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The Journey

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“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance–I hope you dance.”

The Hobby Hoarder Dances her Pants off
I want to thank each of you with all my heart for the endless support with The Hobby Hoarder project–for taking me seriously–for seeing my potential–and for believing in me. I want to thank you for giving me constructive criticism and positive feedback. I want to thank you for following along–watching the videos, reading the posts, and sharing the site. I want to thank you for being you.

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost a year ago now that I sent out the first email describing what my intentions for the year were. It’s hard to believe that I am officially on week 52.
As I look back on the year–I reflect on the transformation of the quest. How it went form gimmicky –to serious–and how it went from a project to a lifestyle.pole dancing
I hope that if you get anything out of any posts that I’ve shared–it’s that we are truly capable of anything–that we can take advantage of every opportunity we have–and succeed–no, wait–exceed expectations. Most of all, I hope that you’ve felt inspired–that you want to take on the world–that you want to dig the bucket list out of the sand and start checking things off the list.
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When the sun rises tomorrow, I won’t be in New York City anymore. I’ll be somewhere in Virginia on the first leg of the final chapter of The Hobby Hoarder year: a cross country round trip road trip.  I’ll be somewhere reflecting on everything I’ve put my mind to this year–everything I gave a chance–everything that gave me a chance–I’ll be somewhere reflecting on …well… everything.
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As certain chapters begin to close, it’s easy to confuse “closing” with an “ending.” But just because this is the final chapter–to the first hobby year–it does not mean it’s the end–in fact, it’s really just the beginning.
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This road trip is the culmination of a year that has helped me to build confidence–to meet people–to overcome fears–to say yes and to never look back–to live without regret–to take chances–to refuse the word no–to lose the words can’t and impossible–to see the glass as half full, as opposed to half empty–to focus without distraction–to be passionate again–to love endlessly–and to live relentlessly. This road trip is a symbol of going with the heart–and never looking back. This road trip–is the only way I could see celebrating this quest–extending this quest–and living it out as a lifestyle–rather than a project.
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Four months ago, when my most recent job asked me what my availability would be post-new year, I told them that as of February 1, I had something booked. When they asked me how booked it was? I told them that it was 100 percent booked–even though they were looking to extend me past that date. After work I called my mom and told her what I did. At first she was confused why I’d turn down a job extension. I responded by saying that, “When you get the chance to sit it out or dance–you dance.–And I love dancing.”  And then I added, “What would be a more epic way to mark the year than a cross-country road trip?”
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There was dead silence on the other end. But I could tell she understood. And a month later I knew for a fact, that not only did she understand but that she and my dad 100 percent supported me, as she and my dad offered to me take one of their cars across cross-country. We’ve since chosen a different car for several reasons, but I knew in that moment–what I’d known for quite a while–that my parents were just as passionate about this project as I was. I’ve been very fortunate to have parents who support my crazy ideas. I couldn’t be more grateful for their continuous pride in my endeavors and for them believing in me and all of my decisions. I know that I’ve driven them nuts over the years.

On the same night that I called my mom, I texted my good friend Kim (who’s joining on the road trip), and told her what happened. She asked if I was okay with my decision…and I responded very simply. “Of course. If not now–then when? I would regret NOT going on this trip–and I don’t want to have regrets.

Toward the end of November, Kim and my friend David both reached out to me to tell me that they were definitely in for the road trip–David would take a break from working–as well as Kim. When I asked David why the definite answer–he responded by telling me that he wanted to spend more time with friends–and that NOW’S the time to do it.David also took a chance when he came skydiving with me in November:
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Kim, on the other hand had told me very early on that she was interested in joining (before making a solid decision months later). Her reason? “I want to do it, because I know that when you say you are going to do something, you are going to do it.”

And  Kim happened to join me for my second pilot lesson:
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The truth is that too often we say we are going to do something–and then we don’t. We find excuses, create a bucket list and bury that bucket in the sand never to be found. I wasn’t going to make excuses for this trip–for this year–and I was happy to see that my friends weren’t ready to make excuses for things they wanted to do either. It’s important to recognize the things that we dream of doing–the things that we want to do with all our heart–and then actually go out and do them.
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When the sun rises tomorrow–I won’t be in New York City. No. I’ll be right where I’m meant to be–on the road–taking it all in. I’ll be kicking off a two month road trip with two of my rocks–David and Kim, and WE’LL be making our way to the beaded streets of New Orleans–the line dancing floors of Texas–the White Sands of New Mexico, the skies of Albuquerque, the waters of the west, and the mountains of the north. We’ll be dancing to 90’s music, singing as loud as we can in the car–and going through audio books galore–(don’t believe me?…..:
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Throughout the trek, we will be hobbying away, spreading happiness–and hopefully some luck (hehe)–giving thanks, and going with the wind. Most of all– we will be living life–and that’s pretty freaking awesome. I hope you’ll follow along –and hey–maybe even call to tag along. The road’s big enough for all of us.
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Cheers,
The Hobby Hoarder
trip

Swimming with Sharks

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“How much will it hurt if someone gets bitten by one of these sharks?” I ask one of our shark experts.

“It would just feel like a lot of pressure–it wouldn’t be “painful” really. But people have to worry for infection after getting bitten by a shark.”

“How likely is it that one of us will get bitten?”

“Not likely.”

I continue quizzing our instructors for a bit, with a smile on my face. Part of me is joking around, and the other part of me is serious. I mean–I am about to jump into a tank full of sharks!

But the truth is–I am not scared at all. A lot of people ask me how I feel before I dive into the more extreme activities–and honestly–I feel fine. It’s the more intimate–1 on 1’s that get me.

To me, jumping out of a plane (as I am doing this coming weekend–pending hurricane Sandy doesn’t destroy my plans), or swimming with sharks–is much easier than sitting down–or standing with a good friend and taking a lesson. I am much more intimidated by the talent driven hobbies than I am by the thrill seeking ones. At first this may seem surprising, but because the number one fear in the world–over dying–is public speaking, I get it.

As humans, we want to be accepted, we don’t want to be judged poorly, and we want to succeed at everything we try–I know I do. But if there’s anything this project has taught me–it’s that the only person judging us most times–is oneself.

At this current moment, with sharks swimming below me–I really just can’t wait to jump in.

I pull on my wetsuit, throw on my snorkel, and wait for my cue to duck underwater and take a look. When I finally do, I am amazed. I can see sharks swimming in the distance. And then I spot one swimming our way. He looks like he’s smiling. I laugh to myself. The laughter causes a small leak in my mouth piece, so I surface momentarily–causing me to laugh at myself again. I readjust and reenter the water. A fish flashes across my face–and then another one. And then from the side I see a shark with a nose shaped like a saw swimming toward our way. He’s waving his serrated edges back and forth as if he knows food is near. Our instructors pull us back until the shark is out of harm’s way.

We go back below. A shark comes toward me, and I imagine speaking to it.

“Hello Mr. Shark.” I quote Little Red Riding Hood, “How big your teeth are, Mr. Shark”

“All the better to eat you with, my dear.”

I laugh to myself, this time keeping my mouth on my snorkel. “Good thing sharks can’t really talk–and good thing this isn’t the rising action in a fairytale.”

But it is–it’s the rising action in my project–or what we should just refer to as my life.

I sit back in the shark tank and continue to take in the view. I ask myself how I got here–in a tank full of sharks.

“Easily,” I answer. “All I had to do was say yes.”

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Camden Aquarium
1 Riverside Drive
Camden, New Jersey

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