhere by any time and was able to quietly reflect on the first half of my journey. Basically, I met this tremendously amazing person from Seattle on the M train in Brooklyn, we hung out once, he flew back to his land (MY land now, mwahahaha!), and the second time we hung out was a two-week cross country road trip from NJ to WA. While I was explaining the story to my freind in B-ham, she stared at me in disbelief and blurted, “WAIT- these things don’t actually happen in real life!”

And she was pretty spot on. Being in such close proximity to someone I hardly knew for such a long period of time was different from anything I’ve ever done before. It turned out to be an incredible experience that I’ll cherish forever, but wooooooooo boy, talk about INTENSE! Even moreso because, in the process of getting to know one another (and meeting one another’s families), I realized how he and I were polar opposites in so many ways. I don’t know how/if we would have ever connected had a little voice in my head not been SCREAMING at me to talk to him on the train that day.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we had designed and participated in our very own bizarre experiment that should probebly be turned into a documentary. In conclusion, getting to know someone in this particular fashion is a great way to fry yr freaking brain.

During the last few days of my trip with spooky, i began to feel like the ground could disappear from beneath my feet at any moment. And if it did, I wouldn’t have thought of it as anything out of the ordinary. After all, if nothing is ordinary then isn’t everything, also? Wrap yr noodle around that one..

So, I essentially spent the majority of my first solo day wandering around B-ham, loosely holding onto a thin, 18 foot long strand of thread that acted as the only tether between my body and my head, which floated reluctantly along behind me like a helium balloon. This resulted in my body showing up places before my mind could catch up and caused some diffuculties in social interraction as well as a perpetual state of confusion as to where I was.

But after going for a quick run, I was back on track again and all was hunky dory. The next day, I ended up running a half marathon with one of the girls I was staying with. 13.1 miles was the farthest I’d run in over a year. When she first invited me to join her on the run, I had a fleeting moment of self-doubt. But that doubt fell victim to the “hell yeah” response I knew was pushing through right behind it.

The run was along one of Bellingham’s many gorgeous trails and was definitely challenging- both physically and emotionally. My running partner was a really sweet, badass girl who was particpating in some sort of domestic violence workshop and seemed to be a social worker in training. So in the process of getting to know one another over a 13 mile run, I started revealing things to her that I’d never actually directly told anyone before. Things that had been weighted down with too much shame and fear to ever express. Emotionally intense is the new black, yo.

So I got a free therapy session while declaring my issues to the sweet breeze and everyone running in the park that day. If it was gonna come out some time anyway, I’m glad it did while I was running alongside a bright, compassionate, and very strong young woman.

After pouring so much energy into self-discovery thru establishing deep social bonds at the speed of light, I was about ready for some time REALLY alone. So I slept in the trees of Larrabee State Park an didn’t communicate with a single person for an entire day. It was cold and rainy, but a much needed, nourishing visit with mother nature.

Sweet Jesus, just typing that took a lot out of me. I changed my mind. This will not be a review of my past four weeks. I’ll have to break it all down into manageable chunks. I’m tired and I write too much.

I’m at the farm now and have been for almost two weeks. It’s wonderful to be settled and in the middle of nowhere with lots of free time and hardly any social obligations. I’ll catch up on that another time. Now I’m gonna go serenade my new dog-roommate with my saxophone.

There she goes again

This is not an end of the year review. In fact, I wouldn’t have remembered that today is New Years Eve without all the whining that appeared on my facebook news feed recently <3 This is NEWS!

I’ve drawn a rough outline of the next chapter in my life, and it’s going to happen on an organic farm in central Washington. After finally breaking the news to my family, I figured it’s safe to share with the internet. Acccctually… after delivering a compelling presentation on WHY I decided to do this, I ran from the room, frantically waving my arms over my head and squealing, “OMGZZ I HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT THIS!”

And I pronounce OMGZZ exactly how it’s written.

So.. why? Let me tell you.

0. I’ve been trying to get an internship on a small organic farm for the past few years. Until now, something has always prevented me from doing so: school, job, relationship, waiting too long to apply, travel plans, etc. I moved back into my parents’ house a little over a month ago right as a giant hurricane ate my home state. This made it impossible for me to get to my job in Brooklyn for a while, which I ended up leaving anyway. I knew I was ready to leave the east coast. With no work to do or electricity to numb my brain, I focused on obsessed over what my next adventure would be.

1. I had just finished reading Wild, by Cheryl Strayed and was seriously contemplating whether this was a good time in my life to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s been a while since I’ve traveled. I’ve never touched the northwest United States, but I keep hearing amazing things and have been feeling pulled in that direction recently.

2. In fact, when I returned from Perú in 2011 I almost took a farm internship in Oregon. I didn’t go because of my boyfriend. Don’t ever let a relationship interfere with your dreams, it causes many things to break.

3. When said relationship collapsed in a fiery Armageddon last year, I moved back into my parents’ house (I guess you can say this is a regular thing for me) and started going back to school to study nutrition. After one semester of memorizing information solely to regurgitate onto tests and pass VERY EXPENSIVE prerequisite classes that I could have taught myself, I concluded that the money I had saved up for Fall tuition would be better spent on renting an apartment in Brooklyn. I still believe this was a wise choice.

d. Living in NYC was an east coast overdose. I started using the term “ASAP.” wtf? I wanted to smack myself.

5. The idea of having another office job has gone from “unappealing” to “revolting” to “twitch-inducing.” During one interview, I was asked if the helper monkey-type job responsibilities sounded like something I would be interested in. In response, I very coolly stated, “Interesting is definitely not the word I would use, but I could do that.” Furthermore, I need fresh air and physical activity.

6. Believing that sticking my hands in the dirt was just as significant in studying nutrition as having my face in the books, I volunteered on an organic CSA farm in Stillwater, NJ over the summer.

For those who don’t know, community supported agriculture (CSA) is an even better way of supporting local farms than shopping at farmer’s markets. It involves purchasing a share of a farm for a particular season. The members pay up front, providing small farmers with some financial security, and then receive a portion of the farm’s harvest on a regular basis (usually weekly) throughout the season. This is wonderful because it encourages members to eat more fresh, seasonal produce that came from a local source and is probably organic. You’ll know because you can ask the farmer, face to face. In addition to supporting sustainable agriculture, CSAs reduce the need to shop at those awful, awful supermarkets where you will be tempted to buy processed junk and cheaper bio-messedwith produce that has been sprayed with who knows what and shipped in from countries where the farmers can’t afford to eat their own crops.

Volunteering on this farm was hard work, but it felt good and gave me a peace of mind I haven’t otherwise experienced since returning from my travels. It was the farm’s first season, so every day was.. a lesson. Without an irrigation system, we would fill huge jugs of water in the Paulinskill River that ran along the edge of the farm property and then water the plants by hand using empty beer cans and yogurt containers. All the other volunteers were magically fascinating and bright. It was absolutely more intellectually stimulating than most jobs I’ve had (with the exception of neuroscience research). My strength and ability was never doubted even though I was a skinny girl with no farming experience, which is always empowering and rare to encounter. The farmer, James, is a wonderful person and I would highly recommend paying him a visit at Goodness Grows!

When I explained my plans to my parents, my mother very politely implied that she thought I might be making a big mistake ::cough::totallyfreakedout::cough:: My parents, like most members of their generation, measure success by their salaries. My mom doubted that farming could be a sustainable career choice. However, I think that it’s one of the only sustainable career choices. Everyone needs food. The economy is fake and prone to collapse at the push of a button. Current industrial farming practices are destroying the earth and poor nutrition is making Americans sick with fatness. Things really need to change, and they’re already shifting in my direction. Just think of all the people who won’t know how to feed themselves when the terrorists take down the power grid? Think of all the people who don’t know what food is, or where it comes from? We must correct this!!!!!!!

Sustainable agriculture is clearly something that I care deeply about, as is nutrition. The two go hand in hand, and as of right now, I think that I can make a more significant impact in this field (ha! pun!) by studying on a farm. Will farming be my career? I can’t answer that right now. Maybe not? Maybe I’ll integrate what I learn into a more holistic nutritional healing practice? Maybe I will travel all over the world, working on farms with my cloth-diapered baby and dirty hippie life partner? Maybe I will write a book about it and move back to Brooklyn. Maybe I’ll start an urban farm/music venue/book club/yoga studio in Bushwick and keep bees on my roof? Ohhh yeah, I left a little piece of my heart in Bushwick. <3

Ooo! Ooo! That reminds me of the best part! The farm I will be interning on has BEES! Remember when I said I wanted to be a beekeeper?!?! Hey! I’m gonna do it!

2012-07-25 17.53.50

Right on!

I will miss Jersey a whole big lot, I’m sure. It’s funny- at no point while I was living in Brooklyn did I feel like I wasn’t still in New Jersey. I guess this is what happens when you grow up so close to NYC. I consider Manhatten, Brooklyn and Long Island to be extensions of NJ rather than NY. I KNOW MY NEW YORKER FRIENDS ARE GONNA HATE THAT!

I’m spending my last month doing the things I love the most as much as I possibly can (i.e. going to shows, hiking/trail running, and spending time with my fwiends). Just in this past year (alright, here’s your review!) I’ve met so many beautiful, interesting, and talented people. I’m so grateful to have had the pleasure of connecting with and learning from these brilliant new friends. I’m going to leave in about one month and drive to WA with one of my most favorite new friends. I’m über excited about this road trip! I’m sure it will be an excellent adventure on its own and satisfy my itch to roam before planting myself in central WA for the growing season. Let’s hang out! Even better, let’s hike and go to a show! Rawk!

EEEEEEEEEEEEE new things!

“How come every blonde girl runs?”

– some non-blondes talking shit about the new little white girl running through their neighborhood.. for no reason.

So the Leadville Trail 100 race happened this weekend. I also ran my first legit “long run” of 2012. 11 miles. More than half of the year slipped by before I pushed my mileage into double digits.

Slacker. I don’t know exactly why I’ve been taking it so easy this year. Maybe because I was working in retail and standing for long periods of time? Maybe I was excited to have time and energy to hike with friends or go to a show? Maybe it was just laziness? Either way, I’ve been much more disciplined about running recently and decided it’s time for a new goal.

I’m debating between trying to run an ultra and trying to run a sub-4 hour marathon. I’m leaning toward the latter because it seems way more feasible if I’m going to continue living in Brooklyn, and here’s why:

~ I don’t live near any trails, and I haaaaate long runs on the road. Yesterday I ran from my apartment, to Prospect Park, ran around the park a bit, and then came back. I got lost on the way back because I zoned out and stopped paying attention to the street signs. Hence 11 miles instead of 10.
~ I could accomplish this goal in a much shorter period of time.
~ Long runs take up a lot of time!! The more miles, the more time spent running, not to mention waiting for traffic and dancing around pedestrians.
~ $$ ultra registration fees are way more expensive, as is buying enough food to keep me alive while running 50 miles per week.

Running around Brooklyn is definitely interesting. Not my favorite, but you gotta do what you gotta do. It reminds me of running in Arequipa, Perú except less hilly, less dusty, fewer donkeys, and the cab drivers don’t try to run me over. I don’t get as many cat-calls or whistles here, either. Oh! and Brooklyn gets bonus points for always having a hydrant or fountain for me to run through when I get too hot!!!

This past week has been really stressful for me in my search for a job and trying to figure out the whos whats and wheres of my near future. One particularly rough day after a job interview I felt so frustrated that I had to run just to avoid tears and hysterics. I went from my apartment, across the Williamsburg Bridge, and back again. Approximately 7 miles. Normally, this would be no big deal, but it was the farthest I had run since moving to bk.

On my way back, I started to lose steam and felt really worn out. I focused hard on my posture and my breath. Running is like a moving meditation for me, which is one of the reasons I never bring music.  I knew that if I let my form get sloppy I would just be wasting precious energy I could be using to move myself back to my apartment, where food and a nice show were waiting.

And then I had one of my major epiphanies: Stop wasting your energy on actions that aren’t helping to move you in the direction you need to go.

Once in a while I learn a lesson while running. From what? I don’t know. Running gods? The chemicals that flood my brain after pushing myself through something not-so-comfortable? I’ve been able to draw so many parallels between running and life that I feel there must be some kind of little spiritual guru affiliated with the exercise who only appears to the weirdos who go out and do it for hours. I don’t know. The important thing is, this was exactly what I needed to hear at that very moment, and I don’t know how or if I would have gotten the message otherwise.

I love you, running Yoda.

If anyone’s interested for whatever reason, you can check my geeky running stats here.

This album got me through a really tough summer once.