Category Archives: Travel

When You Don’t Belong

When you’re the new guy at work, or new in town, you’re thrust into an environment where you must learn in order to survive.  I use the term “survive” loosely.  You must learn in order to make life easier and why is that important?  Because all anybody really wants is to be happy.

When we’re happy, we stop learning.  Your brain gets numb and dumb.  At least, that’s what happens to me.  All I want to do is eat and spend money when I’m happy.  To reach for my next fix.

Curiosity is different from learning in this sense, in that with curiosity, you’re not curious to help you “survive”, you’re curious because you have survived, or are surviving.  It’s more along the lines of not living to survive, but surviving so you can live.

Surviving is not living, and neither is the happiness that comes with it.  That kind of happiness makes you stupid, entitled, arrogant.  Hiring people to think for you.  Becoming a critic on your own likes and dislikes.

I want to establish the difference between learning to survive and learning to live and I strongly believe it’s through curiosity.

So when you’re the new guy, you don’t merely adapt out of fear you won’t make it.

Boss – “This is how we do it here.”

Surviver – “You got it boss.”

Liver – “But why do it that way?”

By learning why things are done a certain way, you’re less likely to repeat the mistakes of the past.  It also puts you in a position of higher innovated thinking.  The freedom to think different because you’re not scared of the consequences.

Unless you don’t care.  When you don’t care, you do what you’re told.  Indifference may be another indicator of a surviver.  You care only for your next paycheck.  Your reward, your entitlement.  The cycle repeats.

Perhaps that’s why money has a bad rep?  It’s the superficial fruits of labor, something we all want no matter what it takes to get it.  Our virtues become bent and broken.

Is the curious person a more virtuous person?

Blind loyalty to a person of power is another blatant quality of a surviver.

To me, anybody who exhibits blind loyalty to ANYONE is a dumb ass.

I’m curious as hell but when it came to working for someone else, I didn’t care.  I did what I was told.  My integrity was in constant upheaval, and the types of menial jobs I acquired were operated under common-sense rules and not some fancy formula for success.  I didn’t need to question any of it.

I did however, question why I was there.  And it’s a good thing too or I never would have opened my own practice.

I’m in Alaska at my friends house.  I’m so glad I brought my laptop!  We’re not going to the forest fest until later, when everyone gets out of work.  We’re going to set up camp, literally.

Until then, I’ll just have to lay around.  I don’t get bored but I wish I had a car…..Jay said I can use his car but it sounds like it’ll die at any second.  I’m in his bedroom laying on his futon and he’s on the floor in a sleeping bag taking a nap.  I’d bide my time drinking beer and watching YouTube documentary’s but I’m afraid of getting a headache if I did that.  It happened yesterday and it was a doozie.

So pretty much I’m only here for the Forest Fair it seems.  See myself some arts and crafts and shit like that.

I think I should shower and pack up my things.

But that thing I wrote about virtue being related to curiosity makes sense.  I want to meditate on it.  Indulge me for a spell…..

If virtue = caring, why care?  Why do we care about certain things and not others?  Because it effects me personally?  Or because of compassion? Or that I have such an awesome ulterior idea that surpasses the idea’s already in place and I need to voice them?

why do we care

We wouldn’t be curious about anything if we didn’t care.  I mean, it’s common sense if you think about it.

But being the cynic that I am, people care only for themselves.

And since I care only for myself, I’m curious mainly to enhance who I already am?  And if I enhance others in the process, strength in numbers, right?

So a curious, “virtuous” person is the biggest snake in the grass?  As opposed to a surviver who’s just going about their day minding their own business, trying to make a place for themselves, they are less likely to be meddlesome and manipulative?

Guilt…..

I feel no guilt what-so-ever.  I have felt it, but reconstructed my life so to never feel it again.  I voice my opinions and reject anything that will have the repercussions of guilt, even if felt long after the fog clears.

A caring person is a person who does things in a certain way to refrain from feelings of guilt and regret.

My cynical outlook can never be refuted or unproven.  When any question like this arises (why do we care?), it always has to do with what we can gain or refrain from it.

I DO feel people’s pain, but I don’t enjoy it.  So I make them feel better for my own good.  Because if I were to be in their shoe’s, I’d want help too.  It makes me feel better to help.

I’m a snake in the grass that feeds the hungry.

Okay, I’m going to shower.  I have to pee.

Oh and one more thing…..It’s better to not belong than it is to belong.  The best stories are from people who were thrown into a mess of a situation – outsiders who weren’t trained to be “yes men” because they have no fear of not being one.  The best stories are of people who live, and not survive.  There’s choices in living but none in survival.

Unless of course it’s a real survival story, those are cool.

Okay, I’m done.

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Filed under journal, philosophy, random thoughts, Self help, Travel

Fort Worth

I’m as efficient as a Japanese business man at the airport.  I try to be as streamlined as possible, slipping in and out of crowds like a wise grasshopper.  I purposely wore sandals for easy slip on/off at security.  I checked in at home and printed out my tickets, made sure not to have to check my bag.  I avoided every line imaginable at the airport today and the place was PACKED.  Dumb asses….

I hate crowds.  I’m not a fan of them.  Once a crowd turns into a mob, no one has individual faces anymore.  It’s all just a bunch of arms and legs moving in a cluster fuck.  They’d step over a dead person in the street without realizing.

I’m at the Fort Worth airport in Texas and I hope it’s not huge.  I can’t really tell from where I’m at how big this place is.  I have no idea where my gate is, let alone my gate number.  I’m just sitting here at the first place I saw that serves breakfast.

I kept nodding off on the plane.  I didn’t sleep last night.  My flight was too early in the morning so I couldn’t sleep.

I just ordered a bloody mary.  What the hell Mel?  I only have $300 to spend this week.  I’m not even there in Alaska yet and I’m pretty sure this breakfast will cost me at least $25 – $30.  For breakfast!!  I have no self control.  No dignity.

And I keep eying places to hide so I can vape my ecig.  Usually on the floor in front of a deserted gate I find a pole to hide behind.

OMG this bloody mary is friggin awesome!

Shit I’m tired.  It’s 11:38am in texas.  Back home it’s 12:38pm, in Anchorage it’s 8:39 in the morning.  My plane will be landing in Anchorage at 7PM Alaskan time after a 7 hour flight tonight.  How long will that mean I’m awake for?

I’ve been up since 10:30am yesterday, it’s been 26 hours I think I been awake for.  If I get to bed at 10pm tonight (Alaska time), it’ll mean I’ll be awake for 32 hours?  No no wait, hold on…..damn math.  Right now at home it’s 12:38pm so if I go to bed at 2am tonight (Connecticut time), that’s 14 hours from now, add that to the 26 I’ve already been awake for and that equals out to be 40.  I don’t know, I could be wrong.  I’ll figure out the math when I’m not so shitty.

I’m about to pay my bill and find my gate.  Hopefully I can start writing again once I get there.  My plane doesn’t take off until 315pm and it’s only 11:46am.

$34.97 was my total bill for breakfast.

And yeah, this place is huge.  The shuttle taken a good 3-4 minutes to get to my gate.

I literally feel pregnant right now.  My stomach is full of beef tenderloin breakfast burrito, toast, home fries, apple juice and bloody mary.  Perfect combo for a 7 hour plane journey I’d say.

I have this really weird habit of rubbing my stomach whenever I feel really full, gassy, or I’m drinking alcohol.  I’m just sitting here at my gate vaping my ecig in secret and rubbing my gigantic stomach like a freak.

I’m wearing a t-shirt I bought at Stop & Shop.  It’s a t-shirt that gives patronage to my hometown.  I don’t think I should be mentioning my hometown anymore on accounts of some guy searching for “massagebymelanie @ email”.  He landed on My blog with that search, but what are the chances it’s actually a client who know’s me?  Out of all the freaking people in the world?

Shit, I should DEFINITELY not mention Massage by Melanie, and even just the word “massage” should be off-limits from now on.

And I’m wearing super comfortable pants that feel like pajama’s.

This is quite nice having my blog here.

Okay, I’m going to publish this shit post and listen to my new audiobook, I’m starting to zone with my mouth agape.

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Thailand

It’s been forever ago that I went, or at least it seems like forever ago.  I got back January 15th or so, and now it’s April 6th and I’m just now writing about it.

I didn’t keep a journal while I was there which is the one major reason why I didn’t write about it.

So anyway…..my trip to Thailand…..what’s there to say really?  It was awesome, a backpackers dreamland, and now I’m back home laying in my own bed safe and sound like it never happened.

The truth is, I still don’t feel much like writing about it.  So in lieu of writing, I’m going to post all the video’s I made while I was over there regardless of how drunk and ridiculous I sounded.

Here’s Day 1:  My arrival

I was EXHAUSTED, unwashed, a complete mess upon my arrival.  I felt like talking to someone so I rambled on like a fool.

Day 2:  The day before Brianna arrived.

I was left to my own devices and wanted to test my navigational skills by making my way around Bangkok all by my lonesome.

Day ?:

As soon as my travel buddy arrived, I no longer made video’s everyday because it’s embarrassing to do it in front of people.  But here’s a video I made when I was extremely drunk and ranting about a girl who was giving me a hard time for being American.

I remember this night and it was not half as bad as I made it out to be.  It was fun in fact and I wasn’t even all that upset.  I even made friends with the girl by the end of the night because I’m pretty damn charming when I want to be.  Brianna was more upset than I was.

Day ?:  Going to Cambodia

Me and Brianna were on our way to a meditation retreat in far off lands away from the tourists and temples and found ourselves lost in a small town having no idea how to get to the meditation retreat.  She showed me the directions the monk gave her and they were nearly indecipherable as to how we should get there.  So we winged it in hopes we’d get lucky.  But we found no luck and we both decided to go to Cambodia instead.

Last leg of my trip:  Stuck in China

Here I messed up on my plane ticket home.  I didn’t realize I booked myself a flight home that had over a 24 hour layover.

The China airport were saints at handling this by giving me a free hotel room with the shuttle included.  I can’t stress this enough – they were saints!  And this is how I met my new best friend from Alaska, Amanda.

She messed up on her flight too.  We spent most of the night together, and then the next day too.  We walked around the industrial town we were stuck in before shuttling off to the airport together.  At the airport we chatted the entire time.  It wasn’t just us though, there were others in our group who also messed up their flights.  We all ate together and been bored together.

It was the perfect ending to a perfect trip.  It was perfect because it showed me that I’m NEVER alone.  Not only am I never alone, but I meet best-friend quality people wherever I go.  Everywhere Brianna and I went, we met people to hang with.  And even me, by myself, I met people too.

Everything about it was a beautiful experience from head to toe.

For my next trip, I HAVE to take more video’s.  I have to.  Or I at least have to keep a travel journal on the days I don’t make a video.

It’s just that I have this immense desire to document everything.

This desire dates back from before I was able to write.  Before I started kindergarten, I found the cutest little journal with a lock and key and before I could spell my own name, I opened it up and started scribbling.  I accidentally wrote my first word – my brother pointed it out to my parents and was flummoxed by it.

That was my first journal and I wish I wish I still had it.  You never forget your first.

I can’t hold off writing about my trips.  There’s so much I missed it’s ridiculous.

Getting high and swimming in the Mekong, having sex with a hot German on New Years (who still emails me), riding on a horribly bumpy bus for 14 hours while having travelers diarrhea (It’s the kind that you can’t hold in and it comes out of you like pee) – that could’ve been my most interesting post.  Eating scorpions, riding elephants, bamboo rafting, camping outside by myself in the freezing cold and having to stoke the fire every few minutes just to keep warm……lol yes, good times.

Here’s an over-all video compilation of everything.  My iPhone at the time was only 16 bits and almost two years old so again, I had very limited video and photo space.  Having limited video capacity and no wifi was ultimately the reason why I didn’t take many video’s – I literally couldn’t.

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Filed under journal, Travel, video's

The worst has happened

I’m in Thailand and the worst thing that can possibly happen to a person has happened to me.

Bedlam. I’m experiencing bedlam.

My Mother found my blog!

She posted a comment on my Pearl Harbor post and signed it with “Ma.”

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She claims to have searched my name on the Internet and that’s how she found it.

Impossible! My name is nowhere to be found here except for the Melanie part and since I stopped blogging all the time, it’s rare I pop up on search engines AND WordPress tells me what search terms were used to find my blog and my full name was never one of them.

Which means my own mother is lying to me.

Ever since my blog started getting personal, I stopped sharing it with people. It’s not worth it. A few of my closest friends still don’t know of its existence.

And now of all people, my Mom found it. She wants me to delete it.

Um, no?

And so I did what every normal sophisticated blogger would do if in my situation and told her I’ll die here in Thailand if she continues to read it.

“I have a bad feeling that if you continue reading it, I’ll die here in Thailand. I’m not going to make it home.”

Childish? Absolutely. But I asked her repeatedly to stop reading it and she kept responding with “no, it’s right here on my computer.”

I had no choice but to play dirty and use her superstitious fears against her.

It worked.

Son of a bitch though, right? I’m dying to go home to see exactly what she’s talking about with my name being in the search engines. There’s no way.

I don’t want her reading it but what I’m more upset about is that someone told her about it. Who would do that?

Okay well, if someone has a personal vendetta against me I think that’s pretty much the worst they can do. If that doesn’t satiate their thirst for revenge, negative reviews for my business will be next.

Negative reviews would be the worst possible thing they can do to me.

It’s only Wednesday and my business already made over $400 this week and we sold 2 more memberships. I should go away more often.

I’m here in Bangkok. I arrived the night before yesterday. Yesterday all I did was lay around ordering room service and napping. It was spectacular.

Today I ventured the streets toting my hefty guide book in hand. Sweat rolling down my back and my eyes squinting in the sun because I forgot my sunglasses at home. It was hot. And I was sticky from letting an ice pop melt all down my arm.

I met a friendly thai man who hailed me a tuk tuk and he told the driver to take me to several different places for the low price of 60 baht. The guy was a complete stranger off the street. And I was like, sure, why not? I literally had no idea what to do or where to go. I somehow always end up meeting helpful people whenever I travel. It’s weird but true.

Truthfully, I can’t wait until Brianna gets here.

I want to check out this big shopping plaza tomorrow but it’s a pain in the ass to get to. My hotel is near the grand palace and a few other cool sites, but I’m far from the subway, sky train and bus routes. I’m not in a central location. It makes me not want to go out.

Alas, I can’t stay here all day. Although I love it here in my hotel…I love the room service and the universal TV channel and the friendly lady boy behind the front desk. He’s so pretty.

I’m going to save the grand palace and boat tour for when Brianna gets here and tomorrow I’ll check out the shopping plaza. There’s a movie theatre playing Exodus there. I’ll manage just fine on my own.

Unless if my mom breaks her promise and reads my blog again, I’ll most likely die from malaria.

Yes, a horrible feeling I have. Something bad will happen to me if she continues to read it.

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Here’s a transfixed ramble before I leave for Thailand tonight!

I woke up last night at 3 A.M feeling like I had to throw up.

“Why do I have to throw up?  I haven’t drank anything.”

Then a mini thunder storm erupted in my bowels.

“What did I eat?”

I wanted to get up, but couldn’t.  Every muscle felt weak.  All I could do was lay in bed and decide on whether I wanted to puke or to shit.  Then I realized I’d have to do both sooner or later and I wondered which one will happen first.  Which one I had the least control over.  And that was shit.

I shit like I never shit before.  Then I brushed my teeth because it was 3 A.M and I had morning mouth already – I threw up while I was brushing my teeth.

And so I brushed again.

But man I was sick.  Dizzy, out of breath, brain malfunctioning, black spots.

I couldn’t stand for more than a minute without needing to sit down.

Why?  From half a malaria pill that’s why!  I went online and read the side-effects and one of them were seizures – seizures!  I knew in my heart of hearts that what I was feeling (brain malfunctioning, light-headedness, black spots), are all symptoms leading up to a seizure.  I just knew, you know?  So yeah, no more malaria pills for this girl.  I’ll take my chances with the bugs.

The exhaustion I felt yesterday was impenetrable.  I couldn’t watch tv without feeling sick – I couldn’t listen to my audiobook.  Have you ever felt that sick?

It’s now the next day.  I missed my window to go to the Thai embassy in NY so I’m hoping they’ll still let me on the plane to Thailand.

My stomach is gurgling.  I have a client coming in an hour and a half.

It’s a few days later.  One day away from Thailand and omg…..

OMG!

I underwent a series of events yesterday all leading up to a new understanding about life.  It was incredible.  It all started with my new employee when she spelled the word “does” wrong.

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I cringed at the sight of it.

“There’s a reason why I didn’t hire her in the first place.”

The way my brain operates is, I try to see all sides of a situation before my judgements blind me from seeing truth.  I won’t go into too much detail, but I was once again brought to the conclusion that whatever you believe about a person, you will find.  You’ll keep finding truth to your judgements until that person’s own belief about themselves rises to meet your challenge.

If you dumb yourself down, holding back judgement, in a way, that person you’re holding judgment from will never evolve.  Placating people is a means to enable them.  And when you enable a person – nobody has any power.  It’s a stalemate and an egoic feeding frenzy that circulates back and forth into a spiral.  Placating is not diplomatic, it’s conforming – conceding.  Nobody wins.

I usually close my eyes and say to myself, “all will be well.”  I try not to judge and instead, close my eyes.  If I didn’t close my eyes, nobody will ever like me.  Trust me, they wouldn’t.

“You meant to say “does”, right?”

But what it comes down to is this; (when you’re not enabling stupid behavior and you’re being forthright in your assessments) if their power of belief about themselves overcasts your initial assessment of them, they become worthy of respect.  And since we all judge people from our own perspectives and values, what we believe about someone may be completely opposite of what someone else see’s in them.

The thing I value most is intelligence.  Lack of intelligence is the only thing that annoys me about people.  Feeling annoyed is a subtle branch of anger and hatred.  It’s placing blame to avoid having to deal with our own issues. If we accept people for who they are, this annoyance towards them disappears (it taken me 11 years to realize this).  However, when their behavior affects you in a way where you can’t accept it, remaining passive with your eyes closed will not benefit anyone.

It is more compassionate and giving to express your anger rather than holding onto it.  Expressing anger to someone who upset you is the more compassionate choice.

Since I judge people based on their intelligence, I have absolute power over anyone who annoys me for the sole reason that I don’t care what they think about me.

“Prove to me that you’re not an idiot.  I don’t need to prove anything to you because if an idiot thinks I’m an idiot, it cancels itself out.”

Why do I feel the need to close my eyes during all this?  Because it’s the easy thing to do.  But the right thing to do is most often the hardest.

Expressing our values in a show of annoyance, blame, and judgement – exposes our truest selves.  And the most pig-headed people have no awareness of their truest selves – even while exposing themselves to the wolves.

To find out what you value most, look to see what makes you angry and annoyed – it’s there where you’ll find it.

A dangerous value to have is believing that you’re always right.  By having this value, anytime someone opposes you, you will get defensive and angry.  You can end up running from the truth, and running from yourself.  All mental illness stems from avoiding truth.

Believing that you are always right is a trait of a superficial survivalist who will suffer a mental melt down if their perspective is challenged.  Why?  Because if the world they constructed is wrong, nothing will ever make sense again.  Their foundation is gone.  The void of emptiness (the bad kind), swallows them whole.  Admitting when you’re wrong without experiencing emotions of anger, annoyance, or embarrassment, is the trait of a truly strong person.  A person with faith, not fear.

I also value humility.  I know this for sure because I loathe narcissists – well, we are all narcissists but there’s a scale on how bad we can be.  The more validation you need, the higher you are on the scale.  The stronger our sociopathic traits (we are all sociopaths too), the further up you go.

Ayahuasca told me that we are all worthy of equal respect, but here in the physical realm where the ego is inescapable and spiritual evolution is our only goal – the spirit laws don’t apply here.  Only in death do they apply.

It’s all part of the game.

Growth and belief.  You grow and your perception widens – you’re able to understand more.  Expressing our value’s to others is a way for us to evolve.  You contribute nothing while placating and keeping your eyes shut.

This idea taken me to my own life.  My own growth process.

Up until, oh I don’t know…..YESTERDAY, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.  I didn’t know what made me truly happy.  Since I was a kid, I wanted and fantasized about every career under the sun.  Then I found my business which brought me direction and goals – but are my present goals really what my heart wants?

Rational brain – “You’re only happy when others are happy.”

Yeah but it’s not lasting.  It’s transient.  Who am I in-between those laughs?  Who am I when a friend carries with them a heavy heart?

Rational brain – “Everything is transient and meaningless.  Leave the in-between part for growth and possibilities.  Never cement yourself.

In the grand scope of things yes, life is transient and meaningless.  I agree that’s it’s improbable and unwise to be happy all of the time.  But It’s about having a foundation – one that is built upon seeing and experiencing my own potential….

A few hours later…..

DAmn I’m drunk.

I trained my new therapist, went to my brothers holiday party and then to a friends house and now I’m here at home drunk wanting to sleep.

I was onto something fierce before.  A good ol’ fashioned head squashing.  But now it’s 2 A.M and I want to watch Japanese anime like the freak-show that I am.  I’m eating left over steak.  Hunter X Hunter is the Japanese anime if you’re wondering.  I’m HOOKED.  I’m being completely honest here when I say this show is amazing.  Why the hell do I like this shit so much?  It’s not normal!  I don’t just like it, I LOVE it!

My brother had a holiday party at his spa tonight.  He had a party last year if you care to scroll back to read about it.  Here’s a pick of me and my folks:

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I love these people more than words can explain.  I cradle their heads in my hands and kiss their cheeks every night wishing them a good-night before I head downstairs to my domicile.  I break out in cold sweats whenever my mother walks on icy terrain.  I cry silent tears when my father can’t write his own name with his shaking hand.

OMG I love my parents.  So much so that it hurts, you know?  It’s this side of me that’s both my weakness and my strength.  The side that I hide from everybody, but eventually I’m sure it leaks out and once it does, it’s viewed only as weakness.  Insurmountable love.  A sentimentality that stagnates and circles around like a little eddie.  Never to venture off into the blue unknown.  That’s what love is.  It’s the familiar, the net.  It’s what enables you.

Both weakness and strength…

Oh man, yesterdays epiphany was awesome but it’s gone now.  If I weren’t so busy earlier I could’ve captured the remnants of it.  But I leave tomorrow for Thailand so there’s no time.  I must post this unfinished thought.

Shit….

So much left unsaid.

I went to visit my best friend in Minnesota for Thanksgiving last week.  Here’s a video to capture the moments.  Held safe here in my memory bank blog for all the world to see.

I’m so tired.  I’m leaving tomorrow at 2 A.M.  My computer screen is so bright.  I gotta get some zzzz….

It’s now the next day.  I’m beyond tired.  I was so hungover this morning and slept for about 4 hours before having to go to work to give a massage and hand out Christmas cards to my employee’s.  They each got $50 and the 3 girls working today all gave me big hugs and wished me well on my trip.

This trip feels destined.  Like I was never not meant to go.

I need to nap big time, finish packing, take a shower before I leave and that’s it.  Then it’ll mostly be video blogs for the next 36 days.

And so my hero’s journey continue’s….

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Filed under All about me, journal, philosophy, random thoughts, Self help, Travel, video's

How to buy cheap plane tickets online

Short story:

The best way for me personally is to use Google flights.

Long story:

I hate buying plane tickets. I spent hours pouring over choices and comparing tickets on Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, what-have-you. None of them come close to the power of Google Flights. You simply type in where and when, to and fro – and BAM a calendar pops up with the lowest price available. It’s a calendar that shows you what days are cheapest to fly on. All right there on one page without having to re-type new dates in and search again and again from website to website.

It compares prices for you. Click on the day you want to fly on with a price you can afford and it shows you where you can buy that ticket for that price which is usually Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity….etc. But the odd thing is, when searching through one of these websites (priceline..etc) for a flight, they skip over and don’t list all your options. You can ONLY find these flights on Google Flights.

I tried buying a plane ticket to Thailand and every site that I went to, they had me flying to Chicago, than Tokyo, than Thailand. Or Texas, than Tokyo, than Thailand – all really long layovers with 35+ travel time. Tickets ranging from $1600 – $2000. And in Tokyo, some flights wanted me to go to Tokyo and board a plane at an entirely different airport during a 30 minute layover! WTF, right?

I searched on Google flights and what do I find? China Air! China Air was everywhere! And they don’t take me to Chicago or Taxes – hell, they don’t even take me to Tokyo. I have one stop in Canada and then it’s a straight shot to Thailand. Travel time? 27 hours. Price of ticket? $1100.

So anyways……

It’s done. My parents know I’m leaving, I have almost everything I need for the trip. My first four days are already planned out which includes seeing the Jade Buddha and the Grand Palace.

My business is in the red zone, meaning, running low on funds.  I’m only going to Thailand because I have perfect faith that this month I’ll sell enough memberships to cover all my monthly bills and then some.  Perfect faith.  Yes.

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Ayahuasca in Ecuador

(For anyone wanting to read about the effects of ayahuasca, you should read my first experience with it here.)

ecuador

This post is long overdue.  I didn’t keep a journal while I was there which makes it hard for me to write about it especially now being that it was over two months ago.  I did however film a few videos that I’m not too keen on sharing (a big reason for procrastinating this post).

I remember the first day of my trip very clearly.  Getting off the plane and arriving in Ecuador.  I arrived late and had to stay in Cuenca all by myself the first night.

My first trip to do ayahuasca, I was sweating bullets.  I had to down a few beers before getting on the plane and even on the plane, I couldn’t escape the anxiety.  I didn’t have a panic attack thank god – but the anxiety was very severe.  That flight I taken to Columbia was the last time I felt deep inescapable fear without it crossing over in to a panic attack.

This time around was the complete opposite.  My parents knew where I was going, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone ratting on me (yes someone actually threatened me with that!), and I did ayahuasca before, I knew the shamans, knew the people – I was relieved to go and escape life for a while.  This was at a time when I massaged 8 hours a day, six days a week.  I was too worn out to be scared of anything at that point.

My arrival to Ecuador played out like a fairytale.  I taken a taxi to my hostel and enjoyed a quiet nights sleep before waking up early the next day having to take another taxi back to the airport.

“We’re going to the airport too.  We can drive you.”

Said a seemingly nice couple enjoying their continental breakfast.

“That would be wonderful!”  I proclaimed goofily.

This is what idiots do abroad – accept invitations by complete strangers.  And yes, I AM an idiot abroad.  They seemed nice enough though.

Before I go any further, here’s a video of when I first arrived in my hostel.  I don’t recommend that you actually watch these video’s, but since I didn’t keep a journal, they’re pretty much all that I have of my trip.

I found my box of soup and it didn’t bursted like I thought it would.  I was so tired that I stopped filming and started eating my soup and crackers while watching The Simpsons in spanish.

So anyways, there I was getting a free ride back to the airport.

“Where you headed?”  Asked one of my new companions.

“I need to find a shuttle bus to take me to [I forgot the name of the town I was going to].”

“I’m from there!  What will you be doing?”

“A spiritual retreat.”

“I’m actually going to Peru today for that exact same thing!  I’ll make sure you find your shuttle before we leave you.”

When we arrived at the airport, my companion started speaking in spanish to an airport guy – not a whole lot of people spoke English there so I was very thankful.

An airport guy pointed the way to the shuttle busses.

In the email I received prior to the trip, it stated that the shuttle busses are to the right of the airport as soon as you come out of it – but as it turned out, it was a right,  a left, then a walk down a few blocks – not good instructions for an idiot abroad.

The airport worker seen my confusion and offered to walk me there himself.  He spoke little English but found the words to tell me that he won’t leave me until I get safely on the correct shuttle.

I hugged both of my new companions good-bye and thanked them profusely before being handed over to the airport guy.

“You shouldn’t walk alone.”  He said in broken English.

“Is it dangerous?”

“During the day a little, but at night yes.  Very dangerous.  And what you have on…..”

It was so hot that I opted on wearing a tank top.  A youngish girl with a backpack wearing a tank top – walking alone in one of the most poorest area’s of Ecuador is not a good combo.

He kept his promise and got me on the correct shuttle.  Thank goodness he was there because nobody spoke a word of English.

I slept for most of the way there.  I passed so many little restaurants.  They were more like outdoor kitchens.  Everyone ate outside on cheap plastic Coca Cola patio sets.  Everything looked poor and rundown as opposed to Columbia where there was no litter and the houses looked newer.

I fell asleep watching the ramshackle houses go by and woke up a few hours later to my ears being blocked up from the effects of high altitude.  We were in the mountains and I had to put on my sweatshirt, then a half hour later, I put on my jacket.

After a long five hours, I arrived to my destination with time to spare.  It was the [forgot the name] airport.

I was hungry so I grabbed myself a mini pizza from the airport cafeteria and waited for my new spiritual seeking friends to arrive.

We all met up and everyone was lovely.  There were Canadians and people from Jersey.  One woman from Jersey had a stash of cocoa leaves that she swears heals just about everything.  One of the Canadian boys was suffering from altitude sickness and been miraculously cured by the cocoa leaves.  We were up 9,000 ft.

We piled into another shuttle to take us to Gaia Sagrada – way up in the Andes mountains (the longest continental mountain range in the world!).  We needed a special driver because only two taxi’s in all of Ecuador know how to get there.

Basically, my arrival magically slipped into place.  When I needed help – no, not even – before I needed help, there were people there to guide me.  My appreciation was at an all-time high.

But after that first day, I don’t remember much.  I have a horrible memory, that’s why I write.

Here is another video for you guys….

The thing I didn’t like about this particular ayahuasca ceremony is that first off, it was cold, and secondly – people weren’t allow to talk or walk around.  To be able to talk and walk around clears my head from the fog you feel in the beginning of your ayahuasca experience.  Without being able to walk around, I remained in that fog for the entire night.

Here’s another video: [Warning:  This video is very long and uneventful.  Try to go easy on me.  I was exhausted and stretched to my limit.]

 

Nearly everyone was pissing me off that day.  It was supposed to be about love!

And here’s the last video that I made while in Ecuador:

Those last few nights in Ecuador consisted of dancing with the locals, mud baths, getting shit-faced, reuniting with some of our retreat pals, getting yelled at a few times by cute Ecuadorian cops, getting locked out of our hostel at 3 AM…. I think that about covers it.

There’s a lot more that happened on the trip other than what the video’s provide, but it’s too far gone to capture it.

Now I’m laying in bed tired as hell as usual.

My Mother went on a comfort food cooking spree that lasted for about 2 weeks.  Lasagna, hamburgs, loaves of meat concoctions – not a shred of veggies anywhere.  Then getting bombarded with clients at work redeeming their expiring vouchers – going out a few times, my insomnia still won’t let up….

I was supposed to go hiking today but had to call it off.  I need to get back to a regular sleep routine, exercise, and start eating healthy.  I feel like shit.  It’s 6:30 PM and I want to sleep.  I don’t know how people with kids (let alone a husband/boyfriend) do it.  I don’t know how people have regular jobs!  At least with my job there’s light up ahead – a reprieve from work.

Starting today I can go back to enjoying the comforts of having people work for me.  By next month I’ll have more members signed up to my membership program along with plans to expand.  As the months move along, I’ll be working less and less.  I’m working towards earning my freedom.  Our innate human right.

I’ve decided to go to Thailand in December with Brianna, the girl who held my hand during the ayahuasca ceremony and told me that she loves me.  We get along swimmingly and this opportunity may not happen again if I delay it.

This is not my favorite compilation.  I didn’t film a whole lot while I was over there and had nothing but scraps to work with.  I picked this song because it matched the mood and shamans from all over the world believe that fire cleanses everything.

I had an experience during my last ayahuasca ceremony having to do with fire, but I’m still not in the correct frame of mind to write about it.  I’ve been waiting for it to come, but apparently it’s not happening anytime soon.

Too many buckets, too much stress, too much insomnia….the fall is passing by as quickly as the summer months.

It’s 10 PM.  I’m going to try my hand at sleep.

 

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Insert foot here

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This innocent text was accidentally sent to a client.

And that client called me.  She called me wanting to know who I was because obviously this text wasn’t meant for her.

But she knew who I was.  She had to.  My cell phone number was blasted to over 1,000 client emails trying to get them to buy into my massage membership.  “Here’s my cell number, you can trust me,” was what I was going for.

I answered in a panic before my voicemail picked up to confirm that I am in fact, Melanie the massage therapist.

Client – “Is this Melanie the massage therapist?”

Me – “No, not me.  I think I texted you by accident a few days ago.  Total accident.”

It sounded like she was smiling on her end.  In her indian accent she says, “Okay no problem.”

I hung up with her and exhaled, “I’m going to jail.”

And I don’t even do drugs!  My employee wanted to try mushrooms, so I was trying to hook her up.  Great boss I am, right?  She thinks that text was hilarious.

A few days ago I received a terrible email from an irate client.  She was not happy with her massage, so I took it upon my shoulders to forward that email to all my employee’s telling them to be a little more careful next time.  I came to find out, her massage therapist was ME!

Here’s my email to my employee’s….Oh damn WordPress won’t let me copy and paste it.  WTF?  Well, I’m not figuring it out now.

It’s 1:45 AM.  I can’t sleep.  Why can’t I sleep?  Because I’m going to Ecuador and my plane takes off in approximately 6 hours.  I have to be at the airport 3 hours before my plane leaves because it’s an international flight, so I basically screwed myself.  I couldn’t fall asleep no matter how hard I tried which will make for a horrible plane ride.

I’m leaving my business in the hands of four therapists all of whom I don’t know very well.

Holy shit I’m tired.

It’s not just physical tiredness, but stressed-out tiredness on top of everything.  But this is something I must do.  My heart is calling for it, not my head.  My head is pissed at me.

“Idiot!”

“Shut up rational brain!”

I decided four weeks ago that I wasn’t going to Ecuador.  The business is still too new and fragile, I can’t trust my therapists not to mess everything up – I don’t have the money.

But then my key arrived (I wrote about that in my last post), and the key sold 69 memberships.  69 memberships!

I don’t want to jump the gun and say I’m a certified genius business owner with a head for success, but come on now, 69 memberships!

I’ve been working non-stop since February.  When Esmeralda, my old Ford Escort, died on me.  I was forced outside my box and I haven’t stopped or looked back since.

According to my genius business mind, I’m about half-way to obtaining financial independence and being able to work as little as 10-15 hours a week.  It’s all right there staring me in the face!  All the steps that I need to take, all the time that still needs to be invested – it’s all right there.  I can visually see it.  Like a map laid out before me.

Alas, I’m going to Ecuador because fate wants me there.  All my clients are rooting for me to go, I see them more than I see my friends, and Laura, a woman I met in Colombia on my first retreat said to me, “you’re definitely going.  I can feel your energy there.”

And my other friend decided to go at the exact critical moment when my heart was most open and vulnerable.

“Okay, I’ll buy my plane ticket.”

And here I am going down the rabbit hole on my second journey with ayahuasca.  I’m going to try keeping a video journal while I’m down there, although, I’m much better with the written word.  Especially since I’ll be looking like shit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Camino Video

Okay, you can call me unoriginal.  I made a music video about walking 500 miles to Santiago using the song “I’m Gonna Be” by the Proclaimers.  There are probably hundreds if not thousands of video’s recording the Camino using that song.

Here is my version.  I hope you like it!

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August 14, 2013 · 9:39 am

Party in Pamplona

I woke at 11, showered, made some eggs and out the door I ventured into the world. My goal for the day: Buy a ticket to the bullfight tomorrow.

I walked by a few young people dressed in white with red sashes around their necks and waists.

Me thinking – “Uh, that’s strange. The celebration starts tomorrow, not today.”

And as I walked deeper into the center of pamplona, I realized that everyone was dressed in white and sporting red sashes or purses.

Small children and their great grandparents were wearing identical colors. Then came the hoots, the shouts, drinking wine and beer in the street. Getting approached by men in mid-celebration asking me where I’m from.

I wanted to run and buy my ticket as fast as I could. Running past the liquored up herds, but the streets became more and more congested with swarms of people parading around, shouting, dancing, drinking. A police siren whistled not too far away.

I found the bullring. Spotted the ATM’s surrounding the building and purchased my ticket in less than 30 seconds. A Spanish woman asked me what I was doing.

“Comprar tackilla por mañana.”

I said timidly as if what I was saying was gibberish and I knew it was gibberish.

But it wasn’t gibberish, the woman understood, asked me how much it costs and then thanked me.

A great deal of the Spanish language is sticking to my ribs without my realizing. How the hell did I remember comprar from high school?

Anyway, I ran back to my hotel as fast as I could. Sweat dripped down my back, my cell phone clutched tightly in my sweaty, slippery hand.

You don’t need to be connected to the Internet for your GPS to work. God how I love my phone! It’s at least a good 20 minute walk from my room to the bullring. And with all the roundabouts, it’s easy getting yourself turned around. I was constantly checking my direction on my cell.

I was checking my direction while maneuvering in and out of the flocks, being careful not to make eye contact.

Hey, when you’re a single gal traveling in a foreign country and you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of drunk men celebrating a holiday that involves animal slaughter, you’d be scared too!

“No hablar espanol, lo siento, no entiendo.”

Saying this helped me out several times. Especially when a gypsy grabbed my hand and started telling me my fortune. I didn’t stop walking, and kept saying over and over, “hablo ingles, no entiendo.”

I finally made it back to my hotel. It’s far from the action, it’s quiet here. I love my hotel. It’s not really a hotel, but some weird multiplex. They have a rec room, patio, laundry room, cafe, vending machines. I don’t want to leave the safety of this place.

The bullfight starts tomorrow morning. They unleash the bulls to run down the street and into the arena at 8am. Cameras are placed on the curbside so the folks seated in the arena can see the spectacle of the bulls chasing the runners on big screens. It reminds me of the Truman show. If they get a close-up of one runner falling behind, becoming the underdog, than all of the arena prays and roots for him and he has no idea what’s happening, no idea that all eyes are on him.

It’s not a far run, and nobody died from running it in 15 years.

I felt the temptation of doing it myself and then I remembered that I hate crowds and I’m more afraid of people than I am of the bulls, and that’s the truth. If there weren’t so many people, I would definitely do it. There’s nothing to it really.

Hell, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, tried ayahuasca and peyote, hiked the camino alone with nothing but the clothes carried on my back, so I don’t think a little bull would scare me much. I’m half Italian, so I got bull (headed) blood in me already.

It’s just a matter of fun vs worth. Is the fun of it worth the risk of getting pushed and trampled over by everybody?

If I were here with Dave, we would both invariably do it. But I’m here alone. Two people wanted to meet me, but I responded to them too late. It’s just as well. I would have had to share my room and honestly it’s way too cramped in here with only me.

This is the winding down of my journey. My feets are tired, my everything is tired. Yesterday and today were blessings. True vacation days of idleness. Tomorrow however, will be a stretch of my patience.

I need to get there early to beat everyone. I’m talking 6 in the morning. I’ll get in, find my seat and remain in my seat until the last bull is struck down. And then I can rightfully say I been to see a bullfight.

I’m excited about it, I really am. I mean, I wouldn’t want to wake up having nothing to do tomorrow. This bullfight is certainly something to do. An exciting something to do. I only complain because it conflicts with my dislike of crowds.

Okay, my arms are numb down to my fingers. I need to stop holding my phone like this.

I’m going to make myself some dinner and listen to an audiobook, then go to bed early. Tomorrow will be the end-all finale to my adventures in Spain. What a way to end a vacation…killin’ stuff.

Here’s a video of today:

It’s a very short video.

What are all those people doing anyway (in the video)? There’s no carnival rides, no kiosks or games, or venders of any creative sort. People are just walking and clumping together. They walk, listen to music and clump together holding beers.

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