MOVING ON: Part 3 - Road Trip USA
You know how in Google Maps, there’s the global view and then you can double click to the country wide view, then zoom in, zoom in again, zoom in again and again and again? Consider this RoadTrip USA piece my country level of zoom, k?
Here’s why: Within each day, within each state, within each hour and minute and second, the level of richness of this 8-day solo journey of healing was beyond anything I could expect. The intuitive downloads, the unbelievable beauty, the silent nature moments roadside, the depth of tears as I drove, the unbelievable pain in my body from driving countless hours, the anticipation of in-person hugs and time spent with soul friends after some very lonely, arduous, heart-breaking, yet empowering months was so off the charts that trying to condense them into one written piece would indeed dishonor said richness.
My path I would take for my cross country journey took form over the same two weeks that my furniture swiftly found new homes. It changed forms probably 20 times at least. “Should I go to the Grand Canyon, because...well...when in Arizona!” “I should probably avoid the Rockies in a convertible full with the contents of my life.” “Maybe I’ll see them and them and them and them...or maybe just like 4-5 of them.”
“Krystal. Calm it down a bit. Ease, remember?”
Lesson #21: Anxiety lives outside this moment. When I would get (severely) anxious and up in my head, I would take a moment, ground myself, take a deep breath and say to myself, “I surrender this anxiety and worry to the Divine. No, seriously...I really do. Show me the right path for me. Please and thank you. I love you. May this be soooo, soooo easy for me.”
Naturally, the right path for me locked into place (because it always does!):
Brea, California → Goodyear, Arizona → Albuquerque, New Mexico → Denver, Colorado (with surprise trip to Boulder) → Omaha, Nebraska → Iowa City, Iowa → DeKalb, IL → Chicago, IL → Cleveland, Ohio
I was Ohio bound before I knew it! I handed in my keys to the apartment having done a letting go ceremony the night before. I thanked it for being an incubator for growth, love and transformation for me, my ex and all those who stayed with us. It really, truly was such a precious corner of the world. It was beautiful, sooo quiet and precious to me. I fought to keep that apartment with every creative and relentlessly tenacious cell in my body, mind, heart and spirit and I felt like we had bonded in a major way. I’m so grateful to those ~1,200 sq ft and who I got to become living within those sacred walls.
If ever there were a dream car that I would want to do a cross-country road trip in, it was the one I was already leasing.
Lesson #22: It is W I L D how life unfolds for you when you’re willing to jump on your unicorn raft already floating down the “Easy River” and let those currents carry you to exactly where you were already designed to be.
I had packed up my Diamond White Mercedes Benz C300 Cabriolet with cranberry seats with all my possessions which strategically had to fit inside this very small car with a very small trunk. I felt like a minimalist badass strategist (a la Tetris Master) and felt extreme satisfaction that my whole life fit inside this car. I kept all my rising-in-Cancer necessities: Journals. Spices. Clothes. Blankets. Pillows. Shoes. There’s something that never quite leaves you after you pack your belongings in a backpack like I did in Bali for two months in 2014. It’s a certain kind of satisfying and I highly encourage every human, especially my fellow Americans, to sell your sh*t, let it all go and enjoy the absolute freedom of being teather-less at least once in your life.
Before I left California, I stopped by a client and soul sister’s house, Cassandra, to give her one last hug before I journeyed east.
She gifted me two absolutely GORGEOUS roses from her rose garden to keep me company for my drive. Most flowers in the area had bloomed like never before after the abnormally abundant rainfall that blessed southern California that winter and spring. She also gave me a sweet little gift bag with an aromatic candle, a teeny self-care book and some bubbly to help me settle in when I arrived to Ohio. We chatted a bit as we celebrated all the dreams she had brought to life since our coaching work in 2018 and then she sent me off with a big, big hug with a mutual side of tears. I love you, Cassandra!
Phew! I was really doing this. This is happening. Wow. Okay, I got this. Me, my journals, my sweet rose friends, my car and the open road. Let’s do this! Ohio, here I come!
The feelings I had leaving Brea, which had been my home for nearly two years, were bittersweet. It was like 30% sad, 70% elated-excited-relieved-ready. Travel has always been so incredibly healing for me so it felt like the exact medicine I needed to shed some heavy, armored layers that had built up trying to keep it together on my own. At each state border crossing, I envisioned each of those heavy layers falling off my shoulders as I crossed each state line in the form of multi-colored capes, forever releasing that which served me but no longer did. Most of all, I felt so proud of myself. I did it. I made it through. I really did it.
Lesson #23: Be friggin’ proud of yourself, especially when life deals you a big pile ‘o poo. Perhaps, in the end, that’s the point: Dig yourself out of said pile of poo just so you can see how AWESOME you are.
I arrived into Goodyear, AZ about 5 hours later which was a perfect first travel day. My dear friend, Natalie, was hosting me for the night which gave us plenty of time to spend hours catching up on alllllll the things. We’ve always been able to effortlessly chat and connect on all levels of life for hours. Seeing as quality time is my top love language, girl time is my favorite! Seeing who we’ve both evolved into over the last 5 years of knowing each other has been a total gift! I was so grateful for this time together. We decided to go get some pizza at a friend of a friend’s pizza shop that served us not only delicious pizza, but also several more magical, synchronous moments, all of which were continued confirmation that I was exactly where I needed to be.
Lesson #24: When magic and synchronicity speaks, listen. Honor it. Revere it’s divinity. It’s God talking straight to your beautiful, courageous, ease-questing heart.
The next day I hopped into my “Higher Self Mobile” (the name of my car) and headed east towards Denver. My ambitious, over-achiever brain genuinely thought it might be possible to drive from Goodyear to Denver in one day (think: 14 hours including stops) but my body very clearly said, “Girl, you’re crazy. I’m not doing that.” I listened, naturally. I got myself a hotel room in Albuquerque, NM which was a delight to my tired body. Main objective: Stretch. Shower. Ground. Sleep.
I woke up to a cold and rainy New Mexico spring day with reports of snow in the exact direction I was headed. First thought, “I got this. I’m a hearty midwesterner with plenty of Ohio winters under my belt.” Second thought, “My car has quite literally never seen snow before. Hmmm?” Thankfully and divinely, I had gotten my car tuned up and check on BEFORE I left for a 2,500 mile road trip (cuz #selfcare) and found out that my run flat tires were nearly bald which I promptly got replaced with the INCREDIBLE hookup from a friend and previous team member at the tire distribution company I worked at for 5 years before taking the leap to Bali and Cali. Talk about yet another sign of how supported I was on this journey of saying yes to the highest path of ease!
The snow and sleet was a familiar thrill of sorts and my car handled it like a boss. Snowy desert evolved into hilly terrain where I paused for a crisp, fresh grounding stretch break with an impromptu meditation hillside overlooking thousands of evergreen trees backed by bright blue skies and fluffy fall-like clouds. Deeeeeep breath in, deeeeeep exhale out. Wow. This country is STUNNING. It was as if I blinked and I was in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I wasn’t, but would be soon!
I arrived into Denver later that day after some of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL natural views I’ve likely ever taken in.
Lesson #25: It is an absolute, profound privilege to live in the United States of America. We’re going through some growing pains, no doubt. And...that will never eclipse the gift that it is to live in such a vast, abundant, varied country - and I’m talking just terrain/climate alone! Not to mention the people, the culture, the endless opportunities. If you have the privilege of being an American citizen or spending time within the US borders...please, I beg you, go see this country. Drive it. Bike it. RV it. Walk it if you have to.
Go. See. This. Country.
I stayed with a family friend, Lauren, and her fiancé, in their sweet home in Denver. I planned to stay just about two days to decompress, sleep, rest and meander. They were such kind hosts and even invited me to a sound healing event that Lauren was doing that Sunday. So perfect!
To add to the synchronous perfection of my time in Denver, my wonderful friend, Josh, just so happened to be near the area that I was staying for a conference that weekend and was available for dinner that night! SO FUN. It was so amazing to see him in person after a solid four years, especially as he was a newlywed to his beloved, Carrie. It was such a joy to catch up on all the changes life had brought us in the first five months of 2019.
The next day, after I was feeling more rested and less achy, I realized that Boulder was way closer than I thought. I took the gorgeous, gorgeous, GORGEOUS drive from Denver to Boulder and just took it in. This was one of those days where the tears were readily available at just how beautiful the terrain out my windshield was. It sank right into my heart.
I decided to pop into Whole Foods to grab some snacks for the day and the upcoming drive. I parked my car, got out and heard, “Krystal?” coming from the car pulling into the spot next to my car. “TJ? Whaaaaat in the worrrrrlllldddd are you doing here?” You cannot make this stuff up. Of all the moments, of all the parking lots, of all the places, I end up running into a fellow heart-centered entrepreneur that I know from my time living in Encinitas. He moved to Boulder a few years ago and was now living there with his girlfriend and was popping into Whole Foods for a gig he was doing. The odds! It was so great to see him and have a great laugh together at how crazy it was that we crossed paths!
As if I need to say it at this point, Boulder was magic. The houses were adorable. The people were so nice. It was a gorgeous, mountain-y, spring day. The air was fresh, the sky blue and it had such a small town feel. I ended up connecting with my soul sister friend, Mary Catherine, on the phone for this super potent TWO HOUR convo walking the streets of Boulder. When the Universe brings the two of us together to connect, it feels like all the divine feminine energy in the friggin’ galaxy channels itself through our bodies and its pure electricity and resonance. This trip brought me to ALL the people that were the most healing for me to spend time with.
After a relaxing and nourishing sound bath and a good night’s sleep (Thank you so much, Lauren and Natalie!), I headed out super early to get myself a latte and inch my way closer to Ohio. The dynamic, multi-dimensional, fascinating landscape of the last four days of travel suddenly turned into what seemed like the flat, drab, nothingness of Nebraska. No disrespect to those who love and live in Nebraska. For me, though, the contrast was brutal on my mind and body. The hours were crawling where they were flying by before and my body ached down to the bone. I couldn’t find a comfortable way to sit because the very pressure of the seat on my back, bum and thighs was literally painful.
To put it frankly, Nebraska almost broke me.
I called anyone who would pick up their phone. I literally called like five friends and/or family members and naturally, just when you’re hitting critical mass, no one picks up. And then I just lost it. I cried and cried and cried. I had to slow down because I could barely see through my own tears. I screamed it out. I was pissed that Nebraska was so unspectacular. I was angry that I was out in the middle of the god forsaken country, by myself, because my ex chose what he chose and I had to deal with the fall out, including having to move clear across the country! GRRRR!
I let myself dip into victim mode because I knew the absolute exhaustion of past four days and the last six months had finally caught up to me.
Those emotions and that energy needed to move up and out of my body. It was no longer mine to carry. My body was only letting me drive 6 hours that day, which felt like 25, and I promptly found myself the most inexpensive single room airbnb for the night with check-in available in the next hour.
The level of exhaustion was unmatched, not even by the 33 hour travel “day” from Cleveland to Bali. I cried on the phone with my parents wishing I could just be there already. The rest of the drive felt like the most daunting, impending tidal wave that was gonna hit no matter what I did. “Krystal, take a shower and get some rest. You’ll feel so much better tomorrow,” my dad said. I knew he was right. The thought of the 15 foot walk to the bathroom from my room felt like climbing Mount Everest.
“What happened to my life?” I thought. “How am I in the middle of Nebraska in a stranger’s home by myself with the contents of my life packed in my car?” It was too much.
My heart felt so broken by it all and I missed my partner so much. He would’ve loved this drive. We would’ve loved to do it together. But all we did was talk about doing something like this. It wasn’t gonna happen together. It had to happen this way for whatever unknown reason to me. For all the reasons I loved this drive, there was an equal amount of reasons I kinda hated it, too.
Lesson #26: Duality is one of the most confusing aspects of being human. Period.
I slept for 11 hours straight. I don’t think I even moved all night. And I truly did feel like a new woman that morning. I packed up my things, energetically thanked this lovely, midwestern, Christian family for generously making the lower level of their home available to a perfect stranger and on I went.
Mid-morning, I got this intuitive nudge to call my (other) friend, Mary Katherine, to see where exactly she lived in Iowa since I was about to pass through. I kept seeing visions of us having lunch together which is my psychic spidey sense telling me what was coming, so naturally I obliged. She excitedly answered right away and we made plans to meet up for lunch. Mary Katherine and I met in Encinitas four years ago and she had moved home to Iowa after a very unexpected brain cancer diagnosis. She’s been showing up to all of this over the past two years like the loving warrioress that she is and continues to inspire me endlessly. Time with her felt extra precious and that it was. We caught up on life, hugged so many times, took photo booth pictures at the mall we met up at and said “I love you” a bunch of extra times. I love you, Mary Katherine!
Lesson #27: Life’s curveballs have a way to presence you to what’s most important in life, LOVE topping the list.
Lesson #28: I grew up saying “I love you” to only family members or romantic partners. As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that’s just not enough for me. When I say “I love you,” I mean it. And I’ve become very generous with my “I love you’s” realizing they’re the #1 most renewable resources on the planet. In case I haven’t told you today, I love you. I’m very, very grateful that you’re in my life reading these words. You’re a total and complete GIFT. I hope you know that and if not, let this be your reminder.
I arrived into the small college town of DeKalb, Illinois several hours later greeted by the forever effervescent smile of Beth, a friend from college. She lived on the Northern Illinois University campus as part of a team of Resident Assistants with her husband, Darius. The students had literally *just* left campus the day before so we enjoyed the quiet hallways as we connected after almost 10 years since the last time we saw each other! We talked about her and her hubby’s upcoming move to Pittsburgh, appreciation for diversity, white privilege and all kinds of other amazing topics. I appreciate when another white woman is doing her inner work to understand the privilege that comes with having white skin in this country, particularly one in leadership surrounded by college students while knowing she has such an opportunity to embody another, more just way. I’m so grateful to you, Beth and Darius, for having me and opening your home to me when you saw I’d be “randomly” passing through. Thank you!
Lesson #29: Before I left for my road trip, I shared with my Facebook community my plans for my journey across the country. Just in openly sharing what was unfolding for me, people literally came out of the woodwork to say “Omg, come stay with me!” It makes me tear up at how loved I felt in receiving those invitations. I share this because most people have NO IDEA what you’re going through unless you share about it. Trust me when I say, I know it’s not easy and I worried about “airing my dirty laundry in public,” too. But then I got over it because my goodness, I’m worth being loved on, especially when things feel wobbly. Let yourself be loved on by sharing what’s happening in your world - good, bad, ugly, joyful, difficult, celebratory or mundane. It’s time we let more of our human out.
A short 1.5 hour drive from DeKalb landed me at the doorstep of my energy-work-loving-friend, Amanda, in Oak Park, Illinois. How wonderful it was to see her and to meet her family whom I had heard so many great things about. It felt good to be with her, her family and her sweet dog, Jack. I seemed to have lucked out to spend time in person with so many of the amazing souls who I can jam endlessly with on so many vast topics. For us, practical application of energy tools, universal truths and trusting ourselves were the themes. And given that I was on a journey inspired solely from intuition and trusting myself, we had plentyyyyyy to talk about. She took me to a labyrinth nearby which ended up being a holy experience for both of us in our own ways. Her and I receive our intuitive downloads in different ways so it’s always so cool to hear how the info comes through to each of us. Thank you, Amanda and family, for inviting me into your cozy, comfy home. I slept so well that night and off I went for the very last leg of my trip!
“Almost there, almost there, almost there…” I chanted to myself across those seven hours between rush hour Chicago traffic and Cleveland. That drive was so familiar to me as I had driven it countless times in my college days. It’s totally flat and very midwestern in its landscape, but passing through places like Elkhart and Toledo brought back fond memories of my college rowing days driving to regattas and girl trips with my college roommate and friends bopping back and forth any chance we could get. As I reached the inner ring of the Northeast Ohio area, it was so comforting and familiar, yet so foreign and strange to be driving my car from California in my old stomping grounds. “This is so weird, this is so weird, this is soooooo weird,” I kept saying with a big grin on my face.
Lesson #30: Entering into old, familiar spaces as a very new you is...well...weird. It’s like world’s blending, universes colliding, realities meshing together...it was all so familiar but I was so different. It’s weird until it isn’t anymore. There are treasures in the weirdness.
As I entered into my childhood neighborhood where my parents still live in my childhood home, I knew I was entering into an alternate universe. Suburban living back to urban living. Coastal living back into midwestern living. Solo living back into family living. I had my reservations that I tried to treat as curiosities but one thing reigned true most of all:
I was so grateful to have somewhere to land after my life as I knew it came to completion.
My parents were generously opening their doors to me and I couldn’t be more thrilled for life to feel easier for awhile.
I turned on to our street and my dad happened to be on the front porch with the dogs as I pulled into the driveway. His huge, beaming smile was all I needed in that moment. I was home. I made it. I was greeted by wagging tails and a giant hug. What more does a tender-hearted, cross-country-driving girl need?
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