The Changing Winds

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It’s been several months since my not-so triumphant return to Wisconsin. I’ve missed writing, and quite frankly, I’m disappointed in myself for not keeping up with it. These past few months have been a whirlwind of emotion ranging anywhere from gut-wrenching anxiousness to surprising blissfulness. It comes in waves. Life is crazy like that.

I’m thankful for the support of my family. Often we forget that family is first and foremost. Without the words of encouragement and unwavering kindness, I’d be entirely lost

There’s been so much change in my life lately. All for the better. I’ve discovered the beauty of meditation seemingly by chance, and have in turn, began studying the practice from the basics. It’s a truly powerful aid to a cluttered mind like my own. Inner peace is something I’ve been striving for my entire life. Meditation has been unbelievably helpful. It was foolish of me to doubt it for so long. I never pictured myself giving something like that a chance. Again, Change. Change is something special.

I’m happy to have found myself in a great career (finally). If only they knew how thankful I am for the opportunity. This job market is cutthroat. College Degree? Check. Experience? Check. Work Ethic? Check. Want a Job? Too bad. I’m so glad I’m done writing cover letters. I started to see them in my nightmares (kidding…maybe?)

All in all, I’ve got an optimistic view on my future. Credit goes to my mom for giving me that kick in the ass I needed on a long drive up north a few months ago. Love shows itself in many forms.

It feels good to write again. I need to stick to it. The ol’ 9-5 won’t be an excuse. Here’s to change.

 

Hazelhurst, WI

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Hazelhurst, WI

Photo of myself from July 2013.

This is the view I live for every summer. I’ve been coming every July for nearly 23 years. It’s a home away from home. I always find myself going through Hazelhurst photos when I’m away from Wisconsin.

Nothing quite like being Up North.

Santa Cruz

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The drive into SC was out of movie. Winding roads with curves that made you hug the side of the car. The horizon painted with rolling mountains, entirely green. Endless forests with trees taller than I’d ever seen. It was northern Wisconsin on steroids. Breathtakingly gorgeous.

The drive was smooth sailing until we reached the edge of town. It was a tourist congestion overload–instant gridlock. The out-of-towners (including myself) were appearing in droves. Strangely, it feels as if I’ve lived here before in a past life. Maybe it was just a dream. Nevertheless, I’m overcome with Deja Vu.

I didn’t mind the wait. Sitting in the passenger seat looking out at the mountains kept me entertained.

Suddenly, I’m in a beach town. Sunny and 70 degrees in mid-February. Damn, February never felt so good. What the hell was I don’t wearing Jeans and a sweater? How midwest of me. After parking, I made my way to the tourist hotspot that is the Boardwalk. It smelled like weed and corn dogs. Northern California is something else.

After walking up and down the boardwalk, which was absolutely packed, I walked to the beach. The sand was so soft that had to laugh. I pictured the streets of Milwaukee knowing I would be stepping in 3-5 inches a snow if I were. It’ll always be home, but I’ll never get used to Wisconsin winters.

As I’ve found to be the case in much of Northern California, Santa Cruz attracts every walk of life. One second you’re surrounded by beach bros, and the next, by a sea of tie-dye. Drum circles to your left and a volleyball games to your right. Affluent families cross paths with nappy-dreaded homeless. And there I was, somewhere in between, just passing through.

I did a lot of walking, trying to see as much as I could. The downtown area was bustling. I kept forgetting it was Sunday. So many people, not enough sidewalk space. From head shops to record stores to fancy restaurants, it was all there. Tucked neatly a few blocks from the beach, housing plenty of “street entertainers” showcasing their musical talents. Some were quite impressive, others not so much.

It was a nice city, I really enjoyed my time there. Everyone I met was about as nice as you can get. I can’t wait to visit again. Hell, I’ll even look into UCSC graduate programs. Hit the beach after finals? Yeah, I think I’d be alright with that.

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Golden Gate Park to Haight and Ashbury

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Haight Street was a trip. I was catapulted back into the sixties. The Haight and Ashbury area, aka the Castro, are home to some of the most progressive local shops in the city. Cannabis smoked in public like it’s entirely legal, which it damn near is. Dreadlocks and hemp necklaces. Rainbow flags and homeless hippies. It’s all there – A world of its own. Beautifully unique and unassuming. If only the rest of this country was as accepting to the counter culture. Maybe, just maybe, we could all get along. Peace and love are very much alive in the heart of Frisco.

Golden Gate Park is magnificent. As if dropped in the middle of the city by Aliens, it feels so out of place, and yet, completely and utterly natural. There are miles of trails, lakes, forest, and a bit of everything else. At times it felt as if I were somewhere in Northern Wisconsin. I loved it. So far from home but the smell in the air was that of northwoods – serenity to the tenth degree.

I miss Wisconsin, but there’s something about the Bay that reminds me of home. Maybe I’ll live here one day, finally settle down. Who knows?

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San Fransisco

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It’s everything I expected and more. My first stop was the Golden Gate Bridge, of course. It felt as if I walked into the tourist hub of the U.S. First I hear Spanish being spoken, then French, then Vietnamese. Very quickly I understand this part of the country is a cultural melting pot. I love it. The diversity is refreshing. It’s absolutely nothing like Wisconsin out here.

The Golden Gate was much taller than I anticipated. Much taller. My fear of heights, which I’d forgotten I even had, began to kick in. I wasn’t much fazed by it and continued onward. What an unbelievable experience. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day to be out there.

I could see the city in the distance. The horizon was littered with houses and buildings, most white. Downtown San Fransisco looked intriguing. I was instantly drawn to it. Instead of walking the entire bridge, we ventured towards the big city.

Driving through downtown was inspiring. Everything I thought I knew about big cities was completely altered. Hands down, the best city I’ve ever visited. It blows Chicago and Vegas right out of the water. It’s in a league of its own. I could see myself living here one day…if I ever accumulate enough money to actually afford it. No wonder it’s such an expensive place to live. It just might be one of the best places to call home in all of the world. I’m just grateful I was lucky enough to see it.

Much more to come. I couldn’t possibly write everything I did and saw in one post.

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San José Daydreams

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I picture a sprawling city with endless lights and sidewalks. One with skyscrapers that barely rival the size of New York’s smallest buildings. Just a vast, condensed land of metal and glass. Caucasian, Asian, and Latino as one. For once I’m in the minority. That’s a good thing. Maybe I’ve created my own self-fatigue. Seeing the same kind of people, day in and day out. It’ll be nice being in an industrial mecca. Perhaps the industrial mecca. The silicon valley in all its technological glory. Shining down on me like a lighthouse’s beam on a flimsy rowboat creaking into a harbor. I become nothing more than a speck in the tenth largest American city. Probably the palest guy there. My flesh as white as the snow from which I came. I need a tan.

We make our descent from the skies to San José, California. 8:48 P.M. January 29, 2014. There’s something truly thrilling about seeing a new city for the first time, especially from window of an airplane. Millions upon millions of tiny lights as far as the eye can see. My first bay area experience begins. First here, then to San Francisco. The rest is but an unplanned series of decisions yet to be conceived. The future is bright and uncertain. Just the way I drew it up (sort of).
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30,000 Feet

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I’m learning a great deal with each passing day. More than I did in high school, more than college. I feel the rhythms of life pulse through me like blood flow. Simply living or living simply, I don’t know, it’s hard to decode. I’m still too young to truly grasp this sensation. I try to live more by action than planning and predestination. These ebbs and flows of life are more satisfying. The unknown and distinctively different is what I yearn for – not the linear timeline I was living before. I know this train of thought was always inside of me. It was like a distant memory from a past life, dark and foggy, but undoubtedly there.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the reckoning of these deep, subconscious  thoughts. I’ve always considered myself philosophical, but never did I peel back the layers. Perhaps I had finally had enough of living within myself instead of looking at life through a wide angle lens. Maybe it was the rediscovery of my love for reading and writing that summoned this mindset. Something has inspired me, and though I don’t yet quite understand what it all means, I feel something deep within taking form. A sensation of personal growth is blossoming; it has been a long time coming.

I write this from 30,000 feet above the earth. Soaring effortlessly through the clouds, little to no turbulence. I can’t help but think that this journey out west is a representation of what I’m searching for. Unfamiliarity brings out the best in me. Change is the best form of growth. I haven’t but the slightest idea where this trip will take my life from here. It may turn out to be nothing more than a much-needed vacation. Nonetheless, it’s an important chapter in my young adult life. California, here I come. 
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Waiting, Thinking

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Damien Marley’s “Road To Zion” plays in one ear while the other overhears a hundred conversations. The airport hustle and bustle begins to pick up. I stare outside, squinting in the sunlight. Looks are deceiving – it looks beautiful out there but it can’t be more than 10 degrees. I wait in gate C21 for my flight to Las Vegas. From there it’s a short connecting flight to the capital of Silicon Valley – San José, CA.

I put the other ear bud in. The clutter of conversation melts away. Airports are somehow intriguing to me; they always have been – a microcosm of society. Every walk of life embarking on some sort of journey. Maybe meaningless, possibly life-changing. Endless trains of thought. Perpetual movement.