Archives for posts with tag: travel


I’m standing on the side of a rural highway in Georgia. And it is hot. Sticky. The humid air is visible,  something I’m not used to coming from the desert. A small breeze tries to blow periodically, but then gets tired and gives up, not that I would be able to feel it anyway. I (the girl who grew up running around on the prairie, playing in arroyos, camping) am covered head to toe in every bug deterrent clothing item made and sold by REI, to the point that only my face is visible.  Stories of ticks and chiggers run through my head. I stand on the paved shoulder, afraid of the grass and what might lurk below. Who am I and when did I turn into the type of urban princess I used to scoff at?

Early in my costuming career, in New Mexico, I would smile quietly when the LA part of the department arrived on location wearing cute, clean, impractical shoes, complained about the local restaurants, or were scared of the bugs.  Buck up, I’d think. 

Standing on the side of the highway, I look across and see a young girl playing on a slip and slide in her front yard. She runs back and forth with her brother as their mom sits on the porch, watching, drinking a coke and smoking a cigarette. Every once in a while they turn to watch us; dozens of people who just appeared on the side of their road, filming a car driving back and forth, all covered head to toe. Periodically the girl or her brother slide too far and end up in the long grass at the edge of the yard, the same grass I’m scared of. I watch them scream and slide and, very slowly, I lean over, untuck my pants from my socks, and unzip the legs. 

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I’m sitting in an airport for the third time this month, reading my horoscope. Home, home, home. My fourth house is all lit up, hitting the domestic vibes/homefront notes for the next month, just in time to be outside of Atlanta, for work, living in a hotel.  So, how to avoid going crazy and give myself those homey vibes, while on the road? What does home mean? Where is my home? 

I recently had a reassuring realization while in Northern California for a couple of weeks, again for work and again living in a hotel. I missed LA. Having only lived there for six months, after repeatedly trying  to adapt for ten years and but always eventually fleeing for the clean air and calm of my previous home, New Mexico, this was a huge shift. And a welcome one. I missed the assortment of healthy food, the mass of stuff to do on weekends, the hipster adventuror spirit which can be both annoying and awesome,  my classes, friends, apartment, stuff and my morning routine. I was officially homesick for my new city. So, that’s a good thing! 

But, what to do to create home when away? My yoga mat, many books, music, a big bag of food and tea, journal, and tarot cards are traveling with. I’m heading out with an open attitude and belief that seeing different parts of the country and world will give me some good stories to tell and a greater appreciation of my own city when I return next month. 

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It’s Saturday morning and, after a very busy week, I am eating homemade rice pudding, drinking coffee, and finally sitting in front of my computer.  The Tarot book next to me is open to Chariot, the card I have pulled several days this week, it is a beautiful early spring day outside and I woke up without an alarm.  Life is good!

Two nights ago, a friend from New Mexico came over for a cup of tea and to hang out for a bit and while we were sitting on my couch, I had one of those strange moments where you look at your life and think “oh right, I created all of this and here I am.” (I can only imagine that parents must think that every few minutes when looking at their children!) Seeing my friend in LA and  out of our normal New Mexico context, allowed me to look at my new apartment, furniture, and city and see all of the changes that have happened over the past six months in a way that I have been too busy living lately to do.

But, more interesting than all of the differences were the similarities, because the truth is that, regardless of the size of changes life may undergo periodically, it does just go on! I grocery shop, listen to music, do laundry, drive to work (albeit in more traffic), clean my place, visit with friends, cook food, blog, etc., but then I go to the beach and an improv class and to a new downtown restaurant or to a museum and I remember why the changes were necessary.

The Chariot keeps appearing in my cards and this morning I opened my Voyager Tarot book to see what author James Wanless had to say about that. ” Movement brings change, and change brings new experience, learning, and growth- it leads to the achievement of your evolutionary destiny…As Cancer, the Charioteer carries the shell or home (self security) on his/her back and is at home wherever…Travel and test your sense of inner security… To be at home wherever you are is knowing yourself- being centered.”  Though this could mean that ones physical surroundings shouldn’t matter because it’s what is inside that keeps you grounded, I’ve long known that my physical home base was more important to me than to some. It is necessary for me to create a beautiful space from which to set out each morning and that is perhaps why a decade of tiptoeing in and out of LA, without first creating that, hadn’t worked for me.  For the first time, all of my personal items (clothing, books, Buddha statue, tea kettle, photos, wooden clogs form Amsterdam, sewing machine…) are here and because of that I feel grounded and able to keep moving into the adventure.  If you want to call sitting on a couch on a Thursday night and drinking tea an adventure! Seems like a good one to me.

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“You don’t really like people, do you?” a coworker asked me yesterday upon realizing I would be making our final drive north,  to Colorado, by myself. 

“No,” I responded and smiled to myself, though that’s not entirely true. I do like people. I just like being alone in my car, with my music, camera, and thoughts, more. 

I had a flashback to the time I randomly decided to drive to New Hampshire to be a camp counselor after meeting the owner of the camp at a dinner party in Santa Fe. It was the summer of 2000, I was in college, and it seemed more fun than working in a restaurant, so off I drove. As one of only a few counselors who had cars, I would sneak away on my one weekly day off, hiding from the others who wanted to hitch a ride, and head up the coast to Maine, or into Boston, or down any small road that struck my fancy. Before the days of cell phones, GPS, camera apps, and blogs, I did exactly what I do now, but in analog form…. Postcards, my old Pentax K1000 camera, and scratched CDs ruled. 

Now, as I sit in the costume trailer on our second to last day of filming, the sun is coming up over the Sangre de Cristo mountains in Westcliffe, CO, it is fall, another summer has come and gone, and there is static in my ear from the walkie talkie headset. I slept in yet another motel, my eighth of this show, woke in the dark, and at wrap will look for somewhere to eat and drink a beer with my coworkers. 

It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s just that 75 hours a week spent with 150 people is as much as I can handle. Upon wrapping this show, I look forward to my upcoming drives to California, possibly up the PCH once there, and to having time to myself once again. 

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It was drizzling when I woke in Chama, NM, this morning and as I stepped through my screen door and onto the shared front porch of the Vista del Rio Lodge, it smelled like the mountains as rain covered newly fallen leaves and still blooming flowers.  After chatting with the women at the front desk and getting my free cup of coffee, I turned right and headed south, towards Santa Fe, to begin our last few days of filming.

The first day of fall, rain, Bob Dylan on the radio, another show coming to an end, many changes on the horizon… It was some combination of these factors that filled me with a mixture of gratitude and nostalgia.  Gratitude for all that has led me to this point and nostalgia for all that has been.  Never happier than when I am behind the wheel with my camera, good music, and no plan for the day, I felt full to the point of tears.

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fontcandyBut, shouldn’t I be farther by now? I thought it would look different.  I’m hot. Where’s the water? This isn’t what I expected.  Isn’t there a faster way?  I’m hungry.  I can’t find the map. Maybe I was supposed to take the left back there.  I think this is the wrong road.  Is that a mirage up ahead? I am really hungry.  I should have bought the fancy trail mix with macadamia nuts. I hope they have coconut water when I get there…Wow, look at that little yellow flower growing through the pavement.  I think my legs are actually getting stronger. My legs are going to look so good.  I wonder if there are any swimming holes nearby. Wow, that breeze feels great. I think that’s the same bird that I saw a few miles back. Is he following me? That cloud totally looks like an elephant. Whoa, that one looks like a palm tree. It smells like rain. That smells so good. I think I’ll sit by that tree for a minute. It is so beautiful out here.

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There is nothing I love more than getting in my car and heading out of town with only the vaguest of plans and my camera…Except maybe hopping on public transportation in a new city and doing the same. Where will I eat? What will I see? What adventure awaits? 

Today it was Malibu and the PCH’s turn to inspire. Bird watching and wave walking on Zuma…

   
   
Followed by fish tacos at Neptune’s Net, where I highly recommend going on a Tuesday in April, you get a whole oceanside picnic table to yourself!

  
68 degrees and because of recent rains, the hills are greener than I’ve seen them in years. A fantastic set of music on KCRW. Surfers, birds, salty wind. Heaven. 

  

  

I started 2016 off with a bang, by heading to Tulum, Mexico, for a week of great food, warm turquoise water, and exploring, with a friend. 

Flying into Cancun, we headed south to Playa del Carmen for the night. I hadn’t been to the area in six years and, though I remember it being built up, the mall filled with American spring-breaker stores, which now took up the middle of Avenida 5 Norte, came as a bit of a shock. Time to head farther south, farther from Cancun. 

The next morning we took a bus one hour south to Tulum. Tulum- built up in its own Eco Chic way, full of tourists, expensive, gorgeous, but where you can still find great tacos and practice  your Spanish…all that I want in a quick, beach getaway. 

   
 
We rented two places ahead of time, for two nights each, out of fear that showing up without a reservation, during the post- holidays high season, might leave us sleeping under a palm somewhere. 

The first, Las Palmas Maya, would have been great for a third of the price.  But, Tulum at high season is something I am not used to, so it was what it was. We used the provided earplugs to shut out the generator noise, payed the nearby hotels to use their beaches, and overall had a splendid time. And we met Ben and Lucy, a British couple staying there. The four of us shared a taxi to two different Cenotes where we snorkeled through underground caves. That was followed by lunch at  Chamico, an outdoor grill on the beach, serving ceviche, grilled fish and lobster. With cold beer. That lunch was a highlight of the trip. 

The second of our two hotels, Mi Amor, went above and beyond our expectations and, from now on, all of my traveling will be capped off by splurging on one or two nights in the kind of hotel you see pictures of in Vogue and Rolling Stone. 

  
Biking to get get fish tacos, walking along the beach to the beautiful stone ruins of Tulum, reading on our daybed, fresh fish daily (The Kitchen Table was excellent!), negotiating with taxi drivers, eating tacos and shopping for embroidered dresses in the town of Tulum, and feeling my skin rehydrate from its normal desert existence, all made for a truly exceptional week away and for a spectacular start to 2016. 

  
And, just when I thought it was perfect… Food poisoning on our last night in Playa deal Carmen, which made for a very long and almost impossible day of traveling back to the States. 

Now, as I sit in a cafe, wearing a puffy jacket, it is January outside. Piles of snow lie next to the road and my lip is numb from the two fillings I just got. I am on my way to buy something to unclog my tub and then to start my taxes. But, it’s all good. I’ll think about that turquoise water and, at least for another few weeks, I’ll have a tan. 

   
 I arrived in New York almost three weeks ago, to finish my most recent movie, and will fly home tomorrow. It has been a whirlwind, dream of a trip. There have been several moments of such totally present joy, I laughed out loud for no reason, marveling at my life and current reality,  weeks of deficient sleep, and multiple new and, at times, bizarre experiences. How to unravel it? 

   
  Room 617 at the Lowes Regency Hotel on the Upper East Side-the type I never normally stay in when traveling. Benjamin Netanyahu was there while we were, among other politicos, actors, and seemingly important people. Airport style security, to enter the hotel, quickly followed- one of the bizarre experiences. But, having the NY Times delivered to my doorstep each morning, the bed turned down each night, “stealing” apples from the gym, and living on Park Ave? Awesome. 

  
Bizarre Experience Number Two- loading a wardrobe trailer in the rain, on 42nd Street and 7th Avenue;  UN motorcades passing, homeless men threatening me and my rack of clothes, tourists watching, parking cops yelling. All quite entertaining, in the end. 

   
 Shooting in the Hamptons, at The Walforf, in The Four Seasons, watching the Blood/Harvest full moon eclipse in Central Park, making it to two hip hop dance classes on school nights, boom box picnics, multiple museums, the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building, viewing the city from the water, bouncing on boobies at the Sex Museum, walking over the Brooklyn bridge at night, just for kicks, taking the subway 17 stops because the restaurant was supposed to be that good (it was), visiting old friends, and eating macaroons, it just doesn’t get much better. That doesn’t quite sum it up, but will have to do. 

 
Home again, home again, tomorrow. I hope to maintain the dance, the fun, and the adventure while allowing being instead of doing, cooking, and sleep to help balance it out. 

   
   

Looking around my house, it appears my trip has exploded all over everything. Two weeks of lived in clothing spill out of the hamper, a suitcase lies on the floor, unopened mail sits on the stairs, and my accumulated treasures and trinkets cover the kitchen table. Looking at the ticket stubs, receipts, and business cards collected, now sitting in a pile on the counter, I can’t help but think of the highlights; the best meals, funniest moments, and favorite sights.

Favorite Meals:
1. Pacci in Buti, Italy. Everything they make is amazing, but the black, squid ink pasta with cream, nuts and salmon is unbelievable.
2. Japanese fish and noodle soup, sitting at the counter of the Stedelijk Museum’s cafe in Amsterdam.
3. And everything at the Korean restaurant Yokiyo in Amsterdam’s red light district. Their miso poached pear with black sesame ice cream. Amazing.

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Favorite Activities:
1.Watching the Buti Warriors play a soccer game against main rivals.
2. A walk along the top of the wall in Lucca.
3. Canal tour through Amsterdam.
4. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
5. Wandering
6. Happy Hour cheese and wine, in NY, Amsterdam, and Italy.

Favorite Stores/Items:
1. White, leather side zip Turkish slippers from Nooosugar, in Amsterdam.
2. Soap from Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, in Florence.
3. Jewelry from ambrosiojewelry, on Bedford Street, in Brooklyn.

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