She’s beautiful, and dreamy; I feel privileged to now know the west a bit better.
Anthony Bourdain is a chef, and thus is involved in culinary things. I know little about him, aside from what Wikipedia offered up, but I do recognize this as wise advice,
If you’re… hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to.
Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.
I packed up some items alongside a speckled dog a little over three weeks ago, and flew across the country for an adventure. We made several stops along the west coast, just myself and Rev, setting out to follow our bliss through beautiful, wonderful, inspiring lives and stories.
I discovered my gypsy self. She is bold and brave. She is hardcore and courageous. She is scared, yet thrilled. And she is hungry, so very hungry.
Photo by Tammy Moody
(In all jokingness, not unlike my normal self, except perhaps a bit more metaphorical.)
Person after person opened up their homes and their lives to me and that little dog. The idea of travel, of living amidst the lives of others and connecting, is lovely. The words are alluring, to discover the path of another and learn, to breathe it all in. But the idea is lost without the opportunity, and I am so grateful to each of our hostesses on this trip for giving me such grand opportunities to connect. From good friends, to those I’ve never met, to an entire realm of people who already I regularly exchange stories with, but had yet to meet in person — she was one who comforted me in moments of sadness, who reminded me of the importance of my authenticity, who fed me sugary doughnuts with all smiles and no apologies, who taught me to drive her tractor, who stood with me in awe of how the sea breathes, who we jammed out with, who trembled atop the great wheel with me, who walked with us along the icy (exaggerated) Pacific, who mused and laughed over poetry with me, who gifted me with knives to cut my onions with at school, who taught me to craft my own pizza, who climbed with us.
She spoke of truths with love and passion from her heart, and taught me lessons I will hold with me forever.
While each of our moments may, one after another, roll smoothly into existence, my perception of these bits is sometimes rushed. It is sad to realize you are attempting to live minutes, hours, days into the future, when the present is here, begging for you to notice her. Towards the beginning of my trek, the idea of living for the second came up. We talked about how frustrating it was to get trapped in wanting to be somewhen else. Then we embraced the moment the rest of the week, soaking up every piece of life we could. I tried to hold that with me for the remainder of the trip, too.
I had such fun on every leg — sightseeing, training, seminaring. Getting better at embracing down time even when it is not explicitly built in… getting better at going with the flow. We started our journey in California for team practice and time training at Power Paws. A wonderful, wonderful piece of the trip. Leaving was so bittersweet. I was excited for the next leg, but leaving such a great space is hard.
Kep, Rev and Brew at the practice site.
Rev and The Bridge.
Also, Rev balances near The Bridge.
Love the Pie. A lot.
And I’m always game for some lucky spots. Panic.
Rev and I have been out to Power Paws several times now, but not once did I have my camera with me. And my gosh, the views. I’ve wanted a picture of Rev overlooking the city for forever. It is a pretty magical place.
That week was a smidge emotional for me, and contained lots of reflection. Rev developed a skin infection after possibly getting bit by something the previous weekend, and then a reactive lymph node on top of that. Which was a lump on her side. Before I knew what the lump was, I panicked, then I cried a lot. Really, she was and is fine. I think the week may have had some power to it, though, and had emotions stirring. All good stuff. The supermoon shone the previous weekend, and event after event after event came up in the days to follow. DOMA was overturned, Prop 8 was overturned, Texas Senator Wendy Davis filibustered for 13 hours in the name of women’s rights (and is kind of really, really awesome).
It was a powerful week. Despite the vibe this week may be giving after my state’s famous trial, the world is changing. We are moving forward. I just know it. There is so much love…
Photo by Heather Christenson
I’m skipping things, I know I am. This is the trouble with not bringing a computer and instead blogging at a later date. But I so enjoyed sinking into the present each and every day. The occasional photo was posted, the occasional instagram snapped and edited, but overall I absorbed the sea air, and dog kisses, and the trees, and sometimes the heat. Yes, the heat.
After California we made our way to Oregon. Like Florida, Oregon is green (oh how refreshing it was to see that). Unlike Florida, Oregon has mountains and is also usually cloudy with nice temps.
Not that weekend though.
We had heat; Florida had endless rain. We had a seminar; who the heck knows what was going on in Florida, except that there were probably many angry beach-goers. Despite the heat, the seminar went well with a truly fantastic group that meshed nicely together and stuck it out. I had such fun teaching here, and was practically at home with all the sweating.
Heather and Tammy were amazing to stay with. On Friday Tammy and I joined Heidi in Portland. We were mostly very warm, but we also had drinking chocolate which was excellent. Plus there was wonderful breakfast, and there were photos taken, and falls seen, and grilled cheese ordered from a food cart.
Rev tried some of Heidi’s coffee. The photo on the right is one of my favorites of her, ever. All of these Portland photos were taken by Tammy, and I love them so much.
In front of the Portland sign, and loving everyone at Multnomah Falls.
Breakfast-ing and food-carting.
I took this one. Don’t be mistaken, Rev is there.
Following the heat of the weekend, we hightailed it to the coast for a cool Monday. We took many photos, we ate cheese, we ate ice cream; the dogs were happy.
Hi-Fi is rad.
Mal is the handsome-est.
Haystack Rock. Yes, Goonies. No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
At this point Tammy and I were basically best friends. (But really. Cool people in Oregon, cool people.) I am finding that I hike mountains with people who are not only really awesome, but who I trust and care about, too. And since I don’t believe in accidents, I think that is pretty excellent.
We set out early Tuesday morning to hike a piece of Mt. Hood — up to McNeil Point. We did not make it all the way, but not for lack of energy or gusto. Snow. The first big snow bank we ran across we slid down. We laughed. We got butterflies. It was fun. Nice. Hey snow, thanks for cooling off the dogs.
The second big snow bank we ran across was much bigger, and sliding down that would probably have been much less fun. So when our destination was just around the corner we opted not to break the cameras and/or our limbs, and instead stopped just before this:
But our highest point was still stunningly brilliant. I love mountains.
Climbing that mountain was so invigorating. I could’ve done it again, I think. That day. I wanted to do it again anyway. There was a moment on the trail when Rev turned back at me and looked at me, really looked at me — big smile, tongue out — but I felt her touch my soul, and she felt excited. I think I made her proud in some way, as odd as that may sound.
Also camelbaks are genius and, that’s it, I’m going to invest in one, if for no other reason than to hopefully manifest more mountainous adventures in my future.
On Wednesday we were tired. So we slept in. Then we went to Voodoo Doughnuts. Then we went to Poodletopia. Then we picked berries. Then we helped herd chickens. Then we played Jack Johnson on Pandora. Then we made jam. Then I rode a tractor and mowed the lawn. Then we made more jam. I made much of the jam all on my own, really, really cool experience.
Poodletopia is the sort of place that brings out your happy. Well, no, not your happy, necessarily. It brings out your truth I think. As does Heidi. Your you… you can embrace all of your you-ness at Poodletopia. I also think that is one of the reasons Rev likes Heidi so much. I know that is one of the reasons I like Heidi so much.
I was so stoked about jam-making, but also a little hesitant at the start of Wednesday. I had a three day seminar to gear up for that weekend, and I was feeling pretty tired already. Downtime didn’t seem to be factored in, until the day got started. It was the perfect melting together of work and love and peace at Poodletopia that day. I am so grateful for our time in that space.
And just like that our Oregon leg was over. I was looking forward to Washington, but did not expect to get to see much of the state. I just didn’t think it was on the itinerary. Hah, but I was staying with Heather, who is awesome. So for the fourth of July she invited us to an adventure on Crystal Mountain, up the gondola and then a hike down. Wowee, Mt. Rainier up close nearly took my breath away.
The dogs very much enjoyed the hike down, especially the lakes.
Truly wonderful company over the weekend — while I had met Heather several years ago, and occasionally will chat with her through twitter, most everyone else I was meeting for the first time. Couldn’t have been a better group of people to embrace on the spot. So giving, so positive, so excited. We made homemade pizzas for dinner one night, before being treated to Alaskan salmon the next. We talked and talked and came to know each other quite well. At the end of the weekend, we went on another adventure, this time downtown. Saw the sunset over the waterfront and rode the Great Wheel, despite the fact that Heather and I are afraid of heights and threatened to push the ‘help’ button more than once.
Another beautiful leg. I look forward to visiting the PNW again. You people rock.
Funny, the places we go and the people we meet as we travel life alongside our dogs. Funny, how they can change our lives completely, how if we learn to listen to them in each moment, we can then unlock the moment, without even trying. Amazing how tuned in they are. They take it in as it comes, one miracle after another.
We arrived home early Monday evening, last week. Tuesday was busy, then we drove five hours to Georgia for four days of AKC. Rev picked up her 40th double Q on Wednesday, followed immediately by 41 and 42. That weekend could probably be a post all its own, and maybe one day it will be. For now, we bow out with a video. The wonder of Belgium is calling and I have some packing to do.