AtB reboot

reboot: to start anew with fresh ideas in a way that is consistent with the principals of the original, but not unnecessarily constrained by what has taken place before. – from Urban Dictionary

There are times while traveling – especially independently – when you’re faced with modifying your plans. Sometimes it’s for fun reasons, like you were headed over here but someone told you about a really cool place over there…or you click with some fellow travelers and decide to wander with them for a while. Occasionally it’s because of something more serious, like a natural disaster or a personal crisis. There are travelers who get sick or hit a wall they can’t get over and decided to just go home, travelers who fall for a place and decide they are home, travelers who completely change up their trip to travel with a new lover or friend, and travelers who start on a journey only to realize it’s not the right path for them.

I promised myself when I started planning my America the Beautiful tour, that I would respect my body (and my bank account).  After driving 4500+ miles in just over 5 weeks, I was challenged to do just that. Continue reading

Meet me in Utah?

Hi everyone! I’m in Asheville, NC right now, enjoying relatively cool days and beautiful green everywhere. Asheville is sandwiched between the verdant Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains. There is quite a contrast between the misty green forest and this fiery image from Bryce Canyon NP in Utah – all I can say is WOW! I’m posting this now to give anyone interested in joining me enough time to plan. C’mon…decide and let’s go!

I hiked with friends over the weekend who got me really excited for my time in southern Utah. I’m currently doing this leg by myself, however I would enjoy having a travel partner for it. Expectations are really important when planning a trip together, so below I’ve detailed my rough plans and notes on my travel style for this particular trip. There is room for play with both the schedule and style. So let me know if you are interested and we’ll chat. I’ll be soliciting advice on trails later but feel free to leave any thoughts in the comment section here as well (comments are moderated, so it won’t post immediately).

Continue reading

AtB2011 details

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Lord of the Rings”

The last day of my current contract is Friday, July 22nd and I start my 2011 America the Beautiful Tour the next morning. I’ve decided an EPL-style acronym would be AtB so I’ve dubbed it AtB2011 (#AtB2011). The trip will take me from Austin (TX) to Asheville (NC) to Ashland (OR) ~ Ax3. It just so happens that it currently has 3 legs – the southeastern leg, the western leg and the return leg. Time-wise, I’ve mapped out 3-4 months, but the duration is completely subject to whimsy and work. Below is a map overview. My routes don’t even cover half the country, yet I’ll probably log close to 10,000 miles. Amazing.

AtB part 1 :: Austin to Asheville

July 23 to August 23NC/SC/VA + St Louis-OKC

This first leg is primarily to connect with friends & family and test out my mobile set-up. I’m kicking off the whole deal with a personal development workshop in Charlotte. I’m super excited. Then my friend Jonathan and I are going to boogie our butts off at Floydfest. The line-up looks stellar and the site sits smack in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Xavier Rudd was supposed to play there, but sadly he had to cancel.

After the festival, I’ll spend a couple of weeks cruising around Western North Carolina – I lived there from 1992-2000 and adore the area. I have a week planned in Asheville to kick back and do some work-work. I’ll also visit my old stomping grounds in Boone and see family in Roanoke and Lynchburg, VA. Finally, I’m taking the long way home to rendezvous with college friends in St Louis for a weekend.

pit stop
August 24 to 31 – Texas

I’ll be on-boarding my new tenant (a visiting professor from Italy), swapping out gear and getting in some QT with the immediate family. Continue reading

Announcing my America the Beautiful tour

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ places I may never see again
I can’t wait to get on the road again
~ Willie Nelson

(note: this image has not been altered #satanwantshisweatherback)

I’m not sure if it was the number of 100 degree days in a row or the arrival of seasonal allergies after 11 (!) sniffle-free years.  Or maybe the ridiculous number of construction projects along my daily commute. Or maybe even the specter of 2012 (the election, not the Mayan calendar, although the end result may be the same, ha). But when my National Parks Pass arrived in the mail on the very same day that a guy called up wanting to rent my house for the rest of the summer, it took me, oh, about ten minutes to decide I was leaving town for a while.

The US is a gorgeous country – it truly is America the Beautiful. The geography is incredibly varied and the scenery is often breath-taking. There are more amazing places than it seems possible to experience in an ordinary lifetime. When I unexpectedly won a one-year National Parks Pass, the seed for this road trip was planted. I joked that the Universe clearly wanted me to see more of my own country – and then pretty much realized that was the truth. Ever since then, I’ve been figuring out how to make it all work (both consciously and unconsciously).

Here is the photo that won the contest, by the way. A huge thank you to all who voted! It was taken in December 2009 at the top of the Pacaya volcano, which is outside Antigua & Guatemala City. Guatemala is also a gorgeous country. You should go see it. In fact, you should take any opportunity you have to see the world – it’s full of amazing places. And who knows how long any of it – or any of us – will be around.

(soapbox aside: You know how outraged some people felt about the Casey Anthony trial? Well that’s exactly how some of us feel when corporations and even our own government are allowed to get away with some heinous crime against the Earth. The planet will be (mostly) fine. But it’s a damn shame we couldn’t get our shit together and our priorities straightened out so future generations could have experienced the pristine places we’ve had access to. Instead they will contend with an increasingly polluted, unpleasant world. Some people believe technology will provide solutions that allow us to survive. They may well be right. But surviving and thriving – existing and enjoying – are not the same. Bubble Boy has survived thanks to technology and innovation, but he can’t run through a forest of magnificent trees or roll in a field of delicious flowers or canoe on a stream so clear you can barely see rocks 12 feet down)<– btw, I really wanted to use “soapbox” brackets but it confused the browser…

Anyway I’m going to take the opportunity presented and do a big ol’ peanut ride around the US. I’m going to see what I can see while it’s still here to enjoy.

Job-wise, my temp position is wrapping up and until my lotto numbers come up, I do need to earn a living – preferably one that supports my travel and music habits. So I’ll be using my laptop & wifi connections to handle the job search process. The reality is that most early-round interviews are done remotely anyway – phone, Skype, questionnaires. So I don’t think it’s a huge issue to be on the road whilst looking for a job. My ideal position is one where I can be location-independent anyway, which means I can work from anywhere with an internet connection. That might mean telecommuting and that might mean short-term contracting. Or maybe a position with a lot of flexibility or a seasonal schedule. I’m not sure yet. And I’m not stuck on anything in particular, other than doing something that feels right and not doing evil ;-). So if I’m going to look for a job where I can work from the road, what better place to find it than on the road!

“Do what you will while you’re able. Find what it is that you seek.” ~ Xavier Rudd


So all the pieces have fallen into place and next week, I’m loading up the wagon and cruising around the country for a few months. Woohoo ~ I am so flippin’ excited!!! I’ll be hiking and camping in several National Parks, visiting friends and checking out some new towns. Interested in the details? Want to meet me somewhere? I’ll post a tentative itinerary later this week.  Love, Audrey