Category Archives: Travel

My Bike Hath Cometh

I’m looking at my new electric bicycle as we speak.  It’s standing in my bedroom all decked out with its tan leather seat and hand grips.  It’s so shiny and perfectly white and clean.

It’s not the first time I had a 2 wheeled vehicle in my bedroom.  The first time I did this, it didn’t exactly pan out.  I had to put my scooter out to pasture.  But second time’s a charm, right?

I can’t stop ogling it.

I had it delivered to work so I can save $100 on shipping and then I rode it home shortly after unpacking it.  The ride home was easier than I thought considering the current state of my fat ass.  but then again, it was only a mile.

Soon, I’ll have to try doing that with 430 miles.  My crotch will be humming a different tune I suspect.  Humming bloody murder.

Okay so, I have almost everything I need for my bicycle trip to Bar Harbor.  The stuff that I don’t have just yet is in the mail.  One major thing I need is a new shorter seat post which I ordered yesterday.  The post that came with the bike is built for a giant, something I wish I knew before I bought the $55 upgrade for a suspension seat but other than that, I’m in love with this bike.  It’s truly beautiful.  A work of art.

I wanted to take it out for a spin today but I’d most likely kill myself since the seat is up so high.

I’m always waiting for something….

I’ve been burning the candle from both ends these last few weeks.  I drank so many Bud Lights that I can no longer drink Bud Lights.  Ever again.

Either I drank too many Bud Lights or I’m going through my “change” because I completely switched to IPA’s and I HATE IPA’s.  And it happened overnight!  17 years of drinking Bud Lights only to switch to a beer I loathed during my whole drinking career.  Why do I not loath them anymore?  Why?

Two Roads Little Heaven is my new beer of choice.  As bitter as a grapefruit peel that one.

I can’t stop looking at my bike.  It’s just so lovely, so perfect (aside from the tall seat).  I want to stick a playing card in its spoke.

Here is a map of my journey to Bar Harbor:

All the campgrounds, motels, and bike shops are readily displayed so I can’t miss them.  Courtesy of the Bicycle Route Network app partnering with Google Maps.  I wouldn’t be going on this journey if not for this app.  I am a sublime idiot when it comes to following directions.

This trip is unlike any other that I went on.  You see, most of my trips involve a plane.  I buy a plane ticket that comes with a set date to travel on but with a journey such as this – a journey that doesn’t involve buying a ticket to far away lands….setting a date to “take off” is a greasy creature to capture.

Me – “I’ll do it tomorrow.  Yes, I’ll be ready tomorrow.”

Then tomorrow comes and I be like, “I’ll do it Tuesday.  Yes.  I’ll be ready by Tuesday.”

It doesn’t help that my Mother is against this trip.

I have to take this trip sometime this month.  My office manager is quitting by the end of the month (it’s a long story.  I won’t get into it until after she’s gone), so I need to take this trip while she’s still here to help.  Not to mention I don’t want to go when the weather starts cooling off (I don’t have a sleeping bag and I’m only bringing a silk liner).

And, if I don’t go now, I’ll never go.  I might have to miss Kristi’s bachelorette party but I’ll be able to make it to her wedding and my family reunion if I leave as soon as I get my short seat post in the mail.  Which means I’m leaving soon.  Really soon.  Completely unprepared physically, emotionally, and mechanically if something breaks down, I’ll not know how to fix it.

Most of the people I told about this trip all think that it’s some fantastic feat – a beauteous harrowing journey of divine coolness only partaken by people with guts.  But it’s not!  It’s the complete opposite!  I’m only going on this trip to get away for a bit, enjoy the country and camp out but mostly I’m going because I’ll regret it if I don’t.  I’m more scared of NOT going on this journey.  I’d rather make a shit ton of mistakes than do nothing.

Everyone’s making a big deal about this trip but to me, it’s not a big deal.  I’m excited and scared as hell, but in the grand scope of things, it’s no big deal at all.  And it’s only for a couple weeks.  No big deal.

However, next year for my cross-country venture, that’s a different bag of worms.

Last night as I was falling to sleep, a song kept repeating in my head.  It was a song that’s been around for a while.  Really catchy.  But then I realized the song was completely made up in my head while I was drifting off.  Two words I remember from that song.  They kept repeating over and over.  And those two words were Star and Tonic.  Star Tonic.

I just Googled Star Tonic and found out that it’s a type of marijuana strain.  I swear, I never heard of it before in my life.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under journal, Travel

I Lost My Phone in Peru

After our 7 day retreat in Peru, Hana and I decided to go to Bolivia because, well, why not?  Honestly it was all Hana’s decision and she made her angry face when I acted hesitant about extending my trip past the 7 day mark.  I made my hesitant face and then she made her angry face and I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Yeah, I’ll go.  Sounds like fun!”

And it was fun.  It was incredible.  It was awesome.  For the first time in almost 2 months, we felt free.  Free of walking the Camino, free of the prison retreat that starved us and locked us inside its grounds.  We were, for the first time, truly free.

But I lost my cell phone at the bus terminal in Cusco.  My guess, it was stolen because I forgot to button my freaking pocket.  The one time I didn’t button my pocket was at a stupid bus terminal….of all places!  Why Melanie?  Why…

That’s why I haven’t posted anything.  I couldn’t.  But oh man I wish I did.  What a trip.  Have you ever seen the sunset in a desert?  It’s the most awe-inspiring image I ever seen in my life.  It’s not an image though, it’s not a scene, or a view…..It’s like Pachamama, or Jeong.  It’s like an emotion became a reality.  Words, just like a photograph, will never capture it.  It’s like looking up at a dome – sunset surrounds you on all sides.  The colors….a perfect mix of contrasts swaying and changing and spiraling.  It’s dizzying like on drugs.  I kept looking all over from one side to the next to take it all in but my eyes weren’t big enough.

Me – “I can’t believe this happens every day and nobody knows about it.”

I decided whenever I’m feeling down, all I have to do is think about that sunset and how it’s there everyday but we just can’t see it.  It happens above my own house everyday but I just can’t see it.

Hana bought us a room for 2 nights at the most luxurious hotel I’ve ever stayed at, Hotel De Sal Luna Salada.  Everything in the place is made entirely out of salt taken from the desert.   The floor is even covered with a carpet of salt.  It crunched under my feet as I walked.

It’s an isolated hotel in the middle of a pure salt desert and seeing that it’s in a 3rd world country, all the games in the game room were broken.  Their one ping-pong ball, the darts, all the pool sticks….etc.  But we played with them anyway and laughed our asses off.  Hana drank 5 large gin and tonics and got the asian flush.  That’s the night we met Alejandro.  A pilot for the Peruvian airline.  The three of us had the best time together.  Like we’ve been friends in a previous life, carried over into today.  It’s still so odd for me to meet someone for the first time and feel like I’ve known them my whole life – that’s how it was with Alejandro, a young man from Lima.

I loved Bolivia.  It’s not an easy place to get into for wayward backpackers like us.  Before we left for Bolivia, I researched what was needed to enter the country.  Evidence that we’ll be leaving, a hotel that we’ll be staying at, and a passport photo.  It’s even more difficult for Americans and journalists because we have to pay to get in.

I thought it wise to get our Bolivian visa’s in Cusco at the embassy so that way our bus wouldn’t take off without us while we fumble with the paperwork.  This has been known to happen when the process takes too long.

We show up at the embassy with nothing but smiles and good intensions.  Then we were directed to go to the nearest internet cafe to print out our paperwork because smiles weren’t enough proof that we’re good, law abiding people.

I was so glad we got that done and out of the way.  We were both proud of ourselves for being prepared.  We actually had to buy our plane tickets home in order to get into Bolivia and you know that can be time consuming.

Bolivia was awesome but the moment Hana left to catch her plane back home, my luck went out the door with her.

My plane was the next day.  Early morning.  So early that I wouldn’t allow myself to fall asleep for fear of missing my flight.  I had no cell phone to set my alarm, no clocks in hotel rooms in Bolivia and I didn’t trust the front desk to call to wake me up.  So I had to stay up.  I had no choice.

I hop in a taxi at 4:30am the next day and drove up to the top of the mountain where the La Paz airport resides.  The views are stunning.  La Paz is dusty, dirty and old, but good lord it’s stunning from the top of that mountain.

I find out that my flight has been cancelled.

Delays are one thing, but cancelled completely?  What do I do?  I don’t even have a phone!

By gods good graces, the La Paz airport has a computer room that also let’s you make long distance calls.  I had to find the Bolivian phone number for American Airlines on the computer and call them.  The next flight was two days later.

So I drove back down the mountain, found a hotel, and slept until noon.  Thankfully, Bolivia is cheap as hell.

La Paz is the capital of Bolivia.  As I lay bored in my hotel room, I can hear a celebration happening a few blocks away.  The same celebration being televised on TV.  It funny how many TV stations in Bolivia cover everything that goes on in La Paz whereas America is just too big for that.  It’s not tightly knit.  I’ll never get on TV but in Bolivia, everyone’s a star.

I just wanted to go home so badly at that point.  I was worried about my business, worried about not having any money left in my account, worried about my parents….I was freaking out.

I’m laying in my own bed now.  I got home at 3am this morning.  I don’t know what the hell I ate or what, but I contracted a nasty stomach bug.  My stomach started gurgling during my first flight (Santa Cruz) and as soon as we landed I went straight to the bathroom and was shocked at what came out of me.  Then it happened again on my second flight of which I couldn’t hold it in and had to shit 30,000 ft above ground in the tiny shaky airplane toilet.  And then it happened again minutes before my third flight.  My flight was boarding at 7:05PM and that’s the time it hit.  I ran to the bathroom and I couldn’t stop going this time.  It didn’t have that “okay I’m done now” feeling and my asshole kept wanting to dry-heave (sorry for the imagery).

I was vaping during all of this, while sitting on the toilet and murmuring, “oh god….shit.  Oh no oh no please stop.”

I had no cell phone to tell me the time.  I was afraid of missing my flight due to being stuck in the bathroom.  I thought about the two girls who weren’t allowed to board their flight because the doors closed moments before they arrived.  They, for some unknown reason, boarded the plane and decided to leave it a few minutes later.  When they returned, the attendants wouldn’t let them back in.  Once the doors were closed they stay closed.

Me thinking – “Why the hell did they leave the plane once they were on it?  Did they not see the time?”

One of the girls made a scene, swearing up a storm as Americans do and then broke down in tears saying, “I don’t know what to do, what do we do?  Our luggage was on that plane.”

They were in Miami going to Boston.  For me, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.  But sitting on that toilet right when my plane was boarding for takeoff, I felt sorry for judging her.

I still have the stomach bug.  Every time I eat, it all comes back out.  At least this happened after my trip and not during.

Man, I’m home.  I miss Hana.

Hana – “We’re perfect to travel with.  I complain and you don’t.  You’re a very positive person.”

Me – “I bottle everything up inside good and tight.”

Hana – “It’s destiny that we met.  We can grow old together, not have children and just change each others diapers.”

Me – “I never wanted kids so I can totally do that.”

Hana – “Are you sure?”

Me – “I’m sure, pinky promise.”

She does her weird asian pinky promise thing and walks me through the process.

It’s just like having a best friend in junior high.  Girls our age don’t talk like that anymore.  I forgot how much I like hearing sentiments like that.  It makes me feel loved.

Hana makes me feel loved and cared for and the only thing she wants in return is for me to travel the world with her.

I don’t know….call me crazy but if my life from now on consists of world travel with a person who sincerely cares about me, I’ll be pretty damn happy with that life.  I’m okay with that.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under journal, Peru, Travel

I’m Home I’m Home I’m Home At Last

But not for long.

I’m still so freaking tired.  Still!  I slept my ass off last night and the night before, but my eyes invariably want to close.

I fell asleep at 9PM last night and woke up at 3AM.  I didn’t know where I was.

Me thinking – “This is a nice hotel.  I don’t remember this hotel.  It’s so warm and comfortable.  Oh, and my audiobook is playing.  So nice….”

Then I realized I was home in my room and I was like, “Praise the lord thank you I’m home!!”

For the last 40 days, I’d wake up in a different location every morning only to hike 15 miles to god know’s where.  Everyday.  Waking up sucked.

And when you wake up at 3AM thinking you’re someplace you never been and realize you’re safe and sound in your own bed, it’s like a snow day from school times 20.

I love home.  I am a homebody big time.

But I’m going to Peru on Thanksgiving to check Machu Picchu off my bucket list.  I got home late on the 19th, and off again I go on the 23rd.  Today is the 21st.  I just booked my flight.  A one-way because, well, you never know.

Hana wants to do Ayahuasca.  I personally don’t want to do it for two reasons:  The taste and the barfing.  But Hana is dead set on it so we’re doing a package deal of ayahuasca and Machu Picchu.  There’s a really nice retreat that offers both.  They even have a doctor present 24/7.

Oh god aya-freaking-huasca again.  Shit.  No thank you.  No no no.  I’m so done puking.  I don’t have to do it, I’ll probably skip it anyway.

I better leave.  I’m meeting some friends out for drinks.  I ate beforehand so I don’t have to spend money on dinner.

*******************

It’s now the 22nd.  I leave tomorrow, Thanksgiving.  I can’t believe I’m doing this.  But I know I’d regret it if I don’t.  That’s what I base all my decisions on, regret.

Last night I hung out with the 3 girls that ditched me after I came back from Nepal.  2 of them are completely fine with me, but the other one….I don’t think she likes me much and I didn’t have the mental energy to override it this time.  Or maybe she does like me, but she doesn’t make me feel relaxed, you know?  Not something you’d want to deal with after walking across Spain, that’s for sure.  It’s like she can’t decide if she likes me or not, she can’t pin me down and me being stupid empathetic, can feel all this and so I get confused myself.

People I met along the road on the Camino, never made me feel that way.  And they didn’t even know me.

My brother and I have this weird “gift”.  I don’t think it’s much of a gift actually.  But me and my bro are affected by other people’s energies too much.  It’s their micro-expressions that trip us up – we pick up on it.  And the tone they use.  We can spot bullshit a mile away.  We see the inauthentic, the egomaniacs and narcissists.  My brother wants to slap it out of them, turning to violence and anger while I curl up in a ball and question my sanity.

Why do some people make me feel uncomfortable?  Like I’m being probed?  I wish I wasn’t affected by it but when you’re freaking tired, all defenses are down.  This girl I’m talking about is starting to date and once she finds her match, her confidence will rise and her hard edges should smooth out.  Hopefully.

Anyway, it’s tiring is what it is.  Not fun.

Today I’m seeing my friend Mo to return her dress finally, and I have to stop in work to visit my office manager.  And the 3 girls I mentioned above are going out again later – I’d like to join them if number 3 isn’t there – too much work.  I mean come on now, can’t we cohabit in peace?

I should pack.

I woke up at 8:30AM.  It’s raining.  My room is trashed – the most trashed it’s ever been in my life.  But I like it because it means I get to clean when I get back from Peru – a new person is waiting to be uncovered.  I will reemerge anew.

My feet are still sore.  I need to brush my teeth.

I need to dump my brain out of my head, you know?  I can’t remember shit that happens.  It’s a lazy brain to a fault.  My brain acts how a homeless person looks.  I’m not retaining anything.  I guess if I do ayahuasca again, this will be my one focal point – to clear my head.  Sleep doesn’t help.  Perhaps it’s lack of a certain mineral?  Or I’m dehydrated?  Or it could be my messy bedroom, I don’t know.

Or maybe because my life has been crazy for the last few months.  No me time.  No grip on reality.  Completely out of my comfort zone.

What do people do when they wake up early?  I don’t know what to do with myself.  I really should pack…..

My plane leaves at 19:42 from Boston.  That’s 7:42PM.  It takes around 2.5 hours to get there, arrive 2 hours early, factor in 90 minutes of traffic to be safe and minus 40 minutes of boarding from 7:42 so I should be at the gate at 7 sharp….let’s calculate.  Beep boop beep….

7Pm – 2.5 = 4:30

4:30 – 2 = 2:30

2:30 – 90 minutes = 1PM

1:00 seems awfully early but I refuse to panic like I did last time on my way to the airport.  I will do anything to avoid fear like that.  If I was 3 minutes later than I was, my plane would’ve left without me – 3 minutes!  You know how nerve wracking that is?  And I hate cutting people in line.  I feel like such an asshole.

So, 1:00 tomorrow it is.  I have to be ready.  It’s a long 14 hours flight with 2 layovers.  I’ll get to my hotel in Peru by 11PM on the 24th and at 10AM the next day, we’re off to the retreat.  Fuck me.  Seriously.

Leave a comment

Filed under journal, Travel

I’ve been up for 26 hours!

I’m going to attempt to post a video of St Jean Pied De Porte.  It’s easier keeping a video blog rather than type everything on my iPhone.  


Ugh, it’s taking forever to upload.  I’m so freaking tired.  And it’s chilly in my room. 

I want to go outside and collect my clothes from the line but there’s a bunch of pilgrims congregating near my humongous underwear.  I can’t let on that they’re mine.  I’ll be walking side by side with these people for the next 35 days.

But I want to sleep!  If I fall asleep now, I’ll forget my clothes are out there.  Or something worse will happen.  I don’t know what that something worse is.

I’m hiking 15 miles tomorrow all uphill.  Shits gonna suck.  

Screw it, I’m getting my clothes.  I hate being social but once I’m down there I’m inclined to introduce myself.  If I don’t they’ll only refer to me as “that girl with the humongous  underwear”.

“Did you see that girl with the humungous underwear today?”

“For a brief second before I strode past her, why?”

“She’s weird.”

“Yeah, that’s the rumor.  What’s her deal anyway?”

“Word on the street is that she see’s things in her poop.”

You know how sometimes after using the toilet, there’s what is known as a “streaker”?  It’s a streak that even a good hardy flush can’t erase.

My streak today was of a pilgrim walking.  She had the stick and a hat and everything.  I almost took a picture of it to post on Facebook but my better judgment said “fuck no, you crazy? Girl you fuckin’ stoopid crazy.”

2 Comments

Filed under camino de santiago, humor, Travel, video's

4 Days Until Camino

I leave for my trip in T minus 4 days.

My mind is in shambles.  I’m laying here in bed – so unbelievably fucking comfortable you have no idea.  I’m warm, I’m fed, I’m loved, my life is grand and wonderful these days; I’ve even spoken with my lawyer today about the lawsuit and he says the whole case is stupid.  Literally, he called it stupid.

Him – “It’s a straight forward simple case.  You did nothing wrong and there was no way to prevent any of it from happening.  If I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.  You’ll be fine.”

I’ve never had a lawyer before and I’m sure they all say things like “it’ll be just fine” or “don’t worry about it” to their clients but in my case, it rings true.  There were literally no precautions or warning signs that I missed or could’ve foreshadowed.  It was all a roll of the dice.  Shit luck.

This was the first time he told me not to worry though.  Thanks buddy, you could’ve told me that sooner.  Before my mental breakdown and going through the 5 stages of grief hundreds of times over.

Anyhow, I’m truly loving my bed right now.  Oh God I love it.  I love Netflix.  I love doing nothing and this time of night (11pm) is the time I can get away with doing nothing.  I have a big plate of nothing all to myself.

So why’s my mind in shambles?

I had a long-ass summer.  It ended with me having to house sit two dogs and a cat for 10 days.  I just got home, when was it?  Yesterday?  I don’t know.  But during those 10 days I was up at the ass crack of dawn letting those dogs out to pee.  And at night, they had to sleep with me.  They taken up the whole bed to where I was sleeping horizontal on the mattress.  I’d wake up in the morning cranky as hell.  They’d wake me up with a paw to the face.

Both dogs like to lick.  They lick your face, your pants, your eyeballs, inside your mouth….etc.  One day as I was exiting the shower, I walked over to the bed where my clothes lay spewed out everywhere and there were the dogs on the bed with my clothes.  Both of them, at the same time, decided to lick my naked nipples.  Each of my nipples had a dog attached to it.

I felt so grossed out, I felt violated.  I just wanted to get dressed.  That’s all that I wanted.  But instead, there I was cold, wet, and had two dogs sucking at my teats.

I love home.  I love it so freaking much.  I want to stay here and hunker down for a while.  I want to be alone in a bunker.  But this can’t be, it’s not in the stars.  I leave in 4 days to go someplace opposite of being home, comfortable, well fed and feeling stunningly fantastic.  I’m going on a 35 day torture hike across Spain to lose weight.  To lose weight!  So I’m not one of the first to go during the zombie apocalypse.  I’d be able to run goddammit.

Whoever says it’s fun is full of shit.

I think I need to see a therapist.  I have a few friends who see therapists, so why shouldn’t I?  The major issue’s I want to address is my laziness and my lack of caring what people think of me.

Now, most people would say that that’s wonderful – it’s great and liberating to not care what others think but they’re wrong.  So way off the mark wrong.

Firstly, I don’t engage with people anymore.  I don’t care enough to engage with them.  I don’t care enough to, well, care about them.  Why?  Because I was a huge engager in the past and everyday the more I engaged, the more people expected it.  At the end of the day, none of it mattered.  No matter what I did, it was never permanently good enough and when it was good enough, the next day I had to be even better.

I went the other way.  It’s not that I don’t care exactly, it’s more like I stopped trying.  I don’t try with people anymore.  My office manager pointed this out to me last night over a few pints.  I pointed it out to myself about a month or so ago.

As far as the laziness goes…..”how the hell can you be lazy and walk across Spain then?”  Is what you’re thinking.  The thing with that is, laziness is a privilege.  Laziness is not just about laying around, it’s a mind-set.  It’s a mind-set of complete and utter ease.  No worries.  No responsibilities.  Just freedom of all problems.

My type of laziness, the kind I’m talking about, it’s my personal drug of choice.  And it’s addicting as hell.  It’s better than anything else out there on the market.  Not even beer can hold a candle to it.

Basically, I can’t be both fat and lazy.  They cancel each other out.  I won’t feel completely at ease again until I lose at least 25 pounds.  Hence, the Camino and why I have to walk it (again).

If everyone experienced the same type of laziness that I experience, everyone in the world would be their own boss, have a clean conscience and stay healthy.  Having a clean conscience also affects how well I can rest and relax.  All vexes must be aired out and all foibles on my part must be atoned for.

Delicious laziness to extreem.  Extreem power resting.  Angelic homeostasis.  Until I start trying with people and it all goes to shit when it’s never enough.  Best to stay under the radar.

I’d tell these things to my shrink but what good will it do?

Does everyone experience the same type of lazy bliss?  The same natural habitat of my resting mind?  It’s my home base.  The place I can always return to once all else is settled.  To take my bra off and let the pups lick my nips….no.  That’s disgusting.

But you know what I mean?  A place where I can’t be hurt.  Not by myself nor by any others.

I don’t think people grasp it the same way I do.  They either don’t get it or decided to live a lie – a lie they reason with as being their only viable option.

I downloaded 18 audiobooks for my 500 mile journey.  If the actual walk doesn’t change me, I’m sure one of those books will.  My goal is to want to try again with people.  But this time, I’ll make it enough for me and not care if it’s not enough for them.  That’ll be my emotional goal this time around but my main focus is losing 25 pounds.

I don’t need a therapist, just give me a pen and paper.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under All about me, camino de santiago, journal, random thoughts, Self help, Travel

60 Times Around

The last time I walked the Camino, I cried on my first day.  That’s how hard it was.  The first day especially.

The 10th day was the hardest.  On the 10th day, I hit the wall from not getting enough protein.  I had to rest on the 10th day.  I literally couldn’t move.

I have to walk 25 kilometers on that first day.  Break that down into America’s language, that’s 15 miles.  One mile is 4 times around a track.  4 times 15 is 60.

It’s like walking 60 times around a standard track.  Yesterday I walked 12 times around so, 3 miles.  And my feet started to ache and my left knee cramped up.  On a technologically advance cushioned track with no ups or downs.

I did wear my ankle weights.  Only a pound and a half on each foot.

The thing about walking the track is the boredom.  I forgot how boring walking can be.  And since I already walked the Camino once already – I’ve seen all that stuff, it’s nothing new.  Which only compounds to the boredom I’ll have to face.  I’ll be in pain and I’ll be bored.  At the end of the day I can look forward to a bland simple dinner, not enough to satiate my hunger and on top of that, I’ll be bunking with 300 strangers in a dank gothic style church.  On that first day, there’s no shopping plaza’s or restaurants around for miles.

I have to pack more food.  Extra food for dinner and a little something for the following mornings breakfast – stuff I wish I knew the first time I walked.

15 miles equates to walking from my house to the middle of New Haven, possibly a little further than its middle. It’ll take me at least 8 hours.  It would take me 6 hours without breaks and if the path was completely flat.

I can’t believe I’m walking this shit again just to lose weight.  I hated it the first time.  I loathed it.

I’ve been keeping up with walking every single day.  My stomach looks like it’s slimming down, but I still weigh the same.  And my slim stomach may just be an optical illusion.  My pants don’t feel any looser.

Today I will attempt to hike up my big little mountain with my ankle weights on.  It’s going to be torture.

Leave a comment

Filed under camino de santiago, journal

Just Another Gut Wrenching Normal Day in the Life of Mel

I hardly work, but I still find myself busy every stinking hot sticky day of the week.  I woke up a few days ago and decided I needed to start a food truck business as soon as possible.  I spent hours pouring over any information I could find online.  None of it was in one place.  I wrote down every possible license I’d need, every possible permit and searched for used food trucks on eBay and Craigs list.

I had an insane urge to open a food truck business – an INSANE urge.  A scathing, stressful, eye-popping urge.  Why did I have this toe curling, life or death asphyxiation towards starting a food truck business?  Because I’m broke as shit.  I can’t even cook!

I hired a financial planner, so now I can finally get a sense of how much money I have in the bank.  None.  Zero.  Zilch.  I’m one broke ass bitch.

Last month was quarterly taxes, property taxes, and I bought a plane ticket to Spain.  When I realized the impending financial doom I was facing, I nearly clawed my eyes out.  My answer was to open a food truck.

For at least the last 3 days I was obsessed with this food truck idea.  Every moment was spent on my laptop in my hot musty room frantically pouring over my options.  Did I mention I was stressed?  Oh yes, there was stress.

When I wasn’t stressing about my newest venture, I went hiking up my little big mountain.  I went 3 days in a row and each time I completed it, while I was walking back to my car, I didn’t have that fresh feeling of relief or accomplishment, no, I had the most rueful scowl on my face.

Me – “This is such bullshit.  Fucking bullshit.”

Again, the trail has kicked my ass.  I go almost everyday to hike up that god awful place, risking my precious ankles from rolling or cracking my skull open on a sharp rock (they are everywhere pointing out of the dirt like daggers!)

But it doesn’t matter how many times I attempt it, it’s not getting any easier.  Granted, if it was cooler out it may be a different story.  I don’t know.  I just don’t fucking know.  I can feel those 30 extra pounds every time I walk up that hill and have to take those large steps up the rocks – the same rocks I used to fly up 5 years ago.

Me – “I can never let myself get like this again.  Never again.  I have to diet God dammit.”

And when I’m not doing any of the above activities, I’ve been keeping social and hanging out with friends.  Seriously, who has time to work?  I’m freaking exhausted!

Tomorrow I’m stopping in at work to check the phones since my office manager isn’t there on the weekend, then hike up my big little mountain, stop at the grocery store for a snack to bring to my friends cabaret play later that day.  It would be wise to not shower in the morning and to wait until after my hike.  I hate showing twice in one day.  I never needed to before, when I was 30 pounds lighter.  I never sweat like I do now.

I keep fantasizing about how awesome I’ll look after walking across Spain.  Not just look, I don’t care how I look.  But I feel like a lazy fat shit is what it is.  I want to feel better.

I’m trying to amp myself up for the Camino by listening to audiobooks about trekking.  Right now I’m listening to Wild by Cheryl Strayed and it’s depressing the shit out of me.  Much of it is about her having to deal with the loss of her mother – something I never want to think about or deal with ever in my life.  The book is too wishy-washy and makes me miserable.  I cried while listening to it during my hike today.  That’s not invigorating.

Can you imagine seeing a 170 pound woman with a beat red face, sweating her balls off while crying into her water bottle and meandering through the woods alone?  That was me today.  Go on, try to picture it, I’ll wait.  It’s a sad sight, see what I mean?  Now picture me trying to hoist myself up over the rocks with my fat ass.  Go on, picture it.

But the book did end up amping me up for the Camino.  So much so that I want to go on another pilgrimage in March to Shikoku island in Japan.  That one is much more expensive than the Camino but only if I stay at Minshuku’s, paid accommodations, everyday.  They have free places for Henro’s (pilgrims), but you should call in advance for them and if you don’t know Japanese, you’re SOL.  The biggest shit stick about trekking Shikoku is having to call accommodations in advance.  At most, Shikoku will cost me $100 a day for 60 days, so $6000.  The Camino costs $2000 for 40 days.

Damn, it’s already midnight.  I’m going to watch the season finale of Fear the Walking Dead and go to sleep.  Damn damn, I forgot I need to buy lotion for the business – there goes another $100 freaking dollars.

Leave a comment

Filed under camino de santiago, journal

Laying Around and Buying Shit on Amazon

That’s what makes America great!

It was too hot to hike, so I laid in bed listening to Awaken Online: Catharsis, an audiobook that got really good reviews on Audible.  I Love it.

And I bought shit online.

One such thing that I bought is my plane ticket to Spain.  I decided to buy it now because I was worried the price would go up.  It cost $566 which ain’t bad I guess.

I bought a round-trip ticket to Santiago, that’s where my walk ends.  I can bus it to the airport in less than an hour for my flight home.  No fuss, no muss.

On the way there, however, I have a layover in Madrid which works out perfectly since I can hop out at Madrid and take a domestic flight to St Jean Pied de Port for $66.  I found a small airport next to St Jean Pied de Port, I swear that airport wasn’t there last time I hiked the Camino.

I’m already dreading it…..the hike.  I leave October 10th and come home November 19th which leaves me with plenty of time to complete it.  It just sucks, having to do it again.

Okay, we all know how lazy I am, right?  I’m fucking lazy.  I worked today for a total of 20 minutes and for the rest of the day?  Nada.  I woke up at 12 noon and listened to my audiobook for about 8 hours.  After the 8 hours, I bought a plane ticket to Spain so I don’t have to exercise or diet on a regular basis.  I can lose the weight all at once in one month.

I’m too lazy to exercise so I’m hiking 500 miles across Spain.  That makes about as much sense as me starting my own business because I don’t want to work anymore.

I’m accomplishing more as a lazy person than I’d ever hope to accomplish as a productive one, that is, aside from having babies and getting married.  You either do or you don’t with those things, there’s no in-between.  You can’t push a baby back into your uterus and I believe in only getting married once, otherwise, what’s the point?  It’ll be like dating with a shared bank account.  No thank you.

My Aunt Marie died Monday morning.  If they did an autopsy, it would conclude she died from a drug overdose that the hospice kept pumping in her.  She would’ve had a few more weeks, if not months – years even, if not for all those meds.  But she couldn’t live with the pain.

These next two days are going to be hard.  Wake and the funeral split up in two days.

She’s why I’m hiking the Camino again, really.  Life’s too short.

Leave a comment

Filed under camino de santiago, journal

I’m back from Italy!!

I got back Saturday morning at 5AM and didn’t fully recover from jet lag until today (Tuesday).

I was so tired yesterday that I opted for a nap at 5:30 in the evening, and didn’t wake up until 7:30AM this morning.  That’s 14 hours of dead sleep.  I needed it.  And I dreamt of a scarab beetle which is a good sign.  I didn’t even know what a scarab beetle was until my dream clearly stated that it was indeed a scarab and none other.

I returned to my normal shlog of worries when I got home.  I think I’ll be okay in the money department (I think, but not 100% sure), I’m mostly worried about that Goddamned lawsuit.  I haven’t heard anything from anyone!

I prayed when I was in Florence.  I found a huge church that didn’t require an entrance fee or a line to get in and knelt down to pray.

Me praying – “I’m sorry I never go to church to pray but just in case this works, can you drop the lawsuit against me?  No wait, that sounds really selfish.  I also pray for my family, my mom, dad, brother, niece, her baby…..I pray for health and happiness to all of them.  Okay, now can you drop the lawsuit against me?  Oh shit…..this isn’t working, is it.  The more I pray, the more I sound like an asshole.  How long have I been praying?  Where’s Jill?  I bet she thinks I’m a religious zealot for praying.  Especially for praying this long.  Okay I think that’s enough for now.  When I get to the Vatican I’ll do better.”

When I got to the Vatican, there’s no place to kneel or pray.  It’s shoulder to shoulder with everyone looking up at Michelangelo’s masterpiece.  That’s in the Sistine Chapel.  The actual church of the Vatican is yet another long line, shoulder to shoulder inside St. Peter’s Basilica.  We all agreed to skip that one.

The Vatican is not what I expected.  I thought it was a large open space like an amusement park.  Only instead of rides, they have churches, chapels, steeple’s, fountains, a predominant gift shop in the center.  You’d be able to get pictures with smiling nuns and archbishops wearing their pointy hats.  Hop in one of the many confessional booths and for a small stipend, be absolved of all your sins.  Check out the modest dwellings of God’s most humblest servants…you know, that sort of thing.

But it’s not open at all and I didn’t see any smiling nuns.  They don’t let you leave the museum once you’re in it.  You’re hustled inside after standing in line (first you have to find the correct line) and then you keep walking.  And walk some more.  Shoulder to shoulder with other people who are walking behind you, and in front of you.  You curse at those stopping to take pictures – those who hold up the line.

You can’t read the inscriptions on anything or you’ll get trampled.

I’m not a person who enjoys crowds.  I tend to keep this tidbit to myself, and I do a pretty good job of it, but friends take notice when they see me standing by the exit of a crowded place.

I did see a lot of Egyptian art and a few mummy’s which surprised me because, well, what the hell do they have to do with the Catholic church?!

I saw a homeless man sitting outside on the hot pavement leaning his back against the Vatican wall – makes you wonder just how “holy” the place really is.

I sound awful.  Truly and dreadfully awful.  But I also seen a few old women looking haggard and dehydrated trying to get a few coins from the tourists standing in line.  They held out their shabby little cups and shakily pleaded, “Help” or “Please”.  Until they got shooed away by military men with their finger on the trigger of a semi-automatic (their finger was always on the trigger, not just to scare away old lady’s).

But I mean, the Vatican HAS to have some refuge for these people, right?  Hold on, let me look it up….yeah, they do.  Thanks to Pope Francis, the newest Pope!  He’s cracking down on all the scoundrels who use the Vatican’s bank for the sole purpose of tax evasion too.  He closed 4,000 accounts already.  He’s the real deal.  Best Pope yet.

Totally off subject.  Where was I?  Ah yes, my trip to Italy.

The best part was strolling around Rome in my pajama’s and drinking beer that I hid in a brown paper bag.  I’m a simple person.  Some say I’m too simple.

On one of these outings, where I was strolling a nearby park, my travel mate, my office manager, asked me why I haven’t blogged about the trip yet.

Me – “You know about my blog?”

I haven’t told anyone about my blog in the longest time.  I made a promise not to.  I was so careful…I didn’t believe her until she gave me proof.

Apparently it happened during one of my beer binging nights (so it could’ve been any night really).  When I was telling her that I shoot video’s of my trips.  I must have used her phone to pull up one of my blog video’s.  I’m actually narcissistic when it comes to those videos.  I love when people watch them.

The scary thing is, I have no recollection of this happening.  But showing a video of a former trip is something I would totally do.

The thing with having your friends read your blog is, they think everything is about them.  All that I write about is inspired by them.  It can be something so completely innocent, but just seeing their name, or assuming their name, can bring an unwanted feeling of….”oh shit, is she about to write something horrible about me?”

It’s a HORRIBLE feeling!  And having that fear in the back of your mind while reading my blog will cause anyone to assume the worst.  And in turn, hate me for it.

People who either trust me or have a healthy dose of self-esteem can stomach reading my blog.  The rest don’t leave it to chance.  They opt out.

Would I opt out too if I were them?  No.  I’d want to hang out with them more to see what they write about me and if they don’t mention me I’d be like, WTF man?  I’m not important enough?  That probably means I have the self-esteem to stomach it, but not the trust.  Ultimately I would stop reading it entirely because it doesn’t involve me.

I can write a lot about my trip to Italy.  How we were nearly thrown out of both hotels (my fault entirely both times), how Jill’s mother thought she lost me inside the Sistine Chapel (I could be found near the exit), snapping an ass pic of the statue of David, the best spaghetti I ever eaten, stealing rocks at the colosseum, almost getting myself killed inside the Casablanca airport by two large Moroccan women (I’ll save that for a different post).

We were searched at least 3 times before being allowed on a plane to the United States from Morocco.  Since it’s mostly a Muslim country, security was extra tight but only when flying to the states.  I’ve never seen it like that anywhere else.  Absolutely no water bottles on the plane.  All laptops and iPads must be checked.  All passengers patted down as they boarded the flight.  I kept it light and simple with Jill’s mom.  “This is great!  I feel so much safer now that they’re being so thorough.  It’s one thing we can thank Trump for.”

I was responsible for Jill’s mom in getting her to Italy and back home again safely.  I tried my best to keep her calm but by the end of our last flight when we were safe and sound at the JFK baggage claim, her exhaustion got the better of her and freaked out a bit when I had to run back to the bathroom to fetch my phone where I forgot it.  It was the first time I had to leave her side and she nearly buckled in my absence.

We walked a lot in Italy.  I didn’t mind it since I’m working on getting in shape again.  It was a physically demanding trip and traveling is emotionally taxing especially when you’re not used to it.  We had some crazy long layovers and this little lady kept up just fine up until that point.

It was funny when we came up to the Capital building in Rome.  It’s an ancient building, huge.  With sculptures and fountains and pillars.  I thought of our little White House back home and compared it to their Capital building and thought..”The USA never looked so small.”

Rome’s streets are clean and safe.  So clean in fact, that I need to look up where they put their trash bags.  New York has their trash bags in the street to be picked up by the garbage men.  But not in Rome.  Rome has no garbage outside their establishments.  It’s really puzzling.

It was a good trip, I’m glad I got to see all those things now while I’m young.  I tell you, people always say to travel while you’re young – this is the first trip I took where that makes perfect sense.  It’s a lot easier when you’re young to do these things.

***********************************************

Anyway, today I had a student from CCMT (Connecticut center of massage therapy) come in to interview me.  It’s part of the program, to interview an owner of a massage business.

You want to hear something crazy?  Ten years ago, I was interviewing the woman who owned In Touch, the massage business that was here before my business moved in.  I interviewed the owner and decided I didn’t like her much.  Didn’t like her at all actually.  But there was something about that location that felt familiar.  Like I was going to end up working there.  It didn’t make any sense to me at the time because I told myself I would never work for that woman, ever.

And there I was interviewing a student today at the old In Touch, where I conducted my own interview ten years prior to some bitch.

It’s funny how things turn out.

I’m still entering the beginning phases of my retirement.  For the past couple days, I actually got to hang out with friends which never happens.  One of them even fixed my moped and got it working.

Today, Tuesday afternoon, I was zipping up and down my street on a moped.  Being one of those annoying people who got a new toy that makes a lot of noise but are too scared to take it out on the main strip.

I’m a 37 year old woman living at home with her parents, semi-retired with no real job, who has the time to zip up and down her street on a Tuesday afternoon on a moped.  I can’t explain why, but this reminds me of the feeling I had in Rome when I was strolling the streets in my PJ’s nursing a beer.

Something about it is so freeing, so carefree.  It’s a feeling I long for over and over again but it’s so rarely obtainable.

That is until now…..May 1st was the first day of my retirement but it really didn’t happen until the 7th.  Then a week later, my office manager went away to start her trip and I had to go to work to take her place.  Then it was my turn to meet her in Florence and I stressed about my financial situation until beer soothed it away.  And now here I am, I’m back home.

This retirement thing hasn’t really sunk in yet.  It’s May 30th, 30 days after the start of my retirement but really I only had about a week of it.  It’s hard to enjoy anyway when I’m worried about money.  Even harder to enjoy knowing I’m being sued.

I have no clue what’s going on with that.  My newest fantasy as of late is for those 3 women to drop the lawsuit.  My insurance companies won’t cover it and I’ve got no assets, so they get nothing.  If they hired a class action lawyer, she’s not going to waste her time.

Maybe it’s already been dropped?

I HAVE to not think about it.  You don’t understand.  If I think about it, I’ll drive myself into the mean Blue’s.  The meanest blue’s imaginable.  On par with heartbreak.

Today, after I gave that interview to the CCMT student, I found myself with nothing to do.  I didn’t want to watch TV, I didn’t want to nap because I already slept for 14 hours, I beat my video game, I didn’t feel like blogging or calling anyone.  I had nothing to do but instead of resting and enjoying my free time, my mind automatically jumped to the nearest thing to worry about.

The worry I felt, it acted like a rope connecting myself to the mainland – to salvation.  If I let it go, I would find myself drifting away uncontrollably.  I had to keep myself steady by worrying about my business, about money, about getting sued.  It was the only thing that made me feel safe.  Like I was in control.

When I have free time on my hands, my mind shifts into a dark place.  It’s the first time I’m cognizant to witness it happen.  It’s so hard to explain and I doubt anyone will have any idea what I’m talking about, but that old saying just popped into my head…..”Idle hands are the devils playthings” or something like that.

I always need to be doing something to distract myself from my worry.  But even when I distract myself, the worry is still there, it doesn’t vanish, but it doesn’t hit me as hard.  It’s tolerable.

If I have a problem, I have to fix it.  I can’t sit around doing nothing, I have to fix it.  My unconscious won’t let me relax.  Something is wrong.  And the more free time I have, the more likely the mean Blue’s will appear.  Because I can’t stop.  This won’t stop.

When will it stop?

As I look ahead at the future of my business, I’m sure that after the lawsuit (months after), there will be a recovery period and then the worry will ebb.

This is only the beginning of my retirement too.  I’m not acclimated to having free time.  It almost feels like I’m sinking, I don’t trust it.  And can you blame me?  I hate giving massages and yet at the same time, I need to give massages.  To feel like I’m in control.

I’ve worked so hard for this day to happen and it’s here!  And I paid $43,000 of debt off in one year!  And I just got back from Italy!  How many good things have to happen until I can eliminate this gruesome affliction?

Video games act like a medicine.  Hiking too and blogging.  Not to mention beer.  The more I think about it, every activity that I find enjoyable, is enjoyable because they distract me.  The more power something has over my attention, the more of it I want because without it, I’m sinking.  I sink until I find the rope attached to the mainland.  I’m slowly reeling myself in towards salvation, towards madness.

Okay, so I know this about myself.  That’s the first step.  Ayahuasca told me that I have to let go, over and over she told me I have to trust.  She said we’re only in control when we learn how to trust.

I also know that people who turn to spirituality, turn to it because they had their hearts crushed and 9 times out of 10 hippies are broken egomaniacs.  But I swear to Gawd that my time with ayahuasca was the real deal.  Just like Pope Francis is to the homeless.

I have to believe in the power of my awesomeness.

I gotta sleep.  I’m about to crash hard.  I hope it’s not going to be another 14 hours of sleep kind of night.  I’m hiking up my big little mountain tomorrow.

1 Comment

Filed under Italy, journal, Travel, video's

I’m in Seattle Washington!

The last flight was hell!  HELL!  I had a baby in one ear screaming and this other guy behind me trying to pick up the chick sitting next to him.  I wanted to turn into a velociraptor and bite into his thick juicy skull.  And eventually remove his head entirely.

He was dropping celebrity names, saying he goes to all the Hollywood parties and can take her next time she visits.  I swear to god, I’m not an evil person.  I’m not, I’m almost sure of it.  But I want to see this mans spleen.  Why his spleen?  I don’t know, I’m a dinosaur.

I’m sitting at the N gates in SEA.  Unlike LAX, this place is cake to navigate.  There’s signage everywhere, maps and even real-life people to direct you (even though you don’t need them because it’s a well laid out airport).  I actually needed direction since I forgot to print out my last and final boarding pass.

I want a coffee so bad.  There’s a fancy coffee shop straight ahead from where I’m siting and the dude working the register looks exactly like Josh from My Crazy Ex Girlfriend.

img_4636

I chose to plop my fat ass at this location specifically because it was out of everyone’s way (I’m sitting on the floor again), and there was an outlet!  An outlet!  But the god damned thing doesn’t work!  I’m on 45%, I need a fuel up.  My flight doesn’t board until 8:05 and it’s only 6:34.  I’m hungry again but I already spent $17 on a bottle of water, a bottle of vitamin H2O, and a roast beef wrap. No, no, I spent $18 dollars!

Have I mentioned that I’m broke?  I pee dust.  I poop dust bunnies.

Speaking of pee, I wasn’t moist this time around.  A two hour flight doesn’t have the same magic as a 6-hour flight.  I still don’t know what happened down there.

I gained like 40 or 50 pounds over these last few years and maybe big people just sweat more down there?  But why is it so HOT?!

Some lady just tried to fuel up her cell with this jokester outlet next to me.  It’s a cruel cruel joke.

Fuck I can’t do this.  I can’t spend $6 on an iced vanilla latte, I’m broke!  Fuuuuuuck.  If I do spend money, it needs to be on food.

44% is left on my mac.

Do I have to poop?  I keep thinking like I have to go but then I don’t.  I’d like to get it over with before I’m on a plane again.  And besides, the bathroom is the only place where I can vape.

I think my blog makes me want to shit.  I know this for sure because it also happens when I think really hard, not just when I blog but when I think about stuff.  I guess that’s why I have to shut off my brain when I’m around others.

I literally have nothing to write about besides having to poop, wanting an iced latte, and my battery slowly dying on my laptop.

I hope I have fun in Alaska.  It’s just that I love my bedroom so freaking much, plus with my new video game that is waiting for me when I come back, and my dog, I never want to be anywhere else.

Problems, we all know I have problems.

It’s not that I won’t have fun in Alaska, it’s that I’d have more fun staying home playing my game.

I think I really have to go to the bathroom, not a false alarm.  I’m going to brown streak it off to the poo palace and walk around some more, maybe eat.

99402a2f-4019-4a27-8465-c38198ec361c

You can’t tell from this pic, but I’m vaping behind that newspaper.

******************

I didn’t make it to the bathroom.  I saw a sign for a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese and made my way over.  I swear I’m Jewish.

Anyway, it sucks.  It’s a sucky shitty bagel.  $15 for an ice tea from the tap and a shitty bagel.  I’m getting a damn refill.

This is a dead airport.  It’s dead because it has no working outlets.  LAX was loaded head to toe with free outlets.  They promoted them like penicillin.

But not here, not this place.  This place is dead.

*******************

It’s 7:20PM, my flight is soon, thank god.  8:05 I leave.

Let me just tell you that I’m miserable without my blog!  I’m freaking dull eyed, hateful, misery in a handbag without writing.

How can I keep forgetting that?

I’m down to 34%

I feel lonely without my blog, that’s what it is.  It’s like if I stop writing now, I’ll feel like I serve no purpose.  I forget who I am when I don’t write exactly what I’m experiencing at every fateful moment.  Like right now, I just got the hiccups and I finished my bagel.  I didn’t grab napkins so I probably have gobs of cream cheese around my mouth and I’m hunched over my laptop tap tap tapping away – literally not stopping.  Shoulders are starting to ache.

I gained weight, but I like the way it looks on me.  Is that weird?  I’m not saying that out of denial, or that other thing people do, you know, when they say:  “I don’t care what people think!”

People who don’t care what people think NEVER say they DON’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK!

I like the way my boobs look in t-shirts.  Is that weird?  Be honest.

I’m wearing my white ably t-shirt, hiking pants, and a blue hoodie.  My hair looks like a rats nest, I haven’t slept in 33 hours but I got to say damn, I still look good.  But do I look good because I don’t care what I look like?

Like when my mom makes me dinner when I’m famished and I always say that her food is delicious.  What if I’m only saying that because I don’t care if it’s delicious or not?  My mom made it and I’m hungry and that’s all that really matters.

I mean, it’s a scary thought, no?

I do care about how I look but I put it away so quick that I barely glance at myself.  I rarely take selfie’s, never go clothes shopping, I wear the same jeans and sweatshirt over and over again.

But I like how soft my boobs look in t-shirts these days.  They make me feel feminine and fragile and it’s such a contrast to my actual mannerisms and attire.  I’m both yin and yang.

I’m getting the shakes.  Is that a symptom of sleep deprivation?  I never had the coffee.

It’s 7:50.  I’m going to try my luck at the bathroom and swing by my gate to see if my flight is still there.  I got about 15 minutes.

I’m publishing this crap.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under All about me, humor, journal, Travel