"explore more"

Wow. Where to begin? I like to treat myself every Valentine's day. Last year I bought my first brand new mattress and a pair of designer shoes I had my eye on for several years. As February approached this year, I hadn't received any business emails for work. When Valentine's Day arrived, I still had nothing. So I said "what the heck." I called my mum and brother to cancel our dinner plans on Saturday, packed up my car with props, costumes, and wigs, and headed south. I have a friend and coworker that lives in Joshua Tree, which gave me a free place to stay and the benefits of an amazing tour guide. I then remembered my old roommate and great friend lives in Long Beach, which isn't far from Joshua Tree at all. Finally, my dogs had been cooped up for months. They weren't entertained by walks, and all they were doing was laying in my bed (or one of their six beds) while sighing loudly and giving me the "Mum, I'm bored" eyes. They needed some warmth, we needed an escape, and I needed good company and new locations for images. My plans were made. Its funny how much criticism people endure when they break the mold and live their life. I received loads of texts from people asking me, "Why are you going out of town?" Even my brother commented to my mum, "It's so weird how Heather just picks up and leaves from time to time." People seem to think you only leave if there is a problem. I received numerous concerned emails and texts asking, "Is everything okay? Why did you just leave?" I don't even know how to address these inquiries without sounding rude. All I find myself wanting to respond with is, "WHY AREN'T YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE?" I had no work coming up, the weather was similar to a tundra, and I had no other obligations. I didn't leave because something was wrong, I left to do something better with my time. I had the perfect opportunity to leave; didn't have to cancel any jobs, didn't get any last minute gigs, and could find inspiration in a different climate and culture. It was meant to be. I feel like we all have windows like these in our lives, yet we often just pass them by. They look out the window and see something they want to see, something they could do... but then just keep walking down the hallway of their life. I would encourage everyone to pursue living. Living in ways that are aligned with your passions and desires, not your alarm clock or your favorite tv show. This trip was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. The entire drive down I couldn't stop smiling, and the ride home was the same thing with the addition of some sorrow knowing I was returning to two feet of snow. I had so much fun, had so many new experiences, and fantastic company familiar with the park. We ate well, laughed, explored, and got weird in the desert. I feel like my heart expanded and my mind grew because of this. I fell in love with the desert and want to make it back every year. Everyone should go explore, go see things, and put yourself in a different situation. Just to see how it feels. There are so many destinations around you, regardless of your geographic location. Find one of them or make a new one entirely! The whole trip - with food, gas, and loads of coffee - cost me under $600 and I was technically gone for 10 days. That's dirt cheap! Stop making excuses and do something. Enjoy life. Make friends with good people, kind people, high quality people. They will contribute so much to your life. Don't settle for where you are or what you are doing or who you do it with. Embrace the winds of change and find the birds of your feather to glide with.

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