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Archive for April, 2012

A girl can only do so much road tripping, and train hopping, before the bank account starts to plunge and the desire for the comforts of home return. I knew the 2 month westward journey was coming to a close while in San Francisco, so I made sure there was a seat waiting for me on the flight back to NYC from Portland. It was a return I was excited for as I was in high anticipation to see my family and friends, but it was also a return that sent the butterflies bursting from their cocoons inside my stomach -my fear of the mundane materializing.

I must admit I did suffer from the initial shock of the coastal transition. The fast-paced life of the city had not slowed down in my absence, and the buildings did not shorten their stature. A transition back to New York is not one you can ease into. No, it’s a survival instinct that rushes back when you’re waiting on the taxi line to take you from the airport, and you realize that you better be on high alert or 30 Manhattanites will steal that cab from under your nose. Home, all the same.

While looking through photos of my adventure, my mother, always direct with her words, asked, “Where did all this traveling get you?” At face value, I am in the same place as when I started to plan for this adventure in November – jobless and broke. There is no denying that – I’ve spent the past week scouring online job listings. However, I gained so much from my travels that are not visible upon that first step off the plane. Gathering my thoughts, I replied.

Imagination. I camped on the Channel Islands for a week, without another soul in sight. My mind filled itself with storylines of fairy tales and the underwater world. I listened to what the birds said that woke me with their songs in the morning. I wondered daily about the activities of Tapatió, the fox that visited our campsite to see if we were as diligent as we should be with putting our food away.

Ideas. I rode all components of Portland’s transportation system – the light rail, streetcars, and buses. I traveled quickly, easily, and efficiently, without ever the desire or need to get into a car. Now what if my beloved of New Orleans had that same network? Or what if New Orleans combated some its flooding issues with the implementation of a program similar to Portland’s Green Street Program? A program that increases urban green space while also collecting runoff rainwater, well isn’t that just perfect for New Orleans. With ideas come hope, and with hope comes change.

A new respect for home. You hear tales of people’s adventures while they are wide-eyed and grinning, and this, often prompts me to set out of my own adventures. While traveling I realized that other’s impressions of a place were not the same as those I formed on my own. Frankly some places and some things aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Once I grasped that concept I started to look upon my own setting with the eyes of a tourist, to see what others saw when they looked at Manhattan. And then it hit me. Finally, an appreciation for New York!

So yes, here I am again, home in the Big Apple. After a little recuperation, and with some imagination, I’m sure my desire for adventure will return. After all, life is only as mundane as you allow it.

Thank you for joining me on the westward journey. I hope you had as much fun as I did. We made it pretty far considering we only had a bank account full of Big Daddy’s tips.

The twigster,

Josephine

PS: Want to hire me?


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Portland was by far my favorite stop on the westward journey. In addition to its mossy streets and just about mossy everything, Portland harbored a great love for crafting. You can see why I fell in love with the misty city.

Portland Saturday Market

Every Saturday and Sunday, the people of Portland as well as us tourists head down to the Waterfront for some local crafts and local grub. With the smell of Moondrops’ roasted nuts in the air, I roamed the artists’ stalls for hours.  In response to my grumbling belly, I then feasted on some fish and chips, and I highly recommend that you do the same. Check it out.

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Museum of Contemporary Craft

I kid you not with this one. In addition to exhibitions focusing on past and traditional craft, the Museum also has a section focused on D.I.Y. projects. So get crafting and maybe one day your weekend project will be worthy of a spot in a museum!

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Stores Galore

Not a crafter yourself, but appreciate the art? Indulge yourself exploring the many crafty stores Portland has to offer like Crafty Wonderland.

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The twigster,

Josephine

PS: They even get crafty with their streets!

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I’m going to tell everyone. If this train wrecks, I’m going to survive. I’m going to make campfires and eat meat- deer meat. So if you’re scared just go ahead and say it. We’re going to eat bald eagles too. Don’t be afraid to eat bald eagles.

Brief pause.

So I’m sitting on the Amtrak alone trying to think up some imaginary friends. Distracted. I think this guy has some marijuana. I could smell the odor when he walked by. Ziiiiiing. Here he comes. Wait a minute. He’s smoking a roach. He is smoking a ROACH! Knock it off. Go over there and sit down.

The bathroom is getting very occupied. Don’t worry about it. I will take care of it. No more people can use the bathroom. If you don’t like my decision, talk to the conductor. Talk to the conductor on this trip, that we have.

“Sir!”

“Dude, I’m tired of listening to ya. Give it a rest.”

“Alright, give it a rest. You’re only tired of listening to me because I didn’t use any swear words. If I used swear words, you wouldn’t have been tired of listening to me.”

To himself. So now, I’m going to start using swear words. Now everything that comes out of my mouth is going to be a curse word. Curse words are the best because they piss everybody off. I’m pissed off, so you should be pissed off.

The twigster,

Josephine

PS: This is a little glimpse into the people you meet on an overnight train from Sacramento, CA to Portland, OR. Keeps things interesting at least.

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Oakridge, OR

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Say hi to the Easter bunny and have a beautiful Spring day.

The twigster,

Josephine

PS: Eat a peep.

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We took a short drive out from San Francisco and spent the afternoon searching the tide pools for sea anemones. I had never gotten up close and personal with the creatures before, so upon first sighting, I couldn’t help but poke the squishy body. I instantly became fascinated. Here are some fun facts.

– Sea anemones are carnivorous. They eat fish, snails, and crabs that pass by their stinging tentacles.

– The tentacles inject poison into the prey or predator, which paralyzes the passerby.

– Clownfish aka Nemo are unaffected by the sea anemone’s poisons and make themselves a home within the sea anemone’s tentacles.

– They’re hitchhikers! Sometimes sea anemones will hop on board crabs to catch a ride.

The twigster,

Josephine

PS: We saw some harbor seals while we were by the tide pools too!

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Spot the Closed Sea Anemone

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