Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

I cannot begin to explain the places that life has taken me in the past few months. I mean, I can barely keep track of and make sense of it all. How can I possibly be expected to put it into words that would be meaningful to others?

I've slept on the porch of a clay pigeon & gun club in rural Colorado. I've set up quarter-mile long slip'n'slides in cities across the country and taught myself to drive a forklift (thank you, YouTube). I showered with toads in Dumas, TX. I've watched two abnormally large dudes come to blows over...nothing? everything? and then make amends by going to an air show. I've riden in a homecoming parade, slept in a fire station (and on the floor of a VFW), been pulled over by military police, watched the sun rise and set over trailer parks and campgrounds across the country, slept next to a meth lab, gone joy riding in a Lamborgini, and that's not even the cliff notes.

I'm still attempting to process things. From slip'n'slides and road trips to new jobs and life decisions, a lot has happened. Thousands of photos have been taken, and sit unedited on an external hard drive, because I've been too busy living life to sift through them. And while I don't yet have the capacity to logically and completely do my story justice, I can tell you this. It's the incredible people in my life that have made every flight, early morning, late night, bump, bruise, and heartache worth it.

"You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you'll want to go down. 
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town."

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Two Weeks Down, Eight Weeks To Go

I can't believe I'm already two weeks into this adventure.

I've come along way from the tears and stress of the first few days here. I'm relieved to say that the impulse to jump on the first flight home has died down as we've settled in to a routine. I still feel a little lost and incomplete, but being away from W and the puppies is much more manageable than it was.

Every time I try to sit down and put this adventure into words, I can't. The experiences, the challenges, the people, the conversations, there's just so much more to this than I could ever do justice to. I find it impossible to summarize the kindness and generosity that has been shown to us by strangers, and even more moving has been the support and acceptance that the military family has show me, the liberal, peace-loving, sometimes naive, girl that I am.

I've slept in a field, spent a day at a shooting competition, and been quoted in a NRA publication. I've squatted on the front porch of a rural clays & gun club, peed on the side of the road (and myself), got a tattoo, and eaten a gas station breakfast burrito. I've seen 3 states (and courting), driven a gravel road over a Mesa & down into a canyon, learned to read a map (kind of), and developed a deep love of the local KOA.

For better or worse, these boys have become my family. Despite the most fundamental differences, we are challenging one another to grow, and I'd like to think they are learning as much from me as I am from them. We fight and disagree and we will NEVER see eye to eye on so many things, but I know that if I ever need them all I need to do is holler PORKCHOP SANDWICHES and they'll come running. 

And the laughter. Oh my god, the laughter. I've laughed harder and more often these past two weeks than I have maybe in my life. We're talking tears streaming down my face, trying not to spit out my mouth full of food, might pee my pants, gasping for air, laughter.

I'm learning about who I am, who I want to be, and refining the moral compass that guides me through life. My patience has been tried, my strength tested, my values questioned, and it is in these moments that I know I am growing the most. I can't help but believe that this exactly where I am meant to be right now, and that this journey is playing a huge part in who I am meant to become. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

10 Weeks, 1 Suitcase

Have you ever tried to condense your life and wardrobe into one suitcase? And have that one suitcase of belongings sustain you for 10+ weeks?

Before this adventure I haven't. I can't say I ever even thought about it. So to attempt to do this now, 18 hours before I leave and overwhelmed doesn't even begin to summarize the situation. 

The only things out numbering the tears (and tantrums and frustrations) are the clothes strewn about the bedroom. 

In reality, it's just stuff. There will be stores if I forget anything. And I will see Wyatt hopefully in a few weeks. But the reality of packing my life into one suitcase for the next ten weeks is more than I can handle tonight.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Adventure of a Lifetime

I still can't quite believe where this summer has taken me. Or where it will continue to take me, for that matter. I just received my flight itinerary for my next adventure, so I guess it's safe to say it's actually happening. This time next week I'll be boarding a flight to Denver to join up with the Green Beret Adventure Team for the next 10 weeks.

I don't even know where to begin with this. Or how exactly it all came to be. It all feels a little too surreal to actually be happening, but it is. And here's how it happened. I think.

Earlier this year we happened to be bowling with our friend's Zack & Lindsey. They shared with us that Zack was gearing up to ride his bicycle across country to raise money and awareness for veteran services. The last detail he had yet to work out was who would be driving his SAG vehicle and coordinating his events & media. So of course my dear husband volunteers me. Joking or serious, I'll never really know, but here I am. Flight itinerary in hand.

Over beers and ciders, at a number of different breweries, I was talked into going Zack on this adventure. First for 4wks, which became 6wks, and before I knew it, I was committed to 10 of the 14wks.

I still don't entirely know what I have gotten myself into, or how to prepare for the adventures ahead. I think it's fair to say that at this point I am equally excited and scared shitless. But it's for a great guy, and in support of an incredible cause, so I guess it's time for me to put on my big girl pants and go for it.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

422 Days Later

It's been a while since I've checked in here. 422 days to be exact. And it's safe to say that a lot has changed, and yet so much has stayed the same. I'm stilling trying to find 'my place' in the Twin Cities and, more importantly, my people. I still haven't found my dream job. I still miss Wisconsin. I still love potatoes and chocolate and tacos, but probably not all at one time.

But it hasn't all been bad.

I had been working for a pretty cool women's yoga & athletic clothes company. What's not to love about going to work in your fav workout clothes, passing the time by talking crossfit and yoga and running with cool people, and always having a workout buddy to keep you motivated? Despite all of the awesome that was that job, something was missing for me. I stayed because it was good. 
Good, not great.

I wanted great. I needed great. So in late May I walked away from my moisture wicking, 4-way stretch, security blanket and lept into the uncertain. The biggest thing missing for me in my good job was travel and events. Coming from a marketing and events background, events are where I thrive. Send me to a city I've (probably) never been to and tell me to make it happen. And I do, loving every minute of it along the way. So when a dear friend of my reached out to say she was looking for a System Manager for her summer event series, I had to do it.

And so began my career as a professional Slip'n Slider. Yes, you read that correctly. I am spending my summer setting up 1000' slip'n slides in cities all across the midwest. The hours are ridiculously long, and the work pretty backbreaking, but I love every second of it.

The downside to this gig is that at the end of the summer, we pack up the slides, and my contract is over until next June. I'm not going to lie. That's stressful. But rather than focus on the scary unknown, I've committed to spending the summer being present and chasing dreams. I'm riding my bike more, walking the dogs, and reading. I'm trail running and crossfitting and going to the beach. I'm having beers with friends, eating delicious food, and spending time outside. 

I'm not worried about turning into a pumpkin on September 1st. In fact, through the amazing people I've met racing and working events, I've actually lined up a pretty awesome fall. What I'll be doing for September deserves a post all it's own, but let me tell you, it's going to be awesome. I have a few races that I will work in October, and hopefully a trip to visit my BFF in NYC. Early November will take my to Texas to work one last event, and then I'll wrap up my 2015 travels by hopefully celebrating W's 40th birthday...somewhere.

After that, who knows. I'm trying to put my trust in the universe and know that it will all work out. That when I least expect it, something amazing will happen. 

Where I've been, and where I'm headed, in 2015.