Pre-Road Trip Chaos

I made the declaration to myself and others that I was leaving for my road trip (my journey, my walkabout, my adventure) on December 8th.

And since I’ve decide thus, I haven’t had enough time to think through every possible thing I need to do before I leave.

I’ve ordered a second pair of glasses because I just don’t think it’s wise to travel so far without backup glasses. They aren’t in yet and there are 4 full days till I leave. Trust.

I haven’t begun to pack yet.

On Saturday last, I organized a Celebration of Life for a beloved teacher who passed away a few months ago. Not that I had time to throw that into the mix but it was something I really wanted to do. I loved the man and he was influential to so many, I knew it was important for more than just me. Many people stepped up to help make the day a reality and it was successful and uplifting. Being so close to my departure date made it a little hectic, but so it goes, eh?

On Monday last I was pressed into speaking at the New Haven MoMondays event by my friend Rich DiGirolamo who runs the event. I’d told him my plans and he said – “How perfect! You must come speak! What you are doing is inspiring!” So I threw that into the mix too.

Tonight was the last meeting of my local Toastmasters group before I leave so I signed up to give a speech there too. It was important to me to let everyone know what I’m doing since I’m one of the officers and they’ll be without me for a few months.

There are dinners with friends I want to have. Some I’ve fit in already and some I can’t imagine how I’ll fit in in the remaining four dinners I have left in CT.

Tonight after the meeting I dropped my car at the shop to get the tires rotated, the oil and transmission fluid changed, the spark plugs and various air cleaners and filters replaced. I feel grateful that I have the money to do this before my excursion, but I barely have the time. I won’t have a car tomorrow, yet somehow I need to get to work for a few hours as I’m training my replacement.

Yesterday I trained said replacement all day then had to run off to another client’s house to help with the finalizing of a grant proposal that was due yesterday. That was a last minute call for help, but I could not say no. There is more official work that needs doing before I leave. When will I pack?

What goes where in the car? What will I have to admit at the last minute that I cannot fit?

My digital life is a mess and I’ve yet to download all the appropriate clients to all the necessary devices so that I can access what I need and have everything talk to each other. Hell, I haven’t yet decided exactly which cloud storage company to go with, let alone started uploading what I might need from my desktop computer. I’m gonna have to spend some time with lifehacker.com to make that decision.

The people who will be living in my house while I’m away will need to be told every little detail and quirk about winter in this house. We’ve yet to set up an exact time to do that. Four days left.

And if this post seems a little chaotic, imagine the reality…

I have a sign in my office that reads – “Start Before You Are Ready”

Start-Before

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Goin’ Walkabout… or something like that.

This is the rough draft I wrote for a speech I gave the other night.

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Somehow I found my way to the very first MoMonday ever in New Haven. That was back in the spring.

Since then I have become friends with Rich DiGirolamo, who is the driving force behind MoMondays in CT.

My use of the term friend is quirky. I don’t call someone friend unless we actually do things together. Maybe we don’t always, or currently, but to get the friend title, we’ve got to spend some real time.

One of the things I love about Rich is that he makes it happen.

Actually. Makes. It. Happen.

When we met, and looked at each other and said “OMG, I love you! We could be friends!” Rich made the first call and said we had to do lunch. Truth be told, I’m not always so good at that. I meet folks I might love to be friends with but I don’t always find the time to pick up the phone. But he made the call, made the plans, made it happen. Just like he does here at MoMondays. He’s making all this happen with sheer will here in New Haven.

That kind of determination and relentless push to get things done inspires me.

You want something done – you gotta make it happen.  No amount of wishing is going to bring results like a couple of well placed actions will.

And I’ll tell you a little secret; If you move through life, always saying “I want X” or “I want Y” and then the chance for it comes along, you’d better jump on that chance. Otherwise your life is just wishes.

Me?

I’ve been walking around this earth for nearly a decade saying I want to get back out on the road. I want to see different scenery every day, eat different places, sleep different places, drive different roads, meet new people, make new friends, and have long conversations into the night with them if at all possible.

My chance to actually do it is now, so I’m taking it.

I’m packing up my car and driving off on December 8th. That’s just over a week from now.

It’s true I’m the script writer for this play I’m starring in, but I’ve often had trouble with the plot.

I’ve always envisioned my life as somewhat of a Hero’s Journey.

Joseph Campbell says we all want to be the Hero.

The Hero has a decent life. Nothing to complain about. Even a life of happiness and contentment. Then he’s called, often without the desire for such, and  somehow given to see a bit of a different life, a different world. It may not be what he wants, but our Hero doesn’t quite say no. Not really. Because this is the way of it. This is the path of things. This is how it goes. Whether she wants it or not, the Hero heads into the new world.

There are challenges. There are ups and downs in this new world. There are pitfalls and beauty and fun.  Sometimes a dangling carrot brings great rewards. And sometimes it only nets a carrot. And always. Always. There are dragons to slay.

I wanted this story. The excitement. The adventure. But I couldn’t see how this plotline related to my life of late. So much of my life’s excitement, travel,  and adventure happened when I was younger. But it’s always been sort of a dream of mine to have this mythic life.

And then, last week, a close friend of mine with whom I was sharing all this, pointed out something very interesting. It’s all just a matter of flipping the story on its head.

I’ve always been aware that the key to happiness is to constantly readjust what you know, believe and feel, to suit both your reality and your story.

You are the author of your own life. This play is yours to construct.

If you don’t like your story, create a new story.

And if you saw me the last time I spoke here you know I wasn’t much liking my story. After traveling the country in a van for nearly a decade I came home for family reasons and to be with my mom during a rough time and I ended up starting a cafe. It was a very successful business for a while and I loved it for 13 or 15 years. But the sameness of my days began to wear on me until I felt like my life had been reduced to ordering large cups.

I was pretty unhappy deep down. I wasn’t living the Hero’s Journey I felt I needed and wanted.

And if you were here before, you know that I began to make the changes that would bring my life back in line with this blueprint I’d always had for myself. A life of excitement, adventure, new people and new scenery.

I got rid of the majority of my material possessions. I sold the Coffeehouse and stumbled blindly around doing little bits of things that helped other people free themselves from clutter and objects that add little value to their lives, because for the moment, that was something I could understand. Though for a few years now I’ve been unable to move myself past that stage.

And with a simple flick of the wrist, my friend last week, flipped my whole story around and I’ve seen it all in a new light that I find exciting and exhilarating.

I know now that this sojourn in Connecticut was my long dark night of the soul. Okay that sounds a bit dramatic, because truthfully it was fun and fulfilling for a damn long time. But it became tedious. A burden.

And there were dragons to slay.

I lost my mom, to cancer. I miss her every day. Selling the business I’d poured my heart and soul into for 17 years. Getting rid of my possessions. Selling, just recently, my childhood home. Dealing with releasing old loves that no longer suit me.

But I’ve done it.

I’ve killed those dragons.

I’ve completed all the quests and like a video game, I get to move on to a new level .

And like the Hero on her journey, I get to return home now.

I get to go back on the road.

My chance is here and I’ve said I wanted it for so long, that I have to take it.

I’d be full of horse hockey if I said I knew what the road holds for me now. I haven’t a clue.

I’m going alone, if you’re wondering.

And one of the things that pushed me over the edge into actually doing this…

I have a friend on facebook. We knew each other in grade school and I haven’t seen her in 35 years. Last month she took a solo trip to Italy for 3 weeks. I was so impressed. I asked her what prompted this and she said “Because I always promised myself I’d go to Italy before I turned 50, and since I’m turning 50 next year I decided to get on it.”

That echoed in my head for a couple of weeks and I knew I was about to get on it.

I’m terrified. Of course I am. This is HUGE.

But I’m also open. Completely open. And ready.

And I’m going back out on the road.

In ten days.

I don’t want any of this to sound like I’m tooting my own horn or like I think I’m better than anyone else – “Hey look at what I get to do.”

But it’s the people who get out there and get going on what they want, the one who get things done and make things happen who inspire me.

So I hope to inspire you.

To never give up on the dreams you have.

To always keep your eyes open for the opportunities.

To make a new story if you have to.

And to remain open to the world and all the beautiful souls who inhabit it.

And if you do all that, and if you’re really lucky…

You just might meet a new friend who’ll give you the opportunity to stand on the stage at MoMondays and tell your story.

Thanks Rich.

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P.S. Yes. I’ll be blogging about my journey here on this blog.