I am only doing contract work now. That means more radio, more stories, less office time. No more the Creative Director at a marketing agency. (Though I am still doing work for them.) This has been a scary—yet welcome—change. A new chapter. One I’ve been writing for basically 15 years now.
To stop from ruminating on the nuts and bolts of change in my days and in myself, I’ve been occupying my mind and body to its full ability. An email went out to a radio email list I’m on, asking if anyone wanted to do the completely odd job of picking up things from IKEA and driving them all the way to Winthrop, Washington. (About four hours from Seattle.)
The offer came with cash and a night in their Airstream trailer in the gorgeous wild. I jumped at the chance.
I cried in IKEA, but that’s part of the whole IKEA experience.
Then I got on the road. A friend called, asking if he could drop something by the house. I told him I wasn’t around and then explained my current task. When he expressed his confusion and asked if I’d figured out my hourly rate for this assignment, I told him…
– Dave, I’m saving myself from myself! If I were at home on a Monday night, I’d honestly just be watching the Bachelor.
Which is 100% true. I got off the phone with Dave and put on the first of many podcasts I was excited to listen to—This American Life. The first story?
Yep. The first story was all about The Bachelor. I laughed out loud so hard at myself and my situation. I did love it, though—the whole episode. Radio, man. I love it.
So onward I drove, towards the mountains. As the sun set, it felt weirdly similar to over a decade ago, when I drove the long hours of getting into Yosemite at dusk. After my podcasts ran out, I put my Spotify on shuffle. Some of the same artists came up as were swirling through my brick of an iPod during those Yosemite drives. Sufjan Stevens. Travis. Aimee Mann. I felt 21 again. Though this time, I was not smoking clove cigarettes and sending flirty texts from a flip phone to a myriad of men. (Yes, while driving. I know.)
But the windows were still down, the music was loud, and I was driving into the mountains. Into my heart. I figured out that my heart is the mountains. But my veins are the cities. I am the blood. Without the art and the community and the culture and the opportunities of the cities, my heart just beats for itself. I just stay swirling around, going nowhere. And if I’m just swirling through veins, I will run out of steam and rejuvenation if I don’t get back to the mountains—the heart—every so often.
I am the blood.
Winthrop was amazing. My first time there. The airstream was a dream. In the morning, Ashely—my host—cooked us breakfast on the porch, overlooking the mountains. We sipped (delicious) coffee) while we talked radio. Ashley is a certified radio badass, so it was incredible to talk with her about my aspirations and inspirations. She encouraged me to go for it in ways I don’t know if I would have realized existed.
I retired to the Airstream—coffee in hand—to get some work done in the morning. I forgot that I had signed up for a group life coach session. Greasy hair and mountain air primed me up great to meet a group of professional women via video conference from a trailer in the mountains. The session was mind-blowing, because it was mind-altering. Literally. We talked about altering our thoughts to bring more joy, empowerment, and success to our work and lives. I cannot recommend Kori Linn—the coach—enough.
Basically, without me realizing it, I had signed myself up for a 24-hour life reset retreat in a trailer in Winthrop, Washington.
Funny how sometimes parts of us know what we need now, but don’t fill in the other parts of us until later.
[filling it all in.]