Equal Grounds

I’m in a coffee shop called Equal Grounds.

I thought I was lost. I was trying to find the downtown without a map, or GPS, or any knowledge of the city earlier this afternoon but basing it all on red blooded intuition.

It turned out to be supremely frustrating, as you might imagine. So I’m accidentally headed out to the airport- and I pull off the interstate and check my GPS for a coffeeshop, finding this one I’m at now, but having no idea where it was at.

Minutes later, a sign welcomed me to Rochester. And then soon I’m seeing Ethiopian and Burmese restaurants and people from all over the world.

I feel at home. I feel I’ve found what I love about Kansas City here in Rochester. I stop for gas at a gas station, and admittedly feel a little out of place with this nice car that’s taken me across the US. I hurry up and finish my gas, and drive on down the street to see the beginning of the hippie population- peace flags and granola bars and bikes.

Coexisting right next to one another. I admittedly feel more comfortable coming down the street in this arts/ hipster coffee shop than I did at the African cafe a few blocks back.

I realize I still have so much room to grow, so many dynamics to explore within people and myself.

I realized earlier today that I want to start writing about a topic, in a more academic manner. And I’ve decided that, at least for the next three months while I have a job- that focus can be the refugee population.

Earlier today we had breakfast with BC’s grandparents at Riki’s in Fairport. And then we walked the Erie canal, and then met his aunt and uncle for a hike and a picnic on the beach.

Yesterday we took BC’s dad’s motorboat out onto the lake- and it was like an ocean. Once we started cruising out into the deep blue- I realized I wasn’t sure I knew what I had gotten myself into.

But I got used to it after awhile, and I was really fun to cruise around and see the water. BC and his family jumped into the water in the middle of the lake. I held back.

#1 because I didn’t have a swim suit

#2 because if no one was going to push me in, i was going to give myself a little break

The day before, we had coffee and bagels at BC’s grandparents home, and his dad’s family all came over. We left straight from there to head out to his mom’s new cabin an hour out of the city. We hung out and read on blankets in the grass, had dinner, sat around the campfire for a few hours, and went to bed. BC and I camped outside. The next morning we had coffee, and went for a hike. BC brought back a few mystery mushrooms, and I ended up freaking out though I tried my best to hold it back.

I started new medicine for anxiety and I can definitely feel a difference. It’s almost like I don’t have the energy to reach the panic heights I’ve been reaching daily for a quite a while now. And that’s something. It’s really something to have the ability to calm myself down. It’s really something when I can cry for an hour over something that seems un doable, and then do it.

That’s really new.

I picked up new medicine Friday. Had an appointment, and jumped on that medication. By brother and I drove to Manhattan together, and spent the day driving. We also had coffee briefly with my grandma.

Before leaving Kansas City, BC and I were greeted by two brown recluses (one on BC while he was sleeping, and one in the kitchen ready to have breakfast with us), and then decided to spritz the apartment with lavender oil. Because apparently that helps deter the spiders.

We left town in a hurry after work- I had just completed two job interviews, and he was having troubles with one of his bosses for his time off. We had already left the city and all of those thoughts behind, when we realized that we hadn’t brought the tent. So we turned back around, and lost an hour of driving, but gained a tent for the week. We’ve spent the night in it ⅔ nights so far.

So we’re on the road. We fill up on coffee and trade drivers every two hours. I finish Wicked. BC reads Harry Potter.

We make it to Indiana somewhere around two in the morning. I couldn’t really tell you what time, because I was nowhere near conscious at that point.

We get to the campsite, and BC is driving, there’s a security guard at the campsite. And he tells us there are a million spots open, but we can’t come in past 11 unless we have a spot.

I’m half asleep, and BC must have put out a really good “please” vibe, because he let us in ultimately.

The next morning we walk around, see some funnel spiders and talk about foot health as BC walks barefoot and shaves down his toenails the natural way.

We alternate reading and driving again, and I finish Wicket and start Harry Potter.

Make it to BC’s mom’s in Rochester around 8:30 EST, and have beans and rice and catch up a little, then have a much needed shower.

And here we are!

It’s been a lot. And now I’ve had a chance to write it all down. Which always makes me feel so much more on top of it for some reason.

A good reason to have, if I want to be a writer.

Which I do!

Because, I’m not sure how this job thing is going to pan out. I’m kind of nervous with my first full time job on the horizon. And the big 26 starting in January.

Talking with Ben’s hippie aunt and uncle this afternoon, popping dried cranberries into my mouth, swatting the flies biting my ankles and enjoying the confidence of the ducks that were creeping up on our table, they replayed their stories of the world, gave us books, and told us to never settled down until we reached 50.

It makes me feel like I’ve sold out in a way, thinking so seriously about a full time job. I was planning on writing and traveling the US this whole year!

I still believe that you can make anything work. I could have figured out a way to keep moving and writing and eating on the road. But the thing is, I really wanted to be involved with action. And I’ve always been looking for that to happen in a city. And I don’t think you have to stay for years upon years in a city, but a couple years is a great amount of time to really learn about yourself and see what you’re made of. See what you can take from the city, and how you can help fill the city out as well to be a little bit of a happier and more diverse place.

And hey, we’ve definitely put some miles on the cars and planes this year. In the past 365 days I have driven from Vancouver Canada to Kansas City to Colombia to Kansas City to DC to Rochester to Chicago to Kansas City to St. Louis to Lexington to Kansas City to DC to Kansas City to Rochester.

Along with a few other terrifying flights to and from DC slipped in there.

We’re traveling. And we’re spending time with people we love. And we’re working on figuring out ourselves, and how we want to fit into this world with everyone else in it.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me make all of this traveling possible, and inspired a personal ethic to place travel and learning about the people of the world first. And thank you to the same people who give me a good reason to slow down and stay in a place for awhile.

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