Travel Log: First Leg.

Dear Cyber-Friends,

Today I basically woke up inside a cloud. With me inside this cloud is the city of Portland, OR.

View from the bedroom/living room window.

View from the bedroom/living room window.

After my adventures in Montana, I took the scenic route back into my old home-state of Idaho, driving on a two-lane highway winding alongside and back and forth over the Clark Fork river. I added several hours to my trip, but it was worth it for the beautiful scenery, the more relaxing experience, and the avoidance of a monotonous freeway.

I took a break from the road in Sandpoint, ID; the next largest town to where I grew up. I walked around a bit, seeing familiar sights and noticing changes from the last time I was there. It’s the first time I’ve been back since I moved out on my own, seven or eight years ago (I think… It might have been longer).

Back in the southern reaches of my old stomping grounds.

Back in the southern reaches of my old stomping grounds.

From here I continued on the more scenic highway until I got to Spokane, WA, where I finally relented to the necessities of time and got on the freeway to cross Washington. I headed towards Tacoma, and made it to my aunt and uncle’s house in time for dinner!

First order of business the next day — after tea, breakfast, and visiting, of course — was swinging by my storage unit to drop off as much as I could reasonably part with for the next year. After that, I took my car in to get a pre-road trip check-up, and then I was free to just relax and have fun the rest of my visit!

It was awesome getting to hang out with some of the family again; I went to a couple yoga classes with my aunt, went out to dinner with two of my cousins, hung out in the incredible apartment one of them just moved into (and meet her cat!), got treated to lunch by another uncle… I love my Washington-based relations, and it’s always a good time when we get together.

In the middle of my Tacoma stay, I took a quick trip up to Seattle and Bellevue to visit a few more friends. In Seattle, we went out for dinner at Some Random Bar (one of my favorite places — check it out the next time you’re there. Seriously.), and hung out afterwards watching a favorite show back at their home. In Bellevue, we test-ran a tabletop RPG one of the household has created, and had a total blast. That’s got to be one of the funnest gaming experiences I’ve had, and I absolutely want to play again!

After a short week in Washington, it was time to move on. I drove to Portland, OR yesterday, and am now enjoying the hospitality of a fellow unschooler and twitter-friend! Last night we listened to Welcome to Night Vale (the feral dogs episode), watched some Classic Doctor Who (Tom Baker era, “The Brain of Morbius”), and watched the first episode of Galavant. Much geeky fun was had by all (obviously!).

I’ll be here for a couple days, hanging out and exploring Portland. On Friday I’ll be taking off again, driving through Oregon, and meeting up with my brother for the first time since we were all last in Idaho. I’m so excited to visit him! I’ll be spending a long weekend at his place before I venture on into Territory Unknown…

I’ll keep you posted.

Love,

GeGi.

Trip Log Seattle: Post Trip.

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I’ve been back in Hawaii for a day and a half now…

Yesterday I unpacked; today I’m diving straight into looking for work. That was always the plan, but also it feels like I’m keeping myself busy in order to not have time to be sad about being home and leaving my friends behind.

The last days in Washington were a bit of a emotional roller-coaster; some unpleasant issues arose that I hadn’t expected, but they were counter-balanced by some people being awesome that I also hadn’t expected. And in a way, that made leaving a little bit worse, because my time in Washington was filled with awesome people. I felt at home in a way I don’t — and haven’t — in Hawaii, or much of the time I was living in Seattle, or even back in Idaho when I was growing up. I felt like I was “among my people”.

But at the same time, even though I’m not going to see most of them again for a year, I feel so much happier and more comfortable and confident in myself now that I got to spend time with them in the first place. Just knowing there’s somewhere I can belong makes not being there that much easier.

The past year in Hawaii, I had a lot of healing and processing and growth to do. It was a lot of solitary internal work that I needed to focus on, so I didn’t mind that I didn’t really have a “peer group” on the island. I wasn’t ready for a social life of my own, so being around the social life of my parents was enough of that sort of interaction, for the most part. I didn’t miss having friends of my own very much, because at that point I wasn’t used to them and couldn’t see the benefit.

Well, that’s certainly changed now!

As I talked about before, being back in Washington was a way to open up that growth and processing a little, to compare it to where I was at when I started. I was able to see my progress, see which parts were healed over into shiny new scars, which were still scabs, and which were still painful to poke at. I was able to honestly talk to friends about what I had gone through, which I hadn’t done before I left. I could assimilate and integrate the work I had done on my own, with the surroundings and people I had to leave behind to do it.

And I could start to make new friendships, renewed relationships, and fresh associations and memories. It was probably the healthiest, most rewarding, funnest three weeks I’ve had in years, if not ever. I’m grateful for all of it, even the parts that were difficult, because it taught me just how much I’ve come into my own and how much I’ve gained in the last year, and in the last five years.

Even though I miss being around friends, I’m excited to see where my life goes now, what opportunities and adventures arise in the next year, and the year after that. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I have a feeling it will be good…

Love to you all, cyber-friends.

–G.G.

Trip Log: Reflections of Past and Present.

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Two weeks down, one week to go of living out of my suitcase… Yay for other people’s washers and dryers…

This trip has been so interesting. I’m meeting up with people from various points in my history around Seattle, and it all feels very natural and easy to fall back into the rhythms of the healthiest part of our relationship. I think it’s a sign of how much we’ve all changed and grown; we are all more stable in ourselves now and the friendships we had, however turbulent at the time, were based on solid ground. It’s made me much more relaxed, and I keep having a strange feeling I can’t quite place, but I think it has to do with how different — and better than before — everything would be for me if I lived here again.

I’m not planning on moving back — I’m not planning anything beyond the next year I’m spending in Hawaii — but after my time here I feel like it would be a possibility again. But I don’t feel like I’m going to. I still feel like I’m done with the city itself; it’s just these people I’m not done with having as close parts of my life. I’m going to miss them, miss the energy they bring into my life, miss the parts of my personality they each draw out, miss being a part of their lives, miss feeling like I fit in here. But I’ll cherish knowing that I felt that way. I had doubts when I left. This has laid them to rest for good, I think. There are people here who love me, and who I love. There are places here that accept me, where I can belong when I choose to be there. I don’t really ask for much more than that from life.

Much love to you all, cyber friends.

–G.G.

Trip Log Seattle: In Northgate and Bellingham.

Being back in Washington state was a little surreal. Air travel always has a bit of a strange reality feeling to it, but coming back to a place I haven’t seen for over a year really adds to the feeling.

Walking through the neighborhood where I used to live, back when I first moved to Seattle, seeing what businesses have changed and which are still around, recognizing landmarks… It all really brought home just how much I’ve grown and changed since I lived here. I kind of like it. I kept imagining it must feel similar as to when a graduate college student returns to their old campus after living out in the world for a while and making it. There’s the nostalgia, but not exactly any regret about not being there anymore. And after the drama I went through while living in various places in WA, it felt cathartic to visit the beginnings again. The much-needed time and space to heal those wounds was tested, and it held.

It’s been fantastic to see my friends and family, and I’m really enjoying spending time just hanging out with them. I really wanted this trip to have that kind of relaxed ‘just become part of their lives for a while’ kind of feel, rather than an official visit with an agenda, etc. We do special things, still, but it’s all very low-key and not stressful.

I’ve only been gone a few days now, but it already feels so natural to be here.

–G.G.

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Trip Log Seattle: Pre-trip.

Greetings, cyber-friends.

The Seattle Trip is getting close. I’ve been house-sitting the past two weeks and only got back home yesterday — with food poisoning. Today was spend in town running errands. This evening will be spend updating the photo blog, working through the backlog so I’m not behind when I leave. That gives me two days to get my stuff together and pack for the three weeks I’ll be gone… Nothing like the last minute! (…while I do realize that to some people that would still actually be planning ahead, I am not usually that kind of person…)

This trip was suppose to be my reward, the thing to look forward to, my carrot to get me through the drag my last month of massage school had become. But the closer it gets, the more stressed and anxious I feel about it.

I know part of it is due to just being away from home for two weeks already, and the last few days being so ‘crunch-time’ busy, and all the planning that goes into a jam-packed trip like I’ve got going on. It’s the stress of trying to balance time and schedules with so many different people, and the social anxiety having to interact with people who will be focused on me and my conversation. I genuinely want to see these people, but that doesn’t change the fact my basic instinct towards a social situation like that is to hide. And it’s simply that my body is already exhausted with too many nights of not enough sleep in other people’s beds with dogs that wake me up, and with getting over the food poisoning.

I know I’ll be excited again when I get on the plane, and then even more when I step out into the SeaTac terminal and smell in the Northwest air again, and start seeing my friends and familiar buildings and streets. I know I’ll be excited with each place I stay, everywhere I go, all the people I see. I know I’ll enjoy myself, and that I’ll be sad and excited to go back to Hawaii.

But right now I’m just tired.

–G.G.