The fact is, while it may have seemed sudden to some, the signs were there for a while.
I knew as soon as I took off to the desert alone one Tuesday with a trunk packed to spend the night in my backseat that there was a part of me itching to experience freedom on the road and make “getaways” a routine for a while.
That day in Anza-Borrego, although I didn’t end up staying the night – and it wasn’t as if I had just disappeared, I had made sure to tell my close friends where I was going and what my plans were if I didn’t return in the evening – was among the first affirmations of many that I needed to begin an adventure far out of my comfort zone.
Anza-Borrego State Park wasn’t that far from my home base in San Diego. It was only about two and a half hours of windy, beautiful, alpine-then-cactus road to get to the stretches of sand and cracked mud. I went for the Super Bloom, after researching places where you could still enjoy the super flowers without the super crowds. It made me extremely sad to see the consequences of the rush in Walker Canyon, where beautiful explosions of orange California poppies had been trampled in pursuit of capturing their beauty. I took my own journey before the canyon was closed down and I was grateful I did.
So I went, and as my service faded in and out I relied on one single song to keep my spirit up the entire time – Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac. I had my yellow silk kimono also packed in with my sleeping bag, and of course, when I pulled over at one point to view the blooms, I did a twirl in tribute to Stevie who can make any girl feel like a gypsy dancing away in her own world.
There’s something about heading out on an adventure alone. You know you’ll probably have to rely on the kindness of strangers. I love that feeling. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like so many things go unsaid in passing with someone when asking for directions or advice on car troubles or decent spots to eat, and the further from your home the purer the interaction.
Anyway, one specific stranger in the Anza-Borrego visitors center was kind enough to draw me a little map of the best pockets of the desert to view the blooms.
I took his advice and went to all of them. I pulled over and would prop a door open, put my legs up and journal a bit, then take a walk to see the flowers up close. And then I took some portraits with my little timed stand that Sean got me for Christmas, one of the best things for a frequent solo traveller.
“This feels right,” I remember thinking to myself at least a hundred times, there and back to Anza-Borrego. I remember wondering how many more trips I could fit in to my semester before I’d leave San Diego after graduating. And as I sit here I realize I never did go out on another journey. Life was incredibly busy in my last semester. In a good way – I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard – but, I wasn’t able to have half as much alone time as I wanted, something I thrive off of. Graduation happened in a blur.
I would sit, in between assignments, and read about other’s travels instead. I’d read about the wanderlust that filled so many people’s souls, so much so that they sold everything they had and took off in pursuit of something bigger – or smaller – just anything but what they had. They’d quit their jobs, they’d narrow their possessions down to a van or suitcase and go. They’d rely on the kindness of strangers. They’d restore faith in humanity, when they had sometimes lost it themselves. I’d sit in wonder.
I’d think, “Wow. They are leading such an incredible life.” I didn’t want to idolize someone, but I felt safe idolizing the thought of adventure. Because any person could do it, and it took me a really long time to come around to the realization that the “somebody” could be me. But I didn’t have a job that confined me to an office that made me feel stuck. I didn’t have a house to my name or even a lease to an apartment anymore. I didn’t have very many possessions… it felt like the door was so wide open that there wasn’t even a door anymore, just the open road.
The thing is, I’d had it planned. I’d move back to Humboldt after graduating, stay for six or seven months or so to “get my bearings,” as I’d put it. I told everyone I needed a mental restoration from the four years that just whirled by. I would stay at my farm that I love so much, find a quiet job, and slowly save up for my move to Hawai’i where I’d become a flight attendant. Everyone knew that plan. And lately I’ve spent a lot of time reassuring everyone that flying in the sky for a career is still my goal, and my ambition, and my dream and nothing will really change that – that in itself is an adventure that I am so excited for. But for a second, just a bit, I want to explore the land before I hit the international skies – because I remember how I felt in Japan, like no other place felt as much like home as it did. I want to chase that feeling in as many beautiful sights as I can when I’m this age, with nothing really holding me back. My timeline has shifted, as if a timeline really ever existed in the first place.
I realized I wasn’t ready to move back to the place I call my comfort. Because it will always be there, but my heart knew, I had to keep moving.
I’ve been lucky to meet someone who shares my vision. My partner Jesse and I have moved our lives into a 27-foot motorhome we bought from a retired cowboy named Bruce.
And we love it. We plan to take road trips to national parks, deserts, forests, and of course to Humboldt, too. When I go back to San Diego I’ll be starting renovations to make it our home, and it’ll be our home on the road.
So at the moment, I’m sitting on my farm in Humboldt, two weeks after buying the R.V., because it still is my favorite spot in California. I’m writing this outside in my special sitting spot as I gaze at my horses and Nani, my german shepherd, gazes at me. And I am so filled to the brim with love and comfort and happiness. I had to at least make a stop here, because it really does replenish my soul, but this stop has also been an affirmation that this adventure I’m taking is the right thing to do. My beautiful friend Cumbia said it perfectly: “Follow your heart.” And I’m really happy to be leading this decision with my heart at the forefront.
I am grateful for the solo journeys I’ve taken in the last year – Japan, Oregon, Anza-Borrego, and little mini ones along the way. They never failed to inspire me and encourage me to keep journeying on.
Nothing inspires me more than nature and so I’ll be really excited to keep Holo Moana going on the road. I love sitting in our R.V. so much and get floods of inspiration in this little corner I put together, so, this is hopefully the first of many entries about this new adventure. I look forward to sharing them with you.