Santa Barbara, CA

Uncategorized

June 14, 2019

Driving North along the Pacific Highway I feel defeated and upset. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I could do what I’ve done, I’ve seen precious places I always thought I would never see, and most of all I added an amazing experience and stories I can tell to whomever wants me to tell them. I keep on feeling nothing whenever someone gets surprised and asks: you did this alone? You’re such a brave woman. I am not. It’s just who I am. Courage has nothing to do with what I’ve done and what I’m doing. I believe that, when you have nothing left to lose, whatever you do is just fine. You couldn’t have done otherwise, so what’s the big deal? But then this is just because in this very moment this is how I feel. An hour from now I may be staring at myself at a restroom’s mirror in a remote gas station in Southern California, thinking: you did it. You road tripped with poor Sienna falling into pieces but you did it, and now you’re back.

I am back. Back to square one, and I can automatically feel the weight of the world dragging me down again. What’s the next step now? Where did my freedom go? I need to sit and listen to what the ocean has to say. Before reaching Los Angeles, I stop at Dana Point and let the waves calm me down for a couple of minutes on a gloomy morning. I let my mind go and I can hear the ocean speak. He said “just be patient you’ll make it through. It has all be given to you because you can handle it, you only have to hang in there and wait.” I told him I am tired of waiting. I told him I can’t take it anymore and I told him I want to go home. He said “this is home now, you’ll see”. I wasn’t talking about home in Italy. He wasn’t talking about home in California. We understood each other so perfectly. And I kept going.

I wasn’t ready to drive through my beloved city. I took an alternate route and went all the way North to Calabasas where a friend lives with her family. I’ll stay with them for just a few days before seeing LeoBear again. I’ll take care of the pup for a little while again, and hopefully my mind will go back to be working properly. I need that consistency I tried to build up during the Spring and during my boxing challenge, and now I kind of miss it.

On Sunday we drive up to Santa Barbara. Of course I take the chance to visit some more of this beautiful California, and I can’t miss the opportunity to see my Pacific whenever I can. Santa Barbara is a small town compared to what I was expecting. A typical beach town with the pier, but if you look around, what you can see is more than pretty. Mountains surround you from the South, East and North, while your West wing opens up to the ocean. And it’s magical. The only flaw is seeing those offshore oil drilling platforms in the distance, but there’s nothing I can really do about it so I’ll pretend I didn’t see, and enjoy the rest.

I’m afraid of what is expecting me in a month or so. I know I am cherishing my aloneness more than anything, despite those few moments I wish I could share with someone else. Traveling alone has solidified even more my independence and my “relative” freedom, so anything that crosses my boundaries makes me feel uncomfortable, as if I’m trapped in a cage. All I can do is just wait. Always. Wait. Patiently. Until I’m free and alone again. But until then, how do I cope with the “in between”?

Four Corners, Utah (part 3)

Uncategorized

June 6, 2019

Once again I needed a day to process. And to recover. Mentally. I was expecting the Monument Valley to be breathtakingly beautiful instead what stole my heart once again, was the landscape all around me. And Bryce. But that was almost obvious. Don’t get me wrong, seeing those rock formations is still something amazing, but …there’s a but. Arizona, just like New Mexico, is too underestimated. I don’t like this. I took my time driving back and forth through almost four States today to see as many things as possible because they were all mainly a stone thrown one from the other. Not by chance the area is called Four Corners, because it’s right within the borders of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

Driving and visiting more than one place, together with the emotional atmosphere of Bryce Canyon at sunset, brought up so many memories, so many thoughts, so many reflections. I also had to MarieKondo a few things from my past. After realizing that all the people from the past I got in contact with during this trip, were even too busy to meet, out of town (but then, is it true?), completely ignoring my messages or simply apologizing for not making it, I decided that this was not “sparking any sort of joy” in me, therefore, I need to throw it away (that’s the Marie Kondo technique basically). The only contacts I had throughout my journey were either with people I randomly met, or suggested by mutual friends so we could spend a couple of hours together, or my “Cambridge” friend. So…I guess, enough with the past, bring it on future! What actually made me think about it, was a message from another friend from the past that, to my question: “why don’t you come visit me now that you’re all settled and rich? Lol” he answered “eh, I lost interest in America with time”. Ok, that America word? Imagine while I do the “quote” gesture with my index and middle fingers, folding them down. I wish I could meme this but anyway… the point is, I lost interest in “America” (in quotes) could simply stand for “our friendship” or “you” in general. After all, we haven’t seen for exactly 10 years now, but I must be the only one who does not get affected by time on an emotional level. I could still see you after months, years, centuries, and I would still act as if I saw you yesterday. Eh. Using my typical expression: whatever. I actually asked many friends to come see me, to visit me, because there’s always that excitement of showing them where I live, what I do, even if it’s a crappy studio and I have no career (yet). Nobody ever came. Now that the studio’s gone as well, I guess I’ll stop asking.

From the early morning spent at the Monument Valley, to lunch time at Lake Powell and the Horseshoe Bend, up to chasing the sunset at Bryce, I never stopped for a single second. The emotional state I was in lingered through the evening and the whole Bryce ride was a whole rollercoaster of “fast fast you’ll miss the pink moment”, to “slow slow, stop over here and enjoy the moment”. I took some photos to show you all, but all I wanted to do was to just stare at those vivid colors, with those unexplainable views (I mean, they can be explained it but I can’t explain the way you feel watching them!), while my “being alone feeling” is getting more and more the features of a blessing in moments like this where I can literally do whatever the heck I want because I only have myself to be accountable for. Precious. Just real bliss. I think the photos will speak better than me so here they are. Tomorrow is another day, and something else I have been waiting to visit for so long is Zion National Park, which is right around the corner. See you there.

Colorado, sand dunes and books

Destination Unknown

June 23, 2019

It was actually June 22nd that I was in Colorado. I woke up in Pagosa Springs and drove for another hour or so, to reach what is to me a sacred place: sand dunes. Recently I found myself stopping along the way while hiking, to take a moment and actually be grateful for what I am seeing, feeling, smelling, absorbing, rejecting… In Utah, for instance, I sat on a rock facing the arches. No one was around me because people are fundamentally lazy. I sometimes “hate” myself for staying just a short while wherever I am going, taking a too short walk, or hike, but some of us out there really take it to another level. What’s their main purpose while visiting a place? I am not sure, but very few of us humans were opting for walking down the Primitive Trail, which said “difficult” at the entrance, so I had only very few encounters with those of my species, which is something I am really happy about. I took advantage of being almost alone in the area, and sat. Listening to the only sound of the wind blowing through the rocks, reminded me of when I road tripped for the first time with Emily, in 2011. My first time in the Mojave Desert, in SoCal and my first time with real silence. A deafening silence, to use an oxymoron that expresses the unexpected sensation I had. Blessed.

The Great Sand Dunes were packed with people being profane in my sacred place. To reach the dunes you have to walk through a stream of water all around them. All these individuals with inflatables, umbrellas, tents, and more, treating the dunes as regular beach places where you just go to sun bathe and your children pee in the water, made my anger explode. I was expecting silence. I was foreseeing respect, experts of the land handling obnoxious humans: yes you’re allowed to visit, yes you can sand board, yes you can even take your pets and your kids, but you cannot leave Starbucks cups and dogs’ dejections everywhere. I started taking photos to document it. I had to. Spoiled rotten little kids whining, crying, screaming and I was done. Despite how hard it is to walk on the dunes, in the sand, while sinking deep, with the wind blowing sand grains in your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, everywhere, I started hiking up and down, seeing that the further I was going, the fewer people I could see. Just youngsters, in small groups, going all the way up to the high ones to sand board, and that was actually fine with me. I was smiling at them remembering my time in Huacachina, Peru, sand boarding with my BC peeps, riding those funny dune buggies like crazy. Fun times.

Going down memory lane allowed me to release some of the bother and I eventually reached the top, enjoying the view all around me. I sat and I contemplated the wonders of this place. To be honest, I also felt a little sorrow for not having anyone with me to say “See? How amazing” as I could hear many say while passing me by. Everyone had someone having their back, but me. They all had someone rooting for them, “come on, one more dune” or “one more, one more, see the rim? So close!” and I only had the voice in the back of my head with me, which we already know is not exactly what we would define as my best friend. But I endured and I stayed. After a while, being all covered with sand, I just decided to walk down and head North. I was thirsty and hungry, and still had a little annoyance lingering within me, thinking of having to cross path again with those irreverent individuals there, at the bottom. Luckily a friend of mine from Boston moved to Colorado, now living in Boulder, and I can’t wait to get there.

Maintenance Required light: ON. UGH! I have to do a quick pit-stop for an oil change. Colorado Springs seems to be the closest place where I can get it on a Saturday afternoon. Deal. The Pep Boys guys in LA have always treated me with courtesy, so I choose to go visit their colleagues in Colorado. They find a couple more issues on my SiennaMiller but, not having the financial possibilities nor the time to fix those, they kindly change the oil and replace an air filter for me, treating me once again as a valuable customer, and then they just write a note for future reference in case I decide to get everything working properly again. Great attitude is the key. I leave and go back on the road with a few more concerns, but glad I found some nice fellows in here as well as in LA.

The road to Boulder was… soaking wet. I had to go through two storms, a couple accidents and a whole lot of water, but once in Boulder the weather was merciful and I could greet Gabriel, my friend, after two years from the last time we hung out in Boston. Mah “wicked” Bawston. It was so nice to see a familiar face and do something with a friend. We went out right away, to a German place he likes, having the chance to catch up on the past two years of our stooopid crazy lives. The following morning we opt for a Tea House downtown where we have brunch, and then he shows me around. We visit two places he knows I would very much appreciate: a store where they sell old maps called Art Source International and Boulder Book Store. Loved both and bought a book: of course. If I could, I would get hundreds plus a couple old maps and an old, err vintage, wooden globe for my mother, but not now. One day. When my bank account will allow it. We eventually go for a short hike and fall into deep conversations about philosophy, biology, literature, languages, games, art… whatever. Sharing opinions and ideas, even when we disagree on some points, is something I cherish and respect. I could stay and wait for tomorrow, as it will be sunny and warm, but the road is calling. I am going to miss a Dungeons and Dragons night my friend wanted me to go to, but he understands and let me go on my way. I’m grateful for today so I leave content and laid-back. By late night I’m in Nebraska and I can rest for a few hours, thinking about my dogs back home, one in particular –who is old and in pain, and I weep a little, before Morpheus gets me…and tomorrow is another day on the road.