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Notes from the road

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Impressions from the last week or so:

Hiking on the red clay dirt of Sedona. Not lingering long enough to feel any vortexes, but did watch the sunset touch the pink mountains, ate modern Mexican fusion at Elote Cafe (corn chowder with truffle oil, short rib quesadillas, chile dusted popcorn and 3 bowls of some of the best salsa we’ve ever had). Our hotel room had a copy of The Sayings of the Buddha next to the Bible. Watched a single little javelina, a native wild pig, run into the brush.

Spent quality time with my family in Phoenix. Healthy home-cooked meals, biking along the canal to a park, taking in the Phoenix ballet and meeting one little cousin for the first time and seeing others for the first time in 8 years. Phoenix smelled like orange blossoms.

Tucson: checked out the Pima Air Museum. Realizing how close we came to nuclear war with Russia. All those bombers, lined up and ready to go.

Last year Seth met a friendly couple on a plane from Tucson. They kept in touch, he gave their son some college advice, and the couple said to let them know when we’d be back in Tucson. We did, and they treated us to an incredible meal at a beautiful hilltop hacienda featuring fantastic local flavors like chile spiced hot chocolate and buffalo in a mole sauce. Heard their travel and life stories, shared ours, a great evening of delicious food and engaging conversation.

Spent several days at an amazing health resort and spa in Tucson with my in-laws. Learned that I need to work on my posture (“Think ‘Diva’ and lift up from your chest,” trainer Judi would remind me), met with a nutritionist and received great advice on ways to stay healthy on the road, tried funny new exercise techniques like wearing a flotation belt in the water and trying to walk (aka The Burdenko Method). Discovered that I love Qi Gong. Finally tried guided meditation. Biked through Saguaro National Park. watched birds chirping from their nests in the giant cacti and tried to keep up with the super-fit older couples pumping up the hills of the road. Ate mindful meals of healthy, delicious food. Tried watsu massage – water shiatsu – in a beautiful room built especially for the service, which was one of the most delightful experiences of my life and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves water and massages. Detoxed from my previous life and made room inside for the new life ahead.

Camped in the high desert near Alamogordo, New Mexico on one of the warmest nights I’ve ever spent in a tent; so strange and nice to get up in the morning and not be cold. Sledded down the pure white sand at the aptly named White Sands National Monument. Sopapillas with honey at a roadside cantina in Willard. Rolled past African-like savannas and open land as far as the eye could see. Up to Santa Fe, that hidden old city in the hills. More great food and great travel stories with my friend’s parents (my fave was their tale of renting a VW to do their own safari in Nigeria, 1969, encountering an angry grandmother elephant and reversing the van until her herd left them alone). The state question, red or green? Chile, that is, which do you want on your lunch? Or both, that’s Christmas.

Two long days of driving. Yesterday, northern New Mexico, through the plains of Colorado (snow-capped Rockies on our left), stopping to let a herd of deer hop across the road, on across the state and into the farmlands of Nebraska. Today: 80 east all the way to Chicago.

The closer we get to Chicago, to being east of the Mississippi, the louder my homing instinct hums. The Midwest and Northeast will always be home to me in a way LA never was. I love you, LA, but you always felt like a place I lived, not Home.

Tonight we’ll be with Seth’s family. Looking forward to the energy of his younger brother and sister, to seeing more cousins of mine, and my old friend Lake Michigan, whose shores I’ve been on at least once nearly every year of my life.

Regards from Nebraska – Kristen.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Marina permalink
    Tuesday, April 5, 2011 7:31 pm

    You’re a great writer, Kristen. I’m really going to enjoy keeping up with you guys as you travel the globe! I love the idea of detoxing from a previous life to make room for the one ahead.

  2. Slavo Kolada permalink
    Saturday, April 9, 2011 4:10 pm

    Kristen, your stories and writings are extraordinary….all that certainly will mane a good reading in a book to think about – love Dad

  3. Linda Winn permalink
    Monday, April 11, 2011 12:58 am

    Wow Kirsten,
    You have really made the Southwest come alive in all it’s beauty and spirituality! I have tasted all the flavours I have missed so much. Thank you for sharing your experience. Linda Winn

    • Kristen permalink*
      Monday, April 11, 2011 4:18 pm

      Thank you, Linda! Glad you enjoyed the descriptions!

  4. Adam permalink
    Monday, April 11, 2011 7:05 am

    Living vicariously through your journey. Have a blast guys!

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