Thursday, March 30, 2006

Adventure to Ojai, Feb 2006

*The World is a friendly place*
*I am safe wherever I go*
*Traveling Solo is a rich, educational, inspirational,
enjoyable, soulful learning experience.*

February 5, 2006

As the rest of the world prepares for the Super Bowl, I am sitting in a Bed and Breakfast in Ojai, California. Alone. By choice. No plans to cheer for a team, no intention to drink beer (stopped 17 years ago) or whoop and holler at the plasma TV in an overcrowded sports bar. Not that I would ever do that anyway, but I’m just saying.I have never been to Ojai, it was a suggestion of a dear friend to celebrate, rejuvenate and hibernate (I just made that up!) in this beautiful valley.

Saturday, I drove up the coast and marveled at my Pacific Ocean through towns I had not visited since high school. Trancas Beach, Zuma Beach, Malibu on into Oxnard. A lovely afternoon drive. This idea came to me while driving: to pack Callie up and take the trip all the way to Eureka. Stop in San Francisco area, visit friends along the way and then head up toward Humboldt County. Find places to stay that allow dogs and continue writing this book about solo travel. Musings of a Middle Age Dreamer.

SO, this is a beautiful place. Lovely outdoor area. I ate in the patio that faced the pool and backyard. There were houseplants everywhere, perched in a bird cage, setting upon an old wooden ironing board, straddling an antique Coke machine. I smiled as I recalled my own atrium at home with new life breathed into it with the addition of the plants Lynn gifted to me. Perhaps a small patio table is in order now.

My breakfast consisted of fresh berries, melons cut to size, perfect poached eggs. I mean perfect. Round, cooked with just a little runny yoke, just the ticket to top a whole wheat English muffin. Chamomile tea, luscious fresh squeezed orange juice. Briefly I remembered my favorite stop in Ireland, eating breakfast with my then-fiancé, anticipating finally meeting the sheep in the back field. What a magical place that was, with the outside nursery, ducks and dogs roaming the land, the Guinness beer factory barely visible in the distance. Willy and Bandy, his daughter’s pet sheep.

As I was preparing my meal, I mentioned to another guest that I am a writer and here for some quiet. Well, that is partially true. Though it is not the initial reason I came here, it is becoming quite apparent that writing is my saving grace and I am doing myself a huge favor by retreating, taking this trusty laptop along and hunkering down. I also am aware that saying I am a writer legitimizes my solo status. Is it not OK that I just am here to take care of myself? Take my body and emotional self out of my normal life and prepare for the changes that will occur when I do this. It’s easier to tell people I am a writer. I can go anywhere and do anything if I say Well, this will surely be a great addition to my story/book/magazine article.

“Awareness is curative” as Mary Hulnick would say. So I am aware. And I refuse to pick on myself another minute of the day. Perhaps I am just merely trying this out, this new coat, this new identity, the brave new world of Karen, post-graduate school courage tucked in my jeans pocket.

I’ll snap some digitals of the back patio, parlor, my bedroom. And off I go to horseback ride. I’ll tell Melissa that I am writing a book about solo women travel. That isn’t really what the book is about though. I mean I will be the solo woman traveler, but the subject and what it is about will not necessarily be the same. Anecdotes. Interview others who are living their dream, even if it just a portion of their dream. I want to come up with some questions. How did you come to do _____, Is there a deeper longing/purpose/meaning to this activity you are involved in, Are you aware of any synchronistic events that led to this choice/lifestyle. Tell me anything else you would like me know that might deepen my understanding (and perhaps yours as well) of what this activity/lifestyle choice means to you and others.

When was the last time I started letting these ideas flow like this? It is apparent to me, very clear, that I MUST write and by getting away, I afford myself this time and opportunity to allow Spirit to flow the words to me. What a joyful discovery.


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