GYPSY SOUL

I listened to the ghostly vibration of the BART train as I looked through the window at the tree outside and the house below in this unfamiliar town. Living the life of a gypsy seemed to wear on me less and less as I became more familiar with being unfamiliar. Turning my mind, heart and soul back on from the lethargic life of habit and routine was everything, and I breathed it in as I remembered what it was like to wake up and be alive again.
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Most of us get urges to jump in a car and drive off into the sunset, hop on a red-eye to some far off land or pack up our things and move to wherever the wind blows. What is it that gets some of us to do it and others to back off?

“You can’t have roots and wings.” – Jake from Sweet Home Alabama

Some quotes resonate with us from the most unlikely places.
Traveling is exciting and gives the chance to meet new people from other walks of life, but how do we cultivate the relationships we make if we’re always gone?
And then there’s work. Being self-employed and working temporary jobs are two ways that can protect us from feeling controlled and tied down, but it comes with a lack of financial stability, no guarantee of continued work and a risk of not having health care when needed. It may not seem like the end of the world, but being in a foreign land with a suddenly empty bank account or coming upon an unexpected surgery that will cost in the thousands will quickly take away the luster of such a “free” life.
What about marriage and having a family? When constantly gone, it feels impossible to nurture close relationships. How can something that requires that level of intimacy ever survive?

“Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they’re meant to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with.” – Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City

Maybe that’s just it. We have to stop trying to obtain what the rooted life offers and accept what this one has to give and, maybe even more importantly, what it doesn’t. Our version of relationships, stability and well-being will be something different than those that follow a different path. No one gets to have the good from everything and it’s not right to deny the hardships of the other. As long as we’re on the side that’s right for us, we just have to deal with and accept it, good and bad.

C’est la vie!


We’d love to hear your side to both sides of the coin. What’s your advice about how to go for the things that are harder to achieve on both?

This photo by Paul Moore http://www.diomedes.org/ can be found at www.dreamstime.com — Photo 1885871

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

GYPSY SOUL – the story

“I’m leaving,” she said.
“What do you mean?” her friend asked in alarm.
“I’m going to quit my job and leave.”
“Leave where,” the brunette said, sounding hurt. “You just got back!”
“I don’t know. New Zealand maybe. Beunos Aires just confirmed how much I have to do this, Lisa. Two weeks wasn’t enough.”
“You’re just going to pack up your stuff and move to New Zealand? Why, Calypso?”
“I’m dying here.”
“You live in an awesome place with a good job and a great life. Why can’t you just be happy?” She was beginning to tear up.
“I don’t know – I wish I could. I love it here, but I just can’t handle doing the same thing day in and day out. I mean, is this it? Is there nothing else to look forward to? Everything I have may be great, but it’s not exciting anymore. I’m not ready to stop experiencing new things. New people and cultures…I still need adventure. Remember when we took our first trip to Europe?”
“Yeah.”
“Getting lost in the streets of Venice, floating in the waters of Greece, going into overload on everything we took in as we tried to remember which country we were in and what language to speak…did you ever feel more alive?”
“It was pretty amazing, but I wouldn’t want to do it all the time. And I definitely wouldn’t want to leave the people I love like that.”
“That kills me too,” Calypso said, looking down at the ice cream cone in her hand. “I may not have it figured out yet, but what I do know is that being confined to this same mundane routine in the same tiny life with the same influences day after day is killing me. I can’t be with all of you if I’m mentally and emotionally a million miles away.”
“Why don’t you get out to more museums, galleries or step up the volunteering? I know you like that stuff. Go to the theater if you need culture,” Lisa said in a near panic. “Or if you really need to get away, take another week to go to the horse ranch in Montana you’ve been talking about. Why do you have to quit your job and leave the country?”
“It’s what’s in my heart, Lisa. I didn’t choose to feel like this and would change it if I could. I love you and everyone else that have become family to me. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but you know I have to do this. I know you feel like I’m leaving you, but I’ll come back. I swear.”

Calypso tried fighting her wanderlust with the week in Montana, but a month later she was on a one way flight to New Zealand.
Now on a plane with everything she owned, she sat there and thought about how sad she was to leave so much of what she loved, but how exhilarated she was at the unknown adventures, both good and bad, that were on their way. Eventually she’d find her way back to face the consequences of what she had left behind. For now, she embraced who she was and the happiness that came with. She was finally living for herself and felt a love for life that she had never been able to find before. In the middle of the skies and in these unknown lands, she had finally found home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.
Bobbie White

COLOR ME HAPPY

Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Chupacabra, Going After Our Dreams. It’s all made of the same stuff, isn’t it?
Venturing outside the box is what’s glamorized through the media, but in reality it’s often met with judgment and persecution. Most of us stick to what’s safe and write off our dreams as childhood fantasies. What’s wrong with following our passions? Even if we fall flat on our face we can still rebuild, can’t we? We may even pick up some tools along the way, and we’ll be more fulfilled regardless of the outcome. It’s the “doing” that makes us a part of something. Not the final product.

Photo by Robin Gilmartin

So why do we so often sabotage ourselves and others?
Many of the reasons for a negative reaction isn’t new information. For ourselves, we’re scared. Scared of not being as good as we think we are, scared of what we’ll have to give up, scared that the reality won’t be worth it, scared of failure. Being overwhelmed and uneducated about how to make it happen are a couple more common enemies that stops us dead in our tracks.
What about the times we shoot others down? It’s already extremely difficult to go after something new. Why would we snuff out a flame that was so hard to light, and even harder to keep burning? Maybe it’s because we’ll lose that person in a way if their life proceeds in a direction away from us. It’s also harder to lie to ourselves about dreams being impossible if others are in front of us making theirs happen. When we knock others down, we often try to cover up these incredibly hurtful actions with statements about being “realistic”, making sure the other party isn’t “setting themself up for failure”, or something else as equally toxic when it really doesn’t have anything to do with that. Come on — let’s call a spade a spade.
Sometimes we have to face those that would oppose us straight on, but sometimes it’s not that easy. Being supportive of ourselves or others during the planning stage isn’t always where we fall flat. Let’s take going back to school for example. Giving positive encouragement when being told of the plan to work light jobs in order to have the time and brain-power to do it makes us feel self-righteous and happy. Once it’s been placed into action, however, many of us don’t like the way it affects our lives and are the same ones showing resistance and doubt.
Education is a wonderful life-enhancing tool, but there’s unhappy people all over the world that are well educated, responsible, wealthy and have done everything “right”. Why do so many of us still think that staying in a cookie-cutter box is the end-all path to happiness?
There are so many personality types out there. Who’s to say what someone else needs? Even if there is a formula, wouldn’t it be about surrounding ourselves with healthy relationships, being physically and mentally healthy, working on our passions and keeping balance? How did it become about money, power, social status and looks?
The sacrifice it takes to go after something is often glamorized and rarely shown in a realistic light. It requires giving up a lot of what we love, choosing to accept pain, sacrifices of both ourselves and those closest to us and facing the fact that we could fail miserably. What if we have to give away our home, money, closest relationships and ability to support ourselves? And in doing so, we’re going to be fought at every turn by the very thing we’re going after which will leave us exhausted, beaten up and broken, success or not. Dreams are great, but the reality of them has a flip-side that packs quite a punch.
It’s hard. It’s hard for everyone. It’s hard to go after our dreams, hard to be accepting and heartbreaking to deal with the judgment of others.
But the positives…oh, the positives. We finally get to meet ourselves. We’ll never know ourselves the way we will if we’re doing what was put in our hearts from the time we were created. Instead of only living in the now, we get to see our future. Opportunities, people and other surprises that are right for us start to come our way just because we’re going for it. Most of us don’t really know what’s right for ourselves, but going after what we think is leads us in the right direction, and eventually intercepts with the right path. It gives us the foundation to grow into who we’re meant to be.
At some point in most of our lives, we can’t grow up and into whom we fully are until we go against the grain and fight what is harming our personal growth. It isn’t easy, but sometimes that’s the only way to find real happiness. Be supportive of others, walk your path, and when it’s your time, cut out all of the outside noise and go for it.

Tell us your story. When have you gone after your passions and what have you been faced with in order to do so?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.
Bobbie White

COLOR ME HAPPY the story

“I have to get back to work,” he said, grabbing his girl’s ass as he gave her a kiss. “Have a good shoot.”
“Don’t forget the Gordon Ramsey dinner party tonight,” she said, with arms wrapped around his neck in the chili winter air of Central Park.
“Oh, that’s right. I’ll have to send a car for you.”
“A car?” She asked with a pout. “We’re not going together?”
“Ashley,” he said pulling the faux-fur jacket and blanket that covered her tight, “if you want to go to Aspen next week, I have to get the winery sold.”
“I hate showing up separately. And I’m not happy that you’re selling that place.”
“We still have the smaller vineyard and that one’s all mine,” he said patronizingly. “If my family wants to sell this one, so be it. I’m happy to get rid of the power struggle.”
“I suppose I can live with that. I’m definitely not a fan of the toll all of this has taken on you. I’ll wait for you in the car tonight so we can walk in together. Please don’t be late.”
“Am I ever?” He gave her a wink to which she responded with a dazzling smile that showed exactly why she was such a successful model.
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He had everything. The gorgeous girl, the ivy-league education, old-money, new-money, success and social standing both in family circles and built on his own merit. The world was at his fingertips. His career in investments and the family trade of wine was flashy and exciting, and the personal relationships he was surrounded by were based on respect, success and support. His life was a well-oiled machine.
And he was miserable.
This was what he had always been told he should want but he didn’t. He had been bread and groomed to be the perfect man, and he appreciated what he had, but this was someone else’s happiness. Where was his?
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“Hello, Mother,” he said with a kiss on her cheek.
“Hello darling,” she responded as she took his arm to walk down the stairs of her affluent stoop.
“You look wonderful,” he said in acknowledgement of the formal blue gown she had adorned with a luxurious necklace.
“Thank you, honey. You look handsome, as always. You were a dapper dresser even as a little boy,” she said as she straightened his collar before getting into the limo. “So, tell me about Aspen.”
“It was great. It always is.” Once they were seated and on their way, his mood took a more serious cue. “Mom – I’d like to talk to you about something very important to me.”
“Oh?”
“Yes.”
“Then get to it, my darling.” She crossed her hands in a sign that he had her full attention.
“I’m not content and would like your approval to start a new venture.”
“And by new venture, what is it that you mean?” She shifted in her seat.
“I need more depth in my life. Something that really impacts others on a basic level,” he said with passion. “It seems that nothing I do matters when it comes to real needs. I want to give back. Feel that I’m worth something.”
“Oh?” She wasn’t sure how she was going to take this.
Finally after an uncomfortable moment in which he had no idea what to expect, she clasped her hands together and smiled while taking a deep breath.
“I think that’s wonderful! All our family has ever done is give money. It would be fantastic to have a face to go with it. Have you ever thought about politics? What a turn that would be! I’d love to show my support, darling. Anything I can do.”
“That’s not exactly what I had in mind,” he started before being cut off.
“That’s OK. We’ll figure it all out later. Now tell me about Aspen! I haven’t been able to make it out this season and I’m just aching to go.”
The small-talk continued all the way to Carnegie Hall and to their seats.
“I broke up with Ashley,” he said, cutting her off from a talk that had turned to family business.
“What?” She exclaimed in shock.
“Actually, she left me.”
“What happened,” his mother asked, sternly facing him. “She’s a wonderful girl who comes from a wonderful family. I thought you two would get married.”
“She couldn’t accept the changes I’m about to make in my life.”
“What changes?” His mother asked with anything but the approval she had been so quick to offer just a few moments before.
“I’m joining up with a nonprofit to help in-need countries be self-sufficient.”
“Well, I can see the worries about why this could get in the way of existing business, but it could work to our benefit. I don’t see what that would make her break up with you?”
“I’m stepping down from the family business.”
“What!”
“Yes, Mother. And I’m moving to Central America to personally be involved. I want to know the people we are trying to help. And there won’t be any spinning of this for family gain.”
“This is ridiculous,” she said turning forward and staring straight ahead.
“What about all of the support you were offering just a few minutes ago? Where did that go?”
“That was before I knew you were planning on leaving your family out to dry and giving up everything you have to go live in the dirt.”
“Yes, it will be rough, but I’ll make sure my responsibilities are covered. You know me well enough to know I’d never leave you without making sure everything is taken care of here. Maybe it’s finally time to implement our talks about bringing someone in from outside of the family.”
“What! I can’t believe I’m hearing this!”
“This life has never made me happy, Mother. Do you care about that? I’ve tried to make it work because I’ve always been told how amazing it is, and I do want to take care of the family, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m miserable. I will continue to do what I can for the family business, but I can’t let it consume me anymore. I’ve got to change before it kills me.”
His mother sat in silence and continued to look straight ahead as he stared at her. They didn’t say another word until after they had made it to their seats in the Opera house and the lights had begun to dim.
“It will break my heart every day if you turn away from me,” he said with heaviness in his voice, “but it won’t stop me. I’ve tried everything I can think of to find a way around it, but I have to do this.”
“I’d never turn my back on you,” she said turning to him. “I just don’t understand this. I may not agree with it, but I still love you.”
“I love you too, Mom.”
It was the last time he saw her for a year.

Photo by Robin Gilmartin

Just as “home” started to feel like a distant memory, his mother showed up to the compound he was building with the locals in Guatemala. A school and center had been built to help them become self-sufficient with growing their own food and making items that could be sold for profit.
“Mom,” he said, covered in sweat and dirt while standing there frozen in the middle of the field he was working on.
“Hello, Bryson,” she said, fighting the urge to look away from his shocked expression. “I saw the documentary that was done on your work to get funding for this place.”
“You did?” He was conflicted about how to react.
“Was it really true?”
“What do you mean?”
“It looked like…there seemed to be so much struggle. Bureaucratic nonsense and so many things constantly going wrong.” When he didn’t respond, she continued. “Quite a bit of money you have had to raise on your own and so many people shooting you down along the way. It made me realize what the family has been doing to you…what I did to you. We never meant to heart you, but now I can see that we must have…” with that, her stoic nature broke and tears formed in her eyes. “And the people that live here…they seem so wonderful. I never knew…”
“Mom,” he said breaking out of his daze to go to her, “it’s OK. Of course it hurt, but I understood where you were coming from. This was a big risk and I did give up most of what others spend their life trying to build.” He lifted her chin, careful not to touch her too much with his dirty hands. “If I saw someone else do the same thing, I probably would have thought they were off their nut. But it’s different when you’re the one with the need inside of you. I had to do it. I would have eventually stopped breathing if I didn’t.”
“I know that now,” she said, leaning into his embrace. “We all do. That video got the whole family talking. We’ve been looking at ourselves and what we’ve done. We’ll not going to stop our lives, but it did get us to take a look in the mirror.”
“Mom,” he whispered, “you’re getting all dirty.”
“I don’t care. It feels good. I don’t remember the last time I got my hands dirty. Not in this way, at least.”
He didn’t remember his mother ever hugging him so tightly. They hugged so long, he forgot anything but the feeling of her love.
“Well then,” she said pulling back abruptly to compose herself. “The family pulled together and wanted to help…”
“I don’t want any of the family’s help,” he said, cutting her off defensively.
“Calm down Bryson,” she said with an uncharacteristically warm smile as she handed over a check. “Everyone’s signed a confidentiality agreement that states our family will in no way be linked to anything we do for this cause. I made sure of it. After seeing the documentary and talking,” she said feeling ashamed, “everyone was already on board anyway. We’re not a bad family. We just get caught up.”
“Mom,” he said laughing as he put his hands on her shoulders, “it’s OK. Stop being so hard on yourself. Sheesh! I love you, and this is amazing. I knew you’d come through, eventually. You’re just too amazing not to.”
She smiled and pinched his cheek.
“If you don’t mind,” he said as he looked to those waiting impatiently, “I’m going to tell the kids they can come meet you. They’ve barely been able to hold themselves back over there,” he said gesturing to the edge off the field, “and now I think they’re worried about you.”
“Oh my,” she said with a laugh. “Come on kids,” she said waving them over.
“Anda, bromea,” he said waving the kids over when he saw them inching forward apprehensively. “¡Está bien!”
Bryson watched his mother as she got on her knees and hugged the children. In that moment, it was the first time that he had finally found himself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.
Bobbie White

WAKING WANDERLUST

I always wanted to travel.
It got to the point where it was painful to be reminded of far off lands and embarrassing to respond to questions about where I had been because I was so unhappy with how few places were in the response. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to go. I wanted it so bad I even tried to move out of the country.
Moving to San Diego was supposed to be a temporary stop during my first attempt, but I was so happy there, it turned into seven years. The second time I let cold feet influence me into taking a vacation-style trip instead of going after my dream of becoming an expatriate. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like now if I had stuck to my guns.
I do have a little regret, but it’s difficult to be too hard on myself. After all, it was that first trip, regardless of what it was made of, that got me started.
“I’m going to Europe,” I told my friend as we watched the sunset from the cement divider that separated the beach from the boardwalk.
“I’ll go with you,” she responded.
“OK.”
Many friends said they’d go with, but none had ever come through. By the time I heard it from her, there had been too many letdowns and botched trips due to planning around others to take it seriously. It had been five years since my last attempt to leave and the need had finally become greater than the fear. For once, I was relying on myself instead of hoping she was the real deal and ready to stand on my own two feet instead of using her as a crutch.
I didn’t start taking her seriously until she was ready to put down a deposit on one of the trips she had found during her research. Both of us were huge fans of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, so she brought up the idea of hitting Italy. My original plan was to take a certain amount of money to Barcelona and do everything I could to scout out work and a place. It wasn’t according to my plan, but the idea sounded good. It’s easy to dream when I didn’t believed she’d come through and besides — how could I say no to Italy?
It was too late by the time that I realized that she was serious and I had let this trip turn into her dream instead of mine. Instead of focusing on life and the people of Spain, we were joining an Australian tour group that was about to take us from London through mostly big cities and tourist spots in France, Italy and Greece. The trip only spent one day in Barcelona.
So I went ahead and accepted that fate had other plans for me. I had only been going on a feeling anyway, and it was much easier to believe in destiny and God’s Plan than to admit than my fear had ended up sabotaging the trip once again. After all, San Diego had taught me that the greatest happiness was sometimes found by venturing down an unintended road once before. Why not this time, too?
I was finally traveling. No matter what happened to my original plans, as long as I was headed off to different countries there was little that could have dampened my spirits about that. It was real and my heart was beating out of my chest. The trip was quickly paid for and finally upon us. The concept was incredibly large to grasp and I was terrified, but once that plane took off, there was no turning back.
I can’t say I had a good time. I can’t say I had a bad time either. What I can say that it that it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had the honor to partake in and yes, it was completely life-changing.
One of the first things I learned was that the experience of travel is rarely what we expect.
As a people person, I thought I’d be able to focus on the locals and take in their culture. Instead, I was surrounded with Australian twenty year olds who wanted to party and possibly take in a little info about where they were as a side note. There was also a very sweet Japanese model that was always smiling, talking and holding up a peace sign, friendly Canadians, a hand-full of other Americans and some New Zealanders that put their country on my list of places I just have to go. These were the cultures I was exposed to.
I also learned the hard way that you never know how your body will react. On our first night, two pints and some fish and chips mixed with jetlag woke me up in London with a splitting hangover at 3 AM. I also had my first experience with B.O. and two days later, felt the beginning of intense stomach pains in the Louvre. I didn’t know it then, but both of these unfortunate bodily side-effects were to be my companion on and off through the rest of the trip.
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After just one day of pushing through a very expensive London, our next stop was Paris. Contrary to everything I had been told, I found the Parisians to be quite pleasant. At one point, being distracted by how even the young men working in sandwich shops wore designer clothes, I had a Marilyn moment with an air grate as I strolled along the sidewalk.
Our next memorable stop was a few days staying in a chateau in the Beaujolias Wine Region near Lyon, France. After coming out of the gate at full steam ahead, it was nice to slow down as we got away from the tourist spots. The scenery could have brought out the romantic in even the biggest cynic, but as an outdoorsy girl, the beautiful rolling hills covered in vineyards with occasional chateaus dotting the land took my breath away. It was everything you would expect out of a vineyard found in the French countryside.
After a couple days in that dream of a setting, we started back into rocket speed as we headed to Barcelona, where it rained for the entire day. Even soaking wet, we weren’t about to let it dampen our spirits. Exploring Picasso’s Blue Period in The Picasso Museum was followed up by a seedy flamenco show that brought out an inner-passion I had rarely been lucky enough to find outside of myself. Later, we hit a strip of clubs along the water that the locals liked to frequent. These discos consisted of three-walled clubs with outdoor lounge areas that made the places back home seem drab.
I missed the fabulousness of Cannes and Monte Carlo when my stomach started acting up again, and it continued to get worse until, during one of the first nights in Italy, I ended up in the hospital. Stumbling past our travel companions that were busy with a bottle of Absinthe, my friend and I crawled into a taxi with a four hundred pound driver who drove fast and crazy enough to make me thankful for being in enough pain to distract me from a fear of certain death. That hospital didn’t do much for me, but I did get help in a common Pharmacia the next day where a doctor came out and prescribed me something on the spot. I had heard about how much better health care could be than back in the states, but this was the first time I had experienced it.
Finally back on my feet again, I made it to the statue of Juliet Capulet in Verona located in a courtyard down a narrow alleyway. The tradition of rubbing breast for good luck warmed me, but it wasn’t until Venice that I felt like I was home.
A city built on water. A city of dreams for a personality made of dreams. I watched a model shoot while drinking an incredibly overpriced coffee in St. Mark’s Square ($20 just to sit there) and watching pigeons gather while live music played in the background. Walking into small shops down alleyways where water was being swept out, I checked out all of the different masks and wished we had longer to stay.
Pisa and Florence didn’t impress me much. I was dizzy from all of the different languages, old buildings of massive size, cultural differences and other new information that had been crammed into our heads in such a short time. Plus, I still wasn’t feeling great and being in Italy without being able to enjoy the food was torture.
I was definitely not well enough to go on the horseback riding picnic through Tuscany my friend and I had planned. I was sad to miss it, but I also took a tiny bit of pleasure in screwing up her goal when she had shown so little regard for mine.
Years later, she told me she thought I was mad at her throughout the trip. Not having been mad at all, I was shocked that she had been under that impression, but it also made sense. I’m usually an extrovert, but during this trip, I spent most of the time (as I still do when travelling) quiet and wandering the towns alone. There’s just so much to take in and I didn’t know how I’d react to that.
From what I heard of Rome, I hated it before we even got there. Another big city that’s always crowded and hot. Three things I’m not fond of. I was dreading the visit, but instead of the negative experience I was sure to come, I fell in love the moment we arrived. Like so many other things I was experiencing, hearing about it couldn’t hold a candle to actually being there. The people were passionate, flirtatious and sensual. I had always craved these traits in the people around me and had rarely found it. Now that I had, I greedily ate it up and wanted more. Just as I had first experienced in the Beaujolias Wine Region and then in Venice, parts of me that had always suffocated were finally being given air.
I knew I’d love the island of Corfu when we got to Greece. I had grown up a beach person, so running around in the sun wasn’t something new. It was lovely and it I could do forever, but not so new an experience as the other places we had been. Those long three days of something more familiar and yet still new were a lovely near-close to the trip.
It was a terribly sad ferry ride heading too Athens, but followed up in style as our last day consisted of visits to places of Greek mythology such as The Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Acropolis and Parthenon. Sitting outside a café decorated in all white before my flight the next day, I looked around and enjoyed without pretense. There wasn’t room for a thought in my head at that moment. For once, I was experiencing instead of dreaming. The only thought that did come to mind was that during that trip, I had been doing exactly that all along. Not dreaming, not planning, but finally doing.
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I don’t know if I could ever count everything I learned on that first adventure, but there’s a few things that have stuck with me ever since.
1. It’s the unknown that scares us. Once we get out there, it’s rarely that scary.
2. Traveling doesn’t satisfy a curiosity so you can put it to bed. It starts a fire inside of you that leaves you hungry for more.
3. Remember who you are, but never turn down an opportunity and be flexible along the way. You never know where you’ll find happiness.
4. Pay for part of the trip the second you decide to go.
5. Traveling gives an education that can’t be taught in a classroom.
6. Learn as much as you can about the places you’re going and things you’re going to see ahead of time.
7. You will never, ever, ever be the same.

Where have you been and where do you want to go? What would you like to read about here?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

Photo by Robin Gilmartin

BOWING UP THE BOX

I woke up today at 5:15 AM in a panic about the choice to go after my dreams. OK, that’s a lie. Not the part about waking up in a panic; just the part about it being a choice. The truth is, I fought it tooth and nail.
I tried to fit in growing up, but that didn’t happen. Then I tried to be happy in almost ten years of working the mortgage scene, but that didn’t happen either. The more I tried to fit into everyone else’s idea of what “should” be, the more happiness pooped out on me.
So here I am, doing naked cartwheels in the hopes that you’ll come do them with me!
Of course, it’s not a requirement to go as balls-to-the-wall as I did. The fear of giving up the home I loved, relationships, security and pain of being judged in order to get here wasn’t something I’d recommend. It’s always been all or nothing with me. You, being much smarter than me, may chose to go in a direction that holds a little more finesse.

Photo by Robin Gilmartin

Don’t you hate the constant BS about how it’s “all worth it in the end” as much as I do? Sure it is, but the junk we have to wade through in order to get there is a nightmare. Why is credit rarely given to that?
When I say this rodeo was terrible at first, I mean it. And I probably never would have done it if my old miserable career hadn’t crashed and booted me out by my bootstraps.
My pals and sweeter-than-sugar parents were great at support as I put up my dukes to the breakdown of my old life, but I sure wasn’t great support to myself. I’m aware that a new foundation can’t be built without tearing down the old, but it was still painful, raw and scary as hell. I was losing it in more ways than one.
As if what I was going through wasn’t bad enough, many of the people I expected and needed support from ran for the hills or kicked me while I was down. I was a walking, breathing country song.
What amazed me was who did come through. The two angels in my life who just so happened to be sisters and my best friends were never a question. Neither was my ridiculously loving and supportive parents. Who did surprise me were the unexpected acquaintances that helped and gave me strength to keep on truckin. If asked how anyone gets through times like these without that kind of support, I’d just have to shrug and keep on dancing.
The wind was in my face for a long time and every struggling step forward changed me. Everything and almost everyone was a threat. It wasn’t until I had sacrificed too much to turn back that the ever-elusive rainbow started to peek through the clouds. Once I knew all that sacrifice would all be for nothing if I gave up and my old life was already in ashes, things became strangely easier. I realized I would never be able to live with all the pain, loss and suffering I had gone through if I even tried to turn back. Uncertainty had become a moot point.
The winds changed. For the first time, the momentum was pushing me forward instead of blowing in my face. For no reason at all, more people started supporting and believing in what I was doing. Instead of being an irresponsible fool, I was now someone to admire and believe in. Actually – finishing the book I wrote and will be selling on here once edits are done could have helped (total plug right there).
Then I met a wonderful woman on a similar path. The support, belief and accountability to each other kept our fire alive. Finally, after years of going down the comfortable but miserable road more traveled, we pulled each other forward on bloodied knees to make it where we needed to be. Yeah, things are still pretty tough, and that kind of support only comes for brief moments, but it helped me get to where life is the most sweet. Not at the finish line where all is done and well, but to the midst of building the life, career and dreams I always wanted. Not just living that life. Being it.
And yeah. It’s totally all worth it in the end.
Do you have an inspirational story that show how rough it was, how you got to where you are and why it was worth it?

THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.
Bobbie White

Un-named but not forgotten

I took this picture in a rough neighborhood in South Sacramento known as Oak Park. During the beginning of the recession when gas was $5 a gallon, people like the woman in this picture were broke and had no hope. We all felt the hit financially but for people who struggle with everyday living the recession and the extremely high gas prices took its toll.

Artist Bio:

Professional photographer for 2 years and my vision is unique. My perspective is real with a goal to bring out the best truth in each individual. My mind visualizes it, my eyes arrange it, my camera exalts it. I see things. I know images, but I desire you. Your face, your moments, your expressions. How beautiful is love? How peaceful are children? I capture it all. So, feel free to be imperfect. Know that my eyes do not judge. Jasmine Renee’ is my name and photography is who I am

Jasmine Renee

Jasmine Renee
www.jasrenee.com

Blowing up the Box — the story

“We’re going to have to close down,” he said.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the attractive Lebanese man that had been my employer for the past two and a half years was going to cry.

“I’m sorry, Danny. I feel terrible.”

“It’s OK Fadi,” I replied, looking up from my desk in a moment of perfumed silence. “You shouldn’t feel bad. You’ve been great to me and our clients.” I fought to keep eye contact as the pain of this inevitable information sliced at me.

“I don’t regret losing money that would have come in if we were less honest,” I mumbled as I picked at a piece of tape stuck to my desk, “and there’s nothing you could do about the bubble bursting in this god-forsaken industry. It’s been coming for years.” I forced a smile for him, but as soon as he walked out, the tears took their place.

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We spent the next few heart-wrenching weeks wrapping up what we could with the existing loans before shutting down the office. After that, I spent a couple months working for another mortgage broker Fadi had helped to hook me up with, but it wasn’t long before the doors closed there as well.

Out of loyalty and admiration, I had chosen to go down with a sinking ship and all of my treasures with it. When the second office shut down, I had no financial padding left and the industry was dying. Mortgage workers of every type flooded the work market with desperation to get into another industry as their livelihood crumbled to the ground. We were blacklisted as crooks and, even if we could find a job, there was no way it could pay for our lifestyle.

There I was — left with no choice but to do the thing that scared me more the most. I had to leave that sunny beach paradise that had brought me so much happiness and go back to a dreary, rainy place that symbolized nothing but misery. I had to move back to the place I had grown up.

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“Thanks for letting me stay here while I figure it out Mom and Dad.” I avoided looking at them as I let down my Jack Russell and lugged my overstuffed Betsey Johnson luggage through the door.

“We’re just glad you’re OK hon,” Mom said with her eternally worried look.

“Who says I’m OK?” I mumbled as I dragged past them and up the stairs.

After unpacking, I drew a bath and looked in the mirror at the expensive blond hair, expensive red lipstick and expensive Cashmere sweater.

“It will be OK,” I told myself. “It will be OK.”

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Dad had been sick for a while, but I hardly ever came back to this place to realize just how bad he had been. Over the next couple months, my heart twisted as I began to really see his illness for the first time and soon began to help. Our parents had been on their own and neither I nor my sister or brother had helped. For the chance to be able to do that, I finally found a reason to be glad I was there.

Every day was a foggy struggle, but eventually I started to sweep myself off the floor and slowly started to remember who I was. I wanted to write and travel. I wanted to be involved with photography, fashion and the arts. Volunteering had become a big part of my life and doing good was something I didn’t want to let go of. I might not be able to do it all at once, but I could start with something. A whisper inside my heart told me that I was finally being given the chance.

I started writing. I wrote and wrote until I wasn’t sure what I was writing about. When an opportunity came up to travel, any opportunity, I said yes. Without thinking about it, I would say yes and do what I had to do to make it happen. I didn’t know where it was going, but I was writing and traveling. Texas, Arizona, Florida, Tahoe, Mexico – whatever. As long as I was on the move and writing, it didn’t matter.

“Must be nice,” my sister saidas we sipped on vanilla lattes at the neighborhood coffee shop. “Some of us have responsibilities.”

“We all have responsibilities,” I said defensively. “Do you really think this is easy for me? Do you think life is easy for anyone? Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Besides – if Mom and Dad support me going after this, you don’t need to worry about it.”

Many people felt the same way she did. They lived in their suburban track housing with their nine to five jobs and two point five kids. In their eyes, anything outside of that box was wrong.

I had lived that life. I had the career, money and social status that they approved of. It was a miserable jail sentence with terrible things on the inside, but as long as everything on the outside looked pretty, it hadn’t mattered. I couldn’t live like that anymore. It may not have been my choice to break free, but now that I was, I was determined never to go back.

I kept writing. I kept writing and traveling and helping with my father. Life was hard, but I started to love myself in a way I never had before.

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“My book’s done,” I whispered at the end of a big family dinner at Maggiano’s a year after I had first arrived.

“What!” Proclaimed our little brother who was temporarily in town. “That’s awesome Danny-Doo!”

The whole family surprised me with how excited they were. I was scared it would disappear at any moment, but it didn’t. Friends threw a party of congratulations and I floated through their long-needed approval in disbelief.

“Does that mean you’re moving home,” my brother asked before leaving to report back to the military in our beautiful beach paradise.

“Not yet Kid.” I hugged him with internal strength I thought had been lost long ago. “I’m well on my way, but there’s more I have to do before I can get back home.”

It was true – I was well on my way. I didn’t know when this new life was going to solidify, but the ingredients had been mixed and were growing firm. For the first time, I realized that I had the foundation of a new life that would make me really happy. All I had to do was be patient and keep stirring the pot.

THE AUTHOR

I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.

Bobbie White

A travel & lifestyle journal about the messy pilgrimage of adventure and personal growth of a Gen Xer.