Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lessons from a Cross Country Trek

As an incredibly social being, I forget sometimes that slowing down and stopping can be the best thing for a creative mind.

That's why, confining myself to a vehicle for about 5 days to drive across the country was probably just what the doctor ordered.

And it's hard for me to imagine, that it was just only one month ago that I was actually in that vehicle, gazing out the window watching sites like this:


I had promised that I would post about our trip, write about all that happened in our adventure along the way.

I suppose I have not yet done so for a couple of reasons - 1 being that as I've forgotten, setting up house can be an exhausting experience and after spending my days wandering aroud IKEAs and Zellers and Mr. Choo's Dollar Store, rotting my brain in front of the television seems like the best thing at the time.

So, when I sat down today, it was with conviction to really try to document exactly what happened along the trip.

I started with looking at the pictures, most of which were taken at over 70mph through the passenger side window.

My own journey in time went a little like this:

"Oh, here is the pic from Minnesota .. no wait ... that's South Dakota .. oh okay, no here is Montana because the sign says Billings .. wait, was Billings in Montana? Maybe that WAS day one..ok ok let's try to go by days, so..that looks like day 1 = really flat and snowy .. this picture day 2? well no, because the mountains and we didn't see mountains until..."

This, dear readers went on through the entire selection of photos. Without having any confidence they are in order now on my computer, they appear to me as scenic shots that someone else potentially took.

They are bookended by shots of us at gas stations and outside hotels. These shots help me remember where we were but the order in which we saw them? Well, still really a blur.

This realisation concerned me a bit. I mean, if I can't remember after 1 MONTH where I was when, then really, what was the point? So many of our trips have vividness - dates, times, names of hotels, places, people, faces - I can rhyme these off for many of our travels. What happened to this one?

What I do know is that when I arrived at our new home, I had a renewed energy. Ideas have been floating around in my head like bees around a hive for the past month. I'm diving into books, fiction, non fiction. Expanding my knowledge, with a brain ready to explore again.

And so, perhaps there was a purpose. Perhaps I needed to force myself to sit. Sit. View. Stop at rest stops. Eat. Drive. Arrive at hotels. Eat. Rest. Listen to books on tape.

Just stop.

The American countryside is a breaktaking tapestry of a wide variety of beautiful scenery. Flat prarie land, hilly pastures, rocky mountains. All breathtaking. All awe-inspiring. And yet, memorable in the way the rising tide or crashing waves are in Mexico. Serving a purpose to allow you to give your brain a rest. Cities and towns melting into each other like one day to the next.

Perhaps this is what the ultimate road trip really is. A chance to give yourself time to look inward.

Thanks America. I needed that.

Day 1

Day 2


Day 3

Day 4

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The size of my HEAD

There have been many things that I have been awestruck about this end of the country.

For one - and those of you who know me, big eye roll please - the weather!! The fact that I went for a run in January IN MY SHORTS was fansatically wonderful. The fact that I ran past the mountains was even better.

For another - the food. So much deliciously exotic food surrounds my new home. Thai. Vietnamese. Portuguese. Chinese. Irish (HEYit's still foreign!! and delicious..)

But what has struck me most about the food, what blew my mind, was the SIZE of the pieces of sushi and sashimi.

Yes that IS my chopstick, NOT a toothpick.

Clearly if you are from the Vancouver area YOU HAVE BEEN HOLDING OUT ON US because no one has EVER told me about the amazing size of the pieces you get out here. Either that, or Tokyo Joe's has just opened and is will be going out of business in a week's time for selling WAY TO MUCH FISH for WAY TOO LITTLE!!

I have lived in Korea and while I have never been to Japan, I would guess that they would dish out the same sized pieces of sushi and I can tell you NEVER in my time spent in Korea did I ever come across a piece of sashimi so delectible and divine and AS BIG AS MY HEAD as I have here in Richmond BC.

No snow, variety of food, sashimi that fills you up - its all just made my week.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Ringing It In

We managed to get ourselves all the way to Seattle for New Years Eve, which if you'd asked me a week ago if I expected to do that, I probably would have shook my head with a no no no no no no no. We're going to take it NICE AND SLOW.

But, as the weather held out mostly, we simply wanted to take advantage of clear skies and keep on trucking.

Speaking of clear skies, there was some mention in my LAST post about the rain we would be encountering and the snow we would be avoiding. Ah, ya, so, about that...

There was a great commercial a few years ago, for a bank, that had a couple doing their budgeting going over the list of monthly expenses they needed to account for. The man at the computer, he was typing in all of the items his wife listed off - groceries, car, mortgage, facial, insurance - when he then stopped and turned:


and in a very high pitched voice, she responds:

"Did I say facial?"

And I tell you story because I want you to try and imagine my voice saying that except saying

Did I say no snow?

Cause, yesterday, on the FINAL leg of our journey, on the final 160 miles, the mountains were at it again, and all of that 'we're heading into rain' talk soon became all too NOT true and we, along with many others on the road, were neck deep into more snow:

This was seriously 40 miles away from Seattle. It seems I needed to learn a Mother Nature lesson again.

But , the upside this time was that we were not in the dark and we knew the rain country had to be not that far away.

And so we made it. Just fine. And just in time to spend a civilized evening in Seattle. What a great way to bring in the new year.

Here's to the next decade. May it be filled with health and happiness for you all.