So I wanted to first and foremost say that I've been kinda, really procrastinating on getting this summer blog up and going. For one, I'm surprised at how none stop things have been and haven't had a chunk of time to get started. Secondly, I'm a tad nervous about not having things proof read before they go out and into the world (so it will probably be a lot of pictures with captions). And third, I don't even know how to blog. I don't typically read blogs (occasionally I'll read a post or two here and there) and I should have probably done a little bit of preliminary research. So here it goes...I'm starting it now and hey who knows, maybe I'll like doing it.
Before I jump into the here and now, I want to do a couple of posts recapping of how things have been going.
How it All Started...
A couple months ago I was beginning to plan what I would be doing this summer. I knew that I definitely wanted to attend summer workshops because up until now I haven't had a open summer to go to one. Once I found out that I would be attending a workshop at Peters Valley and one at Haystack, I decided they were both at the tail end of the summer so why not go on a road trip before hand. At first I thought that it was just a fun thing to plan for that wouldn't actually happen. But then I realized that it was more than just wanting to go on a trip like this, it was that I needed to go on a trip like this. This is the summer before my final year of grad school and I don't know when another opportunity to freely travel will be possible. With that being said, I also wanted to take this summer to do a little in person research for the next step; whether it's applying for residencies, jobs, whatever the case may be. You can do all of the online research in the world, but nothing compares to visiting in person. In addition to the pragmatic reasonings, I also have never really traveled too much on my own. Sure, I've driven back and forth from Illinois to Pennsylvania plenty of times by myself and have traveled to conferences alone, but to make plans and travel solo for approximately 2 months...I have never experienced anything like that before. The whole idea of traveling solo and making all of the decisions and plans was both exhilarating and terrifying. A lot of times I find it difficult to do things on my own, I prefer to enjoy places and events with other people. But I can say now with being about half way through my trip, it's been one of the most empowering things I've ever done. And while this trip is about me and my decisions, I am so blessed to have the support system of my friends and family encouraging me every step of the way.
So once it was decided that this was going to be a reality and now just a fun make believe trip, I began to set out a general route of different place and people I wanted to visit. Initially I compiled a list of approximately 27 stops and created a general itinerary to follow. Shortly into the trip I realized that best approach was to check in with people a couple days in advance to see if they would be willing and able for me to come visit. By doing this, it keeps my trip flexible and somewhat spontaneous.
In addition to staying with friends and family, I also wanted to camp. Now, I can count on one hand how many times I've gone camping or have camped in someone's yard, and none of those times have been by myself. So I'm not exactly sure what inspired that idea but I'm really happy I decided to.
Getting on the Road...
Let's just say, the official date I wanted to leave changed a couple of times for multiple reasons.
Before I made any kinds of plans for my trip, I needed to finish this wedding band set of 3 for a beautiful couple, Evan and Miranda.
Photo curtesy of the couple
But sadly, that wasn't the only reason for delaying the start of my trip. Not gonna lie, the official date was hanging in balance due to Pittsburgh Penguins and the outcome Stanley Cup Finals. (Yes, hockey plays that much of a determining factor in my life.) So keeping my fingers crossed and hoping it wouldn't go to a game 7, I set the date for Wednesday June 15th. (But kinda forgot to send a message to the first friends that I was going to stay with...oops. Again, I'm sorry guys.)
With the date set, my car packed with camping gear, supplies for the 2 workshops, a cooler and anything else that I could possibly need for 2 months...I got on the road.