Monthly Archives: December 2012

Wake up. It’s time to go.


Waking up on December 26 2012 didn’t feel any different than other days. I began finishing the preparations, making sure all the last minute details were finalized. The rooms become empty and the clock was ticking. Jumping into Wiggles (the Vanagon or commonly known as a Hippy Van), driving through Salt Lake City for what felt like the last time, brought out some nervous and funny jokes.

We met Chris, and she gave us some cookies that i think she stole from a homeless person. She called them “Hobo-Cookies”. Then we headed towards Jeff’s and enjoyed his company and sense of humor. Jeff is quite the cook. For our final stop we met my family for dinner. My family has always been incredibly supportive reminding me to shoot for my dreams.

On our first night we headed out during a snowstorm. We woke up to a snowy morning with very crisp air. The view was white, clean, a fluffy. A blanket of white powder was all around me. When I kicked it a puffy cloud spread all around, so I had to clean my shoes because they were covered with snow. Being a grownup child is difficult.

The next destination was Zion’s National Park. I love the wild beauty that is painted in red stone. Red rock is a must see sight in the west. I’m ready to experience other colors, the color of green of rainforests, and blue of the sea. I’m looking forward to traveling south, especially because the north is cold this time of year.

We slept under the full moon at Horseshoe Bend and woke up to hike in 25 degree weather to watch the sunrise. It was cold but worth it. Then we started driving towards Arizona and Tucson to visit with Chris and Mike, good friends of Thad’s, and people with impressive character. Mike has a son named Chayton and he is an awesome 12 year old.

We have spent two days with them and i learned many things from them. Chris showed us a multitude of gems and precious crystals, a space and air museum, how to bead, and we all enjoyed long hours of conversation.

It’s the beginning of our trip and I feel alive.


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The adventure begins


Angela, Chihiro and I departed on the 26th after saying our goodbyes, and dropping off remaining stuff. After Marie’s house, the Emmi’s place (where Chris met us and gave us a delicious bag of cookies that she baked), and Jeff’s we drove in the snow to Provo to have dinner with Angela’s family. All of the goodbyes were a bit strange. I didn’t expect to feel this strong pull to stay, as if goodbye meant we would never see these loved ones again. But I guess after the experience in prison, after seeing everyone I cared about disappear, the fear that the same thing would happen crept up inside me a bit. But the disappearance of all my loved ones in the past was partly my fault. I allowed them to define our relationship based on the expectation that I would always be there to give. So when I wasn’t, the relationship for them dissolved. Since prison my relationships have been much more adult and equal. We define our relationship based on emotional concern, mutual support, full acceptance, and without expectation for what will come. We simply accept each other in our lives and are happy to have the connection. I’m sure these relationships will continue.

As we race against the incoming snow storm, some words that Elaine shared with us at the Christmas dinner resonated through my mind. They were something like: “One of the most neglected advices is that we should live adventurously. Life is to be lived with warmth, openness, passion, and a bit of emotion that doesn’t mind making a fool of itself occasionally.” – Gerald Priestland. For me this trip is about living, it is about claiming freedom, acting with intention, self-discovery, exposure to new ideas, new cultures, and braving the new together.

I spent a lot of down time in prison. I made the most of it, still, I feel like there is so much out there to still discover, so many people to make connections with, and so many reasons to leave my mind in a state of suspension, open to discoveries and new ways of thinking. The surest way of opening your mind and making new insights is stepping outside of your habitual worldview. My goal is to swim outside of my comfort zone for a while. And now that I’m officially homeless, and have no concrete plan for what I’ll be doing in the future, I’m definitely outside of my comfort zone. Let’s see what opportunities come our way. Let’s see who we meet. Let’s intentionally discover the future that awaits us.

At the end of day zero we pulled off the freeway and parked for the night. In the morning we woke to the beauty of new snow everywhere. We made breakfast in Wiggles, got back on the road, and made our way to Zion’s National Park. While filming a time lapse there I slipped in the snow and discovered a cactus with my hand while Angela was making quesadillas. After performing minor surgery to cut the barbs out of my skin (most of them), and enjoying every bite, we hit the road again and made it all the way to the trail head of Horseshoe Bend for the night. The moon was only a few hours away from being full. It danced behind the spotted clouds, which blanketed the night and kept the temperature near 25 degrees.

On day 2 we woke early to catch the sunrise over the bend. My winter shorts were malfunctioning evidently, because they were having a hard time keeping me warm. But the uncomfortableness was worth it because we captured some beautiful pictures. Chihiro loved her coffee and wondered why we were having eggs again for breakfast. I like eggs every morning  – I guess that’s strange :-).

By the end of day 2 we made it to Tucson where my good friend Chris Miller met us. Chris is perhaps the most gentle and friendly person I’ve ever met. After going to dinner (Mexican food :-)) we went to pick up Mike and Chayton flying in from Hawaii to visit. Its a Florence reunion. I love how all of my best friends from prison are now really living life and not wasting a day. Mike just finished two degrees – in Astronomy and physics. He says he was inspired by my Astronomy class I taught in prison, but I he was always going to go back to college. He is just always full of questions.

Let’s see what today brings.


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