I started off that next morning easily, the night before I had planned out my route, so I had a good idea of what the day was going to hold and I was confident that I could get it all done. As usual, nothing was going to happen quite the way I expected, but that’s part of the adventure, isn’t it? With another great Icelandic breakfast filling my belly and a full gas tank I set off down the road with a smile on my face. Unsurprisingly, before too long I came upon a view that just begged me to stop and take some pictures. I happily obliged and even found some sheep to grazing to add to the picturesque scenery. One of these shots ended up being another favorite from the trip; that’s if picking 500 or so from 2600 pictures can be considered having any sort of favorites.
Warning: Teaser post, see below for explanation.
Despite my worries check in was a breeze, my bags were well under weight, and security was easy after all the flights over the last year. I was in the small terminal, so I found my gate easily and I relaxed, listening to the happy accents of my fellow passengers as we awaited our flight. After buying some water, I plugged in my phone hoping to charge it up a bit before I landed in Iceland. All of the good byes and research had drained my battery to the point of near death and I wanted to make sure I could get in touch with the car rental agency when I landed just in case they weren’t waiting for me as planned. As I listened to the musical sounds of different languages filling the terminal, I tried to take deep breaths and remind myself that I totally had this shit, I was a fucking rockstar, and would own Iceland all over the place. I meant this in a completely literal sense, because I’d decided to rent a car and drive myself around the island alone. When I decide to do something, I go big! Even if I am terrified in the process.
Wow. I’m finally writing this trip up. Kinda hard to believe, eh? This has been a hard trip for me to write about, not because I’m being a lazy git or anything, but because it was such a deeply personal trip. More of a sort of “vision quest” instead of a trip, as one of my good friends put it. So I thought I’d start with a bit of a pre-trip write up to give you all a feel for why I chose to go to Iceland, alone, for my first trip abroad.
Another year has passed and its been just about a year since this blog was started. I had some lofty goals at the beginning of 2012 and managed to meet several of them, failed miserably at others, and still others are a continual work in progress. I started out 2013 a bit of a broken shell. Well, if I’m being brutally honest a very much broken shell of a woman and pretty alcohol soaked at the time too. I was struggling to find a part of myself that I had long repressed, being too afraid to let it come to light. Unfortunately the constant darkness in which I had hidden myself had done what it often does and had stunted my growth. So this last year was a year all about ME. About finding myself, putting myself back together, and leaving out the parts I didn’t like in order to create a new, so much more incredible, version of Jen.
Wow. I’m finally an adult! Or at least as much of an adult as I’m likely to become any time in the near future… What changed? As you can probably guess from my choice in title, I signed my first lease in over 12 years last week! The only other time I’ve had a place of my own was a brief 3 month interlude when I was 19-20, it was just me and my cat, Cougar, in a tiny studio apartment in the ghetto of Duluth. Not my smartest choice in where to live perhaps, but it was wonderful to have all that space to myself. Other than that short time I’ve rented rooms out of various people’s houses or shared a quasi private apartment. Even the apartment with my ex, as wonderful as it was, wasn’t terribly private because it was the mother-in-law/caretaker apartment that was attached to the main house. So having this breadth of my very own space is a tad bit exciting to me to say the very least.
We woke up that Saturday morning bright and early, refreshed and ready to face the world… Or not so much, we were exhausted still and I was not feeling all that awesome from my overdose on driving the previous day. Nevertheless we needed to continue on our travels as we’d begun to feel the pull of home. Strange sometimes how the closer you get to home the stronger the urge to be there gets. Mariah had begun to feel the driving need to be home almost as soon as we’d turned around, while I was only feeling the slightest twinkling now as I lifted Motor into the car to begin another day driving. Our plan for the day was to stop at the Kentucky Horse Park to check out the awesomeness that is everything horse, continuing on to have dinner with our great aunt Pat in Indiana, and then driving until we couldn’t drive anymore and sleeping in a rest stop somewhere before finishing our last leg Sunday morning. As we’ve all learned by now, I basically fail at planning and it also appears to be a family trait, unless Mariah was just afraid to go against her crazed cousin’s timetable. I don’t know that I would blame her in the slightest if she was a tad bit worried after the numerous detours from Friday.
So, yeah… It’s been forever and a day since I’ve been on here, I could make a bunch of excuses and such, but I’m just going to be straight with you all because that’s an important part of this whole baring my soul, finding my path, and helping others along the way thing. Writing hasn’t been a huge priority for me the last month. There, I said it (cringing as I did.) Like most adults my time is limited and for the last month I really had to figure out what my priorities were and make some hard decisions about what needed to be focused on and what could be put to the back burner temporarily. Writing, other creative endeavors, socializing, and even cleaning lost this battle. Awesomely enough, unlike the rest of the year where I continually fell into my typical pattern of over-scheduling the hell out of myself and miserably failing at getting anything done, I actually managed to accomplish a decent amount! So, while I feel guilty for putting my writing on the back burner and leaving every one hanging, I *might* have learned a valuable lesson about prioritizing and the effect it can have on your “to-do” list.
I spent last weekend in LA with a friend, it was one of those somewhat unplanned trips, as in I booked it awhile ago and then didn’t give it a lot of thought until shortly before the trip. This was the first of my trips for the year and it started my traveling off on a great note. Now I should note that was only the second time I’ve flown alone and while I was feeling pretty comfortable about it I still wasn’t sure what was going to go on once I actually got to LA. I didn’t even know who was picking me up at the airport!
This post has been roiling around in my brain for weeks now, refusing to come out, no matter how orderly I formulated my thoughts. I’ve sat down several times and started writing like a madwoman, fingers flying across the board and lips twitching as I read my words, hoping that *maybe* if I just started getting it out I could make it say what I needed it to say. Instead I’ve been left with three pages of meandering stories and other such ways of beating around the bush. So, I’m going to follow my own advice and make the choice to say what I’m really thinking.
It will come as no surprise to most of you that the catalyst for this journey of mine was love. About six months ago I was told by the man I loved that he wasn’t ready for a girlfriend and needed to go, to travel, to live life, and experience the world. He was afraid we were settling for each other and having doubts about our future which were eating him up. So he needed to go alone on this great adventure to find his life and it wasn’t fair to him or me to continue our relationship. Now some would say, “oh no big deal, it was just a boyfriend, get back on that horse!” In fact I heard that fairly regularly in the beginning, often from men who appeared to want me to get on their horse, if you take my meaning. For me it was completely devastating, I’d known it was coming, but I didn’t want to believe it would actually happen. Continue reading