Let’s start by saying that I have been longing to take a road trip to LA and to visit Mount Shasta California for about a decade now. Being asked to teach at LA Acro Festival was a sign that now time to actualize these dreams.
I decided that I would not book anything ahead of time, except for the my stopping areas as well as the first night of my journey as I was to stay in Corvallis Oregon with a friend. My plan was to release control trust in the universe, and do my best to stay in the flow. (sounds easy right)
The first part of my trip was slow moving. I left much later than planned, and this was intentionally practicing letting go of my plan. I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with my Aunty and cousin in New West before getting on the road. I arrived at the US border and the line of cars was longer than I had ever seen it.
However,this line up allowed me the time and space to chat with a man in the next car. He shared some stories about his travels and about an experience he had in Alaska, where he ran into Bigfoot!. This beginning signalled for me that I was definitely in for an epic trip. I felt anxious, as I usually do, when crossing the border into the US and when I reached the agent he asked what I planned to do. I told him the plan is to drive to LA and back and his response was “good luck”.
With one barrier out of the way, I began to feel a great sense of relief. It was around 2:00 pm which meant I would be arriving right on time for rush hour traffic in Seattle. Also the waiting in traffic and no bathrooms I nearly wet my pants! I had hoped to have a relaxed dinner in Portland but the delays in Seattle left me feeling rushed because I didn’t want to keep a friend in Corvallis waiting up for me.
So, I opted out of the restful meal in Portland and continued straight through, excited about taking a gymnastics strength class in the morning with my friend Tam. My arrival in Corvallis was most definitely an arrival worth writing about! I felt so welcomed and comfortable as we engaged in an acroyoga class that focused on pulling strength. This challenged and inspired me to work on something entirely new to me. Exhilarated by my Corvallis visit, I imagined, as I enjoyed an amazing cup of coffee in a truly beautiful cafe, finally laying my eyes on Mount Shasta for the first time.
As noted above, Mount Shasta, California has been calling me for a few years now. Encouraged by testimonies of its high energy and ability to facilitate its visitors’ spiritual development, I approached, in awe, this epic mountain. Its majesty soaring high above the surrounding area. I felt a sense of accomplishment at making manifest this long yearned for moment. Mount Shasta far exceeded the expectations of its beauty that I brought with me. I was, as I had anticipated, swept away by the energy emanating from this sacred place and my inner voice encouraged me to reach out and accept the gifts of these powerful places of high spiritual energy.
But first, I needed to make camp. Sadly, the greatly lauded campsite at the base of the mountain that I intended to stay at was already full. I felt my anxiety creeping back in on me as I began to visualize being stranded with nowhere to sleep. After some googling, I found a site that was closer to the town of Mount Shasta. I couldn’t believe that it was 40$ per night! I let the person working there know that I felt it was really expensive for camping. He not only informed me about some free campsites in the area which, amazingly, were also sacred sites, he provided me with directions to get to them too! Kukstumcw! (Thank you)
The site I ended up at was beside a lake at the top of a mountain and it was completely empty. A warm and soothing sense of relief and being cared for flowed over me once I had claimed my space for the night. After making camp, I walked up to the lake and plunged in several times to clear my mind and body and to reset. I could feel the flow and energy of the area beginning to affect me in positive ways. I returned to the campsite and smudged before making an offering of gratitude by giving some sage back to the land.
I woke up bright and early and while I intended to stay in the area for one more day, I decided to move campsites. This made me feel insecure as I am not used to not knowing where I’ll be sleeping each night. I headed into town to grab breakfast at a small restaurant. I was overwhelmed by the urge to use Google to find out where I should go to connect to this area. I finally found out where the fresh water spring was and decided to make my way there.
Upon arriving, I felt myself come back into the flow and feel of the land’s awesome energy and I paused to meditate until I got the sense to move again. I made another offering here to reciprocate for the spring water I planned to take and drink later on my trip. This meditation lead me to feel as if it was time to find one more spot on the mountain and before moving forward. This time I decided not to be compelled by the internet and to instead just drive. Trusting my intuition I ended up driving all the way up the mountain. Up close, it is even more outstanding all covered in snow and at least 7,000 foot elevation.
I walked until I found a spot where I felt at peace. I went up quite high at got a good sweat going. After some time, I paused to sit on a rock and fully take in the surroundings. I tuned in completely and felt entirely connected to the surrounding area. I was content with remaining still until the sense to move forward was upon me and then I moved on to the next destination.
I was off to San Francisco! Through online searching, I found another perfect campsite on the beach right under the world famous and bright red Golden Gate bridge. I was super excited to see the bridge and to actually spend the night at it too. But, it was still 5 and a half hours away and, with stopping along the way to take in all of the amazing sites to be seen and experienced,it ended up taking me closer to 8 hours to reach this next destination. I arrived at t 9:30 pm to find that the campsite was no longer there or I just could not find it. I was feeling very stressed again but this time being in the big city, I worried my chances of finding another campsite close by were going to be very slim. Even in this state of anxiety, I was compelled to just go and sit at the bridge lookout for a moment before driving over the bridge on my way out of the city to a new camp location.
The sense of peace that evoked would soon dissipate as I drove through San Francisco on its12 lane highway and super steep hills and hectic traffic. I made it out of the city with enough time to relax and grab a bite to eat while I figured out my next move. After eating I decided to just drive towards LA and trust that I would find a great spot to sleep. I began to relax and feel calm, and reconnected to the flow of this journey. Besides, I was not tired so why not keep driving. So I did until 1:30 am when I almost ran out of gas because my Canadian cards did not work in the US and there were no people working late at the gas stations. I found a gas station with a pay window in a small town then continued on my way. I found my way to a campsite that was on a racetrack somewhere in California. I slept so deeply that night, and awoke feeling charged and ready to drive on.
This was a major turning point for me as I began to feel like I was yearning to trust more deeply in my own intuition. I put out my intentions to find a place to stay this night where I felt completely at peace. Moving towards LA, I decided to drive into Los Padres National forest. As soon as I turned off the 5 south freeway and onto this small mountain road I was enveloped in the familiar and comforting aroma of sage and the views sent me reeling!. I pulled over at every stop feeling a deep sense of gratitude. I harvested a bundle of sage and made an offering of some of my own for this precious gift.
My next stop was for gas in a small town called Olja. As I was waiting at the pump to pre-pay, another man at the station noticed my BC plates. As well that I was Indigenous and asked which tribe I was from. I answered that I was part of the Stl’atl’imx Nation. He said that he was from the tribe in the area. I then told him of my troubles with finding good places to camp. He smiled and told me to go to Wheeler campgrounds and gave me directions.
The drive over was so peaceful. I pulled over again to take in as much of my surroundings as I could handle. When I arrived at the campsite I was washed over with a sense of ease and comfort. I chose a campsite that had a beautiful creek running through it. I set up camp and sat by the creek in awe of what I was feeling. I took it all in until I felt the need to smudge and cleanse.
Feeling such clarity lead me to feeling super playful so I balanced on rocks and played in the trees. I ended this perfect day by reading before going to sleep. The next morning I had an early start and could not wait to pick up my good friend Millissa Greenwood from LAX.
It was to be a 2 hour drive to the airport also having been told about LA and the major traffic situation I made sure to leave an hour early just in case.
The drive was super smooth all the way to LA. When I arrived within the Los Angeles city limits I felt a deep sense of accomplishment. My car and I had not only survived the journey, we thrived! The last challenge was finding Millissa at one of the largest airports in the world. The last bits of nerves came out as I inched along for 20 minutes until I caught sight of her, mission accomplished!
Before this journey started I intended to share myself fully at the LA acro fest; to be as open as possible and to learn as well as teach. I feel that the drive was my personal preparation. My journey showed me what was between me and my most natural self. It challenged me to stay centered even when I felt completely lost. This journey challenged me to open up to strangers and share my challenges. I am now in the process of driving home and needless to say I am taking what I have learned and using it to make my journey home an epic adventure of beauty and grace. Just because life has discomfort does not mean I need to immerse myself in it all the time. Being comfortable and connected is important too. As is trusting in the power of reciprocity!