Notes from the road

How's it going??!

I've heard that question a lot lately.

The "it" refers to my cross country book and hug tour, which is still going strong, and the even larger adventure I began four months ago.

Being in motion nearly constantly, I've had less time to reflect -- well, I've taken less time to do it is more accurate -- so when asked, I'm immediately thrown by how to answer.

How do you really know what's happening when you're still in the midst of figuring it out?

You don't know. I sure don't.

So I do the next best thing. I share what I've learned, what I'm learning, and what I hope to learn as the adventure continues. My current top five:


1) Keep saying yes.

Yes is powerful stuff.

I began my adventure with the sincere desire to share how a brain tumor changed my life in hopes that it would help others too.

To do that I knew meant getting away from my desk and in front of people. Pretty much after that I was open. When an opportunity arose I'd say yes and see what happened next.

Amazing things. Flying to Washington, DC, Colorado, New York...Cleveland, OH this weekend. Crossing the Mississippi River twice during a road trip around Wisconsin and Minnesota. Speaking at churches, universities, women's groups, and in people's homes. My first in-studio radio interview. Impromptu dinner parties, and artisan cocktails at a speakeasy.

More is still coming, and I'm still saying yes.


2) Ride the wave.

Things change, sometimes quickly. Cancelled flights, power outages, miscommunication, and rescheduling.

A lot of rescheduling.

I had the pleasure of attending a friend's wedding in Winter Park, CO during my tour, and when asked how the groom was handling all of the festivities he wisely said, "I'm riding the wave."


When one opportunity I said yes to wouldn't happen or would change, a few times, my inclination was to make it fit. I became frustrated that everything was changing faster than I could keep up. Then I realized...

A corollary to Saying Yes is Riding the Wave.

And that wave's name is trust.

It means letting opportunities show up so I can say yes to them, and then allowing them to fall into place.

Because falling into place is exactly what is happening. Plans change, and then suddenly something better comes along that I wouldn't have had time for if the first plan had come together.

Trust. Trust. Trust.

I don't know about you, but I have learned that lesson more than once for it to stick.


3) I love Wisconsin.

There is a lot to love about Wisconsin, including one of my favorite people on the planet, cow waterbed-leaper Amy Throndsen.

Amy is an expert at Saying Yes AND Riding the Wave.

In our ten days together, we covered a lot of territory. Highlights:

  • Cheese. I never realized how much any one person, or state for that matter, could love cheese. It was at every meal, in every form, and enthusiastically discussed by nearly everyone I met. Before a book reading she was hosting on my behalf, we stopped to buy cheese. Crackers, wine, sure, but we went to a cheese store and she loaded her arms full of different kinds of it while saying, "You can never have too much cheese." Spoken like a true cheesehead.
  • Squeaky cheese. If you haven't had a cheese curd, it's likely you haven't been to Wisconsin. Their love affair with it knows no bounds. I was soon informed that when cheese curds literally squeak as you chew them it means they're fresh. Don-cha-know.
  • The Amish. I met them. At the annual Haystack dinner hosted by an Amish community raising funds for their school. It was all I could do not to overwhelm everyone there with questions. When I see you next, I'll bombard you with stories about it instead.
  • Nicest. People. Ever. Some stereotypes are true, and this one sure is. So is that glorious Midwestern accent.


4) The unintended carry-on.

Traveling non-stop is great for escaping. From the past.

I didn't admit it, even to myself in the beginning, but I've used this adventure to escape from the memories of an old relationship.

From the moment I stepped into this adventure, I felt lighter! So much to see, new people to meet, plans to make, and not a lot of time to think.

Until...I'm staring out a plane window with nothing else to occupy the time, and suddenly feel what I'm still carrying with me.


No matter where I go, they will still be here until I make peace with them.

So now I carry those memories with me on purpose, and use my travels to gain perspective. It isn't always lighter, but it will be soon.


5) The answers find you.

The "it" in the question How's it going??! also refers to where I will land.

I'm not in Washington, DC anymore, and I'm also not in New York. I'm on the road for the time being with stops in both places when plans fall into place to take me there.

When I see friends, more than anything they want to know where I will next call home.

I don't know the answer. Yet.

I do know I have loved every city I have visited, and could see myself living in each one. I know that another goal I set for this adventure was to let the "where's next" materialize instead of staying in one place to figure it out. I know that just over halfway through the tour I have already achieved some of the other goals I've set out to do, like sharing my story and knowing that it is helping others.

Therefore this answer is coming, too.

Stay tuned.