Home Away from Home

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We all know I am not the Better Homes and Gardens type of girl. I found a pot of dirt on my dresser one time. It took me forever to figure out it had at one point been a plant who died a horrible death.

I spend at least 200 nights a year in hotels and on the road for my various travels. Despite the lame attempts by these chains to make these rooms comfortable for weary business travelers, they are nothing like a home.

Lucky for me I have some friends who excel at making a home wherever they happen to be at that moment. It’s a gift and I really enjoy being on the receiving end of this gift.

Let me tell you a bit about my friend. Her name is Lori and we have had some amazing adventures together. She invited me to come visit her in Oahu and I have to say it is one of my favorite vacations ever!

First of all, Lori is one of those people who likes to plan and worry over the details. I used to be like that, but it got old. Now, I like to just see what falls into my lap. When I am smart, I go visit people who like to plan and worry about whether or not I am having a good time. Score! Best of both worlds! Just kidding. Kinda.

Lori has this charming little house on Oahu. Every time I turned around she was doing something else to make sure I was comfortable or had whatever I needed. She always adds cute little touches like twinkle lights or cute curtains to her space. I never think about any of that stuff. I am usually just proud of myself when I keep my clean and dirty clothes separated while I am traveling. I have learned methods to do exactly this… it comes from a deep seated hatred of packing. Lori introduced me to all of her island friends. They all welcomed me and went out of their way to make sure I had a good time. Who does that? Nice people! Fun people! Generous people! Lori’s friends!!!! 

I will be forever grateful to the gentleman who brought me a kayak, not once, but TWICE! The patience and supportive way he encouraged me was so beneficial. Now, Lori was the one who walked back and forth just off the shore line holding the craft steady so I wouldn’t tumble out for the 907th time. (Imagine a parent teaching a child to ride a bike without training wheels. Now imagine that child is a very large, intimidated middle aged woman.) After about an hour I could finally paddle a little on my own without flipping over. They watched my shit show for an hour! They never grew exasperated and told me to just give it up. They waited me out. It was awesome!

Lori also obsessed over my application (or perhaps in her opinion, my mis-application) of sunblock. For the first time in my life I went on vacation and did not end up with an illness inducing sunburn. Is there a lesson here? Yes! You should absolutely vacation with someone who is going to reapply your sunblock even after you feel like you probably did a fairly adequate job. Trust me, you need this person in your life. 

Lori and I have a lot of the same tastes in music and this is always helpful when you are spending long days and nights with each other. She is also the best Jazzfest partner. Back off! I am not sharing her. 

Lori cooks and she eats incredibly healthy. So, even if I had a few alcoholic beverages, and even if I found a bar that served a bottomless glass of Day Owl, I lost weight on vacation! I never hear anyone say that.

My favorite part of my island adventure? I got to catch up with a woman who has made a big impact on my life. She has reinforced my self-confidence and reliance. She has reminded me of the importance of taking a step back and reevaluating my plans and goals. She is a good example of fiscal responsibility and I appreciate how hard she works to make smart choices.

I struggled for years to make and keep female friends. I did not believe that active, beautiful, smart, successful women wanted to be my friend. I hid from them. I was abrasive and standoffish. I decided I did not like them long before they could decide they did not like me.

Now? I am surrounded by smart, amazing, inspiring, beautiful women all the time. I go on adventures with them. I send them stupid text messages to try to make them laugh. I can call them to cry over the latest episode of This is Us. We are all so different. We came from different backgrounds. We have different political or religious points of view. Some are married. Some are divorced. Some have never been married, and don’t particularly care to be. Some have kids. Some have A LOT of kids. (kidding). Some do not want children. We have different levels of education and different careers.

When I find myself wondering who I am and who I am going to be, all I have to do is think about the women in my life. I get to be  loved and love them with all of my heart. They open their homes to me with shockingly little notice when I realize I have a couple of days free to come crash with them. I love that they give me a home when I am so far from home. I hope I get to keep collecting their spare bedrooms and couches for many years to come. I want to see who we all turn out to be.

Insomnia and 24 Hour Diners

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I don’t know if you can actually call it insomnia. I went to bed too early and woke up too soon. I slept well, so I am up. Not much is open this time of morning. I had to drive 8 miles down the highway to find this little place. Actually, I Yelped. I did not drive around aimlessly, that’s not even a thing anymore. 

I have to be honest this is one of my favorite parts of traveling. I love finding these little places. Usually the food is just okay, but I generally have a great time drinking coffee and reading a book over my solitary breakfast. 

Tip: you usually can’t go wrong with an omelet. Always get a glass of water with your coffee, and hope they are willing to make you a fresh pot. 

Life is an adventure. You have to get away from the hotel from time to time. 

Colorado Mornings

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I love coming to Colorado. 

The insane traffic seems horribly out of place in the rugged frontier world of the mountains. I guess there are lots of people who love coming up here. 

The morning is crisp and cool. Perfect weather for shorts and a hoodie, neither of which I brought with me. 

I love the freedom I have to travel and I am certain this life is more fulfilling than the one I used to lead. 

Sometimes I miss having a place I was expected to be at every day. Well, most days anyway. I guess being untethered is a double-edged sword. 

I have to be vigilant with keeping relationships a priority despite the distance. I don’t want to become a stranger. I like the idea of doing something special with my closest people once a year. We always know when we will see each other again. 

Yeah, that’s a good idea. 

Today is our second annual wine fest. Yum. 

Sometimes edges are blurred

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I used to believe avoiding detours and planning every moment of my life was the best way to ensure success. The past year has taught me that deviations are frequently blessings in disguise.

I am living my life with much more spontaneity these days. Planning is still an integral part of it, however I am only planning as far ahead as I absolutely have to. Instead of seeking a permanent job, I am relishing in the freedom working as a locum has afforded me. I feel a little like Vivian in Pretty Woman. “I say who, I say when, I say how much.” This untethered exsistance can be scary, but the rewards are much greater than I expected.

One of the bad parts is licensing and credentialing. I hate constantly bugging people for references. I only hope they know how much I appreciate the time they have taken out of their busy schedules to help me out. It’s not like my references have a ton of free time. These are busy people!

The shift from being a constant planner to attempting to maintain a more flexible lifestyle has forced me to trust myself. There have been offers I have declined because they did not feel like the right move and there has been a couple of opportunities that simply did not pan out. If I had panicked and thrown in the towel at the first sign of adversity, my next adventures would be impossible.

Life does not have to be perfect.

I am learning how a messy, unplanned, spontaneous exsistance can enrich my life and allow me to grow as a person. I relish the blurred edges. It opens the door to many potential wonderful surprises.

Shining Onward and Bravely Searching,

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Living a life full of adventure may not be all it is cracked up to be. Sometimes you just want to sit on the couch with a kitty in your lap, remote in your hand, and a glass of wine within reach. This is exactly where I want to be tonight. I have absolutely no plans to do anything else until morning.

This past week was a nightmare at work. It was not the crazy number of hours it required, it was dealing with some personalities that left me emotionally drained, and unsure of my next move. However, if I have learned anything in my life, it is best to take my time and not make decisions when I am emotional about the situation.

So, I am going to sit back and think about some of the advice I have been given. Right now my favorite advice came from a new mentor. (Turns out that is what they call “work daddies” in the real world-thanks for that T.) Yikes. Not that real work daddy has been replaced. No way. He is stuck with me. Anyway, his advice was to find things you can live with, instead of searching for those you cannot live without. Good advice for me. I have to remove the black and white from situations and be okay with the gray.

People surprise the hell out of me. I find myself forging new relationships and growing more as a person every day, and then I get knocked out by someone who means nothing to me. Why do we let people have so much control over how we feel?

Easy. We want connection. We want to feel like we are valuable. We want to be wanted. We want to be more than someone who can be lived with. Perhaps we even want to feel a little needed. Regardless of what we say, we do want to be loved.

So, in order to live a bearable life, I have to pretend those desires are not there. I have to play it cool. I have to not be too terribly devoted to anything. I am not sure how you find passion in life when you spend all your time trying to quell those passions.

Why does life have to be so confusing? Am I supposed to be searching for my passion, or am I supposed to be calm, cool, and collected at all times? When are you supposed to be excited? Am I allowed to be driven and ambitious?

So, I am continuing to live life looking for my next adventure. I am going to continue to build relationships with people. I will find my passion. I will find people who share my passion. I will feel things as brightly as I can.

Shining Onward and Bravely Searching,

LQ

You say you want a revolution…

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Well, you know… we all want to change the world. (Not sure why this song is running through my head this morning.)

How did I forget I wanted to be a writer? I allowed stress to interfere with my goals! No more of that nonsense. Back to work.

Life is full of exciting opportunities, and it does not really take much more than an open mind to see what is out there.

How does one go about making potentially life changing decisions? Do you follow your heart and emotions? Do you attempt to objectively weigh the pros and cons of each choice? Do you seek the advice of a trusted mentor? Flip a coin? (and then keep flipping until you get the option you want? 2 out of 3 anyone?)

I am somewhat certain it is a combination of all of the above. The most important thing for me is to simply give myself permission to evaluate the choices. The tendency to avoid change is hard to overcome. Am I selling myself short?

Remember when I kept saying I wanted to go on adventures? If that is true, why do I find myself avoiding them? It is time to see what is out there for me. I cannot allow myself to be complacent. I have too much to do.

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I highly doubt it is going to be as dramatic as rowing off into a foggy unknown. For one thing, I doubt that a boat is actually a good metaphor for my life. I don’t even hang out on boats all that often. (Or ever! I never hang out on boats! I live in a pretty dry place.)

No, my life is more like a winding road. (I do love road trips!) I am ready for adventure. (Don’t worry, the adventure may leave me close to home.) The adventure could lead me to some travels though. I am not committing to anything just yet. I am going to explore all the options, and then make the best decision for my life.

Oh! One more thing. What’s the worst thing that can happen? I make the wrong choice? Well, that will just have to be a learning experience.

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I love Northern California. Stole this photo from:http://www.destination360.com/north-america/us/california/napa/highway-29