Today is an especially auspicious day, for today is the completion of the story of my West Coast Adventure.
That’s right. After so many dozens of entries, covering hidden gems, incredible landmarks, and lessons learned, we’ve finally come to the end of the West Coast Adventure series. (Though never fear. There are many more adventures coming up soon.)
Yet before I finally set foot in Wisconsin again, I took a final photo set during a brief exploration of Chicago with a new friend (selections from this photoset can be found farther down). And, in honor of this being the final article in the series, I’m going to do something I don’t normally do. I’m going to share with you some private entries from my personal log.
As you’ll soon learn, my short time in Chicago went extremely well. Here’s what I had to say about it on the final day of my adventure:
Direct from the Journal
My last host was and is a truly excellent final host for this trip. Her name is Alyssa, and we have a series of improbable things in common. Yesterday we went around, just walking downtown taking photos of the oddities of this Second City called Chicago. We even found an enclosed alley with a black iron staircase going up to a few small patios tucked away in the middle of the block. We went to a man-made beach near Navy Pier. We bought fruits, vegetables, and tortillas. But we parted ways after, I heading back to her place to prepare the rice (which takes the longest). She wanted to go to a yoga class. I returned home; but about 15 minutes later, she walked in.
She told me she decided to do some yoga at home instead, and I was so happy. This meant that I would have enough time to show her how to prepare and sauté the vegetables and to show her the delicacies of cooking rice to perfection. We had a great evening and even had time to watch the first 25 minutes of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie that she had never seen before. She was really enjoying it. Too bad she started falling asleep. (She’s an early riser because of her teaching job. In fact, staying here has helped me go to sleep earlier.)
It seems my intentions are really starting to manifest now.
Only 3 days before, I wrote this intention:
I set out the intention that I’ll have more energy than I’ve had over the past couple days, that at the perfect time I’ll find a ride that can drop me off in Wisconsin, and that my remaining hosts will be wonderful, encouraging, and caring.
Ride (even better than I anticipated), check.
Wonderful host, check.
I may go back and add entries from my new intention journal.
Looking back, this was one of my best early experiences with consciously using Intention-Manifestation while travelling, and things worked out incredibly well. I can only attribute my positive experience with a positive attitude, combined with proactive actions (such as posting on Craigslist and keeping an eye out for others posting), and not being too attached to one specific outcome. These three attributes served me immeasurably during my travels. And writing these down in an intention journal helped me clarify them and release the intentions out into the Universe.
Still, November 12th was my 175th day, and I knew things would never be the same. I wasn’t the same person who had left from Wisconsin over 5 months previously. And even before I arrived in Chicago, I contemplated this:
Sometimes I wonder how life will be when I return. Certainly things won’t ever be the same, at least not within me. This trip has changed me, in some ways more subtly than others. I feel well-rounded, more confident, and every day I feel more that this trip was meant to be, that it was part of a path that I was meant to walk down, though I had to choose it.
As Within, So Without
And I am eternally grateful that I did. Now that I look back on that incredible, ineffable experience that the West Coast Adventure was, I am so grateful that I took a chance, relied on the kindness of “strangers”, and pushed myself to grow. In the end, I realized that I hadn’t only been exploring the United States for the past 5 months. I had been exploring myself. My desires, my limits, and my values. In fact, as I was doing research for this article, I came across this small entry that I made when I was back in California, two months before my adventure came to a close.
And I can’t say it much better than I did back in that blustery September:
Bay Area, CA
I was born in a place of blue skies. Some of the bluest blue you’ve ever seen. With greens that kept their green, even into Autumn. I was young when I left, and now I find myself back, the sum total of an uncounted number of small decisions and works of Providence.
I have been exploring lately, and at first I thought I was exploring the land. Now I see that I’ve been exploring myself all the while, what I’m capable of, what I really want, what drives me in this current existence that people call a Life.
I’ve been learning self-honesty and self-acceptance.
I seek to blow all my assumptions about life out of the water. I will experience life more fully, more lovingly, and more powerfully than I ever have before.
And I did.
— Bonus —
Marco appears in all 6 photos in the accompanying photo gallery. If you’re new to the “Where’s Marco” game, it’s similar to “Where’s Waldo” or “I Spy”. Don’t worry. He’s bright in every photo, so be sure to look for him in the bright spots.
Hilariously enough, I arrived at 11.22PM on 2009.11.12. (I’d found a ride passing near where I live, the craigslist ad of which was posted ironically enough at 11.11AM.) For those of you who don’t really care about number significance, you can safely ignore this, but I found it amusingly synchronistic.
Being November in Wisconsin, I wasn’t surprised that there was a chill in the air that night. But that was alright. I was home. After 175 days, I was finally home.
For those of you who have kept up with this series and have provided feedback or left comments, I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU. As I said above, there are many more adventures coming up soon, not to to mention some interviews with some of my favorite travel writers of all time! So stay tuned, and stay in touch.
A Hint of What’s To Come
Once again, November 17th holds significance. Today I started my novel, for real this time. Sure, I’ve had a few false starts in the past, but now I’m really feeling it. The basic idea of the novel is that I am actually creating a universe as I write. Not all authors acknowledge this, but they all do it.
However, I do acknowledge that I’m creating a universe, and have therefore named the book PROTOVERSE, at least tentatively. The name may already be taken, but for now that’s its code name.
Not gonna lie: the book has already been written and is currently being edited. I’m pretty excited; and if you like SF/Adventure/Philosophy as a genre, you may be in for a surprise quite soon.
*sigh* Time to make another website…
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All accompanying photos are in the Wandering Chicago photo gallery. With so much free, high-quality content, why not tell a friend and share this article?