Happy 2016 -New Year Mural

Standard

Happy New Year everyone! I am so excited to ring in 2016 with a creative and artistic start! Today I paint a mural in a music studio and its going to be space/astrology/star mapping/geometrical themed!

I am excited to get back in the studio and begin to work on some murals, canvas, windows, and solo/group shows! This is a different direction, but exciting. I spent some wonderful time with family in Seattle and now onto making art from the heart back in Oakland!

Happy 2016! Best wishes to all and stay tuned for more on the mural front!

Family

Biking Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsyvanlia, Philly, Delaware and Beyond

Standard

Cycling, cycling and more cycling down the East Coast!

    

Above is a Rail to Trail, converted rail road tracks made into a trail that was 17 miles long. So many people were using the path and it was one of the most enjoyable, car-free trails I have been on. It creates a strong sense of community by having those biking trails,

      

  

The 17 mile bike path was incredible and every time I found myself on a trail with no cars and dense silence from the trees around me, I always was thankful for it. That is why I ride, for that serene and full feeling of being immersed in nature.

With that said, some of the bicycle paths that I took (via google maps) were absolutely horrible in the sense that I had to walk my bicycle because the sand was so thick and impossible for me to ride. There were sometimes the roads were 2-6 miles long and often I had to turn around because it was so ridiculous. I follow whatever google maps tells me to follow, and sometimes I think that it was made for off road dirt biking!

  
  

I continued from Rhode Island south in to Connecticut where I rode on a bridge hundreds of feet in the sky. I was alone and pretty scared as well as claustrophobic being that high up. The bridge lasted a couple of miles and was over a huge river. It was a path that was squished next to 5 lanes of traffic and when another cyclist passed by, it was hard to squeeze through! What a rush!

   
  

 

From Connecticut I took the ferry across to Long Island and rode to meet my friend Tricia who I met and was friends with in Oakland CA. She now lives on Long Island where she grew up and has a son and husband now. It was lovely to catch up with her and spend a couple nights on Long Island. We went to a cross fit competition in long beach for all one day, swam in the ocean which was incredibly warm and got to catch up with one another.

   

   
 

Long Island was beautiful and full of vineyards and agricultural land. The houses are huge and old and apparently its become quite expensive to live out there. I saw a lot of horses, deer and animals too!


  
 

From Long Island I took the train a bit and then rode into NYC and met my friend from college, Jon who let me stay with him for a couple days. Jon and I ventured all over the city and had a great time exploring the 9/11 memorial, Central Park, Empire State Building and many other sites! It was one of Jons first time riding in the city so I felt so honored to explore with him. I really love exploring cities and being able to do it by bike, exploring bike paths and falling in love with bike riding all over again. I cant get enough of my bicycle!

 

  

   

I absolutely loved New York. I was blown away at the public transportation, how easy it was to bike anywhere in the city, and how pedestrian friendly it was! At some points while riding, I could see multiple buses, train cars, subway trains, bike paths, car paths, and waterfront spaces for pedestrians. This city has a great mapped out infrastructure and I don’t care what anyone says about riding a bike in New York. Its possible! Not only is it possible, but its a magical thing to experience. I would definitely be commuting if I lived in NY.

   

  

   

Next stop was Philadelphia where I stayed just for a night with some lovely people from Warmshowers. I saw a lot of murals and left promptly because the Pope was in town and it was hard to get around. It was a rush riding into Philadelphia as I was riding solo and got into some bad parts of town. I felt quite vulnerable on my bike. There are roads to go around these parts, but in many ways I like to ride through the whole city to experience what it is really like. Maybe next time I go with someone!

  

  

Next stop: Washington D.C. where I found my friend from childhood who let me stay with her a couple of nights. I loved D.C. it was very clean, organized, had free museums and I even got a glimpse of the Pope! I was able to see my childhood friend, Lauren Goodman and we had a wonderful time walking around the city and seeing Georgetown where Lauren went to school.

 

 

Next was Atlanta where the city was organizing an outdoor weekend music festival featured around rap. It was another world, like anything I have seen. It was interesting!

  

 

  

From D.C. it was onto Durham where I was reunited with Soul Sister, Gillian and I was fortunate to stay with her for a weekend. It happened to be Durham Pride. Highlights included donuts, days of rain, and my beautiful friend!

 

 

Next was Atlanta where I met up with a vehicle and friend Jesse who ended up giving me a two week ride cross country. We camped, stayed with friends, and met new friends along the way. My bicycle went with me as well, and so it was again wonderful to explore the cities that we traveled to by car.

The next stop was Nashville, Tennesse. Although out of the way, so glad we went to this city because it was full of great music, interesting people, and a lot of sights to see. They had a great bike path through the outskirts of the city so you can get around pretty easily by bicycle.

  

 

   

   

Next was New Orleans!  It was a city that reminded me of a town in Colombia called Cartagena because of its Spanish and French architecture and for the tropical climate. It was hot hot hot, which apparently to the people of New Orleans was not that hot contrasted to what they dealt with in summer.

    
  
  

I felt it was hot! We spent a couple of days in NOLA and enjoyed swimming, parks, and friends! There was even a gorgeous tree that had chimes hung to the branches which created an art tree with an orchestra of healing sounds. What a colorful city! Vibrant, diverse and amazing!

  
  
  

Then is was Austin Texas! A place that I have always wanted to go, and almost moved to directly after college. I got to see my cousin, Elizabeth there and really get to know the city riding around. Lots of bike lanes and lots of biking!

  

  

Then onto Arizona, Tucson! We just stayed for a short time I did not feel like I got a good grasp on what the vibe was like. But lots of driving and lots of freeway. I am definitely not a big fan of driving I think most of you know!

 

  

 

These last bunches of photos are from our camping journey a couple days on the way back home. This was in New Mexico and we found a cool place off the freeway. It was quiet and the stars were loud!

  

Then we were onto Joshua Tree where I linked up with the Joshua Tree Music Festival! I was able ot see my riding mate Maud, who I just absolutely love! She was in Southern Mexico and decided to take a month break in LA. I was so lucky to link up with her!

  

  

  

What a great way to end the tour! Since I was so close to LA I just decided to work a couple weeks out on Catalina Island. More of that to come….I feel so lucky to have my friends that I have met along the way. This journey of bike touring the east coast has been filled with love, exploring and change. I feel super clear minded and open, I feel charged with love and space for more change. I am always growing and transforming. Just because I challenge myself by traveling and learn a lot still does not mean that I know everything. I am always open to new experiences and exploring new spaces. I feel full of gratitude for all I have seen and done. Now is a time for rooting and grounding. Lets see how it all unfolds!

Love you all! Thanks for supporting me!

Biking – Boston to Rhode Island

Standard

Biked 54 miles from Boston, Massachusetts to Providence, Rhode Island. It was beautiful, easy and on the way out of the city I had a wonderful bike path for almost 15 miles which was a rail to trail bike way. Rails to Trails is an amazing organization based out of Washington D.C. that converts unused railroads into community paths for pedestrians and bikes! They are just wonderful bike advocates.

  

  

Rhode island is the smallest state in the U.S. and was actually the state that I picked for my 5th grade project and in a weird way, I have always wanted to visit! Founded in 1636 making it one of the oldest cities in the U.S.

   

I was fortunate to stay with my friend Erick who lives in Providence and happens to bike! We biked around maybe 40 miles and got a really great look at the city.

     

There were great bikes paths, I love this state!

  

The ride was gorgeous, Rhode Island has some pretty incredible bike paths.

  

Here is a view of the apartment I stayed in, it was a really cool loft and art place! Thank you Erick!

Boston, Massachusetts

Standard

I spent a little over two weeks in Boston had a great time getting to know the city. I have always wanted to visit Massachusetts! I stayed with different groups of friends and strangers that became friends.

     

Above are pictures of the arboretum in south Boston. Such a beautiful place. I learned a lot about myself and more about what I want for the next couple weeks of my adventuring. I have been so blown away by the love and support that I’ve received while in this city. I got to reconnect with some old friends, visit my cousin, go on many bike rides, and meet other cyclists who are passionate about riding. I just feel lucky to have spent the time I did.

   
   

Above Ian would speak to morning and afternoon bike commuters about bicycle benefits. Sometimes the line of cyclists would be 30+! Pretty amazing. Boston has tons of riders and maybe not the best infrastructure, but the people are committed to make things more safe. Here above is also my friend Jesse from Oakland who used to live in Boston just visiting!

  
     

 I was so lucky to be able to go to Boston bike party which so happens in Oakland as well. It’s one of my most favorite organized rides where hundreds of people get together and ride 10-15 miles and there are planned stops where there is music and just hanging out. Sometimes there is a theme and people get really into it. It’s a great place to meet people. Then I took some screen shots of some instagram posts from a host we had. She liked our “hippy camping” set up. It is quite the urban sight to see I will admit. Oh and do you see my mailbox and sprouts growing on the back of my bike?   
      
Lots of beautiful scenery mists the chaos of the city I loved waking up for sunrise and finding a place to watch sunsets. 

 

    
I volunteered with MassBike to do some bike parking at the Red Sox game and got a free pass to check out the game at Fenway park. Surprisingly small!

    

 Here is me and other Molly and Sasha, new girlfriends of mine! What a special time it was with some ladies that I really connected with! This picture was at a potluck/clothing swap.

The pictures are from Franklin Park just south of Jamaica plain outside, south, of Boston. Beautiful park that has a zoo, a golf course, and many ponds and green space.

  
   


When we first arrived to Boston we were welcomed with an organized ride that was 20 some miles, and there were 4-5 stops and it was during the day. Very similar to bike party but more small and intimate. Anyways, at each stop was a planned musical stop so it varies from one guy at the top of a pillar playing music, to a DJ to a full on band playing at the top of the hill with free snacks and another full band near the greenway of the Boston Airport. It was an incredible experience.

   

York, Maine

Standard

Welcome to York, Maine settled in 1624 and right on the Atlantic Ocean!

     

York, Maine is known to be a summer vacation town, just South of Portland, Maine. Took us a day to bike and Ian had some friends that he knew in town. It was a beautiful couple that were musicians and artists who had two young boys. We ended up staying in their barn for a week!

   
  

We took the boys out for their first long ride. Actually you could call it a tour, because we spent the night at their grandparents house in the back yard. It was a pretty wild experience teaching the boys how to ride. It wasn’t a simple ride either, a lot if it is what I do while touring. Incredible time!
   
  

Above is the barn room that we stayed in. Joyce, the mother and incredible musician was such a fun time to hang out with. A beautiful soul and I feel so wonderful and appreciative that she let me stay with them for the week.

    
    

We stayed a night in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as well. We ended up staying with a man, Jeremy that had Ian had already stayed him. Pretty funny, we ran into him on the street. We stayed in his back yard and set up a tent.

     
   

We met some friends, went to an art party and then ended up camping on the beach. What an experience as there were trucks that drove through where we were camping in the middle of the night.

   

2 Days 190 miles – Portland Maine to Townshend, Vermont

Standard

Back on the road again, and this time solo.

First I wanted to see what it was like to ride alone, and second I wanted to visit my friend, Tyler who I originally took the train to the East Coast with.

The plan: Ride 2 days to ride to West Townshend, Vermont from Portland, Maine to see Meadow Bee Farm where Tyler and friends were working and staying.

       

The first day I cycled 100 miles to a town outside of Manchester, New Hampshire to a warm shower host, Art and Sarah who welcomed me at the end of the bike trail. They gave me a bed and a wonderful comforter and a beer and in the morning catered to my every need and made me fruit and yogurt and PB&J snacks for the road. I felt like a daughter it was beautiful! They had a wonderful garden and two lovely dogs and a great home.

   
  

The ride was intense as it was my first trip riding 100 miles and the last 15 miles was on dirt road with tons of large rocks and roots exposed. I had some difficult time with my google maps biking directions that took me into strangers back yard, sand roads that are impossible to bike on, and large up rill dirt roads that were ridiculous and absurd to take a touring bike on. Part of me thinks that the directions are for mountain biking and not road touring.

  

   

I was fortunate enough to learn about the history of my mothers side of the family from my grandfather Bruce. He told me that in the early 1600’s that my family was located in Maine in what is now called Saco its just south or Portland. I couldn’t believe it was on my way so I took some time to get a coffee and enjoy the town. Unfortunately most of the information in the historical libraries only dated back to 1750’s so I wasn’t able to find information on the Libby’s, who owned a market in town. Pretty amazing history and special for me to visit the town.

  

The next day I was up early and headed to Goffstown and road a good 90 miles to Brattleboro, Vermont where I met Tyler and we swam in the lake and headed to the Farmers market where we met all the Farm friends! I got to see the farm and then we headed to Chabot at a friend bakery “Earth, Sky and Time” where we sang beautiful songs and had a potluck. More about the farm soon, just wanted to send a update about my riding solo time! What a beautiful life this is!

   
    

Portland, Maine 

Standard

   

Back to the city! Portland Maine is nestled beside the Atlantic Ocean in a cove and is the largest city in Maine! It is a state known for lobster, it has 3,500 miles of coastline, has many haunted inns and light houses, 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, 6,000 lakes and ponds, 1.3 million people living in Maine, it has a summer average temp of 70 degrees and a winter average temp of 20! What a beautiful place!

    

Back to Portland, the largest city in Maine….the population? Only 66,318 people! Ian I rode to Portland in about 2 days from Burlington. Camping, waterfalls, beautiful rivers and lakes to swim in of course. We usually eat berries, apples, peanut butter, grits and cheese (once we get riding we stop and cook), and we drink mate! It is always nice to split up the day with breaks and to split up the cities with nature.

  

I checked out the different Farmers Markets of Portland on Wednesday in their town center and in a big park there was one as well, Saturday. I decided to paint faces and do it for trade of veggies, cookies, or dancing and singing. Here is a look at some of the different faces that turned out. I had a lot of fun doing it, and for sure will develop the face painting skills.

  
     

      

        

    

We did a lot of “Bicycle Benefits” work while in Portland. Speaking to businesses, getting in touch with local people and encouraging people to ride bikes, and just getting people excited about making more of their shopping trips by bicycle. Above is the flyer we had for a “Bike In” which was a drive in but for bicycles! We watched a movie and it was a potluck as well!

  

     

  

While in Portland we decided to do a little project called “Get Pumped Up Portland” where we painted some pumps around town and here is a little mural on a hand rail that I painted outside of Arcadia National Bar which is a bar that has video games, pin ball machines, and other arcade games as well as a bar. The owners Ben and Dave are lovely, Ben is from Seattle and Dave is into Camp like I am. It was a great experience sitting outside the bar downtown Portland and hearing everyones reaction to the piece and to me painting. It was all positive.

    

 

I love Warmshowers, I talk about it all the time but its an organization that helps touring cyclists with a warm shower, bed or yard to sleep in, and typically they are the most amazing people I have ever met. Many of them have toured and its a tight community of really accepting and trusting people. Here we had the bike in movie and our hosts, Luke and Emily are getting married in 3 weeks but still agreed to host us for 1 week! What an amazing couple, they commute to work and are really into cycling. Emily toured from Vermont to Louisiana and actually wrote a book about the experience. Really amazing couple that took us under their wing for a long time there with delicious dinners and a beautiful garden!

  

Biking from Vermont to New Hampshire

Standard

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.07.21 AMHere is the map of the bike trip so far. We are going to call this tour the “North East Tour” which so far has included New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and currently I am in Maine. Many people talk about how I am in “New England” and just to clarify that means a tour through six states. Can you guess them all? Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont! I didn’t know all 6 so if you didn’t guess them no worries. Anyways the journey has been full of mountains and green beautiful land.

  

Vermont and New Hampshire do not have any lack of lakes and rivers for swimming! Waterfalls galore and beautiful people to meet! I think there was not one night that we didn’t camp next to the water. What a wonderful way to go to bed and to wake up in the morning. These day we are averaging anywhere from 25-50 miles a day, swimming wherever we get the chance, and just enjoying the local people and surroundings!

  
    

New Hampshire is one of the founding 13 states and actually the first to technically declare independence from British North American Colonies and the first U.S. state to have its own constitution. The license plate motto here is “Live Free or Die”. So humorous to see that on plates. It is also nicknamed “The Granite State” for its granite and quarries.

 
  

Here are the typical roads and the green highways. We typically have a shoulder and it is quite the contrast from Mexico. I enjoy the roads here and relax quite a bit. The hills, even the mountain passes are nice and gradual.

     

I love to ride my bike. I ride because I utilize my body in ways that I didn’t know it could function. I ride for the challenge, for the sweaty and hot uncomfortable feeling. I ride because I realize my privilege and resources available to me and want to take advantage of it. I ride because I know I wont always be able to take on this many miles and this many weeks camping. I ride because it is meditation and frees my mind and soul and lets my heart sing. I love to ride. It gives me power, clears my mind and gives me a beautiful perspective on life. When you ride a bike it takes you longer to get places. It makes you really mindful about who and where you spend your time and the life tends to slow down. I cant stop!

   

 

Riding through some of these small towns is really crazy because many of the buildings are over 100 years old with beautiful architecture and stunning farms and landscapes. This small town had a pharmacy that also had a diner. I guess its been open 75 years and the gentleman in the lower right hand pictures name is Jon and he owned the last gas station in town and now is a banker. He is 80 years old and was quite knowledgable about the area.

     

One night we stumbled upon Bethlehem Flower Farm that had flowers, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and a garden. The woman that worked and owned the farm for the last two years was my age and we got to chatting with her about the possibility of doing some work trade for sleeping in the back yard (full moon) and getting some eggs from her chickens as well as some zucchini. It was a great trade we worked in the garden weeding some onion plants and feeding the baby goat! What a great time we had, we made popcorn and had some wonderful conversation. This farm was settled in at the top of the White Mountains and was picturesque.

 
  

 

Here below is Ian in the onion patch at the farm.

    
 

I love the landscape and could bike across this part of the country any day!

    

 A Mural in Burlington, Vermont

Standard

Vermont is a beautiful and magnificent place! It is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States, it has forests that cover over 75% of the state! The green mountains are located within the state and the state is bordered by Massachusetts, New York, Quebec Canada and New Hampshire.  I ran into old friends, and made new ones. I never could of imagined it would of been this green and luscious, I am still in awe of the beauty and how friendly people were. Billboards are outlawed and there was no sign of cooperation’s, just tons of farm and local businesses.

I made my way to Burlington, Vermont after New York. We took a ferry about 20-30 minutes across Lake Champlain. I met with my friend, Cody that I met on a bike tour of the west coast and he actually met us on the other side of the ferry. He took us swimming and showed us around town. We got caught in a storm that was so intense but short. We met a woman who let us stay in her garage until it past.

It was great to catch up with Cody, to swap some bike touring stories and he hosted us for two nights. It was such a blessing. We also met wonderful people through warmshowers.org and turns out Ian knew them! Dan and Christine were their names and they help run a community bike shop and a bike shop in town. We ended up staying 1 week with them and so thankful for their hospitality. Their project is called Burlington Bike Project and if you click the name you can check out their project and website.

Their website also features me in their blog. You can click this link to check it out.

Who: Essentially the Old Spokes home is run as shop for just about anyone who needs help with their bike and then Bike Recycle Vermont helps create access to affordable education, job training opportunities, and a supportive and encouraging environment for people who need it!

Where: Burlington,Vermont

  

  

How long did it take: Only 3 full days of painting! This also included a day where many cyclists came through for a celebration of the North neighborhood called “The Ramble”. This included a community BBQ, displaying of the mural and tons of kids and adults asking about the mural. It was a pretty incredible space.

Dan and Christine introduced us to some beautiful people and we were able to plug into the Burlington scene pretty easily with their help. Potlucks, cooking, music listening and making, hair cutting and just hanging out I would move to Burlington because of the people and bike culture. They had a lovely co-op that we hung out at quite a bit speaking with cyclists about bicycle benefits, which Ian helps promote and run where you get benefits for riding bikes! It is as simple as that, empowering more cyclists to get moving and start commuting, touring, or just getting out there and riding. The program is amazing and I feel excited about helping out.

 

The mural was so much fun to create. I really enjoyed it, although its an older style I felt that it was the best thing for the Bike Shop and the community. I was able to paint certain local businesses and community organizations that the clients could relate to.

  
  
  

Here is the mural in detail, this was also one of the first times that I drew people in my painting. It was fun, I met some amazing people and wanted to include them. Ian is also pictured here with doughnuts as he handed out doughnuts to cyclists a couple mornings in the street. I drew Dan and Christine of course, and then I am meeting RJ and his children who helps organize Bike Party Burlington.


     

Here is more on the mural!

  

 I love to ride my bike. It makes me feel the true sense of the word free. I feel alive, I feel free, I feel strong and I feel like I can do anything in the world that I set my mind to. It is a beautiful feeling and a wonderful way to see the world.


  
  

We left Burlington after a week and headed to the state capital, Montpelier which is actually the smallest capital according to population in the United States. There our goal was to check in with all the businesses that supported Bicycle Benefits and make sure that they were still accepting cyclists and just promoting the cause. We tabled at the local co-op again and met some amazing people just encouraging people to get on their bikes. Bicycle benefits program is great it allows cyclists in many cities throughout the U.S. to buy a sticker for their helmet for only $5. Then they can go online and see the different local businesses where they get a discount. Discounts range from 5-20% off purchases, free cookies, free chocolate, free coffee, and more. It is allowing local businesses to support cyclists and cyclists getting rewards for cycling.

  
   

We got to ride through a lot of green beautiful mountains, I felt like I was back in Washington State. I am still in awe of the State.

   

   

Rain, rainbows, libraries, meeting new people!

              

I would absolutely live in Vermont, I loved it there. I think that I would have to live through a winter to actually understand what the state is all about. But either way I would be open. Thank you to all the people and friends that we met and spoke with. What a beautiful life! The plan now is to head east! New Hampshire and Maine!

Biking New York -Utica, Rome, Saratoga and Essex

Standard

“You know New York, you need New York, you know you need unique New York!” I have been in New York 1 week and it has been so wonderful to us! Currently we are 3. Ty, 29 from Tacoma, WA and then there is Ian, bike activist and adventurer from Saratoga, NY and me! So far our time has been filled with a family reunion, 250+ miles of biking, lots of side-of-the-road-singing, dancing, farming, working, playing, swimming, eating a lot of food.  Here is Tyler and Ian above and this was the scene that we arrived to when we got to the family reunion in Rome, NY. Ian set up a little paper bag that welcomed us to the house. We rode 20 miles to get to the party which was at his Aunt and Uncle, Patty and Dave’s house. They had a huge backyard for camping, a swimming pool for cooling down, and many wonderful family relatives to meet.

 

The events of the Reunion lasted about 2 days and consisted of scavenger hunts, an egg toss for children and adults, a egg hunt with tons of prizes, a cherry spitting contest, family photo albums from the last 60 family reunions, old newsletters sent out after every year, and eating a lot of food! Tyler won the cherry spitting contest I believe spitting at a range of 28 feet or something like that. I wont the infamous egg throwing contest with my partner, Ian and we definitely broke a record of over 63 feet underhand throwing and got our names on the egg trophy. I was pretty excited about the whole ordeal.

         

   

Biking is such an incredible way to travel. It opens doors, allows one to think outside of the box, and really allows you to think and slow down. Camping outside and getting to know local people, its what life is all about.

 

This tour we have gone so far from Utica, NY to Rome, NY and then through to Saratoga Springs where Ian’s parents live. After that we cycled to a little lake where we met a friendly and loud Beaver in Schroon River just South of Lake George. Below are some of the stops that we would take, the lakes we saw, and the houses that are around the area. Such beautiful places that I never dreamed of seeing!

 

   

After the river we headed into the Adirondack mountains where we were greeted with hills to climb and sunshine to soak. The mountains are in fact not a range but rather a series of hills 100+ to be more specific. The heights range from 1,200 feet – 5,433 feet which is the peak of Mt. Marcy. The range is has over 62 million acres, making it the largest National Park in the U.S.A. and boy was it green singing with wildflowers and granite cliffs. We decided after a 50-60  mile bike ride into the mountains that we would end our day with  hiking. We found Giant Mountain and climbed upward about 1 miles to a clearing where we made camp. What a view it was, and a clear night for amazing star gazing.

 

 

Through the Adirondacks we found a town called “Keene”, not quite my last name in spelling but it was a quaint and gentle town that offered us bread, gluten free pasta and chips for our meals!

 

Next on the list was to head to Ian’s younger brothers farm called “Echo Farm” in Essex, NY. We rode maybe 50-60 miles again with many mountain climbs to the farm which was originally a dairy farm!

    

    

A little history about the farm, it has not been used for the past 50-60 years as a older woman lived there with her brother who had a disability. The farm died a little bit and now Dillon and his partner, Kelly decided to take on the 160 acres of forest and farm land complete with pigs, goats, chickens and vegetables. We got to help by stripping the paint off the barn! What a magical place!

                               

This was my first time getting to pet goats and really getting to know the animal! Wow I love their milk, cheese and just the way the animals are! They are so friendly and loving and enjoy being pet! At least these goats do and that’s probably because they are on a routine schedule for milking twice a day. Once at 6am and another at 6pm. Tyler and I couldn’t get enough of them! I think he even hugged 5 at once!

  

 

I am feeling continuously grateful, loved, fortunate and thankful to be on this journey. I just am wondering which day I will explode with rainbows and sunshine from all of the things that I am learning and the wonderful times that I am experiencing!

San Ignacio & Mulege, Mexico

Standard

The adventure continues and then there were 5! 1 French woman, 2 French men, 1 American man and me!

Desert, desert and more desert. Even through the sea of Cortes gleaming and shimmering beauty we were surrounded by desert! I am talking about hot, hot, hot heat.

 

The climate is now starting to wear on me. Every day taking the tent apart and cooking three meals, then riding in up to 100 degree heat and at the night deciding where to sleep and setting your home back up again. Lots and lots of work!

We made our way to San Igancio a small oasis in the desert that had a lagoon and Palm trees surrounding the area. Stunningly beautiful there we stayed at a bike house or “Casa de ciclestas”. We stayed three nights and I painted a little mural there of the world so cyclists could put a little dot from where they came from on the painting. Pretty amazing! I painted in acrylic and oil just right along side the outside of the house.

Here is the group, right before our ride to Santa Rosalia where we saw the Ocean for the first time in a week and a half. 

     Here is one of our stops where we spent the night at a shooting range. We did not realize it was a shooting range until the morning. Unfortunately we arrived at night and just had to settle with whatever place we found! Of course it was safe and a wonderful spot for sleeping.

   

  

We had an amazing couple Gayle and Paul agree to take us in through warm showers. We slept outside on the roof no tents just sleeping bags and a pad. Wonderful for the full moon! You could watch it rise and fall gracefully through the night. Stunning. We were so lucky to spend time with this family as they treated us like we were their children.

They took us out boating, whale shark watching from kayaks, swimming, eating, going out dancing, meeting so many of their friends, and laughing all together it was a beautiful week! Thank you Gayle and Paul!

      

We had a great time at their place, above is a picture of the hitch hike we got going into town. We met a wonderful boy and his parents from Mexico and Peru. I gifted him a small glad dolphin that Paul made. Paul used to blow glass at the San Diego Sea World. Now he just has a studio in his house and makes gorgeous animals to sell to tourists. He is a great guy and even let me take a turn blowing glass! I made a necklace.

      

We also went to Loretto and spent the day there, adventuring around and getting to know some of the local people. We had a bright neon pink and purple sunset too!

Bahia de Los Angelos, North Baja California Mexico

Standard

 

This magical bay of Los Angleos, Baja California deserves a post of its own for the inspiration it left me and for the beauty and screnity of its location.

 

The past month since arriving in Meixico we have had one road the entire way. It is called the “One” and you don’t need maps and you don’t need to worry about getting lost. You can see it above in the yellow line. From the one there are many roads that lead to the sea of Cortez and they are a good 66-120 kilometers of a detour.   You can can also see in the photo above the one road and then where the pin is dropped. We didn’t want to miss out on all these beautiful places.

So we decided we wanted to hitchhike and not back track and with three bikes we knew we had to be patient. We see maybe one car every half hour but we were patient, ate lunch and waited about 1.5 hours before some cars came along. 2 cars, one with a man made trailor from half a truck cut in half already stocked high with things, and another suburban with a sailboat hitched behind. We were kindly offered a ride and put all our bikes on top of the trailor in the classic bike stack.

 

It was only 66 miles and unfortunately got to sit in the suburban and chat with a family from La, a father and two kids the same  age as my brother James (11) and sister Melina (14). They were on spring break (lots of tourists from the states in Baja). Anyways we arrive in Bahia and seeing the water truly make you appreciate it more and want to jump right in. But we had to find a place first.

Well as soon as we were packing our bags on the side of the road a lovely couple in a dune buggy came zipping by merrily and asked us what we were doing etc. They kindly and warmly offered their back porch for us to stay and it was a divine meeting! They were very excited to meet us and were just finishing up a week long stay there and did not mind if we joined them for the end of it.

The couple, from Lauguna beach, Don and Susie met when they were bike touring in the states. They ironically were going separate directions but ended up riding together for 4 hours. They didn’t get together till much later but it was a blissful meeting!

  IMG_2122

Dons parents, Joyce and Wally were one of the first Americans to build a home in Bahia in 1972. Mind you there are virtually no houses in 1950 this town is relatively new. Anyways Joyce and Wally build a gorgeous home. Simple, filled with joy and love, and looking out onto the water. They used to fly their airplane down to Bahia LA and would sometimes bring chickens and apples and fruits for the local people.

    IMG_2127

 So the house was constructed in the states by Joyce where she put the house together to make sure it worked properly and  then took it apart, loaded it in a truck and constructed it for a second time in Bahia. Such an amazing story I love it. The two of them seemed like a happy couple and really you could tell from the energy of the home. Unfortunately Joyce passed away last year and Wally 5 years ago but their legacy lives on. We even were fortunate enough to listen to some of their Cds!

 IMG_2131 IMG_2141

So we all agreed to stay one night, which turned into two, which turned into three! What a wonderful time. We took out the boat and got a wonderful tour of the islands around the bay. Beautiful clear water, tons of little islands, red rocks, jumping fish, white sandy beaches, and plethora of birds and sea lions! So many islands to explore and we even got to hike to the top of a little hill on an island to see an osprey nest. Papa Bob and Joe I always think about you two when I see any birds from our days birdwatching in the arboretum!

 IMG_2114  IMG_2117 –IMG_2118  IMG_2079

So there were 5 of us, plus a dog, skipper that went whale watching. Susie made sandwiches and we got to see Finnback whales! So beautiful at one point we saw 3 of them right in front of us coming up to breathe at the same time. So beautiful they are the second largest whale! They can grow up to 90 feet long! The whale is long and slender, grey blue in color, They are super fast and can pass the fastest ocean steamship! They are not very fond of humans so the way that we would find them was to stop the motor, listen for their breathe which is easy to hear.

IMG_2121

754px-Fin_whale_size.svg

I still can’t believe these amazing animals that are so large in size eat such small plankton. I also learned that some of the whales are now a generation away from the whales that were whaled and killed meaning that the new generation has no memory of fear of humans. We are meeting many tourists who actually take boats and pet the whales because they are so curious and friendly. While this is more about the grey whale, the finnbacks are not into people at all. The would always swim away from us but you could get close to see them breathe and then you could fell when they dove high and can swim up to 20 mph. What a lovely experience!

We are so thankful to have met Don and Susie. I have stayed with many people over the last 2 months and I never had a hard time saying goodbye to any of them as I wanted to continue the journey but for some reason these two have still been in my thoughts and I didn’t want them to leave! I will have to visit them in Laguna Beach!

Valle de Los circos -Socorrito to Catavinya

Standard

IMG_1811  

Lanky waving Dr. Seuss cactus, bright liquid blue sky saluting, puffy cotton cloud drifting, excruciating intense heat riding, melted deteriorating pavement has been consuming my reality these last couple days. It’s been truly incredible but the desert has been challenging. It has been a couple of weeks since I have wrote, so this post is almost 3 weeks worth of travel. A lot, a lot, a lot of desert. So many cactus and so much dust and sunshine! No shade! Ah!

 

 

San Quintin was an experience I will never forget staying with the Gomez family for one week! they treated me like a daughter and really became my family! I feel so grateful for people like Gabino and Lupita!

 IMG_1651

IMG_1653 IMG_1661

IMG_1695 IMG_1696

I ended up painting some hummingbirds in their kitchen and a little bike mural in the garage! Adley  and I even got to play a little concert for a family gathering!

IMG_1692

Leaving San Quintin with a new riding partner was by far the worst ride we have experienced yet! I have a new friend, Maud from France who is riding from LA to Peru alone. We decided to ride together and our first experience was in 107 degree weather and incredible side winds creating a tornado of dust and rocks and making it quite dangerous when riding alongside trucks and cars that block the wind and then suck you in near their wheels as they unblock the wind from you. We only made it 30 km when Maud felt sick and we paused on the side of the road. Here we were stopped by a green truck where a Mexican American Alejandro appeared like an angel.

  

 

IMG_1749   IMG_1761 IMG_1763 IMG_1765

He offered us a place to stay for he night and maud and I desperately needed a place to hide away from the wind and heat. His house sits alongside the ocean and he provides us with food and beds and was so welcoming and amazing to us. He cycles himself and was excited to have us. We actually ended up staying 3 nights there as maud got better and we met some amazing friends on the beach. Some American boys from La traveling by van and surfing and two American girls who were road tripping and celebrating their 30th birthdays. We had a camp fire and swapped travel stories. So much fun and exactly what we a needed!

   IMG_1839

IMG_1848  IMG_1842

IMG_1868  IMG_1881-2

So we were off on the road again and into the desert. We camped a couple nights in the desert and then I got sick darn it. Probably the same thing Maud had. Really traveling is amazing but it can be hard! I was so sick and riding a bike through the desert in 100 degree F heat, cooking on and in the sand, cactus camping and so badly wanting the comforts of a home when not feeling well. Not to mention we are not even close to being out of the desert, not even close!

This uneasy feeling must easily be accepted or you will not have a pleasant time. These roads bring into the reality of death and peace. The cars pass now every 10-30 minutes and it’s much more tranquil of a ride.

You can enjoy the wind and the smell of the native plants that remind me of sage. Their scent fills the warm air. Here kilometer markings are signs of our progress and I count each one knowing that soon we will reach a town with water. We must bring enough water and food for a 3 nights stay. 10 liters of water adds a lot to the weight of the already heavy pack. I would guess my head now weighs 60 pounds.

IMG_1767 IMG_1937

IMG_1948 IMG_1950

One day we were riding through the desert exhausted and with unbearable heat and flagged down 5 cars for water. 4/5 cars were American and gifted us water, Gatorade and one person even had Halloween bags of candy for us ha. People are very generous on the road. Then we continued 30 km more to the closest town Katayina where we were in awe of the change of scenery from desert nothing to huge giant boulders and enormous towering cactus. Here they call the town an oasis and there are petroglyphs still preserved you can walk right up to and a river! We took a whole day off and swam in the river and enjoyed the oasis while we had it. That was our first rinse in 4 days! While Maud, my friend and I were checking out the petroglyphs high up in a cave we saw from way below a tiny figure with a bike! Another cyclist!

 IMG_1980  IMG_1982

IMG_1987  IMG_1975

IMG_2006-2

We met a 25 year old cyclists Cameron from New York who had just finished a cross US country tour this last year and is now cycling with us. How cool! And what a fun way to meet someone! We set up camp near the side of the 1 highway and then a Canadian motor bike slowed down near us and asked if we needed help. We replied no and invited him to camp with us. So from 2 to 4 we camped 2 nights and made some new friends! We shared meals together and had a fun sharing stories. Below is some of the petroglyph and the trailer that Ramon lives in who let us camp in his yard.

IMG_1960  IMG_2150

IMG_2144 IMG_2145

As far as riding, we never know how many kilometers we will do each day, where we will sleep or who we will meet a long the way. Sometimes we meet people like Eugene whose grandparents created the town of rancho Calamata. It’s a town with the population of two buildings, 5-6 people, 20 cows, 3 horses, 20 chickens, 2 peacocks, 3 dogs and 1 kitten. The only have solar panels and make money from truckers and having a restaurant. Eugene continues to tell us the story of his father in 1925 who met the governor or Mexico who actually came to meet the father and telling him news that they were going to build a road through Baja. The father was not pleased and continued to tell the governor that he wouldn’t live to see the day that happened. Well a couple decades later and sure enough the road was built and the father was greeted by the governor again but this time with the first car he had ever seen in his life a ford from the states. He ended up driving the car and accepting that the road was built. Eugene tells the story with such “animo” or enthusiasm that it makes you want to make a film out of the stories he tells. What a crazy bunch of people in that town we spent one night there and he gifted us coffee and water which was essential for our voyage.

IMG_1901  IMG_1908

IMG_1922 IMG_1913

Above, one of the things that really disturbs me while riding (and there isn’t much that does) are the crosses that are on the sides of the roads. They are quite a literal symbol of death with names, dates, and loved ones writings etc. showing how much they miss their loves ones. Most of the accidents are truckers and most of them are at night, but still they are quite the sight to be seen. Next to the picture above is Maud’s back trailer that was stuck in the mud. What a mess, we got stuck for a little bit but also long enough for me to take a picture!

IMG_2025  IMG_2040

 IMG_2050

Here in the small “town” I met a French family a dad and two boys that were traveling around the world and were on their way to southern Baja to study the whales as there are many grey whales living in the southern part of Baja. The family was truly an inspiration as they travel together and had such an array of experiences and history I really enjoyed speaking with them. This is one of my favorite parts of traveling is speaking with people, especially other travelers and hearing honest stories and different perspectives on their view of the world. Just amazing!

Below is a picture of a tire store and the sign for the shop is made out of tires and is an elephant. Can you see it?

  
  IMG_2143

Acampar y San Quintin, Mexico

Standard

Mexico is special. 

It has such a deep part of my heart as the people I make connections with are real and present and loving. You can make friends so quickly , everyone says hello to you, and there is a way of life that is about family and living in the present moment. Most conversations I have are about family, food, and weather. I see smiles and honks all day long and best of all I love when we share food with people. The life is about sharing and caring and everyone is included. I really missed speaking Spanish.

This is now almost a month since we have been riding. We left February 6th and have been non stop going! We are currently in San Quintin, where the dot is below.

   

I am sure by now we have done over 700 miles not quite sure just an estimate. I’m most surprised so far at how many homes we have stayed in! Such generosity that we have encountered.

Half of the weight that I carry is from food. We have a whole kitchen with us from spices to stove to pots and pans and then of course fruit and tortillas and avocados and cheese! I do miss the protein bars we could so easily access in the states. Traveling by bike outside  the Us is totally different in almost every single way. You don’t really have bike lanes here, food is different and you never have to pay to camp and the people are moree likely to let you sleep at their homes.

From Ensenada we rode 43-45 miles and arrived in a small town called San Tomas  around 5:30pm after wine tasting!  (My idea) Adley and I agreed that we would not bike after 4:30pm from now on as the drivers get crazy and that is also the peak hour when people get off work. Not worth it to ride we also hear daylight savings is coming this week so we will have another hour of riding!

Once in San Tomas we started asking around for a place to stay. We asked a 25 year old doctor who worked at a social services building if we could put our tents up in his yard. He responded “si perfecto, hágalo pues!” Later we found out he was super bored and somedays works 36 hours and delivers babies after being asleep and the women would wake him up ready to give birth. Pretty crazy stories and an amazing guy, super young for that sort of responsibility alone. He let us sleep in the storage room. We cooked him dinner.

The next day we camped after riding 35-49 miles at a random spot. Below is a typical camping experience. This place was just off highway 1. We are usually in bed usually by 830pm and up at 7am. I am a fan or writing in my journal and I’ve been learning tarot cards as well. So I like to do this at night and meditate. 

In the morning we usually make oats and fruit for the morning and then are off.

 

My tan is getting better and better. My face as well is half tanned from sun glasses and helmet.

 

Here is Adley and moon last night arriving in San Quintin where we have a warm showers host. They cooked us dinner and breakfast let us take a shower (after three days ) and have wifi and a warm bed! So appreciative of the little things what luxuries they are! Here lupita and gabino live with their children and two chihuahuas. It’s a beautiful home and they have hosted over 170 cyclist in 1.5 years! Here is a map they have in their home! The dots below in the map are the different places cyclists have come from. One guy that stayed here is traveling by unicycle!!!! I couldn’t believe it all the way to Argentina!!! And another guy by foot running!!!! All the way to Argentina! There are wonderfully more crazy people out there than I expected! Such a nice surprise and inspiration ! 

 

  

I will meet my future riding friend Maud from France hopefully here. She is on her way to Peru and we met on this cycling website warm showers. I am in no hurry and enjoying all the time I have on my beautiful bicycle! 

Tijuana, Playa de Mision y Ensenada, Mexico

Standard

Never had I experienced that type of cycling as what I did in Tijuana! I’ll explain…It was an amazing city despite what many people say and I had a great time there thanks to our hosts and my cycling buddy Adley.

  

The ride was crazy from San Diego to the border maybe 15 miles of an easy ride. We took a ferry and loved chatting it up with the captain.

After the ferry you pass a couple of navy bases and it feels almost like Armageddon. There are US planes with people jumping out of them with parachutes, helicopters everywhere and guys and girls running through obstacle courses. You hear gun shots practicing  in the background and it feels almost scary.

Anyways we cross the border after exchanging money and are sent through a whirl wind of people. We pass the hundreds of people trying to get back into the states, an incredible amount of people! I couldn’t believe it. Apparently Mexico is one of the most visited borders in the world.

I received 6 months of visit from Mexico and then we were off. We had friends Liz and Elvis who live in downtown Tijuana so we were off. The problem now is that we don’t have GPS so we were sent to the streets  to ask people for directions. From experience most people you ask for directions they tell you anything they can and typically it’s not the right way. If they don’t know something they still tell you a way. There is a need to not just admit they are wrong.

After an hour of searching we found the house had an amazing time with Liz and Elvis who had experience bike touring in Europe and were just incredible people. Great conversations, good food, and wonderful hosts.

In the morning we were off by 11 and that’s when the chaos started. No bike lane and a major highway. Add in an element of being lost and we were in a crazy situation. We figured it out quick but there was a good six miles that I didn’t even change gears or think about how hard to was to ride up the hills because I was so concerned about the cars. This is a different ball game and the way the cars were driving was a wake up call to always give the right away to the car and always assume that they don’t see me. I’ve never riden like this before!

But all was fine and safe. We made it though to playa de mission almost 40 miles where we were lost again looking for a biking hostel. Those 40 miles seemed like 80 because we were just riding so hard.

We were searching for a place to sleep when suddenly we were honked at by a white Subaru that (in english) asked us where we were going. It was a woman and her friend and she invited us to stay in her guest house. It was getting dark so we jumped at it and came to a huge house on the hillside complete with food a bed and comfort all over it. Warm showers and a delicious meal later we were in biking heaven.

 

  

The next day we rode 10 miles to Ensenada when we got pulled over by a “green angel” who told us we were not allowed to ride on the toll road and that we had to go around through a mountain in order to get to Ensenada. We pleaded with him to give us a ride as we weren’t allowed to continue and he agreed to take us to enaenada. I was so happy because I really didn’t want to go around.

We arrived in Ensenada, fixed out bikes at a local bike shop and ate with some hilarious people who reminded us of cartoon characters and had a great time.

  

 

We stayed with a friend of glorias, daphne and stayed 2 nights as a storm hit and we didn’t want to ride in the rain! She had two children and seven and we had our hands full playing with them and being special guests in the house. We left her house just a half hour before another big storm hit. We made it out in time and even had time for some wine tasting at the oldest winery in North America San tomas!

 

Dana Point, San Diego and Ocean Beach

Standard

image I love this part of California. Great bikes lanes, gorgeous roads and just endless amounts of cycling. I really love it. South, south, and more south we go! Off to Dana point where we stayed with a family in the hills who had 3 dogs and a very interesting story to tell. We found them through warm showers and they gave us a place to stay and a warm shower and even cooked us dinner. What a lovely experience.

image  image

They were a couple from Houston and love to tour. They just moved to California for the husbands job which involves helping dismantle a nuclear waste site that is near the ocean. He said it takes about 30 years to do. When they retire hopefully in 5 years they want to bike tour and pretty much live on their bikes. Super nice family.

image image

The next day we rode about 45-50 miles to Encinitas to see my family…Amy and Matt and the kids (5 total!!!) and get to spend time catching up with them and getting to know each other all overs against. It was so great, we had dinner together and we took the golf cart out the kids and i got some snuggle time with their two puppies who are adorable. What a great nights sleep!

image

 Sal gave Adley and I the grand tour where we saw the property including the wine cave (above), that we says is haunted. We saw rabbits and dogs and horses and a swimming pool! Truly a unique and beautiful house. Maddie let me sleep in her bed and Adley slept on Sal’s floor! I loved it!

Next we were off to the San Diego Ocean Beach farmers market to perform on the street. We said goodbye to the family, saw the kids off to school and were off! Beautiful warm sunshine and a lovely day in front of us!

At Ocean Beach it was an actual gig and they help us get set up with a whole sound crew. I had my first solo back up singing experience and we just had a ball! I ran into a girlfriend I met back in mazunte Mexico last year when I was getting yoga certified. Small world! Here is to growth, new challenges, new perspectives and letting go of worry. Too many times do we plan ahead or think about yesterday when the moment is here. To live now. To be content, thankful and full now. Tomorrow off to Mexico tomorrow!! Dont know if I am ready for it yet, California went by so quickly!

  

*all of these posts are posted a week after it happened! We are currently in san quintin Mexico but blogs take time and internet! Love you all!

Biking to and through Los Angeles

Standard

IMG_1127What a different experience it has been since we hit Santa Barbara. Next was Malibu, we camped on a hill near a construction site and behind a grocery store that’s was settled in a little forest. We actually door knocked for a little bit asking million dollar home intercoms if they had space for 3 tents. It didn’t work out too well. But the hill worked out perfectly.

 image image

image

The next day we were on on way to LA to Venice beach and played a show at the WhitZend where we were greeted warmly and even had a green room to hang out in and play music before and after in. Incredible stage with beautiful lighting and awesome sound. I never thought it my life I would be playing music, let alone with all my friends and biking. Pretty wild.

image

image  IMG_1311

The next day we said goodbye to Gillian who set off to Costa Rica for a festival and then set off to Harry’s house that we met from Warmshowers. He sweetly offered us a place to stay about a 30 mile ride away in LA (yes the city is huge).

He was not home when we arrived so he left the house open and to our amazement were offered a guest house and a huge huge huge yard! It was a special place and as Harry said we “scored”. I love warm showers it makes me feel like I am not on the road but rather in a home. People that open their lives and houses to is really makes me believe in people and accept the generosity. Really it’s a full circle as we learn from each other and share experiences and stories. It’s truly beautiful.

 image image

I was also able to see my friend Diana from college who happened to be in LA as well! What a great reunion, while i was gone she helped look after my things in the Bay Area at her parents house while I was traveling.

IMG_1256-0  image

Harry was so much fun to hang out with and after our two shows that we had in La we took a little break and stayed an extra day and played music and drank delicious wine!

IMG_1296 IMG_1278-0

Unfortunately while at Harry’s my friends Carolyn and mega left back to San Francisco. So the dynamic of the group is changing it will for sure be a different ride.

IMG_1313 IMG_1305

We have a show in San Diego on Wednesday so we are off riding our bikes 116 miles south!

Lompoc and Santa Barbara California

Standard

IMG_1103

Rode 62 miles from Lompoc to Santa Barbara. We got to see the ocean again! I missed it dearly! Found another cyclist named Cody from Vermont that joined our group for a while. Always nice to meet friendly cyclists on the road.

IMG_1099 IMG_1100

We stayed with a warm showers house in Lompoc, with a Seattle native, Alden. We didn’t actually meet him he just gave us keys to his place and said make yourself at home. So generous and hospitable and there was a lot of seahawk gear around the house. I cant believe how open and welcoming people are of us!

IMG_1119  IMG_1092

The essentials…kale, salt and vinegar chips, broccoli and a flower. The picture above is the backyard of where we camped in Santa Barbara.

IMG_1091 IMG_1101

We get hungry…really hungry. We split the work load into teams, and everyone carries food evenly. Carolyn is our featured cook, we tried to get everyone to split the load but she is just so darn good at what she does! Coconut curry veggie stirfry was the hit of the tour. Adley, the inspiration and 3 time Oakland to Mexico adventurer and musician carries an amp and an electric guitar in his panniers. He is crazy. Literally, crazy. But he loves music and he loves what he does…and did I mention that he is also the fastest in the group? Not that I am keeping track, but really…is this guy serious?

  IMG_1108IMG_1121

Once we hit Santa Barbara we stayed again with a warm shower host Alex who let us set up tents in his backyard. A musician himself his roommates and our band were jamming all night. We played a little bit at the farmers market and then enjoyed a good nights rest after I made lentil burgers and salad! Yummmmm! I am constantly in awe of how generous, welcoming and beautiful all the hosts we stay with are.

 IMG_1124IMG_1122

Rafael, one of the house mates took us to a bike shop he volunteers at, Santa Barabara bike coalition and he helped teach us how to is our broken spokes and true a wheel! Great knowledge! I even picked up a bike bell! Ring ring! Love this place!

  IMG_1116IMG_1120

Next we are on our way down south of course taking the Pacific Coast Highway and as many back roads as we can!

How to Start a New Adventure – Following Heart

Standard

Traveling is a choice. We can chose to make time for it or leave it for our dreams. It takes making it a priority and follow through.

I say this all the time but you never will have enough money, or enough time, or the perfect scenario for traveling. Just do it, like today. Like right now.

I came back to the United States in May 2014 after being gone one and a half year in South America. I am not going to lie, I was pretty exhausted. I wanted to visit Seattle, my hometown, after feeling the need to connect with family and friends. I wanted to sleep in the same bed for longer than 2 days. I wanted a warm shower with my shampoo! Every time I walked into the same house, to find my bed, my clothes, my jewelry, my food etc, I almost became overwhelmed with thanks and appreciation. The gift of being in one location and building community is such a luxury! Never had I looked at my life from this perspective and still 6 months later I feel the same way. Its ingrained in me. I got rid of almost everything that I own in those months and really love to live the life in a more simple way.

So I worked 6 months in a bar and restaurant and made some wonderful friends and great money. Life was good! I was riding my bike, I was reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I even displayed my artwork in 3 different Seattle locations. My art inspiration was pouring out of me and my family was feeling closer than ever. Everything that I had dreamed life would be back home midst traveling was exactly the way I thought it would be and more. I got everything that I wanted. Really, it was all right in front of me.  So…why wasn’t I able to live out that life with full happiness? There was a little something in the back of my heart that was trying to tell me…something wasn’t right.

There are constantly times in our life where our heart speaks. It is doing it all the time. Turn left or turn right. This would be good for my body and maybe this would be maybe not the best. We make choices. Sometimes its literal and sometimes its nothing more than a breeze in the air that gives us a certain feeling. It is different for everyone. The heart is a small (or large) feeling in the back of our hearts that pulls on us in little tiny ways, and the only way we can listen is to be silent and trust. It is a small muscle that will grow so strong with practice and patience. And yes, absolutely this sacred gift is within each of us. We already know deep down what we need and want. It is just a matter of listening and acting upon that feeling, and that is what’s so beautiful about life: we are constantly having to make decisions and choices and its all up to our own individual hearts in the end.

The outcome of all choices will be beautiful either way. What is important is that we aware of where it comes from and how it makes us feel. In my life, I listen to my heart all the time. I choose to take risks, become uncomfortable, change the way I see things constantly to understand the world in a more harmonious and deeper way. That way works for me! I want to speak about growth with a stranger, with a loved one, with the nature. I want to soar higher than I ever knew possible. I want to push my body in ways I didn’t know it could go. I want to climb mountains and sail oceans. I want to learn new things constantly. I want to speak Spanish for months on end and I want to live my life the way my heart feels is right. Is there logic there? Absolutely not. Is there love there? Why that is what is fueling it.

So I made a decision to leave the life was comfortable and in January 2015 and was off to Oakland, California where I used to live for 2.5 years. There I found my good friends in a cooperative house living situation. Sharing food, house meetings, garden, giving to the community and working together to live a sustainable and healthy life collectively. Musicians, artists, open communicators, activists and heart followers. In this house I found my friends who were ready to take on a adventure with me. The adventure I had dreamt of – Bike touring.

I met a dear friend of mine, Lukas from Germany while traveling in Peru. We traveled together for a couple of months after meeting at a mediation retreat near Cusco. We shared so much together: painting, singing, trying new things, cooking, learning Spanish, English and German and making new friends. Lukas was traveling by bike. He was the first cyclist I met that had toured. I would hear his stories, see his pictures and how different of a perspective his travels were contrasted to mine (buses and hostels).

Ever since meeting Lukas I knew this would manifest for me in my life. I didn’t know that it would be this soon, and I was not prepared but when are you ever? When the opportunity is there you must take it! So I link up with old friends in Oakland who have made this trip two years in a row, onto their third. I had trust that I could learn the ropes from them, and travel with some friends for a bit. The group we cycle with is a band and we are called “Bicicletas por la paz” translating into Bikes for Peace. We play Latin circus funk and we carry all our instruments and have gigs lined up along the way as we travel by bike. We camp in campgrounds, in random places off the highway, in friends houses, use warm showers (couch surfing version for cyclists) and we meet beautiful people that take care of us.

Its going to be an amazing ride southward and I am up for the challenge. I cannot wait to see the different landscapes of California and Mexico in a new way. I do not have any plans. I don’t know when I will return, quit my job and moved my things into two boxes. What I do know that I will be following my heart and that is what I do best! I don’t have any answers, there is no “right way” to live. We just have to find what is right for us!

To end, as I was preparing for my trip I emailed Lukas asking for advice. This is what he had to tell me: “For your Journy I wish you happynes and fullfilment and that you will meet beautifull people. If the situation around you is difficult, you only have to conact with a silence place inside you. There is no fear, no problems. This is the reality. Loos all fear and trust in every moment, you are so strong! The most important things for a your Journey, is your Opinel knife a good tend and a air mattress…If you buy one, you will love it! But the most impotant thinks you need are not heavy but so beautfull. A huge bag full of confidence and the next bag full of patience and you need always a open heard. If you have this, the material things dont have a big importance.” -Lukas 

Bike Touring Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur & San Luis Obispo

Standard

  IMG_1002

Biking, biking and more biking! I cant believe what my body has gone through these last two days through Big Sur some of the most epic and beautiful landscape I have ever seen. I drove through the same highway senior year of college for a spring break trip and knew I loved the mountains and the Cabrillo (1) Highway. But this time, and at this pace was truly a different and fulfilling experience. To be apart of the hillside and experience every bump and lump and up and down changes the way you see the views.The sea breeze becomes a release and the sun becomes a source of energy and a source of pain as 2 pm rolls around and the air is thick and hot without shade in sight.

IMG_1035  IMG_1038

We get a “Hike and Bike” fee while camping and its only $5 at state campsites which is great because you can meet other cyclists. Here we met a little boy who wanted to show off his bike to us, and on his helmet he is wearing our bands sticker. Also here is Carolyn hoola-hooping with our friends tent poles ha. Gillian in the background of course with dance moves to boot.

IMG_1026  IMG_1031

Seals. The seals were crazy, there were hundreds of female seals that were trapped on the beach by the male elephant seals and they were mating! There were babies and there was a lot of animal sex happening and it honestly was a horrific experaince. It would loud, it was ugly. Enough said about these seals but there were a lot of tourists taking pictures and enjoying the scene. Of course we had to stop by and see what the commotion was all about.

IMG_1009  IMG_1032

Carolyn and Gillian are above they are just a match made in heaven and have been buds since college. Its been so wonderful to hang out with both of them and get some serious sister bonding time. Gillian and I have been sharing a tent which has made for fun sleep overs and these two make me laugh all day long. Unfortunately I only have one more week with them and they are leaving in LA! Dont go!

IMG_0965 IMG_0969

IMG_1019   IMG_1030

Here is the view we pretty much had the whole time, ocean and more ocean. Gorgeous sunsets and even more gorgeous night skies. We found a beautiful hot spring called Esylan and found ourselves underneath the stars bathing in hot sulfur water overlooking the ocean. Pretty incredible experience with shooting stars and magical people around. Special night we had!

IMG_0990 IMG_1004

We met another cyclist who has been going about 5 months since Boston cycling by himself. What a nice guy, Valentin and he had a great little cycling system with his water bottles in the front and even shared coffee with me. This goes to show how many cyclists are out there, and almost at all of our rest stops we would run into other people like us! Well, not as crazy but still riding! People even started saying that they have heard of us! Here is a little instagram he shot of us.

IMG_0984 IMG_1059 

So in touring with a band one of the magical things that we get to participate in is music. We got the privilege of being in a music video for two songs. Pretty funny we had Carolyn and Adley’s room mates drive in front and behind us filming us singing and dancing on our bikes through Big Sur. Pretty Epic.

IMG_0928 IMG_0927

There was a wonderful bike path that led us to monteray. I could not believe how northern and central California was so biker friendly. Way more signs and lanes than I had ever seen in the Bay Area or Seattle. Pretty amazing biking communities with friendly people everywhere to help us out when needed (or not needed! 🙂 )

IMG_0986 IMG_0981

Adley and Carolyn fixing Bikes, yes we sometimes have problems with our bikes. Yes, it requires patience and going with the flow. In our group we have two teams that will cook 3 days on, 3 days off. Those teams are required to cook and clean for the meals. Of course everyone helps out as needed but we all share food and cook together.

IMG_1050 IMG_1052

Adley and Carolyn stopped at a sign, these two were made for each other. Good combination.

IMG_0939 IMG_0957

IMG_0941 IMG_0944

These past two days were brutal but rewarding. Interaction with my bicycle in a new way, getting in the swing of things and really just enjoying being in the present moment and enjoying going slow or enjoying not doing anything. This time is for the now and for the moment. I love my bicycle I have a beautiful appreciation for my legs and how strong my mind is. It requires a lot of mental stability and self encouragement. You cant think too much!

IMG_0949 IMG_1070