I am starting to write this December 12 at 9:40 a full 24 hours before we are at the Austin airport picking up our brother. I just can’t contain the excitement!! It’s been 11 1/2 weeks since River seen my big bro and I miss him like crazy.
Kember and I aren’t entirely sure how we will fit but that’s for our future selves to figure out... Kember and I are just sort enough to fit in the van fully standing up, well you cannot wear shoes or even a hat. The most comfortable place to stand is right under the sunroof adding an extra inch of head space. You can even open it to add an extra half inch to that!! I know crazy right. Almost feels like we aren’t living in a van.
What really feels great is when we pop the top of our van adding several feet of head room and tons of storage for all of our crap (Kember’s crap that is). There’s a key tip for you, travel to warm places so you can have all the doors open and the top popped, really brings the outside in. That’s something people look for in a home... right mom?
Anyway I’ll continue this when We get out brother! Dane hope you are prepared to live with you 2 sisters and the most tiny space possible. In all honesty I wouldn’t ask for 2 better people to do this with. Well maybe my cats, but that’s not important now. What is important is that I love my siblings.
PICKED UP THE BROTHER!!!! Honestly I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am to be here in Austin Texas with Kember and Dane. It is truly something I never expected to do, go on a road trip with my siblings, with no end date.
I will write more about what we will get out reckless selves into but until then I will just enjoy having my brother around who I have not see in months!!
I don’t have much to say but I like writing these small little posts about random things so here goes another one.
Ever since we got to Minnesota seeing farm animals has become a regular thing, well I guess you could say just seeing random animals everywhere has been normal for us.
So while driving through New Mexico on our way to El Paso Texas I saw a bunch of cows! I usually get very excited and say Cows or Horses! (in a very annoying childish voice of course...) At first sight of them each day, I didn’t want to break the ritual so of course I did the same. Although this time I immediately regretted saying this loud enough for Kember to hear through her headphones...
This was not a pretty sight for anyone to see, hundreds of cows in small pens pushed up against each other with barely enough room to walk. It was a sad sight to see. When Kember looked over I instantly said “wait no look at me” or “look at this beautiful sunset over here.” This has been something that we have talked about several times on this trip, eating meat. That there is a difference between going out and hunting to feed your family than being a trophy killer or America’s meat industry. That this farm was simply a kill house for all these cows. The second I saw this I thought of all the little baby cows running around with miles of open land grazing on long grass and having the freedom to be happy and play. Yet these cows right before me were just meat in everyone’s eyes, that they have no other meaning but to fill our stomachs and throw out the rest.
It’s something I don’t think I could forget, that all I have seen on this trip so far has been free range animals yet all of a sudden I was faced with the brutal reality of how we treat animals.
This all being said I ate steak last night... so yea.
I don’t see myself going vegetarian anytime soon but seeing my sister cry at the sight of these horrible conditions for cows, I can’t lie it changed me a bit. That we all give into allowing this to happen. I don’t see this changing anytime soon but maybe one day.
Even walking in grocery stores the last few months I instantly feel nauseous of all the food we produce that no one will buy, that it sits on shelves until it “expires” then to be put it in a land fill. Not even to mention all the food people buy then do not eat so they throw it out and once again goes to a land fill.
We all do this and I am not saying I haven’t wasted my fair share of food, of course I have. Just now I think about it more ever since being in this trip.
So yea that’s one thing this trip has helped me with that maybe college wouldn’t have done. I would be like every other student with an unlimited meal plan and a huge buffet of food in front of me, piling my plate, seeing how high I can stack my food each day without dropping it. Then throwing out what I don’t eat without a second look.
Living on the road seeing so many people with such lack of food, we take for granted what we have. That this cow died and I ate half of a burger and tossed it in the trash. It makes so sense to me anymore of why we do this.
There’s a little rant from me who is not a vegetarian and probably never will be at least not long term. I have eaten my fair share of tofu since we left, we bought chicken for the first time a few days ago. I think that’s the only meat we have bought in 11 weeks. So I guess you could say I’m a vegetarian¿
Anyway I am not here to change anyone’s mind on anything just wondering if anyone else out there thinks of this stuff. Where our food comes from? Where does the food go that no one eats? There are so many questions we all should be asking ourselves. Yet the answers are the scariest part.
Today in New Mexico I was driving with my left foot as one does, although Kember requested I stop at the next gas station because she had to pee. So I pull off and we are faced to a very deserted town with not much there but abandoned buildings, a gas station, a hotel and a bunch of other things you would find in a town that has more or less 10 people in it.
Ater we fill Vandy with gas for 2.29 a gallon!! I mean what a steal! Nothing like that 4 bucks a gallon in California. So we were all set and happy to continue on the road to El Paso. Kember driving now as we go to pull out of the gas station we see a homeless man sitting with his dog. We both look at each other and know what to do. I jump to the back of the van grabbing food to throw in a bag. I hop out of Vandy and run across the street to talk to this man and meet his dog who I soon learn his name is Patches. Although our act to stop and give this man food most likely made his day. I think it made our day just as much. Every time we do this I feel like I’m high on life. That this small thing we just did filled me with joy.
That’s all I really have for this story. Just a small sweet one that made my day. I hope you can go out there and make someone’s day. You would be surprised how little moments and make someone happy and change their day, a simple door hold, complimenting someone’s shoes even a smile and a hello. I think we all should do that more often.
Have a wonderful day:)
Kember and I were traveling through Arizona yesterday, that’s there this lovely story takes place. We swapped places after getting gas so I was driving, I usually need something to look at or to do while I drive, especially when everything around you is just desert... not to be confused with dessert, that would be fun to dive though.So here I was sitting driving at a constant speed of 55 on a 75 mph highway, Kember slowly falling asleep next to me, I needed something to look at. I look up to the perfectly blue sky with the sun way to hot for my liking and see one beautiful little cloud. My opinion changed miles down the road but at first glance I was happy to have a friend to look at.
I told Kember before she fell asleep what a great day it was to cloud watch because there was not a cloud in the sky but this one.
For 40 plus miles I sat driving watching this cloud change image every few miles I traveled closer to it. I saw a roster, a slinky dog like in toy story, a couple mermaids here and there, I even saw Prince Charming riding on a horse chasing after Cinderella... okay that last part was a bit of an exaggeration, okay a lot exaggerated. That would have been cool if I saw that though. I mainly just saw a cloud and forced my imagination to see something other than gasses floating in our atmosphere. The closer we got to this cloud I could see beyond the mountain behind it and what saddens me about this is, I spent several miles full of joy by this one thing to keep me occupied. Yet it was a man made cloud!!! The horror. So then I parted my way with one last glance and saw a lion floating above me.
I spent the next 10 miles a little sad, not knowing what to do with myself. To my surprise though I look in my right mirror and there I see a unicorn up in the air!!
Truly what a great day to cloud watch. I am sure you all have those memories of lying in the summer sun looking up at the clouds passing by and making absurd assumptions of what they look like. I haven’t done that in a long time but yesterday was a great day for cloud watching that one cloud.
Here is a picture of this wonderful cloud up in the blue sky. Let me know what you think it looks like... Please do not pay attention to the several bugs splattered on our windshield, just look at the cloud.
I would like to donate 1 dollar for every time I said cloud in this so if someone wants to count how many times I said the wonderful word cloud. Id gladly donate to any organization.
Cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud.
For extra effect or affect... Not sure about that one. Also I probably didn’t say cloud as many times as I thought I did:)
Motivation comes and goes all the time, at least for me no matter how much I love something or how much passion I have for doing something, in this case writing, I tend to find myself giving into excuses.
It's hard not to, we are all human, not perfect. That I realize I love to write and how it helps me get through my everyday life, yet I still find myself skipping days, weeks and even months at a time. I wonder why that is?
So I decided to just write, to stop overthinking it, I have created dozens of drafts since my last post yet I could not get more than a sentence out. I think I am doing pretty great so far I mean what got 4 sentences so far... I am killing it.
I realize now how much has happened and what I have done since my last post! I will list a few things that have happened...
-Became a ranch hand
-My Mom cam to visit
-Went to long beach
-Went to a botanical gardens
-Got horribly sick
-Got a massage to get over my sickness
-My 18th Birthday! Celebrated with my family and had an amazing day
-Rode horses several times, I would say I am a full on cowgirl again...
-Have gone on several afternoon adventure with my family
-Did something crazy after being 18 for 24 hours
-Connected more with my family
-Fell in love with my cousins baby
-Vandy blew up although she is getting picked up soon!
-Have watched lots and lots of kids tv shows and movies
-Said goodbye to my mom
-Have come to the conclusion I m moving to California in 2019
Well there you go... That is just a brief sum of everything my family and I have done...
My cousin, aunt, sister and my mom played a game the afternoon my mom was leaving to head back to Fairfield. I guess you could say it is not your ordinary game. You go around the room picking a card and reading the question before you. It was such an amazing moment with my family that got so real and raw, that we all opened up with no question. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by people I love and trust. It truly made me think of my friends who I know I can tell anything, people I trust with the world and I know they would do the same.
I am excited to write more and share more of my ideas and words with you. I apologize to myself for not writing everyday. I should not have let myself slip up and not have discipline.
I will continue to work harder and create more content, to put more of my thoughts and ideas into words to share with everyone.
When we met our friends soon to be family in a McDonalds parking lot we could not have been more shocked... What are the odds that we stopped at the same place in a little ol' town in Oregon?
We caught up on all of our adventures since we last saw each other weeks prior to that moment and decided to continue our adventures together. The 5 of us spent the next 3 days together laughing, having fiestas and enjoying life on the road.
In the moment I am writing this I am sitting at my aunts house days later from all of these memories as well as wonder... Does anyone actually care about these siblings we met? Well I care.
Beanie and Kirara are twins and their older brother Max was with them. We met them in Canada, Kember and I really seemed to connected with them. They are the most real people I have ever met, something about the way they hold themselves and the way they think is what I have been looking for in people to surround myself with. I have tough time connecting with people except when they are years older than me. They actually care about things other than themselves.
We traveled through the dunes of Oregon the coast of California and the red wood forest. Our fiesta we had were held every night for dinner, with each night they got annoyingly better with each one. First one was at a camp site in Oregon, the second was on a beach in California during sunset and the last was also at sunset on cliff. Not only did the views become more beautiful but we kept improving our food.
Writing this is way harder than I expected to be honest because we had so many laughs with all these moments or inside jokes that only the 5 of us will get. I guess that is the beauty in life on the road, you share these moments with other people that understand everything about living in a car. That you instantly relate to one another. I guess I will keep most of our jokes between us but I will explain the craft supplies family.
When we first met them in Canada we learned that they go to several festivals and give names to everyone they meet. As we met up with this time we found out their names, Glitter glue, Cardboard and Tinfoil... all craft supplies Kember mentioned. That created the craft supplies family. My name was Chalk and Kember was pastel, they also names our brother who they have never met before Crayon... So Dane that is now your new name when you join us:)
We became a family growing closer together as we traveled these foreign lands.
There is so much about them I can talk about yet something is holding me back, that yes I want to use this as a place to remember my travels but when it comes to talking about people I have met, everything seems to disappear. That everyone I have come in contact with since I have started this trip have affected me and helped me grow, that is something I want to keep to myself.
Anyway more about what we did...
We spent several hours in the redwood forest which was fascinating. The largest trees I have ever seen and most likely the world! When we stood perfectly still it was so calmingly quiet we heard bugs buzzing by. That was a feeling I will never forget, to be among these plants that have been alive for hundreds of years, who have been through so much, see so much, over tower everything can still be so inviting to explore. There were dozens of hollowed our trees, we stopped at each one to awe in the beautiful giant. We often found ourselves saying "this is the biggest tree yet" or "this is the best tree to have a picnic in" and yes I mean inside of.
The Redwoods was something I was looking forward to this whole trip and it was way more than I expected. We stopped several times to hike off trail, making our own path, our own adventures. We walked deep into the forest climbing over and balancing on these huge fallen trees. It was a site to see, all of us walking in a line on these massive trees, constantly changing who was leading.
Or how we stopped to check out an almost dry riverbed. I did not take a photo but I realize now i wish I did because it is so hard to explain the beauty of all of this. We all laid in the sun on these warm rocks beneath us.
I could go on and on about these 3 kids I met and how I connected with them or hoe much they have impacted my life or how I think. Yet I will cut myself off here, there is so much more I have to write about and catch you up on.
As we left Eugene Oregon saying a sad goodbye to our family, we were off to the coast to discover more of the road. We drove an hour or two west hoping to catch the sunset on the beach. I finally picked a good spot! Usually Kember is the one to pick campsites because I tend to suck at finding good ones but boy were we pleased with this location.
We walked around the dunes and headed to the beach to watch the sunset. I am not a beach person but I must admit I love going to watch the sunset or walk around with a couple of friends. I have my best buds Olive and Boyle to thank for changing my mindset this summer on our "Weekly" dates at the beach.
Kember and I walked around for a while, talking, laughing, taking photos, just overall enjoying this moment we had together. As we struggled to climb the hill back up to our car, I turned around for one last glimpse of a good day.
Thankfully I did because as we got back in the car to drive two minutes to our campsite, we discovered the car battery was dead... We spotted some guys walking to their car and quickly ran over to them to help us out. Our battery is under the passenger seat and for some reason I love turning the seat around unscrewing the cover and pretending to know what I am doing... Connected the negative first then positive charge to our battery and hoped she would turn on within a few minutes. First turn of the key Vandy was running again!! We thanked these lovely men for their help of their fancy rental car and got some good advice from them, "Never be the last to leave."
We kept in mind Vandy may not start in the morning so we made sure to camp next to another group of people just incase. We checked the volts that night and the following morning and thankfully she started with no problem. So that was that. I guess I do know what I am doing?! Well I still call my dad whenever we have a problem but maybe one day I wont need his help anymore, but until that day comes... Dad pick up the phone.
Kember and I enjoyed our night that was full of several more laughs. I wish I could explain what we were laughing about but this was also a week ago plus it may be kinda gross. Anyway!! Changing the subject to the next morning, we hit the road later than expected because I was being lazy and did not want to get out of bed just yet. I am glad I did that because when we got back on the road Kember decided to stop for coffee in the next town we would hit.
We parked in front to a thrift store that was across the street from Mcdonalds and out came running our friends from Canada! Twin girls Beanie and Kaierra and their older brother Max. We have not been in contact with them since we left Canada weeks before and we all just happened to stop at the same place to go to a thrift store and get an any size coffee for a Dolla! What are the odds?! This world really got a bit smaller that day. We spent the next few days caravanning with them through Oregon and into California. I will explain all our adventures in the next blog.
The best part of traveling and living on the road is you never know who you will meet, where you will fall asleep that night or what you will see. That is what I love about this trip, I am able to do and go wherever I please. I thank my parents for that one, teaching us to have our own opinions and personalities, that if we see something we want work hard to get it. I guess that is what I am doing right now, that in this moment of my life a degree is not what I wanted to work towards but adventure and real life experiences. To let the road take control for a bit.
I hope one day you get to understand what that feeling is like, trust me it is worth it.
I am currently at my aunts house in Eugene Oregon, it is my first time ever being to Oregon in general but Kember has been years ago. Although it is the first time we have ever been out to visit our family.
So far the visit has been great, we met their two dogs Asto and Ruby, Jasper the cat and of course the albino bunny.
A quick update on the van, we brought her to No Name garage the second day we got here. There were VW buses everywhere, Vandy seemed to have made lots of friends. We felt bad taking her away from all of them this morning. She got a lot of work done although thankfully thy did it in a day. It was much needed work, I won't make you suffer through more of me talking about car parts etc. just know she is set for a while. Always enjoy calling our parents to let them know what she needs done and the price tag attached to that. Then again we are their two daughters and they would do anything for us... right?
It has been good to spend time with family again, I can call my mom, dad and brother with one push of a button. That in that brief phone call it doesn't feel like I am thousands of miles away. Reality sets in as I end the call each time. It is nice to have familiar faces, people we trust and love to help us out.
They have been showing us around Eugene which has been fun, we climbed a mountain and got some 360 degree views of Oregon. That night we decided to do an escape room. It is quite hard to explain what that it is, you basically pay money to be locked in a room and figure out clues to escape. This one was a haunted temple themed, Scooby Doo and the gang sadly did not make it out. I guess we are the new Mystery Incorporated. Pretty sure that is their team name... not sure if they still got by that?
Today was another great day, went for lunch at this great restaurant and headed to a pinball bar. Lucky for us it was a Friday and most games were free! So played my first game of pinball... disliked it because it was challenging... then kinda fell in love with it. I understand the reason people have tournaments now. I am looking for folks to make a team with. Please help me out with team name suggestions as well.
That is really all I have to say, not sure what else I have to talk about. I realize I do not talk a lot about what we have been up to. I guess I write about psychopaths or random crap like that. I am looking for new books to read so if anyone wants to help me out with that.
I have so much on my mind right now, I am worrying about my friends for I guess no reason. It is just weird to be around someone all the time and know you will be their for them whenever needed. Then next thing you know you are miles away and that almost becomes impossible. I will probably write more about my thoughts on that. As of now I will enjoy my dinner and hanging out with my family. As should you.
I almost forgot!! Happy No Shave November! My favorite month for that reason and of course my birthday is coming up. So remember you cannot shave or else?
I bet that is a question someone has never asked you before. If they have you might need to see someone about that?
While Kember and I were on a hike in Oregon a few days ago I asked her if she had ever though she was a psychopath. She quickly turned very confused and simply laughed saying no.
As I write this, I feel like it is thin ice I am walking on. To clarify I have never questioned myself or anyone for having this mental illness. The google definition is "a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior." My look on it is someone who cannot feel emotions especially no empathy. I for one think I feel too many emotions. I have sympathy pains for god sakes. So no I am not a psychopath. But get this, 1 out of 25 people are considered a psychopath. Now I don't believe that they are full blown physical agressor but they will have psychopathic tendencies.
So Kemeber and I had a whole conversation on psychopaths as we hiked down the mountain. I don't really remember what sparked this thought in my head while hiking but I started to read an article about it while we were in Seattle although I cannot find it to finish it. It is something that just interested me. I wonder if people with mental illnesses like this understand what they are doing. That they cannot feel an emotion but they take from people around them and experiences to learn what an emotion looks like. They are very good manipulators. Where this mental illness begins to be a problem is those people who discover what they are doing and their capabilities to control people. That they can put on a mask for each emotion they learned and make someone feel pity. That they are never in the wrong initially.
It is very hard to explain my thoughts on this because it may all just sound crazy. What I tried to tell Kember was if the "normal" human mind on emotions worked was: 50% was what emotions someone felt, the way they were born. Then 50% was learned from people around them, growing up seeing how mom and dad or peers show their emotions. Then from those statistics there are endless possibilities of how people feel and act. So a psychopath has 0% emotions felt, only 100% learned. To me I feel for that, I can only imagine how trapped that my feel for someone. Growing up living a life not understanding why they do not feel something only learning from others on how to look when you "feel" an emotion.
I am so fascinated with psychology and how different brains works. That not everyone with a mental illness like this is a dangerous person. To me I think they are someone who is trapped and confused.
These are my theories and not factual. I am not writing as if I know anything about this. One article under your belt does not allow you to talk as if you know everything in the world about that topic. This is just something I spent time reading about and my thoughts on it. To me it was very interesting to learn about but there is so much information on this that I do not know.
Sorry to maybe ruin your day by telling you 1 in 25 people are a psychopath. Don't go around analyzing everyone you know and the people around you. Go back to drinking your coffee and reading the morning newspaper, not that anyone really does that. It is only in movies right?
I have just come to an understanding of why people take photos and the meaning to them. That when you are sitting in bed alone and have nothing to do... you go through photos to look back into the moments full of love, friends, adventures, sports and endless more all captured in one click of a button.
I spent some time scrolling through my camera roll on my laptop. I have 2,747 memories collected sitting on my laptop that no one has access to but me. I got bored of scrolling one by one, because a teenager in my generation has the attention span of a fly. So I did what any one would do who wanted to say they scrolled through all their photos. (I don't even think I made it half way through). I held the right arrow button down making a super fast slideshow for myself of moments I loved so much I needed to be able to see it a second time. I get that now although I don't think it will change my mind set enough to pull out my phone and take a photo of everything I see.
I do not need to see everything I have seen in this world twice. Although sometimes yes, it is nice to see a collection of pictures laughing with friends, my dogs when they were puppies, sibling moments, when the whole family is together or even just being a reckless teenager. I smiled at everything I looked back on, that in these moments the photos were taken I was enjoying myself, surrounded my people I love.
I guess you can learn a lot about the photos someone has on their phones, what they like to do, who they are friends with, who their family is and honestly so much more. I am never one to ask someone to take a photo. Every photo of me in it, I can almost guarantee it was not taken on my phone, but someone I was with sent it to me after the fact.
Looking at all these photos made me think if you have ever looked at a photo of yourself or looked in the mirror and did not recognize yourself. Maybe it only happens for a split second in time but for me it has happened several times. It is a weird sensation, that yes it is you, yet for a moment in time your brain was like, "nope, who is this person?"
The only way I can wrap my head around that and come up with some sort of explanation is we change our looks constantly. Yes as we grow we look older etc. but I also mean with style and who we surround ourselves with. That when you are around a set group of people you begin to fit into that style or group. Then maybe with time you find yourself with new people so you change again, so on and so forth as you grow and meet new people.
When I was looking at these photos, this may sound stupid, but the only time I truly recognized myself, the me I am now is when 1. I was with my current friends, 2. with family, (heres the stupid one) 3. wearing a backward hat.
That as time passed I lost certain friends and started wearing a hat everyday. That is the person I see myself as right now. I know myself by the friends I am with, the clothes I wear and the things I am doing. That 5 years ago the person I looked at in the mirror may look the exact same but in comparison side by side are drastically different. At least the way I look at it.
So if photos never existed we would not be able to truly compare ourselves. That you would just know who you were right there and then. You could not look back at what you looked like before. To me that is so interesting. That we would have to live more in the moment. Maybe that is the reason I don't take photos because all they will do for me in the end is cause me to compare the person I am as I look into the photo and the person I was when it was taken. I don't like doing that with anything in my life, especially not myself. The only thing I care about is who I am right now and who I want to be tomorrow.
Each day we wake up and have a new face starring back at us in the mirror, yet almost every time we quickly realize, that is the new us. The moments in time where we question ourselves are the ones that stick with me the most.
Greta Ann Vanderblue.