Chasing El Nino Part 2: Brokedown in Bellingham

Brokedown in Bellingham I haven’t been active very much for the past week and that’s because my car brokedown in Bellingham, Washington. I’ve been going through the crazy process of fixing my car, selling it, and buying a different one. And while it could be all bad, because I haven’t skied in 8 days and it rains like crazy here, and I’m spending more money than I want. There is a silver lining. Breaking down has given me some much needed time to reflect on my travels thus far and more importantly on my life. I didn’t get to write much about my previous two experiences which included chasing a 40 inch storm to wolf creek and backcountry skiing in Lake Tahoe with my best friends. Those were absolutely incredible and were followed by two glorious days in San Francisco where the weather was 70 degrees and sunny, a rare occurrence for February.

But anyway onto the reflection piece. It’s been tough being broken down since my purpose for this part of my travels is to chase powder. Funny enough nature has provided a sort of respite to the western united states. Bringing warm weather and a lack of snow to most of the mountains of the west. Therefore I’m not really missing much. But this lack of weather presents me with a major problem, where do I go next? Purpose is easy to find when the powder is plentiful. But when it’s not I find my mind turning to other thoughts. Thoughts such as what will I do with my life when this trip is over? Where will I move? Am I just running from something I don’t like or am I running to a future that I love? Will that happy future be possible or are the dissatisfactions in my life only a part of my own mind?

So I did what every questioning person should do. I signed up for a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat that will take place in either late April or early May depending on which one I choose to go to. I do believe that the bedrock of my future lies in meditation as a cornerstone. The foundation upon which I will build the rest of my life.

But there was also another nagging question at the back of my mind as to what I will do with my career when this is all over. I have been imagining starting some kind of spiritual or skiing related business or perhaps a public speaking career. At times these kinds of thoughts can be very overwhelming. I know how stressful it is to start a business and try to get new clients. It’s not fun and to be honest I don’t like it.

Then yesterday morning over a bowl of oatmeal it all hit me like a ton of bricks. Why am I trying so hard to turn my hobbies and my passions into a job? More specifically, something I have to make money from. When I think of things that way, creativity becomes a burden, something that I don’t even want to use my free time doing, because the whole point of taking time off is to be free from the burden of making money. So that’s it, that’s the key to it all. I am going to pursue my hobbies and my creativity and my passion. And if it happens to turn into something monetary, then great. And if it doesn’t? Well. THAT’S GREAT TOO BECAUSE I’M A TEACHER AND I LOVE BEING A TEACHER!! I love getting in front of a room full of kids and teaching them about whatever the hell it is I’m teaching them about. I could be teaching them about frogs for Christ sake and I would still be having a great time. The energy of the room in addicting and contagious. I laugh, I joke, I correct behavior, I teach. When I am teaching I am a version of myself that I strive to be in the rest of my life. Relaxed, engaged, enthusiastic, and morally righteous. And I love who I am when I teach. Now don’t get me wrong, I hate grading and planning, but hey, there are parts of every job that suck. So in the end, no matter what happens I will always be a teacher and no one can take that away from me. And the creative stuff? I’m going to continue doing that because it’s fun, it’s a part of who I am. If I HAVE to make money from it I might as well curl up into a little ball and die because my hobbies will have had all the life sucked from them.

Oh yeah and as for the car? It’s sold. I bought a new one and registered it in Washington. Jackson Hole is forecast to get a foot of snow this Wednesday and Thursday. The rest of the West is dry so the decision is simple. Point my car towards the horizon and see what adventures await!