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Preparing to Launch

It took me longer than I had planned to get myself ready for the next step, the daunting drive from Indiana to California. I visited with friends and family. I drove around my town with the windows down, listening to all of the songs I did in high school. (as explained in my Deer Diary entry ) I poured over maps and researched routes to take. I read about cities, and parks, and sights that marked one's way across this great country. I spoke to people who had done it. I listened to my heart a lot. I listened to the Universe. I listened to the splendid sounds of spring in Indiana - the morning songs, the nightly serenades. I took my sweet time.

And then I was ready.

I had decided to take Route 66. I had been tracking the weather and saw this perfect window of perfect weather (I needed to be able to jump out of my car and take my picture without worrying about rain or tornados) and launched. I would leave on a Thursday.

I had a book on Route 66 and an idea of the things I wanted to see, and an idea of where I would stop, but I knew one couldn't really plan too much when setting out on such an adventure, alone, with a 16 year old Pomeranian in tow. I would just have to feel my way across America; stop when I needed to, see what seemed worth it, and always with me, take time. I wanted to honor this journey. I wanted to properly document. I wanted to spend time on the road, learning the history of Route 66. I wanted to learn more about myself. I also had to take a couple of things into consideration. Money. I didn't have unlimited funds to just frolic and see everything and stay as many nights as I needed to. Also, the whole, days spent in your car, aspect. How long could I actually do that without totally losing my shit? I would have to feel it, make decisions as I went, be cheap, but smart about where I would stay, and maybe allow for a splurge a night or two. Even if I could afford to stay somewhere nice, cheap motels are kind of my style. It's good for the soul and the character. It's important to not be a princess ALL of the time. Also, secretly I've always lived my life as though it were a movie someone was watching, and how boring would it be if I was always staying somewhere "nice," you know? Ya gotta throw in some grit, some edge, some Motel 6's.

I wanted to feel the soul of the Main Street of America. I wanted to stop in the small towns and look into the eyes of its people, smile at them, talk to them. How much time had I spent just on one side or the other? I would have this beautiful opportunity to connect with the middle. I wanted to look out upon open fields surrounded by nothing but the land and the sky and connect to my center at the same time. I wanted to listen to the ghosts, those of the towns as well as my own. All I had was this rare and magical time with myself. No one and nothing else to distract me from me.

So much had happened in my life. One minute I was living sweetly, softly in Portland, Maine, and then woke up one morning and knew I needed to move to LA. Then, alone, I went abroad for a month, spending time in Lisbon, Morocco, Barcelona, and Paris. I got back and went to NYC for a week to teach yoga. I returned from it with three weeks to sell everything I had just acquired in the last year living in Portland, and vacate my beautiful apartment. All of which I did and here I would be, on the road, on my way to this whole new life, in California.

It was only fitting that I had this gift of time to process it all. This perfectly elaborate portal to deliver me. To the other side. I needed this to be a lengthy journey to properly sift through the events, the emotions, and to set forth the intentions of the next chapter - the west side story.

Many people at home applauded my courage. "Aren't you scared to drive all that way, by yourself? I could never do that," they'd say. "Won't you be lonely?" The truth was, I didn't know. I didn't have a clue if I was scared, or if I'd be lonely, or if I'd have regrets, or if I'd have a total meltdown, or if I'd even make it! Or if I'd arrive to California and realize that all I wanted to do was turn around. I just didn't know. The only thing I knew was that I had to go. And whatever happened would happen and I would just have to proceed from there, from that space. "Are you sure you want to live in Los Angeles?" Nope. I wasn't sure at all. "What will you do there?" "We'll find out," I'd answer. All I was certain of was my uncertainty, and the faith I had in myself, and the Universe, and my need for this adventure into the unknown. It was a very clear call that I could not screen, or avoid, or ignore. I was also a bit in a mild pre-shock if that makes sense? I was floating in quiet disbelief. Was I really going to just catapult myself into this suspension across the country? I pictured my little Rhonda the Honda carrying me, and my dog, and all that I owned - just a tiny little dot making its way into a vast mystery.

But when I woke up that Thursday morning in April, all I felt was ready.

"I do not have the slightest clue what I am doing... that's the adventure... I stopped worrying about it... that's the beauty." - Jason King

You mustn't live so lightly,

Spin your stories, tell your tales,

Let them dance across the oceans

And set the wind upon your sails.

For every truth found on your travels

And in the pits of your despair,

Is a shout into forever

Of "I existed, and I cared."

~ Erin Hanson

Los Angeles, CA

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