Lafayette, LA

The highlight of today was Kung Fu Panda. We all went to the movies – by “we”, I mean me, my mom… and Panda. 🙂 She has a bit of a crush on Jack Black in panda form. 🙂

Actually, the panda bear reminded me SO much of my brother, Joel, that it was uncanny. It made me miss him so much – he is just the funniest person I know. He always makes me crack up, and I have to say, out of anyone, I definitely miss him. But the cool thing was that a little later he called me, and we got to catch up on the phone a little.

And yes, I truly did bring Panda to the movies with me. Why not, right? Life’s too short. And I’m getting used to looking like the ‘special’ child. At least I’m happy. 🙂

Haven’t written much lately. I don’t know, I just haven’t been able to put fingertips to keyboard much. Either not much to say, or too much to say and I’m not sure how I want to say it. I want to write poetry, and I want to start a book, and I enjoy writing in this blog. I guess I’m just not sure where to put my energy, so I’ve just been storing it up inside.

Been eating lots of yummy Cajun food, though. Crawfish, and boudin, and rice and gravy, and grits… yum yum. The last few days have been really fun, relaxing in Louisiana. I took a walk down the road the other night, and walked up on the side of a field of rice… it was so gorgeous out, having recently rained, and all the hues were deep and earthy. I got some nice shots. Today, Mom and I went into Lafayette to watch the movie, and also to research my new camera purchase. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m getting close. 🙂

We pulled into a restaurant, considering whether we wanted to go in and eat, when suddenly there was a gigantic crack. It had been raining for about an hour or two, but suddenly there was this gigantic sound and we about jumped on each other, in the case. I turned to look where the sound had come from, and smoke was rising into the air. Lightning had struck the light post directly across the street, shutting off the power in the Auto store there. It was pretty terrifying, and there were rumors of a tornado warning.

So Mom and I went into the restaurant and had some margaritas.


The Grand Ole Opry

It’s really something interesting to drive (and walk) around the country by yourself. Every step is new, each rock is completely yours to touch, every bird yours to notice, and the sound of the water is yours alone to hear. I can stop when I want, take pictures of what I want, eat when I want, and find myself hilarious whenever I want.

I’m really a fantastic traveling companion. Haha. 🙂

Panda might tell you otherwise. But don’t listen to her. I mean really, she’s a panda.

Went to the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night. Couldn’t believe I was actually there. While I was outside in the park, listening to the outdoor band and sitting on a bench, I realized how strange it can be to be alone in moments like that. Literally everyone has people they are talking to and laughing with and discussing things with. Occasionally, conversations can happen with strangers, but they’re often over-rated and sometimes even annoying. And I wasn’t feeling lonely or left out, it was simply an awareness of being by myself whereas everyone else was together.

Walking into the Opry House was beyond thrilling. You could feel the history and the music in the air. It’s a gorgeous building; I wish it was still located in The Ryman, but you can’t have everything.

Dwight Yoakam was the main performer, and I was beyond excited to finally see him in person. It was his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry in over 16 years! Furthermore, his latest album is “Dwight Sings Buck Owens” – Buck being my favorite all-time singer, so I was basically in heaven. Dwight, dancing around with his skin-tight pants and ridiculous moves, twangy voice and tan cowboy hat. He was excellent, as was the entire evening. I admit it – I teared up at one point, overwhelmed by the fact that I was where I was, when I was, feeling how I was… just everything was perfect.

I also want to mention that on my way to the Opry House, my Magellan GPS system was telling me what to do, like the bitch that she is, and I had to laugh out loud when she said “Turn right onto Grand Olee Road” – stressing the long ‘e’- almost making an olé out of it. Hehehe.

See, these are the things that entertain me when I’m by myself.



One Month Anniversary!


I’m tired and sort of just want to go to bed, but I needed to at least publicly acknowledge the fact that today is my one month anniversary on the road. I left Sturbridge, Massachusetts on April 30th, and today is May 30th… so that makes a month. Math was never my strong suit, but I’m confident in these calculations, and I just wanted to make it known that I am still alive, and have yet to completely lose my mind.

A statement which could certainly be put into question once one is aware of how I spent my day. First of all, I smuggled Panda into the Atlanta Zoo… so she could meet her family. Then I proceeded to try and keep from hyperventilating as I saw my first real pandas in over 16 years… ::sigh::

It was a good day.

It was a damn good day.

And yay me for one month on the road!

River Majesty, Ellijay, GA

I really can’t complain about my present situation. I’m on my private deck, panda cheerfully (as cheerful as she can be) by my side, about a hundred-fifty feet above the river’s edge. I’m listening to doo-wop, with the background music of rippling water, and slowly consuming strawberry mentos.

Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon.

It’s also pretty cool when you can look out the kitchen window and see a deer, looking back at you. I was able to grab a rotting apple, cut it up in front of her, and throw her pieces. It’s crazy to have her little doe eyes watching me, much like a puppy, waiting for her treats. Beside her was a chubby little squirrel, happily munching on the kernels of corn I had thrown out there earlier this morning. We were a happy little family, and I understood how Lisa can stand out there for hours, feeding her animals.

Yesterday afternoon, there was a light rain, and afterwards, around 5:30, I decided to take a walk around the area. I was in absolute heaven, for the rain had inspired everything to glisten, and the light was respledently laying upon every little leaf and stone. My camera got a workout, as did I, and I fell asleep last evening, content that I had captured pieces of beauty in a box.

I found out today that there are pandas at the Atlanta Zoo… so… um… HOLY FREAKIN’ YES! 🙂 I plan on making a day of driving down there, sitting with Panda beside her family’s exhibit, and leaving when they force us out (panda kicking and screaming, I’m sure).

Beyond that, not too much to divulge. I’ve been finally able to relax a little more (relaxation is an art form) and I’m sure by the time I get it mastered, it will be time to move on. But alas, this time in Georgia is definitely a beautiful way to rejuvenate and prepare for the next leg of my journey.

I had a terrible dream last night. I dreamed that I was back home, no longer on the road. It was the strangest feeling; I didn’t understand why I was home, in my bed, and I started to panic. I couldn’t move, I was too tired, but all I could think was “No! I have to get on the road! I had already gone so far; why am I back here?” The dream brought up a lot of different emotions for me, but it gave me the ability to perceive my current travels as one would a memory, rather than a present experience. I guess it is crucial to see the bigger picture sometimes; and in this case, I was able to realize that forty years from now, when I look back on my life, this roadtrip will have been the turning point. I will be able to say “so then I packed my car, and drove away.”

And that was when my life began.

Cherokee, NC & Ellijay, GA

Panda is extremely happy about our new location. She is currently reclining like a queen in our king size bed, listening to the sounds of the Cartecay River outside our third story cabin window, occasionally mumbling to herself about how she wants to feed the deer in the morning.

This evening we are in Ellijay, nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia.

We were welcomed here a few hours ago by my cousin, Lisa. She is actually a second cousin of my mother’s, and they grew up together. Mommy is very happy to know I am safely ensconced here with family, not gallivanting about couchsurfing. It is absolutely gorgeous here, so I can’t deny that I’m content to be here, as well. First of all, the drive alone was majestic, traveling through the mountain ranges. My straight and wide recollection of highways could barely handle the curvy turns and twists of the narrow roads here; nevertheless they are termed as highways, and are the only way to get from point A to B. As I drove, I couldn’t help but to think how even a hundred years ago, a mile was a mountain, both figuratively and literally. No wonder people settled into the curves of the hills and never left; there were little options beyond that existence. There is something both tranquil and terribly isolating in that thought.

Before the Blue Ridge Mountains welcomed us, Panda and I briefly visited the Great Smoky Mountain Range, as well. I was thrilled to attend my very first Native American Powwow, right on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina. I woke up, relatively early (for me), said goodbye to Chris as he left for work, then headed over to Cherokee for the Memorial Day Weekend Powwow. As I drove deeper into the mountains, I could barely contain my joy – I could smell the husky smell of wood smoke, and almost drove off cliffs a couple times due to my absolute awe of all that was around me. I was tempted to pull off to the side of the road, and simply refuse to leave. For the rest of my life.

Nevertheless, I made it to the powwow, and gratefully so, for it was a wonderful experience. I sat next to a nice woman named Pat, who was also traveling alone, and we both enjoyed taking lots of pictures of the singers and dancers. As soon as the singers began drumming, I felt that burgeoning feeling in my chest again. I have felt so much energy, deep within my chest – first with yoga, then the mountains, now the music. It’s as though the air is pressing down upon my heart, and it is a perfect mixture of yin and yang, pleasure and pain. As the drumbeats started, and the players mixed their voices into the beat, tears formed in my eyes, and I could barely swallow. Again I was overwhelmed with profound emotions, spilling up from my soul. It is not only an awareness of joy and of life, but also of a deep soul pain, probably in a war between feeling and healing.

I’ve only been with Lisa for a few hours, and already we have had incredible conversations. She is a great representation of the kind of person I hope to be, and has accomplished many of the things for which I strive. At the very least, she owns this cabin, which is a perfect symbol for me of everything I dream of – the earth, a sense of peace, security, and authenticity. She might have to pry me off the porch to get me to leave.

Savannah, GA – Part 2

Before I continue, I want all my dear readers to know that my idea of drunken debauchery is not nearly enough to make you swoon. And when I discuss my orgiastic, drunken times in Savannah, they are in fact, on the whole, innocent. For me, however, they were overwhelming and far, far out of my league.

I woke up in bed with Angelo the Swiss and Tess. Miraculously, I had no hangover, and other than feeling a bit misplaced, I felt great. Tess, Angelo, Felicia, and I all eventually woke our groggy asses up and headed over to “the island” – a long discussion ensued about what “the island” really was. It is in fact, a number of islands off of Savannah, but the one they mean is the one to which they refer… if that makes any sense. Anyhow, we headed over there to Tess’ mother’s studio, where she teaches yoga. I had never experienced yoga before, although handfuls of people had told me it would be perfect for me, so I was looking forward to a new experience (yes, another).

The hilarity of the moment hit us all as we were sitting outside her mother’s studio, waiting to go in for the yoga class. Tess was sitting on the curb, and the rest of us three were squished on a bench outside the studio. Angelo was in the middle of us two girls. In fact, Angelo was in the middle of us two girls – smoking a cigarette and drinking a Red Bull! Preparing for yoga, apparently, hahaha. Him and his quiet confidence made me smile a lot during our time together.

Tess’ mother was delightful – she was French, and the exotic sound of her voice mixed with the ting-ting music and the smell of lavender was enough to slay anyone. As soon as she started speaking softly about the tenets of yoga- the re-connection with the body, the releasing of pain, etc. – well, I started to cry. It was ridiculous – I almost had to get up and leave so I could sob for a while. We hadn’t even started the yoga part! So that was a sign for me that I was feeling some turmoil in my soul, but I kept myself together and completed the hour. And I really enjoyed it – hope to do more yoga in the future. It is very empowering.

Fast-forward. I don’t have time to relive too much of this.

Tess went to a fashion show with Fletcher, to watch his boyfriend Xavier. Tess looked hot, Fletcher was delightful, I didn’t meet Xavier until later. Meanwhile, Felicia, Angelo, and I went downtown to meet up with three bicyclists who were traveling from Florida to Virginia, on bike – which is totally rad. Yes, totally rad. And they turned out to be exactly that way, as well. Jason was basically incredible, John was yummy and delicious (and no, I don’t know from actual taste), and then there was Andrew.

As soon as I heard his name was Andrew, I was like ‘ugh.’ And if you know me, you know why.

It always happens that way though. And after we all went to a sushi restaurant, had a quick meal in our bright yellow spandex (okay that was just Jason), we returned to Tess’ to get ready to go out for the night. As I’m doing my thing, my phone rings. Everyone’s laughing and having a great time, so I don’t think twice about the random number, or try to analyze the voice on the phone. I ask who it is. “Someone you don’t want to talk to,” he replies, so I say “Why are you calling me if I don’t want to talk to you?” to which he responds that he’s graduating on to the next step in the army, and I go “Holy shit! Why are you calling me!?”

At least I was a bitch (and me being a bitch is like the average person trying to be nice) BUT I tried. Anyways, it was Andrew, which shouldn’t have come as such a surprise to me, because he always shows up when I’m either delicate or growing stronger – either way, it’s never good.

Enough of that. A blip in the radar.

Shakespeare in the Park; Forsyth Park, to be exact. Shakespeare on Love, to be precise. Terrible acting, some pretty music, hilarious companions, couple glasses of wine.

River Street, Savannah. Known for it’s bars. Let’s just say I got to know that street well. And I didn’t even drink that much (swear to Jesus) but I ended up on a bench sobbing my eyes out (pent-up from yoga, perhaps?) and eventually with my head in a trash can.

First, and hopefully the last, time that happens.

6:00 AM finally welcomed us back to Tess’ place, where I was numb and definitely sensing the “fight or flight” instinct. All I wanted to do was leave, and I shared this with Jason.

In fact, that was one of my favorite moments from that night. Everyone else had left my car (I drove half of us home) except for Jason and I. Jason, who is about 7 feet, haha, was curled up with my pillow and panda in the passenger seat, almost falling asleep, but being all doe-eyed and trying to talk to me at the same time. It was adorable, and when he asked me if I had a good night, I sort of said no- that it wasn’t my thing. But when I shared that I might be leaving, he assured me that he wasn’t going to let me, that it wasn’t safe, and that he would be very upset if I did.

Looking back, that was incredibly sweet.

Between Jason and Tess luring me into the house and away from the steering wheel, I eventually came inside and got ready for bed (yes, at 6 in the morning). However, not before I quietly returned to my car, put some Patsy Cline on the stereo, curled up myself with panda and my pillow, and sobbed my eyes out. It was one of those rare bouts of sadness, where your soul expands, contracts, and empties out of you into the air around.

It was something I apparently needed.

That night I fell asleep to Tess and Angelo giving each other full-body massages. Oil and all.

I left at 10:30 AM, after a couple hours of sleep.

Farewell, Sturbridge, MA

I was supposed to leave in a half hour. Considering that I’m not showered, the car’s not packed, and in other words I’m not remotely ready, I’m assuming that I’ll leave in… a while. The point is, I’m leaving. Eventually.

Panda’s really upset that I haven’t spoken about her yet. Panda is my panda bear (I’d call her a stuffed panda bear, but she is sensitive about that). She is going to be my companion on this ridiculous road trip of mine. So consider this a forewarning that as time goes on… my relationship with her will probably become closer and you will hear far too much about her.

What I’m trying to casually say but failing is that Panda is very real to me, and I love her, and sometimes our relationship might appear a bit schizophrenic… or something. 😛

ANYWAYS, I just wanted to write a little something before I left. I wasn’t expecting it to be profound or inspiring, since I’m still waking up and I have a million other things on my mind.

I’m going to miss this silly place, as much as I currently can’t stand it. Especially my house, and my room – for that’s my safe place. But it’s true that I barely ever leave my room, because the outside world here has lost all beauty. So as much as I will miss the comfort… the safety… I will not miss the slow fading of my soul.

See- that was deep, right? Haha.

First stop: Jeanmarie. My dear writer friend is allowing me refuge in her humble abode in the Pennsylvania mountains. We have yet to meet in person, and I am very excited about it. We’re going to sip tea and talk about the things that matter.

Good bye, my friends. Although you will remain no further away from me as you are now. So more appropriate would perhaps be… Goodbye, my room and my security and the suffocation of my Self.

I need to just shut up and get packing.