Euro Road Trip Day 2
Euro Road Trip Day 1
My friends know that I am one of those people who plan my vacations. Actually, I plan my life. My finances are laid out paycheck by paycheck, with a quarterly savings plan for the entire year. If we are planning a trip together, I will have an hour by hour itinerary prepared. If we are trying to hangout, we typically have to get in on my schedule at least a week in advance. My road trip around the entire U.S. was extensively planned for months before hand. Don’t get me wrong, I know plans change. I am very reasonable with that, and it does not phase me at all when plans do change. As a matter of fact, I have a plan for that.
You guys might not know this, but I consider myself a bit of a loner. I tend to think of myself as a one-man wolf pack.
Sometimes, however, some of the best moments in life are the unplanned adventures you go on with your best friends. Mardi Gras in New Orleans was very much one of those unplanned plans (hence the last minute $300 hotel room… <- Example of why planning does matter in the long run. Just saying – haters gonna hate).
But when my sister brought Doug home, I knew he was one of my own. And my wolf pack… it grew by one. So there… there were two of us in the wolf pack… I was alone first in the pack, and then Doug joined in later.
Briana and I were sitting in my room Monday, and she said it was on her bucket list to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans. “I mean, we are so close, and it’s just one of those things. Once in a lifetime type of experiences.” (Once in a lifetime is enough……). As we talked about it, we were sure it was like a month away, and hey maybe we could make this happen. So I googled Mardi Gras 2015 dates on my phone, only to my surprise to learn that Mardi Gras ended the next Tuesday. That meant the upcoming weekend was our last chance to make this happen this year.
And six months ago, when Doug introduced me to you guys, I thought, “Wait a second, could it be?” And now I know for sure, I just added two more guys to my wolf pack.
“We are doing this, aren’t we?” It was official. We were going to make it happen. We texted 5 of our closest mutual friends we thought may be game. This is Mardi Gras in New Orleans… Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this, right? Here was the problem – the upcoming weekend was Valentines Day. But that’s okay. (Lucky for me, I have a very understanding partner) Two of our best friends were game. We googled hotels, to find that only one room was left in the area (right by the parade) but it was $300. One room we won’t really even be in the majority of the time… Plus $300 divided by 4 really wasn’t terrible for a hotel… We talked about it and we all decided this was happening. It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Four of us wolves, running around the desert together, in Las Vegas, looking for strippers and cocaine. So tonight, I make a toast!
The bachelor party. The whole night. It’s… Things got out of control and, uh… we lost Doug.
From the (window to the) whale wall, the hang over remake fun, the parade, Bourbon Street, the masks, the assistance in parallel parking (“I’m going to murder you, but first let me help this guy parallel park”), the beignets, dancing on the bar, collecting beads, the two liter vodka bottle, running into more friends, and making it home alive.. It is a memory I will always cherish with friends I will always love.
Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
As I am sitting here, drinking my coffee, I find myself reminiscing. Just thinking about life. My life. Looking back five years ago, three years ago, even last year – where I am, what I am doing today – this is not where I had imagined myself at. If you told me a year ago that this is where I would be, living at home with my mother, and that I would be happy about it – I would have laughed at you. I would have gone as far as to call you crazy. “My mom lives in Ohio. I am never going back to Ohio. Have you lost your mind?”
I know what happiness feels like. It feels like wanting to be awake. It feels free, lifted of any burden. It is the feeling of contentment AND the motivation to change.
A short five years ago… I was at a strange time in my life. I was selfish and self-seeking. A huge part of me still is selfish and self-seeking. If you asked me five years ago what was important to me, I would have answered very different from what I would tell you today. My priorities included money and myself. Not family and friends, certainly not God. As far as I was concerned then, there was no God.
However, I was hungry for something more. An adventure, and an adventure I would most unquestionably get.
It was around December 2008 that I had decided I needed to move to Florida. I had no family or friends in Florida (yet), but doggone it, that’s where I needed to be. Lucky for me, a photographer I had worked with in Toledo, Ohio knew a friend in Destin, Florida who needed a roommate. It was a ways off from my original plan of Miami, but Florida is Florida is Florida – and that’s where I was going to be!
Four years ago today I was still in Ohio, my car had broken down and drained all the money I had saved to move to Florida – it looked hopeless (as it should be very obvious to you now, nothing stops me from getting what I want – not even money or the lack thereof). I just didn’t believe I was going to make it out of Ohio alive. Then it dawned on me, the love of money controls everything. This love for money controls your thoughts and actions. It caused fear and uncertainty. Doubt. If there is one thing life has taught me, it is that I have no time for doubt.
A second thing life has taught me? That I have no time for bull sh*t.
So the next month I hopped in my car, let my boss know I was taking a week vacation to Florida (which required me to put everything I owned and could possibly fit into my car…) and I made the drive. The photographer’s friend still needed a roommate, and I conveniently needed a place to stay. Just for a week, right? While I was here on my week vacation, it occurred to me that I would also need a job, wouldn’t I? Seeing how unemployment was at an all time high, I was shocked to be hired at the first place I applied.
At this moment, I realized – I should probably let my boyfriend and work know that I am not coming back.
Three years ago from today, I was very far from where I started this post and equally far from where I am going to end it. I was unhappy and married. Not necessarily unhappily married, just married and unhappy – and the two may or may not go hand in hand.
That’s probably an exact thought I had three years ago from today.
I was getting ready to go to my morning serving job and then preparing my other uniform for my night serving job. Work. That is what my year consisted of. Work and sleep. It was then that I found out how happy you could be while you were dreaming, and how angry you could be when someone woke you up.
Shortly after, I had an epiphany – you didn’t have to be asleep to dream.
Two years ago I was training to run my first 5k. I hate running. I hate exercising in general. I ran most of the 5k, and walked the last bit. Let me assure you, this was an accomplishment. Not necessarily one I was proud of. Yet, an accomplishment still the same.
However, it was just like the year before, filled with the never ending excitement of sleep. At this moment it was impossible not to have imagined a rejected future, but also I imagined a life of many countries, of vast and enduring adventure, of walking, riding, and driving in foreign places.
Just one year ago from today – more recent, yet still just as unreachable as any other event in the past; I was getting ready to go into Carrabba’s for work. I was sure to work as many hours in the night as I could, and sleep the rest of the day away. I would find myself sleeping until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. I was most certainly depressed. Some people turn to alcohol, drugs, television, or other addictive behaviors to tune out the reality of life; I sleep.
I sleep, because in my dreams I am able to make up a reality much more suited to my overactive imagination and vain ambition.
It was this summer that I planned out what was to be the most epic road trip of all time. My plans were a facade (a word with which I know the meaning, but butcher the pronunciation of every time). Planning was the dreaming I could do while I was awake, at least until I could escape to the solace of my bed. It was everything I talked about, wrote about, and thought about. “The Trip.” It was going to take me away from whatever nightmare I felt I was living through, and it was going to be memorable.
The trip was most certainly memorable, but I learned the nightmare wasn’t one you could escape simply by waking up.
Then there is today. July 20, 2013. Had you told me last year that a year from now I would be living with my mother, and I would be happy, you would have been right. However, Ohio would no longer be her home anymore either. The place I am at now is happier than I could have imagined for myself in the buried chaos of the last five years.
What I find even more crazy is that a year from now a stranger will pull this blog up, read this post, and then think to themselves what an odd person wrote this blog – and then that stranger may realize that they were indeed the author of this blog, just a very different version of themselves.
It seems that every day that passes nothing appears to change; yet looking back, nothing is the same.
Trying to recollect the steps down memory lane,
wondering if my futile attempts are in vain.
One would think,
The past would remain,
to drive one insane.
Was it this way or that?
Changing by the tip of a hat.
Within a moment of time,
one would look at a line.
within a rhyme.