Sunset of my Trip: Ready to Root into a Routine

Trip Start Jul 05, 2008
1
Trip End Oct 01, 2008


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Where I stayed
Couchsurfed

Flag of United States  , Nevada
Monday, October 6, 2008

Phirst, Photos for your perusal:

http://picasaweb.google.com/jenroams/GoWestwardHo#

http://picasaweb.google.com/jenroams/BurningMan08#

http://picasaweb.google.com/jenroams/BurnersWithoutBordersCamp08#

Well, it's been an amazing few years on the road, but I am giddy to finally set down my bags and unpack my boxes of treasure and find a non-transient community to grow into. I am in awe of the many miles I
have crossed and thank each of you who has shared in the joy of the journey. I don't think you know how important it has been for me to be able to feel my friends and family by my side in spirit. Your
presence shared my awe across this extraordinary planet and I found solace in your distant support in times of loneliness and frustration. Thanks to each of you for being freakin' fabulous and keeping me company from afar. Really. Really really. I am so blessed to know each of you.

Enough schmaltz though. I had a brutal month of New York City taking me over it's lap and spanking the
dollars out of my pockets as I tried to pick them up off the floor. That place is such a land of high's and low's. I totally lost my voice and struggled to sell my wares. Even reading tarot in Union Square turned
out to make me into a low-paid therapist. "Oh, I know awl about myself, cus I read a lot of self-help books and I tawk about myself awl the tiiime." Ug. It was hard to get a word in to tell them to hush up and
start practicing the exercises in the books.

But I saw good friends and family and I broke up with New York City as peacefully as it would let me. Then I gave another glance to Boston and decided it's got a nice ass. Saw Batman with Jerry. Kira (from Indian roads) showed me great thrift stores. Alexa took me to Walden pond and her Swede hubby
Niklas made us yummy meatballs.

I head up to Montreal to see my Taiwanese neighbor and shopping/photography partner, Marie Eve. What a
fabulous city. Everyone should go. It's full of friendly French-speaking folk. They are welcoming and the city is both modern funky and classic cool. Poutine is crap though, don't eat it. They must
have kicked all their best chefs down to New Orleans back in the day.
 
Barely had time to enjoy Toronto, but enjoyed Hamilton despite its bad rap. Okay, it kind of smells bad in the morning from local industry waste. But it's  a cute blue collar town. I hung with my friend Shane's eerily cute baby, Quentin. Then went to Buffalo, which is another cool town with a lousy reputation. I loved the gothic architecture. Ani Difranco bought an old church there that she renovated into an art space / music studio. I saw my babysitter Maggi who is as fun as ever. I adore her two kids and awesome husband, Peter. 

Shot across the country to stop in Chicago for a day. Highlight: The Bean. (See Google Images: the chicago
bean). Cost them millions to buff it up all shiny. Well, I say it's worth every dang penny. One of the coolest works of art I have ever seen. I saw some other pieces of Anish Kapoor's in New York and I had already decided that he's one of my favorite artists. This clinches it.

Got a rideshare for the long pull to Boulder, where I reveled in my old college town and caught up with my favorite film professor, Suranjan Ganguly. Watched some Olympics and ran 100-meter mad dash to prep for
Burning Man.

My Salt Lake City friends Mark and Christine and their kids generously helped me continue to get my stuff together for the big show. I attended their Mormon Ward on Sunday and was surprised at what a
cacophony of sound permeates from the meeting. All these families gather in the main room for the first hour and the kids create a buzz in the room. It is such a crazy difference to the silence of a Presbyterian or Catholic church. I enjoyed it and felt very welcome without any sort of "pull her into the fold" vibe. Go Mormons.

It was a fun activity to do just as I head to the Burn as well. I went a week early to help build the Burners Without Burners camp. It was impressive to watch a nomadic gathering grow out of a dusty
desert dried lake bed. Incredible how much industry and technology goes into the art projects and super structures. This ain't no simple campout, folks. I worked to build large canopies, geodesic domes, and wood decks in the over 100 degree heat. It was a trial, but somehow very satisfying labor. Especially
once a few more of us showed up to help. Our camp was full of hilarious people who worked well as a team to get 'er done and then had a blast at the party together.

My favorite art pieces this year: a neon Blue Whale that breached out of the playa and splashed back under; a pack of a dozen unicorns that hugged me after I sang the Last Unicorn song to them on their megaphone; and a classroom setting with just an American map at the front. The theme was American Dream and I felt like that piece summarized my biggest issue with our America-centric education. Overall though, the theme resulted in a lot of art that represented a very real kind of patriotism. Not canned, that's for sure.

We were placed next to the temple crew who built the entire Basura Sagrada structure out of
trash. We were also next to Entheon Village, who are using Burning Man as a practice ground for their reconstructed containers that they are designing to drop on emergency disaster sites. It's a great opportunity
to see how to feed 500 people a day with little other infrastructure than what they brought in.
More on that here: http://ourfuturenow.wordpress. com/2008/08/10/shipping- containers-for-disaster- relief/

Next I head up to Bend, OR for some rest and then Portland where I stayed with a campmate, Kyla, who is a superfly cool chick. She showed me the best of her town. We went to a great play by Daniel Beaty, a modern dance show, a house party with a circus theme, another with an airstream trailer turned into a sauna, and we met the Yes Men! (See: http://theyesmen.org/ )

Quite the week. I house searched in vain but had a sense that this was the town for me. This feeling was despite the fact that one house I went to look at said that if I wanted to live there I would
need to be willing to poop in a bucket for the humanure composting they were doing. I've pooped in a lot of strange places, granted, but I've never kept it. Freakin' hippies.

Camped at Mt. Shasta with a fellow couchsurfer for 2 nights. Spent a few more in San Francisco at my friend Rob's new sweet pad. Saw Slovenian Nika who I met in Burma. World's getting smaller people. Enjoy it.

Finally, I did another 10 day Vipassana silent meditation retreat. This time the meditation and sitting came easy, which surprised me. They say that when you silence the mind and pause the flow of desire and aversion, then old Shankara - past karmas- can bubble to the surface to clean you out. Well, as it turns out my Shankara came in the form of a viciously violent imagination. Tee hee. Talk about animal nature. I spent three afternoons shocked at the horrific day-mares my mind produced. Afterward I'd have this deep
meditative sort of chat with my calmer core. By the end of each of our litle silent therapy sessions it felt like my heart and mind were physically lighter. Incredible. I can't recommend this experience enough. It's intense and indescribable. For all the travels I've enjoyed, these inward journeys have been the most
fascinating and insightful. I hope I will continue to practice daily meditation enough to taste the resonance of this peace for a good long while. Please do yourself the favor of giving it a shot. Find a
location near you at : www.dhamma.org
(Oh, and it's free and non-sectarian. They only accept donations after you complete a 10 day course.) If I can recommend it so highly after facing such inner turmoil, then it's got to be worthwhile, right?

It's prepard me well for my current task of looking for work in Portland. It's likely that I have a house to live in for at least 6 months, but I'm waiting to meet the other roomies before I know for certain if it's my place, hopefully it will work out. It's good folk in a lovely house and a great neighborhood, so I sure hope
so.

And to you all . . . a saying that sent me off on this path . . .
May the long day's sun shine upon you. All love surround you. And the pure light within you guide your way home.

With Love and Light,
Jenna
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