Don't get your hopes up. They were all over 60 and we were sitting in the Kräutersauna at the Stubay in Telfes. You know what they say...when in Austria. So, here I am. here and now. That's all there is. Right? But before that is all there was, there were a few crazy weeks...and I'm finally winding down and relaxing from all of the travel.
One month ago I reluctantly departed from New Zealand for Park City, Utah. That was on August 24th. This is how the next two weeks unfolded...and believe me, I get exhausted just reliving these moments through writing:
8/24: Arrive in Park City, run errands and unsuccessfully attempt to get passport with "new" name expedited followed by crashing in bed for 11 hours.
8/25: More errands. Meetings. Hang with friends. Sleep for only 1 hour and have more-than-slight jetlag trauma.
8/26: Jetlag trauma unfolds into slight mental breakdown. SOS calls to mom and Keely. Feel better. Pack for Jackson.
8/27: Can't sleep. My body doesn't know what the hell to do. Wake up at 4am. Peace out of Park City for Jackson, WY. Shenanigans soon ensue with Keely. Meet new friends at the Local, stay out way later than expected. Naturally.
8/28: More Jackson time. Hiking, hanging, swimming in alpine lakes, loving life.
8/29: Back to PC. More passport adventures. More meetings. Over to SLC to hang with my dear friend Ana. Drink wine and hot tub and discuss love, relationships, the meaning of life and more until 2am. Sleep for two hours.
8/30: Awake at 4am to travel to Minneapolis for home adventures. With two phones that don't function and no GPS, attempt to make my way into Mpls to visit the government center and get more name change documents for passport. Overnight deliver documents to SLC in hopes my passport won't cost 500 dollars to expedite. See sister and her bf.
8/31-9/2: Hang with friends in hour blocks throughout the day, go to The Firm, get my hair done with Micah, work out with Spencer and Katya, drinks with Aaron, McRally and the GlamDolls reunion with a special guest appearance by Keely and including PorchWine, Dave Samuels, Michelle Quinn, the Birds of Prey crew and their childrens, Jared, Jes, Julie, Doug Melroe, Helling, etc. Saw most of the humans I wanted to see and was reminded how much Minneapolis is home. There, I can be myself.
9/2-9/4: Drive to Indiana with the sis to see the whole fam...which was so amazing. Loved catching up with all my mom, aunts, uncles, grandma, cousins, etc. What a gift! Swing by Chi town on the way home to visit with Elisse and Maysen...YAY!
9/4-9/5: Back home in Wisconsin with the pops and mom and sis. Easy living on the farm with walks, garden time, pool time. Hang with an old friend Keri for a sweet catch up.
9/6: Awake at 3:30am to fly back to SLC. Arrive and attempt, once more, to figure out passport situation. Give up and decide to change my name back on my ticket. Better luck next time. More meetings at Center of Excellence. Catch up with Justin, then pack for the Euro adventures the next morning. Stay at Chelsea's for the night, laugh, cuddle Babs, go to sleep.
Speaking of sleep, I'm tired. I need a coffee break.
9/7: Wake up early, pack, leave for Europe.
9/8: Arrive in Munich, take bags to Moevenparty. Have breakfast and eat lots of sausage and semmel rolls. Overpriced taxi to train station. 5 hour train ride to Vienna to pick up Audi. Schnitzel and sleep in Vienna.
9/9: Awake in the hostel at 3:30 to leave for Vienna airport. Pick up car from Toni. Drive to Rijeka, Croatia for Ana's amazing wedding.
9/9-9/11: Wedding festivities in Rijeka. Incredibly beautiful. So much fun.
9/11: Off to Telfes, home for a few weeks, to start Deutsch lessons in Innsbruck. Ich spreche kein Deutsch. Ich mochte helfen.
The next weekend I travel to Krumlov to visit Carolyn and Prague to see my brother and his wife, Barbara and Chicks and Czechs. Snag two tattoos in the process. A lovely, though insane, whirlwind of wonderment and wandering. Vagablonde, indeed. So you can see why I'm finally winding down now. I had thought about jetting to Amsterdam this weekend, but decided to stay in Telfes and enjoy the downtime. If there is something I'm addicted to, it's movement. Sometimes I scare even myself. I have been meditating every day for the last couple of months, which definitely grounds me, and writing helps as well...but I'm still a bit unsettled.
Where does this come from? When I was in New Zealand, a few friends commented on my energy level and how it's hard for many individuals to relate to me because I'm so high all of the time. I thought a lot about that. It's true. I recently came across the following words, "You will be too much for some people...those aren't really your people." I believe that to be true in part, but I've learned the importance of meeting people with an energy level which they can easily consume rather than bringing constant energy to every situation and expecting for that energy to be welcomed by all. With this approach, even though we might be different, we can still find a connection. And I love connection. Expectations, on the other hand, will get you into trouble. They'll fuck your mind. I don't like being mind-fucked. As my good friend Bernie says, "steady on."
When I arrived to Europe Bernie also said to me, "Welcome home." That made me smile. Because, after all, this is a home to me. Even if it feels foreign and uncomfortable at times. I listened to a song recently and the words said, "I don't know where I'm going to rest my head tonight..." Sometimes that's how I feel. I awake often with ceiling fright...not knowing where I am.
I've wandered the town and explored the mountains and I'm becoming more comfortable with sitting naked in a sauna, eating dinner with a towel around me in a restaurant and walking through the Kneippgang. Even though I don't know what I'm doing and don't know what's going on around me, I pretend. I came to start learning German lessons in a three-week course in Innsbruck before the season kicks off in Soelden, and even though ich verstehe nicht most of the time, I'm still enjoying it and I've been reminded how much learning a language helps a traveler to understand culture. My favorite words are "elf" (eleven), "schmetterling" (butterfly), "wandern" (to hike), "Schwiegerdrache" (a reference to an awful mother-in-law) and "Umarmung" (hug). Oftentimes I just say, "Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch" because I guess I can't say "Ich spreche kein Deutsch" anymore.
Most of the time, I'm alone here. Quite often in the winter I am traveling from venue to venue alone as well. Loneliness is a weird thing. I love being alone, but being lonely is something altogether different. It's a state of mind, though, and with training, the mind can be taught to shift. I'm working to find the depth of gratitude in this solo space and treasure the time alone before the season kicks off. My days look like this: wake up, go to German class where all that is spoken is German, go home, work and sit in apartment by myself, hike or move body, make dinner. Rinse, repeat. It's kind of simple, which I'm not used to. This week I even had a hospital adventure, staying true to my habit of exploring foreign healthcare systems. I had to drop my pants to my ankles with the nurse in front of the 26-year-old male doctor (who looked sechzehn at most) and his male colleague while she put a catheter in me. That was different.
I think I started to go a little crazy, craving a meaningful conversation in English. It's strange being in such a stunning, romantic place where all I want to do is adventure, giggle, have awkward naked sauna moments and drink wine with a buddy, but I'm learning to find romance in this space and date myself. No, not like that, you pervs...really just to honor myself and love myself and enjoy my time solo as I shift from being lonely to enjoying being alone. I'll write more musings on this topic soon. It might be called, "Ich bin immer allein und immer reisen."
A "thank you", from the bottom of my heart, to friends and family around the world who remind me how loved I am and how blessed I am to have you in my life. Even though I don't always see you, I feel you with me. My time in both my Midwest and Prague homes recently was so special and taught me that there are people who understand and love and don't judge me, and those are the ones who deserve my big energy...that it's not for everyone and shall be reserved for the special ones. That's not sad...it's a beautiful thing.
Tschüss bis später...off to the mountain tops!