Adventures in Going West

Sweet Row Boats

Hey Pioneers – I got all wrapped up in seeing every single little thing and I forgot that I write for a living. Colorado sends it’s warmest and sunniest howdies and says that you should come visit because they are totally loving all those tourist dollars. I would say that they’re completely digging the company, too – but that might be a lie. I think the pleasure of your company is often a necessary evil and you are gently tolerated.

Thankfully, the literal, freakin’awesome beauty of these surroundings has completely eclipsed the fact that I’m not getting hugs and compliments with every convenience store transaction. Every day I see something new and I’d be lying if I said I’m not tripping – I whisper.gasp way too much. This place is so incredibly alive and verdant (bam! wettest May on record) and full of splendor. Yea. For real: Splendor. Purple mountains majesty. Blindingly beautiful wildflower fields. Winds that smell of pine needles and freshly turned gardens or little baby skunks and tart morning grass. All the rivers and streams are way up and so clear that you can see down to the bottom. I swear the fish are just coming by to say “hey” and be all chill. It’s a trip like Disney cartoons are a trip, complete with little chirping birds wearing brilliant colors.

This was May 2015
This was May 2015

The place I’ve come to love the most for this flavor of chill is just outside Eagle, Colorado and is probably one of those “Best Kept Secrets” kinda destinations. It goes by A.J. Brink Outfitters at Sweetwater Lake but everybody I know (all 5 people) just calls it Sweetwater. It’s about as full-service as any of the outdoor adventures I’ve heard about and the scenery and remote location make it ideal for my wants. Mostly my wants involve less work and more play. This place rocks for that.

It’s also, as luck would have it, a perfect place for naps. I found the absence of city sounds indescribably welcome and I’d bet some people would pay extra for that. You can hear the Falcons and Eagles and Hummingbirds (like a full-time Jetson’s cartoon just playing the flying cars part at a real low volume) and probably about a hundred other birds, but no motors or engines or air conditioners. If you’ve never been in a place where all that abstract background noise is gone, do yourself a solid and GET.out.

Imagine that summertime cartoony image of a little lake fat with constantly jumping trout, nestled among pristine mountains under skies so blue that the color hasn’t even been named yet. Yea. Imagine that and white puffy clouds. And, you can see the West Coast! Okay. I lied about that part, but there are some views that are guaranteed to make you feel especially small. I built a nest and slept on the deck one night, under this blanket of Milky Way that was so bright I could taste it. I’d recommend that over Prozac, if I were a doctor.

SWEEThorsesThere are guided horseback tours and boats that float a stocked lake with a few campsites and cabins tucked in here and there. It looked like you could have as much privacy as you want and that it could be as affordable as you make it. Personally, I’d work overtime to sleep in a cabin or room in the motel-like stretch of accommodations, but I just roll that way. The campsites I toured were remarkable cool and all offered views like none other and not terrible hikes to bathrooms., so there’s really no way to go wrong.

SWEETrestrntThe hub of the operation is a restaurant where the food made me way happy and the wifi sated my itchy typing fingers. I think you check-in here but I know for sure I got ice there and every single thing I’ve had from the kitchen was really, kinda, over-the-top. Because I’ve been grandfathered in by virtue of a stunt-son who works there on occasion, I’ve eaten some of the Crew meals (don’t even get me started on the killer smart and ambitious crew) and some things from the menu and they all made me feel like my mom was in the kitchen and I’d gladly clean-up. I didn’t have to clean up, but I would have. Gladly.

When I was a kid, our entire family would book a resort in Branson, MO (before it got all bedazzled – we owned.that.place) and 30 of us would swarm and test limits and stay up too late and gather our family mojo for about a week. This place in Sweetwater would be perfect for that. You gotta want it, though because it’s not right off the main highway or anything, but the location is a huge bonus if you want to get all.the.way away with yourself or people you love. SWEETkayaks

Gotta bounce. Headed to Ouray for the weekend, will let you know if it’s as cool as I remember.

xomoe

Dear Duggars. Dear Sweet Plaid-Clad.Duggars.

I hope his note finds you and all your relations well – Sorry it’s taken me so long to write, I’ve been busy with unexpected twists in the road that required my full attention. I know I’m the last person in the world that you expected to hear from, given the liberal amounts of shit I have shot your way for the last decade or so – My bad.

I judged you harshly for selling your soul to Reality TV – and maybe some excessive breeding and questionable fashion choices. As a girl who has worn overalls, almost exclusively, for 4 decades – I am in no place to judge. And, left to my own devices, God knows I could have had 19 children, if I’d applied myself and cancer hadn’t stepped in to do it’s preventative middle-class maintenance.

But, I gotta tell you: YOU rock for bringing things to the front and center of what we, the ‘Murkan People, care about. I am super-duper impressed with your crazy-crafty ninja skillz (with a “z”) in making sexual abuse a thing that is almost as popular as bacon and Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn. Way to rock the casbah without trying.

Women in our country (and a few others) don’t know that we hold all the power. The average girl has thighs that could crush a locomotive with a sigh, but she doesn’t know it. I am hopeful that you guys are having secret meetings that emphasize your kegel strength and the power to drive change.

You guys have been put through the ringer. I’m sorry you had to endure whatever it is that you went through. From personal experience, I would guess that you were violated in ways that you never thought possible and when you confided in somebody, they urged you to pretend like it never happened. They were just doing the best they could at the time with the information they had available. Sometimes humans suggest CUH-razy things when they are wrapped up in panic, expectations and dread.

I know that you are busy with publicists and spinners who are turning your story into the Next Big Thing that feeds your insatiable need to be noticed. You guys are awesome clown-car entertainment and I hope you start using your power wisely while supporting each other in all those family ways I’ve read so much about.

It’s not okay for somebody to touch you without permission. Your legs are much stronger than you might think and if your heels hit that little sweet spot between the eyebrows, with all the force you have inside you, it will break little bones above the nose that make a difference. Like, labotomy-kinda difference. You can say that he was like that when you walked in – it’s never a spectator sport.

Hope you guys are protecting your freedoms and special lady parts – write if you get time.

xomoe

Kickstarters for Dummies

HELPnoREASON

If you’ve ever had to ask for a favor, or given one with no chance of reward or recognition – you are the person to whom a “kickstarter” speaks. I have to put it in quotes like that because, just like not all tissues are Kleenex, not all crowdsourcers are Kickstarters. Kickstarter is one of several platforms available for people seeking a kind-of unconventional financing for a dream, or a life-saving surgery or a funeral, or.or.or. There are as many reason to launch a kickstarter (I’m just going to keep it easy and default to the term everybody seems to know) as there are people launching them.

I don’t have the time or inclination to school you on what all is involved in these campaigns. I know you can Google the words I am using here and find the answers you’re looking for. Suffice to say, with but very few exceptions – the people who utilize these tools do not do so lightly. It’s a colossal pain in the butt and it’s humbling and difficult. (Unless you’re one of the few guys like the potato salad guy who went viral and raised almost $70k when he was looking for $10. THAT was one killer campaign and proved that crowdsourcing can be a wicked-cool way to raise money.)

A lot of people ask me why they would or should donate to a kickstarter, especially the ones that are not saving lives or seemingly promoting a greater good than one person’s well being. I only know why I donate and encourage others to do so with me. I also know, fo.sho and without doubt, that if it doesn’t make you feel good – Do NOT do it. If you’re on the fence, look into it and if you get the whole Pay it Forward vibe, on a fundamental level – we so SO should talk.

What follows are basically my top few kickstarters for this day, maybe week. I get to see and help with enough of these to know that I could share a new one every day for a year and not make all the people happy all the time.

1. My Friend Karen was a peaceful Rock Star who left too soon and her sons are trying to gather resources to recover from an unexpected and prolonged hospital stay. I’ve got a shirt from this ride, a few times over, and it’s impossible to explain to anybody how much debt can be accrued (how quickly!) when this happens to a family. I am all for lightening their load, if at all possible and Karen was important to my tapestry in my hometown.

2. My buddies Brian and Mel have a baby Rose who has presented them with extra opportunities to be strong and resilient and brave, When I was too young to process it, one of my cousins died from similar conditions and it’s made me super-sensitive to the quality of life these guys get. We take so much for granted and it seems to me that throwing a $10 bill into that mix would make way more difference than if I squandered it on candy and gum.

3. Journalism student, Scoop Nemeth has just recently entered my orbit and I am absolutely intrigued with his flavor of candor. He is On The Spectrum and speaks with a truthfulness that is pretty much unprecedented in broadcast journalism. I just want to see how far this guy goes. I think he’s got the spark inside him and my life is made better by his creativity and perspective. I paid to watch Monty Python, back in the day; Now I throw down on kickstarters to make my life more colorful. And, truthfully – I want to live in a world where people like Scoop can realize their dreams, so if I get to split my lunch with him to make it happen, it’s all good.

4. Me. And, omg – for real. Hardest.Thing.Ever. Longest ever story made as short as possible: I might or might not have had a hand in relegating myself to a second-class position for maybe a decade or three. My bad. I was an early-adopter on all today’s most popular life changers: Cancer, identity theft, poverty … blah blah blah. That’s all ancient history now, but it’s about a world away from the way I saw things working out when I was a 30 year old. As luck (mostly mine) would have it: All my gear is threatening to shoot craps and either I get new seeing-eye glasses or learn Braile. Not your problem, I know. BUT, I think I fill a void in your day and, just like pledging $10 to your local public radio station, I am worth it. I’m not asking for a burger today that I pay for tomorrow, I’ll send you snail mail that will rock your day. Not like the other snail mails much at all, the mail I send falls into the “Epic” camp. You could be part of this fabulously unconventional life I’ve chosen to chart for all of us. Y’never know – if there’s a Zombie apocalypse, you’re gonna be looking for a trail guide with maps.

(just for the record: I do make money and manage to not die, week after week. I need new glasses and gear in order to do the work I do, and we’ve got such a sweet thing going here – you and me. I love how  you always let me pick the music and you don’t make me go to bed too early, I was hoping we’d just see where this takes us. No pressure, y’know – just friends.)

If you’re in a position to donate to somebody who has gone through the bone-grinding and soul-searching that setting up a kickstarter requires – DO that. If it pisses you off or makes you want to pull out a soapbox and use the word “entitlement” a lot, move on. For the love of all things holy: Really. Just please.Stop. Let it go. OR, sleep more soundly knowing your $10 donation helped change a life that you care about. Your call.

Dear Kansas: Wanna Get High? Bring Cash. Love, Colorado

Dear Kansas,

I can’t tell you how much I wish you were here!

The creeks are all huge with runoff and the sun is on vacation.
The creeks are all huge with runoff and the sun is on vacation.

While it’s still mostly Winter, it’s only mostly Winter, like mostly dead, it’s not that bad. Some of the flowers are blooming, the birds are ready to party and it smells like the perfect combination of Christmas tree farm and freshly tilled garden soil. It’s every bit as incredible as you remember. In fact, if you can get away – come over! I’ve found some truly sweet spots to show you.

Short of that, you gotta know: Now would be the ideal time to check out what Colorado is doing with all this legal weed. FOR.real. I thought I knew more than I did and feel like I can make some things easier for you. I share because I’m hopeful that you won’t handle this the same way you did that whole Prohibition thing. That was embarrassing for all of us and I wasn’t even born yet.

If you’re not familiar with the whole history of weed and have the patience of a saint with burning all-night kinda curiosity, check out this piece. I think it’s fairly legit, but I believe nothing, so the diligence is on you. I think we’ve talked about this, so I know that you know and I trust your ability to think critically.

I’ll try to tell you all the good stuff… I’ll Try mightily to not talk too much.

GOING TO THE WEED SHOP (or Rec Store, depending on who you ask)

I felt dorky and awkward and saw people in suits and soccer moms and hippies and skater punks. It was all good, I didn’t look like it was my first time.

There was a security guard standing in the parking lot and the adjacent 7-11 is fat with signs that threaten to tow cars within nanoseconds if the drivers dare park there to shop weed. Seemed kinda intense and we hadn’t even gone in yet. It kinda looked like a renovated gas station with crazy locking doors installed indoors to keep people in and out of protected areas.

Business is brisk from open to close and all exchanges are done in cash, just like the last 40 years in America, but the business model is clinical and way more impersonal than going to see your buddy a couple blocks over. I’ve been told there is most often a line that wraps around the outside of the buildings, but that wasn’t the case when I was there.

This one had a big entry with a counter along the wall and two certified weed workers (you have to be registered to work in the industry, apparently. Cost $150) standing at ASUS laptops, next to a kinda gigantic ATM. Made me wonder what they charged for transaction fees and how happy they were with those laptops and if they got insurance and how they were paid.

Once they’ve put your driver’s license information into their system, you sit for a couple minutes on the benches that line the room. When the Clipboard Person comes through a door and calls your name, you go through a different set of locking doors to sit on another long bench facing a bunch of doors with all kinds of signs about what to do and what not to do, on them. Before too terribly long, a person comes through the door and calls your name and points you to one of the doors and says “Go in there and have your ID in your hand.”

Our Weed Concierge (That was not his formal title, but that’s what he did) was one of those quintessential young Colorado men with chiseled features and a flavor of handsome that speaks to good breeding and life outdoors. He had the enthusiasm of a cheer-leader and had either memorized his patter, or he truly had done his research and spoke from truth. Regardless, he was more than able to field all the questions and he was a treat to work with.

This is one purchase that averaged out to exactly more than expected.
This is one purchase that averaged out to exactly more than expected.

Sativa or Indica? (I have a preference, but wondered what the company line was on this) He recommended Indica for 1) Creativity 2) Pain Relief and 3) Focus

How much are lollipops? $5/each

gummibears? $38/package

chocolate bars? $22/$35

weed? $55/ish for an eighth PLUS tax. If you’ve got an out-of-state driver’s license, your tax is going to be way higher, CO residents are taxed less and Medical Card carriers are taxed even less. Maybe way less, like none. Regardless, if you’re coming all the way here from KS, with cash – bring more than you think you need. (Colorado will gladly relieve you of all that extra cash and turn it into smarter kids, or something.)

What’s the difference between Medical and Recreational: 1) Medical is typically stronger 2) You have to have a card to get Medical (that involved a whole’nother cattle call and some days of patience, supposedly, wherein you go see a recommended physician who DOES NOT give you a prescription for weed, but a note that says something about something and the quality of your life improving. Essentially.) The important parts are right in that sentence.

When you decide what you want, he uses a walkie-talkie to tell the workers in the weed packaging room to be looking for you. You wind through some skinny places to a door with a waist-high window that looks pretty Shawshank Hollywoody, and some mysterious hands reach through the opening with your order. I think there was a one-way mirror involved and lots of cameras. Then you’re in a darker room with another counter and 3 more workers, checking people out at a pretty good clip, on Mac Books. These people had some crazy.good.gear.

In retrospect, I wished I’d asked more about the grow practices because I suspect that, like food, it won’t be long until Monsanto becomes a buzz kill in the mix. I could be wrong and didn’t ask, so I can’t say for sure, but I know the locals say they trust only themselves and can legally keep 2 plants going to meet their needs for about $20/month after the $500 initial set-up.

There are about a bazillion more slices to this pie, that I am way too curious about, so I’ll write again soon. Remind me to tell you about the mountains of cash. No. FOR real. Mountains.of.cash. Cash that can’t be put in an FDIC insured bank. Yea. Think about it. This is a trip! There is SO much to tell you.

I love you and miss you and hope you’re eating out at local restaurants, buying locally made art and no longer changing in phone booths. That was always kinda awkward for me.

Xomoe

PS: If you find my shoes, just give them to Bobby or CeeCee. Xoxo

Free Idea!

Hey Wichita,

I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep it brief.

In going through the million things that I’ve collected during my 3 year layover here, I’ve found a bunch of great ideas that I didn’t have time to get started. I’m going to pass them on to you because you look like you need them.

The Tiny Home movement has been growing in popularity for the last 15 years, and I think you might have missed the memo. No bigs. It’s not too late. Here’s the deal: You so SO ought to build a tiny home village (for any one of a whole bunch of reasons that I’m more than happy to outline in person over a cup of coffee.)

LOCOhillI worked out some of the kinks and just went ahead and chose my most fave slice of real estate that I have watched sit dormant, since my return. I know it’s all tied up in some kinda legal battle and some things happened and some people are involved, but you’re going to have to suspend disbelief and act like you can do anything that matters and you’re all in. You glow when you’re all in.

You know that corner at Rutan and Douglas, just across from the Hillcrest? There are 3 separate lots there that the right team could turn into a dream factory and sweet slice of residency. Magic, math and some sly manipulation might be involved.

Because it’s on the lower end of College Hill, you can call it LoCo Hill. LoCo Hill Something Clever. My friend Karen named this neighborhood for me, and I think it’s on the money right. I’m pretty sure this would be the perfect place for a tiny home community and surely somebody knows somebody who could help make it happen. It’s just sad that those big ol’townhomes are sitting over there gathering dust; It will rock when a developer gives a nod to reality and builds something for the people.

It’s this simple:LOCOblue

  • Build homes that are roughly 200sf each.
  • Source as locally as possible from the R&D through completion. We have amazing workers right here.
  • Work towards community, affordability and sustainability.

You’re smart, you’ll figure out the rest. It’s not like you don’t have a million maps to borrow from here. But, you seriously ought to chop chop, Princess. Daylight’s burning. This project could launch a whole bunch more like it. You could be a national leader in taking care of your homeless and vets and old people and young couples just starting out. You could. I’m sure of it, you just have to agree and wear the right shoes. We’ll see.

Stop dawdling and get on it. You’ve got everything you need.

Hope your week rocks and I look forward to hearing back from you. How are the kids, anyways?

xomoe

If you and/or your company would like to sponsor the next year of incredible ideas and research, click here: MOE SPONSORSHIP!

 

 

 

 

Dear Wichita

WICHITAlogoOLDdOh, dear sweet Wichita – How badly I wished you could see yourself like I see you. I can’t believe we just paid consultants to confirm your astonishing lack of self-esteem. Come over here and curl up, I’ll tickle your back while I tell you this thing…

What all the other towns and cities have been afraid to tell you… the reason they don’t want to hang out so much, is because you are constantly trash-talking yourself and doubting your coolness. It makes it really hard to defend you and build you up, Buttercup. Nobody wants to hang out in a village that is constantly asking if those jeans make their libraries look fat.

It’s time, well…not right now, right now you can rest, but tomorrow (or later on today after you’ve eaten well) you need to remember how cool it is to use your powers for good. You are going to have to make some difficult decisions that will have great impact on the future. And, yes. I’m talking about money even though I know it upsets you. You need to stare deeply into your Magic 8 Ball and drink up the future. It’s all on you now. You are perfectly poised to make a difference and instigate some change. You’re just going to need to be steely and smart – you might not love the process so much but you will totally dig the outcome. And, every dream needs an accountant. Just accept it and plan ahead.

Just.sayin.

I’ve been watching. You really are growing up beautifully. You have shown me a level of tenacity (in the face of a mostly unbelievable Brownbackistan/Machiavellian tragedy) that restored my faith in your ninja-like skill set. You grow more beautiful with the seasons, part by design and part by nature. I see you out and about – you’re more curious and alive than ever before. I’m serious: I think you got this. I think the training portion of this study has ended and now you’re going to be. I expect you to also go and do, with grace and verve.

WICHITAdriver1Y’know what else I love about you? You welcome and cultivate a breed of competent and fiercely independent merchants specific to this place on the globe. Your crazy-low cost of living is the stuff of legend and your willingness to adapt has allowed for a vibrant and unique slice of goodness, right in the middle of the country. You’ve actually built a world where your citizens don’t HAVE to shop at big box stores. You’re super cool that way.

Surely you’ve seen what your Creatives are doing, right? Your artists and architects and engineers and musicians and chefs and writers are sharing parts of you, all over the world. Wichita is not a slightly embarrassing third-cousin anymore. Google yourself, or don’t, but trust me: The sooner you roll up your sleeves and claim your sweet little badass identity as an understated spot of cool on the globe to grow Creatives and promote tech-industry (or something equally attractive,) the quicker this will happen.

You’re going to have to Get Over a lot. You’re not the Air Cap any more. You can still say that because the air here is arguably, among the best in the world, but that ship has sailed. We do build some planes and that will never stop being cool. But, get over it. You’ll never be Lawrence. Yeaaa, you’ll still sleep nights, Lawrence will always be right there, 2 hours and 20 minutes away. It’s a college town, it’s job is to just keep getting cooler. The Airport (I stubbornly refuse to call it by it’s newly minted name) will never be a hub, no matter who you call or how many times you stomp your pretty little feet. Never.going.to.happen. You can’t leave the country from here on commercial aviation, without a stop and I promise it will be okay..

WICHITA airCAP

With all this beauty and brilliance, comes great responsibility and you are so gonna dig this part. Not many places have all the resources and opportunities that you do. Just look at you! You’ve got global bad guys with a lot of local money who need to rebrand themselves as good guys, you’ve got reasonably priced land, solid utilities and willing participants with strong backs and ambitious dreams. You play your cards right, you can weave this into a beautiful little recipe for a thriving community. You could be a leader instead of a follower. Shoooot, baby. You could decriminalize marijuana, get passenger rail, build a globally innovative new library or take care of your homeless population in tiny homes. You are kinda, quite literally, omnipotent.

I promise I’m not trying to be a buzz-kill here, I just gotta go for a bit and I want you to take care of this while I’m gone. It’s not like I’m asking you to make sure my cats and houseplants don’t die.  I’ve heard that it’s empowering to ask for help. This is what it looks like when I ask for your help. It will always taste funny to me, but help me anyway.

It truly is darling how humble you are, and I can’t wait to see you when you’re full of critical thinking piss’n’vinegar.

Now. Go! More soon… I feel like telling you these secrets…

xomoe

In the Interest of Full Disclosure: 3 Things

EARTHcrewMy curiosity has been piqued by this movement of reasonable thought and meaningful lifestyle choices I’ve seen creeping across America on silent little cat paws. I think there is a pretty solid chance that we are at the front end of a revolution. Historically, I suspect it may be called The Digital Revolution, but I don’t want to be so presumptuous as to think that this time is any bigger than what has come before. Still, I believe this could be the third biggie. We had fire, the Guggenheim press and now this. I dunno, I could be wrong but….. I’m not. for real.

One of my favorite components of this revolution is that we the people have access to information and, more importantly, to each other like we have never had before. We are able to gather (smarts AND friends) more efficiently and weed through the never-ending sea of ideas and connections in much shorter order. This magic combined with what appears to be a collective consciousness geared towards big change has made for some unconventional opportunities for a grown-up living a non-traditional life and a mobile skill set.

I’m taking the adventure to Alaska because I am curious, but I also want to document what I find out along the way. So I think it’s only fair at the front-end, before we all book passage, that you get to choose to come along or bail out.

THREE THINGS I HAVE TO CHECK INTO

ONE: Human Connection. How has the Digital Revolution shaped our cultural and personal landscapes? I am willing to go see as many people as I can to thank them for being my friend, basically. If it weren’t for facebook and the other arms of social media, none of this would be possible. I know how my life has changed and I am hungry to hear the similar stories that are growing more frequent and unbelievable all the time.

TWO: I have always been an open advocate for the reform of marijuana laws and legislation in America, and I have wished for a sudden halt to spending more time and money on the War on Drugs. I have 35 years invested in gathering information (and anecdotal evidence) and I research for a living. I have become reasonably well-informed on geographical, cultural, societal, psychological, personal, medical, political and professional considerations as they relate to the marijuana movement. Seems like a shame to waste that education and those stories.

THREE: Taming The beast known as worldly comforts and finding a way to exercise self-resiliency with grace and literal pioneer-ninja strength. I will carry what I own and plot a course to the west. I will travel primarily by train, document it because that’s what I do and not do so in a high-risk way. I have taught myself to be a smart digital traveler and have few needs beyond human connection and the need to sate a badass case of curiosity. I’m choosing a road way WAY less traveled and breaking it down to 100 things that weigh 100 pounds. I will not allow my well-bring to be hinged on stuff that can be lost. I’m on a quest to share moments that can’t ever be recreated.

I’m inviting you to come along. If everybody gave a buck or something there would be all this investment on your part. I know you’re curious but you’re not in a position to head west – I am. Come with. It’ll rock and I’ll show you everything. Please and thank you.

Go here to be all philanthropic and feel like you’ve got a part in this crazy adventure: CLICK HERE PLEASE

xomoe

PS: Some of the places we have been before can be found on youtube or twitter or facebook. Check it.

Let’s Take an Adventure.

Northern Lights (instead of Kansas sunsets)

Northern Lights (instead of Kansas sunsets)

I am heading to Manley Hot Springs, Alaska. I am in no huge rush to get there and I want to leave around the first of March 2015. I have family there and an opportunity to explore with the safety net of a home and something like a tribe. I will continue to take pictures, edit less for others/write more for me and take risks that most people reading this wouldn’t be willing to take BUT would be happy to read about.
I am reducing my Stuff down to 100 items. Even writing these words makes me tremble a smidge. I talked sternly to my pack today and I am still at 72 items. That is just clothing. Some difficult decisions will be made. They get made every day, dammit. Killin’me here, Smalls (I say that to my stuff a lot.) Who really needs 16 pairs of socks?
I plan on traveling primarily by train, (Amtrak not freight) across the western half of America and am doing so 2015adventurespecifically so I can stop in as many places as time and space allow, to hug everyone who has impacted my life. Or, at least have coffee – I can finally concede that hugging isn’t for everybody. I am in a unique position to do this. My kids have moved away, parents have passed, homes bought and sold and now that Stuff has been stared down, I’m not bound by the same societal laws as everybody else.
Almost all of these people I want to hug wouldn’t be in my orbit if it weren’t for facebook. So, technically – I am taking the facebook tour to Alaska to check on some loves, meet some others for the first time and find probably even more brand new ones. Social media has changed my life in dramatic ways that don’t even need hyperbole. It’s nuts. I have reason to believe (a bazillion conversations to support the notion) that there are a LOT of people like me out there. I have to go find out.
Along the way, I need to find out some other stuff and I’m not getting any younger, so I’m weaving this into an immersion course in things that make me curious. It will rock, it did before (this is not my first rodeo on the road.) And, as luck would have it – my numbers are rock solid legit right now, so chop.chop. No time like right this instant.
While I did perform this kind of magic trick before, and just leave my hometown to find happiness anywhere far away, this is not that same dance. I sang on street corners, I caught rides on Craigslist, I couchsurfed way before airbnb, I took some mighty big chances and I still had unresolved Stuff issues in Kansas. That was all about leaving from and not going to.

MOElookSo, I believe I’ve built a way for all of us to get what we want. I get to travel safely and well within reason and hug everybody and gather stories and spin them into laughs and colors; You get to hear stories and see things and have questions answered that you hadn’t even thought to ask yet, all from the comfort of your life right where you sit.
Feels like winner.winner, to me.
Click on over here (here.here.here.) if you’d like to vicariously see the western United States from a train and find out what it’s like to live in a village of 73 people (most of whom are Athabaskan Indians) in the hard serious interior of Alaska, where there is no indoor plumbing and smokin’hot wifi but electricity that comes from generators powered by gasoline. Yes. Gas from a gas pump thing, EVEN when it’s 60 below and there’s only 3 hours of sunshine a day. And, there are bears. I will probably have to learn how to shoot a gun like Daniel Boone, and shit.
Those already sound like some pretty tasty stories, right there.

Jump on. C’mon. It’ll be fun. (or scary, but mostly fun. I promise.)

And, if you can throw down a dollar or two, do that. It makes the stories more funny, less scary.

xomoe

The Number 100: Booking Face to Alaska

Hey baby. Check it out! Brand new blog! Just drove it off the lot. bam. Hey. Will you adjust the mirror on your side a little. a little more. a little.. yea. there. thanks.

WICHITApostCRDI am leaving the motherland after a 3 year minute and want to take you with me. Don’t panic and start wondering where you left your passport and what bag you should take. You don’t have to do a thing or leave the comfortable embrace of the life you have worked so hard to build.

I’ll do all the walking and carrying and writing and snapping and tweeting and posting and sharing. I will gladly meet strangers and play the 20 Questions game with them, then I’ll tell you about it. For real. I know we’ll have a blast. I don’t sleep much, I talk and share and represent with an seasoned naivete that makes it way fun to hang – probably especially when you can control the dosage. Read when you want, stop when you’re done.  Better than extended release.oh.yea.

It’ll rock to be you. You can even help me figure out what to ask – I know I’m not the only curious person left on the island. And, by virtue of you being with me – I’ll be a whole lot safer. Winner.winner. To be clear: WE will get to go a whole bunch of places and find out a whole bunch of stuff and swap a whole bunch of fresh hugs with a whole bunch of people that we otherwise would never have known. And, bonus time, cha.ching! It’s going to be good stuff. I can’t stomach any more really bad news.  Seriously. Physically. No mas.

About 12 years ago I tried out an exit strategy that was founded completely in emotion, I wasn’t going TO anyplace, I was just for sure leaving this place. It’s Wichita, KS and suffers from an inferiority complex that is fed by this belief that everywhere, hell, anywhere, is better than this. (Not true, but let it marinate and it’ll be fine.) Overnight, my life flipped from being responsible for everyone all the time to being responsible for nobody, ever. I downsized and jumped ship.

It has made for a fabulously rich American Dream Gone Bad tale, though, and it has everything: Love, loss, drugs, fire, business, incarceration, birth, music, secrets, hope, train-hopping, secret agents, despair. It’s epic and it just about blew me all the way up. So, I left. It wasn’t clean. My bad.MONKEYhide

The Internet was just getting it’s groove on, then. Me and the net have had some years to build our comfortable and complicated relationship and it has generously provided me with a way to keep on buying Dr. Pepper where I find a wireless connection. I have done what I returned to do and now I can go explore/ The Internet is my wagon.

Columbus had people behind him, y’know? I propose the following: You hang with me and I’ll tell you everything I can find out. You won’t be hungry for details and I’ll get to drink it up and share.  Where I’m going in Alaska, there is no indoor plumbing and all the electricity to power the routers and laptops and whatnots comes from a generator powered by gasoline! And, there are bears.

THESE ARE THE FAQs

LEAVINGload 006WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I’m breaking it down to 100 things (I still have no idea how this can even work) that weigh up to 100 pounds and I would love to swap 100,000 hugs with people all over the world. I start in Wichita, KS and rest in Manley Hot Springs, AK for a bit. I have no pressing time concerns and I will not be hitch hiking in any conventional sense of the word. I will secure passage on trains and airplanes for long runs and rely on love for the short rides. Ultimately I want to go to NC, NY, London, Surrey, Austria and the American Virgin Islands, but that’s a longer story for a rainier day. It’s all about the hugs.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? Why not, really. I’ve been curious about relationships and people and how we’re maneuvering this divide between real world and the internet. Our connectivity drives me. Arguably, it always has – as a kid I had a room full of neighborhood buddies listening to albums and I really can’t keep a physical home because it is filled with people I love in no time flat. I am compelled to include. Nobody else is doing this so I think we should. What IF this is the beginning of a revolution – shouldn’t we have front row seats? I volunteer to scout. Somebody should.

And stuff. OMG. We the people have got some jacked up and massively complicated relationships with stuff, here on the island. I know it comforts us, I grok the psychology. But, yea. This isn’t working out so well for anybody. I’ve lost count of how many people who have paid me to help them part with their stuff. It’s hard. Sometimes it sucks to be a grown-up. In the 3 short years I’ve been back in orbit, I have amassed a collection of unbelievably remarkable coolass stuff and it’s all gotta go. I have to be entirely responsible for all of me. I’m thinking like a ninja or an Indian Chief or a Buddist… walking softly, leaving no evidence. I have to walk the walk for real.

HUGShugeAnd love. Right before Christmas a person I loved on facebook died. She’d been my penpal friend and we’d talked to each other about everything for 5 years or so. She was young, it was unexpected. She was a phenomenal power house of a woman artist who was rebuilding an Airstream camper from scratch. The only person she had listed on the book of face, as family, was me. I had planned to see her this spring, she was a motivator in getting me to explore the west. I missed that chance. I must chop.chop. Life is way too short and delicate to wish we’d just had a minute over coffee. And, no – I am not dying any faster than anybody else. Don’t be getting all skidgy. I just want to see everybody while I’m still having fun. It’s hella harder to chase a flight at 50 than it was at 20.

HOW DO YOU DO THIS? I work like a freakin’ farmer, for starters. I’m probably the most clever and resourceful grandma you’ll meet. I can always cover my nut, but my expectations have been historically low – I’m hoping to raise the bar a bit by inviting you to come with me. I can sleep anywhere, I’d just rather not have to. I’m inviting anybody who wants to, to throw down and consider it like a prepay for a story or an image. Or, both. Or a podcast, or.or.or. I am not want for skills and I share liberally. Short of all else, I’m self reliant to a fault. I am trying to embrace the value in asking for things. Straight.up. I can sing on street corners or sell 800 glass eyeballs from the 1950s, but I think my strengths are better utilized if we just go hug everyone.

Come with.

xomoe