California and living in 682 words and many, many photos

In the 43 days since I wrote about how the “nomadic life” is going, I’ve gone to Marin, San Francisco, Sacramento, Palo Alto, Grover Beach, San Clemente, Laguna, Del Mar, El Cajon, Chula Vista, La Jolla, Dana Point, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, back to Grover Beach, back to San Francisco, up to Humboldt, back to San Francisco, back to La Jolla, back to San Francisco, up to Bodega Bay, back to San Francisco, where I sit here now, observing the holiday by catching up on work, writing.

Or rather trying to write. All the inspiration I had while in motion has fled. (Typical.) Instead of creating, I’m recreating the past 43 days.

Point Bonita, Marin – Surfrider West Coast Leadership Summit

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Emeryville to Sacramento on the Amtrak

Capitol Corridor route for the win.

St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco – Speaking at the Wednesday Luncheon

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San Francisco – Surf and sunset

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Palo Alto – Institute for Women Surfers

I went to an amazing conference and made this video about being brave after.

Grover Beach to San Clemente via Amtrak

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Chula Vista – Coastal Commission meeting, reception and a spontaneous kayak excursion

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Huntington Beach – State Lands Commission meeting

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Laguna, La Jolla, Dana Point, Long Beach, Del Mar – various connectings of the dots

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Back in Humboldt

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And just like that, off again…

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Bodega Bay – Coastal Commission meeting (wasn’t I just at one of those?)

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What I don’t have pretty photos of – because they’re not so pretty – are the moments that went awry, the mistakes I made along the way, the people I argued with, the exhaustion, the homesickness, the anxiety that lodges under my heart whenever my children are in transit, as they increasingly are, the nights that the diabetes app alerted me to Nick’s low blood sugar, the repeated calls to wake him up. I did not tap “Video” on my phone when a man and a woman started screaming at each other in Union Station, desperate in look and sound, unable to stop or quiet down until another woman, one in a wheelchair, rolled over to insert herself between them. I did not take a selfie with the guy who asked me for money, which I gave him, and my phone number, which I did not, or even a photo of him when he followed up my refusal by taking a seat across from me, doing that threatening thing that men do, which is to make the space that belongs to you about them and what they might do to you. I did not snap photos of my friends while drinking too much whiskey at the Shanty, but I did use my phone to send shitty texts to an estranged former friend when an encounter went awry (few things releasing my inner asshole as dependably as whiskey on an empty stomach). So much for my self-improvement quest. I do not know how to illustrate my sadness beyond the words I’ve already used for all the things I’m sad about, have been sad about. I did not save the comments that erupted from me in a furious response to the #MeToo campaign, because once my reaction subsided, I had the sense to make right what I could. I did make sure to note I was wrong and that I shall let stay.

In my quest to do all the things – be a good mother, wife, friend, employee, human, self – I screw up all the time. I don’t meditate enough. I don’t practice yoga regularly. I’m still horribly impatient. I repeat mistakes. I want more, constantly. Except when I don’t. Except when I find myself doing something right: Headspace playing through my headphones, downward dog into something pigeon, fresh grapefruit juice squeezed into a glass of bubbly water, a book in hand, attending to a campaign with passion and smarts, hugging a friend, acting on inspiration, biting my tongue, paddling into a wave, letting go of perfection, holding on to love.


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