Tag Archives: new orleans

Sunchasing

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It’s Friday, January 2nd. The sun is sinking slowly through the sky. I’ve set out to catch the sunset yet every view I’m finding is obstructed.

“Will I make it in time?” “Will I miss the sunset?” “How many minutes do I have”

The questions are rushing through my mind.

I come across a gate.

The gate is open so I invite myself in.

I can feel myself getting closer to the sun… There’s a fence– blocking the way down to the water … But it doesn’t meet the ground. I take in my surroundings – no one is around. I slip under the chain links .

“Oh my goodness.”

I take a deep breath. I’m greeted with a view of the city I’ve not quite taken in before. Immediately to my right is the Williamsburg Bridge- a giant in the sky next to me.

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In the distance is a clear shot of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges- parallel to a stunning view of the World Trade Center.

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I can feel the temperature slowly dropping.

I grip my camera.

My hands are beginning to lose feeling. I left my gloves behind for the day. An amateur photographer’s mistake.

But I feel somewhat prepared for this:

I remember back to the first drive on our road trip. It’s sometime between 4 and 430am. David and Kim are just waking up. We are crossing into Virginia – and the sun will be rising soon enough. Without fear- without doubt- and in total agreement we decide that our goal is to catch the sunrise- it’s our first real day all together and we want it to literally start at the crack of dawn. This census also sets the tone for the trip.

At this point, David has switched to the driver seat. I’ve switched to the passenger seat. I’m googling frantically for a spot. “Will we miss it?”

The question echoes in my mind.

We are in Fredericksburg, approaching a battle ground up on a hill…

“That’s the spot,” we all agree. It’s cold then; like it is now. I’ve got a leather jacket on; a silly yellow hat and some sweatpants. But I don’t feel the cold. I feel a sense of pride; a sense of excitement – a sense that warms me up: a sense that keeps me going.

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Now, I’m warming up as I snap photos of the current sunset in New York. The memories make me smile. What’s ahead makes me smile.

The road trip ignited a different perspective in me:

“Breathe.”
“Slow down.”
“Thank the sun.”

Throughout the trip, we came to a common agreement that when we could- we would fight to see the sun set- or rise. We’d go miles out of the way; cross bridges to different states; and wake up just a little extra early to get the brightest start to the day.

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We’d search for wide open space to catch sunset.

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We’d comment on the type of sunrise/set we were watching:

“That’s a scrambled sunrise” I’d say as we watched the light appear just over a mountain in Nooksack Washington. “Scrambled cause you’ve got some clouds here and there but not enough to obstruct your view.” We’d add: “If there were no clouds, it’d be a sunny side up kinda day.”

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No matter what: There were always more sun rises to catch- sunsets to seek – or sometimes miss; and beyond all: there were suns to chase.

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Sunchasing – that’s the adventure – that’s what’s gotten me here- on a bed of loose rocks above the east river, on January 2nd, 2015.

In-between photos, I break to breathe in what I’m watching; to take a moment to appreciate what I’ve searched to be able to see. To be grateful for this opportunity; to cherish that big ball of fire in the sky.

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When the road trip started – I’m not sure I could tell you why the sun rises or sunsets meant so much to me.

It’s been just about two years and I think I’m finally starting to understand it. Because every time I see one now… Every time I go out of my way to comment on if it will be a scrambled, fried or sunny side up kinda day- I think of my friends:

I think of David and Kim waking up in the car and wanting to catch that first sunrise as much as I do. I think of how I don’t get to see them often; how David is in New Mexico- how I am here. How Kim is in Long Island- and how we still don’t get to see one another  often – both due to demanding schedules.

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I think of friends, teachers and family who have moved away. I breathe into the golden rays
and suddenly the sun seems a lot closer- and if that sun can seem a lot closer – then my friends ultimately are always right here with me in a way.

You see, the thing about the sunrise – or the sun set is that it’s a constant reminder that no matter the distance between two people: we are still right here on the same earth; and in the end; that’s truly not all that far after all.

If you’re missing a friend today- if they are just a little “too far away:”

Take a walk; find an open space; take a seat; and breathe in that giant ball of fire.

Go on now, go, chase the sun.

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Beneath, Above and Beyond

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 “The world as we know it is a remarkable place.” – Jason Mraz

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Keeping up with the blog has proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated on this trip. Each day is filled with a wealth of novel beauty that I never know where to begin when I sit down to write. It’s all a bit overwhelming and I find myself struggling to be able to put into words the awe that I experience each and each every day that I am waking up on this trip.  I mean, how do I fit the White Sands into a blog piece—when the next day I’m soaring over Albuquerque in a hot air balloon. How do I cut a video of snowmobiling when I am taking the time to witness a brilliant sunset?  Or how do I give the Arches National Park a fair share of blog space—when the next day we are off to the next adventure?

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two week, it’s that beauty is everywhere we look—and that it doesn’t take very much to go and find it. Letting ourselves sit and enjoy it? Embrace it? Now that’s the hard part. But once we let ourselves do that? Whew. What a feeling. I’m glad I am letting myself do that–letting myself experience the world–our home as it exists–beneath, above, and beyond what we can ordinarily see–or let ourselves see

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One morning in New Mexico, we discovered the underworld as we explored the Carlsbad Caverns.  It’s extremely easy to forget that so much more exists when each day we wake up and go through the same routines. It’s easy to forget that years of development came before our city offices—and our streetlights. It’s easy to forget that a world often exists outside our focused lives—but it does.

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Over the course of two weeks, I’ve been reminded of this on a number of occasions—even if it wasn’t always underground. In fact—many of the experiences occurred above—and even beyond as we sledded down the slopes of the great White Sands:

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Danced ourselves silly in Danceyville, Tennessee on the side of the street:

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Floated in a hot air balloon above Albuquerque

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Conquered the Continental Divide by snow mobile.

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Shimmied our way up and down an icy path to a National Arch, laid under the stars at a remote location in New Mexico, hiked our way to The Wave in Coyote Buttes:

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And took a gander at the Grand Canyon:

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The road trip was meant to serve as a finale to the first Hobby Hoarder year—a celebration of sticking to a plan—and going through with it—and additionally a celebration of finding something to be passionate about, and scheduling time for it. It’s a celebration of making a choice–a choice to go on adventures– a choice to try something new– a choice to live life to it’s fullest–even when people or obstacles are challenging us not to.  What I’ve found is that the Road Trip, while it includes hobbies—has almost grown into it’s own project—but one that continues to fulfill a similar purpose as the The Hobby Hoarder year.
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Both have been steady reminders that waking up each morning is worth it; that saying you are going to do something—and going through with it can be the most rewarding experience; and that each hobby—or activity you choose to do or place you choose to visit—has something to offer—something worth looking more closely at—something to share–Something that we can then go on to smile about–and share with others.
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The exciting part is that this trip is not even half over yet—and the more I see—the more in awe I become. This world…it is a magical—beautiful place—filled with just an abundance of opportunities–and again, even before our apartments or our cities—it is our home.  And it feels good to be getting to know home—beneath, above and beyond.

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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
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